Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Yeah, Don't Cross My Path

Yeah, it's kitten season! Or rather, crap, it's kitten season. You can quibble with these numbers, but even the most conservative estimates will show the shelters are going to start being inundated with kittens. Hard decisions get made.The public shelters usually will automatically euthanize any kittens who aren't weaned, because they don't have the manpower to take care of the tiny ones. Even the larger kittens are at risk of being euthanized if the cages are already full. Private shelters run out of room quickly, leaving people who spend many unpaid hours every month trying to do right by homeless animals in the awful position of turning away animals, and people, in genuine need.

Which is where YOU come in.


Reach out to a local rescue and utter the words "I can foster a kitten or two." Hear them sigh in gratitude. Watch as they hand you tiny shouting fuzzballs. Feel as they give you food, litter, and everything else you will need. Then, for a few days, or weeks, you get to wallow in the simple-minded peculiar joy which is kitten-sitting. If you choose to take on a bottle-fed kitten, know that you will have earned your crown in heaven. On the other hand, if you have a teenage child, a bottle-fed kitten will show them exactly how relentless a newborn mammal is, and that's never a bad thing for a teenager to see up close.

"But," I hear you saying, "I'll fall in love and want to keep the kitten!"

Maybe. Maybe this kitten was meant to be yours and I am merely a pawn in God's plan to have you buying Fancy Feast for the next fifteen years. Or maybe you get to revel in a kitten and then hand it back, knowing you can enjoy another kitten whenever you want, and it doesn't bother you that much. Or maybe you fall in love with that tiny pansy face but aren't in a position right now to have a cat, and you cry the night you take them back. I'm not saying that's a pleasant feeling, but if we only did things that made us feel wonderful all the time, a lot of very important activities would never get done. Think of it this way; your fostering saves a life, and wouldn't you agree a saved life is worth a few tears? If sending them back to a shelter where they might be euthanized if they aren't adopted horrifies you, reach out to a private, no-kill shelter. Either way, if you can do it, please do it.

Who knows? They could look like these guys:

I never said I played fair.


Blogger Karen said...

Ah, the Lamms from the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. I love those guys.

15 years, Quinn? My oldest rescue kitten is now past 17 and just as feisty as she was at 6 weeks old. The twins are now 15 years old (adopted from a litter that was dumped at my vet).

Fostering is out of the question with these three extremely elderly guys, but I do send money to my local rescue every single month.

Spay and neuter, guys!

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if I didn't already foster you would have had me with this post, good work and happy fostering!

9:32 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

My kid's 9th birthday is in two weeks. Our current cat came home with us from a shelter a decade ago, thus preceding the arrival of the Small Human by a full year. Cat developed a (not altogether unjustified) fear/hatred of Kid shortly after Kid became mobile. This fear/hatred has, erm, mellowed into a basic tolerance for the kid so long as she isn't (a) loud, (b) crazy or (c) entertaining company of her approximate age and stature. Any of those factors will lead to ferocious hissing and running away (by the cat, not the kid). This is a fact that breaks the kid's heart on a daily basis. She regrets nothing more in life than any of her actions that were done in baby/toddlerhood that have caused the cat to distrust/dislike her now. She yearns for the cat to sit on her lap (as the cat will sit on Hubby's or my laps) or even allow patting for more than ten seconds without flattening her ears and whapping her tail menacingly.

Thus, we have decided that we are going to surprise the kid with a kitten for her birthday. From a shelter, of course. A kitten that will hopefully bond (more) with the kid and will allow things like petting and snuggling. Yes, I know very well that with cats, one cannot guarantee such behavior. We plan to stack the deck by starting the kitten out in the kid's room - our current cat rarely goes in there ever since the kid's goldfish departed for the Great Fishbowl in the Sky a year ago. (Cat: "Hey, what happened to the Cat TV up in here?! Why'd ya cancel my favorite show?? *sigh* Fine, off to watch the big screen downstairs, even though it only shows Squirrels, Bunnies and Birdies....")

This is all to say that while ostensibly the kitten is to be my beloved child's cat, both the husband and I are full of SQUEEEEE!!! at the prospect of having a kitten in the house again ourselves. (Heck, I won't be surprised if we wind up with TWO kittens.......) Pointy, sticking-straight-up tails! Fuzzy bellies! Goofy antics! (Okay, so our ten year old cat provides all the above less the pointy tail. You know what I mean.) Kitten(s) FTW!!

PS - my word verification is "shmew" which is a sound I swear my cat makes - perfection!

5:33 AM  
Blogger Shinny said...

That kitten picture kills me. The one with the dark ears and either of the two with the white and grey could pass for two little give aways I brought home almost 13 years ago now. I would so foster kittens if I could feel confident that my current 3, 20 lbs + cats would not eat them as lunch. ;) May have to see what options Wisconsin has and if you are penalized when your current cats eat your foster kittens. ;)

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Lydia said...

My daughter would like a cat very much, but I don't know if I could take it on right now. Your suggestion may be the way to go, and see how it goes! Great idea! Thanks!

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. We are our own private shelter, living on a property inundated with feral cats. Feral cats can become loving indoor cats with time and work and treatment. I guess more than anything I would beg people to get their cats neutered/spayed. There are organizations to do low-cost spays/neuters...and if someone is blessed with extra income and wants a charity project,paying for spays and neuters prevents...well, more kittens who may not grow up.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Eris said...

I took in a desperately sick kitten and nursed her to life in January, she is 7 months old now and going strong but sadly has kitty Corona Virus and and severe kitty herpes infestation which means I can neither compromise her immune system by taking in more nor can I compromise theirs immune systems by having her infect them. And this? REALLY BUMS ME OUT. Because as much as I utterly, unabashedly, absolutely love love love my wonderful little baby kitty girl I also wish I could take in others since I could probably handle a few more months of sleep deprivation without snapping... I rescued my little fur ball, I hope other people go out and do so as well. SO rewarding! And I swear the weekly zyrtec D costs are nothing compared to the awesome companionship of my new little friend.

/newly minted cat lady done talking :)

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Rainey Smith said...

I fostered 3 little kittens last year quite by accident. Went to the shelter to get my dog license renewed and someone had dropped off 3 little 4 week old babies. They were headed for the euth room and I took them home (worried that my husky might eat them!). They were already weaned (mostly) and pretty independent...just needed human love. Because of this...and because I couldn't spend the time with them (locked in the bathroom) that they needed...I found them homes (2 went together!) and they are happy kitties today!

A month later my husky and I got adopted by a rather precocious 10 week old grey kitten...who taught my dog that she was NOT to eat him. He kinda reminded me of Lucy in Goodbye Girl...took no doody! He's now 15 lbs and even MORE precocious!!

I think I can honestly say that I've never been prouder than to get a Happy New Year card from "my" two kitties! Good for you QC for promoting fostering kittens!!!


9:13 PM  

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