I foster failed and regret it. Now what?

Joni Blue

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I recently adopted a pair of bonded sisters I was fostering. Now I regret it. The main reason I adopted them was because I didn't want them to be separated, which was compounded by my SO of 2 years breaking up with me the day I brought them back to the shelter to be sterilized and put up for adoption.

I tried not to do it but I drove back to the shelter two days in a row and ended up bringing them home with me because I wanted the comfort and familiarity they could provide. They're approx. 5 months old and I adopted them approx. 4 weeks ago. The shelter is willing to take them back and isn't worried that they're too old now to find a home, but I just feel awful about it.

They're sweet, loving, well-behaved girls but I'm daunted by the thought of being responsible for them for the next 20 years. I had a cat for 16 years and I was devastated when he died, but I also fully embraced the freedom of being pet-free. I got into fostering because it was a way to have cats temporarily when I wanted them while doing something good for the world. Then I went and did this!

I feel sick to my stomach all day every day over the commitment. The thought of abandoning them at the shelter kills me but so does the thought of having this responsibility until I'm an old woman (I'm 47 now).

Every time I decide to keep them or rehome them, I change my mind but I know it's getting to a point of no return and I've set myself a deadline of this weekend to decide one way or the other. I need some help and words of wisdom...
 

GranolaLouise

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I am a senior who adopted a senior cat and I don't regret it one bit. It CAN be done and enjoyed in your senior years,but you seem to be placing your freedom as a priority...." I also fully embraced the freedom of being pet-free". ... I can understand that.
But in reading your post it feels as if you really want to return them " I feel sick to my stomach all day every day over the commitment. "
Perhaps allowing them to live with others, even if separated , would allow both them and you to have a happy life,not filled with regrets?
Would the home be one filled with resentment caused by guilt? Would the kittens enjoy their home with you? Would they benefit more from living separate lives in a home growing up with children?
I am thinking about the kittens' welfare.
 

ArtNJ

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They are cats. You don't have to walk em. You can leave them alone for the weekend with food and water. Once you train them not to scratch the furniture, you can shoo them off whenever you need some space. You can feed dry if you want too, and put food down once a day. You can buy extra litter boxes and not change the liter every day. You don't have to play with them if you don't feel like it, especially since you have two. The highest responsibility is when they are kittens, which you have already successfully been dealing with.

Two kittens can be quite a lot sometimes. But cats are pretty easy, for the most part. Well, provided you don't need your furniture in pristine condition. In the scheme of life decisions and commitments, this ain't a big one. You'll be fine.

That said, if you do need to take them back, you need to take em back and all three of you will be fine.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
Although nobody knows what life will throw at them, do you have enough money to take care of you and of them, since literally everything is getting more expensive, --food, pet fountains, toys, cat furniture, wellness check at the vet, etc? If you keep them would pet insurance be a good idea?
 
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Joni Blue

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Hi
Although nobody knows what life will throw at them, do you have enough money to take care of you and of them, since literally everything is getting more expensive, --food, pet fountains, toys, cat furniture, wellness check at the vet, etc? If you keep them would pet insurance be a good idea?
Money is fortunately the least of my worries, and I bought pet insurance the first week after I adopted them. These girls will want for nothing if I keep them.

I just want to do the best by them. That's why I went back for them. Seeing them together is really beautiful... until I get into my head and freak out about the longevity of it all. I'm an expat living alone in a foreign country, so "minor" things can easily become overwhelming. I was actually doing ok with it, then I got sick with the flu last week and could barely get out of bed to feed them and clean the litterbox and panic and anxiety got ahold of me and I've been struggling to shake it.
 

CatladyJan

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My thoughts while reading your post is that they would probably be better in a home where someone is comfortable with them and isn't on the fence about it. IMO guilt is not a good reason to take in any animal that you do not absolutely want. Maybe at a later time if you truly want to adopt that would be better.
BTW - I'm 59 and I have a house full and I love everyone of them and realize some if not all will outlive me.
 

Alldara

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You went in to this to be a foster. One of the biggest realizations about fostering is that you cannot keep them and continue to help the next ones that need it.

Is the shelter willing to commit to adopting them out as a bonded pair? Perhaps even allow you to foster until adopters arrive? If yes, I don't see any reason why you cannot pass them along to a loving home.

It can be so hard to foster because you really put your heart into caring for beings that will leave you. You might decide its not for you and that's okay. But it really sounds like, to me anyway, a situation you should not feel guilty over if you make the decision to adopt them out.

On the other hand, as you continue to build your own community in the country you're living in, that might help you to find things more manageable. Both in terms of the cats and with your life in general. You may continue to take comfort in them and find they stay a beautiful part of your life. In the end, no one can make this decision but you. Both decisions come with some need for accepting the feelings you have about the situation, and letting yourself feel them to allow them to pass. ❣
 

rubysmama

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Hi. Welcome to TCS. Sorry for the situation that's brought you here. You're not the first purr-son, btw, to post about adopter's regret. It's actually somewhat common. And usually it's someone who made a hasty adoption decision, and is then having "what have I done" thoughts, and like you worried about the responsibility of caring for the cat(s). Usually after a bit of time, their panic subsides and kitty and human continue sharing their lives together. Once in a while they decide to return the cat, but that doesn't happen too often.

Four weeks is a fairly long time for you to still be unsure if you've done the wrong thing. If you do decide to return them, be 100% sure, because the shelter almost for certain won't reconsider letting you have them, if you change your mind.

About having to care for them when you're an "old woman", mid to late 60's is not old, these days. Many 60 somethings are very active and healthy. And don't forget about The Health Benefits Of Living With A Cat – TheCatSite Articles

I hope you'll be able to come to a decision you're comfortable with soon. Either way, let us know what you decide to do. Good Luck.
 
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Joni Blue

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I just wanted to post an update and to thank everyone who commented.

I'm keeping the little critters, and we've settled into a cozy little family. I had asthma attack that sent me to the hospital (I'm allergic), but I can't imagine my life without them now.
 

di and bob

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I'm so happy for you (and for them)! I saw this post today and was going to ask you why you would worry about that particular thing for the future? They most likely would not outlive you, and the love and companionship they could give you are far more important. In the meantime you can share your heart and your home and all will be happy. Cats are so independent and self caring you can have your freedom AND have them. Try to remember, especially in these times, 99% of what we worry about DOES NOT COME TRUE! You can never change the past, it is set in stone, and the future is not ours to see. so really no use worrying about something that may not ever happen. Live for the moment, (as cats do) take each day as it comes, one day at a time........PS you are getting at the age when you will be comfortable with your life, you will learn in the coming years that having responsibility, stability, and routine, is very important too. Sometimes that 'freedom' we all enjoyed while young turns into something entirely different!
 

GranolaLouise

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I'm so happy for you (and for them)! I saw this post today and was going to ask you why you would worry about that particular thing for the future? They most likely would not outlive you, and the love and companionship they could give you are far more important. In the meantime you can share your heart and your home and all will be happy. Cats are so independent and self caring you can have your freedom AND have them. Try to remember, especially in these times, 99% of what we worry about DOES NOT COME TRUE! You can never change the past, it is set in stone, and the future is not ours to see. so really no use worrying about something that may not ever happen. Live for the moment, (as cats do) take each day as it comes, one day at a time........PS you are getting at the age when you will be comfortable with your life, you will learn in the coming years that having responsibility, stability, and routine, is very important too. Sometimes that 'freedom' we all enjoyed while young turns into something entirely different!
Beautifully stated and encouraging ,wise words for us all!
 

Alldara

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I just wanted to post an update and to thank everyone who commented.

I'm keeping the little critters, and we've settled into a cozy little family. I had asthma attack that sent me to the hospital (I'm allergic), but I can't imagine my life without them now.
I'd highly recommend a HEPA filter on your vacuum and an air purifier. It has very much helped with our allergies.

Hope you're feeling better now.
 

rubysmama

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I just wanted to post an update and to thank everyone who commented.

I'm keeping the little critters, and we've settled into a cozy little family. I had asthma attack that sent me to the hospital (I'm allergic), but I can't imagine my life without them now.
Thanks for the update! So glad it worked out that you're all a little family now. :redheartpump::petcat::catlove:

Any chance we could see pics of them?
How To Add A Picture To Your Forum Post – TheCatSite Articles

Sorry about the asthma attack. Here's a short TCS article on the topic that might be helpful.
Living With Cat Allergy – TheCatSite Articles
 
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