I’m not going to lie to you. It came from my desire to hoard cats. I had 2 cats in my little townhouse and the youngest was approaching 2 years old. I NEEDED a new kitten. The problem was that 15 years ago I learned a tough lesson when I ended up with 5 dogs, 4 cats, 2 birds, 2 rabbits, a turtle and an iguana. That lesson being that another living thing (animal or person) will not bring you happiness if you are not already happy alone. When the last of those critters had passed away I spent a year or two pet free.
I had always searched for something outside myself to make me happy and it was time to stop that destructive pattern. I wont bore you with the details of my journey to self discovery, this is not a self help blog and I’m not so egotistical to believe you care about my soul searching. What I do want to tell you is that through learning to be happy with and by myself I learned the joy of helping others. I learned that I didn’t need more things, I needed to give more, love more and share more. It sounds trite until you actually do it and discover how well it works. “If you want self esteem, perform esteem-able acts.” Clichés were created for a reason. I went out in search of volunteer opportunities that would allow me to give back to the world. Over the next few years I spent time at the Food Pantry, Blood Bank, weeding and cleaning up trash at state and city parks and planting trees at a local garden. All were great experiences that allowed me to give back and meet new people. I had turned a corner from the self involved person I once was and it felt great. But then the kitten need arose. One kitten, that was all. I could have one little kitten in my home and be content, right?
I adopted Boba in October, right before Halloween. I wanted to name her Darth Vader but she was so cute and sweet the name just didn’t fit. Her full name is Darth Boba Ninja. She has long black fur, a habit of hiding candies in my shoes and according to my son she is prettier than she is smart. All was well in our happy home.
About a year later my son turned 10. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” I asked him, “to get a kitten for your birthday?” “I don’t care.” He responded which wasn’t a NO as far as I was concerned and soon we adopted R2D2. R2 is a gray and white tabby with a lot of energy and a penchant for eating things that are not food.
Almost 2 years went by. I still had a happy home. I was still donating at the Blood Bank several times a year and setting tables at the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving when the kitten desire came back. I knew I could not fill my house with dozens of critters like I once had. I also knew that there were thousands of cats in need of homes. I signed up at the local no-kill shelter to be a volunteer and there I learned about the wonderful world of fostering. This shelter didn’t adopt out any animals that were not fixed but some kittens that arrived were too young for that. They needed a place to go that wasn’t a kennel setting where they could fatten up and learn to socialize with people and other cats.
I took the class the shelter offered, learned the ropes and within a few months my first 2 kittens arrived. Pretty soon I was signed up at another no-kill shelter across town. I had found the perfect way to give back. I got to spend a few weeks to a few months playing with, feeding, cleaning and socializing kittens, usually in pairs. Then I would get a few weeks to a few months off when it wasn’t “kitten season” here in the north east.
I often hear people say “I don’t know how you do it.” I started this blog to tell you how- how I give back, how I get the joy of playing with kittens, how I cope with letting them go and mostly how worthwhile it is. I hope you enjoy hearing about my fosters and are inspired to help the animals in your community as well.
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