Saturday, 24 February 2018

Foray into fostering

Losing Oscar last year was awful for us and little Lily seems to have taken in badly. She had bonded with Oscar, well he was such a gentle soul and the two of them were frequently cuddled up together, whether Oscar wanted to or not. MP and I discussed getting another cat however as we have started to plan for our retirement we (he) decided this wasn't an option. 

I wanted to get Lily a friend so the compromise was to try fostering. This way we got another cat, Lily got a pal and we were helping out one of the local rescues to feed and house an cat till it found its furrever home. 

Rose tinted spectacles - possibly/probably.

I contacted Rossendale Responsible Animal Rescue (RRAR) where we got Lily from and as we had been home checked put us on the list to foster. The first couple we couldn't take - health issues and a male but finally we got asked to take an 8 year old female who's owner was moving abroad and advertising her on free cycle!! So on the 8th January 2018, Mavis came to stay.

For a few weeks Mavis had the run of the bedroom with a conservatory to sit and watch the birds, chickens and sheep outside and seemed to be settling in. It was time to start the introductions to my 3 so we fixed the dog gate into the door frame and started to open the door a little so she could see the hallway and the other cats tripping around. So far so good.

Sadly this was not to last. Mavis is a sprightly 8 year old and from her ears has obviously been a scrapper but I was not expecting her to leap a 4 foot dog gate in one move and attack poor Lily. 

So now if I want to let Mavis out of the bedroom for a wander I have to shut my cats upstairs (our house is upside down) and lock the cat flap which isn't ideal and stops my cats going out. If Mavis hears the cat flap go she runs into the conservatory growling and has launched herself at the glass doors when Lily has entered the porch (the other side of hallway).

Sufficed to say, Mavis really needs a home where she is the only cat.

Mavis has also been free to wander and isn't used to being shut up never mind in one room for 22 hours a day. So not surprisingly she is going stir crazy: digging up the carpet near the door and keeping me awake half the night.

Shame of it all, is that she is a real sweetie, is genuinely pleased to see you and purrs like a trooper.

Having told the Head of cats at RRAR two weeks ago that it wasn't working and that Mavis need to be the only cat in a house where she had free run even if she couldn't go out. Nothing has been forthcoming. I am having to text every couple of days and don't always get a response and am now being told they are trying to find her something.

I do appreciate it isn't easy, Mavis has specific needs however when you volunteer to foster it is a good will gesture and you expect support if it doesn't work out or if the environment isn't conducive to the cats wellbeing, not to be fobbed off and left to fend. At the end of the day it isn't my cat.

So, Mavis is still with me, shut in one room 22 hours a day, Lily is terrified of coming in the house and I am sleep deprived.

If Mavis had integrated with my cats it would have been a different story but an older cat set in her ways, it was not to be. I can see why people chose kittens when they have existing cats and the older ones get overlooked.

Should the rescue been more honest about Mavis and her needs rather than just trying to place her? 

When a foster placement is failing for whatever reason there should be support and a timely resolution for the individuals and the animals. I get that she is safe where she is but it is cruel for a cat, especially one used to freedom, to be shut up and not fair to impact on the existing cats in the house in a negative way.

Fostering is a really good thing. With so many abandoned animals rescues rely on people to foster as cattery charges are an expensive option. Fosterers pay for all food, litter etc and rescues only pay any veterinary bills so it allows them to care for more homeless animals, which is great. It can be a positive and rewarding thing to do.

So, would I foster again, sadly not.

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Happy to take any comments and constructive feedback, Thank you for taking the time. Julie