cats, Flannery Oconnor, foster cats, foster dogs, fostering, kittens

Becoming a Cat Person (By Default)

The boys survived their ‘alterations’ this week and hopefully, two of them will be moving on soon. Chett and Poe have an adopter, they’re vaccinated, dewormed (multiple times), microchipped, combo-tested (neg), and now, neutered. They are ready to go!

The Humane Society of Shenandoah County charges $175 for kittens and $150 for cats in adoption fees. I’m pretty new to this cat game, but even I can see that adoption fees don’t begin to cover the cost of saving these kitties.

And the ones who are not adopted out (Twain, Hemingway, and Harper) will be transferred to another rescue north or east of us who will be better able to place them. As far as I know, those rescues will not pay a ‘pull fee’ (the amount charged by many shelters to rescues to take their animals), so that’s an even bigger loss (in terms of money).

I’m still learning my way around the cat rescue world, and at first pass it’s clear to me that it is even more expensive than saving dogs. I’ve met a few of the women who run the HHSC and I’m in awe. They sacrifice so much – gobs of time, any kind of personal life, their homes (and vehicles), their fortunes (what’s left of them), and most certainly, their hearts, in order to do what they do.

Absolute honesty, here…I couldn’t do it. It just seems so hopeless. For every cat they save, five more turn up. Despite taking vans full of cats and kittens to be spayed/neutered each week, they are drowning in kittens with requests to take more.

I know they are making progress, but it is just so incremental, pretty much microscopic in the big picture. But what else can they do?

Now that I know just a tiny little bit about all this, I can’t not help. I’m not a ‘cat person’, but these women are amazing, and I will plant my feet firmly in their corner. I imagine there will be kittens crashing my zoom meetings and trashing my office, and cats mewling on my sun porch and tormenting Otis from now until eternity (as the cat problem could take that long to fix).

Still, I’m a dog person at heart and I have to say that dogs seem much more appreciative of you saving them. The kittens scream at me, trail me around demanding I feed them NOW, climb up my legs leaving them littered with scratch marks, and bite me whenever I try to rub their bellies. Foster dogs never do any of those things (except Flannery, she did bite you when you rubbed her belly!). It’s a good thing they’re so darn cute.

But then again, foster dogs don’t use a litter box, and they wake me up with their barking, chew up my furniture, annoy Gracie, and take up a lot more space.

If you’d like to help the Humane Society of Shenandoah County, you can shop their Amazon or Chewy wishlists or make a donation to help with vet bills.

It’s pretty much killing me not to have a foster dog (or five) at the moment. I understand logically that we are in the process of moving (again) and about to take our vacation, but that doesn’t stop the pull of my heart when I hear daily about the desperate situation in our southern shelters.

Things are really bad, folks. The worst I’ve seen them. I’ve written about why it’s so bad post-pandemic in as many ways as I can. I grow increasingly frustrated that so many people in this country are unaware of the crisis, which is likely to get much worse as our economy struggles and the housing and rental market continues to be bonkers. Yes, there are so many bigger issues facing our nation, but in my tiny world view all I see are the nonstop pleas for help from struggling shelters and rescues.

So no worries, once we are moved into our new place I will have my own tiny cottage for fostering! I will share all about it in a future post. It’s in pretty rough shape now, so project number one at the new place is gutting the cottage and redesigning it as a writing studio and foster house.

Foster/writing cottage is the little building in front (our new house is the one behind)

Until then, you’ll have to put up with stories about my feline foster adventures! Although, you just never know, a dog might sneak in here sooner than expected. Everyone knows I’m a pushover for a dog in need.

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

15 thoughts on “Becoming a Cat Person (By Default)”

  1. Kitten season is always hell, and the closure of clinics during the pandemic made things even worse. Very tough year this year. But we will persist…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So many adopted during the pandemic that the pool of adopters is so much lower than usual. And with all the kitties in need, it is, indeed, completely overwhelming this year. It is even difficult getting kittens homes, which isn’t usually the case.


  2. Cats are great. Our rescue here does all this and neuters cats for “working cats” which the farmers and ranchers really need. I love the photo of Otis and the kitty. I personally think the cat rescue thing is impossible (having lived with 10 cats most of whom came to my house of their own accord). a lesson to me in futility and in love. I took care of spaying and neutering all of them and keep them throughout their lives. My vet loved this and found a couple of cats he thought needed to live with me. I took them in. I believe (as you do, I think) even the smallest bit of real help is never wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The lingering issues from the pandemic (which are huge) and the economy are making things so tough for shelter right now, which means they’re even tougher for animals. Thanks for doing your part to save them, and to spread the word. I know there are lots of problems facing our world and nation now, but that doesn’t diminish the need of homeless and suffering animals.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The need is huge – everywhere- not just in the south. I’ve never seen it this bad and I just want to shake our national media because they are not covering it. Wish I could find a way to get the word out. It feels like we’ve lost years of progress.


  4. And PS: Word press is acting up again, making me log in to my blog (although I’m already logged in) before I can like or comment on your post. I have to log in again to post this comment after the posting the above comment one minute ago!) It’s only happening on certain blogs, but yours is one of them. I don’t expect you to do anything about it, I just wanted you to know in case you get less response to your posts than usual.


  5. Oh wow, you truly are a brave person. I can’t imagine the need of cat rescues. Around here, shelters will no longer release pets to rescues like they used to. It makes finding homes more challenging. Best of luck with the move and your efforts for finding homes for the kitties.


      1. Denver. Not sure why the change in policy. The director of our rescue thinks they prefer the adoption fees which don’t get returned when a dog is brought back for whatever reason. Seems really stupid but they didn’t bother to ask my opinion.


  6. Your future writing studio looks great (and huge!), and so does what I can see of your house (really like that upper window).
    You have an enormous heart. The cat rescue situation is really hard because people see cats as even more disposable than dogs, and they multiply so quickly.
    I must be one of the few people in the world who don’t care for kittens (or puppies). They are adorable for about 10 minutes and then their busyness, mouthiness and non-existent attention span drive me bonkers. Not to mention kittens seem to poop their weight every day.
    I do love cats, especially cats 5 years or older. They have calmed down, and their sleeping presence makes an entire room feel serene. As Buddy Cat gets older (he’s 9 now), he becomes more affectionate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kittens DO poop their weight on a daily basis! And they also drive me bonkers, but they are containable and seem to be able to entertain themselves, so for now, they are easier than cats. I would love to foster a cat, though. It’s just that right now the rescue needs kitten fosters. I hope to get to foster a cat or two eventually if ‘kitten season’ ever ends. We plan to get two barn cats once we’re moved in to the house in Saumsville. I’m super excited about the cottage – it’s about the size of a small house trailer, but more than enough room to foster puppies/kittens, and have a space to write.


  7. I am a dog person too, with a little bit of cat person thrown in. And all animals! Perhaps the Shenandoah Group could contact Best Friends Animal Society? They have done amazing things across the county. They provide training and various assistance.


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