We initially decided to start fostering cats because while we knew it wasn’t the right time for us to adopt, we still wanted to offer our home, time and support to animals in need of respite. Having grown up with cats, I was so excited when we were ready to bring our first foster kitty home.
I had no idea quite how challenging it was going to be, but it has been extremely rewarding. A lot of the animals that come into Mayhew’s care have experienced some sort of trauma, whether physical or emotional, so caring for them requires a lot of patience and understanding (as well as a few cheeky bribes with toys and treats!) before the cats really begin to trust their foster parent and relax. That’s when their real individual personalities shine through and it becomes clear that fostering really does make a difference to these cats’ lives.
We are currently fostering our third cat and every single foster baby we’ve brought into our home has been so different and special in so many ways. We are thankful we have been able to share our home with Brunie, Molly (formerly Whisky) and now Kiko, and to help them on their journey; they have certainly helped us on ours, and they will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Molly (Cat fosterer)
I have always done voluntary work for various organisations such as Samaritans and Relate (as a counsellor and as a mediator with young offenders and their families). I found such roles deeply rewarding and enriching, so when I retired eight years ago I decided I would like to continue with volunteering.
Due to my love of animals and having a wonderful local animal welfare organisation, Mayhew, within walking distance, it was an easy choice for me. My much beloved cat had died a few years previously but I was not yet ready to adopt another. Instead I applied to become a cat fosterer with Mayhew. After checking that my home was suitable and a brief induction, I was able to care for the first of a number of loveable felines, who all found a place in my heart.
With this role one must be prepared to love and let go, although sometimes the latter is very difficult and it is only with the knowledge that Mayhew will ensure that the right home is found, that one can more easily say goodbye. About 18 months later, due to unexpected circumstances, I adopted a local cat needing a home and so fostering sadly came to an end. I would have no hesitation in becoming a cat foster carer again in the future.
I would urge anyone who has thought about volunteering, in whatever area, and has not yet done so, to give it a go. There are whole new experiences and likeminded people out there waiting for you!
Swanee (Cat fosterer and home check volunteer)
I have always believed that “A house is not a home without a cat”. But sadly I’m not in the position to adopt a forever feline of my own, so fostering for Mayhew is absolutely perfect. When we took our first cat, Pearl, home I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I was looking forward to helping the tiny, scared cat I had with me in the carrier. It took Pearl months to fully settle in and trust us, but it was the best feeling when she sat on my lap for a cuddle for the first time.
My favourite thing about fostering is seeing the cats transform and learn to trust and be loved again. Each cat has its own adorable, wonderful personality and can come to you for many different reasons. The hardest part is saying goodbye when they find new homes as you start to imagine your life with them forever! But when you see the joy on the adopter’s face and hear about how happy the cat is in their new home, it’s the best feeling. I will never forget each of my foster cats; I think they’ve really changed my life for the better as I hope I have theirs!
Alissa (Cat fosterer)
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