I was contacted on Facebook at the beginning of November by Tania and Marilyn. They wanted me to know that seeing posts about Odilia gave them great faith when a kitten with no eyes came into the shelter. Marilyn fostered him and I asked if she would like to do a guest post about fostering.
With out further ado:
Piper and Shelton. Those are the names I gave to the two kittens that started me on my path to being a cat foster mother. After two years of cleaning cages and learning how to deal with cats at the Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay, WI, I decided to take the next big step. Those little kittens, a little boy and his sister, were adorable. I truly felt like their mother. They played with me, on me, and all around me. They climbed on my shoulders and played with my hair. My legs weren't safe. There was no problem climbing right up to my shoulders from the floor. Jeans were a wardrobe requirement when I was with them. When it was time for them to be spayed and neutered, I was at the shelter when they came out of surgery.
Three years later, I’m still fostering cats. Some are babies, too small to do well in an animal shelter. Some are sick and need some time to get better before being adopted. And then there was Tucker. At only a year old, an x-ray showed his leg had been broken and healed badly. Our vet decided to amputate the leg in order to avoid future problems when he went to his forever home. A foster home was needed for pre- and post- op, so I volunteered. Shortly after I brought him home, I found some hairless patches on him. He was tested for ringworm but after 14 days the test was inconclusive. The test was run again and this time it was negative. I spent a lot of time with Tucker in my laundry room that summer. I still spend a lot of time with him. Right now he is attempting to climb my Christmas tree. And he is succeeding because he still has all four legs. Foster fail!!
Every night before I go to bed, I check Facebook. One of the posts I particularly enjoy is Tails from the Foster Kittens. I followed the kitten named Odilia who was born without eyes. She was an amazing kitten. She could do anything a sighted kitten could do. It was like she wasn't blind at all.
Shortly after Odilia was adopted a call went out to the foster families at our shelter. A blind kitten, born without eyes, was in need of a foster home. No one answered the call. Some already had fosters, some were leaving town for the holidays. No one could take the little guy. I thought long and hard about it. And I thought about Odilia a lot. Finally I decided to foster Swiss, the little Siamese with no eyes. I started him in the laundry room where all my fosters live. Every time I put him in his crate, I set him down in his bed so he could orient himself. I left the television on 24/7 so that when he wasn't in his crate, he could use the sound of the TV to guide himself. He soon learned the sound of my voice and would follow me around the room. You would think his favorite toys would make noise so he could find them. Nope. One of his favorite toys was a shoestring!
After a week, it was time to let him leave the laundry room. As usual, he followed the sound of my voice. We went into the family room where he immediately climbed up onto the couch. Uh-oh! Getting up was one thing, but getting down was another. Since he couldn't see to judge how far he would need to jump to get to the floor, he was left pacing the edge of the couch. It took a few days but he figured it out. I don’t know how he did it, I was too busy watching a football game. But I know he didn't fall off, I would have heard that.
In the four weeks Swiss lived at my house, he learned to do everything a “normal” kitten could do, except for one thing. He still couldn't get off most of the furniture or go down the steps. But that will come. When he gets to be a big boy, the steps won’t be so far apart for him and the chairs and furniture won’t be so high. His whiskers will tell him when he gets too close to the walls and his hearing will tell him where to find the things he finds interesting. He will be just like Odilia. He’ll grow up to be strong and smart and sassy. I know he will, because I raised him that way!
Swiss is gone to his forever home now. He was adopted by a young girl who is in the process of getting her Master’s Degree in Animal Psychology. How perfect is that?! She has another cat so he now has a playmate and a buddy to show him the ropes. Her last two cats both lived to be twenty-four years old! It was the perfect adoption. But then, he’s a perfect cat. “Bye Swiss! I’ll never forget you!”