When I started fostering a few years ago with VOKRA I did it for a few reasons but mainly, I just really missed having a cat around. I was living alone for about 6 months when I realized that fostering was actually a perfect option for a young person. I had previously shied away from it because of the potential pain of falling in love with something and letting it go. But I decided to try it and my first two cats (Molly and Wendy!) got adopted right away. I had them for less than three weeks and I was definitely sad when they left, but it was completely manageable sadness that was easily fended off by doing a good thing. I still wanted another cat immediately, so I emailed my foster coordinator and asked for another cat, any cat. So, they gave me Phaedra.
Phaedra had been rescued from under a porch in the Vancouver area at around 9 months. She had 2 different fosters before me and was returned with haste when the fosters realized what a handful she was. Easily overstimulated and quick to become bored, Phaedra was an extremely difficult cat. She would run across the apartment and fling her oversized body at me with all four paws spread wide. She loved to indulge in the “midnight crazies” and attack my feet viciously under the blankets. She was constantly demanding attention but when she got it, she’d attack. It took a great deal of patience to even want to be around her. I couldn’t have friends over without putting her in the bathroom and I excused myself from the apartment on several occasions just to get away from her.
But, after months and months of walking away from bad behaviour and bribing good behaviour with treats, she finally started to come around. There were little pockets of progress. She’d curl up beside me and lick instead of bite or I’d wake up one morning and realize she was finally on the same sleep schedule as me. She was turning into the perfect companion. It’s amazing how cats can help us through hard times in our life. I connected so strongly with Phaedra because as much as I was helping her, she helped me just as much.
Although her behaviour had improved greatly, she was still an extremely high maintenance cat. Every day when I’d come home she’d just be waiting at the door for me to come home. She was so lonely had had plenty of energy to burn. I started wondering if she might like a friend and I reached out to people at VOKRA if they knew of any cats that would be a good fit for her. We all decided that Butters would be worth trying out.
Butters had all the same problems as Phaedra. He was easy to over excite but also had a pretty bad temper. One time he actually cornered me and attacked, it was terrifying. I think 90% of the time he confused aggression with playing because he didn’t realize his own size. (22 lbs!)
People had no idea what a naughty boy he could be. But with his new friend/companion/wife he was learning how to control some of his unpleasant tendencies. They would play all day by running around the apartment and chasing one another. They loved to wrestle and chase treats together. They weren’t quite sleeping together yet but it was clear they were bonded. One time Butters locked himself in the bathroom overnight and I woke up to see Phaedra sleeping pressed against the bathroom door waiting for him to be let out.
They were up for adoption with notes about their behaviour. They had both improved greatly since being together but still Butters still had little meltdowns here and there. My biggest worry was them being returned. Phaedra had been returned a few times and Butters was actually adopted and then surrendered already once. I couldn’t stand the thought of it. Months went by without even a viewing. I transfered them to another foster for the summer (One of the awesome things about fostering! Flexibility!) In my heart I just felt like I wouldn’t see them again. So I threw them a going away party in my hall at school.
I live in a boarding school with all of the students in my hall. Butters and Phaedra became like family to everyone. The girls fell in love with the cats even though they’d get nippy with them if they were poked and prodded too much. One girl even said “When they cats are out, it feels like home.”
When I came back for the summer I was equal parts delighted and disappointed that the cats still hadn’t had a single viewing. I wanted them for myself but also knew they deserved a stable and forever home. As you all now know, three weeks after I got them back Phaedra and Butters were adopted by a perfect family. They’re warm people that I immediately felt a connection with.
I cried the whole way there and the whole way back. I didn’t feel silly about it though, I had them for so long. Phaedra for 2.5 years and Butters for 1. I’m sad but mostly I feel happy that they came so far and now get to go off to a new home. It makes me want to foster more, not less. Phaedra and Butters would have likely been put down at another shelter. VOKRA is 100% no kill and I am proud to be a part of that. Adoption is the goal, and all three of us accomplished that. I’m so proud of myself for letting them go and I know they’re going to have a very lovely life.