How It All Started – Through the Eyes Of A Foster Mom
In 2014 I somehow managed to talk my husband (and cats) into becoming a feline foster home through Karma Cat + Zen Dog Rescue Society. I’m sure there are those of you who can appreciate the monumental accomplishment this is – while I could only think of having fuzzy new friends, all he could see was an exercise in patience in which he must tolerate extra fur and more litter boxes, while the cats faced a constant disruption to their territory and my attention.
It started with three little kittens we found dodging cars in a parking lot. I was terrified I’d find one of the little fuzzy guys run over and never be able to live with myself for not doing something before that happened. I cried at the horrible future these kittens had if I didn’t step in – he caved and supported me in my new mission; we’ve been a foster home ever since.
What Fostering Is Really Like
When people find out that we foster cats, by far the most common response is, “I could never do that because I couldn’t give them away.” I’ve said it myself in the past. For those of us who feel that compassion and connection with animals, it’s an intolerable thought. They look up at us with those big soulful eyes and we know that they need us – how could we give them up?
A strange thing begins to happen once you open your heart and mind to the idea that what they really need isn’t necessarily “me.” They look up at us in gratefulness because we’ve given them the safety and comfort of a home where they can thrive and love – but if we are honest, we know that they could look at someone else that way too. You begin to realize that thinking only about the end of your part in their story isn’t quite the whole picture – that we’re denying all the benefits of the experience because we’re afraid of the anticipated grief.
Fostering is about more than just the end. The middle is filled with so much love, compassion, and excitement. You get to meet and love a whole new personality. You get to help them grow and heal, and they always teach you something new as well. Even my husband has been caught in the midst of a stress-reducing snuggle with our guests, and our cats have definitely lost a few pounds running about with their new young playmates. I have been fostering for about two years now and I have begun a collage of all my foster felines – every picture represents a story with a happy ending, and I can’t wait for my collection to get bigger.
I would be lying if I tried to claim that it wasn’t difficult – that a part of you wants to keep every single one of them. There is a bittersweet sadness that comes after every goodbye kiss to their little furry head and we hand the carrier to their new human. Our hearts break because they are leaving us – but they also soar knowing that we just changed at least four lives for the better; kitty now has a loving future, their new human will know the joy of their personality and affection, we will always remember the compassion and love they brought to our heart while they were with us, and a new kitty out there somewhere is about to get a chance at a new life. You can save four hearts with us!
~Krystal, Assistant Executive Director