Jean has been a volunteer foster cat carer for the RSPCA Cat Hub since September 2018, fostering more than 35 cats. She has 12 cats of her own and is fortunate to be able to work from home. Here she tells the story of why she became a foster carer and the many rewards.
Why I Became A Foster Carer
Back in 2008 I suffered from a serious illness requiring treatment and had a period of long term sickness. At the same time one of my cats was diagnosed with a brian tumour. Caring for Gerry, the sick cat, took my mind off my own illness and I gained a lot of strength from him as he battled his condition. He taught me a lot. After his death I had decided that I wanted to give something back to all the brave animals out there who show such resilience, so I began adopting and fostering rescue cats in increased numbers!
Room Converted In 2016
My obsession with cats reached the point where I had adopted 12 cats, the majority of which had illnesses or conditions that did not make them popular for adoption, i.e. the cats that no one else wanted. I would take in the sick and the old with not much life left in them and had been abandoned to die. They were beautiful cats and would spend their last few months living in a warm, loving and safe environment. In 2016 we decided to make some changes to our house and converted a room specifically for the cats where it didn’t matter if they missed the litter tray or had a fur ball or had their toys all over the floor. This was their room to do what they liked. We had shelves with beds up a height for those that like to climb and beds at different levels for those that can’t.
Being A Foster Carer
Since the RSPCA Cat Hub opened I have taken 37 foster cats who have since gone on to be rehomed. You may remember one called Cinders who came in with her two boys Max and Paddy. Cinders had a bit of an attitude problem, so we were asked if we could take her so she could learn to trust people. She was with us for a few months before it became apparent that the best thing for her was to stay with us, so we adopted her and she is happy as can be and taken up residence in what we call the ladies room, aka the utility room!
I am lucky that I work from home which means that I can spend time throughout the day chatting to the cats. I have 12 cats of my own and on Christmas Day had 25 cats for lunch which included 11 kittens! I think what I can offer the Cat Hub is being able to foster more than one cat at a time. Those that need to be isolated can be in one of the spare bedrooms or within a pen in the cats room until I am able to let them integrate with the others.
During the Covid-19 crisis I fostered five cats: sibling kittens Sylvester and Midnite, Vera, old lady Ethel and blind cat Stevie and I decided to offer a permanent home to Ethel and Stevie.
Is It Hard Letting The Foster Cats Go?
It is hard, and many a tear is shed. But, as foster carers we see our foster cats go on to be rehomed and settled in their new homes.
Fostering Is Hard Work But Very Rewarding
Being a foster carer takes a lot of your time and patience. The cats need feeding and cleaning, grooming and medicating, stroking and socialising, which depending upon how many cats you have can take hours out of your day. You will also shed tears when they arrive, often malnourished and underweight, with wounds needing treatment, with flea allergies and scared. But then you feel you have done a good job when they come back to health and respond to your love and patience. The rewards are great and I will do it for as long as I can!
If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Cat Foster Carer for the Cat Hub you can read more about the requirements here.