By: Gayle Hemenway
She found us in the summer. As I sat enjoying the afternoon sun in the backyard, she walked through the gate and straight toward our compost pile, hunting for mice. She was skinny, with fur short enough that I mistook her at first for a neighbor cat. Her black plume of a tail appeared to belong to a longer-haired cat and she swished it around in a comically canine fashion.
Now she is Natasha. Her Angora looks have blossomed so fully that I’m reminded of the metamorphosis of human teenagers. Her dark-chocolate-colored fur is long and fluffy and she is a little plump. But back in July, she was hungry and homeless. Just a few soft words from us, along with a bowlful of food, and she was trying to nose her way into the house. Our two cats hovered suspiciously in the doorway.
After a fruitless search for an owner, we ended up at the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, where Sarah Swanty, the director, told us with a wry smile that our new friend was only eight months old--and pregnant. With the support of the FCCR, we became a foster family for the mama cat and her soon-to-arrive kittens.
My sons felt lucky and awed to see the kittens born and to watch Natasha mother them so carefully and well for their first twelve weeks. Patrick and Victor helped care for the little cat family living in our basement and gently petted and played with the kittens often, as did the many neighbor kids who visited regularly.
Watching Hernando, Noelle, and Willow leave for new homes was bittersweet, but it is the sweet part we remember. By nurturing healthy, happy kittens to be adopted into loving homes, the FCCR foster family program is a great thing for all the human and feline families it touches.
Note: The Fort Collins Cat Rescue spays or neuters all kittens before their adoptions in order to help with the huge problem of homeless cats in our area. Natasha had her operation at the same time the kittens had theirs and was adopted by her foster family.