Pet Tips 'n' Tales

 "Baby Feline" Foster Family

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Misty and her daughter, Skylee, volunteered to foster homeless kittens during summer vacation.  Skylee hopes that her experience inspires others to become active in the community, whether by helping animals or filling other needs. Misty and Skylee have three large dogs, so all of their fostered kittens are "dog-proofed"  by default, a distinct advantage for future adoption into a "dog home".


"When we signed up to foster kittens for the Humane Society a year ago, I had grave concerns," said Misty. "I was worried that it would be painful for my 14-year-old daughter, Skylee, to let the kittens go when it was time. Regardless, Skylee became very involved and took over the kittens' care. The kittens stay in her room; their playing keeps her up all night, and their weak digestive systems pollute the air as a result of frequent litter box use.  And it is amazing how kitten can mess up a room!

Kittens need a toasty-warm environment, clean water to drink, and some a feeding every two hours.

After weeks of caring for the kittens, loving them, forming close bonds, and letting them destroy her bedroom, it was time to return the babies to Greenhill Animal Shelter to be put up for adoption.

Skylee and I had discussed how hard this was going to be, but was she really prepared?  Would she be able to let these precious kitties go to strangers?  I gathered the courage to break the news to her that it was time to let them go. Skylee was understandably upset.  She cried a little, but she was quite strong.  She realizes that this is the difficult part of fostering and that in order for us continue fostering and helping other animals in need,  we had to let these kittens go.  It was a very hard the first time, and doesn't get any easier, no matter how many "fosters" we care for.

Skylee knows that she is giving these abandoned animals something they desperately need; safety, kindness, comfort, warmth, food, and love.  Without her help, love, and caring, these kittens would be homeless, hungry, scared, and most likely, dead.

Skylee fell in love with one particular kitten and she wanted to adopt it. I explained to her that the kitten would grow into an adult cat, and consequently she would be responsible for it until she was in her thirties! She realized that she wasn't ready for that kind of commitment.  I wish more adults would show the same maturity.  I'm proud of Skylee and don't know many adults who are as strong as she is.

We fostered 12 kittens over this past year. In the last batch there were some sick ones that we did our best with to keep them alive.  Letting the kittens go to Greenhill for adoption is hard, but holding a dying kitten is even harder! It is excruciating not to be able to help, and feeling powerless knowing there is nothing you can do --the anger you feel at the people who didn't spay their cats to begin with is agonizing. 

We helplessly watched three kittens suffer needlessly before dying due to abandonment. If more pet owners held a tiny defenseless animal as it lay dying, they would think twice about the repercussions of not spaying and neutering their pets!" said Misty.

"It's a privilege to foster kittens," said Skylee. "I'm helping them, but they also help me, especially when I'm feeling down or upset.  I look at the kittens and think about how they are abandoned and motherless and I'm reminded that my problems aren't so bad after all. 

Fostering kittens can be fun, but it is also difficult.  It's hard when there's nothing you can do to save their lives. Sometimes all you can do is to give them love.  I also worry about who is going to adopt the kittens and if they will be going to a good home or not. It is difficult returning the kittens to Greenhill, because I become so attached to them, but I know that there are hundreds more out there needing my help.   

More people should foster kittens because the kittens need someone to love and care for them.  Without a foster parent, they probably wouldn't make it on their own.  I feel good when my friends ask me questions on how to help animals.

I look forward to fostering more animals than just kittens. I want to help as many animals as I can," said Skylee.


To volunteer to foster kittens contact Janetta Overholser, president of The Humane Society of Cottage Grove(HSCG). 541 942-2789. "We appreciate pet foster families," said Janetta.  These volunteers are vital for helping pets. Unnetured/unspayed pets continually flood our city and shelter with their unwanted offspring. Yes, kittens are adorable, but how many homes are available for them? Will you adopt one? Heartache and suffering often accompany the little darlings as the tiniest ones often do not survive and this is hard on both the babies and the foster parents.
Recently, two pregnant female cats where abandoned when their owners left town.  A neighbor let the cats live in her garage and contacted the HSCG. The mother cats are now being altered, their babies are in foster care, and they will all go to Greenhill Humane Society to compete with equally adorable kittens for homes.  This could have been so easily prevented if they'd been spayed originally.
Humane Society of Cottage Grove has $20 off spay/neuter coupons and Low-Income Spay/Neuter Assistance Program to help with the cost," adds Janetta.


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