Friday, July 24, 2020

Fostering Three Eight-Week-Old Kittens

Growing up my family had three cats and a dog. I really missed having pets but I also knew that I didn't want to make a 15-year commitment to being a pet owner. There are a lot of great things about being a pet owner, but there are also plenty of not-so-great things about being a pet owner. Like having to arrange care for your pet if you want to make a trip, and having to hurry home so they won't be left alone too long. This led to my interest in fostering animals; it would let me have the benefits of having pets without having to schedule my life around pet ownership for the next 15 years. I never pursued fostering because I knew that being away from home 10+ hours a day wouldn't make us very good foster parents. Because of the coronavirus, we are expected to work from home through the spring of next year, so, this was a perfect time to foster. We end up fostering with the Tree House Humane Society. I liked how they are really organized, give you a care guide, and have on-site veterinary services.

On Wednesday we picked up our first foster kittens: eight-week-old siblings Chorizo, Ham, and Pork Roll. They have two siblings, Bacon and Sausage. Treehouse, understandably, only lets you foster three cats at a time, so Bacon and Sausage aren't with us.

Animals fostering is definitely a lot of work. When we feed them three times a day, we have to separate them so we can monitor how much they are eating. Two of the cats get oral medication twice a day (which as expected, they hate). Maintaining a litterbox for three cats is a full-time job itself, haha. And of course, accidents happen (poop on rugs, towels, etc.) The most challenging, and surprisingly rewarding part, is socializing the cats. Foster cats are often not used to being around humans so you have to work slowly to make them comfortable.

The day after we got them, two of the cats had their backs to me when I was in the room. I was so excited by that seemingly small thing because that meant that they had developed some trust, and didn't feel the need to be on high alert with me. After two days we have just worked up to them allowing us to pet them without running away. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to work to get them more comfortable with us.

While the fostering experience tasks were mostly what I expected, it feels different than I expected. It takes a lot of trying and failing to build trust and sometimes it feels like you take one step forward and two steps back. I think that once we get them to the point of enjoying human contact, it is going to feel very rewarding.

In a couple weeks, Treehouse is going to have me introduce our foster kittens on Facebook live. If you are interested in adopting a cat in Chicago, please be on the lookout for that!

Now, for what you have all been waiting for, photos!

Chorizo, Pork Roll, and Ham huddled in the back of the open carrier as far away from us as they could get. (Day 1)

Pork Roll, Chorizo, and Ham looking more relaxed. Chorizo is the black cat in the back that is hard to see. (Day 2)

Ham enjoying her favorite spot. The difference in her body language from day one is pretty awesome to see. (Day 2)

Pork Roll not very entertained by a ribbon (Day 3)

Ham barely tolerating us trying to get her to play with the stuffed octopus (Day 3)

Chorizo and Pork Roll snugging. We put the carrier under the window as a step because the ladies were having trouble getting up there. (Day 3)