having a foster cat – V

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.

Kittens Lol GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Fluffy Patty Cake GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Cat GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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.

Animal Rescue Cat GIF by Rewire.org - Find & Share on GIPHY

sometimes it is best to leave the love behind

It is all good, I promise.

Skip the 1st part and scroll down to the second half should you prefer not to hear about the drama.

(honestly, I too would like to leave this drama behind…).

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My mom was very upset that I returned Jamie the cat back. My sister and my brother too. They highly recommended me take it back.

Did I not want it?

With each day I have been feeling a little bit better, but I am still emotional about that innocent, mystical live-being.

Anyways, my mom forced (!) me to go back to the shelter. And I did. Not to take him back, but to inquire what would happen to him, and if he was to be killed, to re-adopt him (I thought what I could offer him would be better than death for this young, lovely cat). They assured me again that he would not be killed unless he has behavioral problems or gets sick. There were cats that have been living there for 3 years 🙂

I could not completely believe, but got happy anyhow! 🙂 Jamie will not die because of me and he has got a lot of opportunities to be adopted 🙂

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Why am I telling you these?

Not to continue with my recent drama, but to note something that I realized.

By chance, I saw my friend at the shelter; she is a regular there. She told me one thing that I cannot forget.

She said Jamie was not the right cat for me.

I was still defensive and said I was not the right owner for him.

Now I am thinking; she was right. It felt right. Jamie the cat and I were not right for each other. if it was so, we would be happy and comfortable together.

In the past too I have had experiences like this when I was not 100% sure and got conflicted about whether or not to take a step (like adopting Jamie).

In the future I hope to remember this: if I find myself stretching too much for someone/something, and if I am not 100% comfortable, I will stop myself and walk away.

While there is room for development in all of us, if it is too much of a concern around it, it is best to leave the love behind. There will always be others.

And long-live the friends 🙂

And if i want to help animals, then I better donate to shelters and stop eating them for sometime…

foster-care programs for animals

I continue to be upset about returning back my little boy, Jamie the cat, back to the shelter after 5 days..

I continue to be overwhelmed by the emotions; guilt, missing, and loving Jamie.  And often I burst in tears. I am a middle aged, mature person, but there I am crying…… I am a mess.

There is a lot to process for me and as time goes on I digest more.

I found talking about Jamie and my experience with him helps me a lot. I was talking to my neighbour, who has asked about Jamie and I cried there too. She suggested I pet her cat (which is a lovely cat that often shows up in my yard) or consider fostering cats from a foster-care program.

What a great idea….

There is one foster-care program in my city that lets me foster and even pays for the food of the animals. Is that not great? This organization is also aiming to develop a no-kill shelter over time – they estimate it to take 3-4 years with the current level of funding. I wish we could have all shelters like that, a no-kill shelter.

I wish I was aware of the foster program before. I sure would give it a try, and possibly did better. I do not think I would love another cat as much as I love Jamie, yet in this life anything is possible. After all, I loved a cat more like a family member of mine and I cry after him, even though we had spent only 5 days together….

Fostering can work for many people. I think it would be a great opportunity;

  • for people like me who are not 100% sure of getting a cat
  • for those who wants to adopt but first would like to see whether they can get along with the cat
  • for kind, animal lovers, who may be traveling sometime (so cannot fully commit to an animal, like myself), or
  • for those who are looking for a mouser cat

Wouldn’t it be just nice to take our part in this planet by taking care of, feeding, or showing love to other earthly creatures? Even for a short time?

🙂

 

brought Jamie the cat back to the shelter :(

I put Jamie in his carrier using his favorite toy as a bait (after 30 min of trial and error), called a cab, and brought him back to the shelter. The person at the shelter was not happy when she learnt that I was returning a newly adopted animal.. I kind of deserved the somehow unhappy and disapproving face….

I know that if he is not adopted in a certain period of time, he can be euthanized…. This is breaking my heart big time, in addition to all bunch of other things. He was happy here, he wanted to be with me, he was smart, very well mannered (except occasional aggression/frustration that scared me). This last part of course is my own deficiency; I was not ready fully to understand the nature of cats and then handling them better. I did try my best, though.

There were a couple of people at the shelter looking for cats to adopt, or came to take their newly adopted cats home. I really hope, I really want to believe, that he can be adopted and be happy. So, please, if you are reading this, please join me in sending the best wishes for Jamie; let’s all hope that he will find a suitable home right away…. Thank you a bunch… 

——————————————

The whole morning, I cried at the office…..

I cried when I returned back from the shelter and started cleaning his room……

I cried when I picked up his scratch post (which I forgot to bring with me to the shelter to donate) and when I heard the bell on it chiming…..

——————————————

That cat changed my life in 5 days.

Just 5 days….

I remember many things about him and I: The moment I opened his cage and  the way he looked vulnerable and innocent, sniffed around, and approached me while I was pretending to not show interest in him; the way he accepted my hand and let me scratch his head; the way he ate his first wet food, which he loved; the way we connected and did head-butts; the way I missed him in the mornings; the way he scared me with his runs at nights; the way I lied on the couch with him in the afternoons to let him have a nap next to me; the way he got frustrated when I took him off the keyboard; the way he started to bite whatever I was showing interest on (like my computer or notepads) rather than him; the way he meowed when I came back home from outside; the way he loved to play with his favorite toy and jumped high to get it; the way he looked scary the majority of time except those times  when he was curious about the water dripping from the faucet. This last one I will always remember and cherish – he was so innocent….

I am still surprised that I could take him to the shelter myself. My friend was supposed to help me do this, yet she could not make it today. I sat down and thought again – do I really want to do this?

Emotionally, no. But logically the answer was yes; because it was the best solution not only for me but also for him.

I thought about how he would not get the love/attention he wanted; the way he would get frustrated when I do not let him sleep on my bed; the annoyance and stress he would get when I would leave him behind at a boarding facility for my long trips, at least twice a year and sometimes for 4-5 weeks…. Could he really be happy? Was what I was offering good for him?

No.

So, this was not a solely selfish decision after all.

I was selfish, though. I adopted him when I was very well aware that I would be away from his life for extended periods of time and that would make him unhappy and stressed. Where was my mind then????? If I was not selfish then, I would have not adopted Jamie at the first place.

That is a hard-learnt lesson – never make decisions mostly under the influence of emotions. Assess thoroughly first.

——————————–

Jamie in some ways made me learn about myself, too.

What were my borders?  What were my limits? Wishes for myself and others? Unconditional love? Thinking about myself and at the same time for others that I love? How to make difficult decisions? How to cry like a baby for something that entered my life only recently…..

———————————-

I am grateful for Jamie the cat for many things, but one particular thing stands out. He was the only living being I said “good morning” in my house that I live now. What an honour, what a beautiful experience to have had him in my house and in my life.

———————————-

Before I finish this ordeal, please join me again to wish the best family to adopt him and be happy with him.

Thank you so much.

 

 

random thougths (mostly on cat ownership)

I woke up early this morning, before 8 am (yes, it is early for me: I usually get up around 9 am). I was wondering how Jamie the cat was. After doing the morning routine (it is routine now, like changing his water and cleaning his litter box), I left him for the first time at home for the day.

The morning was awesome with a cool temperature but nevertheless sunny and walking felt good. I was planning to take the bus, but then feeling the goodness coming out of the day and walking, I decided to walk to office. I was there in 30 min. I found a chance to look at the trees and enjoy the quite morning with little traffic. I really enjoyed this morning walk.

Work went well and after two long meetings, I was back at home in the afternoon to continue to work here. I was wondering how the cat did, and to my joy everything was alright; he was well and nothing at home has been harmed, broken, moved, or trashed by the cat. That felt good and once more I realized what an easy cat he was.

I try to pet him and play with him time to time. I guess it is true what they say; when you ignore them, cats approach you. I must say surprisingly he is the one that wants to lie on my lap, climb on me, or head butt me. It is really interesting that I get so much love and comfort from this cat. I hope he will not change. I hope he will not get frustrated by constantly asking for love/attention from me and getting it maybe 60% of the time.

I feel conscious about this; I feel like I must address all of his needs and wants. I am good with providing him safety and food/water/clean litter (i.e. basic needs). I pet him the majority of the time he wants it, but not always. So far, I did not let him climb on my face or bite my socks. I lift him off my keyboard. I feel like rejecting the poor animal, which makes me quite sad/sorry. I know how it feels to be rejected…..

But I also think that I cannot do everything he wants me to, like play when he wants, scratch when he wants, climb on me, bite me, or let him sleep on my bed. One of my fears is to have a cat who is pretty spoiled…

It turns out we both have rules.

I have a trip to make in October for a week and I wonder how we are going to handle his care. I either need to find someone to house sit him or I will place him in a boarding facility. I do not know how I will and how he will feel about it.

Honestly while it is a great cat, I can tell you it is not all white and black for me. I feel like I cannot give him the attention he needs. When I am away on trips, it is a problem. Since I am used to live alone, I kind of scared of the sudden noises he makes, especially at night. The fact that he becomes more active at night is unfortunate; these are the times that I really need the quiet time for myself. Feeling conscious, having  some kind of remorse, and all bunch of other feelings….

Maybe they were right; I should have fostered him first and then decide to adopt. It feels like the buyer’s remorse; when you buy the house it is exciting first and then it becomes kind of worrisome and you regret its responsibility big time. Until it becomes your routine….

I have not given up yet, but honestly I miss my freedom 🙂

Jamie the cat is home

I brought Jamie home 30 min ago – I am writing from the room I got for him.

I was recommended to keep him in a small room for the few days to prevent him from being overwhelmed 🙂

He seems to be adjusting well (I hope); exploring everywhere, eating food, and walking around. I just wished he had used his litter box for some reason.

I am humming a tune and sometimes even speaking to him (or rather to myself 🙂 ) I am mostly ignoring him, typing or browsing the internet. That seems to be working as he is approaching me.

This is, my friends, a historical event in my life. My first cat of my adult life.

I hope that to be a wonderful experience and adventure for both of us 🙂

cat adoption papers in

I have made another visit to the shelter today; to make sure the energy the cat I like (Jamie) and I was still there. well, he was sleeping and when he woke up, he was pretty grumpy. But hey, I got cold feet again, tried to play with him, and I also tried to hold. He was not in the mood and we left it there.

I put the adoption papers in.

Am I looking for trouble or what? I am not sure.

The worst thing that will happen is that I will not be able to put him in the carrier myself and ask for help.

I also asked about a cat boarding facility and they recommended one that I had already talked to. If I can find someone to sit him while I am away, that would be great. If not, the facilities will make it.

I am supposed to pick Jamie up on Friday. I shopped this afternoon to get prepared. Tomorrow, I will set his room with scratch post, food, water, bed, litter box, and toys. He has got lovely toys 🙂

wish me luck! 🙂

decision day, re: adopting a cat

You know I wanted to adopt a cat and liked two of them last week.

I was ready to adopt the same day the cat I first saw, yet it turned out to have extensive dental problems, which I did not see myself dealing well with. My circumstances are a little bit limiting; I live alone and I make trips for extensive period of time (like 5 weeks family visit I make every year). I could not possibly provide the best (medical) care to this cat, especially while I was away.  It broke my heart very much not to have that cat….

Then I liked another cat and even had one of my friends check him. My friends said that he was a lovely cat with lots of character and that fit my opinion, too. At the weekend though I started to have strong hesitations. Again, what to do with the cat while I am away? How to provide for him?

Also I got somehow confused about the financial aspect of having a cat, understanding their medical needs and sicknesses, and all the diseases I may contract from him.

I worked on these issues quite a bit.

I made calculations (and fellow bloggers helped me to see the expenses more clearly) and I saw that it did not cost too much  to care for a cat.

Also, the diseases could been largely prevented by vaccination and good hygiene at home. After all I was not the first or the only person who would have cats. I am sure whatever the health risks they were, they were manageable.

As per medical needs and sicknesses; I have read many websites and watched many videos. It was tough to learn everything (which I have not, but could over time) but I was feeling like I could learn all of these. The worst thing I could do was to bring the cat to vet every time I was suspicious of something.

So I worked on many of the serious issues I may have with a cat. One thing I could not solve was how to care for the cat while I am away. Long story short, I called two cat boarding facility here this morning. Yes, the both board cats for extensive periods of time. It is kind of pricey, but then it is well worth it.

So…..

Looks like my all problems were solved.

Or, were they?

I have such a cold feet right now and experiencing the biggest hesitation about owning a cat so far; you would not believe. 5 weeks in a boarding facility for a cat is too much. Especially considering the fact that this repeats every single year. I even considered going away for only 3 weeks per year, but then come on; it is my family who I visit and they deserve all the time we can spend together. I do not want to choose between my family and anything else. Even, when it means I will miss a lovely cat in my life.

Taking the cat with me to my family is not a solution either, as the trip is too long, my mom has pet birds at home, I travel to other cities to visit my other family members (which would mean the cat having extra changes and anxieties), and I was not planning to keep the cat in a cage or on leash, either, meaning during the entire time I face a risk of losing the cat.

I really wanted to have one of these cats. I thought they would be excellent companion for me and give me joy, and the love I felt for them was more than anything I can imagine, except the love I feel for my family.

Some choices are hard and this one was too. Overall I am not happy with this decision, but I guess it is the right decision for me.

I hope I will not change my mind again. I kind of got tired of thinking and trying to find solutions to my issues…

there is (cat) love once again

After my emotional experience “deciding-not-to-adopt-the-adorable-cat-due-to-his-previous-health-problems“, I have thought quite a bit.

My first reaction was to get cold feet again. But there was something nice about the scratch post and the little toys I had purchased last week, which are still in my living room. I did not feel like donating or removing them from my sight.

Mouser or not, I guess I realized I really wanted to have that type of special bond I had felt for the cat (that I decided not to adopt) with another one.

I experienced quite a sadness about the first cat choice of mine, yet now I think it was in fact useful for me. Prior to looking for cats, I always thought about the happy moments and joy that I would have by having a lovely living being around. If s/he would hunt pest/mice, that would be great too (the recent pest problem in the house has been a great motivator for me to get a cat, even though I had considered to get a cat in the last one year or so). I had also thought about sicknesses and felt the responsibility of taking care of the cat, but honestly I had not considered the emotions I would have when the cat would be in trouble (e.g. sick, injured etc.).

In other words, I was not completely ready to have the cat.

It was like buying my house. I bought the house with excitement and 9 days after I moved in, my roof leaked from 2 different places and made me severely anxious and depressed. I had felt betrayed by the previous home owners/renovators, and my real estate agent and the home inspector. I felt clueless, ineffective, and very stressed too as it took me almost a year to find a contractor and get the problem fixed.

While that was a horrible experience, it had also told me that life was not gonna go on like I imagined it. Even though I had heard the house repair and maintenance needs/issues from others, I guess without experiencing it, I had felt like it would never happen to me. That was not the reality. While I felt bad for a long time and I still feel like my home may give trouble to me anytime, I guess now I have a more realistic view too. Yes, good days will happen (like the last 1.5 years during which I have had no major issues at my home) and bad days in the future (like that time when I have had the roof problem). And that was only normal. Expected. My house-roof problem had made me experience and see the reality.

Realizing/remembering these helped me to think differently about my cat ordeal. I would be attached to my future cat too and there would be both good days and bad days; there would be sickness, injuries, and even death. I could not expect all joy and excitement, re; my life with the cat. I would have anxiety, depression, or worry about the cat, the way I take care of it, the way it is and the diseases, such as worms, associated with it, and the financial cost of taking good care of it (vet visits etc.). And there would be purrrs and all too 🙂

So, I feel better now and I am not afraid to think about getting another cat.

As a matter of fact, I went back to the first shelter I have been to two days ago, alone, and planned to check the cats I have chosen through the website. I had 6-8 cats in my list, but I found myself checking/spending time with two only; both of these cats I had seen two days ago.

One of them was a female with odd-coloured eyes (one green, one blue). She is quiet and feels alright. Yet, not necessarily exciting, bonding..

Then I went to the male cat section and I found myself checking the young male cat who spends time in his cage mostly and who looks quite grumpy to me. I had joked with my friend the other day that I would love to adopt and observe this cat very much, but it looked like I was scared of him and that he would give me trouble/stress, so I would not be interested in him.

Well, I was wrong – that is the cat that I am pretty attracted to, one that I can feel some kind of love, affection, and interest towards. I spent some time with him, let him sniff my hands, touch my hands with his little feet, and eventually I took him out of his cage and held for a minute or so. I was not scared this time and he was not, either. So that was the moment I decided that I could get this cat.

We do not know much about this cat as he was abandoned a month ago and was a stray. I was told that he does not like to socialize with other cats and that is why he is spending time in his cage, but I am not sure that is the whole truth or he is sick/old or something (hope not). Honestly, he does not look like a very active cat or a mouser to me, but hopefully I am wrong.

I will go have my friend look at the cat again and if things are alright, will put in the adoption papers. I may get heart-broken again if there is something wrong with him or he is too old, so I am keeping my hopes lower this time, but I am also kind of excited that I could love and bond with a cat again 🙂

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