Rachel and Martin are part of the fabric of the branch, having foster for many years now, often taking on long-term stay cats, with complex problems requiring lengthy behavioural and veterinary interventions. They are our ‘rocks’ and we wouldn’t know what we would do with out them. Here, Martin shares his experiences of fostering cats for RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch.
How long have you been fostering and what species do you foster?
Rachel and I have been fostering cats and kittens for 7 years.
What have you learnt?
I think we’ve learned how to manage our time to include caring for our foster cats and kittens, aside from the basics of feeding and cleaning litter trays. So we make time to play with them and just sit with them sometimes to give them attention. For me personally, as someone who didn’t have pets when I was younger, I’ve lost a lot of the squeamishness I had about cleaning up after animals and getting scratches and bites along the way.
Tell us about your funniest experience fostering.
We had a trio of kittens stay with us at one point: Lobo, Bambu and Zorro, and shortly after their arrival, Zorro went missing. We knew he had just found a good hiding place, as the house is pretty much escape-proof, but we couldn’t figure out where he had gone. After searching the house, we sat down in the living room to figure out our next move. As the room went quiet (aside from the sound of our brains whirring in our heads) there was suddenly some sounds of movement from under my feet. Rachel whispered not to move, as a little head wormed it’s way out from under the sofa I was sat on. We scooped him up and popped him on the litter tray so he could relieve himself and then gave him some overdue dinner, before he made another attempt to escape under the same sofa. It turned out the litte magician had found a hole in the back and had stowed away in there.
What has been your greatest heartbreak?
Our saddest moment has been the loss of our elderly foster cat, Lily. She was in her teens and had unfortunately been struggling with health issues, even before she arrived to stay with us. She had only been with us a month but we had really bonded with her and loved her cheeky personality. Lily would often crawl up and lie between us in bed to sleep, enjoying a cosy snooze as much as the two of us. She eventually had to go to the vet to have some investigation into her poor health, but sadly, she passed away after a mild anaesthetic was given to her before the procedure could even begin. We were absolutely heartbroken, but loved the time we got to spend with her and took comfort in the fact that she got to live out the last of her days in a warm safe environment with people who loved her.
What is the best thing about fostering?
Aside from the obvious, getting to have lots of different cats and kittens stay with us and all the joy with comes with that, we both agree that the best thing is when you get a good match with someone looking to adopt and you know that they are now going to live the rest of their lives in a perfect forever home.
How many ‘foster fails’ have you got?
We’ve not succumbed and adopted any…… yet!