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Giving Cats Shelter While Sheltering In Place

Author: Darcy Raven

All of us on the Job Shop team try to volunteer in our community every few months. We are also huge supporters of GGLRR (Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue) and regular volunteers. But for me, sporadic volunteering wasn’t enough, something was missing. Living in the city and having a dog is hard, so as much as I wanted to be a part of a dog's life, I knew it was not possible for me. What was possible was maybe having a cat.

My partner grew up with cats and prefers them over dogs, so that meant there was a better chance of him agreeing to a cat. After a brief talk, we both agreed that owning a cat would be unfair to the cat. We, even to this day, are unsure of where we will be in the next year or two, so the last thing we want is to be put in a situation where we have to give up the cat. Then it hit me! Who needs to commit to a cat when we can save lives and commit to many cats?! Without hesitation, I dove deep into the cat rescues in SF only to remember that my friend briefly fostered cats with Give Me Shelter. I went on their site, filled out their foster application, which was simple and straight forward, and later that day I received a call. After answering more questions over the phone, we were all set to be foster cat parents for Give Me Shelter. 3 years and 19 foster cats later we are still going strong and loving the foster experience. And no, we have not kept any of our foster cats. One of the most common questions my partner and I get is "Are you going to adopt your current foster cat?" People are always shocked that we are so ok giving up a cat we have bonded with and grown to love. But that’s exactly it, it’s because we do love the cat so much so that we know they will have a better life with someone else. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we can’t give the cat a good life. It’s just not the right time for us. When we finally own a cat I also want a dog, a backyard, and more space than our current studio home provides. And let me tell you every single one of those 19 cats that we have had adopted went to their perfect forever home. Literally. We had a cat named Annie. She had a fascination with the shower/water in general, had a drive to be out in the world, was fearless when we put her in a harness and went for brief walks outside. Now she is living the life in a house boat, sailing around and observing the ocean and all that the sea life has to offer. If that isn’t a perfect happily ever after story then contact me cause I have plenty more stories to tell. In the moment, having to say goodbye to your foster friend is hard but it’s really just bittersweet. Which turns more into sweet. Looking back and hearing the stories of the cats we have fostered and knowing that we saved their life and helped them transition to the happiest times of their lives is indescribable. It fills your heart with so much joy and fulfillment that I would recommend for everyone to try fostering a cat or a dog! And now with this epidemic, more animals are in need and more rescues are desperate for fosters. Though covid-19 has been tough for everyone, in many ways it’s also been good for the number of cats that are being adopted. With the virus around, people are home, which makes now a great time to finally get that dog or cat you have been wanting and clearly that’s the mindset of a lot of people. Since the shelter in place order we have had 8 fosters adopted. That’s half of the cats we have fostered since we started in 2017. Give Me Shelter has adopted out 145 cats since the shelter in place has started and are up to 225 cats adopted so far in 2020. If this keeps up it will be the organization's most successful year of cat adoptions! Crazy how things change. Owning a cat or any animal is a huge change so if you are considering adopting, remember sheltering in place won’t be forever but your commitment to the animal is forever. In the end, maybe you would be better suited to foster. Fostering is like having your very own pet but with the flexibility and freedom of pet sitting or borrowing a friend's pet. And the best thing is you get to experience many personalities while helping your community and the abandoned animals in need. Make an impact; Rescue, Foster, Volunteer, Adopt, Donate or check out my Instagram and follow to see all the fabulous moments a foster cat can provide @foster_meowster

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