It’s been a bit hectic on the fostering front over the last few weeks…. First of all there was Olive and her five kittens: Alice, George, Ivor, Jack and Nancy.
Above: Jack, Alice, Ivor and Nancy
Olive had given birth to her kittens in someone’s garden. Fortunately the Celia Hammond Animal Trust (CHAT) were called in and came to the rescue. I took them on when the kittens were six weeks old, as their previous fosterers had a family emergency and were not longer able to care for them.
Alice and Ivor:
All the kittens had been very well socialised by the previous fosterers, and were what’s known in the cat rescue world as ‘Bomb-proof’, i.e. super-friendly, super-confident and suitable for any kind of home. Olive was nervous initially, but soon grew in confidence once she came to the conclusion that I was OK because: a) I wasn’t going to hurt her and was actually quite nice; and b) I was going to provide her with lots of food. Actually it was mainly b) – Olive loves her food!
Nancy and George
Olive and her kittens were with me for around a month before they went to the CHAT Lewisham rescue centre for rehoming. As you can imagine it didn’t take long to find homes for this bunch of cuties, and they were all adopted (in pairs) within a couple of weeks.
Ivor’s magic wand tail!
After Olive and co. departed I decided to take a break from fostering. I’ve fostered almost continuously for around five years now and was feeling a bit burnt out. I planned to stop fostering all together for a few months and then act as an emergency-only fosterer for Cats Protection. Just in case you’re wondering why I’ve changed charity: I’ve been volunteering in the Cats Pro Greenwich charity shop for nearly four years now (18 Old Dover Rd, SE3 7BT – always good for a bargain if you’re in the area!). Earlier this year I was asked to join the branch committee, and since then have become a lot more involved in the cats side of things. I’m now the branch’s Homing Officer, and it doesn’t really sit comfortably with me to be fostering for one charity while rehoming cats for another, so hence the switch from CHAT to Cats Pro.
Anyway, the not fostering thing lasted for less than two weeks after a woman came into the Cats Pro charity shop and told me that she’d found a male kitten wandering up and down a very busy road. She’d already been caring for the kitten for nearly three weeks – while she’d tried unsuccessfully to locate an owner – but was unable to do so any longer as her dog was becoming jealous and she was worried he may lash out. I went to scan for a microchip (there wasn’t one), and discovered that the kitten was in fact female, around six months old and hadn’t been spayed. There was nowhere else for the kitten to go other than back out on the street, so that evening, on my way home from the shop, I called round to collect Susie – as she’d already been named – and took her home with me.
I wasn’t too concerned at having my fostering break interrupted as Susie is an incredibly friendly, affectionate and generally bomb-proof kinda girl, who I knew would be easy to re-home. I’d made a couple of home visits to prospective adopters earlier the same day, and thought that Susie would be ideal for one of the couples I’d been to see. I rang them, they were very keen, and we made arrangements for them to come and meet Susie after she’d been spayed, microchipped and had her first vaccinations. They came round this afternoon, it was love at first sight, they adopted her, and off she went to her new home. I’ve since had a text to let me know that she settled in straight away. Hooray!
But I still don’t get to take my fostering break. On Monday I received a call from our Welfare Officer, who’s a veterinary nurse at a rescue-minded practice which carries out a lot of procedures for our branch. They’d taken in a young female for a neuter-and-return – she was one of a small group of cats who live in the underground car park of a housing estate and are fed and cared for by one of the residents. However, when they examined her they discovered an old infected *collar wound under her right leg. The wound needed surgery, which in turn required external stitches and then a buster collar (aka Cone of Shame) to prevent the cat from worrying at the stitches. Obviously she couldn’t be returned to the car park in that condition, so now Holly (as I’ve imaginatively named her, given the time of year) is Foster Cat no. 34.
The good news is that Holly is a charming, people-friendly, affectionate adolescent kitten (she’s around 9 – 10 months old), and I’m pretty sure I’ve already found her a home. So once the stitches are out hopefully she’ll be off to pastures new, and I’ll restart my fostering break. Wonder how long it will last this time?!
*Collar wounds are inflicted by cat collars with an elastic insert which allows the collar to stretch if it becomes snagged on anything, so that the cat can escape. The trouble with these collars is that they will also stretch if a cat paws at them, allowing the cat to pass one of its front legs through the collar, which then rapidly cuts into the ‘armpit’ area of the leg causing a nasty and very painful injury. These elasticated collars are sold as ‘safety’ collars which really pisses me off as they’re not – strays with collar wounds are all too common. A genuine safety collar will have a break-away buckle, which allows the collar to snap open when snagged, therefore making it impossible for a cat to step through the collar and rip its ‘armpit’ open.