Sunday, March 16, 2014

Being a cat foster

Royal, my first foster cat
      I am going to become a crazy cat person. This is a fact I accepted long, long ago. I will own cats. I will post pictures of them on Facebook all the time. I will have them as the set screensaver on all my electrical devices. I will most likely, at some point, buy them cute outfits and dress them up. This will happen. Two weeks ago, in order to embrace the inevitable, I became a cat fosterer. Cat fostering is for people who are not necessarily in a position to own cats for whatever reason, but would still like to provide a temporary home for kitties (or doggies, if you happen to lean that way) in need. 
    Many organizations are in dire need of animal fosters. After a quick google search though, I decided to foster for the Washington Humane Society. My first foster was a purebread Persian named Royal (the shelter names the animals). To get her and take her home I had to pass by all the dogs sitting dejected in their cages, all the cats with upper respiratory infections, and all the cats that, for one reason or another, did not live in kitty city (a giant room full of cat toys where people go to look at cats that are up for adoption). Royal was sitting curled up in her cage with a giant sign saying, “I’m going home with my foster tonight!” on the front.
    Royal found herself in the shelter after her owners of 15 years abandoned her when they moved. I couldn’t believe it. She was so gorgeous and so sweet. She would purr every night as soon as I got home. I still cannot believe someone would abandon her after 15 years. Three days after I got Royal, she was accepted into an animal rescue (different from shelters in that they have a no-kill policy, which is preferable when one is talking about the adoption chances of a 15 yr-old cat) and I gave her to a foster home that was working with the rescue. 
      My second fosters are a mom (Mocha) and her three kittens (Bumbly, Rumbly, and Tumbly). Before these guys, I had never had kittens in my life, as we always adopt adult cats. Turns out, kittens are adorable! My phone is now full of hundreds of pictures of the little fuzz butts, because I every time they do something cute I feel like I have to capture it, and they do something cute nearly all the time.
      On the flip side though, it turns out that caring for kittens can actually be a bit frustrating. They are, for example, extremely messy. The kittens live in their own room with a bathroom. All their toys are in the main part of the room, their food and litter box is in the bathroom. Even though they are very good about using the litter box, I still end up having to clean the entire bathroom every day. It gets incredibly dirty if I don’t. Here’s the thing: the kittens live in their little room. So where is all this dirt coming from?
      Additionally, when I found out I was going to get kittens, I bought them a bunch of toys to play with. And cat toys are expensive. Imagine how happy I have been, then, to discover that their favorite toys are, in order: A ribbon, the top of a cardboard box, a receipt that fell out of my pocket, my feet, their mom’s tail, their brother/sister’s tail, leg, paw, nose, stomach or ear.
     Still, I love having them, and I’m so happy to be a foster. Every week I still get e-mails from the Humane Society of all the cats they have gotten who need foster families. Even though I currently have four (count them, four) cats, I feel a slight twinge of guilt, and the urge to take in every single animal, so none of them ever have to live unhappily in the shelter again. 
     Like I said, I’m definitely going to be a crazy cat person. It’s all just a question of when.