Guest post by Stephanie S.
It was about three years ago that I saw a picture of the world’s cutest kittens on Facebook and immediately fell in love. Now, if you’re like me, you see photos of kitties online all the time – you might even fall in love with each and every one of them. But this time it was different. This time it was a litter of six unweaned babies that a friend of mine was fostering with their mama. These kittens would be available for adoption when they reached the appropriate age and size. These kittens could be my kittens!
I contacted their foster mommy who graciously invited my boyfriend and me into her home to meet the litter. We knew going into it that we wanted to adopt two because kittens do so much better in pairs. It was love at first sight for me and the kitten we named Oliver. He was charismatic, tremendously curious, and had a wild, but loving look in his youthful eyes. When it came to deciding which one of his siblings to adopt we were at a little bit of a loss. My boyfriend and I sat contemplating, watching the kittens interact. Suddenly, one of the female kittens stopped playing; she jumped on the couch in between us and began to purr. I know it’s cliché, but Daisy literally picked us to be her family and we were happy to oblige.
Meeting our kittens while they were being fostered was a unique and uplifting experience. Seeing adoptable animals in a home environment allowed us to get a sense of their personalities, which sometimes gets lost behind caged kennel doors. Another unforeseen benefit was that we got to learn all about kitten fostering. I was fascinated by this extraordinary way to volunteer by providing a kitten a temporary home, a place to thrive and grow until it is ready to find its forever home. If it wasn’t for the foster program my kittens may have succumbed to a different fate, one I’d rather not think about. I experienced firsthand the impact of fostering and knew one day I wanted to return the favor.
Becoming a kitten foster parent has been both a rewarding and educational experience. Each foster has been one of kind; some kittens were easy-going, while others were more challenging. The second litter we fostered, a brother and sister, took a little longer to adjust to the new environment. They barely ate for the first few days, but with the help and advice of the Kitten Foster Project staff we overcame this difficulty. Pretty soon these kittens were walking around like they owned the place.
It has been a great experience for Oliver and Daisy as well. Even the friendliest of cats is territorial, so at first we introduced them to the new kittens slowly. With each new litter this has gotten easier. Having kittens around has made my cats more active and social. Despite the size difference they enjoy playing, grooming and napping with the kittens.
I’ll never forget the day I picked up my first pair of foster kittens. I stopped by a pet store and delightfully told the cashier about my new, but temporary additions to the family. An older gentleman in line chimed in about how he and his wife had fostered over 300 animals throughout the years. I thought to myself, “I could do that, I could foster 300 kittens.” Six down and 294 to go!
Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to save kittens by becoming a foster volunteer? Share your story with us in the comments below and you could be a guest blogger on The Waterbowl.