Foster fail: A term of endearment within the rescue community; the foster parent can’t imagine their lives without their foster animal, and adopt the animal themselves.
Unfortunately, the cat side of Angels Among Us Pet Rescue doesn’t get as much exposure as the dog side. Cat team lead Kim works endlessly for cats to be saved, not only through the rescue but through her own efforts as well.
Thankfully, there are supporters out there who appreciate cats, and those supporters raised enough money for the rescue to save a cat from a nearby animal control facility that desperately needed eye surgery. However, before the rescue arrived to save him, the cat passed. With the funds already raised, Angels Among Us – Cats decided to rescue another kitten in his honor.
That’s where Francesca came in. She was 8-10 weeks old and had an umbilical hernia. At that time, Kim and her significant other Shane were new to fostering. “We had our first two foster cats with us at an adoption event, and a shelter volunteer was meeting us there with a litter of three feral babies to add to our crew. Francesca hitched a ride with them. She was a tiny little thing with pink stitches from one end of her belly to the other from her spay and hernia operation. For whatever reason, it was love at first sight between Shane and Francesca.”
Despite the fact that Francesca had just been through a very serious surgery, she was eager to survey her surroundings at the adoption event. Shane gingerly helped Francesca out of her carrier, and she sat in his lap, snuggled up against him the entire event. Though they had only planned to foster the three feral kittens, they took Francesca home, as well. “Shane wasn't giving Francesca to anyone else,” Kim notes playfully.
The bond between Francesca and Shane grew so quickly and so deeply that Shane had already foster failed in his mind. “Shane started lobbying from day one for her. I said no because we already had two dogs, three cats and two new rescued kittens.” But Shane had no intention of relenting on the matter.
“The following week,” Kim goes on, “I was getting the cats together for adoptions and Shane said Francesca wasn't going. I said she absolutely was. He said if I tried to take her to adoptions, he would use his clippers to shave her bald and tell people she had cancer. I got the carrier and he added, ‘And that it's contagious.’ I ignored him. ‘To people,’ he added desperately.” Kim explains how she sighed in defeat… and Francesca did not go to adoptions.
Kim is known as the Crazy Cat Lady, but she says this wasn’t her failure – it was Shane’s. “She loves Shane; she absolutely cannot get enough of him,” Kim says, almost incredulously, “and she hates me! She is the only cat that has ever hated me.”
A cat’s hatred for her is not slowing Kim down, though. “We rescue because it's what we do... who we are... we foster cats for Angels Among Us because not only can we help more animals than we ever could on our own, we've made some really great human friends too.”
When asked about her experience as a foster, Kim replied, “We decided to foster because we care about animals. I am thankful that our vet keeps us waiting. If they didn't, we might have missed the flyer on the bulletin board that said, 'Cat & Dog Fosters Urgently Needed'. We wondered what that meant. We had been saving animals for years but had no idea that there was so much more we could do. I am thankful that we sent an e-mail the minute we got home to see what this was all about. We were so excited - it was a rescue organization! A whole lot of people who helped animals just like us. I am thankful that organization turned out to be Angels Among Us. Since then, we have fostered almost 100 cats. I am thankful for each and every one of them. I am thankful for the wonderful adopters who have most of them now. We keep fostering because it's the most rewarding experience either of us have ever had. When an animal comes to you sick or scared or confused and you see him become happy and healthy and move on to the wonderful life he deserves, it's an amazing thing. Some make you laugh, some make you cry, but all of them will make your life just a little bit better for having known them.”
If you feel just like Kim, you can join your local rescue today. Fosters are crucial in saving the lives of helpless animals. Have the most rewarding experience and start fostering – and maybe foster failing – today!