Friday, September 4, 2020

Saying Goodbye to Ham and Pork Roll

This morning we had to give our foster kittens Ham and Pork Roll back to the shelter. (My previous post explains we adopted their brother, Chorizo.) I took the day off but had Timmy take the girls by himself. I knew I'd be a crying mess and didn't want to have to say goodbye in public.

The rescue is having more visitors coming in to adopt now, so having the fosters back at the shelter will increase their chances of being adopted quickly. If you are interested in adopting them, they are at the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago.  

This is our first experience with fostering. I knew going into it that letting the fosters go at the end would be tough. I have tried to remain focused on a few things:

  1. They will be going to their forever home with someone who will love them as much as we do.

  2. When a foster cat leaves our home, that makes room for another cat that we can save.

  3. If our foster cats get adopted, that means we did our job of socializing them well.

The first one was a big one for me. So, having to take them back to the shelter without an adoption already lined up has been heartbreaking. I don't want them to feel like we abandoned them.

I tried to make this morning as special as possible: lots of pets and cuddles, their favorite toys, and their favorite food. When it came time to leave, we did everything we could to lure them into their carrier. When that didn't work, we had to pick them up. The girls scratched us like crazy because they knew they were going into the carrier. They have never scratched us, despite being terrified of us at first, so, I know that they were extra scared. Then they were pressing their heads into the metal gate/door of the carrier trying to get out. I tried calming them down by petting them but it didn't help much.

This is the point where most people say "Why not just adopt them?" It is an understandable, but naive, question. Taking care of three cats is time-consuming and expensive. As people who don't own our own home, we have to consider how challenging it could make finding an apartment that will accept three cats. Three cats in an apartment is also not ideal. 

I am hoping that Pork Roll and Ham will get adopted together. Ham cried previously when she was separated from Pork Roll. Ham is a sweetie but still nervous around people, and I think she'd get lonely without her sister.

Fostering has been such rewarding work seeing all the progress the cats have made under our care. Fostering also allows shelters to save more cats. I'm sure that letting go will get easier with experience, but I'm just not sure I can emotionally handle more goodbyes. I have shed so many tears.

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