A year ago, my husband and I started fostering kittens through The Cat House. We started with a spare room and some hand-me-down cat supplies. TCH provided food and litter. As our friends and other TCH volunteers became aware that we were fostering, we began to receive some cat supplies that they no longer needed. When the need arose and finances allowed, we also purchased some supplies ourselves. Our foster kitten room is a work-in-progress.
When we bought our house in 2017 we did so with certain hopes in mind, one of them being the ability to foster homeless animals. We were eager to begin fostering and so we began with little more than a spare room, thinking we’d get supplies as needed. This room had been used once as a guest room for my parents, so its one piece of furniture was a bed. This bed has turned out to be a favorite of the kittens we’ve fostered: they sleep on it, play on it, climb onto it and jump off of it, and race over it and under it while chasing each other.
The only other supplies we had during our first spring of fostering were those that we already had on hand. Food dishes came from old storage containers while ice cube trays served as water dishes. Two litter boxes were won as a raffle prize. The others were borrowed from TCH. Blankets were a mix of old people blankets and pet blankets given to us as gifts by our family. Toys were ones our cats had either lost interest in or had never liked. And that was it.
In the spring of 2018, we accepted out first foster cat family, a mom and four kittens. Prior to their arrival, we bought a cardboard scratching post. Before the kittens were of age to climb the twin guest bed, Andy decided that blankets scattered across the floor didn’t provide enough comfort and so he treated the foster cat family to a cat bed. A friend of mine also surprised me with a few handmade cat toys. Through the use of our own surplus supplies and gifts, and TCH providing all necessities, the costs of fostering remained minimal.
Our second set of fosters consisted of four motherless kittens. Midway through fostering them, Andy brought two sets of side-by-side spill-proof pet dishes. He’d grown tired of food and water being spilled. Clean-up was required less often after this purchase! I also replaced one of the blankets on the twin bed; the fuzzy blanket had been so ripped up by nail claws that it didn’t seem safe nor did it look presentable.
The summer of 2018 ushered in a third foster cat family. The five kittens were just two weeks old, which meant they needed a confined space. Andy and I converted a large litter box into a nest for Jenny and her charges. He wrapped cardboard around the low side of the litter box so that the kittens couldn’t fall out, and we draped blankets over the top to help Jenny feel secure. Then we placed a cat bed and several cat blankets in the bottom of the litter box. Jenny wasn’t completely happy with that nesting arrangement, and so Andy created a second nesting box by taping two boxes together. This third foster cat family stayed with us the longest, for about three months, during which time we made additions to the kitten room. We gave them a small scratching post that had belonged to our cats when we replaced it with a much larger scratching post. When the kittens became old enough to get into mischief, I also bought a couple of turbo-track toys, which kept them entertained for hours.
The fall marked the end of 2018 kitten season. Between it and the next season, a friend of mine lost her cat to kidney disease. She decided not to adopt any more cats, but instead donated her cat supplies to Andy and me. This gave us a few more scratching posts, wand toys, and spare dishes for the foster cat families.
When the spring of 2019 rolled around, we accepted out fourth set of fosters. The volunteer who delivered the three Comedy Kittens told us that they loved to climb and suggested we might provide them with a cat tower. Our spare room had some climbing opportunities, namely a bed and two window wills. But now having fostered for a year, we decided it was time to upgrade those options. While our own cats have two tall cat trees, we decided on a relatively short one for the kittens. Thinking that it was better to be safe than sorry, we placed blankets on the floor around the cat tree to soften any falls.
As I mentioned at the start, our foster kitten room continues to evolve over time. Nothing will be truer than in the upcoming year. Our current spare room is going to be used for an international student, and so we’ll be renovating my upstairs study for future foster cat families.
You can see that not a lot of money or even space is involved with fostering homeless cats. If interested, I encourage you to contact The Cat House. They have both adults and kittens that need foster families.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Two of the Comedy Kittens are still available at The Cat House for adoption.