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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > THE LOUNGE > Fostering kittens
Last Post by Malp_15 at 10/10/2012 5:28 PM (5 Replies)
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User is Offline Aylnine
60 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 8:57 AM

I've recently come into having some free time (aka I lost my job) and I decided I wanted to fill it with KITTENS! Right now I'm still deciding on which org. I want to foster for, though, so I'm hoping some of you lovely people here would have some insight on fostering or just kittens in general.

Option 1: my local Humane Society (not affiliated with HSUS) has a kitten foster program which mainly deals with kittens who are big enough to eat food but not big/old enough to get fixed. They only supply food and the kittens have a higher risk of dying or having incubating diseases since they're so young, and while they're all checked there's still a chance. They also need much more supervision.

Option 2: one of the local cat rescues has cats of all sizes and ages, though usually they tend to be a bit younger than older. They supposedly provide everything from food to toys to shelter and their vet costs are covered, and since everyone is pretty responsible about getting the cats to a vet there's less of a chance that they might have something lurking on them.

I'm currently leaning towards option 2 because I get my choice of who I want to take home, although since I need to keep them in only 1-2 rooms I'm limited to smaller/younger kittens anyway. However, I like the safety net option 1 has because of their vet coverage and their responsibility to both foster parent and kitty.

So I have a few questions:

1. How big/small does a cat have to be to be okay with just hanging out in a bathroom? It's a fairly good sized bathroom for a kitten but I know a full grown cat might get a little stir-crazy. I'd prefer to take cats that are a little older/bigger than neuter age but I want them to still be okay with a smaller space.

2. How likely is it that I'll pass something on to Sir Rupert if I keep the kittens far far away from the rabbit pen? What would be some safety measures that I should take when interacting between the two (is hand washing enough or would I have to change my clothes and take a shower etc).

Thanks a bunch~ And if I get foster kitties I'll be sure to take pictures and videos 


User is Offline Malp_15
British Columbia, Canada
601 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 10:04 AM
I'm a long time foster parent for the BC SPCA, but I'm pretty spoiled because everything is covered through them. Vets, food, litter, dishes, toys, scratching posts. Anything you need, you have access too. I would recommend Option 2, definitely for a first time foster. And discuss with them what would happen if for instance you found another job or had some kind of emergency and couldn't keep them anymore. Would you be able to bring them back at a moments notice? Also what happens if the kitten/cat gets very ill after hours? Do you call their vet and deal with them directly and they foot the bill, or do they have an emergency contact person from the shelter, that you would call? You want these figured out because if you are anything like me you will feel responsible and god forbid the worst happens and you are financially responsible. And I'm assuming money is extra tight right now.

As for your questions:
1) An adult cat will not be able to be locked in one room for any length of time. He/She will go stir crazy and probably cause some damage to your house. With that being said, kittens should also not be locked in one room exclusively. A young kitten needs 6-8 hours of time/day with you to get the proper social development it needs. Also the more time you can spend with a kitten the more likely it will bond to a new owner and be adopted. If you do end up fostering very young orphan kittens, they can be kept in a small room exclusively because they won't be developed enough to need the extra space. But by 8 weeks they will need the space to run and play. When I foster kittens for example, I set up my spare bedroom as a kitten-land. Everything they need is in there, along with lots of toys. They are kept in the room when I am not home or sleeping. But when I'm home they are let out to run around in a kitten proof area and be part of the family (my living room, kitchen, dining room).

2) It is not very likely that a cat will pass anything along to your rabbit. My only concern would be fleas, but a good rescue should have their cats treated right away if they have any. Hand washing is definitely enough. I really wouldn't too concerned about passing things across species, if you were fostering another rabbit there would be some cause for concern, but even then if they aren't interacting, the chance is pretty low.

I think it's great that you're wanting to foster ! If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask!

User is Offline Aylnine
60 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 11:06 AM
Thanks for your thorough answers! I definitely wanted to ask the rescue some of the above questions about vet care etc but didn't get around to it. The rescue that I was looking at unfortunately is foster/volunteer only, so they don't really have a shelter to fall back on. That was another reason why I couldn't wholeheartedly go for option 2, because at least with the Humane Society they have a lot of safety nets in case the kitten is sick or if I can't take care of them anymore. I feel that if I can trust them to foot the vet (and other) bills then I would definitely go for option 2. Otherwise I might look for another rescue because honestly I'm a little scared to take care of kittens as young as the ones the HS has.

User is Offline Malp_15
British Columbia, Canada
601 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 5:13 PM
I'm glad you're thinking about everything before making the decision I feel too many people think it will be easy and then get easily over-whelmed.

Young kittens can be verryyy stressful. I have more resources & support, than the average person, but orphan kittens were probably the most stressful thing I've ever had to do. 1 at a time isn't so bad, but I took 4, 12 hour old kittens and had them for 6 weeks. And I was working full-time. I had to get up and feed every 2 hours for the first couple of weeks before adding more time inbetween feedings. These kittens hadn't even gotten any colostrum from mom before she rejected them. I was so burnt out by the end, that I gave them to another foster home as soon as they were all eating properly on their own. Thank god I have a job that allowed me to stop every 2 hours and feed

A good option for you might be a mom with a litter of kittens? It's hard for rescues to find a quiet enough home, for mom to feel comfortable enough to raise her babies in peace. Most rescues don't want them in shelters because mom tends to get so stressed out she rejects the babies. You still get the kitten aspect and get to watch them grow from little balls of fur, to something resembling a cat but you get to sleep and let mom do most of the work

User is Offline Aylnine
60 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 5:19 PM
That's a really good idea, I had considered mom with kittens so at least they would have some amount of guidance and company. The shelter usually tries to give out kittens that can't survive on their own but are generally hardy enough to be okay without constant supervision (no longer bottle fed, can eat solid food but not yet box trained or socialized), so if I got lucky and got just two I think I would be able to handle it.

Would mom cat eventually require a lot more space or would she stay with the kittens throughout the entire time? One of the reasons why I'm restricted to kittens is because I'm not allowed to keep something that would have entire run of the house (or else I would get a much less stressful adult, lol).

User is Offline Malp_15
British Columbia, Canada
601 posts Send Private Message
10/10/2012 5:28 PM
Mom would need some time away from the kittens. She won't want to go very far though, so it really depends on what your set up would be. Myself I have the spare bedroom, opening into the hallway, which opens in the the kitchen. So I put up a baby gate on the dining room door and if mom wants she can jump the gate and they will usually just hang out in the living room and when they get more comfortable the moms will wander into the kitchen for a bit. For the first few weeks mom won't want to leave the room for more than a minute or two, but as the kittens get more indepedent so will she. So you'll have to decide on that because I can't see your house

But it sounds like you will make the best decision for yourself and you will definitely need to post pics of whatever you end up getting!!

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