My first kitten fostering gig is done. After two months, in a score out of ten, it was somewhat of a less than perfect result as far as socialising the two of them enough for adoption goes. My sister and I have agreed, by mutual understanding, that I’m no kitten whisperer. If it had been the nephew fostering them, he would have had them like putty in his hands well before it was hand back time. From now on I’ll only get the kits and cats to foster which aren’t too challenging, my sister has assured me.
For those who aren’t aware, my sister does cat rescue and rehoming work, and I finally put my hand up to do fostering gigs for her. Not against my will, it must be said, but when it was clear that she had a helluva lot going on, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to step up and help out.
Speaking for myself, I survived my first gig more or less intact, but it’s been curtains for my curtains. Whilst these kits were, in a manner of speaking, taken out of the wild (eight weeks old, filthy, hungry, and mum nowhere to be seen) I couldn’t quite take the wild out of them in the time they were with me. The floor to ceiling curtains across my sliding doors were just the ticket for them to leap onto either from the couch or from a standing start. I had to admit that it was rather impressive to see a kitten launch itself halfway up a curtain in one go, just from the sheer power of its haunches, despite the destruction it wrought in doing so. I was quite jealous, actually. At least they were gratifyingly responsive to my roars of disapproval when they did this, although I can’t help a sneaking suspicion that the way they would both take off afterwards, no matter which kit was doing what, became part of a game to them.
Sis said that she’d replace my decimated curtains, but I said no. After all, she and her husband already self-fund a lot of the rescue and re-homing costs themselves, so adding to it seems a bit stingy. I’m going to get vertical blinds instead of curtains, which I think will be kitten-proof, but kittens will kitten, so we’ll see.
Then there was the shagging. Now, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that 4-month-old kits shouldn’t be shagging, but they did – or did a simulacrum of it. The wee girl clearly had a precocious puberty and underwent a heat spell, and the boy – her brother! – did what boys do when sex is on offer. I don’t think he did the full thing, but he knew the moves. The nephew and I googled to see if it was actually a thing that 4-month-old kits can go on heat, and it seems that it’s not unknown, although sis said that she’d never seen it for herself. I must admit that there was something a little disturbing about it, and decided that that was something I wouldn’t miss.
I fed my foster kits well and gave them a safe place to grow and do kitten things for a couple of months. I talked to them in the requisite goo-goo voice, but I never quite managed to socialise them enough to want pats from me. If I did manage to touch them, they often reacted as though I’d touched them with an electric cattle prod. They definitely needed a more determinedly tactile person than me to force some love on them.
That’s not to say there wasn’t progress. They started stealing my chair when I got up from the dining table or from my couch, and went from pooping on my bed when I was in the bathroom where their litter box was, but too scared to venture in there while I was there, to comfortably crapping in their litter box in front of me. I’d previously purchased a mattress protector for my bed which I used on the outside of it during the time of the kittens, and that worked a treat in protecting my duvet. Plus, the mattress protector washed up good as new, with no stain on it. When I sent the poo picture to the nephew – a true kitten-whisperer, and the now designated fosterer of difficult kits – he just laconically replied “I’ve had worse”. Not quite the response I was looking for, but once he described it to me, I conceded that he’d won that round.
A week ago my sister came to collect the kittens for de-sexing and the final round of socialising them at her place before putting them up for adoption. I had them waiting for her in the closed bathroom for easy capture – at least, that’s what I thought. Sis’s husband and I waited in my lounge while she went to do the capture, but as soon as she went into the bathroom we began to hear the most almighty banging and crashing coming from there. Her husband looked at me boggle-eyed and said he’d never heard that before. He reckoned it sounded like she had a lion in there. Eventually the clamour subsided, and sis came out with a kitten each in a carrier crate. She didn’t have a hair out of place, or had raised a sweat. Apparently, they’d panicked a bit when she went in there, as they’d forgotten her by then, so she was a stranger to all intents and purposes, and they’d tried to climb the walls of the shower to escape. However, after a wee while they both ran into the carrier crates of their own accord whilst she just stood there, and sis simply shut the doors of them when they were inside.
I did feel a bit bad about what felt like a betrayal of them when they must have been starting to feel secure in being with me, but I know that their lives will ultimately go well after a little bit of ‘pain’, so I console myself with that. And I missed their wee faces looking at me out of the window while I was mowing my lawns.
My next fostering gig is starting today. This time I’m getting an older cat who is being put up for adoption straight away, so I shouldn’t have her for long. I anticipate a slightly less eventful period, this time.
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-portrait-of-lion-247502/
10 thoughts on “My first kitten fostering gig is done.”
This pic seemed relevant lol
First time mum cat
Sent from my iPhone
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The picture didn’t come through, unfortunately.
You’re a braver soul than I am, no question. Feral-ish cats are tough but you did really well in my humble opinion. Good luck with the next visitor – sounds like it might be easier.
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Well done! I would find it hard to give them up. I think that must be the most difficult part of fostering. That and the poo in your bed!
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Yeah – the poo on the bed wasn’t the best moment – lol!
I give you credit for looking after the little monsters, but the things you describe are the reasons why I will only adopt adult cats, cats who know their way around a litter box and an upholstered home. Kittens are adorable, but they’re really wild, mischievous children who don’t give a fig about your curtains, your custom-covered sofa, or your clean comfy bed. (Putting a protective cover over your bed is very, very smart.) They can be quite bloodthirsty, too! My husband (stupidly) bought a parakeet not long after we adopted our first kitten. He assured me the bird would be safe in a cage hung high up from a hook on the ceiling, but within days I heard a frantic screech from our kitchen. The kitten was perched on top of the wildly swinging birdcage, with the parakeet cowering at the bottom. I still don’t know how it got from floor to cage, unless it leaped onto the nearby windowsill and clambered up the horizontal blinds. (It would have been a shaky climb, since those blinds were made of aluminum and bent at the slightest touch.) Later my husband and I had a raging argument about who should go, the kitten or the bird. I think I won by saying he and bird were welcome to live somewhere else: I was furious over the birdseed, feathers, and poop the thing knocked all over the floor, while the cat never had a problem with using the litter box. To this day I am still not a fan of birds being kept as pets.
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I don’t like seeing birds kept as pets, either. I don’t understand how people can’t see that keeping a bird in a cage is awful, but I guess they’re just thinking about what they want to have in their lives, and not thinking about the lives of the birds. A lot of cats are kept as inside cats now, or have an outside cat run as well. I believe that some cities, or areas in cities, are making it a law that a cat can’t be free roaming anymore. From what I’ve heard, cats will adjust to an enclosed life quite well.
Bottom line: Those kittens are in a better place now than they were and it’s because of you.
Take credit. And relax.
Now – for your next batch….
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Hey there, Katrina! I have forwarded your piece to my Twitter account. We have adopted many stray cats over the years in the last 36 we’ve been at this address. They are all buried in our garden.
Thanks for sharing this.
Regards to all and each!
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Thanks, Bill. I have found your Twitter account and responded. I won’t follow you, because I am a ‘terf’ and seeing as we’re Satan personified, I only follow those who are known to either be of the same ilk, or don’t give a toss 🙂