Pet Update, Spring 2012:
In addition to fostering cats for the Community Pet Center, I have several new permanent additions to my feline family. Tigger was my first “foster failure.” He was one of four littermates that were my first fosters, and while I was able to successfully get three of them adopted into good homes, Tigger won me over — and stayed. He’s grown into a very large cat with an extra-long, beautifully full tail, and still thinks he’s a kitten (which is why I have a picture of him on top of one of my curtain rods even though he’s long past the traditional kitten habit of climbing curtains!)
Kitsy-Kat, roughly fourteen, also came to me as a foster; her person, an elderly lady, had to go into a nursing home, and no one else in the family could take Kitsy. Given her age — and some dental issues we’ve since resolved — it seemed unlikely we’d be able to find her a permanent home elsewhere, so Kitsy stayed with me. She’s a very sweet cat, and I’m happy to have her.
There’s Lexie and George, littermates who were living at my vet’s clinic when I fell for them and had to bring them home. There’s also Bo, a ridiculously long and lean tuxedo boy I fostered when he was a kitten; he was originally adopted into a home with his sister, but the home proved too small for his energy and he was returned to live with me – where he has lots of room to run and things to climb and fits right in. Buffy landed with me after being taken into my vet’s clinic as a kitten by a passerby who believed she’d been hit by a car; we’re still not sure whether she was or not, since her initial limp vanished quickly and she’s grown up into a perfectly healthy and happy kitty, but she still bears the nickname “the car slayer” because she may well have survived what most cats and kittens don’t – exposure to traffic.
Cara is another of my foster failures, as is Gracie. Both, for different reasons, won their place among my personal cats. Cara is a diva and a PITA with other cats sometimes, but she’s also the most people-friendly of my cats, loves to startle visitors by finding a high place from which to leap unexpectedly onto their shoulders, and generally wants to be involved in people activities. Gracie, on the other hand, was a nearly feral kitten when she came to me with a mixed group of kittens in the summer of 2010. She was a tiny little thing, so wild and fearful that I had to consistently corner her in the big kitten cage where they all lived (too small to run loose with the adults) so I could handle her. But I was persistent, and eventually she bonded with me so intensely that I couldn’t bear the idea of losing her. She’s my little gray ghost, a pale gray tabby with huge eyes who is a little cat and not likely to grow any larger. (By the way, since being spayed she’s become less wary of strangers and can be handled by people other than me, which is nice; their personalities often mellow after being spayed or neutered.)
Then there’s Pumbaa, a solid gray boy with a very unusual face (and a gorgeous coat that unfortunately for me mats easily), and who won his place here by consistently jumping up into my arms – really not a cat trick! He still enjoys being cradled like a baby (also unusual for a male cat), and likes to spend time out in the safe pet yard chasing bugs and playing with the other cats.
The very latest addition is Simba, a glossy black boy who, like Pumbaa (his bud), will sometimes jump up into my arms. He loves to cuddle, and is lying on the desk on top of my notes as I type this. I can’t really explain how Simba persuaded me to bring him from the foster and into my personal clowder of cats, but since he’s all black, I suspect magic. *wink*
Some of you may remember Sylvester, my “Hemingway” polydactyl tuxedo cat. Unfortunately, Sylvester turned out to be the “one cat too many” for my other males, and hard as I tried I couldn’t resolve the personality conflicts. I am, however, happy to report that I was able to re-home Sylvester to a great place where he has companion dogs and a couple who love him and who have a granddaughter who adores him (He sleeps on her bed.). He’s happier and much less stressed there, and my resident cats have returned to their sweet, unstressed selves.
Which makes the point that sometimes a cat or dog simply isn’t a good fit for a particular household. But there are always other options, and it’s up to us as responsible pet owners to make sure we find a true forever home for the pets in our care if they can’t, for whatever reason, live with us.