"Kittens Are Coming:" How Fostering Saves Lives
As soon as temperatures begin to warm, animal shelters around the country are inundated with newborn and very young kittens. Kitten season, as it’s known, is a yearly affair that happens when stray momma cats give birth to their babies, and the babies end up in our care. These tiny kitties are exceptionally cute, yes, but are also in need of around the clock attention and care.
Our dedicated foster Angela is very familiar with kitten season. She’s been fostering with us for two years after a chance encounter in Pittsburgh, when her co-worker found abandoned kittens on the side of the road, one of whom had been hit by a car.
Angela brought the poor kittens to the local animal shelter. Given their grim condition, she didn’t expect any to survive. The kitten who was hit by a car would need several surgeries and a love of love to pull through. Angela left the shelter knowing she did the best she could.
But then, to her pleasant surprise, all of the kittens survived. And when they were big and strong, they went to their forever homes.
When Angela came home to Baltimore, her experience in Pittsburgh inspired her to begin volunteering and fostering with BARCS. She chose BARCS for a few reasons, mainly, “BARCS is much more than a city shelter. It’s a refuge not only for healthy adoptable animals, but also for sick and misunderstood animals that needs the most help.”
So she jumped right in and got to work. Angela began taking cats and kittens whenever we needed; she quickly became our “cat guru” for her willingness to open her home and nurture cats who need the most TLC. To date, she has fostered around 80 cats and kittens!
When asked about her favorite foster stories, Angela said a few came to mind.
- Gunter – “Gunter was my first adult foster. He came to me with a fractured hip and stayed while recovering from surgery. He fell sick a few times and was hospitalized for an unrelated viral illness, so he kept me on my toes. He is a sweet, loving, silly and incredibly fast cat, and my resident cats just fell in love with him. My cousin’s family adopted Gunter, so I am fortunate still see his sweet face and silly updates.”
- The Noodle Litter – “The Noodles (Clarence, Martini, Mr. Potter, Zhu Zhu and Bailey) were my first bottle babies, so of course they are special. Bottle babies need to be fed and checked on every few hours depending on their age. Being ridiculously cute and total show-offs for photos didn’t hurt!”
- Spike and Snoopy – “These guys came home as fosters and never left! Spike has a heart condition, and Snoopy and his siblings were brought in during the end of the critical socialization period for kittens. His brother and sister did very well, but Snoopy made the executive decision to skip the adoption formality and move in. Snoopy loves foster kittens and is more confident with cats over people. He is now the resident kitten trainer/comforter for orphaned kittens when I need him.”
Though fostering can be challenging, Angela wouldn’t change a thing, “I most look forward to their transformations over time: watching kittens go from newborns to individuals with unique personalities; seeing momma cats go from all business to playing with toys and seeking their own attention; and guiding cats through critical weight loss or gain, various post-surgery recoveries and confidence building.”
Thank you for all you do, Angela!
The Foster Program at BARCS is critical to our rescue work. It enables us to increase the number of homeless pets we can save by placing them in temporary foster homes. Foster homes give pets a warm, loving environment to heal, grow and flourish.
A foster parent's role is to welcome a pet (or pets) into their home and provide food, water, toys and lots of love. There are many reasons a pet may need a foster home:
- They’re underage and need time to grow.
- They’re sick or injured and need time to recover.
- They’re overwhelmed by shelter life and need socialization or behavior adjustment.