Monday, December 10, 2012

Home for the Holidays

The Community Cat Coalition in conjunction with several other local animal rescue groups is hosting a month long holiday themed adoption event! The organizers arranged for the use of a vacant store front in a busy outdoor shopping mall for the entire month of December. I believe the use of the space is even being donated. It's an amazing location with lots of holiday shoppers wandering by. The Home for the Holidays adoption event takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in December.

I must admit that when I first heard of this event I was a bit uneasy. The idea of people adopting animals as Christmas gifts doesn't sit well with me. But then I learned more about it. The adoption counselors have lots of experience and really know what they are doing. Animals are not adopted out as gifts and the adopters must qualify and pass a background check or even a home study in some cases. This information put my concerns at ease.

I love seeing all the different rescue groups coming together with the shared goal of finding homes for cats and dogs. Santa has even taken time out of his busy schedule so people can get their holiday pictures taken with him and their pets. The proceeds from the photos goes to a different rescue organization each day. There are fun items for sale as well as an old fashion cash donation box that seems to fill up each day! This entire month long event is all organized by volunteers who want nothing more than to find good homes for lots of homeless cats and dogs. One of the amazing local sponsors for this event, Paddywack, donated a ton of supplies. Wow!

I brought Hershey this past weekend in hopes he would find his forever home, which means I spent most of my weekend hanging out here with some awesome people and lots of wicked cute kitties! This was the second weekend of the event. I haven't heard the totals yet from this weekend, but for the first weekend, 15 cats were adopted and $1,300 was raised in cash donations! How awesome is that!!!

This is how the space looks as you walk in the front door. It's a huge space! Most of these pictures were taken before it got crazy busy with people.

The green tents house families of kittens, ready to find their new homes.

These tables display all the items that are in the raffle.

On the far side of the room, away from the cats, is the dog adoption area. 

Behind the bicycle is the dog section

Lots and lots of cute dogs were doing their best to find new homes.

On Sunday, the dog section was really hopping! So many wonderful dogs, looking to go home for the holidays. Big dogs, little dogs and every size in between. I haven't heard how many dogs were adopted, but I hope it was lots!

Hershey was far away from all the big, scary dogs, but that didn't stop him from being scared! 

He spent most of Saturday hiding on top of the wooden crate.

His other hangout spot was between the crate and the litter box.

I put a lot of thought in creating a space for him that would give him a sense of security while also allowing people to see him. In the end I think it worked well. The picture frame to the left of the cage is a digital picture frame which was constantly cycling through 50 or so photos of Hershey playing, snuggling or hanging out at home. I wanted people to see what he's like when he's comfortable at home rather than just the scared cat they saw before them.

By Sunday, he had moved into the crate.

The whole idea of Hershey being at this event was to help him find his forever home. One thing I learned from this experience is that even though cognitively I know that Hershey will be better off in a new home with people who can spoil him rotten, my heart is not wanting to let him go. This is not a huge surprise, but I was surprised at the extent of my emotional resistance to letting go. Whenever I saw someone looking him over, I had to stop myself from chasing them away from my cat!

I noticed that in my mind I was referring to him as "my" cat and other foster parents at the event were referring to their cats only by name, sans the possessive adjective. I think the entire weekend I was giving off the energy of "get the hell away from MY cat!" Laura kept telling me I needed to talk up Hershey to the people passing by. I knew she was right, but I feared if I did someone might want to take him home! On Sunday evening, as I drove Hershey home at the end of the weekend, I felt happy and relieved to be bringing him back home. I'm clearly a conflicted individual!

A woman holds her child up so he can get a better look at Hershey

This experience was good for Hershey as he got acclimated to the chaotic environment and it was good for me to learn more about the extent of my resistance to give him up. I cannot keep him, five indoor cats already feels like too many, six is way too many besides the additional expenses that come from having another as well as the fact that the existing cats don't want any new additions. Hmmm, I've got more 'letting go' work to do. Sigh.

In an attempt to ease my anxiety about what we were in for, I stopped by on Friday night to see the space. The experience had the opposite effect as my anxiety went through the roof as I pictured Hershey hanging out there. I noticed that the seasoned foster parents took a "tough love" approach and it really seemed to work. They somehow don't get freaked out by seeing their cats so stressed and sure enough, by the end of the weekend most of their cats had settled nicely and were much less stressed. I'm told that the next time those cats are at an adoption event they will be more calm and have a better chance of being adopted. That makes sense, but I'm not sure I have what it takes do pull off the tough-love approach. Seeing Hershey and the other cats so stressed significantly stressed me out!

I'm such a wuss, I admit it. Leaving Hershey's side was not easy for me. I stayed with him all morning on Saturday, trying to calm him. I eventually worked up enough internal strength to leave him for 15 minutes while I went down the block to the Starbucks. Later in the afternoon, I was able to leave for a few hours. Leaving him for the night was emotionally brutal. One of the amazing adoption volunteers could tell I was having a hard time leaving him. She came over to me, warmly smiled and reassured me that he would be ok. I knew it was true but again my heart was having a difficult time listening to my mind. I worried about him all night and I was there to visit him early Sunday morning. Sure enough, he had done just fine.

It was so fun seeing all the different cats get adopted! Seeing them go off to their new homes brought me such joy. A few of them were adopted as pairs, which made me even happier!

Most (if not all) of the kittens and cats available for adoption were rescued from being homeless or were tamed ferals. Here are a few of the other kittens and cats that were available:

There are at least three, maybe more, kittens in here.

What a sweet pair! Double your pleasure!

I completely fell in love with these two marbled kittens and their grey and white sibling. Their coloring is so gorgeous!

take me home!

All three of these sweeties were adopted!!! The two shyest were adopted together, 
which made me so happy, I about cried.

There is a small black cat hiding under the cat bed

This is Samantha, a gorgeous black and white. I can't believe how
 much this girl looks like Katie Isabella, one of the cat bloggers I follow!

Samantha's story was posted on her cage. She has had a tough life. She was dumped on the street as a young pregnant girl. She did the best she could to take care of her kittens but at some point she was attacked and bitten by dogs. When she was rescued, she had deep puncture wounds and was missing patches of fur. She was so skinny and sick, the vet wasn't sure she would live. After treatment and care she healed nicely and is now looking for a home where she will be loved and cared for. She's still a bit timid around people she doesn't know and she so loves to nuzzle her soft head against your hand as she purrs and purrs. This girl deserves a purrfect home.

Such a sweet orange boy! His name is Fanta, after the orange soda pop!

This is Mr. Fluffy, he was Hershey's neighbor for the weekend.

Every cat that is adopted gets their picture taken with their new human(s) in front of the Christmas tree and Santa scene. 

Santa is holding a cat and a bear in his arms!

Now that Hershey is settled back in at home, my nerves are starting to settle too. I've got a week now to emotionally gear up for taking him back for the coming weekend. Hershey's such a sweet cat, all the volunteers who had a chance to love on him confirmed this truth. A few were tempted to take him home and still may be considering it. I trust that he will find his home when it's the right time for us both.

Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who have helped pull off such an amazing event for the homeless dogs and cats in the community. The space is so beautifully decorated and laid out perfectly. Creating and pulling off an event of this size takes a herculean amount of work. I'm a bit reluctant to start naming names because there have been so many amazing volunteers who have helped make this all happen and I fear I wouldn't get everyone named. Even with that said, I do want to say a special thank you to Kathleen for organizing this amazing event and to Chris for managing this weekend while Kathleen was off working yet another CCC fundraiser! Thank you also to all the rescue people who give the cats and dogs a chance at a good life. A special spot in heaven is reserved for you all.


  1. Best of luck for Hershey. It warms my heart seeing so many people trying to help these animals. Deb

  2. What a terrific event, and a huge, terrific space in which to hold it. Hurrah for all those who found their forever homes, and we hope next week it will be Hershey's turn. We're sending purrs and Light for this, for his Highest Good!

    P.S. Our human says she realized quite quickly, when there were three of us, that two is her limit. Two hands, two cats, she says. LOL.

  3. I sure can relate, that holiday gifting makes me way too nervous. Hershey is so adorable!

  4. Very emotional just reading your post. It had to be a very difficult day for both of you.

  5. That is an amazing event. I can't blame you for wanting to take Hershey home. It is so hard to give them up . And I really do thing around Christmas is not a good time to get a new animal. Everyone is so bush with other activities, the little cat gets forgotten. Take care.

  6. We have our paws crossed for Hershey, YOU, and all the kitties at next weekend's event! Such a great environment to find a new companion.

  7. I am so thrilled for all the sweet cats and dogs that found new homes. I know you love Hershey but I hope he too finds a forever home. I'm not sure I could be a foster parent, I get too attached just like you! Good Luck with all this!

    hugs, Linda

  8. I would be going through EXACTLY the same turmoil that you are! It must be so hard. I hope something happens where you can still keep tabs on Hershey if he leaves. It might make it easier if you know how he's doing once he leaves he leaves your home.
    Good luck!!!

  9. I absolutely adore that event, and the fact that the store owner was willing to let the animals in there was even more of a blessing.

    I have to tell you I couldn't help but smile at your hesitation with Hershey. I think the day was not only good for him, but for you. I too have to take that tough love approach, not only for the kittens for myself. I used to go to the adoption events and talk to people about my kittens, but over the years I've come to the point that it is more harmful to me to listen to other people's idea of cats. A lot have no intention of adopting, but still to hear it... I so much prefer to think that everyone loves cats ;)

    Your energy while you are there effects everyone you come in contact with. It will keep Hershey from opening up, it keeps you stressed, and it rubs off on the people coming to adopt. If you can't be fully open to this the next time you go in, than it might not be a bad idea to not go - if that is an option..

  10. What an amazing event.

    I think part of being able to do this is trusting the people that process the adoptions. I am lucky in that the ones that go through our Petco store are done by me. Which means I get a little more say. Not that our adoption center doesn't do a great job, but for me is removes a little stress knowing I get to say yes or no.

    I have no doubt Hershey's family is out there..... the first time is the hardest, but it is also rewarding!

  11. What a great looking space to hold such an event! A blessing to have it donated for the month. Our hearts purr for Hershey and his forever home to come together at last. Purrs...from your friends at

  12. I have the short-haired tortie version of "Samantha" Wonderful photos, and what a great place!

  13. The lady said:
    A lot of hard work and caring went into the event, that is for sure.

    I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about being attached to Hershey. Everyone is different when it comes to emotional attachments. Some people are stronger in this area than others.
    I would not be very good at it. I would be wondering about the adoptive "parents"...even though they are background checked. I'd want to let them know they could call me if for some reason they couldn't keep Hershey or something came up. I'd be an emotional wreck. That is one of the reasons I donate money (when I can) to organizations and people that can do the work that I can't.

    You are doing a commendable job with Hershey. He just walked into your life and you helped him. I know you just want to make sure he gets absolutely the home he needs and deserves.

  14. Thanks and many blessings to all of you at the CCC and other organizations who give their time to help our precious four-legged friends. I agree-there is a special place in heaven you all of you!

    Cat Guy, you have given Hershey such a great opportunity for a forever home! The right person(s) will come along and he will adopt them! :) Because you care so much, it will still be tough on you, but your other kitties are waiting to comfort your anxiety.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  15. Don't hate me, your gut is telling you TO KEEP HIM. It's "intuition" I am praying you decide to keep him. He will adjust. He adores you and you adore him.

  16. This is why I could never do foster work. You need to have a strong heart and have your brain override your heart in keeping to believe you are doing what is best for the animal.

    A number of years ago, my neighbor who does foster, took in a stray that had just had kittens. Unfortunately, no kittens were ever found. My neighbor spayed her and put her on her website for adoption. Well, the cat, as cute and small as she was, was a hellion inside...throwing herself against doors and pushing out screens to get out. She made her way over to my house and set up camp there (since I was already putting cat kibble and water on my front porch.) A few months later, my neighbor called and said someone saw "Jelly's" photo and was interested in meeting her and could I bring her over the next evening. I hesitantly said yes and hung up. A few minutes later I called and said that with Jelly's propensity for getting out of a house, I'd hate to see her adopted out only to escape and be lost. My neighbor agreed and I was looking after Jelly until 2008 when another neighbor's old cat died. Jelly started hanging around his house and he officially adopted her. Jelly readily goes into his house now (he has no other cats) and comes over regularly to visit. A good outcome all the way around!

    Best of luck with Hershey!


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