January 19, 2011
The story of the Fosters
I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to drop by these last few days to say hello and to welcome me to your lovely community.It's uplifting to know there are so many people in the world who love animals.I am thrilled to be blogging and anticipatory of all the new friendships to be made.A particularly warm thank you to Cat of Cat's Cats who nudged me to start blogging and who made it possible by guiding a computer challenged individual such as myself, to set the blog up.
The story of the foster cats needs a bit of a backdrop explanation so I'll tell you about that first before I introduce them, if that's alright.
I started working as a volunteer for a no kill rescue organization here in Canada that was over an hour's drive away from where I live. I chose this particular organization because it had a very large population of rescued animals and was run as most rescues are, almost exclusively by volunteers.They needed help!
After more than a year of volunteering there, I realized I wouldn't be able to continue helping them and made the extremely difficult decision to stop volunteering.This decision wasn't made because of people dynamics (I liked everyone I worked with and was always humbled by the dedication of those volunteers), but had everything to do with the fact that I don't have a car and that the long commute out was cutting into my work days (I work from home), the upkeep of my own animals, and the running of this building (my husband and I take care of a small apartment building that houses four other suites).
I felt unsettled about my decision since I so wanted to continue helping animals in some way.I kept thinking of all the cats that were in that rescue...too many...since cats seem even more disposable than dogs to some people.I thought of a storage room we had in the building that had a large window in it.The room was full of old fridges,stoves, furniture, mattresses, in short, a medley of leftovers from previous tenants.What if I cleared it all out? Gave it a good cleaning? Painted and added bright cheerful things to it? It would make an ideal place to foster cats.And so I did do just that ; I cleaned, brought things to the dump, gave away other things, pulled up my sleeves and scrubbed until it shone, sparkled and was ready for my charges.
I decided I would foster senior cats because when I thought of all the older cats who had been "dumped" at rescues, my top lip would curl back and I could almost hear myself growl at all those people who neglected to love and coddle their elderly pets until it was time to let them go.The twilight years-inescapably brief.A time to say thank you and good bye.The small window of time we have to let our elderly animals know through acts of tenderness,attentiveness,and small acts of kindness towards them just how much they have meant to us during the years they have been with us.Those abandoned cats were living out their lives in cages, waiting on the tender heart of some stranger to bring them home.Waiting for days, weeks, months and often times, years.For some of them, because of their advanced ages, no one would ever come.
I consequently decided on two senior cats to foster who at my request,had not been thriving in their rescued environment.Both cats, chosen for me, had been in rescue for years.The male had been there three years, the female had been in rescue for two years.
They have been with me a year now and we have had a few challenges.We had ringworm, ear mites,skin infections,bladder infections, the removal of teeth, a diagnosis of hypothyroidism and a few other ailments to boot! The female was especially in rough shape and continues to have runny eyes on and off due to the fact that she was never properly inoculated during the first year of her life and now carries the herpes virus.She was a stray a kind person found on a country road and brought in to rescue so it is difficult to speculate what exactly her past might have been.The male was found frozen to someone's front porch one winter.Rescue was called because the people who found him didn't know what to do with the body.They believed him to be dead.After a month of intensive care in rescue, he miraculously pulled through.
Both these cats are what most rescue groups call long term fosters.They are old (12, or 13 yrs.), and continue to have health issues so they are less likely to be adopted out.We can't adopt them because although the organization I foster with does not pay for food or litter, it does pay for vetting (although I have taken them to my own vet numerous times), and vetting adds up with sickly animals.
I am happy they are safe with us now and I love each of them a lot.Some times I get angry at the people who neglected them because I now have to watch them suffer because of that neglect.Some times I think they are so much better off here than where they had been.Some times I wish I could do more for them and that they could be in the heart of our family instead of on the outskirts.All the time I am fiercely protective of them and love to spoil and indulge them.I plan to foster senior cats for the rest of my life.
Gandhi said,"The greatness of a nation and its' moral progress can be judged by the way its' animals are treated".My hope is that people become more aware that animals are living beings who feel pain ,abandonment, joy-a realm of emotions.And that people stop believing in their perceived moral superiority by choosing to remain blind to this truth.
So, after all of that, and if you are still reading, I'd like to introduce the fosters: