Becoming a Foster Parent (to a cat)


My husband & I have an announcement to make. We have decided to become foster parents. We have one little girl, she is 9 years old, the apple of my eye and a real mama’s girl. But we saw these beautiful faces, and we couldn’t say no. It’s true, we’re going to foster a rescue cat.

The cats available for adoption at 15th June 2012

Most people have reacted to this with words of encouragement. Although a few have been quietly (actually, not so quietly) sceptical. There have been a number of concerns raised about bringing a cat into our home, will he get along OK with our current cat? Will they fight? Will he bring diseases? What of the ongoing costs? Why risk it?

My cat is 9 years old. Her name is Isobel, although we call her Belle or Bella. She was the only cat her in her litter, her mother was an OK mother but not a great one (as opposed to Bella herself, who was an amazing mother), she was born beside my bed and was only a few weeks old before she moved from the box to in my bed itself. Growing up she slept every night in my arms, and she did not socialise with other cats. If I’m honest, I don’t think she even realises she is a cat.

Her father was my much loved cat, and he was stolen/killed/went missing before we found out Nalia (my mother’s cat) was pregnant to him (we bred cats). She was the only kitten, and so she was much wanted and loved from birth.

She grew up with multiple cats in the house and the only cat she ever had a problem with was another breeding queen, and that cat did not have a very nice temperament. Will she fight with a new cat? I am pretty confident she won’t, but will he fight with her? I don’t know.

The cat we have selected is Lionel. He was picked up from the pound in a terrible state and is somewhere between 4 and 6 years old. He is grumpy and does not like adoption days, to be touched or picked up. We are taking him as he has been unable to find a forever home. We debated between Lionel and Merlin, but there have been inquiries about adopting Merlin so we ended up deciding to go with the cat who had the least opportunity.


For most of the concerns and the questions, I don’t have answers (although he will be vaccinated, have a full health check and costs will be covered), except one.

Why do it?

Because how could I look at his face and say no? Everyone deserves a home, and someone to love them. Even if they are covered in fur.

Would you consider adopting or rescuing a cat? Do you have a pet? How did you get the pet you have? 

If you would be interested in adopting, fostering, or sponsoring a cat, you can contact North Shore Animal Rescue here

This post has not been sponsored. 

Update: since writing this post North Shore Animal Rescue has closed.

  • John James

    Our first cat, Rhali, is like Belle – she thinks she’s human…she plays fetch like a dog, and you can have conversations with her…and she comes when called.

    C-J, our second cat, is a year younger. He thinks he’s a cat and thinks Rhali is an idiot for wanting to be human. We got C-J to give Rhali some company when we were at work.

    When we got C-J, Rhali growled at him for a month…but she also started playing chasings around the flat with him from the first day we got him…and then remembered she didn’t like him, and then growled at him again five minutes later…

    Our two mostly ignore each other…occasionally they will kiss (sniff noses)…sometimes one of them will slip in a quick smack across the chops of the other one as they walk past each other – sometimes they have bitey-growly-hissy fights and have to be separated…and twice…only twice…we have found them snuggled up to each other.

    It’s a lot of work having two cats…we actually think that from now on we’ll probably only have one cat…especially as one of us is usually home most of the time.

  • Whippersnapper

    I am so jealous. Mr W is allergic to cats and I can never have one. I love them so much, especially, I want a short haired exotic persian!

    • Tamsin Howse

      I think persians look like their faces have been squished!

      I’m allergic to cats. It’s usually more of a decision than an allergy, which means it can be changed :)

  • Rose Russo

    I love Belle.. just going to put that out there :)

    I think what you’re doing is a wonderful thing and Lionel will have a very happy home with you guys.

    As I type this, my kitten – Lola – is sitting on my lap. I got her nearly 3 months ago now. She’s almost 6 months old… still a baby but getting bigger everyday *tear*

    She was dumped outside the local preschool with her brothers and sisters who didn’t survive. I went through Pet Rescue to find her and had my eye on a male kitten – Ripley – who I visited in the local area. When I got there there was already a lot of interest in Ripley but he didn’t show much interest in me. At this stage I was unsure what to do.

    Then.. I looked at my feet and the tinniest of the litter (my Lola) was sitting at my feet. She was apparently very shy and hadn’t done that with anyone else. It was love at first sight. It was meant to be!!

    We are very happy together and she has given me a new lease on life. I feel I live more in the moment with her and I love being able to play with her and take care of her.

    You will be a fabulous foster parent T. x

    • Tamsin Howse

      Belle is wonderful, isn’t she? 😉

    • Claire Wallace

      Awwww Rose, that is such a sweet story about Lola. It has brightened my day :)
      (Love the name too).

  • Mandi Aylmore

    First I would like to say that I thought my Diesel was handsome. But smack me upside the head with a ladder! Lionel is just DIVINE. I am so so jealous right now.

    I have only ever rescued cats. Diesel was abandoned in a housing commission property, and we got Missy from the Cat Protection Society.

    I’m seriously thinking about getting another kitten. If I do, I will go back to the CPS and adopt from there. They do such a good job, and the babies they have are adorable.

    Lionel I’m sure will fit right in. Bella is just lovely, and you and your husband are already wonderful kitty parents :)

    • Tamsin Howse

      I am hoping that we are able to socialise him so, if he doesn’t stay with us, he will have a better chance at another home. I am confident in my cat-training abilities. Don’t know many cats who come when you whistle 😉

  • fender4eva

    Goood for you, Tamsin. We rescued our cat from death row, at the RSPCA. He was 2 years old, and weighed 6 kilos when we got him. He’s a big cat but still like a kitten, at nearly 4. When he doesn’t shred the furniture, we love him dearly. I made him a scratching post, which he uses when he’s not shredding furniture… :-)

  • Nicola

    My cat was from Cat Haven and had been there some months before we brought him home! He is also convinced he is human and talks to us like one. Best thing we ever did! Good on you for adopting him! He is so cute !

  • Michelle

    Good luck with Lionel! I hope the transition goes smoothly.

    My two gorgeous cats came from one of Sydney’s many cat rescue organisations. They’d been rescued with their mother and littermates, and these were the last two still in foster care at the age of 6 months. We were thrilled to be able to give them a forever home.

    I think fostering is a fantastic thing to do. When I was living as a student on my own, and unsure of where I would be living at the end of my course, I fostered for the local animal hospital. I had lots of fun over that year with a few different litters. I have photos of them on my flickr account:

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