As a life-long cat lover, I have much missed having a feline friend about the house, having grown up with them (my eldest was 21 when he died). Unfortunately, the job that I do, in Event Production, can take me away for long spells fairly regularly and so I am not in a position to have a cat full time at this point in my life.
I had heard of fostering, but wasn’t sure exactly what it entailed, or whether I would be suitable for it. But the idea of possibly being able to look after cats on a temporary basis seemed like it might be the ideal solution. So I rang the Cats Protection Trafford Branch and Pat, the Homing Officer, arranged to come round – to check out both the house and me!!!
Pictured is Myrtle
I was a little nervous in case neither bricks nor brains passed the test, but Pat is a great ambassador for CP and put me at ease as we talked every-thing over. I wanted to know how my schedule would work with their plans but she explained that I should let them have the dates I was free and they would work with them. I also wondered how I would feel, having to let them go.
We agreed that the first cat would be a "trial run" on everyone’s part. They would provide me with litter trays, food bowls, beds, food, toys, litter etc. and I really felt supported by the charity.
Soon the day dawned for my first foster cat’s arrival. Pat came over with Kirstie, a tail-less little girl who had been loved long and well by an older lady who had had to go into long term care.
Kirstie had been a loved hearth cat and so the pens just weren’t for her as she had been used to a cosy home environment. I soon realised that Cats Protection was about a lot more than just picking up waifs and strays from the street and that there were all sorts of reasons that their help is needed.
Kirstie was an extremely pretty cat with a mind of her own... so I let her have the run of the place and come to me when she wanted affection and we got along perfectly. She liked to come and watch me work in the office – prefera-bly sat on the papers I needed at any given time!
After about a month and a half someone decided that they wanted her forev-er and Kirstie went off to her new home. I was sorry to see her go but was glad that she would have a permanent fireside in future.
A week later, I got Myrtle, possibly the sweetest mannered cat I have ever come across. She already had a home to go to, that of a lady Egyptologist and relative of the famous Howard Carter, which lent Myrtle a very glamorous air in my eyes, but she was away and Myrtle needed a half-way house. Petit and gentle, she was a perfect sweetheart.
Then along came Yogi, an older chap of 10 who had had his nose pushed out of his family set up by the arrival of a dog.
He may have been a pensioner but he could run to his food bowl faster than a kitten! Someone gave him a place to live happily ever after too.
After him came Dottie, an adorable 8 month old kitten who was just learning the ropes.
At first, she wouldn’t let me pick her up much, but by the end of her stay she would run to
me in the morning for a bit of a cuddle, and I like to think she left here a slightly more settled cat.
My main worry was that I might get too attached to my wards and be upset as their times came to leave. It IS a little sad, but I do always remember that they aren’t mine, and they are staying with me, almost for a "holiday", until someone can give them what they truly need in the long term, and that makes it easier.
In the meantime, it has been, and is, a joy to do this. It feels good to help in some small way, I love that some little cat may be having a slightly happier life because of what I can offer them; and of course I get a world of satisfaction out of it too. For me, as someone who’s circumstances mean I can’t have a "forever" cat of my own right now, it’s a set up that works out perfectly for both me and those of the cat-tribe that need a bit of help and love along the way.
I would highly recommend it to anyone who can help.