As a writer, I don’t always receive feedback and often wonder how readers relate to my fiction. Sandra Murphy sent me this article inspired by one of my published short stories. I’d like to share it with you.
Georgia Drake Conrad lives with dogs, cats, orphaned kittens, and one husband in
. She has a big and generous heart
for all animals. This is her response. Virginia
I recently read “Touch Not the Cat” in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy. I enjoyed the story as it had things I love—cats and mystery. As I read, I realized the man in the story has a similar problem to what I face quite often—helping cats without collecting them. His heart was in the right place. Trying to help the cats in need, his inability to find homes and adopt them out, inadvertently led to him being charged with murder.
I am an orphan kitten bottle baby foster—quite a mouthful. I volunteer for a local rescue in
, SymbioticInc.org, and take in
babies that would not survive after losing their mothers if not for bottle baby
fosters. Suffolk, Virginia
I grow very attached to them each and every time. I cry when they leave—both tears of sadness and of joy. What the man in the story failed to do was put the best interest of the cats ahead of his own wants. The point of fostering is to find the best match possible for the animal and that is not always the foster home. It is difficult to say goodbye, but so rewarding to know you helped save a life and gave them a new start. By letting go, you don’t become overwhelmed with animals, which isn’t good for them or you, and you make room for new ones that always need you in the future.
Fostering orphans is a little different than regular fostering and I’ve done both. Many newborns are sick when they come in. You administer medications and monitor them constantly. They are very fragile the first few weeks. With newborn babies, you have to get up every 2 hours for around the clock feedings. This eventually spreads out and they get on solid foods, but the first few weeks are tough on sleep.
They also do not know how to *cat*. Since they don’t have their mother to help teach them socialization, which is extremely crucial to their future, it is up to the foster to help them learn. I have cats of my own and once the kittens are health cleared, I let them around the big cats, who help teach them cat stuff.
You can’t help but fall in love with the babies. If you love animals, it’s inevitable. When I feel myself weaken, I will remind myself of the man in the story and while I won’t promise no tears, I will happily hand the babies over to their new forever homes and make room for the next crew.
Your thoughts and comments welcome!