Looking after kitties for Toronto Cat Rescue – one year on*
*probably don’t read this if you have no interest in cats
It’s been just over a year since we took in our first foster cat, Maggie, and it’s crazy to think that since then we have helped 13 cats find their ‘furever’ homes. Over the past 12 months we’ve put up with horrible smells, been woken up in the early hours, cleared up cat sick, and been tripped up countless times. But in return we’ve been rewarded with hilarious antics, cat cuddles and someone to greet us when we get home. With it also comes the satisfaction that we’ve done our bit to help the 100,000+ cats in need in Toronto and fulfilled my desire for a furry friend in the house.
The cats end up with Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR) for a wide variety of reasons. It could be that they were rescued from neglectful situations, their owner has sadly passed away and they no longer have anyone to care for them, they’ve been abandoned, or practically any other reason you can think of. TCR are almost always desperate for foster homes as cats are at risk of being euthanized every day because there’s just no room for them.
Cat fostering is the perfect solution for us since getting a full time pet seems pretty unfair and irresponsible when we travel a lot and don’t know how long we will ultimately stay in Canada.
So lets take a look at the cats we’ve helped so far:
First up was Maggie. She arrived a few days after we moved into our first home in Toronto and kept herself to herself. She was friendly but really not that interested in us until it came to playing fetch!
Next we had Coco and it’s fair to say she was probably up there in our favourites. For starters she was beautiful, incredibly friendly and unsurprisingly was snapped up very quickly. One of Stewart’s best memories of her is when she bounced head first off the window and started making crazy sneezing / coughing noises. If you ask, he will gladly do his best impression of this for you. She was fine by the way, just a little startled.
Then comes Gingie. At first we hated her. After all, she had a lot to live up to after Coco. When she first arrived she hid in the bathroom behind the toilet, hissed at us if we tried to pick her up and swiped if we stroked her more than once. It didn’t take long for us (well maybe just me) to fall in love with her though, she was huge and fluffy and kept me company through those cold and depressing days of job hunting.
Our next cat, Mano, we had for just a few days before he was adopted at a huge adoptathon event. It’s fair to say we didn’t like him that much, as he was a bit too needy for us and on the ugly side of Siamese cats – this is proven by the fact that we don’t have a single picture of him! Sorry Mano.
It went from bad to worse though when Cuddles arrived. I think Stewart still has nightmares about this poor beast even now. Cuddles also fell into the needy category and when we refused to let him into the bedroom he took his revenge by keeping us up all night by shoulder-barging and scratching at the underside of the door – we soon gave up and let him in to share the bed with us. He had endless supplies of energy and we could spend hours playing with him and he still wouldn’t tire. My dad seemed to like him though.
Onto grumpy Gracie, with her beautifully soft fur and serious attitude. Of course everyone knows the story of the u-shaped streak! She hated our attention but would only come begging for it at 5am instead! We loved her for her grumpy face and her impressive hunting techniques when playing with her toy fish.
After Gracie I decided, much to Stewart’s dismay, that we were ready for some kittens! Our bundle of three kittens arrived shortly after and were a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Especially when you can use them to wind up the inlaws ;). Dobby, Dalby and Guiness definitely win the award for the stupidest names however.
Our most challenging, yet most rewarding foster experience came with our next three kittens. When they arrived they were all really poorly and had to be confined to the bathroom for a few days. After a trip to the vet, and a lot of cleaning up, they soon perked up and were ready to cause mayhem.
The best part was when we got to give them names, so obviously we called them Polar Bear, Dennis and Susan! It started off as a bit of a joke but they had to have names to be registered at the vet so they kind of got stuck with them. By caring for these three we learnt how to administer medication, that kittens can get into all number of tiny gaps, cat beds are a waste of money, and it is possible for a cat to climb up your leg.
Lastly we have Melia. I was so excited when she arrived and saw she was just like my beloved Gingie – huge and fluffy! It was a rocky start but Stewart won her over with his cat whispering skills and they soon became the best of friends. She left us just before Christmas so we could head off to Washington DC for the holidays. It was a very sad day and there is definitely still a Melia shaped hole in Stewart’s heart! One that can apparently only be filled by Lego!!
I would wholeheartedly recommend fostering to anyone (expat or not) looking for an animal to brighten up their day. In Toronto there are at least three charities (Toronto Cat Rescue, Annex Cat Rescue and the Toronto Humane Society) who are always looking for foster parents. It’s not just cats either, there are a whole range of animals from budgies to ferrets looking for temporary (and permanent!) homes. Giving them up is tough, but the saying goes, you save two lives – the cat going to its new home and the one you made room for :).
Normal travel themed posts will resume next time!