Okay, so The Cat Haven in Perth (well, specifically in Shenton Park) is one of my favourite places in the city. It describes itself as "the last place of refuge for homeless, lost and abused cats", and as a cat lover it is definitely all about a cause I can get behind. My favourite thing about the Cat Haven is that a person can volunteer to foster cats and/or kittens. I first fostered kittens back in 2008, when I got a mother and her five babies. The babies were barely three weeks old and had only just opened their eyes. The mother cat was amazingly purry and affectionate - clearly desperate for lurve. She was skin and bones, so I fed her up till she put on weight. It was a delight watching the kittens learn to do all those grown-up cat things, like hiss, do grown-up poos and wees in the litter box, and wash themselves without falling over.
I wound up keeping the mother, because it had been months without contact from the Cat Haven (it was their insanely busy period, so I forgive them).
Last year I fostered some more kitties, this time requesting that I not be given a mother. In case I kept her too. Hehe. I got five "flower pot kids" who had spent their first few weeks living in a flower pot, in the soil and their own excrement. As a result, they were dirty (in spite of many baths, their fur was still stained) and their back leg muscles hadn't developed properly - they'd just been sitting still, piled on top of each other in the pot. So my instructions were to give them lots of playtime. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it, right?
The Cat Haven ladies knew these kittens as "a hissing pile of caterpillars". They were tiny and very young, but they already knew how to hiss. They were terrified. So I also had the task of stopping them hissing quite so much - socialising them! And I must say I think I did a pretty good job. By the time I took them back to the Haven at the end of five weeks, they'd all stopped hissing (even the tortoishell one who had earned herself the name Hissy Miggins).
With this second lot of kitties, I ended up feeling like I imagine a frazzled single mother might feel sometimes. It took me half an hour to get the kids to bed each night. There was also one kitten who was very clingy and constantly wanted to be patted and to snuggle. She was very gorgeous, but I'm not much into the clingy thing. LOL. I like my personal space, man! Another kitten, a beautiful little guy who was black (I've always wanted a black cat), loved to snuggle too. He was pretty irresistible. But in the end I did take them back to the Haven, and it was like a weight had been lifted. Still, I had a great time and missed them when they were gone!
In conclusion, for anyone who's heard me talk about what I do for a living, yes...I am a cat lady (with two cats - the third disappeared last year) librarian who lives alone. But I'm okay with that. :)