Can't Adopt a Pet? Become a Foster Parent to a Cat or Kitten! Come On! Lend a Paw!
Currently I am fostering a stray cat and her five kittens. To make a long story short, there is a stray cat problem in the community that I live in and I decided to lend a paw! I contacted the SPCA and am working with them to find homes for as many of the strays as possible. Those that do not find homes will be spayed or neutered and returned to the neighborhood to live out their lives. Many people that live in my community feed the cats and love to play with them but for whatever reason cannot adopt.
The cat that I am currently taking care of is a beautiful Calico named Claire. She is very timid (as you can imagine) but is coming around and becoming more affectionate. She had her babies on Friday, August 14th (five kittens, to be exact) three girls and two boys (Annie, Lola, Guinness, Norman Jr., and Sadie). I must admit that I don't know much about kittens as I am a self proclaimed "dog person" however, I am quickly learning the ropes and am enjoying every minute that I spend with these little balls of fluff and fur.
Prepare a Cat Safe Room!
The first thing I did when I found out that I would be caring for Claire and her kittens was to prepare a "cat safe room." As I said before, I don't know much about kitten care, however, I did know that they would need a safe yet comfortable place to live. Luckily, I have a spare bedroom (that is currently unfurnished and in need of a paint job). I cleaned the room, placed plastic on the floor and then covered it with large plastic squares (you know what I'm talking about…those large plastic squares that snap together and kids play on). I figured this would protect the carpeting yet be soft on the cat's paws as well. As for bedding, my dogs allowed me to borrow their large crate and I filled it with old towels and blankets. I also covered it with an old sheet so that it was dark and private. Claire loves her make-shift cat den and now calls it home.
As for Claire's bathroom needs, well, at first, she had NO idea what a litter box was. After the fourth day of cleaning poop off the floor I must admit that I was getting slightly annoyed. However, I knew that patience was needed and Claire would catch on eventually. I gave Claire several litter choices and eventually, she decided that she liked "Cat Attract" Cat Litter and has not pooped "outside of the box" since! Thank goodness! Cat Attract is a great litter to use if you are trying to train a stray cat (or any cat for that matter) to use a litter box. It was developed by a veterinarian that specializes in felines and trust me, he knows his stuff (or should I say he knows his cats?). I also tried all natural corn litter and regular clay clumping litter but for whatever reason, Claire chose Cat Attract. Personally, I don't care what litter Claire likes as long as she uses her litter box! Though I do have an automatic cat litter box I did not even think about putting it in Claire's "cat safe room" as I knew that it would scare her (it looks some-what strange and makes a loud noise…not good for a timid, stray cat!). Automatic cat litter boxes (such as the Litter Robot) are great for cats that are completely comfortable with their surroundings as well as their owner!
Kittens Are Cute!
Claire's kittens are in one word, ADORABLE! They are twelve days old (today) and two of them have opened their eyes. I have enjoyed watching them change and it amazes me as to how fast they grow! They are slowly starting to explore but have yet to come out of their "cat den." I have a feeling that when they do make their way out of their "den" and start to EXPLORE, my entire world will change (I have been told that kittens get in to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!).
Eventually, the kittens will need to go to the veterinarian for complete check-ups (and probably a good de-worming) but for now, they are enjoying life with their mom, Claire and living in a warm, safe environment. Though I know it will be difficult to give them up when they are older (it is best that kittens stay with their mom for at least eight to ten weeks so that they can nurse and develop) I know that I am doing a good thing and helping animals in need. I pray that each kitten (and Claire) is adopted by a loving, kind family as these cats deserve a chance at a FOREVER, LOVING home! If you are able, won't you consider becoming a foster parent for a local rescue group or shelter in your area? Trust me, the experience is very rewarding and you will be glad you did!