Tuesday, October 29, 2013

All About Fostering Kittens

Happy National Cat Day!

Do you foster kittens right now or are you thinking about fostering kittens?
Personally, I only foster kittens, not cats.  I have 4 cats of my own and although the house is big enough that they can sulk for a couple of weeks (until they get used to tiny invaders), full grown cats are too problematic and territorial to foster in my home.
Besides, my whole point in fostering is to have kittens!  I foster so I don't become a Crazy Cat Lady just to experience kittenhood.  Yeah, really.  Once a year, we get, "kitten fever," in this house and start pining for the days of tiny feets and toddling fur babies.  Fostering kittens scratches that particular itch!

Is it easy?  For us, it is.  Like I said, we already have 4 cats so the house already has cat towers and toys and food bowls and a water fountain.  It also helps that we have enough of a disposable income so we can provide the extra food and litter.  The rescue orgs we work with are suppose to do that-pay for food, pay for litter, but expect the cheap clay litter (which doesn't work when all the litter boxes are shared and I don't want the smell from clay litter in my home.  I may not dust that often but my house will NOT smell like litter box) and expect the orgs to only give you a small amount of food per week.  If the kittens are going through a growth spurt and are eating 3 cans a day for a while, the rescue group will not supplement and will look askance at your inquiry about more food.  They figure you're just feeding your own cats with it, plus they're often out of funds anyway.  So, the heck with it.  We just buy large amounts of food at Costco and feed everyone.  It's easier.

PROS of Fostering:
*Hot and cold running kittens
*You get to see their first steps, their first time playing with a toy, you get their kittenhood
*I was wearing a sweater last night and had 5 squirmy kittens all over me, all night.  It was I bought a kitten shirt off of Skymall or something!
*If they are too clingy or too stand-offish,  you're only fostering.  You don't have to keep them
*Kittens are adorable and play with wild abandon!  Then they sleep like the dead, in the most charming positions imaginable!
*Gives you opportunities to use up your yarn stash making cat beds

CONS of Fostering
*They arrive with fleas and need to be quarantined and bathed and you must take them to the vet to be checked for contagious cat illnesses
*You are constantly trying to train someone to use the cat scratching posts and not your furniture.  Just when you get the whole clowder trained, you get new kittens!

 Kitten Nail Caps

*You have to let them go.  You don't keep them, even if they've been a part of your family for months
*A LOT of litter boxes to clean, usually twice a day 
*You can guarantee the different rescue groups in your area know each other.  And I can guarantee that they talk smack about each other, there is constant drama between them.  We started with A group, but they never got back to us so we fostered with B Group.  Well suddenly A group needed a home for a nursing momma and litter of 5.  It was no problem that we already had 2 kits from B group.  When they were old enough, the kits got adopted from both groups and B group needed a home for a litter of 5.  A group also wanted a home for a large litter and I had to tell them we were tapped out.  The fireworks ensued BIG TIME!  We were told to never foster for A group again because we were working with B group and blah, blah, blah.  Gee.  It didn't matter when you needed us and we were ALREADY hosting kittens from B group just a few months ago.  Drama.  Always.  
*Your own cats will feel neglected since they won't be the pampered darlings of the house anymore.  They will pout for a good long while until they deign to seek out luvs from YOU again.  

So is it worth it?  You'll have to decide if it is in YOUR home.  It is for us, at this time.  I can't see us doing this forever but it's great right now.  


We have kittens almost as often as we want them (there are dry spells sometimes) and as many as we want.  I really enjoy fostering kittens!