Parental Love Towards Animals (?)

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Vicki and Ember

Last week we rescued a kitten.  The whole background story is contained here.  After two failed attempts at rescuing this tiny one we (more specifically, my husband) became desperate enough to buy a $50 live trap from Lowes and travel one more time 40 miles one way to attempt to rescue this kitten we had seen walking along and sleeping by a very busy roadside. The trap proved successful, and at 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday night my husband brought home a tiny, scared, dehydrated, and emaciated kitten.  Our protective parental instincts kicked in, and we went to work caring for and nurturing this wee one.

It’s amazing how fast cats can snap back from the most horrific ordeals.  With lots of food, water, love, and basic veterinary attention she has thrived in her new environment.

Unfortunately, we have a full house when it comes to cats.  This little one is super-sweet and adorable, but we are unable to keep her for the long term.  We agreed to be her fosters and seek a forever home for her through the Humane Society in which my husband volunteers.

In all honesty I have never felt love for a child like I have felt for animals.  I already love this little one like my own, and I’ve only known her for a week.  This is our first time following through with fostering.  We did foster a cat from the Humane Society last year, but it was a cat my husband had fallen in love with and wanted to make his own.  We fostered her mostly as a trial knowing that if it worked out she’d remain with us, and she’s  now a permanent part of our family.

So knowing we’re  going to let this little one go is difficult, but we know that…as hard as it is…we can’t keep every one we rescue.  We’ve done that for years, and while we love every one of them dearly it probably would’ve been better for all involved if we had adopted the foster philosophy before now.

We have a potential adoptive family coming tonight to see the little one, and while I’m happy at the thought of her finding her forever home I’m heartsick knowing that we may never see her again.  I also have to admit wondering if her adoptive family will care for her and love her as much as we already do.

I wonder if my childlessness has any bearing on the intensity of my emotions in this situation.  I wonder if I were a mother to human children would my love for these little creatures be any less passionate.  I feel there is a deep well  of mostly untapped “mother love” inside of me that I redirect towards my animals.   From my current viewpoint I feel as if I would love my animals just as much since I’ve had an intense love for animals since I was a child.  Still, I’ll never know since I’ll never be a parent to human children.

If anyone else has experienced this I would love to know how you have dealt with similar emotions towards animals…especially if you have fostered animals.

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One response »

  1. I haven’t fostered, but I totally get where you are coming from. I remember the first time I saw my little Angel I knew she was mine. I looked into her big eyes and I didn’t care about anything else. It was weird. But we have a special connection, I don’t even see her as a CAT…not human either, but not a cat. She is just my friend. People have told us we should just give them up because it severely limits our apartment choices, but there is no giving them up when they become part of your family. I think of my babies even dying someday in the future and I am almost inconsolable!
    But you are not alone. I love my babies!

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