I was at a workshop today that asked us at the outset to introduce ourselves and indicate a "hobby" that we enjoyed. I realize that fostering does not exactly fall under the hobby category, but it's the one thing in my life that I'm extremely involved in, and so I decided to mention it.
As the day was drawing to close, one of the other participants approached me to enquire further about our fostering and which rescue group we work with. One of her questions during the course of our conversation was "Have you ever been afraid of any your fosters"?
Now to a cat lover, that may seem like a ridiculous question and at first, I smiled and laughed, waving her question away as almost ludicrous - and then I remembered "Squeakers"..............
We had probably been fostering about 6 months when I got a call from the rescue we were with at that time, to enquire about whether we would be willing to take a very sweet boy named Squeakers. Of course, I readily agreed and was only told after that he would be coming to me straight from his neuter surgery, and would be most likely still heavily under the influence of the anesthetic, so a quiet space for him to fully awaken was best. No problem I thought, I knew that alot of the other foster parents took fosters in fresh (if you will), from their spay/neuter surgeries, and I was confidant that our welcoming Squeakers would be a piece of cake - and for the most part, it was.
I had our very spacious bathroom set up and ready with large plush towels, a clean litterbox and water (food would come later after the drugs had worn off). I even placed a little night light in the bathroom to ensure that the overhead one didn't bother him, and presto!, we were all set.
Squeakers was a gorgeous looking cat. A silver grey tabby with white underpatch, he was tall, lean and solid looking - he reminded me of an athlete; physically fit in every sense of the word and totally in his youth being the ripe age of 2. Upon arrival, I immediately placed him the bathroom and he was still experiencing serious sedation, so we left him to rest awhile and I decided to check on him later.
Going back in, I was greeted with a groggy, but very friendly kitty who although obviously quite confused as to where he was and what had happened (the realization that he'd just lost half his brain - as my husband likes to refer to it), would come later, was very friendly, purring and enjoying the petting. After some time, I was preparing to leave the bathroom and turned (with my back to the door), to look down at Squeakers one more time before leaving, softly uttering his name as he sat directly at my feet in an upright position, staring at me intently.
In the span of 60 seconds, we went from a loving exchange with human standing and kitty on floor, to human finding themselves having heart palpatations as she realizes that this cat has now catapulted himself off the floor, sunk his teeth into her hand, had his claws dug into her forearm and was hanging there like a chimpanzee in a tree!! Squeakers hung on in that position for what seemed like an eternity, as I tried frantically to get him off of me - at one point I had to swing my arm like I had a bat in it before he was thrown off and to the floor.
Looking down at him as I surveyed my grossly bloodied hand and arm, and suddenly that sweet look of love in this cat's eyes had turned totally demonic. I mean, you could actualy see that all he was doing was surveying the way in which he could once again sink his teeth into apart of my body and which part looked most appealing.
How I actually got out of that bathroom with only one arm working is still a mystery to me. Shaking and crying and being very near hysteria, I called the rescue coordinator and explained that Squeakers was more Satan than Squeak!!
We realized quickly that animals coming out of sedation can be prone to aggressive behaviour - especially in an environment in which they are not familiar. So we persevered and after a few days, decided that that was an isolated incident, and that with time to recuperate and rest, Squeakers would now be ready to resume his sweet, adorable self and come out to meet the boys.
Well he hated the boys, and he hated me - and I, well I was (I'll admit) terrified of this cat. All he had to do was look at me sideways and I was practically cowering.........I think at one point in the course of his stay with us, I even shut myself in the bedroom because I was convinced I had seen traces of that demonic look again in his beady little green eyes and I wasn't willing to experience yet again his unsavoury taste for my flesh.
Within a short time it was decided that it would be better for everyone if Squeakers was moved to a foster home where he could be The King of His Castle and so off he went very shortly thereafter, to stay with a young man who hadn't been fostering for the rescue very long, but who was very willing to meet and house Squeakers.
Within the space of a couple of days, we received word that Squeakers was nothing short of a little lovebug in his new foster environment and had slept, snuggled in beside his new foster Dad, every night and spent the days playing and thoroughly enjoying the view from his new pad window.
We were so happy to hear the news and even more grateful that Squeakers was much happier in the decision that was made to move him to an only pet foster home.
We have a good laugh now when we recount the details of our time with Squeakers - and laugh even harder when we remember how absolutely terrified I was of him - a little 8Ib, four legged creature that actually did have a very squeaky meow; but all in all, it just goes to show that there can be instances where our little friends can exhibit foe attributes, but a great majority of the time those types of actions can be attributed to past abuse. a stressful experience (like being dumped at a shelter), or being placed in an anvironment where they are not happy (eg: mutli pet household).
I learned alot from having Squeakers as our houseguest. I learned to have more respect for these animals and for the fact that like us, they too can feel a whole host of emotions in a very short span of time.............oh yeah, and I also learned that cuddling up to most males right after they've "lost most of their brain" is not a wise idea - ESPECIALLY when what stands between you and the door is their teeth!!