Has Good Reason To Be A Scaredy-Cat

, , , , , | Friendly | October 4, 2019

I foster cats and kittens and have for about five years. I have two of my own female cats, and about two years ago I was given a stray female that someone had rescued from their yard where their dog tried to eat it. She was under a year old and heavily pregnant, which is usually a really bad combo. Sure enough, three weeks after she arrived, she popped out three kittens. Despite my best efforts, including hand-feeding the tiny black kitten she rejected, none of them made it past day two. Whilst very sad, this is pretty common, given she was injured and very young to begin with.

I kept her for another two months, getting her used to humans and caught up on her vaccines. She went from a terrified, half-starved, neurotic mess, to a very friendly and playful cat. I posted an updated photo of her into our foster group chat. One of the newest members was a middle-aged woman who had just moved to town and told us she’d been fostering animals for years.

She asked if she could have the cat, as she looked just like her old cat that had died the previous year. She even offered to take care of the vet bills if she could have the cat. I explained that the cat was due to be desexed in two weeks but she said that would be fine.

I thought, “Score!” to myself, happy that the kitty dubbed Lady would be going to another experienced cat owner. I dropped her off at this woman’s house and the woman seemed ecstatic. Lady seemed pretty happy, sniffing around the woman’s hallway and batting at a fake plant. I handed over the vet bills and didn’t think much of it again, which for me is a coping mechanism because I do very much miss the cats I hand over.

About a month later, there was a huge fight in the group chat between the “private” fosterers and the ones like me who are attached to a local vet’s office, who also runs the pound. As a result, the group chat disbanded and two separate ones were made, but I remained friends with a couple of the private fosterers and they reached out from time to time with questions or random comments. One day, one of the other girls messaged me, telling me I was going to be mad.

Turns out “Miss Experienced Fosterer” had never gotten Lady desexed, and had continued fostering male cats that had not been desexed. She had posted a picture in the group chat of poor Lady, again heavily pregnant, her ears and face covered in scars and missing fur from where she’d clearly been attacked, probably during mating. My poor former kitty looked miserable. The woman’s message said, “Can anyone take her? I don’t have time for kittens.” Most people in their chat had obviously forgotten where she got Lady. Luckily, my friend offered to come get her right away and brought her straight to my house. When she saw me and my cats she collapsed on my lap and refused to move for three hours, with my other cats coming over to lick her and snuggle. I took her to the vet, had her wounds addressed, and brought her home again.

That was over a year ago. She and her two kittens, Comet and Captain, are all desexed, vaccinated, and living happily at my house, where they will stay. Lady still panics whenever we go on holiday and hides immediately when she sees a male cat. She’s much shyer and more skittish than she was when she left here the first time, and it will probably take years for me to gain her real trust again. 

I have never and will never give up cats to anyone without a background check and check-ins again.

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