A few nights ago I received a message from PJ McKosky (Founder of Empty Cages Collective) telling me there is a sweet black cat at Animal Care and Control that is going to be killed the next morning, would we be able to foster him? Aside from a little bit of a cold, he is otherwise healthy. Of course, we said yes.
We had always hesitated about fostering cats in the past. After all, we’ve already got four, two of which don’t get along very well. However, when faced with death or coming to stay with us, we have to choose the latter! After we agreed, it was arranged that Jimmmy would be delivered Friday night after I got home from work. As a solution for possible disagreements between cats, and for Jimmmy’s safety, we purchased a large kennel crate. I set it up with a litter box, a cozy towel bed, food and water and a little toy. (Big shout out to Fussy Friends of Jersey City! When I was purchasing the crate and told the owner what I was doing, he generously donated a bag full of cat food samples as well as a little toy for Jimmmy. Big high fives to them!)
Jimmmy was delivered around 6:15pm, by the Wheels of Hope. I caught a glimpse of him briefly before he was transferred to my carrier… a sweet black kitty with glowing yellow eyes, chatting away. I learned from the driver that he had been on quite the adventure that day, accompanying some dogs that were being delivered to a rescue in Pennsylvania. I quickly brought him upstairs thinking he’d need to use the potty! I set him down in front of the crate and opened the door. My breath was taken away at my first full sight of him – the poor thing was so incredibly thin.
I tried not to let this get to me too much, but made a vow right then and there that we would try and fatten him up nice and good! (But not *too* fat!) At this point, Tuggie (our most dominant cat) has run up to the top of the loft in the bedroom to hide (he does this when we dog sit our neighbor’s dog, Benson). For being such a fierce little thing he sure is a scaredy! Jack was also hiding at this point. Cricket did surprisingly well – she and Tuggie are the two that don’t get a along. Jack of course was just being typical Jack, hiding under the bed. Nugget hid for a good while… but then he slinked out from the bedroom and approached the crate. They touched noses with no bad reaction! This all was a very hopeful sight for me – maybe we can open our home to more cats in the future!
Melissa got home around seven, bringing with her a hammock (meant for ferrets) that we hung up in his crate for him. He was so not aggressive that I had to just let him out of the cage for a while. Tuggie was still hiding and the other cats didn’t have much of an adverse reaction to him, so letting him out supervised should be fine, right? Right I was! He followed both Melissa and I around, looking up and letting out some cute little meows. I brought him over to the couch where he made himself quite comfortable and snuggled down and got cozy. My heart burst with warmth and love to see that he was safe and sound and happy.
It’s been two days now since Jimmmy’s arrival, and while Tuggie is still being a brat, all else is going really well. He spends the night in his crate without complaining. He eats in his crate as well. And we let him out supervised for several hours at a time. Yesterday, he even managed to claim the most coveted spot in the apartment for a while – the moving platform/dolly underneath the dining room table! That is one of Jack’s favorite spots… when he isn’t under the bed he’s on the moving platform/dolly. You might ask why a moving platform, well, it is a cat person thing… once a cat has laid down on something and repeatedly goes to it, we can’t take it away! (Whole Foods bags with their handles cut off is another thing that lasts long in this house!)
My hope from posting this story is that it inspires at least ONE of my readers to start fostering. I’m telling you, if we can do it in our crazy cat house, YOU can do it. This cat is perfectly wonderful and is going to make a super companion to someone or a family… I cannot believe he would have died on Wednesday if Empty Cages hadn’t stepped in… I simply can’t believe it. So please, get in touch with your local rescue organizations and volunteer to open your heart and home to a foster. Their lives *literally* depend on it. <3 If you can’t foster, for whatever reason, please consider making a donation to a rescue to support their efforts.
Here are some great rescues that are always looking for fosters:
Empty Cages Collective (NYC)
Liberty Humane Society (Jersey City)
Hudson County Animal League (Jersey City)
If you can’t foster, please donate!