We are Expecting!!! by Jessica McColl
We are all brimming with excitement about our new arrival, due to arrive into our household in just over a week’s time. Our first ever foster kitty! Squeeee!!
Fostering has been something I have always wanted to do ‘one day.’ It turns out that now seems as good a time as ever.
If you are wondering what it is that foster carers actually do, let me break it down for you. A foster carer provides a soft place to land for kitties who are associated with a rescue group or shelter. The kitty is looked after in the foster carers own home, may be any age, may be of good health or may be in need of a little TLC. The kitty will stay with the foster carer being fed, medicated (if needed) and socialised ready to find a new home. Largely foster carers are needed as it allows rescue groups and shelters to save more kitties when they don't have space to house them in the shelter or in their own home. On top of that, it is widely known that shelters aren't the best place to raise itty bitty kitties who are too young to vaccinate and who need lots of socialisation to become well adjusted adult felines.
As a foster carer you may have the kitty (or kitties) for a short period of time such as a couple of weeks or it may take a little longer for your furry charge to find the purrfect home. Generally, if you are fostering for a shelter they will take the kitty back once space becomes available whereas when foster caring for a rescue group the kitty will go from your home to it’s new home. Depending on the group, you may be heavily involved in the adoption process or the decision may not be up to you at all. I can see advantages to both. Being involved in the decision makes good sense to me as the kitty lives with you and therefore you probably know them best. However, I can also see why you may rather the decision be taken out of your hands. It may be hard to know what to look for in a prospective owner, especially if you are very new to rescue!
When volunteering at the pound, I was asked so many times about how to get into foster care. As that particular pound does not offer it’s own foster care program *ahem* my suggestion to prospective foster carers was to contact a few rescue groups. So I took my own advice and did exactly that. I looked at the policies of the rescue groups and discussed my concerns with the director of the one selected. It is important to remember that you will have a close working relationship with the rescue group as a foster carer, so you need to find a person with whom you get along well with and whose ideals fit in with yours.
If there is one thing I have learnt in dealing with many rescue groups over the years, some people in rescue be crazy.
My advice is to make sure you enquire about how many kitties they are taking into care and how many foster carers they currently have. Too many kitties in care and few foster carers always rings alarm bells for me. If you can, see if you are able to speak with another foster carer of theirs as they may help you gain some valuable insight into what you may be getting yourself into.
Fortunately for me, I have a dear friend who has a rescue group and who, by good fortune, is also recruiting foster carers.
With all that being said, we are now back to the days of kitten proofing our house (turns out it’s pretty similar to child proofing, so we are already half way there) and also making a few changes to where things are located within our house. To minimise stress to my own fantastic felines, we have started moving things well before new kitty arrives into our care. This allows my cats to not associate the changes to their environment with the arrival of a new cat.
In all other aspects, our new kitty will be gently guided to live according to our household rules, so routines will not change as such for my own cats. It is also important that the new kitty is well accustomed to, and adjusts well to home life. I will also follow the same slow introductions used for introducing Macy and Bean to each other to introduce the new kitty into our home.
Now I want to invite you along on the journey with me. Stay tuned for what happens next =^.^=