Tagged: “cat foster”

Fostering Kittens Despite Tight Spaces and Travel

 

A small black cat lies on a floral blanket.

Edith Piaf, a PawsCo foster.

By Jennifer S. Heath, PhD

I always thought I could not foster kittens because I did not have space. My own family or pets required all the space my home had to offer!  

But then I learned how little space a kitten (or even a couple of kittens) needs. Depending on the kitten’s age, he or she may need just the space of an extra bathroom, laundry room, or large closet or storage room. Older kittens might appreciate the opportunity to romp in a larger space (up and down the hallway or a stairway?) a couple times a day and maybe see some real sunlight sometimes. Younger kittens may be safest in the bathtub or a large dog crate.
Some adaptation may be required to block access to those tiny spaces that only kittens can find (like the gap in the wall where the pipes come through, a small heating vent opening, etc). But when you foster with PawsCo, you are not alone. A team of experienced volunteers and foster parents can help you identify potential hazards and mitigate them. Usually those hazards are easily addressed using low-tech approaches like gaffers tape, duct tape, etc.

Those first two little boy kittens in my home made me smile each time I saw them! It is amazing to me that with so little space, and as part of the PawsCo team, I can help save the life of a sweet, innocent little kitten. And over time, not just one kitten, but many. Maybe you can save a kitten, too? Contact PawsCo to talk with someone about your situation and explore whether now might be the time for you to join in the movement to save more pets’ lives.
A small grey and black kitten sits on a bed.

Itsy Bitsy, a PawsCo foster.

 

I also sometimes travel for work, so I thought that I couldn’t foster a kitten.  After all, I can’t just fly away and leave the kitten alone. It’s expensive to board a foster pet, and kittens are generally too young to be allowed to board most places in any case. But when I foster with PawsCo, I am not alone!  PawsCo has short-term (temporary) foster homes that exist specifically to co help me during times of travel!  The short-term fosters will house (and love) my foster kitten(s) when I travel, and return them to me when I get home.

Of course, I probably would not take in a new foster pet if I knew I had a 2-week vacation coming up. But if a family emergency or work or vacation travel comes up while I have a foster kitten, PawsCo won’t leave me frantically searching for an option for my foster kitten–volunteers will welcome that kitten into a temporary foster home until she or he can be returned to my loving care. So, I can foster a kitten even if some unanticipated travel arises–the kitten will be loved and cared for in my absence, and can come back to brighten my home upon my return!

A Foster Turned Adopter

A white and tan foster dog sitting on top of a couch.

Jozee, the dog who found a forever home with Stephanie.

By Stephanie Svoboda
 

I first found out about PawsCo through a co-worker. I really felt that this was something I wanted to pursue, so I signed up to volunteer and foster. I had no idea at the time that I was about to get involved in an organization that was passionate about its mission, passionate about its animals, and passionate about its people. You see, I had just moved to Denver from Minneapolis, so I did not know a lot of people and this was a true blessing for me. PawsCo immediately made me feel like I had an endless supply of friends—furry and otherwise.

I became a part of the communications team to help with graphic design, creating stickers, postcards and a trade show banner for events. While working on these materials, I was instantly falling in love with every photo of every dog and cat. I decided to look into fostering. Having two kitties of my own (Murphy, the big orange one in the picture below, and Sydney), I was concerned about the dogs I would be bringing into my home, and what my little loves would think of it all.

Small, black foster dog on a table

Finnegan

After meeting my first foster, Raisin (Now Finnegan), I knew this was for me. I saw my fosters transform from scared and shy to excited, happy, and loved. Nothing can explain how good it feels to be a part of that transformation. It is true joy! Finnegan was such a fun and perfect first foster. One of the true blessings in fostering is getting to meet the families who adopt the animals we care for. I met the most amazing couple who Finn went home with. Being a part of the meet-and-greet makes handing over the foster I loved so dearly much easier.

My second Foster was Pippy, and she was a whole other experience. I fell in love with her. She was sweet, loving, loyal and just an all-around awesome pup. When I first picked her up she was shaking like I’ve never seen. She was scared, and had no idea what an amazing life she was about to live. I had to let her warm up to me, but as soon as she trusted me our bond started. I had Pippy for almost four weeks before her perfect family came to swoop her away. After a brief meeting at an adoption event this awesome family saw the potential. They were patient with her and gave her so much love. Another perfect fit. I saw it right before my eyes.

Small, tan and white foster dog lies in a dog bed.

Pippy

Not only was I learning about different breeds, what dogs need, and training methods, but I was learning that every pup has so much potential and there really is a perfect home out there for them.

Next came Harvey. I had Harvey the longest… and he was the most challenging. But he was also the biggest transformation. The day I got Harvey he destroyed my bathroom. I won’t go into details here, but after being spoiled with such perfect little pups I forgot the reality of having a 40-pound dog take over your apartment. Just 6 months old, Harvey required the most training and attention. I first saw this as a pain, but then I realized that this was a learning experience for both of us.

Considering where he came from and what his life had been like up to that point, in reality he was doing great. I sought out training info from the adoption team and it provided me with so many helpful tips and tricks for potty training, chewing, crate training, barking, leash/walks, and socializing. After a few unsuccessful meet-and-greets I was sure I would be raising this dog for the rest of his life (I can be a little dramatic). Then, it happened. Along came Harvey’s perfect family. He truly could have the space, attention, and pup siblings he had always dreamed of. I am so happy for him.

A black and white foster dog with short legs waits by a gate

Harvey

He left me a bit exhausted in the dog department and I decided to take a little break (for a week) from fostering. I decided to see what would happen if I brought a little kitten into the mix. It was a match made in heaven. I brought 10-week-old Theo (now Howard) home, and he instantly became best buds with Murphy (my cat). Of course, being an adorable baby kitten he was instantly adopted by his perfect forever home.

Tuesday has become my favorite day because it is the day I get to see the “Animals In Need List.” I would scroll through the short bios before seeing all the cute pictures. On one of those Tuesday’s I found the most adorable picture I had ever seen and I had to foster. Although I was on a foster break because I was going on vacation in just two short weeks, I decide to see if Kiera (now Jozee) was still available. She was and she would be coming to me that weekend. From the moment I met the little jumper, I knew we had a special connection. I knew she would be a hard one to give up. After hanging out with her for the day and cuddling up with her all night, I knew I just couldn’t imagine not having her. I put an application in for adoption.

Large orange cat cuddling with a small, striped foster cat.

Murphy embraces Howard, Stephanie’s foster cat.

After a lot of thinking, and the experiences I had with my other fosters, I knew this one was different. I loved all of my fosters, but Jozee was mine. She was mine from the moment I met her. I knew exactly how much work a 6-month-old pup would be, and I couldn’t imagine not helping her become the perfect pup in my life. Fostering helped me put things in perspective. It reminded me that a cute puppy face is so much more than just a cute puppy face. Every animal needs so much attention, love, training, and socializing. I couldn’t be happier to have Jozee join my family. She is the perfect pup and I love her dearly. Thanks, PawsCo for this unexpected, yet extraordinary gift.

Read another inspiring PawsCo foster story.