|Bean (right) relaxing with his foster brother Bichoe.|
Fifteen emails arrive in my mailbox a day, with photos of animals in desperate need of foster homes or forever homes. I certainly have a lot of experience volunteering at various organizations helping homeless animals, and I feel this is “my calling”.
I currently share my home with a rescued dog and a rescued cat-both black, both male. I know that black animals are the last to get adopted and I still find this perplexing, because I’m drawn to these animals more than any other. I guess it’s a good thing, because one day I received an email from Chicago Cat Rescue that stood out in my mind. They were in need of an immediate foster home for two cats; the email contained a photo of a white cat and a black cat. I ended up fostering the black cat, Bean.
I knew my cat Bichoe was not tolerant of female cats, as I found that out the hard way, years ago when I brought him home to my apartment after he had been living in the adoption room at Anti-Cruelty Society for seven long months. At the time, I was a volunteer there for thirteen years and took him under my wing, as I was a cat socializer. After seven months of working with him, I realized that nobody was going to adopt him. He was not one of those super friendly cats that purrs and shows off to onlookers, hoping to get adopted. Bichoe was indifferent and sometimes ornery.
One day I took the plunge and brought Bichoe home to live with me and my female cat, Minnie, and my senior cat, Scratchy. It was then that I realized he didn’t like female cats. For years, I tried various methods to establish harmony in the home, but nothing worked. Bichoe hunted my female cat while she was in the litter box. Because of this, she became fearful to use the box and chose the bathroom floor instead. More time passed and my senior kitty Scratchy, passed away of old age. Once it was just Bichoe and Minnie, the tension got worse. To resolve things once and for all, I sadly decided to leave Minnie at an ex boyfriend’s house, where she would live a good life with his very friendly dog and female cat.
So, when I decided to foster Bean for Chicago Cat Rescue, I was a tad nervous how Bichoe would react to a new cat in the home, although male. I introduced them to one another slowly and it seemed like things were going smoothly, despite Bean’s extreme shyness and fearfulness. Bean was living on the streets, behind a bar on Division Street, only a few short months ago, so no wonder he is very shy and skittish. Bean stayed in his safe place, the bathtub for many weeks. Time passed and Bean has forged a special friendship with Bichoe. What’s amazing is that Bichoe is 15 years old, while Bean is only one.
I truly believe that Bichoe enjoys having a young friend in Bean, and appreciates his sweet, shy personality. I think because Bean is timid, Bichoe doesn’t feel threatened that a new kitty shares his home. Bean seems to bring out the affectionate side of Bichoe, and Bichoe seems to make Bean feel safe. Every day I enjoy watching new developments between these two handsome black boys. I try to capture some of those special moments on camera. Just a few minutes ago, I observed Bean giving Bichoe a bath, which was too cute for words. I just sat in awe of them and watched quietly. Bean has also warmed up to my very hyper dog, Flash, who is only a year and a half and adores cats.
Bean is still very nervous around me, but I love him and have endless time and patience for a cat like Bean. As soon as I move to my new apartment, I plan on making it official: yes, I’m going to adopt Bean. I love him very much and cannot wait until the day he finally feels comfortable enough to sleep on my pillow at night. I’ll gladly sleep in the middle of the bed, as long as my fur family is comfortable.
I think many people expect magic to happen immediately. In my experience, it requires patience, because everyone has a different personality. Please consider fostering or adopting a needy animal today. When you see the difference you can make in that being’s life, it is the most rewarding experience for everyone involved. Isn’t life about making a difference in some way? Why not start with fostering someone today?