Pet Foster Care Stories-Foster Tails
part one The Story of Reece and JJ
Foster Tails is a collection of pet foster care stories
by Robert Hudson
Fostering animals- caring for a homeless animal in your home until it is adopted- is an essential part of rescue. It takes the burden off of shelters by freeing up resources. It helps to nurture and socialize the animal in a more stress free environment.
Over time every foster parent has had at least one foster that they will never forget: that touched their heart, changed their life, and keeps them going. Here we tell their stories.
Christine Welborn has been involved with fostering cats for adoption through her own organization Clouds Kittens Foster and Rescue. She also has six cats of her own. Christine shared with us one such story of a foster that is near and dear to her heart. Presented here in her own words. Pet Foster Care Stories- The Story of Reece and JJ
Pet Foster Care Stories-The Story of Reece and JJ
We got a call from our vet at the time, who we sometimes took in rescue fosters for a time until she adopted them out. She said that a lady had brought in a 6’ week old kitten that she had accidentally clipped with her car when he ran out into the street. This kind lady had also put money on an account for his medical bills.
The kitten was going to need a hind leg amputated and all that goes along with medical recovery. But the vet was not going to do it unless there was a medical foster lined up. She remembered that the year before I had dealt with an amputation for one of our personal cats and thought we would be good to take care of him as we were familiar with the care needed. Also my Mom was a retired family practice office nurse so had appropriate medical training.
Pet Foster Care Stories-Fitting in
We agreed and collected him the next morning and nicknamed him Tripod. I also had a mother cat with 4 four week old kittens that I hoped would take this little guy under her wing so to speak. At first she was not too happy about an older kitten in the group. But when he squeaked in pain as I set him in his bed as gently as I could, Tabitha immediately went into “Mom mode” and began grooming him.
Over the next couple of days while he was on cage rest, she kept trying to scruff him but he was too big for her to take him anywhere without hurting him. We moved his bed to her nesting pen and she completely took over parental care, even calling him to nurse. We hoped the kitten would as the milk would give him added nutrition to heal and the suckling would soothe his trauma from the accident.
Learning and Teaching
I gave him his meds and worked on some PT so his other leg and hip would not freeze up. He was so young that any damage in his growth plates or soft tissue was undetermined. He was incontenet so we were worried about nerve damage to his spine. As I worked with him and he began to play with the other kittens, he even ended up teaching the little kittens how to use the litter box.
I remember the first time it clicked with one of them. I had put Tripod in the litter box and I did this regularly for it seemed to trigger functions. The little gray baby was watching him go and then cover up. The little guy hopped right after, squatted for a pee. Instead of turning to cover it, he just dug in the litter and buried himself up to his chest, looking quite confused as his pile did not look like Tripod’s. By this time the other 3 babies came to watch and all took turns building pyramids.
My father is an engineer and built Tripod a wheelchair so he could get around better. I used it for PT exercise and they did strengthen his other leg and some of his potty habits came back and he was using the litter most of the time. But Tripod preferred to scoot himself around so he could play with the babies. With all this interaction Tabatha’s babies developed faster with huge confidence. Tripod was working out to be a great big brother. For all that this kitten had been through he was curious, confident and loving.
Healthy as a three leg horse
After he had him for about a month the vet cleared him and discharged him as a patient. The vet agreed that there seemed to be no major medical issues that would prevent him from being adopted and we made it official and put him up for adoption both through our connections and the Vet’s. As we always did with babies we had been posting pictures, videos and updates on their progress, Thus there had been many following his story, but not many keen to take on a special needs kitty and a black one at that.
Finding the Right Match
However JJ, a friend of my daughter’s, had taken an interest. He had been wanting to get a kitty but had not found the “right one”. He sympathized with Tripod, having had some challenges as a kid. We convinced JJ to come and meet Tipod. There was an instant connection, it was clear that this kitten was meant to be his. But JJ worried about his ability to care for handicaped kitty. He came back for a couple more visits over the next few weeks and finally JJ could not deny the affection for this little cat any longer.
With our shopping list in hand, he purchased all he would need for Tripod; and I ordered a bright orange collar and ID tag so Tripod would be easily identified as an indoor only cat. We showed JJ how to use the wheelchair and the PT exercises. We reviewed the general care and feeding/play schedule, his weight needed to be monitored because extra can damage his other joints..
Tripod no longer needed any meds but we reviewed what to watch for that would indicate he needed to see the vet. With tears in his eyes JJ renamed him Reece. The name had a dual meaning, Reece’s was JJ’s favorite candy and had 3 E’s.
Reece settled in right away and the two boys settled into a routine. Except for exercise in the wheelchair, Reece just would not use it in the apartment. Remembering the isles we had at the store, JJ would put Reece into the wheelchair and take him out in the hallway and toss his favorite mouse.
Having the Good Life- Pet Foster Care Stories
With Reece chasing his toys longer each time, he rapidly gained muscle and strength. He began walking on his one good hind leg. Soon he could even hop on top of various pieces of furniture and make his way onto the countertop and watch JJ in the kitchen. By six months Reece was a beautiful sleek mini panther.
Life was great for about 3 years. Then Reece suddenly began to have issues that very quickly needed an ER vet visit. Unfortunately he had developed Mega Colan. Sometimes this can be corrected with surgery, but in Reece’s case there was nothing they could do and JJ made the only decision he could and helped Reece cross over. We were all devastated. A sad and unexpected ending to this story is that JJ also passed unexpectedly a couple of years later, he was just in his 30’s and about to propose to his girlfriend.
Do you have Pet Foster Care Stories you would like to share? Send it to us for consideration.
Part two Pet Foster Care Stories coming: Story of Rikki the Chi