As you can probably tell by the number of pets in my household and from stories like our rescue and return of Max the Cat to his family, my husband and I have a big, squishy soft spot for cats. That said, we are clearly at (over) our comfortable limit for animals in our small house and yet...
We're fostering a cat again. It's a risk because he's not associated with a rescue group this time; he's just a really sweet cat whose time at an overcrowded shelter was almost up. A volunteer noticed his situation and shared a photo and story on Facebook and I couldn't turn away.
The shelter called him Sooty because he was found in a car engine at a dealership with some of his fur singed. He's about ten years old, neutered and declawed already, so he was probably someone's pet before his misadventure under the hood of a strange car delivered him who-knows-how-many miles away from home.
He ended up at that town's shelter, which is having known problems accommodating cats. His stray hold expired yesterday and that's an out-and-out death sentence. The woman who posted him pled, "Don't let him die due to bureaucratic crap!" and that's what struck me the most because I'm very aware of how the shelter system in our country consistently fails cats. She knew and I know that as a senior cat, this boy would be completely out of luck if someone didn't step up.
So I messaged my husband with the cat's photo and story and said I thought we should offer to foster him. His immediate reply: "Do it."
As we discussed it further, I said to my husband that I knew a one-off foster like this was the equivalent of trying to hold back the tide with a rake. Still, it's like that story "A Single Starfish." I know I can't save them all, but I can make a difference for this one.
Thanks to our experience with Max, we have a pretty cozy cat area set up in our laundry room. I picked Sooty up last night and installed him in his new place with food, water, toys and a litter box. He's very friendly and loves attention. Unfortunately, he is shockingly thin and doesn't seem very interested in food, so I suspect I'll have to get him some veterinary attention before we can start looking for a permanent home for him. He seems pretty active and bright-eyed and his water consumption and litterbox use look normal, so I'm hoping his problem is no worse than a bad tooth or something like that.
Assuming we can get him to put on some healthy weight, we'll find a home for him to live out his life with one of our friends or by taking him to adoption events in conjunction with local rescue groups.
No matter what happens, I think we made the right choice by giving him a chance. We all deserve that.