When it comes to getting foster cats adopted, there are many options.  Through Animal Welfare League of Frederick County (and similar organizations), one can utilize adoption events and places to show them such as Petsmart or the AWL office.  They also offer screening interviews and all the proper paperwork for adoptions.  If provided photos and a bio, AWL can post on Petfinder.com.  Individually, one can post in local ads such as Craigslist.  Social media can also work with websites or blogs, such as adoptcassie.  How did my foster experience pan out?  Here are the results:

  • Craigslist: 7 (all individual adoptions)
  • Friends and Family: 3 (one cat to a home and two to another)
  • Social media: 2 (two cats to same home)
  • Petfinder: 1
  • Petsmart cages and adoption events: 0

I was surprised that there wasn’t more interest at adoption events or showing cats in the Petsmart cages.  Petfinder can work, but the site is so overloaded with cat listings that it’s unlikely to find a good match.  I was very, very skeptical of Craigslist, but was more than pleased.  All of the people who responded and came to meet the cats were completely normal and had a desire to provide a good home.  My situation made it easy to adopt on Craigslist because I wasn’t charging an adoption fee.  My main concern was finding good homes for the cats.  I highly recommend not advertising “free to a good home”.  You want to attract people who would are willing and able to pay, but are enticed by the incentive of no fees.  Either way, if someone responds and their first question is regarding money, be very cautious and do a proper screening interview before letting them leave with the cat(s).  I think I got very lucky with the people who responded and I wasn’t in the situation where I had to say no to an interested party.  You can’t be afraid to do that if you aren’t comfortable with the adoption situation.  To minimize the risk, take advantage of the screening process offered by organizations such as AWL.

If anyone would like more information about my fostering/adoption experience, please feel free to contact me.

This gentle giant was adopted in September and is doing great.  At about four months old, it became apparent that Tucker was going to be larger than his siblings.  I nicknamed his father Gigantor after the few occasions I saw him in my back yard, so it’s obvious where he got the large genes.

Tucker now has a wonderful parent who trains dogs and does pet sitting.  With her love of animals and expertise in care, I couldn’t ask for a better home for him.  He’s made friends with the dogs and even gets along with the 5’ corn snake.  I still remember how soft and silky his fur is, so it’s good that he likes to cuddle.  Let’s hope he stops growing soon or he’ll end up on a leash walking with the dogs.

I took advantage of the snow day this Thursday to reach out to some of the adopters of whom I lost track.  I figured everyone on the east coast was home that day.  I received all good news that the cats have adapted well and most have new kitty friends, including Chaos (pictured above).  The first photo was when he was a kitten in my basement, and the other photos are him now.  He gets lots of attention from his family and has a new buddy with whom he plays and sleeps.  He’s really grown into a handsome boy.  I felt like I never really got to know him as a foster since he was adopted soon after he came out of his shell.  I knew he would do well, but was happy to have that confirmed this week.

At the end of October, this beautiful girl went to her forever home.  Nora was one of the last to be adopted, which was fine with me because I had the opportunity to spend more time with her.  In my basement, she had a wonderful personality, but she was rather shy and skittish.  I was so pleased when I received updates that she adjusted to her new home almost immediately.  She is super-friendly, loves getting attention, and is great with kids.  Sounds like Nora can be mischievous and has the habit of stealing and caching things like Q-tips and Legos.  She loves watching wildlife from the windows and I’m guessing she likes adoring herself in mirrors.  It’s impossible to predict how cats will adjust to new surroundings, but this adoption far exceeded my expectations.

In August, this wild guy found a perfect home in Frederick.  He was always the life of the party in my basement, and now he gets all the attention he could want.  He even gets regular manicures.  I’ve been interested in trying those claw covers for my cats, but I just clip their claws whenever they get sharp enough to hurt me.  Fooz still plays like a crazy kitten, and has become quite the cuddler.  I hope he’s still practicing his foosball skills.  I couldn’t be happier about him in his forever home with his loving family.

After her kittens were adopted, this mom cat really came out of her shell and constantly craved attention.  We thought about keeping her, but when we introduced her to our other three cats, she quickly started terrorizing them.  Instead, we posted her on Petfinder and found her a wonderful forever home in West Virginia.  She is now named Molly.  Despite her naturally friendly personality, she adjusted very slowly.  With some patience, she eventually came around and is now a loved member of the family.  She even has a new playmate after her parents adopted a neighborhood stray cat.  They get along just fine, so maybe she just needed to have dominance in the house to accept other cats.  While fostering Molly, I really connected with her, so I’m very happy that she’s settled into a good home and that I get occasional updates and photos to know she’s doing well.

This little guy was the easiest fostering experience ever.  Personality-wise, he was ready to be adopted from day one.  My biggest problem with him was that he wanted too much attention.  He would literally climb all over me to get attention.  In March, I flew him from Baltimore to Las Vegas to his forever home with my brother.  Flying probably wasn’t the best idea, but it worked out better than I ever would have imagined as I described in a previous post. He took on the name Mantis because of the superhero badge on his chest.  He is completely happy in his new bachelor pad with his playmate, Timmy.  They get along amazingly well and spend a lot of time together.  Mantis also enjoys interacting with football (association and American) games on the TV.  I need to go visit him again and see if he remembers me.

These two were the first foster cats to be adopted.  I used to just call them light grey and dark grey rather than naming them.  It was back in February, although it feels like years ago.  I had some emotional issues with that adoption and may have shed a few tears.  Not necessarily because of my bonds with them, but it broke my heart to split up the family.  It all worked out in the end and these beautiful cats are happy in their forever home in Ohio.  Their proud kitty parent, Claire, named them Minnie (light grey) and Lulu (dark grey).  These photos are from her Instagram page.  It’s nice for me to be able to watch them grow up without begging for updates.

With a great sigh of relief, I can declare that all of the foster cats have been adopted.  Time for a victory lap.

Enough modesty…I am awesome.  In one year, I successfully fostered 13 stray cats (pictured above with mothers on the left and their kittens on the right).  With food, attention, and shelter, I lured three mom cats into my back yard with their kittens, abducted them all, fostered them, and found them forever homes.  I had a good deal of help from the Animal Welfare League with its Friends Helping Felines program that offers low-cost care (vaccines, de-worming medicine, and spay/neuter).  I absolutely loved the whole experience, but let’s be honest, it was a major inconvenience.  It was expensive to care for all the cats.  Quality canned food, kitty litter, litter pans, food/water dishes, medicine, extra charges at the vet for pain medicine…it all adds up pretty quickly.  It’s also lot of work socializing stray cats.  I needed to find time every day to interact with the foster cats and try to get them used to other people.  The whole fostering process was a big strain on relationships with my cats and wife.  Finally, there’s the stress of finding them good homes.  At first, it seems like no home will be worthy of the cats.  Then I have to accept that other people love their cats in different ways and they all mean well.  That has to be enough to part with the cats with which I’ve spent so much time and formed bonding relationships.

Personal bests: Twelve cats in the house at one time.  Nine cats in the car at one time. Not keeping any of the foster cats for myself.

Up next…where are they now?

My last foster cat was adopted a week ago (with 0.5 days to spare before we moved to DC).  That adoption was scheduled for about four days, but it still came down the wire.  After serving time in the Petsmart cages, the grey and white boy kitten went to his new home last Friday.  He got off to a good start before falling into some bad transitional habits.  He’s spending a lot of time hiding and acting scared around his new family.  They understand that he just needs time to get comfortable and then he’ll be set for life.  It’s still disappointing when it seems like your cat doesn’t want anything to do with you.  He was the sweetest thing when they first met him.  They took turns holding him for close to an hour.  They know he’ll be like that again (and better) once he adjusts.  He’s just overwhelmed and unsure of his new surroundings.  I hope everyone will be happy soon.

I’m not a man with an excess of good luck (or enough to fill a thimble), but I feel really lucky with the last several adoptions.  They all happened within a truncated time line without being rushed.  The adopters are all excellent matches for the cats, and I feel very comfortable with their futures.  It’s still sinking in that my foster experience is over for now.  I have plenty of follow-up posts to come.  Stay tuned.