The problem of homeless pets continues to be of major concern. Animals all over the country (and the world) are euthanized daily because there is no room to house them, or because shelters cannot find enough people to adopt them. This is where fostering comes in.
Fostering an animal is a very rewarding experience, and no animal is more fun to foster than a kitten! Preferably a whole litter of them. To foster, you need to have a room or area for the kittens that is separate from your own pets, to prevent the transmission of disease. You will house, feed, care for and socialize the kittens until they are ready to be adopted. This frees up space for the shelter or rescue that you foster for -- and may even save lives.
Each organization has its own way of doing things. Some will cover all your expenses; others will cover any medical care but ask that you provide the food. You should find out in advance what's expected. Then it's a matter of feeding and cleaning, cuddling and playing, and watching the kittens as they romp and frolic. They must also be monitored for any signs of illness.
You may want to start off with a tame momcat and her litter. This is the easiest of fostering jobs, as the mother cat does all the work! She'll feed, clean and groom the kittens, and teach them to use the litterbox. She'll also instruct them on proper "cattitude." All you have to do until they're eight weeks old is to feed and clean up after the momcat.
Kittens from about five to eight weeks old will often need fostering, if the mother is gone or is too feral to leave the kittens with. There are many nuances to fostering these kittens, and there's much to learn. But you should always be able to get advice from those you foster for, and there is information available on the internet also.
When newborn kittens are orphaned, they are bottle-fed by a seasoned fosterer. These kittens are more time-intensive as they need to be fed and cleaned frequently. Since they're so fragile, you should not take on newborns as a novice fosterer unless it's an emergency.
When it's time for the kittens to be adopted, you will most likely take them to be spayed and neutered. You may be asked for input during the adoption process. Then it's time to send them off to their new homes. It may be hard at first to say goodbye to these adorable creatures since you will no doubt have bonded with them, and they with you. But after several litters, you'll realize that the reward you keep is the knowledge that you have nurtured these small creatures and prepared them for a happy life.
Thu, 21 May 2009 09:13:40 +0000
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