This is a story about me and my beloved cat, Twitch (pictured above) and how we met.
I have a great respect for the work the NZSPCA does. Everyone in New Zealand knows who they are and they are the first point of call for anyone who has lost an animal, worried about an animal or found a sick or injured animal. When I was a student I was a volunteer for the SPCA Newtown, Wellington center. I helped out looking after sick animals in the hospital a few times. I also fostered at least 6 kittens, and a rabbit. I would have continued but my housing situation changed. I know I will go back to it as soon as I can.
My first foster kitten, Twitch, he was 7 months old when I got him and already the size of a normal sized cat. He had been found limping and homeless. I was asked to take him home and look after him until he could have his surgery which was a few weeks away, and the shelter was very full, being mid-winter with lots of cat-flu going around. I was so excited. I missed having pets and have always loved animals of all kinds. We picked him up and his crate was covered in a blanket. As we drove home he was so quiet. We joked they forgot to put him in there. We were both used to our childhood pets yowling when in the car.
We got him home and opened his cage. He climbed out very wary, but, curious. Within an hour he was running around eagerly playing with a toy mouse on a string. He was lovely but boisterous.
That first night I shut him in the bathroom with his bed, litter box, some food, and water as instructed. As foster pets, you don't want them getting into mischief while you are asleep and picking up bad household habits. To some, it may sound a bit mean, but, remember it is much roomier and nicer than being stuck in a cage at the shelter.
I got up later to go to the toilet, one problem with having them in the bathroom, and he meowed and me and was so upset to be in the bathroom by himself. My heart broke a little and so I picked him up and carried him to bed with me. He curled up in my arms and we slept like that, together for the whole night. It was love from the moment we met.
A couple weeks when by and Twitch went for knee surgery. I was so excited when I was asked if I could look after him while he recovered. He then needed a second knee surgery. Three months went by. I had decided I couldn't give him up for adoption after his recovery. We were kindred spirits and losing him would lose a part of me. We spent most of this three months together as I had just finished university (woohoo!), but, most of my friends were either still at uni or working during the day and I was unemployed (by choice mind you).
He went to the vet for the day for a checkup and when my boyfriend turned up to pick him up they said sorry we have put him in the adoption area. My boyfriend knew I would be devastated. He told them I need him back and we will be adopting him. Luckily they found him and I didn't have to hunt through Wellington trying to find where he had gone. I have no doubt he would have been adopted quickly. He is beautiful and very friendly. I asked my parents if they would look after Twitch when I went overseas at some stage and they said yes! I am a responsible pet owner after all and his care is now my responsibility forever, not just until my plans change. I was all ready to adopt him. He was about a year old and finally recovering from his final surgery.
4 years later we have grown a lot together. We can tell when the other is upset, we always look after each other. He unfortunately still has the limp and is already developing arthritis, but, the good news is I have recently made contact with a chiropractor and her treatments are helping a lot!
Anyway, I wouldn't have his love without the SPCA and who knows where he would be today. I'm sure he would have scavenged his way around the city and maybe found somewhere to live, he is very resourceful, but his knee would have likely been in a more sorry state.
I received so much love and joy being a foster mum to many little kittens, and an abandoned rabbit. I will always remember them all and always highly respect the work of the SPCA. They have a big job to do, with limited resources, and they do an amazing job at it, although there is still much to be done.
I look forward to being able to contribute to them through LQ Planet. And am eager to learn about similar groups in other countries doing the same amazing work, I take my hat off to you all.
- Adrianne Elizabeth, LQ Planet Founder