I think it goes without saying that fostering is a rewarding experience. In general, you get to help animals, provide them with something they have usually never fully experienced (a loving, safe environment), and ultimately see them move on to wonderful families who will hopefully keep them forever. Fostering is rewarding; tough, but rewarding.
I have had a couple new fosters since my last entry: some tough, some easy.
A pair of kittens who didn’t trust humans at all and, who, unfortunately, passed away from panleukopenia before they had much of a chance.
But, they still got to experience some loving moments thanks to Graham, who affectionately became known as “Graham-paw.”
A curmudgeon-y “Fluffy Overlord” named Chilly, who captured my Facebook friends’ hearts with his grumpy face
and with his adorableness.
He found a great forever home to reign over fairly quickly. 🙂
And, now, I have a new foster. She’s roughly 6 years old and comes from a confusing background: her original owners left her with their older mother, who was in poor health and, upon her admittance to a hospital, she came to us. They didn’t really know her name, so I named her Misty.
Misty was good at the vet’s. Scared, but not aggressive. I got her home, and she hid in the closet, but she purred when pet, which was a good sign.
After some time, she tentatively tried out the perch in her room.
And, after her 2-week quarantine was up, she took her first tentative steps out of her room…after much contemplation of the risk.
Misty is not feral, but she is incredibly timid. She walks low to the ground and very slowly at all times. She’s been with me almost a month now, and she still chooses to spend a lot of her time in her crate. Because of her fear, I chose to introduce her first to Graham, who never hisses at another cat, and takes their swipes without fighting back. After a week, Misty stopped hissing at Graham. They’re not friends, but she’s not afraid of him anymore. My female cat, Luna, is next on the list for introductions, and the 2 of them…yeah…not fans of one another.
Misty’s progress is slow (but not that slow, considering). Sometimes, we get a couple “normal” moments where she actually lays down like a normal cat. Just a few moments, but it’s a step.
I am, right now, the only human she trusts. She finds comfort in routine, as most cats do, and I’m trying to give her that while slowly introducing change as well. She skitters and hides if she even hears another person. She still walks low and slow. It can be hard to watch: you want so badly to make this creature understand that this is a safe place, but you can’t “tell” an animal anything. The only thing you can do is be consistently safe.
Sometimes, it can be discouraging watching a cat continually run back to its crate…continually living in fear. Sometimes, when you spend every day with an animal, its progress isn’t obvious to you even if others see it. Then, you’ll notice it in random moments… like catching Graham, who used to never groom himself, giving himself a full 10-minute bath 🙂
Misty is a tough case. She’s not a kitten, she’s extremely shy – most people want kittens or really friendly cats. But, fostering a cat like Misty is rewarding. Here is a creature who doesn’t really understand safety, love, or what a “home” really is. And, we get to show it to her. Not by telling her, but by being…by living it. I know that, one day, I will catch myself, in a moment, recognizing her progress too – just like I did Graham’s today. And, again, I’ll be reminded why I do this.