Some people claim to be a dog-person, others claim to be a cat-person. I grew up with a dog and had limited exposure to cats, so prior to college, I would have said I was a dog person one-hundred percent.
During the summer between my junior and senior year, however, that changed.
I moved in with a friend while I took summer classes, and she was fostering two kittens when I moved in. They were curious and would come up to me while I was eating or working on something in the family room. They were adorable. Only a week or so after I moved in, however, they left to be adopted.
“Would you want to foster more?” my roommate asked me. She missed having the kittens around, and honestly, I did too. Although I wasn’t used to cats, I adored the first two. Any animal would be better than none in my book, so I told her we should.
I never fostered animals before, primarily because I had on-campus housing that did not allow pets. Because of this, fostering never crossed my mind and I never looked into it. I am not sure if I even knew what a “foster failure” was back then. At the back of my mind, I knew I could get attached, but I was a dog-person…how could I adopt a cat before I got a dog?
We planned on fostering two more kittens, but the lady from the adoption organization came to our apartment with a few cages full of them. She had just traveled a couple of hours away to pick up a litter of kittens that were about to be put-down due to overcapacity, and she came back with a lot more than she expected. We ended up keeping four for the night, and the lady promised to come back the next day to take two to another foster home.
Once she left, we played with the kittens. They were the smallest things I’ve ever seen-and each one had a different personality. One was a bundle of energy, racing around the kitchen too fast for her little legs so it looked funny. One was too shy to come up to us and tried to hide wherever he could. One was curious and wanted to explore the apartment. One was gentle and enjoyed being petted by us. When we sat on the ground, they would all rush up to us (with the exception of the shy one). They’d climb on our laps, rub up against our arms. Even the timid one became more comfortable and approached us towards the end of the evening.
We looked at the group and tried to decide which two we would continue to foster. My friend picked out the gentle one while I went for the energetic one. The next day when the lady stopped by, however, we decided to continue fostering them all.
These kittens put up a cute front, but they certainly had a knack for trouble. They would relentlessly chase each other around the apartment, climb up on counters, and chew on the blinds. Two seemed to adamantly go against our commands of staying off the table (surprisingly, the timid one was in this category-he was not shy anymore!), but the other two picked up on the rules fairly quickly.
I suppose it was also a poor (or should I say great?) decision to initially have picked out a kitten to continue fostering, because I grew attached. I did not have a pet of my own at that point; what was I going to do once they all got adopted? I really adored the little bundle of energy, and although she was hyper, she was sweet and loved to cuddle throughout the day.
One evening when I was in the apartment alone, my favorite cat started crying out. Her paw was stuck in my roommate’s rain boot! I immediately ran over and figured out how to detach her paw safely. How could I allow this little cat to be adopted by someone else?
My parents, both dog lovers, urged me against it. They were not a fan of cats, although, like me, they barely had any interactions with the species. I told them all about her and somehow managed to convince my mom. I couldn’t get my dad on board, but since I was living on my own, the final decision was up to me.
Before I could finalize the adoption, the kittens went to get spayed/neutered. My roommate told me she had a vacation planned that week, so I had to handle the kittens when the lady brought them back from the vet.
When the kittens returned from their surgery, they were calm at first. That didn’t last long, however, and soon they were racing around the apartment, chasing each other and leaping off chairs. One kitten would have been manageable, but four? I did not want the kittens to tear their stitches or have any complications, so I was freaking out. I separated them in different rooms, played calming music, dimmed the lights, called my mom-yet they still had so much energy. Fortunately, they all eventually calmed down, and despite their craziness, all of their incisions remained healthy and intact.
Afterwards, I adopted the cute little energetic girl (named Tigger), and one of my friends ended up adopting the calm one my roommate was originally going to pick.
The other two (the troublemakers) were adopted together, so everyone was happy.
Now, I may not be completely a cat-person, but I no longer feel like I am one-hundred percent a dog-person either. My first pet on my own was a cat, after all, although I do now own a dog too. If there is a category for overall animal-person, I would like to declare myself as one.
I also became a foster failure as they say, but that doesn’t mean I’m against fostering-quite the opposite actually. Fostering is such a great experience, especially if you are not in the position to permanently adopt a pet. Shelters fill up quick, and many rescue organizations try to save as many pets as they can. Even rescue organizations run out of space though, so it is important to have enough foster homes for pets.
Plus, if you want a pet but are not sure how they would fit into your lifestyle, you could give fostering a go. It will allow you to determine if a pet is right for you without the long-term commitment. And you never know…you might fall in love with one of your foster pets and have a new companion!