"Making a difference on Virginia's Northern Neck, one cat at a time"
Tips for Letting Go When Your Foster Cat Is Adopted
One of the questions most frequently asked as a cat foster parent is, “How do you let go?” Similarly, a lot of people don’t foster because they think, “I could never give them back.”
Here are five tips for letting go at the end of a foster period. While they’re not exactly foolproof, these tips have helped other fosters.
1. Get a foster cat who’s not right for you long-term. Don’t take in a foster you can’t handle — you want to keep everyone safe — just choose one who doesn’t quite suit your lifestyle. Do you hate to clean? Foster a cat with a long coat. Are you a couch potato? Foster high-energy kittens. As much as you’ll miss your fosters when they’re adopted, part of you will welcome the return to normalcy when they’re gone.
2. Get your friends or family involved. It should go without saying that your whole household needs to agree to fostering a cat in the first place. Having your foster cat bond with a variety of people can help you keep the emotional distance you need to let go — you won’t think of the cat as “yours” and you won’t worry that he or she will never be happy without you.
It’s also great for the cat. Having your friends and family handle, play with and cuddle him gets your foster cat used to meeting and interacting with strangers — a valuable life skill for any cat and one that helps him make a good impression when meeting potential adopters.
3. Help find and screen potential adopters. Helping your foster cat find a new home will keep you in the mindset that he won’t be with you for good. Maybe you can take photos and write a detailed description of your foster cat for his adoption profile. Garfield’s Rescue, Inc will let you help screen potential adopters. You’ll feel more comfortable saying goodbye when you know your foster cat is going to a great forever home — and your efforts increase the chances that he’ll find that home.
4. Remember that letting go of this one enables you to save another life. If keeping this foster cat means you can’t take in another cat in need, then you could be missing out. And the other cats in need are definitely missing out. Remember that, while each adoption saves a life, a great foster parent can save many lives, by socializing and rehabilitating cats who might not otherwise find homes.
5. Ask for follow-up stories and pictures from your foster cat’s adopter. If you’ve met your cat’s adopter, ask him or her for an e-mail update and pictures. You might not always get them, but when you do, you’ll be on cloud nine.