One year ago today I held Cooper in my arms and said goodbye. This past year has been a tough adjustment without Cooper. But, this year has also been a rewarding year because of Cooper. Today, I am celebrating the wonderful gifts Cooper left with us and how he still remains in our daily lives!
Cooper is the reason why I decided to start fostering kittens and cats. In all honesty, Cooper was a unique and often misunderstood cat. He liked to be an only cat at home, so we honored his wishes. Cooper did not get the congeniality award at the vet either. However, Cooper was my precious sweet boy that gave us unconditional love as we did him. His world was ours, and our world was his. Cooper could have easily ended up on the streets to become a feral cat or in a less than loving and safe home as so many cats do. I wanted to honor the life Cooper had by giving kittens and cats in desperate need for a chance too have the beautiful and loving life Cooper had by opening up our home where he lived for so many wonderful years. Fostering is an emotional rollercoaster of opening your heart only to eventually let them go. It is hard but rewarding to be able to help change the trajectory in their precious lives. Cooper showed his courage by being vulnerable, to love and give it his all, and his bravery to let go when it was time. His courage inspires me with every single foster kitty I have to love them, give them my all, and graciously let them go to continue to live a loving life!
Fostering led me to my first foster kitty, Marmalade. I had learned about Marmalade one month before Cooper passed away. As I was bringing Cooper in for one of his routine chemotherapy appointments, I was told about this young and pregnant orange tabby cat that had been abandoned in a cardboard box in front of the veterinary clinic overnight. That orange tabby and gave birth to five beautiful orange tabby kittens within 24 hours of being abandoned and immediately rescued by an employee of the clinic. After that day, I never heard about the abandoned orange tabby kitty and her kittens, but she crossed my mind from time to time. Fast forward to 6 weeks after Cooper had passed, the cat rescue contacted me about a great fit for my first foster cat. They went on to explain that this young cat had been pregnant and abandoned overnight at the vet clinic. All of her kittens had been adopted, and she now need the opportunity to become a kitten again. I asked them if this cat’s name was Marmalade. Yes! It was in fact the Marmalade. Marmalade stayed with me for a few weeks until she was ready for her next step to find her forever family. I fostered a few more kitties after Marmalade, but she came back to me again as a foster. Marmalade kept coming back to us, but she never left once she came back. Marmalade officially joined our family, and she makes my heart smile everyday.
I first met a tiny Ranger the day I was picking up Marmalade to foster. I sat in the floor with 12 other tiny and equally adorable kittens. But, my eyes kept looking at Ranger. I had no intention of adopting any kitten or cat at that time. My mind was focused on fostering for around a year, and then maybe consider adopting a cat after one year. I left that day with my foster kitty, Marmalade, but I left Ranger to find his forever family. I could not stop thinking about that little kitten named Ranger. I told my husband about this adorable tabby kitten I met in the kitten room. We found ourselves talking about Ranger every day. I had just met Ranger that one time, but he resonated in my heart. My husband already loved Ranger sight unseen. I had a long talk with the cat rescue about adopting Ranger and my fears and concerns. But, my love for Ranger was stronger than any fear that was trying to hold me back. Ranger officially joined our family, and our lives have been filled with love and laughter ever since!
I had spent years fighting for Cooper, and one day the fight was quietly and suddenly over. I was completely exhausted and heartbroken. I could not see another cat becoming our world and their world becoming ours. At my darkest day, someone very wise told me they always have a way of finding us when we are not looking. They were right. Marmalade and Ranger did find their way into our hearts. Cooper led me to fostering, and fostering led me to Marmalade and Ranger. I miss Cooper every single day; that does not change. But, Cooper gave me the healing gifts of fostering, Marmalade, and Ranger. His love lives on. For that, I thank you, Cooper!