To address how much I miss Elvis, I have two separate and conflicting emotions:
1. Now is a good time to foster because I will never love again/my heart is stone/I will not get attached.
2. Go immediately and get a forever cat… if I get a small/lady/tuxedo cat then she will be 1% like Elvis and then I will only be 99% full of sadness.
I’m not sure if these are “right” decisions that I’m “ready ” for… I suspect that much of my rush has to do with avoiding dealing with Elvis being gone.
I have always prefered creating one disaster to ignore another… and when I suggest to Self that we sit quietly in reflective contemplation, Self is like – no thanks.
Either way, it’s still a fact that we have a home to give.
Way back when we originally got Elvis, I had not planned that she would be our only cat… I assumed I would foster too, until it turned out that Elvis HATES other cats.
I even brought home kittens, and Elvis hated them too.
Paul and I were embarrassed for her… I mean, who hates kittens?
If I had been less bonded to Elvis, I might have insisted that she deal with it and understand that she didn’t get to be the only homeless cat I took in… but I had an older cat once whose entire personality changed when we introduced a younger cat, and he never recovered.
The idea of turning Elvis/my favorite being/into an unhappy rage maniac… was impossible.
So I helped in ways that didn’t upset Elvis.
On Saturday, Paul and I went over to one of the busiest shelters in Philadelphia (read: kill shelter with limited resources and huge demand for intake).
Paul was hesitant, his feeling was – you have been comatose for days, are you sure this isn’t just going to be even MORE upsetting?
I think there was also an element of — cats are the ONLY thing you’ve thought of for over a year… can we wait a minute before jumping back into that pool?
But I guess he also wasn’t comfortable being the person who refused to take me to do the one thing I said I must do.
At this shelter, you have to fill out an application to even open a cage/pet a cat you like, and as I was doing that, I thought – well I might as well apply to also be a foster. Just, you know, to cover all of the bases.
Then the application woman said – if you are interested in being a foster, I would love to show you some of the cats who are “time stamped” for tonight.
So now we are fostering Berla. (I don’t know what that name is from or means) but Paul has been calling her Bigfoot, because she is polydactyl.
She is basically a malnourished bag of bones, but she is a VERY sweet cat, which is surprising for how poorly she’s been treated by humans! She’s calm and friendly… and has been eating like a machine. She uses her litter box perfectly, AND uses the scratch pad LIKE A CHAMP. Overall, she is an excellent houseguest!
She would have been killed only because she has an upper respiratory infection. She is getting medicine, (which she does not love taking, but I am now a cat-medication-giving-rockstar. So we are a good pair.) Her breathing is better already, and even her fur is looking better… I think with some time it will fill in and she will look much spiffier.
I do not think I will fall in love with her, but she will be a wonderful cat for someone and I am so thankful we are able to give her a home while she waits for her forever people.
You cannot change the world,
but you CAN change ONE animal’s whole world!
Adopt don’t shop!
Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are destroyed in shelters, (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats) JUST in the United States (source, ASPCA)… these animals sit in lonely cages and are eventually put to death because there are simply too many animals and not enough homes… why buy from a breeder or pet store when you could save an animal’s life!
Please don’t have your animal have babies!
If you would like to experience baby animals, foster them! You get the experience, AND you are helping animals! You house them and socialize them and play with them and LOVE THEM until they are old enough to be fixed and go to their forever home!
PLEASE!!! spay and neuter your pets!
Even if they are indoor animals, they can still get out, get lost, and add to overpopulation.
If you notice stray cats in your neighborhood, PLEASE consider TNR-ing them. It’s easy to identify male cats who are not fixed because they will go around spraying on their walkabout… a TNR program can help you trap these animals, have them fixed, and then return them to their territory.
For the record, I’ve never had any luck with the low-cost spay neuter clinics or TNR programs because you need an appointment, and none of my TNR-cats have been interested in being caught on anyone else’s schedule… so in those cases I’ve left traps on weekdays, and then called my vet when I finally caught them, and they fit me in… it’s not cheap, but it’s a solution that has worked for me.
Consider being a foster home for an older animal.
Lots of dogs and cats need a place to recuperate from an injury or illness, or maybe they are just overwhelmed at the shelter and doing poorly. Temporarily taking an animal into your home can save their life! And you open up cage space for the shelter to take in another animal in need.
There are even lots of ways you can get involved that don’t require you to have animals in your home:
1. Volunteer at your local shelter— walk dogs, play with cats… giving the animals human interaction helps keep them receptive to new people and helps keep them from going stir crazy!
2. Collect supplies… shelters are ALWAYS in need of any supplies you can donate. You can ask your shelter for a list of needs.
Host an adoption event.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth… essentially, just putting animals IN FRONT OF PEOPLE makes them want to adopt!
Think about places where you can raise awareness– work, gym, local coffee shop… get creative! This is TRULY effective!
To find a shelter, start with Google… but sometimes small, volunteer-based organizations are not web-savvy! So searching on Facebook, or Petfinder can also be a good start.
You can even help without ever meeting animals– raise awareness:
1. about the importance of spay/neuter, the value of fostering, trap-neuter-return, and choosing shelters over breeders/pet stores.
2. and also:
GIVING AWAY FREE ANIMALS IS A BAD IDEA!
Initially I tried to write why, but the urls of these articles pretty much sum it up:
If none of those seem like good reasons to be careful who you give an animal to, here are more:
- Cats, kittens, small dogs, rabbits, etc. are used as bait in dogfighting rings. (National Geographic. *NO graphic images.)
- Used in “crush” fetish videos… which is exactly what it sounds like (care2.org… *NO graphic or upsetting images, just a report on a successful and unprecedented prosecution!)
PLEASE go the extra mile when rehoming a pet! PLEASE check out the credentials and housing for your pet to ensure they are going to a truly safe and loving home.
I know at this point you are like: WHERE IS THE BOX OF KITTENS I WAS PROMISED?
So here you go.
After we came home with Berla. I felt good about that!
But you know what I didn’t feel good about? I didn’t help any kittens. Who doesn’t help kittens??
In the moment/at the shelter, I wasn’t sure if I wanted kittens. I thought they might make me sadder/miss Elvis more/generally contribute to the feeling of life-isn’t-fair.
But by the time we got home I realized I had made a mistake — the day I don’t have room in my heart for kittens is a day of doom and armageddon… so I had to make a second trip.
Have I gone overboard? Probably… it’s what I do. I don’t know any other way to function.
It is officially kitten season… which means that in any given week, a busy shelter can EASILY take in a HUNDRED kittens and pregnant cats.
THAT IS A LOT OF KITTENS.
If you are able to provide a foster home, you are giving these animals a chance to get big enough to be adopted. AND (incase this is not obvious) YOU GET KITTENS.
Here is some video for you. ***TURN UP YOUR VOLUME TO HEAR THEM**
P.S.– I switched video hosts, because the other one was getting expensive! You might get a comercial now. Sorry! When I re-evaluated my expense-priorities: making-my-site-fancy-for-internet-people VS. cats… the cats won.