What do you do with a foster kitten who is full of personality and in need of a “forever home” but will have a runny, sneezy nose and damaged eye for the rest of his life? Will he be able to find a family that can love him for who he is, flaws and all?
This was our dilemma with Buddy, an adorable kitten we fostered with a plethora of health issues.
My wife, Amy, and I have been fostering kittens since March 2017 and to-date, we have fostered nearly 200 kittens. Amy is the lead, but I have been able to be there as her faithful helper over the years. I have bottle-fed kittens, taken them to emergency clinics, been there at 4 a.m. when a mother gave birth, and supported Amy when things didn’t turn out the way we hoped.
This is all possible thanks to Blue Yonder as my generous, flexible, volunteerism-supportive employer; Blue Yonder’s two Volunteer Time Off (VTO) days have enabled me to take part in all these activities without feeling like I have to choose one or the other. Blue Yonder supports and celebrates volunteerism, as evidenced in the recent Week of Giving.
I am proud to have worked at Blue Yonder for 26 years and am hoping for a couple decades more and to still be doing cutting-edge cloud-based software engineering for household-name customers – while fostering kittens on the side.
In all the time we have been fostering, we’ve never had a kitten like Buddy, so we thought: Would anyone be interested in reading his story?
We decided to find out and help raise funds for foster animals in the process! My wife and sister-in law, Britt Peacock, (with some un-credited creative help from me here and there) wrote and published a book about Buddy’s story: A Home for Buddy: A Foster Story.
Meet Buddy, a real kitten full of heart with, let’s say, a few somewhat messy flaws.
We took Buddy in as a foster kitten, along with his mom and six siblings, from SPCA Florida when they were just three days old. Mom got sick, then the babies got sick (which is a common occurrence when cats/kittens are found in the wild). This led to the babies not being able to nurse on mom, so we took on the daunting task of bottle feeding seven kittens every 2-3 hours around the clock. Mom got better, but her milk dried up, so she went back to SPCA Florida to be spayed and adopted. The kittens all fought hard, but unfortunately, three were not strong enough to survive (another common occurrence in fostering kittens this young).
Buddy and his three remaining sisters made it, but they were all left with lifetime health complications, including constant sneezing, vision impairment, and breathing problems.
So, Buddy the kitten was a mess.
But as big as his health problems were, he had an even bigger heart and love for his siblings.
Buddy not only struggled with his health issues, but he also had to fit in with our many permanent adult cats during his foster time. Foster parents call this “socialization” and, just as in every childhood story of learning life lessons, there were some “learning opportunities.”
At the risk of revealing a spoiler, I will tell you that Buddy today is a happy, still-sneezy cat who has found a family to love him forever. But his childhood story of striving to fit in and let his personality show despite his flaws is a universal one.
How To Find the Book
If you are interested in supporting foster animals, you can find the book on our website, https://www.themeowmob.com/category/books, where we donate 10% of book profits to our local SPCA Florida kitten fostering organization.
What’s Next For Buddy?
I would encourage you all to find something you are passionate in doing to help your community – whether it is fostering kittens to help make people’s homes a little warmer, if not sometimes also a little messier, or something that speaks to you.
As we like to say in our house…