If you’ve ever had a pet, you know how therapeutic it can be to come home after a long day to a happy little fuzzball just waiting to love you. But when you’re a foster pet parent, you can come home to a whole cuddle puddle of snuggles by fostering multiple cuties in need. And right now, according to the ASPCA, kitten foster parents are needed more than ever.
The ASPCA refers to the spring and summer months as “Kitten Season.” This is the time of year when shelters see a huge increase in the amount of kittens dropped off by well-meaning good Samaritans. But the reality is, of the over 3 millions cats brought to shelters in the U.S., about 27% are euthanized.
Most shelters don’t have the resources or capacity to care for these babies, which is why fostering is one of the most important aspects of animal rescue. It also just so happens to be the cutest, fluffiest, oh-my-God-how-are-you-real part, too.
Unfortunately, many kittens find themselves stuck outside on the street after being born to feral or community cats. Babies under 8 weeks can’t hang out in the shelter with the other big kitties because their tiny immune systems are more sensitive, but that’s where fostering comes in.
With the ASPCA, kittens are intercepted when they’re brought to a shelter and taken to a mobile vet clinic, where they’re treated and inspected by a veterinarian. From there, the kitties are sent off to a loving foster home until they can find their furever home.
So what’s it like being a keeper of kittens? I’m a pro, and I can confidently say it’s the best thing ever.
As a kitten foster, I get a text or call letting me know that there are kittens in need — it’s pretty much like the Bat signal but with sweet little kitty floofs.
The kittens are then sent to me via Lyft (yes, really) with all the supplies they need to get big and strong. My favorite part is the “unboxing” that happens once they’re delivered. You open this cardboard pet carrier to reveal several sets of sweet, baby eyes staring back at you with all the hope in the world.
Once the kittens are in my care, it’s my job to keep them fed, healthy, and socialized. I take them to occasional vet appointments, track their weight, and basically teach them how to cat.
Some people are hesitant to foster because they don’t think they could let their foster kittens go. I’ll be honest, that part is difficult and I do get sad when my kittens move on, but the thing is, it’s literally life or death for them.
There’s a saying I’ve heard in the fostering community: “I’m willing to break my heart a little so that theirs never has to break again.” These kittens cannot survive without us, and just about every shelter in every state is inundated with kittens and severely lacking foster volunteers — especially now.
If you’re ready to be a kitten superhero yourself, you can join the ASPCA’s #MeowForNow campaign at ASPCA.org/MeowForNow and pledge to foster where you live. Los Angeles locals can become kitten fosters by signing up at ASPCA.org/FosterLA.
Get ready to have kittens forever!