Hey there! It’s time for another life update! Remember when I mentioned in my last vlog post I’d be a first-time foster mom and expecting a new cat? Well let me introduce you to my foster buddy Spuds! I’m officially a foster mom and in today’s blog post I will share with you what I did to prepare in advance and also share my experience as a first-time foster mom.
As you know it’s been about three years since Dusty passed away and although I knew I would one day adopt again, I could not even think about getting another pet. I swear Dusty was such a special cat and honestly I viewed her as my furry soul mate with paws. We had such a special connection. With this in mind, I knew that in the future I could not see myself living life without another furry family member. Some things in life you just know and having another pet is part of that equation for me.
As the months rolled by after Dusty’s passing, I eventually grew to have that desire to have another pet again however still felt I couldn’t quite fully commit. For me, I took that as a sign that one day I’d be ready but just not ready now. It was at this time I began to volunteer in New York City for Kitty Kind. I wanted to find a productive and meaningful way to heal but also be around animals and help out.
One door closes another one opens
Volunteering was a great outlet for me in terms of helping the community and finding healing. Eventually, I left Kitty Kind and moved to another state and life happened. I left my corporate job, took time off to focus on my blogging and art and then found myself looking to help another non-profit once again. Hence, I discovered People for Animals through VolunteerMatch.com.
People for Animals is a low-cost spay/neuter rescue clinic for cats and dogs located in New Jersey. They have 3 locations in New Jersey including a mobile unit. You can learn more about their low-cost options, including wellness services, by visiting their website here.
I volunteered in the office for a few weeks this summer and recently experienced a few life changes that would prevent me from coming in to help weekly. So, I decided to inquire about fostering a cat. Remember my old blog post 5 Reasons why I think fostering is a good idea? Well, although I have never done so before I decided to ask and inquire. The team leader at People for Animals enthusiastically said “Yes!” and just like that, I was going to be a first-time foster mom.
Yeay! I was going to have paws running around the house again! I was excited and nervous all at once. But wait! Now I have to get things in order. My husband and I made sure to get rid of any non-essential items lying around and do a little pre-autumn cleaning of the house to make extra room for our new addition. Essentially, we had to cat proof our place as best we could. With that done in one day, my next concern was supplies!
I knew emergency services and vet visits were covered by the organization however what about supplies and food? After Dusty passed away I donated most of her old things so I didn’t have much of anything. I understand every other organization has slightly different rules so I reached out to my volunteer contact at People for Animals and to my delight everything is provided.
Yes, that’s correct. For fosterers all supplies and food are provided. What about pet food bowls? Check. Kibble? Check. Litter pan and litter? Check and check. I have some towels that I could use for…We got that too. Check. Toys? Yes. Do you have a carrier? Yes, and not the paper cardboard one either.
My concerns were eliminated seeing how everything is provided by the organization due to the generosity of the donating public!
So, as I publish this post it will be 2 weeks since Spuds has been home. Let me first fill you in on a little bit about his background.
Spud’s is a domestic short hair cat. He is about 6 or 7 years old. He was rescued from a hoarding situation. The previous owner or person living in that house had stacks of animals in cages in their home. Luckily, Spuds was rescued. He was transferred to different facility in New Jersey and stayed there for a while before People for Animals, Hillside took him in. He’s been living at the rescue since about February or the start of 2018 essentially. Can you imagine? Poor thing hasn’t really known freedom for so long.
Upon my last in-office volunteer day, I met Spuds and took him home. This is the handsome fella. He’s white with black splotches on his body, face and has a black tail. He’s quite special because the largest black splotch on this backside, depending on how his hair is ruffled, resembles a Walt Disney Mickey mouse silhouette or a heart. What do you think?
Considering Spud’s background and history, he was a bit anxious. For the most part, Spud’s is reserved and a cool cat. He does have one quirky think he does. When you go to pet him or scratch behind his ears he loves it and starts to melt in your hand and then poof! He startles himself and retracts in fear like …” Wait, where am I? Who are you?” type of motion. I have nicknamed it the finding Nemo syndrome. The caretakers and volunteers at the rescue encountered the same thing.
However, despite that, Spuds is growing more confident with each day and so this “Finding Nemo” episode of spazzing out occurs less and less. I’m starting to get head butts and brushing up against my legs from Spuds so I know he’s feeling more comfortable and he’s showing his lovable side.
Because Spud’s had been enclosed for so long he first spent much of his first couple days in his crate however with only a few more days, he acts like a curious cat; exploring and getting into every nook and cranny he can.
I feed him in the early morning and give him a snack or treats mid-day. Then I feed him his diner in the early evening. He’s quite chatty in the morning and evening too. However, he likes to take a mid afternoon nap, as most cats do. He is slowly discovering what a window pane is and I am excited for him to watch the outdoors from the window. After all, people watching is a cat’s reality TV!
In addition to being a little chatty, he likes to have playtime and has his “zoomies” moments of running around the apartment. So, I try my best to play with him twice a day. Playing with him a little bit in the morning and also after dinner close to bedtime seems to work. Spuds gets tired after playtime so then he sleeps well at night.
The first few nights he was a howler, but that’s to be expected in new surroundings. Now, with his routine starting to be established, he’s sleeping better and more relaxed. He still a bit skittish, however Spud’s personality is continuing to blossom day by day.
This is Spuds during playtime! (see video clip below)
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Time to play! Spuds likes to get in some playtime with his jingle balls. Stay safe and have fun away from the extreme heat. What are you up to today? New blog post about my new fostering adventure with Spuds coming soon! Looking to adopt, donate or volunteer to help animals in northern New Jersey? Checkout @peopleforanimals IG page or visit https://www.pfaonline.org ! #fosteringsaveslives #helptheanimals #volunteer #impurrfectlife #animalrescue #lowcostspayandneuter #adoptdontshop #cats #dogs #peopleforanimals
Things I’ve learned so far…
Spuds has been here not too long, yet having him here reminds me of some important life lessons and things I’ve noticed.
Animals are amazingly resilient.
Hearing the conditions he came from and seeing him now, amazes me. Spud’s has gained a little courage to explore now and be the cat he was meant to be- free!
Oooh wee! Having Spuds here at home the first couple nights reminded me of the kitten days! Remember the days when your cats were kittens or your dogs were puppies? Remember how they would freak out if you left the room? Man! Spuds definitely reminded me to have extra patience and understanding while he adjusted to his new environment.
Fear can be overcome.
Spuds is a bit timid but just 2 weeks in I know with constant reassurance and adjusting to his steady routine and stable environment, he’s gaining courage and confidence to not be so fearful or anxious. It’s great to see.
I know this may taboo to say, but both my husband and I have caught ourselves comparing Spuds to our Dusty. I know that’s awful right? It’s obvious every cat /foster will be different in their own right but we can’t help but to make comparisons when Spuds does something completely unexpected. Even with our comparisons, we totally appreciate Spuds quirky ways and I’m sure it’s his personality and quirky ways that will make another person fall in love with him and adopt him.
Goodness! I seriously forgot the extra effort, attention and minutes of lost sleep required when maintaining a clean space and feeding meals for a furball in the morning! All the extra cleaning, sanitizing and sweeping and vacuuming had me working up a sweat! Especially with the over 90 degree heat the past few weeks here in the Northeast. Extra chores in the house meant perspiration for me! Well, I can’t really complain. Having to alter my daily routine in an effort to take care of Spuds is well worth it and beneficial from an activity standpoint. He definitely keeps me moving more.
Precious and funny moments.
Of course, one of the joys fostering brings is funny moments and precious “Aww” moments. I love that Spuds has gotten more comfortable in his surroundings because he sleeps with his head tucked or upside down with his belly showing a little bit. He’s so cute. I mean who does not like a sleeping precious angel with fur? I love those moments that make you go “Aww.”
Lastly, fostering has reaffirmed what meaningful and purpose driven work I’m providing to help People for Animals and also helping provide a safe haven for animals in need. By fostering, it allows another animal an opportunity to take a space in a no kill shelter and get off the street or avoid death.
It really does fill my heart to see and know that because I decided to open up my home to another, Spuds now knows what living in a peaceful loving home is like. The world can be cold and lonely, but there are still good people in the world that can make animals feel loved and safe. To me, it is so worth it!
It really is amazing how showing a little love, compassion, understanding can totally change one’s life around. Yes, it’s only been 2 weeks however I know in my gut that Spuds being here has changed his life forever. I hope he knows he now has a chance for a better life.
Well that is my current life update and what is happening now. This is what my experience so far in the fostering process has been like. It took a bit of re-adjusting to a new routine, but I’m loving it. One thing I can say for sure is I’m grateful to have paws in the house again. You know what they say? It’s not a home without fur kids.
Curious to see more of Spuds? Follow my Instagram page to see more of him and his personality!
Do live in the northern New Jersey area? Are you interested in fostering for People for Animals-Hillside? Do you want to inquire about adopting Spuds? Sent an email to PFA here.
Do you have Facebook? Be sure to like and follow the People for Animals Facebook page.
Are you close to a PFA location? Call and inquire about volunteering or donating old supplies like old blankets, towels, toys, dishes, etc.
If you don’t live in the New Jersey area but would like to donate supplies to the PFA check out the hyperlink below to see the wish list of items to help animals at People for Animals.
Have you ever fostered an animal? How was your experience? I’d love to hear your tips and your thoughts! Comment and share below.