What exactly does fostering mean? It means bringing a homeless cat into your home, caring for them, providing them with affection and socialization, until they move into our shelter and a permanent family comes along who will love them forever.
Many times rescues who have no central facility, rely solely on foster homes to determine how many cats they can pull from county shelters, who may be long term residents and/or at risk of euthanasia due to overcrowding. Shelters also rely on fosters to provide a change of environment for long term residents or those cats who may be having a hard time adjusting to a kennel atmosphere.
Often times, certain cats may not "show" well in our shelter environment. While fostering a cat, you are able to provide individual care and stimulation, which in turn creates a calmer cat in the shelter. In many cases, it may be closer to what their behavior will look like in a home environment.
Shelters and rescues often look to fosters for those cats who may have endured a difficult past. As a foster, you have the chance and opportunity to gain a cats trust, show them love, provide an environment for them to feel safe, and watch them transform before your eyes.
If you have existing pets, introducing a cat can be a great experience for them as an additional companion, additional socialization, and an additional playmate! Children can benefit from fostering as a way to introduce responsibility, selflessness, and a way to educate about animals.
Fellow fosters from AWLMC will help guide you through the experience, give ideas, answer any questions, and may even become your friends! There is nothing quite like sharing experiences with those who do the same and being part of a community of people who have like passions.
When the day comes and a cat your fostered is adopted, the rewarding feeling you will experience is something very special. You will feel a sense of pride, in knowing what you helped that cat accomplish in his time with you. You will feel overjoyed, that he or she has found their forever family and their happy-ever-after that all homeless cats so desire. And while certainly, some goodbyes can be tough, knowing that a cat has found his happy ending and that another precious life awaits to be afforded your gifts, is as good of a feeling as there is!
DEAR FOSTER PARENT:
There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love,
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.
I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold,
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend,
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.
And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go,
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know."
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay,
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Parent, you know I've moved on,
I have a new home where I belong.
But I'll never forget what I learned that first day,
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time,
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.