Fostering Kittens During Kitten Season
If you’ve ever considered fostering kittens, now would be a great time to start! Springtime means it is “kitten season” - the beginning of a months-long influx of kittens with no place to go. Kittens born outside to intact community cats typically end up in shelters or in rescue organizations and a cage is no place for a kitten to live. Growing kittens benefit mentally, physically, and emotionally from being raised in loving homes with kind humans and other kitten friends. If you have the time and space - and a lot of love to give - fostering kittens can be a very fun and fulfilling experience!
Here are some benefits of fostering kittens:
- Fostering saves lives. During kitten season, animal shelters are over capacity and often lack the resources to provide care for every animal, especially neonatal kittens. By caring for kittens in your home, you ensure their safety AND free up a cage for another homeless animal.
- Fostering kittens is very rewarding. Knowing that you saved a life (or lives) and helped a kitten find their forever home is extremely fulfilling. Taking care of kittens and watching them learn and grow is a wonderful experience that often improves your own well-being.
- Fostering kittens is a temporary commitment. Kittens are adopted when they’re as young as eight weeks old so fostering is a great option for people who have limited time.
- You can learn new and important skills, such as bottle feeding or tube feeding neonates, administering medicines, or socializing hissy kittens.
If you're interested in fostering kittens, reach out to local animal shelters or rescue organizations and ask how you can help. You may need to attend an orientation session or you may be able to bring kittens home as soon as you’re ready!
To prepare for your foster kittens, you need to set up a safe and cozy environment. Kittens don’t need a lot of space - a bathroom or pet playpen will suffice. Keep fosters separate from any personal pets you have for at least a week and provide them with a litter box, food and water, toys, and blankets.
While fostering, you’ll be responsible for feeding the kittens, cleaning up after them, taking them to veterinary appointments, and making sure they’re growing big and strong. Take lots of photos and videos of them to document their journey and show to potential adopters. You may need to take them to adoption events or promote them on social media to help them find their forever homes.
Socializing kittens is also extremely important. Handling them, cuddling them, and playing with them so they trust humans and enjoy being pet and held will make the kittens highly adoptable. The more interaction, the better. Adopters typically want kittens who are confident, affectionate, and friendly. Kittens who grow up in foster homes surrounded by love and affection are more likely to display these traits.
Fostering kittens can be a lot of work, but it can also be an extremely rewarding experience. By providing love and care and lots of cuddles for a few weeks or months, you’ll be changing their lives, and yours too.Love, Nala