A123504 (Stubs)

The toughest thing about fostering other than parting from them when you drop them off for adoption is knowing that eventually, you will lose one. I knew this when I started fostering, and I know this as I am typing right now, but still my heart is breaking into a million pieces.

On Sunday, a little over 48 hours ago, Stubs came down with the same cold as her sister and she stopped eating. We were more worried about her sister at the time and quickly booked an appointment for Monday afternoon. From what we could tell, Stubs seemed okay.

When we got to the vet, we were told that both her and her Sister Zipper2 have a fever and secondary bacterial infection from URI. It was recommend that we leave them both at the clinic over night, we brought Darth home with us and waited to see if Zipper2 would recover.

The vet called this morning to let us know that Stubs didn’t make it, she was surprised too since Zipper2 was the sicker one. I don’t really remember what else she said over the phone, I just remember the absolute shattering pain in my heart.

When you foster, you are there to take care of the little ones, to provide them with the best care possible so that they would have a higher chance of survival, so that they can be healthy and find loving forever homes. The foster kittens do not belong to us, and so there’s a sense of added responsibility when you take care of them. We were entrusted with caring for them. We are the parents until they are ready to go out on their own. So when you lose a foster kitten, there’s always doubt, guilt, and a sense that you have failed some how at parenting. My brain knows we tried the best we could and eventually something like this will happen. However, my heart still questions what would have happened if I had just taken her into the vet 24 hours earlier, would she still be alive? Someone else out there would have had the opportunity to enjoy her company as much as I did.

I have only had three short days with her and already I was head over heels in love with the little girl. It was obvious she had a rough start but you really couldn’t tell by the way she behaved. She loved to be around people and from the first day tried to follow me every where I went. She purred at the sight of me and was always trying to sit next to me whenever I am in the nursery. I knew when I got her it would be difficult to drop her off for adoption, but nothing prepared me for this.

When you own a pet, often you know when the time comes and you get to say goodbye, I never got to say goodbye to her. When I left her at the vet’s office, she was purring on the counter, looking at me with her big eyes. The thought of her dying alone in a cage is breaking my heart, the thought of not getting the chance to say goodbye, to let her know how much I loved her company, to let her know that she’s one of the best kitties I have ever known, is one of the hardest things of being a foster parent.

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3 Responses to “A123504 (Stubs)”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, Jane. It sounds like you were, and are, the best foster parent any kitten could hope for. *hugs*

  2. Leigh Honeywell Says:

    Oh Jane, I’m so sorry to hear this :( they both look like little sweethearts and this must have been so hard.

    -Leigh

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Don’t beat yourself up over the lost kittens. It’s very sad to say it, but it’s bound to happen and it is not your fault. My second foster litter had a very, very undernourished momma cat and 6 six babies. 4 of them just never grew and died one by one before they were 2 weeks old. I gave one of them back to the humane society vet to be taken care of by someone with more experience, and I managed to save the 6th one – Fat Baby. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I just kept thinking I wasn’t bottle feeding them right, or I could have done more to fatten the momma cat up and make her take better care of them. But, the more I Googled foster kittens and talked to the people at the humane society, I finally started to get over it. No one blamed me and I doubt anyone would blame you. Sometimes kittens just don’t make it; it’s no one’s fault.
    Also, it’s not always your fault that you don’t think to take them to the vet for every little sniffle. I don’t know about yours, but I know my humane society doesn’t exactly encourage that. I don’t mean that they don’t care, and they would never say this outright, but they are extremely busy, have a limited budget, and their goals are population control and overall population welfare in the long run, not individual kitten saving.
    I know this blog post is pretty old, you’re probably already moved on, but I just want to say that what you’re doing is a very good, very necessary thing, and we can’t afford to lost any good foster parents over guilt. I know I couldn’t do it for at least a month after my bad experience. I hope no one else has to feel as horrible as I did. Well, I’m sure you were stronger than I was :) Good luck with your future kittens.

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