Volunteer of the Month: Angeline Y.

Many people aren’t aware of Cat Town’s extensive foster network. There are a variety of reasons why a cat may be in a foster home; they might be recovering from an illness or surgery, they could be a cat who may not do well in our public Cat Zone space, or they could simply be decompressing from being in the shelter while they wait to be adopted.

Angeline Y. has been a rockstar foster since 2017. She chooses to focus on senior cats and cats with medical needs who may be passed over for younger, healthier cats. I talked with Angeline about her experience fostering for Cat Town and why she hopes others will consider opening their hearts to cats with special needs.

Angeline and her best buddy, Yoda.

Angeline and her best buddy, Yoda.

Larissa C.: How did you get involved with Cat Town?

Angeline Y.: When my beloved 15-year-old cat died, I was left heartbroken, and with a small fortune’s worth of cat medications and medical supplies I hoped to donate somewhere. Most shelters work with healthy, younger animals; Cat Town might have been the only place I found that worked with older cats and those with special needs — plus, they were really close to us! While looking through their website for donation criteria, I happened upon the foster program page and decided to give it a try. We donated my cat’s supplies and picked up our first foster a couple weeks later, and we’ve been fosters ever since!

Angeline with her first cat, Smokey.

Angeline with her first cat, Smokey.

LC: Have you been a cat person your whole life?

AY: Yes! I come from a family with both cat allergies and cats (having a good allergist does wonders!). My daughter is a third generation cat lover, but fortunately she hasn’t developed allergies like the rest of us—something my allergist suspects may be from all the cats she’s exposed to!

LC: Do you have cats at home?

AY: I currently have a 16-year-old ginger tabby, a 13-year-old tuxedo Maine Coon mix, and a one-and-a-half-year-old torbie, plus a cat savvy preschooler and foster cats from Cat Town.

LC: What is something you’ve learned about senior cats, or cats with medical needs that people might not expect to be true?

AY: A lot of these senior kitties get passed over for younger cats, but they still have so much life in them; cats are considered seniors at 8- to 10-years-old, but a healthy, well cared for cat can live double that. The same goes for those with medical needs — often, they can live normally if they’re kept on a stable diet or given medications as prescribed. I think a lot of people expect cats with medical needs to be very sickly or difficult to manage, but that’s just not the case.

Fostering is very much a family affair, so it’s been fun to see the friendships that develop between the cats and us humans.
— Angeline Y.

In terms of administering medications, I think people get intimidated by the thought of having to medicate a cat regularly, but it’s really not as hard as one might think, nor very time-consuming. I usually give oral medications at feeding times, and it really doesn’t add more than a minute to the process; injections and other more intrusive medications take a little getting used to, but they also become easier with practice. It sounds like a lot when I have to describe it, but the process itself is easy once you get used to it!

LC: Why would you encourage people to adopt a senior cat, or a cat with medical needs?

In my experience, these older/special needs cats have been the most charming and charismatic cats! They don’t have the behavioral issues younger cats and kittens have, they’re at the age where they’ve settled down and are much easier companions to live with. In our house, two of our forever kitties are seniors, and one is just out of kittenhood; the young one is the one who causes the most trouble! Our fosters from Cat Town have been the easiest to live with, even with their medical needs (far better behaved than any of our cats!).

On top of getting an amazing, personable cat, Cat Town offers such great support, with their In It For Life program where they cover medical care for some of the seniors and cats with medical needs. They’re also great about making potential adopters aware of issues and of realistic expectations, and just so dedicated to finding a good fit for both cat and adopters. I hope more people will consider giving these older kitties a chance, especially since Cat Town offers so much support!

LC: Tell me about your favorite memory from fostering for Cat Town. Why would you encourage people to adopt a cat from a foster home?

I have enjoyed every part of fostering! It’s a great excuse to meet and live with new cats as well as meet all the lovely people at Cat Town. Fostering is very much a family affair, so it’s been fun to see the friendships that develop between cats and us humans. Just like human friendships, we end up having different relationships with each other, different activities we bond over. Still, my favorite moments are when a foster cat goes home with their adopter. It is always such a joyous and exciting time for both feline and humans, especially after long, stressful stays in shelters and foster care for many of these cats. Of course, this is followed by the hardest part of fostering: having the happy goodbye sink in after they leave, and the interim time before we meet our next foster. It’s still worth it, though, for all the wonderful time we share together, and for all the cats and people we get to meet.

Angeline’s daughter with their most recent Cat Town foster, Marnie.

Angeline’s daughter with their most recent Cat Town foster, Marnie.

LC: What would you say to someone considering fostering a cat for Cat Town?

I would strongly recommend it! In my view, there are no downsides to fostering, especially since Cat Town makes it so easy. They take care of all the supplies and medical needs and they even deliver supplies, so you really don’t need to do anything except share your home with a cat who needs it. If you become so bonded that you don’t want to part with them, you’re able to adopt; conversely, if something isn’t working out or you just change your mind, Cat Town will take the cat back.

I’ve found Cat Town to be very considerate of the needs of all parties involved. They genuinely want us paired with a cat who would do well here, even if it means some cats end up waiting longer to get to a foster home. They focus on finding the right home where both humans and cat(s) will be happy (just as they do with adopters—there’s no pressure or hard sell involved). I find it even easier than actually having cats since Cat Town takes care of all the hard decisions and expenses!

Cat Town is always looking for more volunteers to join our foster team. We provide you with all the supplies, you just provide the TLC! If you have space in your home and time and love to give to a cat who may be under-socialized, have medical needs, or is simply a senior cat in need of a comfortable home, you might be a great foster parent for a Cat Town cat. We will match you with a cat who is right for your interests and experience and will offer you lots of guidance and support. To learn more, send an email to info@cattownoakland.org today.