WELCOME TO THE KITTEN FOSTER FILES #4
Hi Kitten Lovers! Well as predicted in The Kitten Foster Files #3, I no longer have Belle and Holly. The day came where I had to drop them back to the RSPCA to be desexed and then go for adoption. It was incredibly hard because I’d grown to love those girls so much (same with the boys). I cried on the drive home and most of that afternoon before eventually pulling myself together.
Fostering so far has been a learning curve … about the process, about kittens, and about myself. This was my first foster experience and I wasn’t really prepared for just how much my heart would become invested in these little lives. Taking the kittens back made me feel like I was abandoning them. They trusted me and I abandoned them. That’s how I was feeling. So, I had to give myself a pep talk and change the dialogue in my head. For just over 5 weeks of the most formative days of their lives I gave them a safe environment, loads of love, lots of enrichment in the form of toys and play and a variety of interactions – males, females, kids, teens, and my dog Ava. I helped to set them up as well adjusted happy and healthy kittens who will slot in easily and successfully at their new forever homes. I have to take solace in that.
On the day I dropped them back I had hoped there would be more kittens needing care that I could take home with me. I figured that would help distract from the pain of taking back the girls. But there were no kittens for me. In a stroke of good luck though I was offered two kittens the next day. I was given no details but I didn’t care, I just wanted some kittens to love. So the very next day I drove all the way back to the RSPCA again to collect the two kittens.
The two kittens were a boy (white with black) and girl (black with white – tuxedo), both 8 weeks of age who needed to gain a bit more weight before they could be desexed and adopted. They’d been brought in to the RSPCA as strays but they weren’t hissy and spitty at all. They were friendly and sweet. I soon learned though that the boy was a bit skittish and scared quite easily. I was hoping to change that.
I brought them home and decided to name them Piper (girl) and Leo (boy). I’d been watching a few episodes of ‘Charmed‘ on Foxtel recently and if you’re familiar with the show you’d know the couple Leo & Piper. Leo is a ‘whitelighter‘ and Piper is a witch (a good one). The names suited the kittens perfectly and so there you have it.
Piper and Leo settled in well and were happily gaining weight and enjoying playtime and lots of love. One day I noticed Leo seemed to be sneezing a bit. I didn’t worry too much thinking maybe something had got up his nose. The next day Piper had started sneezing too. The following day they were both sneezing a lot and their eyes were looking a bit watery, so I knew it was most probably cat flu. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t know much about cat flu (except that it is not contagious to humans or dogs but is highly contagious to felines) but I figured they would need a vet appointment and so I made one for later that morning. I also decided that if it was cat flu it would probably be best they stay at the RSPCA and/or go to a cat flu foster carer (there are foster carers that only take cat flu cats and kittens). It wasn’t that I didn’t want to care for them. It was because I wasn’t sure how sick they would get (not knowing much about cat flu) and I wanted them to get the best care they could to get better and also because I was afraid that if I had cat flu in my house, I would not get the opportunity to foster neonatal/baby kittens (kittens under 6 weeks) which is the area I want to mostly focus on (I did workshop training specifically for fostering baby kittens because of my interest in this area) and instead would get locked into being a cat flu foster carer.
So they did have cat flu and they didn’t come back to our house again. I had them from Wednesday to the following Sunday – not long. It was a hard decision and one I kind of regret now (I’ll explain in a moment). I then proceeded to completely disinfect everything in the rooms in which the kittens had been – floors, lounges, toys, food bowls, etc etc – and took myself off the ‘available to foster’ list for a week to be sure the virus is dead and gone from this house for the safety of future foster kittens.
So why do I kinda regret my decision? Well, I thought I’d made the right decision at the time but I was afraid where quite possibly I should not have been afraid. The kittens were 900g (Leo) and 968g (Piper) on the day they were returned to the RSPCA so not far off 1kg when they would have to be returned anyway (you return them when the lightest one reaches 1kg) which went a long way towards my decision too. But I could have had them probably another week. I had done a quick Google search on cat flu and had read stuff like the following:
Cat flu is like a human cold – it can cause a runny nose and eyes, and a sore throat. Other symptoms include aches and pains in the muscles and joints, mouth ulcers, dribbling, sneezing, loss of voice and fever. Cat flu is not usually serious in adult cats, although they can be quite ill. All cats with symptoms of cat flu should see the vet. However it can be serious, even fatal, in kittens, and in adult cats with other serious underlying illnesses.
… so I thought they needed to be with people who knew better than I do how to care for kittens with cat flu. Since then though, I’ve realised that cat flu is not always so serious and I probably could have cared for them here myself and then disinfected everything after I returned them for desex. As I said, I could possibly have enjoyed them another week. Instead, I miss them and it’s sad here without any kittens but I know I made what I thought was the right decision at the time.
You’ll see a couple of videos of the gorgeous ‘charmed ones’ Piper and Leo below as well as another photo, but to see more go to my new Instagram page Bayside Kitten Foster Files where you can see them and much more in the archived stories on Piper and Leo.
So on Monday I’ll mark myself as available for kittens again and we will see what happens. There are so many foster carers it does make me wonder if I have a chance of getting any. I hope so. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I’d very much like to love and help some more kittens this season. Fingers crossed!
Meow for now,
I am loving following your kitty adventures Min – but then I’m sure you knew I would!
Thank you Janet! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. Keep your fingers crossed that I get some more soon! x
The kittens are lucky to have you care for them and love them, Min. They look beautiful. Be kind to yourself though so you don’t feel so sad every time you return them to the RSPCA.
Thanks so much Natalie. It is very hard when you return the kittens to the RSPCA for be desexed and go up for adoption as you can’t help but bond with them when they are in your care – especially if you’ve had them for an extended period. I have another lot now and they are gorgeous but it has really tested me. I’m exhausted … but I’ll tell the story in the next Kitten Foster Files post – whenever I can find the time to put it together. xo