Foster Cat’s Tenacity Inspires a Movement

Sometimes the tiniest things make the biggest impact.

Christina + Tia

When she was found under a car, she was already an underdog. At two months old, Tia was the same weight as a two-week-old kitten. She fit into a sock like it was a sleeping bag. My husband and I put her in a crate the first time we left her at home, only to later find her by the front door. She had slipped through the bars. We never put her back.

"Tia defined tiny but mighty. "

Tia defined tiny but mighty. She sang when she went to the bathroom. She slept in my hair, tangled in the sea of black. She ambushed sleeping cats and stole their food. At her checkup, we learned that at nearly three months old, Tia weighed only nine ounces. Our vet prepared us for the reality that we were her final home, and that when we had signed up to foster, we had signed up for hospice.

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I reached out to Hannah Shaw, known as Kitten Lady, and we immediately bonded. Tia started a diet that included Pedialyte, raw food, and kisses. Her fur filled in and she grew; she reached two pounds at four months old.

When I returned Tia to Meow Parlour to go up for adoption, I couldn’t bear her fear. She was afraid that I had left her, and I was afraid that I had, too. I’ve fostered more than 300 cats and I will foster thousands more, but Tia is the first one I adopted.

Tia made me fight for her, have faith, and take joy in her achievements. She taught me about community and helping each other to save lives. Convinced that Hannah saved Tia, I helped bring her Kitten Lady talks on saving neonatal kittens to the New York City audience. Tia inspired the training of 350 new neonatal warriors, who later went on to foster the most vulnerable feline population.

Hannah told me there was a greater need, so I organized NYC’s first feline advocacy convention, Cat Camp. There, twelve speakers educated and inspired 2,500 cat lovers. Our keynote, Jackson Galaxy, empowered individuals to become advocates, and volunteers helped sixty senior and special needs cats get adopted. Tia changed my mission and the way I serve my community.

Tia doesn’t know she’s small. At four pounds, she will always be my peanut. She still announces her litter box adventures and gets so excited that she falls off shelves. She is endlessly curious. She always finds her toys when we play fetch, even if it takes an hour. She has an ongoing rivalry with the laundry bag. She turns every challenge into a game. When I need it the most, she quietly crawls onto my chest and slows the day down to breaths, to moments. Tia reminds me what success looks like: it is her. Tia doesn’t see her limitations and she taught me not to see mine. She is the perfect bookend to every day. And the vet was right…her last home is with us.

Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Christina Ha won Meow Parlour Cats in New York a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.