Jess is one of our many valued foster carers here at Cheltenham Cat Rescue. Here’s what she has to say about her experience.
There are two reasons I started fostering. Firstly, I have a disability which resulted in having to stop working. I needed to find and feel I still had some meaning and purpose in the world but didn’t require too much effort. Saving cats through fostering and rehabilitating them has filled that perfectly. Secondly, after conquering my fear of cats and finally adopting one for myself, my eyes were opened to how desperately the cats’ plight is, through no fault of their own. I decided I wanted to help these cats so down on luck. I wanted to help them avoid having to live in the wild, getting bad reputations for killing wildlife to eat, when they were abandoned or born wild; forced into that position, facing baiting, prey to another animal, car accidents, or else put to sleep. So I chose to take action and help by fostering, saving one cat at a time.
What have you enjoyed most about foster caring?
Helping mend a life that’s been broken, watching them transition from petrified to discovering how nice a pat and scratch behind the ears is, watching their characters emerge as they realise they’re finally safe and can trust; becoming relaxed, confident, playful, loving… healed and whole again, ready to find their forever family.
The biggest challenge for me is in two parts. When I started fostering I was still new to cats, learning what is and isn’t normal for them, their needs etc. – but CCR provides great support for that and for those who’ve not fostered before. The second is regarding having a disability. Learning to gauge my abilities… wanting to do so much more, but learning to accept that any help, no matter how small, still makes a difference! Despite not being able to help in any other way than fostering one cat at a time, is still one more cat saved than there would have been otherwise.
Tell us briefly about your foster cats.
My current foster, Leah, is a beautiful little girl. Her black & white coat is sleek and glossy and soft. She has a loving nature about her, seeking cheek boops day and night. She is playful, tossing and chasing her toys around the room, exploring under and behind cupboards, very excited if I get the laser pointer or other chasey toys out. She’s so different now to the trembling, wide eyed, cowering kitten she was when she first arrived.
I have my own cat – Harry (adopted), and my foster Leah. I briefly fostered another cat last year also. I loved having the playful activity of all three cats, but I found it to be too physically demanding with my disability so two cats at a time is my limit.
And finish this sentence: “If I were a cat for a day, I would…”
If I were a cat for a day… I would see how easily I could scale fences, play hide & seek with my owner and spend many hours napping, snuggled up on their lap.
Leah is available for adoption on our website. Click here to see her profile.