I've always wanted to foster kittens, but something had been holding me back. I'm not proud of this fact since I have become sadly aware of the extreme shortage of foster parents for local animal rescues and shelters. How could I promote being a foster parent to others having not experienced it myself? What was I worried about? My resident pets:
My husband and I are the proud pet guardians of three lucky kitties (ages 17, 3 and 1). We have worked hard to achieve balance with our tribe, and they are all healthy. Bringing in a kitten could upset this balance and I was concerned about any health issues from the foster that could be passed on to my healthy kitties.Attachment to kitten:
I am a huge cat lover, so I knew I would fall in love with any foster kitten(s) we took in. I was worried I wouldn't be able to give them up, and at the same time I knew that our three-kitty tribe could not absorb another member.The foster experience:
It just happened. A friend contacted me for help: some neighborhood kids had dropped off a kitten who had been living in their back yard. My friend needed help and didn't know who to turn to. She had three kitties of her own and probably had the same concerns I did about fostering. Nevertheless, my compassionate friend took in this tiny orange tabby with the hope of getting him to someone who could find him a loving forever-home.
I sought out the expert guidance of Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty (IBOK)
volunteer Linda, and she walked me through the steps I needed to take to provide a safe loving environment to this homeless kitty. At 2 pounds and 12 ounces, this little orange tabby, now named "Opie" took up residence in our bathroom, separate and isolated from my resident tribe. Opie was thrilled with his food (especially canned kitten food), and the couple of toys I picked up at the store. His little face glowed with gratitude for being saved, and he immediately repaid me with pure, innocent kitten love. He played, he ate, he napped and he learned to snuggle. Time to say goodbye:
Before I knew it, it was time for Opie to attend his first adoption fair. He is a very lucky boy because he met a loving couple who were very taken by he and his new buddy, Camper (another 10 week old orange tabby). They were looking to bring some "orange" back into their household and found the right little pair.The aftermath:
How did my tribe do with this temporary visitor? The answer is just fine. Opie had his own small space and there was no need to integrate him with my other cats. We took certain safety precautions including washing our hands after handling Opie and vice versa. With his immature immune system, Opie really was the one that could be at risk, not our healthy adult tribe. My kitties knew there was a visitor in our bathroom, but I kept telling them that they could share a little space for a fellow rescue. My initial worries were unsubstantiated.Would I foster again?
Yes. Would I recommend fostering to others? ABSOLUTELY! I can't emphasize enough how many kittens are not given a chance at life because of overcrowding at local shelters. Animal rescue groups and their dedicated volunteers can only do so much. We need to all think about how we can make a little room for a kitten, cat, puppy, dog, bird or bunny and offer them a chance at life. I believe our community is very resourceful and compassionate and really wants to make a difference in the lives of animals!
Opie found a loving home due to the love and compassion of a few neighbors. It takes a village to save these animals. Won't you help? Read more about fostering here
, and contact ANY one of the organizations in our directory
and let them know you have space in your home and your heart to give a deserving companion animal a chance to beat the odds.
Please share your foster stories with us
so we can share with the community.