Foster Spotlight: Ruta Kidolis
Ruta Kidolis began volunteering at BARCS in 2018, working with cats who needed help with their behavior. She knew she would have more success with these cats if she could just get them out of the shelter, and a little over a year ago, she got to do just that. She and her husband had moved with another couple to their current house, and when the other couple moved out, Ruta could dedicate a room in the house to these cats.
“I could bring home my favorites,” Ruta says. “The hot mess cats.”
Ruta and her husband currently have two cats of their own, so having a separate room for the fosters is important. “The last thing a cat who already has issues is being confronted with other cats,” she says.
The most important skill in working with these cats, Ruta says, is patience. She gets as much history as she can about the cat, although at times, that’s just not possible.
“I worked with one cat who had been left outside the shelter in a carrier,” she says. Naturally, the cat had issues, but Ruta, in her gentle way, established boundaries with the cat, and it wasn’t long before a bitey, scratchy cat became adoptable.
“I work to figure out what they need,” Ruta says, “and, in turn, the cats figure out how they need to behave so they can get the affection and attention most of them crave.”
Generally, Ruta will have a foster for a couple of months, although she had one cat adopted in a little over a week.
During the pandemic, eight of her fosters found forever homes.
“It is always sad to see them go,” Ruta says. “But I know they are going to the best homes to live their best lives, and that makes it so worthwhile.”
She says her husband sums up the adoption process the best. “He says there is someone out there who needs them just as much as they need that person.”
For people thinking about fostering, but who are afraid they will want to keep every cat they foster, Ruta has some simple advice: “When they get adopted, you know they are going to a great home, and by fostering,” she says, “you are getting that cat out of the shelter and into a home environment. While BARCS is a wonderful shelter, a home is always better.”
And while she admits cats with difficult behaviors aren’t for everyone, “the foster coordinators at BARCS will make sure the foster you get is a good fit.”
Currently, Ruta fosters adult cats because her work schedule keeps her out of the house all day. “Maybe when I retire I will take kittens who require round-the-clock care,” she says. But for now, she is definitely satisfied with turning “hot mess” cats into affectionate, lovable, and most important, adoptable family members.