Sunday, July 8, 2012

Failing as a Foster Mom - Part 2

When I got into work on Tuesday - after Bob's first 24 hours in confinement - he hadn't eaten anything. He just sat huddled in the corner of his kennel looking pathetic. Logically I knew he'd be fine. We board cats all the time and they usually don't want to eat for the first day or so. Then they settle in and are fine. Well, logic aside, I was devastated. I spent my lunch break cuddling him and trying to get him to eat some treats. I was in tears again when I left to go home.

A combined cuddle session with Ashi and Ivy Girl.
Fortunately for everyone, our vet clinic was closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday. The kennel staff still went in to take care of the animals, but I was off - and I made myself not go in to see Bob. I had to have faith that they would call me if anything were truly wrong with him. I spent my time instead cuddling with Diedra and the other girls, trying to get everyone to settle down.

On Thursday, I took advantage of my rare weekday off of work to go talk to Aggie at the shelter. I told her what had happened and what I had done so far. She reassured me that Bob's time out was a good thing and she told me she wasn't sure where he could go, either. She would normally send an FIV-positive cat into a foster home (which she had already done) or to Best Friends. Unfortunately, Best Friends had sent out a letter saying they were beyond capacity for FIV and FIP cats and that their wait list was so long they were no longer taking names. She told me she would keep trying, though, and that she would put the word out for other possible foster homes or sanctuaries.

You can tell Sandi was devastated to have Bob gone.
However, she told me they should have space in their rooms for older, adoptable cats. So, they couldn't take Bob, but they could take Sandi! She told me to go ahead and bring Sandi back to the shelter, and if for some reason she couldn't go to Best Friends, she had another foster mom who deals with crotchety old-lady cats who had some room. I figured any relief from the pressure at home was good, so I went home, game Sandi some good snuggles and some of her favorite treats, and loaded her up.

While I was dropping her off, Aggie told me some wonderful news. Boots was adopted!! After all the heartache and agony and stress, that gorgeous boy has a home. Aggie said it was a great family from Dammeron with two teenage girls. They came down to the shelter 5 times, and each time Boots put on the charm and crawled into their laps. They finally took him home and he is doing great. (This was the point when I broke down sobbing in the adoption center. It's a good thing they stock Kleenex.) Mouse had gone to Best Friends to be spayed, then went to the adoption center in Salt Lake. Apparently it took all of 2 days for her to find a home.

Diedra wandered out of hiding to help me get some computer work done.
I went home feeling better, but still like a failure. Almost a year of trying to find those two homes and they were adopted within a couple weeks of me taking them back. I know I played a vital part in them being adoptable in the first place, but I still can't help but feel like I should have been able to do SOMETHING to find them homes sooner.

The house felt pretty empty Thursday night with only me and 3 cats. We had some quality snuggle time with Diedra, Ashi and Ivy, then went to bed. When I got into work on Friday morning, Bob was quite vocal and had been eating like mad. Every time I went in the back or he heard my voice in the back room, he would start yowling. I took advantage of him being in the office to update his vaccinations and have one of the docs look at him. I was expecting a howling mess, but Bob surprised me by being mellow throughout the exam. He is perfectly healthy, by the way, although the doc said he is probably older than I originally thought he was. He put him at about 9, not the 5 or so I thought he was.

Bob was REALLY happy to be back at the house. He actually drooled on my foot. 
I packed Bob home on Friday afternoon. I was crossing my fingers that having Sandi out of the house would help with the friction. Bob was really happy to be back at the house. He has been following me everywhere and has been really snuggly. So far no fights - although Diedra is back to hiding under the bed when he's in the room. Yesterday I finally heard back from one of the Network Specialists at Best Friends with a few more tips and an offer to help network to find Bob a home. So there is hope.

At this point, whether I find Bob a home or not, I don't know if I'll be able to foster any more. I have lost confidence. I don't know how to network this town. I have talked with other foster parents, but they tend to foster kittens and young cats, which move very quickly through the system. It is a whole different game fostering FIV-positive cats, senior kitties or cats with anxiety disorders. If I do foster, I will likely switch to working with one of the rescues, which tend to have a lot more support for their foster families. Or maybe I'll do kittens for a while. I could use some cute and happy.


  1. I firmly believe that every cat already has a home picked out, its just a matter of timing. Please don't stop fostering. Think of all the cats who need a home, who might not get one, if you don't. All cats need is shelter, food, a lap and someone to love them, even for a little while. Fostering isn't a perfect solution, but it is the one we have. Your babies are finding homes, and they are healthy, and mostly, happy. What more could we ask for? :hugs: