Foster Parenting Adventure - The Cat Whisperer Visits

Another productive and busy weekend as a respite foster parent! This weekend was my first chance to foster a girl. With the therapeutic foster parenting, gender doesn't seem to be too much of a factor, not for the last two kids I had anyway.
The twelve year old girl I had staying with me this weekend had the same types of issues as the 8 year old boy I had last weekend - can't sleep without lots of reassurances that I'm very near by, does not respond well to the word "no", has some noise that they make when starting to get unhappy, needing to be reminded to make good choices and take deep breaths, and they both know EVERYTHING.

Although, to be fair, the girl I had this weekend did know almost everything about flowers. We went for a walk on Friday evening and she knew every single flower we passed. And if you could eat it. Or collect water from it. If it is in a certain flower family. If they bloom more than once a year. EVERYTHING. At first I thought she was just making things up...as kids do. But then we went to a garden center on Saturday and she did the same thing - and she was correct!!! I was verifying things on tags that she would just point at from down the aisle and say, "oh, look at those snake lilies, I love those, did you know that they are part of the Brodiaea family, just like the firecracker flower?" She was like an encyclopedia of all things flowers. Amazing amount of knowledge about some things...and then totally clueless about other things.

Like, for instance, what to pack for a weekend away. Her wardrobe for the weekend was a wool sweater and skirt, a pair of corduroy pants that are the wrong size,which she cut into "shorts"-one leg was just below the knee, one was at shin length, and a PROM DRESS. Saturday morning we woke up, brushed our teeth and then went to our separate bedrooms and shut our doors to get dressed. I opened my door a short bit later and I'm not sure I was able to hide my shock when I saw her standing in her spaghetti-strap dark purple prom attire.

Regardless - it was a pretty good weekend. My normally skittish cats both took to her right away, which was amazing and wonderful, as she was VERY interested in meeting them. Even more amazing was that we were going to set a trap to catch the stray cat in my backyard, so I had her stand in the doorway and hold the food plate while I get the trap set up, and the next thing I know, the backyard cat who has skittered away at the very sight of me for the last seven weeks, was walking directly towards us. And gave a little meow and then rubbed up against me. MIRACLE. Seven weeks I have been trying to get this little kitty to even just stay in sight when I make eye contact, and this little girl shows up and suddenly, backyard cat is super-eager to be best friends. So I petted her sweet little kitty head and then let her rub against me a few times before letting the cat-whispering-foster girl give it a little scritch. And, I'm not kidding, that cat rolled over and gave a sweet meow and acted like this was all totally normal.

At which point, I scooped her up (taking a step back to get away from the child-that-I-am-legally-responsible-to-protect-from-all-harm) and checked out little kitty's reaction. She started purring....so we went to plan B - which involved me saying, quick, grab that towel on the chair behind you, wrapping the kitty up and then teaching the foster child in two seconds how to take a picture with my phone:

Top priority - get a photo!!! Understandable, right? I've been feeding this beast for seven weeks. I deserve a picture, agreed?
Next step - get her in the garage and block off all exits and hazards. We set up a bed with the towel in a box, set up a cat box, brought out some food and water, and gave her lots of kitty love. And she was ALL about the kitty love.
So sweet!
Whatchu doin? Nothin, just chillin in my garage box.
SEVEN WEEKS, people!!!! That's a LONG time to feed a cat and get no response from it ever.
I'm grateful to my little cat-whispering foster child for helping me capture this lovely kittycat, which we then relocated to our local shelter (after a rough morning which involved me accidently shutting her tail partially in the car door and then tossing her away after she FREAKED OUT when I tried to put her in the kennel, and then I had to trap her in a corner and toss a blanket over her and drag her out of that corner to get her back on track with our morning plan), where they agreed that such a cute cat with such a great personality would have no trouble getting adopted.

I'm also grateful that my foster child made a broken down appliance noise each time she was unhappy, as it gave me the opportunity to use my collaborative problem solving skills a try, but with a warning before I needed to use them.

I'm also grateful for my local Goodwill store, where we purchased some shorts and a shirt for her to wear to the park instead of the afore-mentioned prom dress. (her family shops at Goodwill, when I suggested we buy her some shorts, she said that they always shop there so I felt it might be less obtrusive for me to reclothe her with items from there).

I'm also grateful for my friend and her wonderful puppy who met us at the dog park and helped occupy some of the day. And doubly grateful for the 25 other people who were at the dog park that were very tolerant of my foster girl accosting them as they came in, and responding kindly to her rapid-fire questions about their dog. And not responding when the small girl screamed out "DAMMIT, I mean dangit, REGGIE, COME ON, WE'RE LEAVING!"

And I'm grateful that I'm not going to have a foster child next weekend, as children are EXHAUSTING.

3 comments:

  1. Brian Miller said...:

    booyah...you are doing well on the foster side it seems...and a cat whisperer...haha..hope the rest of the weekend went well...

  1. I love that she was a cat-whisperer.

    I wonder if there's a way you could have some donated clothes at your place so that you wouldn't have to spend money when a foster kid shows up without enough clothes. I'm thinking extra socks, underwear, sweatpants or shorts with elastic waists so that they would fit different sized kids, t-shirts that would be okay for either sex.

  1. Mom Taxi Julie said...:

    That's amazing about the flowers! Hopefully she'll find a great job in her future putting that to use.

    Love the cat story. Isn't it amazing how some people have powers like that? My younger daughter we call the animal and small child whisperer. I think it's because she is so calm.

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