Category Archives: Fostering

Rescue isn’t just about Playing with Kittens

Note: After a night’s sleep and some conversations with friends, I realized that the original version of this blog didn’t quite convey what I meant for it to say. This blog was inspired when I found myself cleaning up a kitty mess for the 5th time that day and having to remind myself “Lisa, you didn’t just get into rescue to play with kittens! This is worth it!”

The message here is not in any way meant to say “don’t volunteer with kittens” — it’s kitten season, folks — PLEASE volunteer to play with kittens 😉 …or to set up adoption events, pass out fliers, do adoption interviews, or whatever you can do! We love and appreciate the people who do these things!

The message here is simply a reminder to myself during those tough fostering times when I find myself dealing with a sick or difficult cat. Kittens are the perks of rescue 😉 There’s just an awful lot more going on at the same time!. So, here’s the updated post:

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new entry — life has been chaotic! But, tonight, I feel compelled to write.

Graham is still with me, but he’s a different cat than when he arrived.

His diabetes went into remission, and his neuropathy went away… he began grooming again, and his coat returned to a normal cat coat… it took us over a month, but we got rid of his urinary tract infection… then, we discovered that he had a blood pressure issue, but we got that under control with meds.

It’s been a crazy 5 months complete with late-night emergency vet visits, being up to my elbows in cat vomit, lots of shoving pills in cat mouths… seemingly endless vet visits.

But, it’s been worth it.

This is worth it:

Pet Graham

The truth is, while I adored my baby fosters, Milton and Diego, sometimes I need a reminder that I didn’t get into fostering and rescue work just to play with kittens.

I also got into rescue to spend hours laying on the floor beside a sick cat at 10:00 at night — debating whether or not to make the trip to the emergency vet.

I got into rescue to drive to that emergency vet at 11:00 at night because getting my foster cat help was more important than sleep that night.

I got into rescue to scrub cat puke out of impossibly stained carpets and to comfort the sick cat who can’t help himself.

I got into rescue to find out that my foster may have a fungus that I, myself, could catch…and to walk around smelling like cat ear drops, medicated ear wash, and prescription shampoo seemingly forever because I have to clean his ears out twice a day and bathe him twice a week. (OK — truth be told, I really didn’t intend to get into rescue for this particular one. But it was worth it.)

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This is Rhett, who I fostered for a little more than a month — he left for his new home yesterday!

I got into rescue to have to be home exactly every 12 hours to give a diabetic cat insulin.

I got into rescue to author the book “101 ways to give a cat a pill.” (No, seriously, I should write this book.)

And, I absolutely, 100%, without a doubt got into rescue to help a senior cat who can’t even walk straight learn to climb again.

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Of course, I got into rescue for this:

Happy Graham

 

And for days like this…

Graham Sink

 

 

And moments like this…

Silly Graham

 

But, one thing’s for sure… there’s more to rescue than playing with kittens, and even though the hard parts can completely suck sometimes — I’m glad I got into rescue.

Tonight’s been a hard night.

Graham is sick again, and we’re headed back to the vet tomorrow. All this after over a month of dealing with a second foster (named Rhett — pictured above in the cone) who had to be at the vet every 2 weeks, needed medicated baths, had a major ear infection, and is even still being treated for potential ringworm. Never a break! Never a boring day in this house!

But, it’s worth it.

Rhett is worth it. Graham is worth it.

That’s why I got into rescue — because every animal — young or old, sick or well — is worth my time, energy, and a little piece of my heart.

That’s what rescue is all about, isn’t it?

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Meet Graham!

The wedding is over, my life is returning to some semblance of normal, and I’ve finally returned to fostering! I recently began a new job that allows me to work from home 100%, so I decided that I was up for a slightly more challenging kitty case this time around (although, if I’m honest, Graham has proven thus far to be the easiest foster I’ve ever had).

Meet Graham!

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Graham was a HART kitten 10 years ago. He was adopted by a family who kept him all his life until now, when they decided to return him. If that type of transition isn’t hard enough on a senior cat, Graham also came to us with diabetes, which has caused diabetic neuropathy. This causes Graham to walk a little oddly; his legs shake and hunch a bit, but he mostly takes it in stride.

The diabetic neuropathy should hopefully resolve itself as his diabetes comes under control. We hope to get his diabetes under control through diet change and by giving him insulin injections twice per day.

Graham also came to us with a really gross coat; it was (is) rather greasy, and he has a ton of dandruff. This doesn’t prevent him from looking stunning in his pictures though.

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We were told that Graham was a “one-person cat” who liked to hide. While he does like to hang out in his fort (a propped up painting that he’s turned into a kitty tent), he readily greets both Kevin and me whenever we come into the room! He’s a pretty chill cat 🙂 (And he constantly “makes biscuits” with his paws!)

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I tried letting Graham out of his foster room, but he mostly prefers to stay in there even if the door is open. However, if you pull out a dangly string, he will chase it like the hunter he really is! Play helps him to become more confident. After a play session, he’ll venture downstairs and explore!

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Graham’s absolute favorite thing is getting brushed and wiped down with cleansing wipes (a daily regime currently until his coat is a bit better off; he does not appear to be grooming himself probably due to being sick and stressed). When you brush Graham, he begins to love on EVERYTHING!

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Ohai gate…I love you!

That’s Graham! 🙂 Stay tuned for many Graham-y adventures to come!

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You Have an Opportunity to be Amazing

Whenever someone finds out that I foster for a local rescue, the reaction is almost always the same: “Oh, that’s amazing what you do! I could never do that! I’d want to keep every one of them.”

Now, I’m new to this, and so I know that I don’t have a ton of advice or wisdom to give, but this reaction has always confused me a bit.

First of all, I have never considered my fostering to be amazing. I didn’t start fostering because it was an amazing thing to do; I started fostering because I literally came face-to-face with a cat that, if I didn’t foster him, may die.

Secondly, so many others absolutely could do this! They could! Did you know that some rescues furnish everything you need (including litter, food, etc.)? Did you know that the rescues pay for your foster animals’ vet care? That anything you do buy for them is tax-deductible?

 

What does fostering really take?

Time… patience… and a love for animals. A spare bedroom helps too, but it’s not a requirement.

I’ve wanted to write this blog for a long time; it’s what I think whenever someone says to me “Oh, that’s amazing!” … I want to tell them “Don’t you see… YOU have an opportunity to do something amazing too!”

 

But, maybe you think that you’d never be able to let them go… maybe you don’t want to deal with the emotional turmoil of having to say goodbye to an animal. It is hard; sometimes you do want to keep them.

 

I have said two goodbyes since my last blog. Milton left me first, and it was hard. However, the harder part for me was separating Milton and Diego; I worried so much about Diego being lonely and sad to see his buddy go.

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Yeah, Diego didn’t care.

Diego became best friends with my 2 cats, and he cuddled up on me extra often. That was it.

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But, I confess it: I wanted to keep Diego.

 

I fell in love with Diego… even more so than with Chance. Guys… it was hard saying goodbye to Diego.

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I had Diego from June 1 – September 16. From 6 weeks old til he was 5 months old. And, then I said goodbye. So, you see, I understand that feeling and worry of wanting to keep your fosters. I’ve been there.

 

But, here’s the thing…

I didn’t have to say goodbye because Diego was off to a shelter to suffer.

I said goodbye because Diego was off to live an incredible life with a family who literally wrote me an essay about why they specifically wanted Diego above any other cat. I said goodbye to Diego as he left for a new and amazing life…

And the only reason Diego, Milton, Chance, and the hundreds of other cats adopted through rescues have lives at all is because people have chosen to do something amazing and foster for their local rescues.

 

You see, I would much rather cry a few emotional tears as Diego leaves for an incredible new life than cry in sadness when I find out that a kitty like Diego didn’t get a chance at life because there was nobody there to be his foster family.

 

If you think that those who foster are amazing, well here is your chance to be amazing too.

You don’t need to quit your job, sell all you own, and donate it to charity. You don’t need to sacrifice your life. All you need to do is reach out to your local rescue and ask how you can help.

If you’re worried about the money and time commitments, don’t dismiss this opportunity quite yet; talk with your local rescue and see how their foster program works. See if they can work with you to find the right placement for you. See if they need temporary fosters, transportation help, people to do adoption interviews, people to volunteer to set up and tear down events…

 

You can help.

You have an opportunity to be amazing. What will you do with that opportunity?