If there’s one good reason to foster kittens and cats and then hand them over to someone else who has agreed to love, honor and cherish that cat for all the rest of the cat’s life, it’s getting photos of the cat being loved, honored and cherished in the years after adoption.
It’s hard to give up a foster you’ve rescued and loved, but when I’ve found the right home I always thought of it as giving both the people and the cat a gift—each other. I think of the time, the very first time, I saw each of my cats, and each of them was a stranger, but I grew to love them and they became completely entwined in my life and the lives of all my cats and all the things that happened after they joined us. Then I imagine this wonderful adoptive family at the beginning of their relationship with this cat, that very first moment they meet the cat who, now, is a stranger, but someday will be the world to them, completely entwined in their lives. And sometimes, it’s even better than that.
Jack showed up as an older kitten in my front yard one morning two years ago as he alternately took cover under my spruce and ran across the street to meet the kids who were getting ready to leave for school. I was ready to observe him in case he was actually someone else’s cat, but he was out in the street too much so I “coaxed” him to come to me. Ha! I barely had to call “Here kitty—” than he was running toward me ready to be swept up and hugged.
I brought him inside to spend some time in the bathroom and went about looking for his possible home. None of the kids knew him—and they knew everyone else’s pets—no signs went up, and, since it was near the end of the month he was probably a leave-behind by a renter.
I was down to seven cats at the time, the Five, Cookie and Kelly, I’d just lost Peaches the previous October and that big tabby Dickie had gone home with his family, and I’d been thinking about an orange kitty for a lo-o-o-o-ong time. I have always said the universe brought me the cats I needed to live with, and he could be the one. But something told me not to put that responsibility on the little guy, and just to enjoy him and get to know him.
Writing a post about him a friend immediately said she wanted—no, needed—to adopt him. I knew she’d be an excellent adoptive family so we began to correspond. In a few days she and her daughter came over to visit and the deal was made. I immediately began to get updates about how wonderful he was, his sweet and playful personality, how well he got along with his “older sisters”, the other kitties in the house, with the dogs and even the guinea pig!
The fit has been so perfect I laughed and said I’d only been a medium for this kitty to get to her household, that he’d shown up in my front yard somehow knowing I’d post a picture that she would see and he’d be home in no time.
My friend’s son was already in college and her daughter would soon graduate and leave as well. Jack was there to fill the empty spot. With all the ups and downs of family life, and now battling breast cancer, Jack has been there for that as well.
People often say they could never foster because they’d never be able to give up the animal they’d come to love. For me, giving them up is better than trying to keep them all. I always want to find that home that is perfect for the cat I’ve healed and loved, and give that gift of each other to both the cat and the human. In this case we all got more than we bargained for, and we are all the better for it.
Follow his progress through my household:
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