Foster Families: The World of Cat Fostering

23 May

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Most people are surprised when they enter my home.  I live with my boyfriend and our two very close friends in a three bedroom house, there are three personal cats who are there permanently.  Normally when people walk in they chuckle at the signs on the wall; “Home is where the cats are,”  “beware of the cat,” the standard kind of signs that garnish a home filled with fur-ball love, the only indications that there are kitties in our home.

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Out of the corner of their eye they see something dart across the living room, then look up at the bookshelf and see eyes peeking down.  Looking around the corner, they notice there are cats plopped here and there – two in the window, three on the couch, five in a pile on a tiny chair.

Wandering into the “dining room,” they realize the room isn’t meant for dining at all but is instead a cat paradise with toys, scratchers, food, chairs and beds galore.

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As they turn to me and say “how many cats do you have?” they continue to stare as I give them a number anywhere from 5 to 19.  Yes, 19, there have been three or four occasions where we have had 19 cats at once, more than our adoption facility holds.

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To answer some immediate questions:  No, my house actually doesn’t smell like cats.  Yes, I am out of my mind.  No, I am not some weird old woman who lives at the end of a cul-de-sac, I’m actually only 25 and no, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We have saved 80 lives in 10 months – that’s 80 cats (and maybe 5-6 dogs) who would have died if we had not opened our home to them.  At times it is stressful but the majority of the time it is simply beautiful and fulfilling.

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Fostering cats has to be one of the easiest things possible to make a difference (unless you have 19.)  If any of the cats are sick, they are kept in large kitty condos in separate bedrooms as to not spread illness or infection.  Because of this, sometimes you’ll only actually see five cats, all the others are in quarantine.  I always tell people if you have a spare bedroom or small bathroom you can keep the door to closed, you can fosters cats.  All they require is some clean litter daily, some food and water and of course as much love as you’re willing to give them.  They repay you with purrs, tail swishes and leg rubs, the best forms of payment out there.

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There are so many stories I want to share with everyone.  The time we were given frightened, shaved Persians out of a hoarding situation and how good it felt the first time we got them to purr.  Or maybe the kittens that were taken from a meth lab who had been abused but immediately knew they were safe in our arms.  Perhaps I would tell you of another rescue that pulled a nursing mother and 9 seven week old babies from a high kill shelter right before they were going to be put to sleep, only to find out they had ringworm and thus wanted to take them back to be euthanized but instead we opened our hearts and our home to them.  I would tell you about the 9 month old cutie who was being given away on free website because he got too big, the playful girl abandoned at a local barn, the babies and moms we saved an hour before they were going to be put to sleep at a shelter in New York City, perhaps even the baby boy who was so sick and infected that he had to have his eye removed.  There are so many stories to tell but only so much time.  Each and every foster holds their own story and at the end of the day, when you say goodnight to each and every one of them, you can see the trust and love in their eyes and know that without you, they would no longer be alive.

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Fostering cats is the easiest thing in the world.  Yes, there are hardships, but that is expected when you’re making such a huge difference.  There is absolutely nothing better than watching them get adopted and getting updates, because more often than not, the adopters stay in touch.  Years later I still get updates from my first fosters, it shows me that not only did I make a difference in the cat’s life, I made a difference in the life of that family and the experience made a difference in me as well.

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If you’re interested in fostering cats or dogs with us, please fill out a foster application. To view our adoptable cats and kittens, please visit our website.

 

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One Response to “Foster Families: The World of Cat Fostering”

  1. Cecelia Colon May 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    How wonderful that you have made a difference in the lives of all those furry babies. Bless you for your efforts and may they continue. 🙂

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