New Kittens on the Block
|Jennifer Woo has been a foster parent with IndyHumane for four years. She has fostered more than 100 mama cats with kittens or orphan kittens who need around-the-clock care.
“I was interested in fostering for a while before I signed up, but was hesitant because I had two senior cats and was concerned how they would handle it. After Nolan passed away in February 2017, I decided to give it a try. In addition to being able to help cats and kittens, I was also hopeful that I could find a new companion for my cat, Lacey, who had lost her littermate. Fostering helped to heal my heart, as well! I adopted my foster kitten, Bodie, in September 2017 and my foster kitten, Bear, in December 2019. They have since become great foster brothers to the kittens that come into my care!
|Benefits of foster care
I typically foster mama cats with kittens and orphan kittens. One benefit is providing a mama cat a quiet, calm, and stress free place to raise her babies. It’s so important that mamas feel safe and have a warm, clean environment with lots of nutritious food. Sometimes very young or inexperienced mamas, sick mamas, or mamas with big litters need help keeping their babies fed, pottied, and clean. Mamas also enjoy getting a break from their babies occasionally by hanging out on a cat tree, getting human attention, and playing with toys.
Socialization is one of the biggest benefits for an animal in foster care, especially for shy or scared animals, animals who previously lived outside, semi-feral kittens, etc. Helping them become comfortable in a home environment (sights, sounds, smells, and people) is so important in preparing them for a forever home. Foster families can also be an integral in helping to find an animal’s best fit for a forever home by sharing their likes and dislikes, personalities, quirks, favorite toys, etc.
|What advice would you give to a new foster parent?|
|You have to take care of yourself to take care of them. Know your limits. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to take a break. There will be really hard days (and sometimes really sad days), but I guarantee there will be infinitely more enjoyable days. The most difficult cases are often the most rewarding!
Start with something easy, such as healthy, weaned kittens that just need a little time to grow. You can work your way up to more challenging cases, such as bottle babies, animals with medical needs, semi-feral kittens who need socialization, etc. You’ll gain knowledge and confidence with every animal you foster which will contribute to helping you save even more in the future.
Network with other foster parents. Share your experiences and learn from theirs. (If you’re a kitten foster, prepare for a lot of conversations about poop!)
|Goodbye is the goal
Saying goodbye is always bittersweet for me. It’s okay to cry, but make sure you also celebrate! Be proud of the work you did and the role you played in helping an animal on its journey home. It’s the end of their time with you, but their new life is just beginning because of you. I’ve found the best remedy to feeling sad about saying goodbye is saying hello to new fosters! Receiving updates on former fosters thriving in their forever homes is the best!