I first started fostering in June 2017. A friend who fosters dogs reached out to me because the rescue she was working with was going to be rescuing cats for the first time and they were in desperate need of fosters. I took two calico sisters and had them for a couple weeks until I eventually found them homes with my co-workers.
Not too long after that, my mother unexpectedly passed away. It was life-altering for me. I stopped eating, lost a lot of weight, stopped participating in things that I really enjoyed. I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. My therapist and I began talking about ways to get my life back on track and make my life feel meaningful again, and one of the things she suggested was volunteering with animals again since she knew how much joy and comfort they brought me.
Five months after my first fostering experience, I decided to try again. Since I had met the BBAWC foster parent who I adopted my cat Salsa from, and had previously volunteered at the Brooklyn Cat Cafe while it was still a pop-up location, I felt good about fostering with them.
After filling out a foster application, a couple weeks later someone came to perform a home visit to make sure my home was kitten-safe and to drop off a couple six-week-old kittens for me to take care of for the next couple of weeks. Fostering helped pull me out of the deep, dark hole that I was in after my mother passed away, and gave me something to be responsible for. It gave me a sense of purpose. These little helpless balls of fluff were depending on me to keep them healthy, fed, and safe.
So far, I have been the foster mom of 14 beautiful kittens. My current fosters are three tabby siblings named Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. It’s so rewarding to see them grow up from little roly-poly balls covered in kitten food and dirt, into healthy, spunky young cats. And it’s even more amazing when you get to see them grow and thrive in their new permanent homes. In my life, there have been few experiences as rewarding as fostering.
I grew up with two cats, two border collies, and a chihuahua. When I first moved to Brooklyn it was the first time I found myself without any animals because my first few apartments didn’t allow them. To fill the void of not having animals to care for, I began to fill my apartment with plants. It fulfilled me for a while, but soon enough I found myself looking for a new lease in a building that allowed pets.
I first saw Salsa’s photo on Petfinder. She had the most striking markings and her eyes were a rich gold and were so breathtaking. I immediately sent an email to her foster parent and set up a time to meet her a few days later. She was being fostered through BBAWC (@brooklynbridgeanimals ). When I showed up to the foster’s home to meet Salsa, I was met with a situation that warmed my heart. Almost all of the cats there were special needs. One was blind, one was missing a foot. All of these cats were so wonderful and you could tell how thankful they were to be in such a caring home, even if it was only temporary. Apparently, Salsa had been up for adoption for almost two years because she was on a daily medication for a heart murmur, and when potential adopters learned this about her they were no longer interested. I asked about the medication and was astonished to discover that she was taking the same exact heart medication that I had been prescribed for my own heart condition. After learning this, I knew it was meant to be and that she would be coming home with me.
I named her Salsa because she’s a bit spicy. She’s a sassy cat and can be feisty when she doesn’t want you to bother her. After moving into an apartment of my own, I realized she was even sassier than usual. I determined that she might be lonely. I decided to get her a friend so she would have a buddy while I was at work. I saw that Urban Outfitters was having free cat adoption events at all of their locations in the city. I went to two locations where I eventually met a little 5-month-old grey tuxedo kitten. He immediately crawled from my arms onto my shoulders and wrapped himself around my neck and that was that. I decided to name him Queso for his deep yellow-orange eyes. And Queso made a cute pair with Salsa.After bringing Queso home, there was an adjustment period, but Salsa has mellowed out so much. She used to strike fear into the hearts of some friends when they would visit, but now she immediately jumps into people’s laps purring.
Salsa is the queen bee, she rules the house. She’s not a huge fan of crazy playful kittens, but you can always find her nearby keeping a watchful eye over them, making sure they don’t cause too much trouble. Sometimes I think she likes them more than she lets on.Queso is the best uncle to all of the foster kittens. He’s a large intimidating cat, weighing in at 15 pounds, but he’s a gentle giant. He cleans, cuddles, and wrangles every litter of kittens for me. I feel totally comfortable leaving for work every day knowing that he will be there to take care of them for me while I’m gone. He’s such a kind cat, even the aloof Salsa likes him.
Devin Caskie is a foster mom with @catcafebk and a Senior Product Designer at CNN. Her interests include spending time with her cats and pet bugs, drumming, collecting antiques, being crafty, and all things spooky.