Fostering Kittens from the Yolo County SPCA (and how you can too!)

My foster kittens from the Yolo County SPCA were the best and most challenging things that happened to me last quarter. They taught me more about responsibility, love, and patience than any of my schoolwork had. I spent more time cleaning my bed sheets than I did studying. You can foster kittens too, but before you make any decisions, you should know exactly what you're getting yourself into. 

First Thing’s First: What Is Fostering?

When you foster a kitten, you're agreeing to take an irritatingly adorable baby cat (or several) into your home, and care for them attentively and lovingly until they're adopted. You should know that this can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year. However, other arrangements can be made to accommodate students. You also have to bring foster kittens to weekly adoption events at the Petco in North Davis.

The biggest perk of fostering is, of course, having sweet little kittens in your home. There are other benefits too, financial and otherwise, that make fostering kittens worthwhile. As a foster, you don't have to worry too much about expenses. The Yolo SPCA supplies you with all the food, litter, cat toys, beds, vaccines, medicines, and treats the kittens will need. You can also take comfort and pride in the fact that you're helping homeless animals acclimate to people and a home-environment so they will make loving, future-family members.

My Experience

Slinky and Marble were the cutest little furballs I’d ever seen. I had this notion that the second I brought them home, we’d all be cuddling on my bed, playing with their toys, and well on our way to becoming best friends. This notion turned out to be far-fetched, almost a fantasy.

In my excitement, I forgot that my kittens weren’t the result of pedigree breeding, or some mall pet shop with kitty-mill undertones. My kittens were homeless, abandoned—almost feral. They had never been around people before, and thus, had no idea I wasn’t going to hurt them.

As a kitty foster mom, it was my job to teach them how to love and be loved. That required patience. I spent hours sitting on the floor, allowing them to come up to me on their own time. Eventually, they were both following me around and meowing to be pet. They were purring before I even touched them. It took over a month to reach that point, but it was so worth it when I had two warm little kitties curled up in my lap while I did my homework.

However, it wasn’t all cuddles. The first two weeks I had my kittens, I discovered they had worms. I could've lived my entire life without seeing a small cat eat a wriggling, stringy worm from its own ass, but that’s the name of the game when you’re a foster parent. Luckily, I got it sorted out quickly after taking them to get neutered. Of course, that came with it’s own set of obstacles.

When your kittens get neutered, you have to take their sand litter and replace it with newspaper shreds to keep their stitches clean. In theory, this should be a non-issue. In reality, my kittens could not physically comprehend the thought of going to the bathroom on newspaper, and proceeded to do so on everything I held dear (my bed and my sweatpants).

On the most impressive day, they peed on my bed thrice and left a piece of feces on my pillow that was shaped like a penis. That was by far the biggest F-U I’d ever received, but again, that’s the name of the game. The dynamic duo also made a fun habit of unrolling my toilet paper every single time I replaced it.

Despite all of that, I loved them. I loved them, quite appropriately, like a mother. They made me laugh endlessly with their antics, and fostering them was one of the best, most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

How You Can Foster Too:

If any of this strikes your fancy and you want to learn more, visit the Yolo County SPCA website at:

http://yolospca.org/volunteer/foster/%20

Just remember: fostering kittens is a big, very important commitment. Kittens are more than just fodder for Snapcat and Instagram. They need LOTS of love and attention.