Two years ago, we were alerted to a post on social media that caused some concern. Someone had a litter of one day old kittens, and was giving them away for free for people to hand rear. We were very worried for the kittens safety, so contacted the advertiser. He told us that his cat had a few litters in the past, and all the kittens had died because she abandoned them. We offered to help, on the understanding we would take the mother cat so she could rear her kittens. Whilst I am able to hand rear baby animals, it’s much better for mum to do this where possible.
We collected the cats and I fostered them. I set up a crate for Missy (the mother cat) to raise her babies, and I was a little nervous as I knew she had abandoned litters before. There is also an increased risk of mother’s abandoning litters when they are moved. Luckily, she took excellent care of the kittens and fed them as soon as she was settled.
I love all animals, but whereas most people go gooey over puppies and kittens, I cannot resist an old animal (although I do love puppies and kittens too!). Taking on elderly animals isn’t easy as most of them have spent their whole life with one person, and now find themselves in an unfamiliar place and they do find it harder to adjust than the younger animals. It makes things more difficult when they have medical conditions, and most will have some degree of senility which can be difficult enough to deal with when you have had the animal for a long time and it develops, but it’s even harder when that animal is out of their comfort zone.
I have taken in many old animals over the years. In fact, my very first dog was middle aged and helping them is just something I am drawn to. My first ‘failed foster dog’ was a little elderly Jack Russell called Sally. She was found straying and ended up in a pound, and the first photo I saw of her in the pound still breaks my heart to this day. I didn’t intend to keep her when I took her in, but she wiggled into my heart and even though I only had her just short of a year, I loved that dog so much that I decided to open my heart and my home as a retirement home for any elderly animals who could not be rehomed.