After A Foster Cat Was Rescued From Her Vent, This Foster Mom Reflected On The Rewards And Struggles Of Fostering

by Elana

For about the last four years Tara has been actively involved with fostering animals in her community. In that short time span she told us that she has fostered over 100 animals for 3 different organizations!

Tara says that most of the fostering she has done has been on behalf of her local SPCA:

"I’ve fostered kittens/cats/rabbits and dogs, mostly kittens though. I get some of the most difficult cases, sometimes medical but mostly feral as I’m very good at turning them into love bugs. Most that come to me do require some kind of medication to help with previous conditions, which is usually temporary."

We originally got to know Tara when we followed her cats on Instagram and interviewed her to get to know their stories even better! If you haven't read all about Mira the Miracle Kitty and Mickey the Manx, don't hesitate to catch up on the incredible story of two special needs cats who defied the odds thanks to the love and dedication Tara had to offer.

"The community of fostering I’ve found mostly on Instagram in the cat community. Chances are if you’re going through something, someone else has been there as well. Everyone is very supportive of each other in this community, but mostly I stick to the rescue I’m fostering with."

In March of 2021, Tara got a very pregnant, semi-feral mama cat to foster and things got interesting after only a couple of days.

Tara walked into the room just in time to see her tail going down into the vent.

"The cat pulled up the vent and climbed in, dropping about 20 feet to the basement and got stuck. "

Tara called animal control and numerous wildlife services trying to get help for the stuck cat and no one would come help until a local plumber came to their rescue!

With the help of Adam Gordon and Orella Group, the pregnant mama was rescued from the vent.

"After having 4 holes put in the walls and the duct ripped out we got her safe and sound, with no injuries thankfully."

Just as quickly as calm was restored, Tara came in the next day to see Mama cat giving birth.

She had four babies but sadly, two were stillborn, and it seemed like mama cat wasn't super sure how to be a mama cat:

"The place she came from a man was feeding her and every time she had kittens he would take her away from them, bringing her inside and leaving them outside to die, saying “only the strong ones survive”. Who does this??!! 🤬."

Tara began working hard, using her experience with fostering to take the best care of the surviving kittens and the mama cat. Tara said after the local news aired the foster cat's story that thanks to Adam's efforts, mama cat "came out completely unharmed, just stressed," and after some initial concerns she was doing amazing with her two kittens.

Being a foster parent is no small task, and Tara was exceptionally grateful to learn that Orella Group was going to cover the cost of the damages made to get mama cat out safely as a donation. Without a doubt, community support is vital to the long-term success of countless animals.

Mama cat left Tara's care and since then Tara has reflected on the highs and lows of foster life.

"I wish nothing but the best for this mama and babies, I hope they grow healthy and stronger in whatever environment they’re in. My care is and always has been for animals. I give all rescues props for what they do, as it’s my goal to do myself once retired. I would rescue them all if I could!"

We took some time to chat with Tara about her experiences fostering for the last four years.

"It’s so incredibly rewarding watching their transformation, but some need more care than others. Some come with hidden illnesses that may take their life, no matter what you do to help which can be emotionally destroying at times.
At least with me there is a blame I place on myself for feeling I could’ve done more (although I know I shouldn’t). Any foster can’t just be thrown in a room with food, water and litter and left to their own devices. They need human interaction."

Tara's dedication to the foster life is obvious:

"I try to spend at least 3 hours throughout the day with them, socializing them. Some require round the clock care, as my Mira did, so I’ll sleep in the room with them. More recently I acquired a Furbo dog camera so I could watch a mom and babies to make sure the mom was “being a mom”. Instead of disturbing her every 2 hours by going in the room with her, I’d wake up and check my phone every couple hours instead.
Makes it much easier when you have a new momma and babies as they need undisturbed time alone."

"My Mira became a success story with this round the clock care, surviving when no one thought she would because of the care I gave her."

"I didn’t sleep for months, but she survived. These cases are rare depending who you foster for, but it’s always a possibility so you need to be prepared for that.
When fostering you really have no idea what you’re getting with an animals personality. It takes time and patience, some of them are quite tricky, especially pregnant ones looking for a safe place to give birth!"
"Emotions can be all over the place with these guys. Sadness if they pass, I’ve had a few pass in my arms, stress if you feel you can’t do enough for them, and pure joy when you get them through everything and they get adopted.
At the end of the day that’s the goal, being able to say goodbye knowing they’re going to their furever homes. That becomes emotional as well."

"It also depends who you are fostering for. A reputable rescue will support you 100% between supplies, vet visits if necessary, required medications, and will acknowledge the work you do for them."

"Depending on the rescue there may be a contract for you to sign -that you follow their direction when it comes to treatments and disclosures, They check that other animals in your home are vaccinated, speaking to your vet and references.
Some don’t have anything at all and will place an animal with anyone. I would be suspicious of these places."

After all the chaos with her foster mama cat who spent some time in the vent, Tara remains dedicated to being a foster home for animals in need.

"I currently have 2 rooms I’ve set up as “cat rooms” with everything they could want, toys, litter boxes, towers, anything to keep them amused. I can foster 2 groups at a time and during kitten season and this happens a lot as the rescues are desperate for help during this time.
I generally don’t allow interaction with my own fur family due to any medical condition they may have that I wouldn’t want passed on. But if it’s a singleton that’s been cleared of all medical issues I let Mickey hang out. He’s always been very good at meeting new furriends!"

"I can’t stress enough how incredible fostering is for me, because I can give them the time and love required to help them grow."

"I’ve trained myself to feel good about the good-byes as I know they’re moving on to their furever loving homes. I don’t believe there’s any other feeling like it in the world."