Cats for Adoption: Baxter and Bailey Turnaround, and About Their Foster Home
Look at those baby blue eyes—and many of the traits of a flamepoint Siamese as well as just a lovely orange and white cat!
A few weeks ago I included a photo of two orange and white cats huddled in a cage, about to be rescued from a shelter. The precious companions of an elderly woman who was hospitalized and later died, they were left in the home, then taken to a shelter. Traumatized and fearful, they failed their “temperament test” and were to be euthanized if the owner didn’t reclaim them. But the shelter works with rescuers who will claim such cats and they were rescued and taken to a foster home. Only two weeks later, at the hands of a capable and compassionate foster, handsome Bailey, above, is a “total love bug”, and even uncompromising Baxter is giving in to pets and rubs.
This is what Bailey and Baxter looked like just two weeks ago. They are only two of far too many cats who find themselves homeless after an elderly owner dies either without leaving instructions, or thinking their children will take care of their pets as they did themselves. Sometimes this does happen, but sadly many pets find themselves in the situation of these two orange guys, left in the home until it’s to be sold, then dropped off at a shelter or tossed out in the street after they’ve been traumatized by all the changes and often frightened or in poor physical health, acting hostile to people and condemned to death just because they are frightened.
I received an e-mail from a trusted friend (ironically I know her as a dog rescuer) that began, “I got a phone call from a nurse at a local hospital…”
A member of the family of a patient who died asked her if she knew anyone who could take in 2 cats, two and three years old, who their owner “loved dearly”. They took them to one of the shelters, but the shelter informed them the cats would have to be euthanized the next day if they didn’t come get them (as it turns out it was because they had been exhibiting “feral behavior”, which means no one could handle them for an exam). It seemed the family was here from out of town.
She went on to describe the cats: “Baxter is 2 years old, neutered and up to date on his shots…he is an orange & white tabby. Bailey is 3 years old, neutered and up to date on his shots and is all white with a tabby tail. They are very sweet cats and love each other a lot so they would hope they can find a home together.”
A person in our rescue group called the number for the son for more information. The man’s mother had died a month before and he fed and watered the cats in her house, which was being cleaned out. He took the kitties to the Animal Rescue League where he was called to reclaim due to “feral behavior”. Many shelters will decide to euthanize a cat if a team of people can’t safely handle it during an intake exam, which might also mean the cat would be difficult to adopt. The Animal Rescue League, instead of readily euthanizing the cat, will call the person who surrendered it, tell them the situation and give them an opportunity to reclaim the cat, in this case both cats.
The son believed the cats were simply accustomed to one person, his mother, who had raised them from kittens, and that they were really only frightened. He also had a newborn child and felt he was out of possibilities.
In the end, the same woman who initially fostered Fred and Barney also offered to foster these two, ease their fears and hopefully get them to a trusting point where either she can find a home for them or they can return to the shelter for another chance. After some tense moments of losing track of the son and the cats and the fear they were in danger, the cats were taken from ARL and are now in their foster home.
“I got Bailey and Baxter 18 days ago (mid-February). I put them into a large cage in my spare bedroom so that they have quiet time and they can’t hide from me. I covered part of the cage to help them feel secure and safe. Bailey would just hide in the back of the cage and Baxter would come at me, swat and hiss. He never used his claws though. I would use a hanger to retrieve their food and water dishes until I felt I could put my hand into the cage without be bitten or scratched.
“After just a few days, they knew I was the food source. It took just a few days to be able to touch Bailey. He would even come to the front of the cage for attention, but then back off because he was scared. Baxter much longer. Just petted him for the first time a few days ago while he was eating. He still is not sure, so I don’t push him. This past Friday, two weeks into fostering them, I let them out of the cage to roam the spare bedroom.
“Feeding them canned food is what helps a lot to get to come to me. They now both greet me at the door and rub on my legs while I get their food dishes ready. I still do not touch Baxter until he is eating. He still has that look that he may come after me if he gets scared. I will sit on the bed and Baxter will come to me and rub up against me, but I still have not tried to pet him without the food. He wants the attention. So that is great.
“Bailey has done a complete turn around. He is all over me and lets me hold him. He could be adopted into a quiet home already. The next step for these two will be me leaving the door open with a baby gate up to give them a safe place from my dogs. This way they can come out on their own and retreat back to the bedroom if they need too. I did this with Jacqueline, the kitty that is now at ARL (mentioned below), and she did great with my cats and was on her way to trusting the dogs too.
“So sad to think they could have died without HCMT helping ARL. I believe that Baxter and Bailey’s mom is watching down on them…
And about the foster home
These aren’t the only two cats rescued from situations like this, nor are they the only two cats this particular person has fostered—she has an amazing track record for saving the lives of ill and frightened cats, and even a few dogs. I’d prefer to keep her anonymous lest people with unwanted pets find her, as happened to me at one point. I’ll use just her initials, LCC, in place of her name.
LCC has been fostering cats in her home for the past three years and has fostered close to 70 cats and kittens for several rescues and shelters in the Pittsburgh area.
“I have fostered for Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley in New Kensington, Frankie’s Friends in Tarentum. Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) and Animal Rescue League (ARL),” she said. “Just recently through HCMT I started fostering ferals that need medications for a few weeks before being released or cats like Baxter and Bailey who would have died without a foster to help them feel safe,” she added.
All the cats she has fostered have been homeless or in need of some medical attention, and nursing mothers with kittens when “kitten season” hits and mother cats need a quiet place to nurse until kittens are weaned and socialized. She also fosters kittens who are too small or too young to be spayed or neutered, returning them to the shelter when they are ready to be adopted.
“Also many kittens with upper respiratory infections (URI) because they get sick quickly in shelters or have a URI when rescued. If they are sick shelters will not accept them or will euthanize them because it’s so contagious, but it’s something that can be treated,” she said, though especially during “kitten season” shelters are overflowing with animals and don’t have the staff or the time to help nurse sick kittens. “So sad because they are happy kittens in just a few weeks on medications,” LCC added. “So many kittens could be saved with fosters. Just babies that need a chance.”
“I got into fostering helping kittens,” LCC said. “I also do adults that have been at a shelter a long time to give them a cage break. This is nice because I can see the cat’s personality in a home and it helps them get adopted.”
One adult cat she fostered named Jacqueline had an infected eye and was thought to be feral, but with surgery and foster turned into a really nice cat and is now up for adoption at ARL, and that only would have been discovered by giving her the time to relax with humans and recover her natural friendly and loving temperament.
“I also took in kittens like Barney and Fred that were picked up at just a few months old and were feral. You see how well they are doing now. Barney was hissing and spitting at me when I first got them,” she added.
“Right now I have 11 fosters, seven kittens from Frankie’s Friends that have their own bedroom, Bailey and Baxter in my other spare bedroom and Beatrice and Pansy (two ferals) in a large inclosure in my garage. Not the best place but they are alive and getting attention,” she explained. “I used to let the healthy cats and kittens run around with my gang but a dog I’m fostering is a bit crazy with kittens…”
She fosters dogs too?
“Well I tried dogs. Have been doing it for a year and it’s too hard for me,” she said. “I have placed three into wonderful homes but my current guy has major issues, bit a few people so we are trying to get him help. Not adoptable so he will be staying with me, will not have him put to sleep. So no more dogs,” LCC explained.
“All the groups I have worked with paid for all medical, and some will provide food and litter if they can but I just pay for the food and litter, keep receipts and was told I can write it off on taxes,” she said. “Gotta check with my accountant.”
“Hubby is not too happy but supports me. He is 100% supportive with the cats and does help socialize them,” she added.
Of course, LCC would be an animal lover. She lives on a few acres in a rural area and has three cats of her own, two dogs, two horses and some fish, and also cares for two horses that belong to friends.
She also works full time but has “no kids to cart around, so that helps. I do think I sometimes take on too much, but it’s hard to turn away a cat that just needs a little attention to be adopted.”
“I visit with each foster for a few minutes two times a day when I feed them their canned food. I spend a few minutes refilling their dry and water dishes and picking out their litter,” she said of the amount of time it all takes.
“I try and push the scared ones just a little bit more at least once a day past their comfort zone to see how they will react,” she said. “If fostering kittens, it’s fun to just go into their room and play with them. They enjoy the interaction and it helps them learn to trust too.”
When she has a mom and kittens, the mom will take care of her babies, she just has to be sure all the babies are doing ok by just looking and no touching until at least a month old. “Any moms I have had were pretty friendly so I didn’t have any problems with getting near their babies to check them,” she added. She also takes the mothers and kittens to the shelter for check ups and shots when they are old enough.
“I never thought I could ever foster animals. I ask people to try it just one time. If it’s too much then you just saved that life. If you find you can do it, then you will be saving many lives,” LCC said of fostering cats and dogs.
“I am a very emotional person and I can foster. I do shed tears, but I can do it.”
And at least 70 cats and counting are glad she could, as well as Baxter and Bailey’s human.
Read about more rescued kitties looking for loving homes.
Announcing the 2013 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards!
An awful lot of bloggers bring you an awful lot of information and entertainment each day.
If you enjoy what you read, here’s a way to thank them all!
You have the chance to nominate your favorite blogs in 12 different categories, and a panel of professionals judge the finalists you’ve chosen.
The categories are:
- Best Blog Design: judged on overall design elements of the blog homepage/landing page.
- Best Blog Writing: judged on overall writing skill – is the message clear to the reader? Is the writing well-done? Is the blog post free of errors?
- Best Humor Blog: judged on overall sense of humor – does it make us laugh?
- Best Bark Blog: judged on the content as it applies to dogs and dog parents.
- Best Meow Blog: judged on the content as it applies to cats and cat parents.
- Best Wiggle Blog: judged on focus of blog toward non-traditional pets (i.e. ferrets, guinea pigs, chickens, etc.)
- Best New Blog: less than one year old, with good content and engagement.
- Best Cause Blog: judged on message, purpose and results as demonstrated on the blog.
- Best Video on a Blog: judged independently (one video per blog); is it well done, focused, creative and purposeful?
- Best Photo on a Blog: judged independently (one photo per blog); is it well done, focused, creative and purposeful?
- Best Facebook Design: judged on overall design of Facebook header and use of special Facebook page features.
- Best Twitter Design: judged on overall design elements for Twitter profile background.
I have my favorites who I read each day! I’m sure you do too, so click on over to BlogPaws, read the information, and vote!
It’s one way we can thank them for providing quality content we enjoy reading, day in and day out.
Here is the information you will need about The Creative Cat:
Blog Homepage: www.TheCreativeCat.net
Contact Name for Blog Owner: Bernadette Kazmarski
Contact Email for the Blog Owner: [email protected]
As part of the nomination you are requested to explain in a few sentences why you’ve chosen your nominee.
Click here to go to the nomination page.
Mimi and her Fantastic Four children, as well as Cookie and Kelly, and Peaches and Namir and all the members of my feline household, and all the kitties whose stories you’ve shared and who’ve found homes through our readers thank you, even if we are not your nominee, because you help all of us.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
20 thoughts on “Cats for Adoption: Baxter and Bailey Turnaround, and About Their Foster Home”
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I am 67 and single and fear what will happin to my cat when I die. I have left a large amount of money; six figures to the local humaine society for the promice she will not be put to sleep but once you are gone you have no control over what happins. I have no faith they will honor their promice even if Happy Cat was on her best behavior which she never is with new people. She has a kitty friend but she attacks most other cats that come around. She is a fixed female who was estimated to be 8 years old in 2008 when I adopted her on the mainland. She attacked a homeless kitty I brought in out of a snowstorm; that was the only interaction she had with other cats there. We have since come to Hawaii where she is indoor/outdoor.She accepts a neighbor’s small dog but attacks every neighbor cat except one who is still pertending to be a stray.She lets him eat and lounge and one morning Morris was even on my bed with us. I pray she dies before me but life would not be the same without her. Hearing that some kitties of older people get another chance is comforting.
I remember you and your kitty! One of the things many people do is to actually appoint someone legally to take care of their cat, or even ask their veterinarian to oversee what happens if there isn’t an individual who can do that. Many of us know that even the nicest cat would fail that temperament test if they arrived at the shelter, and it’s just too bad they can’t arrive with paperwork that explains it all.
Wonderfully done, Bernadette. This gives hope for more fostering as cats and humans age.
Layla, let’s hope more people consider it as we also manage to reduce shelter populations.
Awwww, what beautiful kitties.
They really are, KittyLover…but then they all are, and hard to resist!
Oh these stories just tug at my heart. Katie would be just like Baxter in that situation. She’s so scared of other people…you’d think she was feral when I bring her to the vet. Thank you for all you do for these sweeties. And thank you to all the others who have intervened to save a life.
Debbie, I don’t even want to imagine it, and how many nice kitties owned by older people were euthanized becuase they were scared, and I am SOOOO glad for people like LCC who can do this. Now that shelters use this foster system more and more often I hope more people get involved–and next we’ll get the shelters to help older people take account for pets in their will. Someday I’ll foster again, but for now I’ll just write about everyone else.