Now that we are all in love with our current foster kitten Chiclet, here’s why this won’t be a foster fail. If you believe all of this, great! I’m trying. I haven’t been quite this attached to a foster since I’ve been fostering for the East Bay SPCA.
Last night, Bob broached the conversation of keeping her. Not because he thinks we should, but because he knows I want to. This was such a sweet gesture, and he firmly keeps the World’s Best Boyfriend crown on his head.
Of course I wanted to squeal in delight and jump up and down, but I was trying to be sensible. Silly me!
Here’s the rundown:
She is highly adoptable. The minute she’s available, there will be people falling in love with her and wanting to give her a loving home. If I am going to foster fail again, I’d rather save my Keep the Cat card for one who is going to have a harder time. You know, that 3-legged, 1-eyed, snaggle-toothed one with a personality disorder. Who won’t have everyone oohing and aahing and filling out adoption paperwork at blink of a kitten eye.
2. We have 3 cats and a dog living with us already. I don’t want to be a hoarder.
3. Sara is going to be 19 this summer. Does she really want another kitten in the house? We recently added Marble, aka the Tasmanian Devil, to the lineup. Maybe Sara would like some peace and quiet in her twilight years.
4. Poor Einstein can’t catch a break. He’s a very patient dog, but will another cat be the last straw? And he’d like some time and attention, too! Walkies!!!
4. The aforementioned Tasmanian Devil.
Marble isn’t a year old yet and is a handful! When we tried introducing him to previous foster kitten Pepper, he grabbed her by the throat. Not good. If I have to spend my time making sure one cat doesn’t kill the other, I will not be happy or pleasant to be around.
5. Misty. When we adopted Misty, she was considered “unadoptable” because she really doesn’t like people. Can’t blame her. She was treated roughly during the 4 years before she came to us. She’s slowly coming around, but VERY slowly. She’s great with Marble, and might be fine with Chiclet, but like Einstein, she could use some more special time and attention.
6. The family just waiting to meet Chiclet. It would be selfish of me to keep her. I imagine the 8 or 9 year old me meeting Chiclet and falling in love. How can I stand in the way of another child’s destiny??? Those moments at the animal shelter when I hear a child say, “Mom, I NEED this cat!” are why I work there.
7. We aren’t getting any younger. If Marble lives to be 20 (perfectly possible), I will be 75 and Bob will be 81. Should we really keep getting kittens? Maybe we should adopt older cats when we adopt more. Senior cats need homes too, and what better match than a senior with a senior?
8. When I take Chiclet and her mother Sugar Cube back to the East Bay SPCA, I make room in our home for another foster family, helping to continue the cycle of saving lives. Isn’t that the point? We have fostered 32 cats for the East Bay SPCA since we started back with Abracadabra in 2015.
This count does not include Marble, who was a rescue of a different sort (that might or might not have been entirely legal but it was definitely in his best interest).
Will it be hard taking her back to the shelter? Yes. Will I be sad? Yes. Will I sing sad songs? Undoubtedly. I’ve already got one picked out, Irving Berlin’s What’ll I Do? as sung by Rosemary Clooney.
But I’ll get up, dust myself off, and find out who my next foster family is. I’ll fall in love again. Life goes on.
Up next: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!, in which there will be no mention of cats but lots of baseball, the Arizona desert, and a side trip to the Musical Instrument Museum. Stay tuned!
(Thank you Robert Ward for your patience with the ever-changing array of guest felines.) But now I am here to say I am offically a Foster Failure. I actually don’t like that term; it makes it sound like I lost the cat or something bad happened. What it means is that I finally met my match and can’t part with one and he is now staying here as part of the family. That’s a good thing!
My first attempt at fostering was more than 18 years ago. That one was a fail too, and I didn’t try it again until last year, as part of my volunteering with the East Bay SPCA.
Our first guest was little Abracadabra, who needed to gain a few ounces before she could be spayed and enter adoptions. What a little delight she was!
It only took her a week to get up to weight. I was dreading taking her back to the shelter, but I knew she’d find a good home quickly. In the week she was here, she was a great helper.
Unfortunately, black cats and kittens take longer to get adopted, so she waited a couple of weeks but the right match came along, and she went off to her new life.
We were ready to jump in and take the next step: a mother cat with a litter of kittens. So Mouse and her babies Ratticus, Sugar Glider, Ferret, and Chinchilla came to occupy the guest room, now known as the foster room. NOTE: I am not responsible for any of the cat and kitten names; don’t blame me if they seem ridiculous to you.
From the amount of blogging I did about them, you can tell that Mouse and babies had a big impact on me.
We decided to go with another “singleton” for the next one, and along came Honeysuckle. She had a broken front leg and a shattered ball joint in one hip. She needed a place to recover from the broken leg, and then have surgery on the hip.
More than likely hit by a car, this Maine Coon mix sweetheart was a real trooper and made good progress recovering from her injuries.
When I took Honeysuckle back to the shelter, I was asked if I could take another “broken” kitty. Of course! Meet Kianna.
Kianna had a broken tail and a fractured pelvis, also likely hit by a car. Two words–purr machine! She looks intense but what a love!
Once her pelvis had time to heal, she was taken in to have the tail amputated, and then came back for more recuperation time. She was welcome to stay as long as she needed!
For reasons I can’t begin to understand, she waited at the shelter for a long time for an adopter. We thought long and hard about whether to adopt her ourselves, but the East Bay SPCA wisely transferred her from the Oakland adoption center to the one in Dublin and she was very quickly went home from there.
There was a wintertime slow-down in the need for fosters, but like clockwork, it was kitten season again! Our first foster of 2016 was another short-term singleton, Babou. Talk about a lively kitten!
Again we had a vacancy. Thus, Mars and the candy bar kittens–Dove, Milky Way, Twix, Snickers, and Reeses–took over the foster quarters. You can read more about them here:
Mars had a much different approach than Mouse; where Mouse was ready to have the kittens independent after 4-5 weeks, Mouse was extremely devoted to her babies and kept close watch over them the whole 2 months they were here.
Five kittens seems like a whole lot more than four! As they got older, the foster room seemed to get smaller and chaos ensued as the kittens became mobile. But entertaining, that’s for sure!
The house seemed so quiet when they were gone, and as expected, everyone found homes quickly. Have good lives, little ones! While they were here, we briefly had little Raisinette, rescued from the mean streets of Berkeley by Alex. We tried adding him in with the bigger candy bar kids to see if momma Mars would take him. She reluctantly let him for a bit, but a better mother/baby group was found for him.
Going outside the “system” for the first time, two amazing people, Eliana and Mark, involved me in a rescue of two little beauties at the Office Depot in Berkeley. It was not easy to catch these girls! Mark was like a kitten rescue ninja! They only stayed with us a few days; a home was found for them with friends of Eliana and Mark.
And next, the three French Sisters: Joelle, Amelie, and Elodie, featured in:
Très précieuse! I hate to admit to favorites, but Amelie (top center) was the one I thought would lead me to foster failure.
The girls all made their age/weight goal for adoptions, and I sadly took them in to the shelter to go on to their new lives. Bonne chance!
Well, in a major fluke of timing, that same morning my awesome friend Molly had come across a kitten in need of a place to crash. Long story that I won’t go into. I said, sure, I can take him, thinking I’d put him in the foster room for a day or two and then see if they had a spot for him at the shelter. That was more than a week ago and many vet bills later. The poor little guy, Marble, ended up needing some serious vet care. Again, thank you Robert Ward!
For the record, I was not the first one of us to suggest we keep Marble. It was in fact Bob.
He was having trouble keeping food down, and of course it was the weekend, so off to the 24-hour clinic, Pets Referral Center, in Berkeley. The nicest people in the world work there!
We were afraid he would need surgery for a possible obstruction, but with medication and monitoring he is on the mend. He does not like medication time! But he’s eating and playing and cuddling and making himself indispensible.
I was afraid he was cold in the foster room (it is a bathroom and has no direct light), so he is now ensconced in what was my office until he is fully recovered and can start being introduced to the other residents. In the meantime, he is my right hand assistant and keeper of the laptop.
It looks he’s here to stay! Whether another foster comes to use the foster room, aka guest bathroom, is yet to be seen. I hope so!
You, dear reader, can also have some of this adorableness in your life. And if dogs are more your thing, the East Bay SPCA has those too! There are lots of animal rescue groups for other small animals, including birds. (And no worries about vet bills when you foster for an organization; they take care of all that.)
Many who foster make it for years without a so-called “fail”. You would be doing an amazing service for a shelter or rescue group, and helping to save a life.
And should you have a foster fail, don’t worry. There are lots of us! We even have a Facebook page.
Please consider being a foster for your local shelter; you’ll be glad you did.