Hats off to every animal lover who gives a pet a “forever home.” But do you ever stop for a moment, to think about the home your pet may have – before they enter yours?
Many kittens (puppies too!) wind up being fostered, through animal shelters and rescue groups. If you are an animal lover and have the time & the space in both your home & your heart, this is a very worthwhile thing to consider doing.
We are honored today to have an experienced Foster Pet Parent with us, Silvia Strauss. Siliva loves to foster cats and kittens and will share her experiences with us. Please feel free to share your questions and experiences with fostering in the comments.
PurrfectCatNames: Why is it important to foster cats and kittens? What do people who foster do that shelters do not?
Silvia: Shelters can’t offer the one on one time that a foster home can. It’s important, especially for socialization that a kitten experiences life in a home and not a cage.
PurrfectCatNames: What made you decide to foster?
Silvia: I’ve been rescuing cats/kittens since I was a kid. Of course, then, I would either find a friend that would give them a home or I would end up keeping them. But how I got into fostering for an organization was that I saw a post on FB from the local animal control. There were four kittens that were 1 week old and the post said they would not survive in the shelter because there was no one to feed them overnight. There was no way I could leave them there. So I volunteered to foster them for any rescue group that would take them.
PurfectCatNames: What was it like the first time you fostered kittens/cats?
Silvia: My first official fosters, for an organization were the four kittens mentioned above. My daughter named them Dobby, Hagrid, Winky, and Hermione (after Harry Potter characters). I immediately fell in love with them and with fostering.
PurrfectCatNames: What is the hardest thing about fostering?
Silvia:Well, besides the every three hour feedings all night long, the hardest thing is giving them up. It breaks my heart every time. But, knowing they are going to wonderful homes helps heal it. It does make it easier when we know who adopts them. I’ve had a neighbor adopt a bonded pair, a friend adopt another one and recently an adopter that I only met once, invited my family over to see how two of my previous fosters were doing. That makes me so happy to know and to see them in loving homes.
PurrfectCatNames: What is the most rewarding thing about fostering? The most rewarding thing is having a part in saving their lives and giving them a chance at a happy home. Being able to get all the smooching and cuddling you want is nice too.
For my husband, the most rewarding, and challenging time was when we were asked to foster two kittens that were about 10 weeks old. They were very shy and a little skittish. My family was asked to socialize with them and get them ready for adoption. My husband thought they would never stop hissing at us, but after a week and a half they started to trust us and by the end of their stay they were super sweet and I’m happy to report have been adopted together.
PurrfectCatNames: Do you foster year-round or do you take breaks from it during the year?
Silvia: Every time I foster a new set of kittens, I always say I’m going to take a break when those go to their forever homes, but I haven’t been able to do it yet. There are always new babies in need and it’s hard to say no, when you know they need you.
PurrfectCatNames: As a foster of cats/kittens, do you choose the cats/kittens that stay with you or are they chosen for you? Do you name them sometimes?
Silvia: I can choose the kittens I want to foster. However, I am usually called upon for newborns without a momma since there are a limited number of people who are able to give them the round a clock care they require. We always get to name them when they are newborns.
PurrfectCatNames: How does vet care for a foster kitten/cat get managed? If a foster kitten/cat needs to go to the vet, do you take care of the vet bill or does the shelter do this?
Silvia: The organization I foster for, Furkids, always takes care of all medical bills, including vet visits and medicines. They also provide kitten formula and food. They only thing that is required of the foster families is a safe place to keep them, and lots of love.
PurrfectCatNames: What is your most memorable fostering experience?
Silvia: All of my foster experiences have been memorable. I remember every one of them, and each one of my foster babies holds a special piece of my heart.
PurrfectCatNames: Why is fostering animals important?
Silvia: Fostering is necessary for rescue organizations to be able to function and continue to rescue animals. Without foster homes, many of the animals would be euthanized at animal control.
Thank you Silvia for all of the hard work you’ve done and continue to do as a foster pet parent!
Love animals? Please consider becoming a foster pet parent!