In part 1, I talked about some of the practicalities of fostering kittens. In this post I’m going to delve deeper into a subject that people asked me about a lot – attachment and being able to say goodbye.
Most people said something along the lines of “gosh, it will be hard to give them up – I guess you don’t get attached to them because you know you’ll have to give them up?”. Many others said “It’s so amazing what you’re doing but I couldn’t do it, I would want to keep them all!”.
Maybe it’s because I trained as a psychotherapist that the idea of giving the very best care and love – whilst knowing you will have to say goodbye – feels natural, and quite bearable, to me.
Here’s the thing – I absolutely felt attached to these kittens, and loved them like my own. And waving goodbye to them on adoption day was sad. It was a lot more than sad too – a sense of accomplishment and happiness that I had probably literally saved, and definitely transformed, these little lives and now they were going off to happy new homes where excited humans were waiting to take their sweet baby kitties home.
It helps to know they all went to great homes, carefully vetted, where they have lovely lives ahead. The charity I foster for has a Facebook group for adopters and volunteers and it has been great seeing updates from the kittens’ new families on how they are settling in.
Of course I often daydreamed of keeping them (maybe just one… that sweet one who “talks” to me whenever I go into the room…) but I knew my resident cat would not accept a companion cat so it was never a real possibility which perhaps made it easier than if I had been in a position to adopt. And anyway, even if you can adopt one or two, you can’t keep every cat you foster so some goodbyes are inevitable.
In many ways adoption day is similar to an ending with a therapist/counsellor, or leaving a job you have enjoyed to start at another great job, or graduating from school or university. Not an ending but a new beginning.
And you’ll always have the precious memories of your first foster kittens, and probably a phone full of photos (actually you might want to get a bigger SD card before you even take in your fosters, my phone currently has about 4,000 photos of the kittens saved on it!).
Some of my Instagram followers asked how to find organisations that are looking for foster homes. Especially during kitten season (generally from early summer well into the autumn) almost every cat charity will be looking for fosterers! Fosterers usually need to be local to the charity for practical reasons so I recommend turning to Google and finding your nearest ones. If you do happen to live in South East London or Kent near Greenwich, I know Catcuddles is always looking for more fosterers. Details are all on their website.