Owing to the large number of cats waiting to come into rescue, the Chiltern Branch of Cats Protection (which covers Chesham) is looking for new volunteers. They think that retired people would make excellent fosterers. Their Secretary, Kathryn Graves, spoke to Dana (who fosters in London) to find out what it’s like to be a retired fosterer.
Dana became a fosterer for Cats Protection more than 12 years ago. Her elderly cat had passed away, and she missed having feline company, but being recently retired she wanted to be able to go on holiday whenever she liked without having to worry about finding someone to care for a new pet whilst she was away. It turns out that fostering suited her perfectly.
Dana fosters by taking a cat into her home for as long as it takes to find someone who wants to adopt the cat. Sometimes this is just a few weeks, but it can take months if a cat is harder to home (it is more difficult to find adopters for elderly cats, shy cats or cats with medical conditions). She has also fostered litters of kittens; they will spend 3 to 4 months with her whilst she socialises them and gets them used to living in a home, so that they are ready to become perfect pets! Dana lets new foster cats settle in by giving them their own space in a quiet room, but eventually they will have free reign of the house – just as a pet cat would. This means she gets to enjoy having a cat around, but she doesn’t have to pay for food or medical bills, and she can take a break from fostering whenever she wants to go on holiday.
Dana said the best thing about fostering is having ‘another little someone’ in the house to care for. And she said it was a joy to learn about each cat and their personality. Every cat is different and over the years she’s had some very memorable personalities to stay, such as Blizzard the Water Cat; he would come running every time he heard water and would sit on the end of the bath – he just couldn’t resist the wet stuff!
The reason why retired people make excellent fosterers is because they can give time to the cats in their care; giving cats a sense of security around people – no matter how sad their background story may be. Dana also said that thanks to all her life experience, she is very relaxed about whatever situation comes her way; she doesn’t get stressed and just does her best to help the cats. She also said she gets tremendous satisfaction from knowing that she’s contributing to a cat’s welfare.
Dana said that she gets all the help and support that she needs from her local branch of Cats Protection, and that fostering doesn’t cost her a thing. Her advice to anyone considering fostering? “Just go for it; if it’s not for you, you lose nothing, but you could open up a whole new world for yourself”.
If you’d like to talk to Chiltern Cats Protection to find out more about fostering, please leave us a message on 0345 260 2396 and we’ll call you back, or email Kathryn on firstname.lastname@example.org.