How do you not keep all your foster kittens?

Friday, March 1, 2024

Fostering is a vital piece of Friends of Strays. Without our fosters, we would not be able to save the lives that we do. From raising bottle baby kittens to caring for a dog as it recovers from surgery or illness, our fosters are a key part of our organization. Alison Barlow, our secretary on our Board of Directors, also fosters kittens for Friends of Strays. Here is her perspective on fostering:

Are you tempted to keep all the kittens you foster? That is the question I get most often when people learn I foster for Friends of Strays, in addition to being a member and secretary of the Board of Directors.

I started fostering kittens (and sometimes their moms) almost 10 years ago and probably have fostered more than 120 kittens. While I fall in love with each of them, I view fostering like being a grandparent. I get to have all the fun and then hand them back. I know that when they go to the shelter for adoption, they are ready for their new families and usually adopted within a few days.

My job as a foster is to provide a safe and engaging environment, in my case an extra bathroom, where the kittens can grow strong and learn the sounds and smells of a house. I have recruited a group of kids who I have nicknamed the Kitten Wranglers to help socialize the kittens. The Kitten Wrangler motto is “pick them up, put them down… and repeat.” This gets the kittens ready for their forever family members of all ages.

I enjoy learning the personalities of each foster. From the one who loved fuzzy balls, another who learned to climb early and would use the advantage to jump on his siblings, or another who wanted to just climb into my lap and cuddle. Whatever I learn I share with the shelter staff when they go back for adoption.

Ultimately, fostering doesn’t just help the kittens and cats. At the end of a long day sitting on the floor and having a pile of kittens climb all over me is amazing. It’s an instant mood boost.