Contrary to what many people assume, saying goodbye to a foster cat is a rewarding experience, says Brighton-based Cats Protection volunteer, Olivia. In only one year of being a fosterer, Olivia has helped five cats to find their forever homes.
“I can recommend that someone considers fostering cats,” says Olivia. “Many people have said to me they think they wouldn’t be able to give a cat away, but it is much more rewarding than people think. It is a great feeling to know that a cat is going to a really good home and it is also the nicest circumstance to say goodbye to a cat.”
Olivia decided to become a fosterer for several reasons. She doesn’t have access to any outside space, so felt having a cat on a long-term basis would not be fair on the cat. Also, she is unsure for how many years she will live in Brighton so didn’t think she could commit to having a cat for a long time. “I did have a cat that lived for 18 years, so while it is lovely to have a cat, at this stage I can’t really have a cat for that many years.”
Becoming a Cats Protection fosterer was very easy, says Olivia. Rehoming officer Natalie visited and checked out Olivia’s references. “When you get your first cat, it is very exciting. Natalie has been very helpful and visited to make sure the cat was settling in. She is also always available for questions and visits.”
In addition to looking after the cat “like it is your own pet”, which sometimes includes visits to the vet, Olivia says she was also asked to write a biography of the cat and to take pictures for the website. When someone is interested in adopting a cat, they make a home visit to meet the cat and ask Olivia any questions.
“Fostering can be very flexible and you can take breaks between cats for holidays etc. I was advised that sometimes a cat can be in your care for quite a while, but so far my cats have been rehomed quite quickly!”
A big advantage of fostering, says Olivia, is learning just how varied cats’ personalities can be. “I have had cats all my life and didn’t think there’d be any surprises in fostering. But I am really struck by their different personalities. Most of the cats I’ve had in my life have been aloof, so the friendly ones really surprise me. I love being able to stroke their bellies without being attacked.”
Olivia enjoys all of the different aspects of cats: “Soppy, playful, aloof – cats make you laugh. It is relaxing to have a cat and they always make me smile.”
At present, Olivia is fostering Pasha, an 8-year-old black and white female cat. We asked Pasha (pictured below) to describe her typical day:
A Day in the Life of Pasha
After a night of sleeping on the bed – if I’m lucky – or on my favourite spot on the sofa, I wake up feeling happy and excited for… breakfast! My foster mum wakes up and I gobble up breakfast. Once I’m finished I go and see what foster mum is up to. I’m quite cheery in the mornings so like lots of love and fuss (and to play with her make-up) as she’s getting ready for work. Once my foster parents are out I mostly sleep and look out the window until lunch o’clock. I greet my foster dad with a hello meow to let him know I’m pleased it is lunchtime. In the evenings, I’m ready to play. Being cooped up inside all day I must exercise somehow! I have been tracking the red dot for some time now and I beckon my foster parents to pick up the “laser pointer”, as they call it, so I can continue my pursuit of the red dot. Eventually I tire and end up watching the red dot as cinema and then settle down on the sofa where I will allow the occasional disturbance for some fuss.
Details of Pasha can be found here: http://www.cats.org.uk/brighton/adopt-a-cat/?cid=161801