When we took our four 1-year-old foster kitties to the shelter clinic two Sundays ago, it was my plan for them to get their deworming medicine, and their distemper boosters, then bring them back home. However, we were informed that there were cages open for them, so we left them there.
That moment is always sad, as you put an animal who has grown to trust you in a cage, shut the door, and walk away. But it's part of fostering, unless you plan to "foster fail" every time, or have the luxury of adopting straight from your home. (That IS technically an option here too, but my problem is, I don't have a network of people strong enough to make this an easy task. If no one sees the cats, then no one adopts the cats, simple enough.)
That said, the four of them were moved to a "play cage" in the front room of the adoption floor a day later. A day after THAT, Christina and Emily were adopted, together! (You may remember this picture of the two of them.)
Edgar and Dante sat there for another week, but I found out that the two of them got adopted on Monday... TOGETHER! That's so totally awesome that these guys got adopted in pairs. They were all so BONDED to one another that it was just the perfect adoption story.
This is, of course, what all fostering is supposed to lead to. There is still a bit of lingering sadness on my part, though. I get so attached. I'm glad they're in homes, don't get me wrong. It's just bittersweet.
So here's a letter to my foster kitties, if they were able to read it.
Dear Christina and Emily, Edgar and Dante,
When I first saw you in the back room of the shelter, huddled in a pile together, staring out at me with round, terrified eyes, you broke my heart. When I saw the note on your cage that your owner had died, my heart broke even more. I had not intended to take home four of you, but there was no way that I was leaving you behind on that day. I wanted to take you home, swaddle you up in warm, soft blankets, and reassure you that everything was going to turn out okay.
That's not the way that it happened, of course, it never is. I got you home, let you out of your carriers, and you all hid under the bed from me for the next 24 hours. Do you remember when you first came out? It was when I popped open a new can of Friskee's pate. Christina, ever the bold one, was first, but the rest of you followed suit. shortly after. Edgar, you were trying so hard to be brave... you came out. You may have been crawling on your belly, staring up at me like I was a monster, but you came out.
Over the next few days you all realized that I was harmless, and I spent many happy hours lying on the guest room bed with all of you on top of me, purring your hearts out.
And then you got sick. I nursed you through it, held you in my arms, and yes, forced you to eat when you didn't want to. I worried over you, convinced that you were all on death's door. But you got better.
And through it all you showed me love and unquestioning faith in my abilities to take care of you.
And then I left you in a cage at the shelter. I know that you didn't understand at the time, and that you might have felt scared and betrayed as you saw my retreating back. I did it so that you could find your "forever homes," wherever those might be. I did it for your good, even if I felt a twinge of guilt regardless. Even if I cried in the car all the way home and made my husband take me out for comfort food that evening.
And now that I know that you're in your "forever homes." It warms my heart, and I hope that you are with truly nice people, who will love you even more than I did, who will take care of you. I hope that they let you sleep with them, and that they'll be delighted when you curl up beside them, purring and flashing your bellies. I hope that you get lots of treats, and that I become a distant memory, and am then completely forgotten.
Because that's the way that fostering works. We're only meant to be a port in the storm. My job was to get you healthy and happy, to give you a warm, safe and loving place to stay until there was room for you. I was not meant to keep you.
Bless you, sweet kitties. I will think of you often.
Your Foster Mom