- Time - It’s incredible how much time it can sometimes take to provide the care and nurturing environment that are best for a group of foster kittens. You’d think it’s basically the same as a cat - feed them, change the litter box, make sure they stay out of trouble - but at times it can take so much more. If they come with or develop any illness, it’ll take time to give them medicine and monitor their care. If they have any behavioral concerns, it takes time to socialize them and help correct the issue. And of course, it’s hard not to want to spend all your time sitting on the floor, surrounded by silly, crazy little beasts.
- Space - A crate. An extra litter box. Toys. More toys. Kitten food. Endless boxes, beds, and bags. The “stuff” that comes along with foster kittens seems endless, and it all needs to go somewhere! Not to mention they love to run and climb and jump and play, and will need space to do all that. And if you have your own cat(s), it might be a good idea to have a separate space for the kittens you foster, at least until they have been with you long enough to determine they are fully healthy - you won’t want to risk giving your own pets whatever the fosters might bring along with them from the wild.
- Experience - We have seen a hundred crazy things with the 100+ fosters we’ve had over the years. And as soon as we think we’ve seen it all, we get a wacky situation we have no idea how to handle. It doesn’t mean you can’t foster until you’ve had a ton of experience, but it is very, highly valuable to have someone that has done it a while and can help with the most common situations.
- A sponsoring organization - as I mentioned above, it’s almost required that you have a sponsoring organization to work with. They will help you with resources, medical care, guidance, and will take care of the intake and placement of the animals you foster. It’s technically possible to do it without a sponsor, but they handle so much of the things that would be difficult for an individual, I just can’t imagine going it alone. We have received so much assistance and care and friendship from the Central Oklahoma Humane Society we work with, I couldn’t imagine doing it without them!
- A strong stomach - Because, after all, there are few things stinkier than a kitten. Or a kitten’s litter box.
- Fearlessness - There are many wonderful things about fostering kittens: they are funny, adorable, and spirited. But sometimes you get a foster that can be a challenge, whether it’s illness, aggressiveness, or timidity. It may take everything you have to overcome your own apprehensions to care for it in the calmest and bravest way possible. From time to time, a kitten might not survive. It’s at times like this I want to give up. But to give every kitten the best chance possible for survival and a wonderful life, I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps and carry on!
- Grit - I don’t know how else to say this. Sometimes the hardest thing about fostering kittens is in giving them to their forever home. Humom and I will become especially fond of a foster from time to time, especially if it’s one we’ve had to nurse back to health, or that has some special challenge we’ve helped it through. But each day we can’t take in a foster because our house is full, that’s another day that more kittens are being euthanized because there’s nowhere for them to go. Fostering is absolutely crucial to the rescue process, and although it’s hard to see them go, every time we give up a group of fosters to their forever home means it’s a day we can save another litter. And there’s no better feeling than that.
Fostering is not for everyone. It does indeed take time, money, fortitude, bravery, and a caring spirit. But if you can, consider making room in your home for a litter. There are few things better than saving the life of another. Like Sauerkraut's. <3