by Connie Smith
Connie is a fellow pet blogger. We found each other through a site called Blogpaws and I asked her to share with us about her blog Tails From the Foster Kittens.
Have you ever wanted to spend your days playing with kittens? Do you love the idea of kittens but know you aren’t in a position to adopt a litter knowing they will turn into cats? That was the position I found myself in back in the ‘90s. I was recently unemployed and wanted to do something with my day besides pounding the pavement looking for a job—-that, and I knew it was easier to find a job when you have a job—-so I went down to my local animal shelter and started volunteering. I spent several hours each week doing paperwork in the office and afterward would go to the cat adoption area and help socialize cats.
I have loved cats since before I can even remember, and when I was young a neighbor’s cat had kittens. My mother actually had to ground me because I was over at their house every day playing with the kittens, and she thought I was being a nuisance. When I read an article about sheltering and how some shelters were introducing foster programs to help save kittens, I immediately asked the shelter about it. Management at the time was not ready for such a concept, but in 2002 when they implemented a fostering program for volunteers, I was among the first to sign up.
I was head over heels with my first litter, sharing their photos and their milestones with anyone who would listen, and I pretty quickly realized I was breaking a lot of Internet protocols talking about things that were way off topic all the time, so I started my own blog Tails from the Foster Kittens. Back then things were so much different than they are now, and they can be summed up in two words: dial up.
Analog turned into digital, and film cameras turned into 0.5 mp cameras turned into DSLRs, which makes it far easier today to share my joy and passion with the world. Fostering kittens saves lives. Yet fostering does so much more than that. Kittens raised in a shelter environment are not as well rounded emotionally as kittens raised in a foster home. The more you can expose a kitten to, the better they handle new situations as adults. They are also healthier, being removed from an environment where kitties are constantly exposed to different kinds of illness. An adult cat’s immune system can handle every-day exposures, but a newborn kitten cannot.
As of today, I have fostered over 400 cats and kittens, and currently have two little fluffy kittens who came to me with their mom when they were just five weeks old. Their mom went back to the shelter last week and was adopted very quickly. The girls just needed a little more time being socialized as they needed to work on their self-confidence, but they, too, will be going back to the shelter soon. Sometimes the fostering is easy—just a few weeks of food and love and play—and sometimes it is more difficult. It’s stressful when they are sick or injured, or if you take home a pregnant cat with an unknown history. But it is always rewarding, and something I don’t think I will ever stop doing.
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