Today I’ve begun fostering a nine-month old tuxedo cat (pictures soon) who was living in miserable conditions; his owner abandoned him at the vet’s where we go, and he was marked ‘free to a good home’; the vet usually has kennels to board pets but all his kennels were booked by paying customers who were boarding their pets while they were on holiday, and so this poor cat was living in a small cat carrier, barely able to move. When I first saw him he’d already been living in the cat carrier for over a week; it broke my heart to see him. I asked how he was supposed to use the litter, but was told that he was taken out of the carrier to do his business every so often, and then put back into it. I was horrified. I asked how long he’d been there and the vet said someone was coming to adopt him the next day, so I tried to put him out of my mind and wished him a happy life in my head.
Yesterday my mum was at the vet’s with one of her many charges and she informed me that this poor cat was still living in the carrier there; I called to ask about it and the vet said the woman had backed out, he was out of space and he was out of options, and he was at his wit’s end. I instantly made a decision to foster this cat; mum would normally foster, but she’s got her hands full with the three little kittens they’re currently fostering. So I knew it was up to me.
I drove over this morning and brought him home. He stayed in his carrier for over six hours, although I opened the door and tried to coax him out. Eventually I just left him to it. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it, so Grimalkin and Wellington were in the room with me. I stayed with them, just in case. Wellington was a little spooked by this strange new cat and stayed away, but Grimalkin, being the aggressive territorial little darling that he is, walked around the carrier a few times, and eventually sat on top of it; it’s almost as if he was saying ‘This is my place, punk’. The poor tuxedo (no name yet) stayed put, with an almost subservient attitude to my boys, and no amount of coaxing would make him move. Eventually, I took Grimalkin and Wellington out with me and I shut the door. I returned an hour later to find he had emerged timidly out of his carrier, but he still wasn’t eating or drinking anything that was on offer. When he saw me he disappeared behind the couch and stayed there.
After a while Grimalkin started to paw at the door (he likes being where I am) and I had to let him in. Again, I didn’t want to make a huge production of everything. Grimalkin went behind the couch and I waited, my heart in my mouth. But he emerged shortly and although he’s being watchful and wary, he just seems to be avoiding the little chap, who is just as keen to avoid Grimalkin and Wellington (who is asleep and hasn’t bothered since his initial sniffing).
The poor little thing is so traumatised and stressed by his experience that he’s lost rather a lot of fur, and has a bald patch above his right eye and two patches on his body. I’m so glad I was able to do this for him.
Fostering saves lives.