His Best Interest

Sometimes it’s challenging to act in the best interest of your rescue cat.

I ran into this last week when strangers hunted down our phone number and called our home. This neighbour from the next street was upset about Oscar’s ‘disappearance’ so I assured her that he was fine and gave her the address of this blog so she could see photos of him. I understood her worry.

Then she asked to see Oscar. Against my better judgement, and only for Oscar’s sake of potentially meeting someone who might adopt him, I said yes and let her visit my home and bedroom. What a privacy invasion – and she stayed much longer than I’d expected.

Unfortunately, she cares for Oscar but only wanted to take him on a ‘trial basis’ to see if he’d get along with her cats. This is definitely not in Oscar’s interest right now and I said so. He is just starting to acclimatize to indoor life. He’s been abandoned on the streets for the vast majority of his life. Forcibly moving him to a strange place and rushing him to meet 3 other animals all within the next two weeks (her proposed timeline) is setting him up for failure. If I got him back after this ‘trial’ he would be stressed, untrusting, and dealing with huge set-backs. Anyone who has housed ferals or strays knows about the long and precarious transition.

I guess this woman was not happy with my decision and has been ranting (and giving this blog address) to ignorant people. ‘Mike’ wrote me a rude post saying that I should just release the cat outside so he could be happy; I’m drugging him, and forcibly keeping him confined. He also stated that the woman would be a much better person for this cat. I wish I hadn’t spoken to this woman if she was going to act like this and give out my blog this way. However, it was an adoption chance I felt compelled to take for Oscar’s benefit.

I hate drama and nonsense, so let’s just say I won’t have any further interaction with the woman – or with her friend ‘Mike’.

Why am I sharing this drama? Because my blog is about the realities of fostering. Unfortunately there are going to be people like this that we have to deal with – in the best interest of the cat. They may ask a great deal, be intrusive, or unappreciative. This is just a reminder to rise above it and keep your focus on your foster’s interests.

When you feed and vet a stray cat, he’s yours. So Oscar is mine. I will act on his behalf… and make the decisions that I feel are best for him. Anyone who cared could have stepped up and provided a warm home, medical care, and new start for Oscar. No one did – so it was up to me.

Oscar is warm, relaxed, and purring up a storm beside me. Now this is in his best interest.

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8 thoughts on “His Best Interest

  1. Alas, until you have taken on a stray/feral cat and brought one into your home, you have absolutely no idea how different it is from keeping domestic cats. Whereas it might be an acceptable time frame to introduce tame cats to each other, this is far from the case when it comes to introducing a much wilder cat to new siblings.

    Harvey has been with me on the inside for a little over two months. He has no concept at all for life on the inside, he got “stuck” on the stairs on the one foray outside his “safe” place and it terrified him. Despite the door to his room being open, he has made no further attempt to leave.

    I allow short and supervised visits with his new brothers and sisters. One of which won’t go into the room to meet him at all yet.

    As a very experienced and wise caretaker of ferals for many years said to me recently, “success is measured in months and more often years” when it comes to these special cats.

    I am sorry you have had to endure this unpleasant response from people, who clearly have no understanding of the unique needs of cats like Oscar and Harvey.

    • This is the first time I haven’t approved a comment for this blog… so that was a learning experience for me. I just didn’t feel like legitimizing ignorance by posting it. I was tempted though – because it reminds us that many don’t really care about the stray/feral problems and choose to remain willfully blind. Until last week I had no idea that others on the next street knew about this cat… how many knew and didn’t care that he was homeless and cold for years? At least this woman cared for him and fed him even if she was unable or unwilling to find him a home.

      YOU are amazing Joanna for taking Harvey in and allowing him the time he needs to adapt. Oscar too avoids going anywhere near the door to his room. Your friend is wise indeed!!

  2. What you are doing is amazing! Clearly anyone who says the cat is better off outside is ignorant of the realities a stray faces.

    • Thanks Jennifer. This is what got me angry … did he think Oscar was having a good time of it freezing though winter? Having food is the bare minimum – if we are cold, they are cold

  3. OMC…I am a firm believer that you cannot fix stupid. These people that are leaving ignorant comments are unbelievable. It’s not like this is your first rodeo…you will always do what is in the best interest of the animal. She’s willing to take him on a trial basis? How selfish that is…obviously, she is doing what is in the best interest of herself! Keep doing what you are doing…and give Oscar what he needs…he comes first!

    • If she can’t take him I fully understand – but why give my blog out or be complaining behind my back? I empathize with the fact that she has 3 cats and one is elderly and very ill. Maybe it’s just inexperience with cats to think that this trial could be enough. Who knows!

  4. My brofur is a former feral and when he showed up in the yard, my human said we must help him and I approved but said he cannot become a family member, as I already had to share MY home with my sister already. He slowly learned to trust my human and became a foster, our introduction was slow and I took on his education of the rules ie: I am top cat, No toys for him without my say so, mew eat last, etc. It was a learning experience for all of us and he really blossomed, began to love MY human and MY home and when a possible forever home became available for him, my human COULD NOT LET HIM GO!! She claimed she loved him and felt with how happy and bonded he was, it was not in his best interest to make him start over at a new home with new people. While I do not understand the weakness of mew human’s hearts and minds at times, I could see her point about him and mewz about Oscar.
    Mew are the one who has invested far more than some maybe/maybe not and are fully justified in making decisions about his best interest. Please ignore the criticism, harassment, and stalking behavior of these wackadoodle humans! I would say to them: too late to have say in Oscar’s fate, too bad so sad!!

  5. some people can not handle rejection, nor can they handle being told that what they believe (or want) to be true isn’t. and when they are faced with someone who tells them no they lash out and try to get others to lash out at them too as a way to validate their own feelings that they are still right and you are obviously so very very wrong (which you aren’t)

    it is just sad, but it is the way some people are wired.. all you can do is turn around and walk away. good for you for not publishing the comment, there is no need to add that negativity to your work.

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