So, I was all excited about this idea, but couldn't think of anything to inverview anybody about. Kristie did me a solid this afternoon by posting this on Facebook:
Kristie's not joking. We really do need foster families. We keep getting little baby kitties who are brought in without their mom cat. Which sucks. Because we can't really adequately take care of large numbers of bottle babies at the shelter, mainly because they need a late night feeding after everybody at the shelter goes home and a morning feeding before they get here.
That's why we need fosters. So what's it like to be a foster I wanted to know.
And then I remembered that one of my Facebook friends, Patricia just became a fosterer about six weks ago. And, she was available, so I Scrathterviewed her.
Scratch Cat: So, how did you become a fosterer.
Patricia Harvey: It's something that I had thought about doing for a while but I didn't know if I could really do it. I was volunteering at the shelter one Saturday and four little kittens came in. The shelter staff called through the fosterer list and no one was available. I figured this was my chance.
SC: Were you scared?
PH: Not really. I figured any care that I gave them would be better than the care they were getting when they were motherless and alone out in the big world.
SC: Did you get any training to be a fosterer?
PH: I did, which helped a lot. One of the staff members showed me how to hold the babies while I bottle fed them and what to do to get the babies to eat...
SC: You have to make them poop, right?
PH: Yes, Scratch you do, but that sounds so much grosser than it actually is. You kind of rub their tushies with a washcloth until something happens.
SC: Mommy cats do this with their tongue, but I guess it's cool humans use a wash cloth.
PH: Moving on...during my orientation, I also learned about the feeding schedule I should follow. I was surprised that I wouldn't really need to get up in the middle of the night for very long to feed them. By the time they are two and a half weeks old or so, they can go for six hours between their last feeding of the day and their first.
SC: Did you have to buy any supplies to be a fosterer?
PH: The shelter gave me the basics I would need. They gave me a carrier to keep them in and formula and baby bottles. They also offered me so old towels, but I had enough towels at my house so I didn't need them.
SC: What did you do when you got them home?
PH: I held them, fed them and then went about my regular life. For the first two or three weeks they slept pretty much all the time that they weren't being fed.
SC: And what happened after that, when they weren't sleeping all the time?
PH: I moved them to a bigger area. I live in a one bedroom condo, so they got to live in the bathroom. I also gave them "out time," which is when I let them wander abound outside their normal area so they could explore and practice new skills, like jumping.
SC: You have other animals at your house, right?
PH: Yes, I have a wheaten terrier named Buttercup, who you know, and a cat named Sandy.
SC: Do they support your decision to be a fosterer?
PH: Um, no. But that's ok because until they produce income, I make the rules.
SC: Nice. You humans and your obsession with money. To that I say whatever.
PH: I keep the dog seperate from the babies because she could get a little rough. The cat doesn't really like the babies, so she pretty much just steers clear.
SC: Do you still have your first set of babies?
PH: No, I'm now on my second set. I transfered the first set to a wonderful fosterer that really likes socializing the kittens. She has children and a husband, a friendly dog and cat. The babies will get lots of new experiences at her house. It is a great arrangement, too. I have a flexible work arrangement so I can bottle feed the babies. She has a more rigid work schedule, but enjoys giving the kittens lots of new experiences.
SC: I think that is a great arrangement. Everybody wins. Was it hard to see the babies leave?
PH: It was kind of hard, but I definitely had a mindset that my time with the babies would be short and sweet. The parting was also made easier because the same day I transfered my original set, I picked up my second set.
SC: That's cool. What is your biggest take away from your experience fostering?
PH: I think the biggest thing is I'm glad I did this. I hope more people try the fostering thing out. If you you have any problems, there's a whole team at the shelter that will help you through it. I'm really glad I took the plunge.
There's no pictures in this post. Who's still reading?