Foster parents are heroes, there’s no question about that.
When you’re a foster parent, you nurse and nurture your foster kitties and puppies, shower them with affection and attention, and spend every moment of every waking hour with them.
You put your life on hold to ensure you provide them with everything they need to recover from whatever trauma they’ve gone through.
You read, do your research, and dedicate a chunk of your time to ensure you’re prepared to watch them grow, come of age, and come out of the shells they’ve built to protect themselves.
No matter what, you spend weeks (or sometimes months) watching over them, rooting for them, and preparing for the day you’re going to have to say goodbye to them.
Whether you’re fostering a pet you absolutely adore or one you haven’t had the chance to bond with, you’re going to cry your eyes out when the adoption day sneaks up on you.
Fostering takes time, patience, dedication, and hard work. But more than anything, fostering takes a strong heart that can handle heartbreak when the time comes for the little ones to move on.
Gratification certainly comes with nurturing them back to health, watching them grow up, and finding them a forever home.
On the other hand, though, not even gratification masks the fact that you spend weeks and months figuring out what each of them prefers to eat, play with, or even snuggle with. All of that, simply to say goodbye to them once they’re strong enough to move on without you.
But, but, but – there’s always a but when we’re talking about the wondrous world of foster care.
Whether you’re a foster parent struggling to say goodbye or considering becoming a foster parent, we’re bringing you a heart-warming adventure of a newborn kitten nursed back to health by a foster mom Nikki and her husband.
Starting from the beginning of the story, a woman from Las Vegas was shocked when she found a litter of newborn kittens at her front door – the mother cat was nowhere to be found. When the woman took a closer look at the litter, she realized that only one of the kittens was alive.
She was beaten down, malnourished, and barely holding on.
She needed critical care ASAP and the woman who found the kittens reacted right away. She contacted a few people she thought would be able to help. Among them was Nikki Martinez, a TNR (trap-neuter-return) rescuer and fosterer living a couple of blocks away.
Nikki and her husband had been fosterers for more than a decade and had saved hundreds of cats and kittens during that time. Nikki’s husband, known as Foster Papi, was going through a cancer diagnosis at the time but he didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to help a curious creature get a better chance at life.
Nikki didn’t hesitate for a second and offered to take the kitten home with her. Nikki noticed that the kitten was tiny, timid, and frail and she wasn’t sure whether she was going to survive. Nevertheless, she was determined to give her a fighting chance.
Nikki and her husband decided to name the kitten Rocky after the Rocky Mountains.
Everyone on the Internet, however, assumed she was named after Rocky from the Rocky movies because she was a fighter. Even though Rocky was a tiny little thing, she ate like a champ – she lived through her first night at Nikki’s with a full belly and a smile on her face.
Nikki and her husband worked around the clock to keep Rocky warm, safe, and secure. Nikki got up every two hours at night to check up on Rocky, feed her, play with her, and make sure she was getting used to the incubator.
Nikki’s husband helped bottle-feed her whenever he could and he was obsessed with how cute she was. Rocky would put a smile on Foster Papi’s face no matter how exhausted he was.
Rocky was growing bigger and better with each day – she had a huge appetite and she seemed to gain weight with every bite of food (relatable!). When she was twenty-four days old, Nikki and her husband decided to take her out of the incubator and move her to a much bigger and better playpen.
Rocky was over the moon because she was finally allowed to move, work out, and grow her muscles. She was a gym girlie at heart.
She was obsessed with everything Nikki and her husband provided her with. She was a little wobbly at times, but that didn’t stop her from running around her playpen, playing with toys, and becoming more confident.
Once Rocky was out of danger, she started showing off her purrsonality. She was a sweetheart. She was affectionate and appreciative of everything Nikki and her husband were doing for her. She adored cuddling with them, eating a million times a day, and napping on top of Nikki.
Nikki’s husband underwent a dangerous, but life-altering surgery at the time and Rocky stood by Nikki’s side, cheering her on, and comforting her when she was down.
When Foster Papi came out of the hospital, he rushed home to bottle-feed Rocky and resume watching over her. These two fighters bonded over everything they’d been through.
Rocky changed Nikki and her husband’s life forever, but the two always knew they’d have to say goodbye to her eventually.
When Rocky was a little over two and a half months old, she was ready to move on. She was happier and healthier than she’d ever been and she was ready to meet her forever family.
Rocky, once the runt of the litter, was adopted by a lovely woman who wanted nothing more than to spend every moment of her waking hour pampering her. You can also follow Rocky’s day-to-day life on her Instagram, @rockymountainkitty, and send her lots of love.