When Failed Fosters Are Winners

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Odin, Domino and Gris Gris communing in the garden.

For sixteen years our Siamese siblings Merlin and Coco were inseparable. I secretly worried which cat would be more upset when the other died. Coco was more independent and I thought she’d have an easier time if Merlin went first, but Death doesn’t play favorites. Two and a half years ago Coco exited peacefully via euthanasia in her favorite part of the garden. Merlin sniffed her dead body and promptly went into mourning. He lost his will to live. No treat or toy could coax any joy out of him. He stopped grooming and stayed under the covers in bed all day. When a beloved pet dies every member of the family grieves. Everyone grieves in the own way and according to their own timetable. I expected to grieve for months and did, but I didn’t expect to foster two cats six weeks after Coco died.

I believe in feline destiny. That ready or not, certain cats come into our lives. It’s a meant to be thing. The cats may or may not be what we hoped for or considered a “dream pet”. Prejudices fly out the window with fate. I thought I’d maybe adopt another Siamese and happened to spot a photo of a Siamese at a local shelter. Hope sprang a leak. Could he be “the one”. My husband and I raced over but he’d just been adopted but we were told there were two cats in desperate need of a foster home. A scrawny old mouser was being bullied and 5 month-old kitten was recuperating from losing an eye. Fostering is temporary. What a great idea. We could grieve, give Merlin some company and help out some cats.

My heart sank when I entered the small shelter room where the old mouser frantically paced back and forth on a window sill. This had been his home for over a year. There was nothing adoptable about him. He was old, toothless, ratty-furred and unsocialized. He smelled of desperation and his yellow eyes screamed, get me out of here. His cellmate, a one-eyed, gregarious kitten with a homely face and dirty, pink nose charmed my husband. I can’t say it was love at first sight with either of them and we left empty-handed. We insisted on a vet visit before bringing them home and 24 hours later they arrived to their temporary home.

Before long, it was clear these two misfits weren’t going to be adopted anytime soon and that was fine with me since we fell madly in love with them, and the rest as they say is history. Merlin bonded with Odin and Gris Gris immediately and seamless. No one noticed that they weren’t the “dream pet”. To round off this story of improbable cat adoptions, our long time porch feral, Domino joined our family indoors to complete our new feline family of four very different cats. These failed fosters are forever winners. It may appear that we chose them but we had an appointment with destiny, and they chose us. They aren’t perfect but they are purrfect.

Have you had a feline appointment with destiny? Would you like another?

Save a Life and improve your own

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Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days, the biggest free pet adoption event in America, is going national in 2013, and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is leading the charge in New York City. The goal is to place hundreds of dogs and cats in qualified forever homes, and are hosting Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days on June 1 & 2. Free adoptions will be offered throughout the weekend at participating shelters and other adoption locations, and at two large outdoor adoption events in Manhattan.  Please click here to learn more.





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21 thoughts on “When Failed Fosters Are Winners”

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  2. Another great post. The cat/human bond is so incredible. And the cats who come into our lives do seem to be our destiny. They some how know immediately where they belong and if they are lucky they can pass that vibe onto the person(s) who are supposed to love and care for them for the rest of their lives. We’ve and and now have many kitties in our family just like that. Janet

  3. Abbi was my failed foster. I believe they all choose us. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Like giving birth to children, we never know what’s in store – our kitty children are full of surprises, each one more beautiful than the one before.

  4. Our mom has found sometimes the ones you want the least are the ones you wind up loving the most. It sounds like that is what happened at your house too.

  5. If it ends in a forever home and love and care then it isn’t a failure by any means and every cat is perfect in their own way. It is after all our imperfections that make us need another to complete us and make us whole. Luv and purrs to all that have been facing the tornados and severe weather ,we pray for your safety and recovery.
    Luvs Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang >^..^<

  6. Each of our 5 was feline destiny.
    Each one was a throwaway.
    Each one would not be here today if they were not with us.
    It has not always been easy co-existence but it has been worth it.
    They enrich our lives far more than we do theirs.

  7. Now I know how you got your boys!! Sounds purrfect to me too. Yes I would love another, in fact I’ve been offered a kitten! However, I know my situation needs to change before I can adopt another 🙁

  8. Wow, what a great story! You’re right…you just don’t know when the purrfect cat will come your way…and sometimes you find one that you didn’t think was going to be purrfect and it turns out it really was.

  9. doods…way awesum gotcha day storeez…we bee happee ya finded yur forever home with merlin…heez one rockin kewl dood….N just hink, if ya had knot went ta lives with him, we wood knot noe ewe, ewe wood knot noe uz, and all de trout we cooked up wood be chewed on by sum other kittehz….we R happee EWE iz abe bull ta stop by for lunch 🙂


  10. Teared up just a little but good tears. Tipp was a former feral, but was up for adoption. I asked to hold him, and was told that he didn’t really like it, but funny, he snuggled right in tight. He hasn’t stopped loving it since. Meant to be.

  11. Such an adorable story. Yes, with love, many will be adopable. My FIL had a cat who adopted him, one day, the angry tiger cat showed up at the door, and my FIL took him in. This was about 15 years ago. The cat had obviously been abused, and was very skittish, but slowly Dixon took to my FIL. One day, my FIL asked if I would take Dixon for two weeks while my FIL was on vacation. Sure. We had a large house and a nice basement, where Dixon could be alone, if he wished. We didn’t have any other cats at the time. We had a cage with a rabbit and a guinea pig and a bird cage with two parakeets, so I had to keep Dixon away from those.

    Dixon was scared. He slept on the window sill in our basement family room. He’d snarl when I entered the room. I would say his name and bring food for him at the sill. Before the two weeks was up, one day, Dixon crawled off the window sill and brushed by my legs. He still had love in him.

    A bonded pair split by death must be so very painful for the other cat. Mao was in shock to see Ched leave. It is the same with cats as with us. One day in the 80s, my husband and I spotted a raccoon by the road that a car had hit. A raccoon family was nearby. They stood in a circle over the body. Clearly, they were grieving. We had lots of raccoons in town at that time, in the wooded areas. Good animal control rid our suburbs of most raccoons — a protective measure — since rabies had been creeping up in the U.S. among the raccoon population since the 70s.

  12. Boodie wasn’t exactly a failed foster – it was more like a forced-upon foster, since the rescue called once to show her and then my human never heard from them again! But she didn’t exactly make an effort to get her out of the house either, although her microchip is still registered with the rescue… after 11 years.

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