If you’re an Animal Lover Without an Animal to Love, Fostering Could be the Answer for You

by Anna Pickering, Mayhew

To be totally honest, I’ve always been a dog lover. Our family dachshund Douglas has been the love of my life for the last 6 years! So, when I moved to London, I thought I was destined to live a miserable, pet-less existence. When I started working at Mayhew in North West London, I was surrounded by lovely dogs and cats and the amazing team that looks after them, and I began to understand the urgency and importance of fostering, particularly for cats.

After speaking with our expert Animal Care team, I had a good understanding of what fostering would involve, and it seemed like an ideal solution for me. Mayhew can have up to 150 cats and kittens on site at its London headquarters at any one time, and out of these, many would benefit from foster homes, so I wanted to see how I could get involved.

As I work from home a lot, I knew I could be on hand to look after a foster cat or kitten. I also knew I had full support from our Cat Welfare Coordinator, who would be on hand to offer any advice I needed – as they are for all of Mayhew’s wonderful volunteer foster carers!

Let me tell you how Cole came into my life…

Cole, the two-year-old male, stray cat

I fell in love with Cole, an almost two-year-old cat who came into Mayhew as a stray. He’s a very fluffy and affectionate boy and had been in the cattery for more than two months already. Once I had been accepted as a foster carer, I brought him home on 24 May.

I collected him from Mayhew and brought him home to settle into our rented one-bedroom flat. I’d been warned he may hide for a couple of days whilst he got settled, but Cole made himself at home right away! Within a few hours he was snuggled up on the sofa and snacking on dreamies. The Cattery team at Mayhew gave me everything I needed, including his favourite toys, which really helped to make my house his home.

Foster carers desperately needed

Some people aren’t ready to commit to a pet for its lifetime, whether for financial reasons or uncertainty about the future. Fostering a cat or kitten can help you find a furry friend temporarily, as well as help a charity like Mayhew by freeing up space in their facility for more animals in need. It also helps to prepare the cat or kitten before they eventually move on to their forever home.

However, please remember fostering is still a big commitment as there’s no knowing how long you will have your furry friend before they move on. It’s not something to be undertaken lightly. But if, like me, you decide it’s right for you, organisations like Mayhew desperately need fosterers for the pets in their care. This can be for any number of reasons – from helping a nervous pet get used to living in a home or looking after someone’s cat or dog when they’re in hospital or unable to care for their pet due to a change in their circumstances.

Fostering isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you love cats and have the time, energy, and resources to spare, helping a homeless cat make the transition to a permanent home might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It certainly is for me!

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