Chester and Kiwi's Hands-Free Homing tale
31 July 2020
Chester and Kiwi were recently very lucky to be rehomed after a long time of being fostered by us. Their new owner has written a lovely story about how the whole experience, including how the hands free homing process worked in practice. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did, and it is so uplifting to hear how Chester and Kiwi are settling in already.
"It's been a very different year for us all. For me it's also been a rollercoaster of a cat year.
Following losing one of my cats to cancer earlier this year before lockdown, I knew I wanted to adopt a couple of cats as I've had three cats before and loved their company. I looked at the websites of the local cat rehoming and rescue centres but with Covid lockdown I thought it would be impossible to adopt until there was a lift of restrictions, and who knew when that would happen.
One Monday in June after looking again in vain, lockdown rules weren't changing, I returned to my favourite, Cats Protection. I've been a member for many years, joining when it was the Cat Protection League. I emailed Bristol Cats Protection just to say “think of me when you start rehoming” and left a few details. Almost immediately, it was like it was meant to be. Lesley got back to me straight away saying it was good timing as rehoming is opening today, and there is a hands free system in place. She told me to look at the Bristol Cats Protection website. I didn't wait and hurried to find the right pages.
There they were two long term residents who because of Covid were waiting for a forever home for a few months. Two totally gorgeous cats. I rushed to complete the online adoption form which was easy to do, then sent a second email to Lesley to say I have fallen for Chester and Kiwi and the two brothers looked adorable. I felt Lesley was waiting to help as she emailed back to say that she would get in touch with their foster Mum Jan, and see if they could be placed with another cat.
I had to wait, so I looked again at their story on the Bristol Cats Protection Website and saw the extra photos put on there for their rehoming. I had to try to not get too excited. Luckily for me, Jan said they would be suitable for a home with a cat, and Lesley emailed me the new 'Hands free process'; Jan would phone me and I could ask her all the questions I wanted. I wasn't able to go and visit as they were at Jan's house, and with social distancing rules this wasn't possible.
Jan phoned and talked warmly about 'the boys' personalities, they sounded so wonderful. Jan sounded like such a lovely lady and a real cat lover. She knew about the new process and everything about Chester and Kiwi and was able to answer all my questions. I must admit I was a bit worried that Jan might not want to let them go as she talked about them so fondly!
Chester and Kiwi had been with Jan for a few months, and sounded like real characters. Both cats are brothers, 11 years old and very good natured. Chester the ginger and white cat is in charge and likes to play with his toys and hunt the catnip mice. Kiwi the black and white cat is curious and found himself playing with toys despite at first pretending he's above all that.
After my call with Jan she must have been in touch with Lesley, as without delay Lesley emailed me to say yes! What a great day, I was so excited that I would be meeting Chester and Kiwi soon. So the hands free homing meant all I had to do next was complete the adoption forms that Lesley had emailed me and make a bank transfer for the adoption fee with any donation. With the forms and bank transfer receipt returned to Lesley I couldn't wait to hear the next steps. Lesley, true to form, got back to me almost immediately and asked if 4.30pm tomorrow afternoon was okay for the drop off? Of course it was! Lesley explained that she would go to collect the cats, drive to my house, ring the doorbell and leave the cats by the door, walking up the path to socially distance.
I couldn't believe my luck. Chester and Kiwi were coming tomorrow. I decided to go shopping to get some new things to welcome Chester and Kiwi and make the spare room their room for the two days of quiet recommended for them to settle into their new home. It was one of the hottest days of the year, so I bought them a water fountain and lots of flavours of the food they loved. Jan said they do pretty much anything for a treat so I bought a variety pack of Dreamies and some treat balls that they could roll around.
Day four I was thinking about Chester and Kiwi travelling in the heat of summer and thinking from experience how unsettling it must be for them, being in their boxes and in the car. 4.30pm, a knock on the door and there were two of the most beautiful cats in their boxes in the brightest sunshine on my doorstep. It was so nice to actually meet Lesley even though it had to be at a distance. I took Chester and Kiwi to their room and let them out of their boxes, triple checked the door was shut. We had a brief chat about the process and how strange all this was but how well it had worked. Lesley left me the information packs with their vet booklets, microchip numbers and the insurance information.
I did my best to try not to disturb Chester and Kiwi too much on their first day but spent time in their room with them. I knew already they were keepers. Their personalities and ability to relax and even approach me within hours of getting here won me over.
I didn't feel that I had missed out on not seeing the cats before they were in my home. With Jan's photos and information, her insights into their history, characters and behaviour was perfect.
As planned, Jan phoned me after three days. We had such a good conversation about 'the boys' and Jan said she would be in touch in a week and then in a month. By then Chester and Kiwi were exploring the house, enjoying their food and toys and getting to know a few favourite spots to climb and sleep.
They continue to settle in well, and within 4 weeks from arriving they can go into the garden. So two more weeks of looking at the garden from the window for them. Chester is such a lovely character who loves to hunt his cat wand toy, can cat nap anywhere and has found a chair where he can sleep and look too cute! Kiwi is a real charmer, he's interested in everything and has his favourite windowsill and loves to spread out in the sunshine coming through the window.
I hope Jan can come to visit Chester and Kiwi in their new home when restrictions allow. I can't wait to get to know Chester and Kiwi better, to share the garden with them and give them the loving home they deserve
Thanks Lesley and Jan, and Bristol Cats Protection, you looked after Chester and Kiwi all through the lockdown and I know that must have been a lot of food and treats!
Anyone thinking of hands free homing I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you are lucky enough to be in touch with Lesley or Jan." - Sue