My First Foster


This is the only picture I have of Katie. It was taken on my Palm Pilot. I remember being very impressed that the device could do so many things. Even more impressed that I was able figure out how to do it!

I had just arrived in Seattle and was feeling liberated from the daily frustrations of life as a customer services supervisor at JFK. I loved feeling the proximity of the vast Pacific and being surrounded by mountains. It was wonderful at first, and while my job at SEATAC provided some of the most diabolic nights of my 38 years with British Airways, the working environment of a one-flight a day station simply does not compare with a multi-flight station.

In my newly invigorated frame of mind, I decided that it was time to become involved in animal welfare. It was something I had always wanted to do but until 2000 I had commitments that took up most of my spare time and energy.

I can’t help wondering, in retrospect, whether I was actually uncomfortable with my new freedom. It’s an interesting thought! See what you think:

I picked up the “Mutt Messenger” at my new vet’s office. It was a local paper detailing various animal “rescues” and listing pages of cats and dogs for adoption. They all needed money, of course. I somehow selected one and sent them some money along with a note asking if I could help in any way.

All these years on I still feel guilty about how it played out. My dearly beloved Himalayan, Yeti, had been my only cat for 14 years. And I agreed to foster another. I suspect that in the back of my mind I was preparing for a time when Yeti would be gone which was something too painful to acknowledge. Taking in a foster may have been a good thing , but I still can’t believe I allowed myself to consider it

The cat I was asked to foster was a skinny grey girl that for reasons I have forgotten, had become terrified, and was living behind a washing machine.


I put the new kitty in my spare room to calm down, so she and Yeti didn’t really meet. But Yeti certainly knew there was another cat in her home. There was no hissing at the door or signs of distress, but from the day she stopped being an “only”, Yeti stopped coming to sit in my lap. It was the only visual change, but I got the message and I felt terrible.

I had already decided the “foster” would stay. There was no way I could befriend an animal only to give it away, particularly a cat that was so nervous. And, typically, the minute I saw her, I fell in love. Even now I call myself “traitor!”, but it wasn’t that I intended to share my love between the two cats. I have always had endless amounts of love for animals and my heart has room for all of them. I tell myself that Yeti knew this. Well I would, wouldn’t I? (I have an entire story written about all this called “The 37th Incarnation” . Definitely a for cat-people only sort of thing.)

And since the new girl was going to be mine, I wanted to change her name. She didn’t look like “Cissy” to me. My favourite of all time person, my aunty Kay had died a year before, so I decided to call the new cat Katie.

As it turned out, Yeti and Katie never did have the chance to be friends. I had accepted Katie in the belief that she had been checked out medically, but her rescuer was chronically broke. Later on, I came to realize, I had found myself yet another needy person. Eventually, when I took her to my vet, it was discovered that Katie carried the feline leukemia virus.

I all but freaked out and I had no option but to ask the rescuer to take Katie back. It broke my heart but it was decided that the poor creature could move in with the rescuer’s mom, and that was were she spent the rest of her little life which was not a whole lot longer.

I had Katie for such a short time and she had only just started trusting me when I had to give her back. She was a sweet, forlorn little creature and I often find myself remembering her, particularly now that I have another grey girl. But I’ll tell you about her another time!

5 thoughts on “My First Foster

    1. No..Yeti never came to sit on my lap again…it’s hard to explain but when Katie had to go there was immediately another cat in need. I should have recognized that the rescue lady was super needy and not good for me but because it involved cats….she said there was a birth defects cat living in a stable and she was worried he would get trampled…which is how Panther came into my life…I will write about him…he was so special. But I decided that in the evening I would withdraw into my bedroom with Yeti so we could have our special time and she always slept by my head. We still had a very special relationship. When she died it was Panther that helped me to recover, and a tiny kitten given to me by for Thimphu….

  1. A sad story but at least Katie got some love and security in her short life. I so hope she didn’t pass on her illness to Yeti. And oh yes, Palm Pilots! I didn’t have one but I remember my school administrator was soooo proud of his and “all” the things it could do! Enjoying your new blog.

  2. Yeti was with me for three more years and died of kidney failure. I couldn’t remember the name of the device that took that picture, had to look it up on the ‘net. A friend gave it to me and for a while I didn’t have a clue what to do with it!

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