12 May 2022

This incredible 21-year-old has fostered over 80 orphaned kittens for RSPCA WA. Many of these were neonates who required round-the-clock bottle feeding and toileting. For them, this care was truly lifesaving.

But if you ask Hayley, she’d say it was the kittens that saved her life.

She says during her lowest time, after being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2012, it was the animals that kept her going.

‘When everything became too much, fostering was my reason to get out of bed in the morning. Taking the animals for their vet checks was a reason for me to leave the house,’ she says.

‘Paying attention to what the animals needed instead of what I was feeling at the time was so grounding. It really was my saving grace.’

Hayley’s story echoes a sentiment RSPCA WA often hears from foster carers and volunteers–that the love they give to the animals comes back to them tenfold.

Fostering can be a wonderful way to build skills and confidence with animals, or to experience the companionship of a pet without the financial burden, as RSPCA WA provides all supplies, vet care and medication.

Hayley says fostering gave her a safe place to learn more about herself.

‘In a sense I really relate to cats. Sometimes new environments really scare me. I feel like I’m on display and just want to hide away–which is exactly what kittens often do when you first bring them home,’ she says.

‘Trying to please people can feel really difficult, but animals don’t care that you’re not making eye contact or saying the right thing.  What you see is what you get and, as long as you treat them fairly and take care of them, they give you unconditional love in return.

‘Today I’m back studying to become a vet nurse, but I can honestly say I don’t think I’d be where I am without the kittens.’

This National Volunteer Week, we are so grateful to Hayley and all volunteers who generously offer their time, passion and skills to help animals. A million thank yous isn’t enough.

To learn more about volunteering with RSPCA WA, and currently opportunities, click here.