2 Years In The Life Of A Cats Protection Fosterer
I started fostering for Wear Valley and Darlington Cats Protection almost two years ago and had not realised until then the sheer magnitude of the problems cats faced every day of their lives, and the sheer number of calls and emergencies Cats Protection have to deal with on a day to day basis. It opened my eyes to the attitudes of a lot of people towards not only cats, but all animals, and showed me that among all the people who do not care there are some who care greatly and devote their lives to helping the sick, the unwanted and the dumped, the feral, the stray and the pregnant.
I wanted to show people just how big the problems are that Cats Protection face every day, not just our branch but every single local branch all over the country. I thought the best way to do this would be by showing you the fosters I have had in the almost two years I have been doing this, starting from my very first right up to the ones I am fostering now.
My first foster cats were Sooty and Blackie, who came into the branch as part of a litter of four feral kittens. They were very shy and frightened when they came to me, as they had been with Marion, the branch co-ordinator from being kittens and a new person was quite scary for them, they soon learned to trust me when I had spent time with them and were adopted by a lovely family who ran a pub and restaurant in a rural area.
Next came Mia, whose owner decided they no longer wanted her, she was 8 weeks pregnant. She was flea ridden and terrified and spent most of her time hissing at me and being extremely defensive. Once Mia had her kittens, Max, Ava and Vinny, she showed just what a sweet cat she actually was. She could not get enough affection and purred as soon as I went out to see her in the pen. Mia was with me for a good few months, but even though her kittens went to their new homes before her, she eventually got a home with a wonderful lady who adores her. Max is the black and white kitten, Ava the all black and Vinny the tabby.
My next fosters were found in a shed in someone’s garden, Missy, the mum, was beautiful, but her fur was a mess and she was extremely skinny. Her two kittens who I named Yuki and Shiro were flecked with grey, but eventually their fur turned black and white. Missy was such a loving cat and Yuki and Shiro, though shy, were so funny once they trusted you. Missy had a bout of mastitis which made her utterly miserable, but was right as rain after antibiotics. Yuki and Shiro were homed together and not long after that Missy went off to live on a farm with her adopters. I have put pics of the kittens when they were young and older to show how their fur changed as they got older.
Next came a little girl who stole my heart. She was found by the side of a bypass at approximately 6 weeks old, starving and dehydrated. Marion cared for her for the first night as she was not sure whether she was going to survive, I think the best way to show you what state she was in is with a video link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY8h_IybspQ Marion got her through the night and brought her to me the next day. She had to be given fluids and nutri cal every few hours and was very scared and tired. She got stronger and stronger and when it came to putting her up for adoption, well the fact was I just couldn’t do it, I adopted her myself. This is Saeko today.
Along came a litter of six kittens, four black boys, two tortie girls. They had cat flu, their eyes were not in good shape and they were up and down health wise, eye drops in the eyes every day and medication galore. The boys were christened the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Zeppo, Harpo and and Chico) and the girls Betsy and Cherry. They recovered well and were such friendly little kittens, and utterly mad. Once they were ready for adoption they captured the hearts of some lovely families. Betsy and one of the boys went together, Cherry on her own and the other two boys also went together.
Three feral kittens and their mum came next, mum was friendly but kittens were all very wary and very scared. I named Mum Kirei which means pretty in Japanese, the two female kittens were named Aisuru (Beloved) and Taiyo (Sun, as she had a bright orange mark on her face) and the male kitten was named Senshi (Warrior). It took work but the kittens learnt to trust me and let me in on their play time. Aisuru and Senshi were homed together and in the same week Taiyo also went off to her new home, leaving mum Kirei behind. As beautiful as she is it took a few more weeks before she too went off to her new home. (you can just see Aisuru peeping from behind the litter box)
By this time I had inherited another pen from a fosterer who had moved to another part of the country so had to leave the branch, so in the pen next to Kirei and kittens was a beautiful girl who had been found living in someone’s garden, the people were very concerned for her as they had dogs who were not too happy about her being there, so they contacted us. She was pregnant and hungry. I named her Suna, which means sand, as she was a gorgeous sandy blonde colour. Suna is, I have to say, one of the most placid, affectionate and loving cats I have ever had the fortune to meet. She had her kittens a couple of weeks after coming into my care, four little boys, one ginger, two ginger and white and one the same colour as her. I named them Ron, George, Fred and Charlie… The Weasley Brothers. Suna was an amazing mother and trusted me totally with the kittens from day one. Three of the boys went off to their new homes, leaving George and Suna behind. Then came the day that Suna was chosen and that left just George. I felt so sad for him being all alone when only a few weeks earlier his full family had been there, but not for long as the perfect person came along and adopted him too. I can say out of all of my foster cats Suna is the one I miss the most, her beautiful, gentle personality engaged everyone who met her.
Meanwhile back in the other pen, when Kirei and her kittens were all gone it was quickly filled by a stray female, a very friendly diva named Mya. She insisted on being carried around the pen when I was working in there and also liked to talk, a lot. Mya had been found wandering the streets, lonely and hungry. Mya was adopted by a member of the same family who adopted Suna, the lady who adopted her saw Suna, told her family member all about her and the rest is history.
Replacing Mya in the pen came a litter of kittens signed over to us. They needed feeding up but were already very well socialised. I loved watching Milo, Cali, Noodle and Marla play, they were utterly hilarious, and also very hard work, and made a lot of mess in the pen as they loved to throw litter all over and play with it. Milo was adopted by one of our volunteers, Cali was the next to find a new home and then Noodle and Marla went to their new homes within a week of each other. I recently saw Milo and he has grown into a stunning boy.
When Suna and her boys had all gone from pen 2 it was only a matter of days before it was filled again. A gorgeous girl and her two kittens had been found in someone’s garden yet again, Eva, as I named her was starving and tired and trying to feed two kittens on very little. She thrived once she was getting good food and water and had a roof over her family’s head. Yin and Yang are lovely little black and white girls, crazy and playful and just as affectionate as their mum. I still have this family, they are all still waiting for their forever homes to come along.
At the minute as well as Eva and her girls I have Pearl, a 13 week old feral kitten who is slowly coming round to not thinking I am the enemy, Trixie, a 13 week old tabby and white girl who loves to purr, a lot, Zack and Ziggy are two 13 week old boys whose eyes were not so good , Marion treated them and they were fine by the time they came to me, they were VERY shy but now allow me to pick them up and stroke them. I also have Gaia, approx. 10 weeks old who was dumped in a garden, riddled with fleas and very malnourished, she is doing just fine now though.
This has been my journey so far as a fosterer for Wear Valley and Darlington Cats Protection, which started when I adopted from them two years ago. I would not change it for the world, but what I would love to see change is people’s attitudes… towards cruelty, towards neglect, towards abandonment and towards NEUTERING. I hope this happens someday soon, though looking at stories like Chester’s it seems cruelty is a pastime for some now. Cats Protection cannot change the attitudes of all, but we can try to educate to change the attitudes of some.
Thanks for reading.