I am officially now a kitten fosterer. We had our first set of kittens, four gorgeous little eight week olds, over the last two weeks. The had little cat colds and we learnt how to give them their medicines, keep them warm and fed and fluid-filled. We got to cuddle, teach our boys gentle handling of little cat babies. And then they went back, to get ready for their new homes.
And that was the test for me. That first time I would have to surrender the cute little balls of fluff I'd been spending all that time socialising and helping to get better. I was fine about it. It was a joy to know we had helped these kittens, aided the rescue centre and there were now four kittens not only healthy, but friendly and well socialised enough to be perfect for rehoming. A nice accomplishment.
Then three nights ago we dropped these little ones off and picked up our next two rescues. They were the definition of what you'd expect from rescue animals - scared of humans, scared of noise, weren't eating and would hiss and claw at us when we went near them. This would be my biggest challenge, and also biggest learning curb. Now three nights later, these same little feral kittens are sitting up on our bed, playing with us and jumping on our knees. They are eating well, playing and just normal kittens now. It seems I have the magic touch for this! We were warned it would take up to three weeks to get them used to touch, being picked up etc... and while they are still a little timid and nervous of being petted we have come so far in just three days.
I think this whole fostering thing could quite possibly be one of the most important things I have done for myself since I got unwell. It's healing the feeling of being lacking in some nurturing way that occurred when the boys were babies and I was extremely unwell but didn't know why. It's fulfilling the longing of having another baby in the house to rectify where I went wrong last time. It's giving me a reason to rest and jobs to do.
While it has also helped me to realise I will never be crazy cat lady - in the future I'd like to only actually own one cat at a time - I do see this as being a long term thing for as long as I'm needed. I feel useful. So this, along with the extra time I get to spend with my nieces and nephews due to being a stay-at-home Mum has made the fact that a paid job is not a possibility in the near future much easier to accept.
I can't forget what my younger sister said either, to treasure the fact I get to be at home with my children regardless of the circumstance that might have led to it.
Seems I have many good and wonderful people around me ready and willing to lift me up when I'm feeling a little down. Texting me, chatting with me and even making me fruit salad :) and I now feel, in a round about way, I am finally giving a little something back.