Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've written about our foster cats before, but I've never explained why we started fostering, and I never got to write about Robin before he got adopted.

Last October, on our magnificent two-week tour of Utah's national parks, we stopped for a day in Kanab, UT, home of Best Friends Animal Society, where the show DogTown was filmed (it aired a couple seasons on the National Geographic channel).

We spent the afternoon hanging out with the cats, specifically the FIV and special health needs cats. The idea  is, all of these cats are adoptable--friendly, affectionate, will live long happy lives--but in many eyes, they're damaged goods, unlovable. So the sanctuary takes them in and provides them with a great environment until somebody comes along or visits the website and adopts them.

Sometimes all a cat needs is for someone to just sit with him or her, so on their terms they can approach you and feel safe enough to receive affection. Some of these cats aren't shy at all about giving and receiving affection.

Anyway, we loved the idea of saving perfectly adoptable pets from being euthanized in overcrowded shelters, so when we came home we hooked up with our local Humane Society as cat fosters. This means we choose to rescue up to two cats at a time from the county animal control shelter and keep them in our home. We get to know their personalities, introduce them to our three other cats, and eventually take them to PetSmart on Sundays for adoption days.

First we fostered Art/Dodge. Rather than moving to the sanctuary in Florida as I wrote earlier, he found employment as a barn cat for a woman who works with the local Humane Society. He's got a nice cushy barn, ever-plenty food, and lots of nooks and crannies to play in.

Next we got Carson. He's a big hunk o' love if I ever met one. We have conversations about everything from his litterbox to what I should wear that day, and he loves to sit at my feet or be cuddled. His favorite pastime is to lick our cat Dawson's ears. We say they have a bromance going on; and on top of that, I'm a little smitten with him. He's going to be hard to give up.

Then we got Robin. He chirps when he purrs and loves to play with anything that moves, including, when we introduced him to the other cats, Carson. At first he was shy with Carson, but before long he was treating him like a jungle gym. He weighs probably a third of what Carson weighs, but when he pounced on Carson, the big teddy bear would yowl and run off as fast as he could. On my very first day taking any of our cats to PetSmart, within a half-hour of arriving and getting Robin in his display crate, a young couple came in looking for a playmate for their young female cat. Someone pointed them to Robin, and they fell in love. It was hard to see him go, and I had been dreading that moment. On the way to PetSmart, I had called Andrew, crying, wondering if he'd be OK not getting to say goodbye if Robin got adopted. Andrew's not as dramatic as I am--he's fine. But as for me, once I met the couple and saw how they handled him, I knew Robin had found a good home.

To replace Robin, a week ago we rescued Sally, a tiny one-year-old girl who mixes up her play and her affection. She loves to be loved on, but all of a sudden she'll flop on her side and try to wrestle your hand. We're teaching her appropriate boundaries. Play with toys, Sally. Hands are not toys. But her face just screams cuteness, and she loves to "make biscuits" with her paws. I'm sure she'll get adopted fast, too.

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