Parents Speak
A Foster Mom's Tale of Letting Go
By Sydney Wade
December 6, 2012

The day I have dreaded since September 6 when Batman and Robin first graced my home with their loving
presence, arrived…November 23, the day they left for their new home in Scotland.  We were given a projected
date of departure as between November 23 -27.  I was hoping for the 27th, just a few more days with them. For
weeks before the departure date, I had a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the feeling…when
you temporarily forget what it is you are dreading and then it comes rushing back to your consciousness. The
days seemed to fly by and the queasy feeling became a knot. I frequently got weepy as I watched their joyous
play, listened to their purrs and received their generous affection. I tried to imagine what my life and Chief’s
would be like without them.  Would they be angry with me or hurt for letting them go? I have looked back at our
time together since my last communication and am amazed and grateful for their outstanding progress. The vet
removed the last of the undissolved sutures on November 2 and it seemed that their hair started to grow back
almost immediately. Within ten days, their incisions were barely visible.

In preparation for their transportation to England, the couriers requested that each cat be measured from the
nose to the tip of the tail, height from head to floor, at the widest part of their body and weight. Batman wasn’t as
much of a problem but trying to measure Robin was like trying to measure a slinky as it’s going down the stairs.  
As I was measuring them, the reality of their leaving me hit hard. While Batman and Robin were still at the clinic
following their surgery, I rescued another foster kitten, Tigger (about 2 ½  months old) who was being mauled by
an adult cat. In addition to his wounds, he had a severe case of ringworm and had to be kept in quarantine for 30
days in my cat room. When he was finally released from the “infirmary,” I was delighted to see how quickly he
was accepted by Robin and Chief. It took Batman about two days to fully accept him.
Tigger went to his new home on November 21 and I wept when Cordelia (from Nine Lives, and I left him. My only consolation was that I had Batman, Robin and Chief at home
waiting for me. But, barely 24 hours were left before Batman and Robin would leave me too. I wanted to make
the most of the remaining time I had with them. We cuddled and played together; I cried. I cried at my meditation
class the night before they left. I cried myself to sleep holding Batman and Robin close. (Chief wanted no part of
the group hug, preferring to lie beside us.) I woke up on the day of departure, and yes, you guessed it, crying. I
cried in the car on the way to meet Cordelia to deliver the boys to the Animal Couriers down by the sea.  I hated
the thought of their long journey across Europe to England in a cage and van. And then there would be another
journey from England to Scotland, driven by the brother of one the Nine Lives volunteers from England.
And that was the beginning of some Academy Award-
winning entertainment…better than anything on TV! I
was concerned that Tigger was not grooming himself
but Chief took care of that for me. He started grooming
Tigger in addition to Batman and Robin and Tigger
spontaneously started to groom himself. The four of
them would huddle up on the sofa or my bed and have
a “groom-fest”, each one grooming another.
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I must admit to a certain level of relief when I met Julia and Martin, the couriers.
They were clearly animal lovers and I would be able to follow their progress across Europe into England via their
website, complete with photographs. The van and cages were immaculate and Batman and Robin would be in
the same cage. I had worn an over-sized t-shirt to bed and slept on an old bathmat so that the boys would have
things with my scent in their cage. Julia gave me a great big hug and held me in her arms as she promised to
take excellent care of my babies, yet still I cried…a tsunami of tears. When I got home, Chief was sick and I
rushed him to the vet where he had to be sedated for an x-ray, urinalysis and a day of observation. I went home
to a cat-less house. My concern for Chief overrode some of my grief for the loss of Batman and Robin from my
life. Sitting alone in my home, I laughed out loud as I remembered the first time I tried to pick them up after the
amputations. I almost dropped them; it’s more difficult to pick up a cat with only one foreleg. As you grab them
around the middle, your hands naturally slide up into their armpits, but since they have only one armpit, one
hand keeps sliding because there’s nothing to stop it. I had to practice picking them.

I smiled through the tears as I relived the glorious memories. Batman: the dude, the lover, the one that sat on my
lap when I was at the computer and snuggled beside me or in my armpit in bed, the expert sheet-surfer while I
was trying to make the bed, the brave one. Robin: the baby, the one that all the kitties took care of, the jealous
one if anyone got more attention than he, the one that suckled my neck and purred almost all the time. And
Chief: the big brother to all, the one that would give up a toy to the youngsters, the one that guarded all the
kittens (including Tigger) and kept us all together. I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful with them had it not
been for Chief. Would I do it again, in spite of the agony of losing them? You bet! They brought me so much joy
and taught me so much. I want to be just like Batman and Robin when I grow up! To quote Alfred Lord
Tennyson’s poem:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

You've heard that sometimes love means letting go. With my frequent trips between the U.S. and Greece, I knew
I couldn't offer Batman and Robin the kind of permanent home they needed and deserved. The joyful experience
of fostering them will be with me forever but I had to love them enough to let them have the best possible life and
that was with Fred and Sandra. There's a great deal of satisfaction in fostering kittens until a permanent home
can be found for them. And there's a great deal of heartache, too. I wish I could keep them all but that's not
possible. I keep the memories and a multitude of photos and I know that Cordelia will always be knocking at my
door with a new batch of kittens and I will be there to answer it.

On a happy note (for me), the woman who adopted Tigger brought him back three days later because “he
played too much” and kept her awake at night. So clearly, this was the wrong home for Tigger. Chief and I are
delighted to have him back. Chief is feeling much better after starting on a round of antibiotics. Blessings to
everyone whose support was invaluable to me. I hope that the next update on Batman and Robin will be from
their new parents, Fred and Sandra, when they arrive in Scotland!

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