So, y'all know my youngest cat, Pretty Pretty Princess? (Yeah, she only answers to her name when the Pretty Pretty part is on there, how's THAT for spoiled?) You know, her:
Yes, her. It struck me a couple of days ago that Her Royal Highness (she insists, the little sugarplum) is an awful lot like a foster kid.
1. She came from a crummy background. Princess was found on the side of a bsy highway at 6 weeks old, skeletal and covered with fleas. Her Good Samaritan foster mom took Princess home, washed her, fed her, and took good care of her, but couldn't permanently keep her. That's when we came along.
Foster kids often come from crummy backgrounds. Their parents often abuse them, neglect them, pimp them out for drugs, abandon them. They are not removed for being bad kids; they are removed because their parents are bad parents.
2. Pretty Pretty Princess has Food Issues and has become pretty plump as a result. She spends most of her day in the kitchen, close to the food bowl. She gets very protective of the food bowl at times, and demonstrates extremely high anxiety if she can see the bottom of the food bowl.
Foster kids often have Food Issues. Imagine being in a house where there was no food, or you had to endure acts of torture to get any food. Imagine growing up in that type of background, then going to a house where there's plenty of food. But you know that food isn't a guarantee anywhere, so you hoard it, gorge on it, develop food rituals that may no make sense to others.
3. Pretty Pretty Princess (or as I like to call her, Miss Tiny Britches) is not demonstrably affectionate. You can pet her at the food bowl while she eats. That's it. That's why I've become quite excited when she wakes me up at 4 AM by standing on me and allowing me to pet her and snuggle her. When Boe and I are asleep, we're not a threat to her, so it's safe to pet her (you know, if we could just get over that "sleep=unconscious" thing...). She's making progress, but she's been with us for almost 2 years to get to the point where we can pet her as long as we are asleep. Or asleep-ish.
Foster kids often do not trust any physical display of affection. If you grow up in a home where your mom says "I love you" and then burns you with cigarettes, or your father says "I love you" and then violently rapes you, why on earth would you trust any sort of affection at all?
More to come as I develop this theme...