I bought some interactive toys for Mona today. She still prefers to play with me, though 🙂
I think playing to break boredom, and interacting and bonding with your companion are not the same things for cats. They definitely enjoy socializing and being with you. They also like to play and explore themselves – that is for sure. But thinking that some toys will be enough for them to entertain themselves may not necessarily be correct for these magical creatures.
Cats are social creatures
They may be independent and selective, but they do need some time with you. Some cats need more than others. Traumatized and scared cats will not let you touch for sometime. Others will just come to your right away. Mona was quite friendly with me from the beginning on. She loves me scratching her head and grooming her fur. But I held her only twice – both to put her in a carrier, and she ended up in my lap only once. I do not force her to come to me and be too close. After 3 months together, yesterday night she slept 30 cm away from me. That was the closest. I was thrilled 🙂
So while she likes petting and playing with me, she does not like to be handled.
I respect her wishes and do not force her in any way. If she wants, I welcome her. I also like this, to be honest. I am not a person who would like to have a clingy cat around. My free space and freedom are also respected by Mona. We are good together.
While fostering, we do not know which kind of cat we will end up with.
When I had visited the shelter/organization (consisting of a large office space with maybe 9 cats leaving there and tons of supplies for fosters) I was lucky to see and pet two other friendly cats cared for by the organization. I loved them right away. They are obviously very comfortable with humans. I felt great love towards these felines – shamelessly I thought maybe after Mona I will get these two to shelter..
Sometimes the organization is looking for emergency fosters to look after cats who were just rescued from the streets, or have had a surgery. Those who have had a surgery needs an comfortable place to heal. Those who just got our of street need to adopt to indoor life. Nothing is impossible, but some patience or experience may be needed.
So, if you are new to cat care and fostering, what tips can I give?
- When I decided to foster a cat, one of my friends asked whether I asked that the cat is litter-trained. Never crossed my mind!! If you do not have time, experience, or interest to go through this training, please feel free to ask (luckily, Mona was trained)
- Kittens, I heard, are more energetic and have health vulnerabilities different than adult cats, so consider learning more about their care if you decide to foster kittens
- Whether neutered (for male cats) or spayed (for females) may be another thing you may want to ask – Mona was spayed and I did not have to go through the heat season, but I heard that it may be annoying to some people. Un-neutered makes may mark the house/furniture with their secretions (there is a name for this that I cannot remember now), that – I heard – may be quite annoying to some people. So feel free to ask their status
- Diseases can be something you can ask about as well. I had not. I am not sure whether there are diseases that pass from cats to human, but I would not be surprised if there are. Also if you have little kids or other animals, or are pregnant, I think there are certain conditions that need to be considered. These all should be talked prior to fostering agreement
- You can ask whether the vet and medication expenses, as well as litter and food are supplied. In my case, our organization provides them (with I making some contributions voluntarily). Ask just in case to prevent unexpected expenses. The first shelter I contacted required us to bring the fostered animals to vet ourselves. Our organization send volunteers and for someone like me who does not have a car, this is a significant advantage
- You may also ask for how long the fostering period is. Sometimes it is for short time (a couple of weeks to recuperate from stress or sickness), and sometimes it is until a forever home is found.
- Age or health of the cat may be something you may consider. There is a difference in care, time, and effort needed for a cat with a condition, and a cat that is just healthy or young.
- Be prepared to do more cleaning, especially if the cat is shedding. Mona is shedding lightly and grooming her controls it to a degree. But I do more vacuuming and cleaning, especially her litter room (aka my extra bathroom). I often have an extra laundry load as well, for Mona’s blanket and other items
I have not thought, or asked about any of these, except the expense part prior to agreeing to foster Mona, I did not care whether it was a young, healthy, or sick cat.
I just wanted to help.
I am glad I have.