In this week’s blog, meet Andrea! Andrea is a seasoned foster parent who has fostered many cats and kittens over the years. If you’re considering fostering for the first time, read her firsthand account to learn more about what it’s like to welcome animals (temporarily) into your home!
“Dear Prospective Feline Foster,
Thank you for considering taking a step that can bring great joy to you while changing the direction of a kitten’s – or cat’s – life.
My family and I started fostering in the fall of 2017; we had a momma cat, her four kittens, and a little guy who joined the group as a surrogate son. We ended up “foster failing,” or to put it more correctly we “foster succeeded”: We adopted the mom (Luna) and one kitten we named Indy. Indy, the first kitten of the litter to crawl out of the bathtub, eat solid food and use the litterbox, now loves to sit and read with me at night, when the house is quiet. Indy is joined by gentle Belle, cheeky Atticus, shy Marshall, attentive Honey, bossy Willy, adventurous Blaze, cuddle-bug Tipper, and independent Scout as some of the 44 kittens and cats that have lived in my house.
Indy “helping” complete a puzzle
I foster for many reasons: I want kittens to find permanent loving homes, which are needed all the more now that shelters across the country are bursting at the seams; I am part of a community that makes a difference in the lives of animals as well as their people; and kittens are just so darn cute! Socializing these little ones and seeing them playing and lovingly wrapping their paws around each other provides a sense of purpose. And kittens offer a welcome diversion from the craziness of the day: We can turn off the news and hold adorable kittens instead. The sound of a kitten’s purr motor and a look of contentment and innocence serve to remind us of the important things in life.
Last summer my family hosted 11-month old “Honey” and her five “cowboys”: Blaze, Marshall, Stetson, Toby and Wyatt. For five weeks the kittens played, rolled, jumped, frolicked, climbed and ate in the spare bedroom. It was kitten heaven! Honey took great care of her kittens, and she – like most momma cats – was so skinny from nursing.
Honey and her kittens
Many people want to adopt cute kittens, as opposed to adult cats, so you can imagine my gratitude when family friends fell in love with Honey and gave her a wonderful home. Now she likes to jump up on the bathroom counter and drink from the faucet!
Honey in her new home
To foster kittens or cats, you need space, say a spare bedroom or bathroom, and a welcoming heart. HSSV provides training and supplies: food, toys, litter, crates, and phone numbers. You can choose which category of kitten fits your family’s preferences: a litter of kittens just needing time to grow; a momma cat and her family who need a safe place; bottle babies, who need care pretty much every three or four hours; or kittens with special needs. I love hosting a momma cat and her brood or weaned kittens who need to learn to play with people, so they are well socialized and ready to go up for adoption. You will also be assigned a mentor, who is a phone call or text away, and you can reach to our staff Foster team or the medical department with questions.
Sometimes people say they cannot foster, because they think they might become too emotionally attached to their foster animals to let them go. While I hear this often, I encourage people to think differently about what fosters do: We help kittens and cats find loving homes and thus reduce the number of animals that do not get out of shelters. Every person who opens a home to fostering kittens or cats adds another link to the foster chain and allows a shelter to extend its reach beyond its physical presence – and thus save more animals.
As I am writing this letter to you, my two foster kittens Willy and Lilly are snuggling together on my lap. They are enjoying the calm of the moment before their day’s adventures begin. I hope you decide to foster. You have no idea how many lives you might touch – and save – through this kindness. You also will find that fostering is about so much more than bringing a litter of kittens into your home.
Your foster friend,
To learn more about our foster program and get started on your own foster journey, visit our website!