May is Foster Care Month!
*This feature was originally distributed in our monthly Newsletter. Did you miss it? Subscribe and never miss it again!
Foster care provides socialization for young kittens, space for mother cats to raise their young, and time for sick or injured cats to heal. Without these foster homes, many of these cats and kittens would not survive. Foster homes also free up space within the shelter, which means more lives are saved!
Shelby Thorpe is a foster parent for Cat Adoption Team and was kind enough to share her experience with us. The work she does is incredible, and incredibly appreciated by those she takes into her care and gives to loving forever homes. As Shelby describes the job:
“Fostering cats and kittens has been more rewarding than I could have ever dreamed. I began fostering because I liked the idea of having kittens around. I continued fostering because, while having the kittens around is fun, watching them get adopted and go to
“I continued fostering because, while having the kittens around is fun, watching them get adopted and go to their forever homes is exciting.”
their forever homes is exciting. I get to see all the hard work I put into them pay off. Us foster parents spend hours and hours socializing and caring for our fosters. Watching them grow into themselves and helping them find the perfect family is more rewarding than I can put into words. Most of my favorite memories are the simple ones of my fosters laying on my lap, chest, shoulder, or neck settling in for a nap, running to the door to greet me when I walk in, and looking up lovingly into my eyes. Getting the first purrs and cuddles out of kittens that came to me terrified will also always be etched into my heart.
The most recent litter that I’ve had included a momma cat, Sugar, and her five two week old kittens. Sugar came to me with mastitis. She needed meds twice a day and a warm compress on her belly a few times a day. Her kittens also needed to be supplemented with KMR to help her out. I knew from the beginning that Sugar was going to be a wonderful cat to have around. I had no idea it would only take her a few days to put 100% of her trust in me. It was then that I found myself laying in my bed with 5 tiny kittens nursing next to me. I was flattered that she felt that was the best place for them. I worried that I would accidentally roll over and crush them while I slept so I removed the door to their carrier and placed it on my bed next to my pillow. I placed the kittens in there and that is where they stayed until it they were around 3.5 weeks. Two of them quickly learned that I was a source of food and they would scamper out of the carrier to me when they heard my voice. As of now, all five kittens are eight weeks old and have been pre-adopted. I have loved them since the moment I set eyes on them at the shelter and I will continue to love them long after they have settled in with their forever families. For me, fostering began as a means to help and have kittens around to enjoy. Now, it’s a passion that I won’t soon give up.”
Do you or your organization want to foster?
Before delving in, some things to consider about your qualifications:
Are you good with animals? Do you have a background in animal behavior? This may come in handy in identifying the animal’s needs or correcting undesirable behavior, If not, your shelter may be able to pass on some knowledge.
Will you be able to monitor your cat’s health? It may be your job, depending on the cat’s condition, to monitor any illnesses or conditions and notify the shelter of any changes. Most likely the shelter will have a long conversation with you about this before you take the animal home.
If necessary, could you quickly and easily get to the shelter’s vet or emergency clinic? Can you afford the costs associated with fostering? Depending on your shelter, you may need to pay for the necessary supplies and veterinary expenses.
Do you have a flexible schedule for animals that require a great deal of your time? If the length of time an animal needs to spend in your home is extended, will your schedule accommodate that?
Will you be able to let go? Of course you’re going to get attached before it’s time for your foster cat to move on, but also remember that because of you, this cat now has a better chance of finding his forever home!
And a few to consider about your home:
Do you share your home with others? Are they supportive and willing to accommodate a foster pet in their home as well?
Will you be able to separate your foster pets from your own pets? Will the room suit the cat’s needs? This is especially important if you need to foster a special needs cat.
Are you prepared for any amount of clean-up or damage that may result? Remember, anything can happen from accidents on the floor, scratched furniture, torn curtains and more.
Still think you’re up for the task? Great! Homeless cats and kittens everywhere are so thankful.
Cat Adoption Team would love to help you establish a fostering program. To foster individually, contact your local shelter or rescue group and request a foster application.
Featured Photo Credit: Flickr – Praline3001