Arthur became a cat foster carer for Lort Smith in 2019. He describes it as one of the best decisions he has ever made!
Arthur leads a very busy lifestyle. He is an apparel designer for Myer, a sessional university lecturer at RMIT University, and a fitness instructor at various gyms around Melbourne.
“My old cat passed away from cancer. We were not ready to adopt another cat, so a friend (and fellow Lort Smith foster carer) suggested I become a foster carer. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but coincidentally, Lort Smith had openings for foster carers a month later. I applied, was interviewed, completed the training, and the rest is history,” remembers Arthur.
To be a Lort Smith foster carer, applicants must attend a group interview, a one-on-one interview, undertake a house inspection, provide a police check and attend foster care training.
“Lort Smith’s high standards are fantastic. The induction process and ongoing support is second to none. It is great that they have such strict standards, even to be accepted into a volunteer position. They have a fantastic support network of people,” says Arthur.
Unsurprisingly, Arthur’s favourite part of volunteering as a foster carer is giving his foster cats the love and comfort they need.
“Every animal deserve a fighting chance and it is our responsibility as human beings to give them that! I also love meeting and speaking to the volunteers and animal experts at Lort Smith, as I am always learning and getting tips from them,” shares Arthur.
Most animals requiring foster care at Lort Smith are recovering from surgery, needing behavioural support or time away from the shelter environment. One of the benefits of being a foster carer is seeing an animal grow and blossom in a home environment.
“We fostered a shy cat named Lola, who was ummmm, unusual. She was a small cat, had a stumped tail, her coat was constantly messy and she always looked frazzled. Lola could not jump, she had long hair between her paws which made her slide all over our floorboards. She breathed so loudly we hardly slept in the first week we had her. But she was one of the sweetest cats we have ever met!
“Lola hid behind the laundry basket when we first arrived home and I spent two hours sitting on the cold laundry floor to try and reassure her. She slowly grew more confident and started to show affection and crawled onto my lap. I let her nap there, even though I was busting for the toilet! We had a strong bond from then on.
“It turned out Lola had a polyp in her throat – hence the heavy breathing. Post-surgery, she came back into our care to recover. Her breathing improved dramatically and she began reaching up high and ‘sort of’ jumping! She had to undergo a second operation and when she returned to our care she had a completely different personality. Lola was leaping, running, and actually becoming quite cheeky – it was as if she was a completely different cat!
“We became attached to Lola as we had gone through so much together – we did consider adopting her. We decided that we would take her if she was not adopt within five days. She was adopted in two.
“Lola’s story demonstrates the kind of life-changing work Lort Smith does, and how it can really give an animal a new lease on life!
“Life is not about money, career or material possessions – it has taken me forty years to realise this! Volunteering is good for the soul. One develops a sense of self in being able to help those in need, and animals are definitely more helpless than most. It is also a good opportunity to expand your network, because you never know who you will meet, and what you will learn,” says Arthur.
Lort Smith is incredibly lucky to have committed foster carers like Arthur on our team. Preparing our shelter animals for adoption is truly a team effort, thank you Arthur for loving the animals as if they were your own.