Although we’ve never done it before, we’ve been infested with kittens. These little ones had nowhere to go after a spay and neuter clinic in July. So, I must have had a moment (or few hours) of temporary insanity and they came home with me, and now we’re trying to figure out all the ins and outs of fostering kittens. Which is a little difficult with five high prey drive dogs, a blind dog, and three bossy Chihuahuas in the house. But we’re doing our best with our foster kittens.
These are some of the things we’ve learned so far:
You think this list would start with kitten food, or a litter box, or kitten toys. And yes, those things are needed. Lots and lots of kitten food, and they prefer the stinky canned stuff. And lots and lots of litter. Especially, when you don’t know what you’re doing. We went through 40 lbs of litter the first week. Now that we’re figuring it out, or possibly just getting used to the smell, we’re only going through about 10 lbs of scoop-able litter a week.
First off – make sure you have the right supplies for fostering kittens
But the most important supply, when you’re a new at fostering kittens is Band Aids. Preferably, a very large box of anti-bacterial ones. Maybe two boxes. In just under two months, we’ve probably used more bandages than we have in the rest of our lives.
Or body armor, if available. Fabric is not a good defense against kitten claws. Not unless you put on every item of clothing you own, all at once. Then it might keep the claws away.
Kittens are basically flying balls of fluff filled with hidden razor blades that can cut right through flesh, fabric, leather, and possibly even the body armor.
Things they should tell you when fostering kittens for the first time
Kittens do not follow the normal laws of physics. At all!
Which if difficult to get used to for a family used to fostering puppies. Kittens cannot, in no way shape or form, be contained in a puppy playpen. Trying to keep them in there is like bailing out a sinking boat. No matter how fast you put one back, another is out before you’re done.
Kittens can fly. And they can land on you at any given moment.
They can also apparently “phase” through things, think the Flash TV show.
Kittens become liquid when the need arises, to fit under doors, in cracks, etc. We have to contain them behind a bedroom door, with a baby gate securely against the door. And even then they can slip out underneath the door and climb up that inch of space between it and the gate. So a “buffer zone” is also needed to keep them away from Jackyl and Chewy Lewis, our only two not cat friendly dogs. The buffer zone consists of an x-pen serves as our buffer zone.
Never, ever, ever accidentally step on a cat’s tail. Never. Ever.
It is impossible to kitten proof a house, without getting rid of everything you own. My plants are now all up where I have to get a ladder to reach them.
Living with foster kittens
Waking up to a kitten nibbling on your exposed toes is now normal. As is waking up to a kitten on your chest, head, or anywhere else they feel like laying.
Guard your plate at the dining table like you’re in prison. Remember, kittens fly and can land on you, the table, or your plate at any given time. Even when you think you have them securely locked up in the master suite.
Doing laundry with foster kittens in the laundry room: Load front loader washing machine, realize the kitten sitting at my feet is now gone. Unload laundry to make sure that the kitten didn’t jump into washer. Pull out the last item, and missing kitten comes flying out of the shower and climbs up my leg. Reload laundry, with kitten attached to leg. At least I knew she wasn’t in the washing machine. This happens like every other load of laundry, because their food and litter box are in the master bath/laundry room to keep them away from the dogs.
But even with the giant learning curve, fostering kittens is just as rewarding, if a little more painful, than fostering puppies. And we love them to death (it will probably be our deaths), and now can’t image what we’ll do when they leave us.
Going to sleep with a little ball of fluff snuggled against your chest, purring up a storm, is one of the best things ever.