This is my foster kitty Ralph. His elderly owner was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and he asked me to take in Ralph. Ralph and his human Dad were very closely bonded; Ralph has been very sad since arriving here, but the dark cloud over him is finally starting to lift a bit. Yesterday, for the first time since I got him several weeks ago, he started eating his food right away when I put it down in front of him. He had his first vet check last week and while he does have a heart murmur, he is otherwise healthy. He will be neutered December 3rd, and I hope to find him an amazing home. These are my favourite intakes... it is a privilege to be able to help people who are in palliative care or (moving to long-term care homes where they can't have a pet.) Being able to put someone's mind at ease by taking in their beloved cat and finding him or her a home is just so gratifying.
I think, however, that after I adopt out the cats I currently have, I will have to stop fostering altogether. Or I may take a long break and see how I feel. I absolutely love helping cats and spending time with them, but although most of the people I deal with are great, the ones that aren't are really wearing me down. I have literally never been so exhausted in my life, and if I'm not burned out now, I will be soon. I am going to think about other ways to help cats besides doing this. I have talked about quitting before, but I am honestly coming to the end of my rope. I don't want my health to start to suffer. I also want to have more time to devote to our own enormous collection of felines!
I find that with fostering/adopting/rescue, people are constantly testing your boundaries. I have strong boundaries after all these years, but it is nonetheless tiresome to have to reinforce them all the time. I would quite frankly rather be leading a quieter life with my animals and art.
As an introvert, I also find the constant stream of people coming to our farm utterly exhausting. I am not cut out to deal with people all day. I need lots of quiet time to myself to make art and write, and that is not happening at all right (the exception being this blog post!) Plus of course everyone wants to visit a farm, but some people don't consider that it's our home, and sometimes we don't want guests. I mean really, would you invite yourself over to someone's house? We had a neighbour showing up unannounced last week with his kids, wanting a tour! On a day when I already had construction going on AND a kids' birthday party happening. But people do that to us all the time. As it stands now, I am not getting enough rest and that really has to change. It's just incredibly difficult, as I find it so fulfilling being able to help cats in need. I think I need to find other ways to help them.
And of course, we are still dealing with the aftermath of the criminal we employed here for six years. He was finally charged with two counts of theft, one count of fraud, and one count of intimidation. He told the police he is completely innocent, which is a complete lie. He's actually just a sociopath. His girlfriend (my former hairdresser, ugh!) enables him, and has already been sending her "flying monkeys" after me, to do some victim-blaming. So everything gets recorded, with screenshots for the police file in case they persist in being complete *ssholes. The officer who has been working with us has been so great. This will take a long time to wend its way through the system, especially if it goes to trial, but I am so glad we reported him. Apparently he has been stealing from employers and clubs for years, but no one ever went to the police about it. He was fired, he was banned from a club, but he went on his merry way, ended up here, and completely betrayed our trust. It has honestly made me quite bitter. I hope to move past that soon, but it is hard to trust anyone right now. We are dealing with two awful human beings choosing to make the world worse, not better.
My days have just been a blur lately and I'm getting two old for this. But on a happier note, so far this year I have adopted out 38 cats, and taken in 43! I know that's a drop in the bucket given the issues we have around here with unwanted cats, but I am happy to have been able to help those cats. And my adopters are just such wonderful people. I had someone adopt a 5-month-old kitten named Richard this week. Richard will need considerable work to become more socialized as he was not handled enough by humans as a young kitten. But this woman was ready and willing to take him on. I appreciate all my adopters, but there is a special place in my heart for those that will take on a cat or kitten that is not "easy."
Here are some of the beautiful kitties I have right now. Have a great weekend!