There are so many things that are wonderful about fostering animals. It's really impossible to list all of the things that make you fill happy and fulfilled whenever you know you were an integral part of saving an animal's life. However, there are occasionally the sad sides, too. For me, letting go of about the first dozen foster kitties was emotionally hard to the point of tears. However, it became easier to let them go whenever I realized that fostering is all about saving lives and look how many lives have been saved by just myself - not to mention the many other foster homes. This, unfortunately, isn't the only type of sadness a foster mom can feel, especially if you foster non-stop as I do. As many of the readers may know, I do not like a home without a cat being a part of it. Whenever one foster leaves, another follows that same day or within days - preferably the same day. Honestly, I don't sleep well at night if I know there isn't a feline in my home.
The past 24 hours, however, have been one of the rare times when the sadness is of another reason. Since we are now only fostering two kittens who will leave our home on Tuesday morning, I was thrilled on Friday to have the chance to pick from two litters (with a mom) to bring home. One mom is a FIV+ cat with a few kittens - cute as can be and while I love the FIV felines, I knew this would likely be a long-term foster. This summer, it is my intention to foster and save as many lives as possible since I was fostering an FIV+ cat in 2014 and didn't have the opportunity to save many lives. The other mom was a beautiful Siamese mix with six kittens, and this is what I brought home. Unfortunately, there were health issues and we lost one kitten within hours. On Saturday is was evident there was something wrong with at least a couple of the other kittens and those have also passed away. The mom and her three kittens as of Saturday evening are back in the care of Charleston Animal Society's wonderful staff back at the shelter. We hope the remaining kittens survive, but it may not be nature's way - only time will tell. It's a tough decision to make, but the trained staff at the shelter will have a better chance of saving the remaining lives in this case. Every case is different and unfortunately events occur in life - this is one of those times.
You know I can't end a blog posting on a negative note, and I would hate to leave you with the idea that fostering is horrible. IT IS NOT!! Fostering is such a rewarding experience, and even though I personally do not feel capable of caring for this last litter, I know I have learned from the experience and if the symptoms are seen in future kitties (hopefully not), I will be prepared to take immediate action to get them to the professional care they need. Additionally, while I left one litter at the shelter, I did bring home four new kitties that are needing fostering for both growth and socialization. These furbabies should be lots of fun as I enjoy the challenges of socializating kitties and find them extremely rewarding - taking them from being "hissy poppers" to loveable, adoptable kittens that can live happily in forever homes. What better experience can one ask for over the course of several weeks in your life? I know our household will be happy to take this on at any time!
In closing, may everyone have a SAFE Memorial Day. The tourist season has 'officially' started in Charleston as seen by all the out of state license plates seen today on the roads. Please be careful this summer!
Here's to lots of happy purrs to you and yours.