Fostering an animal companion is a beautiful gift to both the foster and especially the animal. These animals often find themselves in shelters or on the street and are completely helpless to their own destiny. Fosters give animals a chance at a new life! They learn to trust again, get used to a home environment, and most importantly, receive love.
Life before fostering is often a mystery to the humans. We may have an idea of where they came from, but often times we do not. One of the best qualities for a foster to possess is patience. While we assume that each animal will react the same (grateful, happy, excited), they are often confused, scared, tentative, and sometimes angry. These emotions do not mean they are not grateful. It is just that they are uncertain.
I had the pleasure of working with a foster in trying to locate a cat that escaped from the foster home. The foster was undoubtedly very worried and beside herself. She sent me a photo of the cat and I was able to connect with her immediately. This cat was on a mission to return to her original home to find her kittens. She showed me several scenes that I was able to relay to the foster mom. When I spoke with the foster mom, she verified that the cat did indeed have kittens. They were all rescued from the street and homes were found for all the kittens.
Here is where I am torn, and I hope that you can understand what I am feeling. Of course, the responsible and loving thing to do is to find good homes for the kittens. No doubt or question in that regard! But I could feel this cat's nervousness and anxiety to find her babies. It was heartbreaking. She couldn't understand why she was taken from them. She was worried about her babies. So while I am all for finding homes for the babies, I am also troubled that the cat did not have a say in the future of her babies. What is the answer? I have no idea. The only thing I can come up with at this time is to have a conversation with the mother cat PRIOR to removing the kittens. Give the mom a chance to say her goodbyes however that looks like for the animals.
I have so much respect for fosters and rescuers. They give of their time and love endlessly. Decisions must be made in the moment and it is always for the greater good of these poor discarded animals. In the end, the animals best interest is always in mind. I just feel bad for situations like this particular cat, who wanted nothing more than to find her babies. I welcome any comments and suggestions that can help us all find a solution.
As of this moment, the cat is still missing but there have been multiple sightings of her in areas the cat described to me. I am working with the foster and the cat to encourage her to go back to the foster home. She seems willing to go back now. Please send prayers that this lovely girl returns to the safety and love of her foster's care.