A cat can be a friend unlike any other you will have. Cats are studious and independent, yet loving. Every cat has a unique personality. No lullaby is like that of a cat purring while you fall asleep. However, for all the wonderful traits cats have and for all the love and companionship they provide to their owners, many cats are being left to fend for themselves every day.
Some people set cats and kittens out in wooded areas or near neighborhoods expecting them to find a new home. Many people simply put cats and kittens in cages and drop them at shelter gates. Unfortunately, many of the cats and kittens being abandoned in these ways are euthanized or become wild, leading to a greater and more out-of-control feral cat population.
Partly because of these dumpings, the shelters and rescues become overloaded and don’t have the room or the resources to accept more animals.
How You Can Help A Cat In Need
If you are over the age of twenty-one and have reliable transportation, you can help by fostering a cat or kitten. Not only does this allow you to provide a closer, one-on-one relationship for the cat, it makes room at the shelter for another cat.
To become a foster parent, visit your local shelter or rescue (or their website) and ask for (or look for) an application. Chances are they will want to check you out, including a home visit, to make sure you will be taking the cat or kitten into a good home.
Experience With Cats Is Helpful
While it is not a requirement, having some experience with cats or kittens is best. This is especially true when fostering felines that have suffered at the hands of mean owners or have experienced other traumatic occurrences before coming to you.
You will be responsible for feeding, watering and cleaning a litter box while fostering a cat or kitten. However, the most important aspect of fostering is the love and attention you provide.
If you have a full time job or not at home a lot, fostering may not be a good idea. Socialization is important for your foster cat or kitten to adjust, making him or her more adoptable. A happy cat is one that is not fearful. If you foster a cat or kitten that is fearful due to a traumatic past, taking your time to ease him or her into things is best. Your home needs to have an area for your foster cat or kitten to hide when experiencing high levels of fear. A covered pet bed makes the perfect hiding place.
Coming Home to Existing Pets
If you have other pets in your home, those pets will need to be up-to-date on their vaccines and should be spayed or neutered. Bear in mind the need for being able to separate your pets from a new cat or kitten until they become used to each other. Introducing a cat or kitten to a new home can be terrifying and stressful, so making sure to have other pets put up for the initial entrance is important.
What About The Foster Cats Or Kittens Requiring Daily Medical Care?
Some foster cats or kittens have just been spayed or neutered. Some might have endured injuries that broke bones, therefore putting them into casts. Many cats have bruises and cuts from cruel people or other animals. If you foster a sick cat or kitten, making sure you have all the supplies you need before taking the animal home is important. Remember as well that the initial entrance of a cat or kitten into your home is essential for a healthy adjustment, so make sure things are quiet on the first day. This is especially true for cats or kittens experiencing illness or injury.
Keep in mind that, depending on your foster cat or kitten’s medical condition, you may be required to take them to regular vet appointments, either at the shelter or to a vet designated by the shelter.
What If I Become Too Attached?
You undoubtedly will become attached to your foster cat or kitten. If you decide you want to adopt, you will need to fill out adoption papers and pay the adoption fees at your shelter. Otherwise, just keep in mind that you have done your part and now your foster cat is going to it’s furrever home, and will be making room for you to accept another foster cat into your home.
Nothing compares to the rewarding feeling of watching the cat or kitten you foster finally go home with a loving, responsible owner.