After failing at our first attempt at fostering, a few weeks later we decided to give it another go, this time with a mum and a single kitten (Jemima and Minnie) who came from a multicat household.
We tried sitting in with her to help her get used to us, but she just didn’t seem to progress. We were also worried she was hiding while we weren’t there and not feeding Minnie enough.
Jemima and Minnie were sadly only with us for a couple of weeks until they went to another foster home.
The first few nights with us Amber cried the moment we’d leave the room, so those nights I spent on her floor next to her cage, which seemed to calm her down, until, someone else took over “Amber Watch” for me, our own boy Tigger had met his perfect woman.
Amber had many vets trips while she was with us to check how her pelvis was doing, she was unfortunately quite constipated a couple of times as it would’ve hurt her to go. Despite all the trips and the prodding and poking, Amber was so patient. Tigger hated her vets trips and when she returned he’d guard her cage to the max (he hadn’t yet clicked it opened at the side!)
Amber was simply amazing. She was on so many different medications whilst with us, she’d have 2-3 different kinds in her food but would still wolf it down. Eventually, her pelvis healed and she was allowed to play out with us before heading to the cattery for adoption. I found it extremely difficult to let Amber go as I knew Tigger had bonded with her, as I had too, thankfully I have more will power than Chris (Milly!) and Amber now has a lovely home with long stay cat Earl.
During Amber’s time with us we had another brief foster, Sally, who came to us while the cattery was closed. Believed to have been kicked, Sally had her tail amputated when she came in to the care of the RSPCA, and unfortunately, she still carried the mental scars of this.
Sally was only with us until the cattery reopened, where she went for a couple of weeks, but didn’t take too well to her surroundings so ended up back in her original foster home. Not long after then she found herself a lovely home and is now doing much better than I could’ve ever imagined.
Again, in the crossover with having Amber, yet another bunch of fosters took over our spare room, the six P’s, Poppy, Pansy, Purr-C, Patches, Pip and Pablo, all had been abandoned.
By 6 weeks though, all but one of Poppy’s litter were weaned on to biscuits (they still wouldn’t touch wet food for some reason), little Patches just could not get her head round kitten food at all. I was really starting to worry about her and had asked another foster mum for help. Unfortunately, little Patches just preferred mum’s milk! It wasn’t until halfway through the seventh week she finally gave in and had some biscuits, she was on a roll then.
I’d never felt so exhausted in my life, my social life became nonexistent, my gym membership was a donation, sleep was minimal, but would I change it? Not a chance!
Giving them up was so difficult and heartbreaking as we’d seen them grow from helpless blind balls of fur to these monsters with an endless amount of energy, but we knew the time would come when we had to give them up so we had to deal with it as best we could – I don’t care what anyone says, crying, does help!
Within days of the 8 P’s leaving us, we had a new mum and kits come to us, the 4 M’s (we’ve been warned, no more kittens with the same initial again!) mum Melody, with Minnie, Maddy and Mickey. They had been abandoned when the kittens were around 3-4 weeks old.
We also thought it’d be easier to cope with the three kittens after having the seven, but they managed to make just as much mess as the previous residents, so no rest for the wicked!
Melody was also an incredibly affectionate cat, you’d crouch down to stroke and she’d jump up to meet you halfway.
She was also great with her kittens, but by six weeks of age, the kittens were pretty independent so we were then introduced to her vocal side. So many nights sleep were lost with her meowing to come out of the kittens room, then after 10 minutes of being out, meowing to go back in again. Then the process was repeated right the way through the night. We couldn’t leave the kittens room open as we didn’t know how our own moggies would react to them.
Heartbreak struck again last weekend when Melody and her kittens left us to find their new homes, although we held it together much better this time, but it was still so difficult saying goodbye to them.
As much as we’d welcome a break to recover fully from Melody’s all night singing, we know another cat or kitten family out there needs us and as it so happens, we’re collecting another five kittens this evening to start the madness all over again.
As tiring, worrying, draining and as heartbreaking as fostering can be, we wouldn’t give it up easily. Seeing kittens develop and injured cats getting well, then moving on to their forever home is incredibly rewarding and makes all those sleepless nights worthwhile.