Blog the Change for Animals (#BtC4A) is a quarterly opportunity for bloggers to post about an animal-related cause that is near and dear to that blogger’s heart. For today’s post, I will talk about the concerns I had prior to fostering — and why none of them ended up mattering! My hope is that this may inspire someone else to begin fostering cats.
Prior to starting last year, I had wanted to foster cats for a while. I finally took the plunge in March 2017. Like many who probably are hesitant to start fostering, my main concern was worrying about my own resident cats. Would fostering disrupt their life in unspeakable ways? Would they hate me? Would they hate the foster cat? Would they hate the world?!?
On the human side of things, would I have enough time? Would we have enough space in the house? Would we fall in love and not be able to part with one of the cats?
Nothing to Worry About
I don’t know why I worried about any of these things. I’d taken care of someone’s cat in the house before (a few times, actually), and my cats met that cat. And guess what – their world didn’t end. They didn’t hate me or the other cat.
Addressing the time commitment. I work from home. What better situation could there be for fostering? While I do have a complete office setup, I can also take my laptop into the foster room when the cat is getting used to the house and the new environment.
And that brings me to the space issue that I worried about. Ross and I are childfree (of the two-legged variety, anyway), and we have a decent size abode. Our resident cats were spoiled enough to have their own cat room. I had set it up all nice with beds and tossed all my pet-related stuff in the closet. Did the cats realize the room was for them? No. The only time they ever went into that room was when I went in there for something. Needless to say, the cats didn’t need an entire room in the house. So, that became the foster room.
Our Foster Experience
With the foster room set up and ready to go, we brought our first foster cat home on March 12, 2017 – Juno.
Ross and I foster for Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles. It’s anywhere from a 60 to 90-minute drive for us, but we felt it was a good fit. We participate in their adoption agent program that helps them get a better sense of their adult cats. Potential adopters always want to know as much as they can, and the adoption agent program allows for the cats to spend time in a foster home so this info can be gathered.
Do they like dogs? Children? Are they a lap cat? More often than not, a cat will act differently in a home vs. at the shelter. So, the adoption agent program provides Best Friends with valuable information.
Also, this program allows the foster parents to take nice photos of the cats outside of a kennel or community cat room, showing off their true beauty. (One of my favorite parts of fostering!)
Foster Failing is Okay
Ross and I are not perfect. We foster failed with our fourth cat, Lion who is now Woodrow (foster fail = we adopted the foster cat). And hey, that’s okay! Some foster parents will never foster fail. Some will fail multiple times. And there is no right or wrong to that. It’s each foster parent’s decision and what works for them.
Some will say that if you foster fail, how can you keep fostering? That is definitely something to take into consideration. In our case, we were able to keep fostering. But again, there’s nothing wrong to fostering failing if it means you can’t keep fostering. Hey, you saved a life! There’s nothing wrong with that!
Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
While fostering is a wonderful thing to do and there are many ups, there are also some downs. We did lose a young, weak kitten – and we learned that kittens are more work than adult cats (at least sick ones). And although our cats get along with most of the fosters, there are still a few hisses, growls and whappy paws that go around.
And of course parting with a foster cat is always hard – and one of the popular reasons given that people don’t want to start fostering. Yes, I’ve shed a few tears at the end of a foster assignment and probably will in the future, too. But knowing that the cat is going to a new, loving home erases all that sadness. Remember, the joy you feel for the cat being adopted is more awesome than the passing sadness you may feel for yourself.
And all those lows lead to this…things I love about fostering and why all of it is worth it!
Things I Love About Fostering
- Watching the cat explore their new environment…discovering toys, sleeping spots, a window to snoopervise the neighbors…a whole room of their own to stretch their legs!
- The first time the cat feels confident enough to venture out of the foster room.
- Seeing how the cat interacts with our resident cats.
- The first time a shy cat climbs up next to you.
- The first time you hear them purring or kneading in your lap.
- When they get adopted!!!
- Keeping in touch with adopters and seeing how the cat is doing.
Fostering Makes a Difference
Have you ever thought about fostering? It’s a great way to make a difference in a cat’s life. Or many cats’ lives! Some folks foster on and off, while some are lifelong foster parents. From my experience, it has been worth every second. And if you’ve ever had the desire to foster, I hope you will give it a chance when the time is right for you.
Do you foster? Have you ever wanted to? Visit Hotel Three Chatty Cats to read posts from our time as foster parents.