By Kathleen MacKinnon

I have been fostering cats for SPCA NOVA for more than 15 years. Literally hundreds of them. Many were litters of kittens, but a number of adult cats as well — Alicia, Patches, Cody, Poppy, Tinker and Taylor, to name a few! All of these cats were special in their own way, but Patches definitely stands out among the best of them.

Patches came from a home that included about 25 cats and 4 dogs. She came into our care, along with most of the other cats and dogs in this home, as part of a humane investigation. We learned about this situation after being contacted by a social services agency that was involved to protect the children in the home. But, this wasn’t a typical hoarding situation where the cats were feral. The family gave the cats a lot of love and affection so they were social with people. But, health-wise they were in bad shape with upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, fleas, in-breeding and more.

Patches was the matriarch. We were told she lived on top of the refrigerator to get away from the other cats. After an initial trip to the vet, I fostered Patches. It only took her a week or so to trust me — I remember the first night she cried all night long. After that, she came running when I called her and even slept by my side. As soon as I headed to bed, she was trotting right behind me. The only thing she didn’t do was sit in my lap; she would sit beside me. When having SPCA meetings at my house, Patches would “make the rounds,” greeting every single person, one-by-one. I have never seen a cat do that before! I honestly would have kept Patches myself, except one of my three cats, Tiger, the dominant cat, was not impressed. He let Patches know she wasn’t welcome.

So, Patches was moved to another foster home. I remember telling Gretchen, her new foster mom, how wonderful Patches was but that she wasn’t a lap cat. It wasn’t long after Gretchen started fostering Patches that she told me — funny, Patches is a lap cat with me! So just goes to show you that not only did Patches bond easily with me, but she bonded with Gretchen easily as well. Not bad for a 7 year old rescue kitty. And, not surprisingly, Gretchen adopted Patches (and her other foster cat, Lucia). This was years ago, and Patches has since passed away. But having been rescued at 7 years of age didn’t stop her from bonding with other people easily. Patches will always have a special place in my heart.

Related: Debunking the Myth That Bonding Must Occur in Kittenhood