Volunteers of the Month, Padrick and Prasad, perfectly sum up what makes fostering cats both so enjoyable and easy. Having fostered 6 cats for Cat Town, the two admit to a soft spot for senior cats — which makes them incredible foster guardians! This month they share with us just how rewarding this “work” can be. They also give us a sneak peek at the foster cats they’re helping get ready for adoption.
Cat Town: How did you get involved with Cat Town, and how did you decide to become a foster?
Padrick & Prasad: When our cat Susan (pictured above) passed away after 23 years, our home felt very empty. We weren't ready to begin with a new cat again, but read about Cat Town's fostering program. We thought it would be a good way to get some feline presence in our home while helping out cats in need. On a visit to Cat Town, we happened to meet Dawn as she was bringing in a new cat. She described the fostering program to us, and we told her about our experience with our own a senior cat. We applied by email (turns out there is a process — you don't just show up and get a cat!) and a few days later she matched us up with Maisy, a lovable senior with some medical needs.
CT: Do you have resident cats at home?
P&P: We almost always have a foster, but no permanent resident cats. Our current fosters are a pair of five year old boys named Watson and Cricket — they are not quite ready for adoption yet, but they're very sweet and playful. They're our first bonded pair and it's been fun getting to watch them together.
CT: What do you love most about volunteering?
P&P: The cats come to us — we don't even have to leave the house to volunteer! And then our job is to play and cuddle. What's not to love?
CT: What is your favorite thing about working with vulnerable shelter cats?
P&P: Several foster cats have come to us with various challenges, ranging from gastrointestinal problems to previously aggressive behavior. And all of them have started out very shy and scared. In the first few weeks, you can see why they may be difficult to adopt as they're withdrawn and not showing their full unique personalities. Our favorite thing is giving them a calm, quiet home so they can relax and their true selves come out. It is bittersweet when these cats we've come to love move on to a permanent home, but we're always proud of the progress they've made, and we try to keep up with our "alumni" in their new homes on social media.
CT: Why would you encourage people to adopt a senior cat?
P&P: We especially love senior cats because not only are they one of the groups most in need, but they are more calm, self-sufficient, and settled in their ways. They're ideal for people with busy schedules, as they require less playtime and get into less mischief than younger cats. All of our older fosters have been happy to sit or cuddle with us after a few rounds with their favorite toy.
CT: Is there a Cat Town cat or foster cat that you’ve met who really helped solidify your volunteering experience?
P&P: We had our first foster, Maisy, for over a year, and she had been in foster care for over a year before that. Everyone who met that fluffy, affectionate girl loved her at first sight — she was a bit of a celebrity among the staff and volunteers. However, she was very shy and had ongoing health issues that made adoption difficult. Not only was Maisy our introduction to most of Cat Town, we also got to see Cat Town's commitment to resolving her health issues through many different trials with medicines and special foods (the solution in the end was a raw diet). As she became healthier, she became more outgoing and comfortable with new people. When she walked up to her adopter right away and flopped down for a belly rub, we knew she was ready! Seeing the difference in Maisy between her arrival and departure made us want to help as many cats as we could.
CT: You’re also donors — thank you! Why do you support Cat Town in this way as well?
P&P: Cat Town is giving the cats in Oakland who are most likely to be euthanized a chance to thrive. We see how much goes into making this happen from staff and volunteers and we wanted to support the work.
Want to help a cat in need transform into someone’s new best friend? Reach out to Cat Town to become a foster! We make it easy, so all you need to give these overlooked shelter cats is time and love. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!