Tom Brokaw once said that it is easier to make a buck and tougher to make a difference. On the other hand, Mother Teresa advised that alone, you cannot change the world, but once you cast a stone in the water, it will create ripples. That being said, this loving mom cat who helps foster felines has proven that it is not tough to foster; all you need is a big heart. She has fostered for over ten years, and the love she has for cats has not faded with the passing years. Here is more about her journey as a cat foster mom and the challenges you might face if you decide to follow in her footsteps.
It Started with a Stray Cat’s Kittens
Even animals can be good judges of character because one stray cat brought her litter of kittens to Sue’s home. Instead of getting rid of them, Sue, with her background as a veterinary technician, tested the kittens for leukemia, and the results were positive. Most people would have opted to euthanize the cats, but Sue chose to dedicate her time and resources to providing the kittens with the best life she could for the short time they would be alive. The stray cat kept giving birth to sick kittens, and Sue’s attempts to have her spayed were futile. However, she never got tired of catering to the ill kittens that never lived beyond six months. Unfortunately, after taking care of the sick litters of kittens for three years, even their mother died, but it was only a break for Sue from fostering because another opportunity presented itself.
Fostering was Her Destiny
While buying food for her own cats, she met with an acquaintance from Animal Advocacy who told her they were desperately looking for a foster mom for their cats. With her experience, Sue could not turn down the offer. A year and a half later, Animal Advocacy dissolved, and Sue started fostering cats for the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, which barely has enough space for the many kittens. She admits it’s a commitment since one must ensure the animals are well-fed and taken to the vet in preparation for the time they will be adopted. It is not an easy task since they have to be bottle-fed every few hours and bathed often with a tender touch as if it was the mother doing it. Even Shenango Valley Animal Shelter staff does not know how Sue manages to do it all. So far, Sue has fostered 150 cats for the animal shelter; she takes care of the kittens for 12 weeks. Currently, she has ten cats of her own and is fostering 23. The loving mom cat has, therefore, had to turn her garage into a comfortable space for the kittens by installing it with the necessary heating. Sue’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and the shelter staff posted on Facebook that they could not do it without her help.
Another Woman Quit Her Job to Be a Foster Cat Mom
If you thought Sue Smith was out of her mind for fostering hundreds of kittens, including those she knew would not live to be a year old, then you are yet to meet Chrissy Morris. US NEWS published her story in November 2019, saying that Chrissy saw an advertisement that her local shelter was in need of foster parents. The shelter was overwhelmed with over 200 cats and could use the help; thus, Chrissy found it to be her calling. Her large house had more than enough space for a few kittens. Besides, she had the experience of being a cat mom since she had four rescue cats. Unfortunately, she did not know what she was signing up for with her decision to become a foster mom. Thinking that she had only a few cats to care for, one cat surprised her with a litter of 13 kittens. Chrissy’s hectic schedul of catering to the little ones interfered with her work, and she would often fail to report to work. In the long run, she had to choose between her job and the felines; the cats won, and Chrissy is now a full-time cat mom.
Challenges of Becoming a Pet Foster Parent
PetCoach reminds us that fostering pets requires a compassionate heart. You should not get too attached because you are fostering; thus, after a while, the animals will find their forever homes. In the meantime, you should ensure they have the necessary care, including proper pet nutrition, quiet space, and regular vet visits. The needs will depend on the cat you are fostering; a nursing mother has different needs from a newborn kitten, an adult cat, and an orphaned cat.
While we cannot ignore the benefits that come with fostering, especially that of knowing that you have saved the life of a pet, there are a few challenges you should know. One of the main hurdles is letting go of a pet you have cared for because loving them usually is inevitable. The other hiccup is keeping up with the expenses, especially if the shelter you are helping cannot afford to provide you with supplies. Most foster parents rely on donations, so be ready to dig deeper into your pockets or solicit funds. You should also be prepared to dedicate your time to the animals and if need be, quit like Chrissy did if the pet’s wellness if your priority.
Be aware of jealousy between the pets; separate your permanent ones from the fosters until they can learn to get along. Also, consider the health of both permanent and temporary pets. As Lincoln Animal Ambassadors enlightens us, if you have an ailing pet at home, you should not put the health of another at risk by fostering regardless of how ready you are to be a foster parent. Adult cats can also be difficult to modify their behavior so be ready to train your older foster felines.