Sauerkraut has gotten some questions recently about the Foster Room, so I thought I’d take a moment to tell you its history. Originally, that room in our home was our older daughter’s bedroom. The How and the Why of the Foster Room is an interesting tale indeed.
Before I begin though let me say, how we work with fosters in our home is just one way of doing it. It’s not the same way for everyone, but we’ve figured out it works best for us.
There are some challenges that come with having fosters in amongst our own pets. First, feeding them can be a challenge, as they all want in on each other’s food action, and if anyone is on medication we have to carefully assure it’s going to the right cat. Second, we have to very closely monitor everyone’s health, as most of the fosters we get come straight from the city’s Animal Welfare Division, and we seldom know their background. Third, behavior issues can crop up, so we also need to keep a close eye to assure everyone is being polite and safe.
A lot of the fosters we have are the little tykes. Although they can be the cutest by a mile, they can also be the MESSIEST! I mean really, kittens are so stinking adorable, but seriously.. they are also just stinky! :) Occasionally we’d get a group of babies that would take some time to get used to using a litter box, and we’d find good, smelly poops behind a desk or underneath a recliner.
When our older daughter graduated from high school and went off to college, it only took about 14 hours before Humom was putting a plan into action for changing her bedroom into the Foster Room. Initially, it was just a matter of moving things around to make it more accommodating for groups of fosters. Eventually though, the foster room got fresh coats of paint, new decorations, a dorm fridge for medicines, cabinets for supplies, and Humom even custom-built some furniture herself that would help make the fosters feel right at home.*
The Foster Room 1.0
The Foster Room gives our guests a place which is enriching to cats, provides safety, gives them privacy (the Foster Cam initially was just so we could keep tabs on our fosters without having to bother them so frequently), and allows them the space and security to get through their quarantine period, or for the little ones, where they can grow until they’re big enough for their spay/neuter surgeries and eventual adoption.
It also provides some level of security and comfort for our own pets. For example, we had one group of fosters that contracted ringworm. It was a constant battle for Humom to treat the fosters, give them their special baths and medicine, while assuring that our own cats and dogs (and people) didn’t also contract it. Ringworm is a pain in the patoot, as it doesn’t resolve itself quickly, so it was a long road we had to follow to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable.
The Foster Room 2.0
And now when one group of fosters goes off for their forever homes, all it takes is a day of deep cleaning and a few loads of laundry before the Foster Room is ready for the next ones!
I’m especially glad we have the foster room, not just because it’s a good, comfortable place for our guests and keeps our own pets safe, but also because it’s become Kitten Therapy for so many people through the Foster Cam. Sauerkraut regularly hears from friends who love cats but are allergic, so they watch their antics online. Or if someone just needs a dose of cute in the middle of their workday. There are very few times we have the Foster Cam down, so hopefully you can check out what’s going on in there, day or night! You're likely to see Humom in there, cleaning, or feeding.. or cleaning, feeding, and cleaning some more...
The side of the Foster Room that's seldom seen. There's the foster cam on the wall!
Having fosters is incredibly rewarding, but we know it’s not for everyone. And for people that do foster, everyone finds the groove that’s right for them. Having the foster room is what works for us, and allows us to manage the other work we have going on here… which as you know is mostly waiting on our little princess, Sauerkraut! :)
*The funnest, and to me the funniest, piece of furniture is a bench that has a pull-out drawer beneath it. When our daughter moved out, she came back just a couple days later and said, “hey… where’s my bed?!” She’d had a full-sized bed with a broken side-rail and drawers underneath it for clothes and junk. Well, Humom had taken the bed, disassembled it, cut the pieces up, and reassembled it into the bench. One drawer remained, which is now perfect for scared new house guests, or for a new momma to keep her tiny babies hidden away, but where they are accessible to us for care and monitoring. So in response to our daughter’s question, we pointed to the bench and said, “well, there’s what’s left of it!!” The teenager was less than amused. Score one for the Humom.