Every year, between April and September thousands of kittens are born in East Tennessee. Many of these will come to Young-Williams Animal Center at some point in their lives. Last year, 2,028 animals went to a foster home. Those animals had a second chance at finding a loving forever family, and it’s because of volunteer fosters who dedicate days and weeks of their time to homeless pets. We wouldn’t be able to save these lives without you, and for that, we will forever be grateful. You, our volunteer and supporter, are making a difference for thousands of animals just like Amunet, a young, sick cat who had to learn to trust to beat the odds.
We believe Amunet was feral for 6 months before she got really sick and a good Samaritan found her. Amunet had been suffering from a feline upper respiratory infection, or URI, and most of her face was crusted over. When she arrived, she struggled to breathe, couldn’t open her eyes and was skinny as a rail. It was clear she hadn’t been eating and was in critical condition.
Not every animal that arrives in such serious condition makes it, but we were doing everything we could to fight for her while she was too weak to fight for herself. Our staff provided fluids, breathing-treatments, and medication for the URI while they searched for an experienced emergency medical foster. They loaded up a cart with food, bowls, medications, blankets, a crate, humidifier and everything else we thought it might take to save her, and Amunet was on her way to foster.
The first few days with her foster were stressful and terrifying. Amunet had no experience with humans and now one was trying to feed her, giving her medication, and watching over her. For days her foster wasn’t sure if she would ever eat on her own, use the litter box, or leave the spot where she was curled up on her heating disk.
For the next two weeks, her foster would give her breathing treatments twice a day, syringe feed her food and fluids, and apply eye meds and hot compresses to open her eyes and sinuses. There were many early mornings and long nights for both the foster and Amunet who was still too weak to move.
Eventually the medications began to break up the URI, but Amunet still had a long road of healing ahead of her. New scabs would form on her eyes and nose overnight and her mouth was raw from breathing.
Amunet was recovering from her URI and her health was much better, but she still did not trust humans and spent most her time in the darkness of her box where she knew was safe. Coaxing her out of her comfort zone daily for medications, treats, and attention, she began to warm up to her human companion. “her first purr was something of a celebration, then she would nose boop me, and eventually she wouldn’t cower away when I would reach for her,” says her foster. “You could tell she had never depended on humans like domesticated cats do until she got sick. She never came seeking attention, I would have to go to her, but she learned to tolerate it and eventually enjoyed receiving affection.”
When Amunet fully recovered from the URI, she was ready for introductions to the other household pets. A large crate was used as a socialization pin where she got to meet and interact face to face with fur foster siblings, Mythal and The Dogs. Mythal and Amunet became especially close and would play, groom, and snuggle together every chance they could. Mythal would even wait at the door for her mom to come home from work, just so she could be with Amunet!
Snuggling with her foster, getting kisses and being brushed became a daily habit for Amunet and she would purr and roll around exposing her belly for scratches. That’s how we knew she was ready for adoption.
Amunet isn’t the type of cat who will immediately love you and be open the day you take her home. She needed a home that is patient and will work to gain her trust. Within a matter of hours, an application came through and a few days later she went on a sleepover with her new dad.
Not every adoption is smooth and they certainly had their ups and downs, but her new dad was determined to make it work. Coming back to us for help, he borrowed a socialization crate to slowly introduce her to her new home and build her confidence. Within a few weeks, she learned to trust her new dad as she did her foster and her adoption was finalized. Her former foster reflects, “All the hard work, effort, and time I put into making sure she survived and recovered paid off. Now she is happy and with someone who loves her just as much as I grew to.”
Our volunteer fosters and our staff put their hearts on the line when they take a chance on such a vulnerable animal. They don’t always win their fight and it makes these special adoptions so much more special. These truly are some of the happiest days and they would not happen without support from our community.
To learn more about getting involved or supporting pets in our foster program, visit https://www.young-williams.org/get-involved/foster/