If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen me post about getting ready to foster cats. I know the biggest question that I’ll probably get is why did I want to foster?
The biggest reason is because I live in a relatively small city. And in this city, there is something like 6 rescue organizations dedicated to rescuing cats. These rescues are always full. There just simply are not enough people willing to take cats into their homes until they get adopted and there are way too many cats being bred. This ends up with many perfectly healthy animals being put down. And I hate it.
I absolutely loathe the thought of an animal being put down because theres no room for it. Someone out there must have a place for these wonderful animals but just aren’t ready to adopt quite yet.
That’s where people like myself come in. As a foster, you provide a safe, warm place with lots of love for this animal that (usually) have never experienced it. Some of these cats have been abandoned, some were born on the street but all of them need somewhere to go until a forever home has been found.
My city also has a TNR program which is absolutely fantastic. TNR means Trap, Neuter, Return. They humanly trap feral cats, get them fixed and vaccinated, treat any medical conditions and release them back into their colony. There are also people who keep an eye on the colonies of feral cats. These people basically make sure that the cats have access to food and water at all times. All of these volunteers are absolutely amazing. I love knowing that there’s such caring people out there.
It’s been quite the lengthy process to get through to get ready to foster, but it’s really not that difficult to set up. The main thing I needed to do was have my own two cats vaccinated. I unfortunately never did it at their previous vet appointments, but I really should of. I also needed to get them prevention against fleas, ear mites and ticks.
After that it was basically just having a room ready that my fosters can call their own until they find their new home.
I am working with a wonderful rescue called Fortunate Felines. This is local, but I would highly recommend reaching out to a rescue in your city to see what you can do to help. I can almost guarantee that they’re in dire need of fosters. Spring is kitten season, and most shelters and rescues become absolutely swamped around this time of year.
I live in Eastern Canada. The winters are bitterly cold and the summers are unbearably hot. If I can make life more comfortable for even just a few animals, I’ll feel a little better. I always wanted to do something to help, but like any normal working class citizen, I don’t have the money to donate to shelters. I don’t have a vehicle and I don’t drive, so I’m not able to volunteer at shelters. The SPCA in my city is very far off the beaten track in the back of an industrial park, so I don’t even have the means to take public transit there.
This is when I figured out that fostering would be the best option for me. I don’t have money and I don’t have transportation but I do have time and patience to help cats or kittens in need. (I also have a spare room after I relocate my office, but that’s a personal choice. A laundry room or bathroom is perfectly fine to house a cat while they’re in quarantine.)
I already know that I’m going to run into two issues while I’m fostering. The first, and most concerning, is introducing my two cats properly and safely to the fosters. I’ve posted a lot about my two fur babies Precious and Finn.
And while they are sweet, loving and affectionate cats, they have only ever been around each other. Cats are notorious for being extremely territorial creatures, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they react to another cat. I will definitely be updating on that after the two weeks it’s going to take for Bugsy to settle in to his room.
The other concern I have is foster failing (when the foster adopts the animal). Now, I watch Kitten Lady (Hannah) on YouTube a lot and one thing she always says is the point of foster/rescue is good bye. I’m a temporary stop before the cats find their permanent loving homes. But I can see myself getting extremely attached to each and every cat that stays with me. So it’s going to be quite interesting.
A few things that I made sure to have before my first foster came into my home:
A hideaway – Since most cats like to hide when they’re scared, I wanted somewhere where they’ll feel safe, but they’re not trapped. The room I have for a foster room has no furniture that they can hide under. This is completely by design. I had a large plastic tote that I had bought for decorations but never actually ended up using, so I had my husband cut a hole in the side. This way, the cat can be in there safe and snug with a some blankets/towels, but if I need to get to him for any reason, I can just pop the top off the tote and reach him.
Feliway – Feliway is something that is completely optional, but a lot of vets and rescues recommend it. The particular one that I got is called Feliway Friends. It is meant for multi-cat households. This is kind of like a Glade plugin. You plug the diffuser into an outlet and it releases a synthetic pheromone that is proven to help cats keep calm. (The explanation is that it mimics the pheromones cats release when they rub their faces on things, this pheromones indicates something as ‘home’)
Food/Water Dishes – So this was something I kind of bought by choice. The rescue essentially told me that I could use any plastic tupperware container I had lying around, but I wanted to buy some shallower dishes. Some cats really hate having things touch their whiskers and it can keep them from drinking/eating.
Cat nip/Toys – Again, this is completely optional, but I wanted to make sure to get some things so the cats weren’t bored. My wonderful sister agreed to make me a bunch of crochetted cat nip toys. These are in the shape of mice, rabbits, basically whatever she can turn a crochet square into. They’re pretty adorable.
I also bought some plastic springs on Amazon. My cats literally have no interest in them, but they’re very weird, so I don’t trust their opinion on what’s a good cat toy (LOL)
And cat nip! My cats absolutely adore cat nip, so I made sure to buy a pretty big container of it and I’m going to use that as an incentive to make my two cats like the fosters. Before you think I’m just drugging my cats to make them like eachother… I absolutely am. Think of it as having a drink socially, you usually end up making friends better that way. (Everything in moderation. Cat Nip is perfectly safe for cats and we don’t give more than a little bit every couple weeks)
I also bought a scratching post for pretty cheap on Amazon. This will at least help save my walls/bookshelf a little bit.
Other than that I just saved some cardboard boxes. Cats love cardboard, so I’ll have a few lying around the room that they can choose from if they want to play/sleep.
Most of these things that I bought are completely optional. The rescue provides food, litter, litter box, scoop, medication, vet care, all the essentials that the cats need.
I’m sure at this point people are just scrolling through to see the pictures and bio for Bugsy, so I’m going to get right to it.
Bugsy is a very young cat that has been in care with the rescue since January 2018. He is considered semi-feral because he takes so long to warm up to humans. But this little guy has done so good for his first day here.
When he’s previous foster human dropped him off, he positioned himself with his butt to the carrier door and just wanted nothing to do with what was going on. I left him in the carrier and walked the lady out and then came back in the room. He was still butt to the door, but I talked to him calmly while I was setting up his litter box. He eventually turned around and sniffed my hand through the bars. His previous foster had told me not to try to pet him because he would attack me. So I cautiously opened the door, making sure I wasn’t boxing him in, and decided to let him go where he wanted to.
This little kitty. I absolutely love him. He went into the hideaway, sniffed around and then walked back out. Then he checked out the rest of the room, took a couple bites of food and walked right over to me and let me pet him. Before long, he was laying in my lap and purring. He absolutely loves being pet and loved on.
So I went to leave him alone for a bit and got up to leave. That spooked him a little bit, but he was still okay. And then stupid me didn’t realize that Precious was outside the door when I opened it. So of course she spotted him and started spitting and hissing at him. Well that didn’t go over well. So back into the hideaway he ran. I was still able to pet him without him being aggressive or anything, so I figured that was still a win.
After leaving him alone for a little while, I brought in a little bit of wet food and slowly convinced him to come out of the hideaway. Once he realized that the mean growly kitty wasn’t in his room, it was like nothing even happened.
His previous foster did SUCH an amazing job with him and I’m happy to report that he has someone interested in adopting him! I may not end up having him for very long, but I’ll take all the sweet cuddles and purrs while I can get them!
If you guys have any questions about Bugsy or fostering in general, leave a comment and I’ll answer it in the next post!
Until next time,