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Considering becoming a foster...... am I right for the job?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

So here is my situation

I'm a graduate student in University, I live in a 2 bedroom apartment. Both bedrooms currently occupied, however my younger brother (in one bedroom) is only with me until January, then I have a whole room open and nothing to do with it. (oh and of course I have 2 cats! )

I am considering becoming a foster mommy when he moves out, since I will have a free room. I would LOVE to foster a pregnant momma, but I don't know if I'm right for the job as I have never been with a pregnant momma cat. I have worked at a breeding horse stable! however I feel it's kind of different '''

I have lot's of animal experience, I can give shots and subQ fluids etc. I live only a couple minutes from an emergency vet if anything goes wrong, and currently I even have a little extra cash for the same purpose.

I'm just wondering what is involved in fostering a pregnant momma kitty and then her babies for the first (12 wks?) of life before putting them up for adoption. I imagine emotionally it would be really tough letting them go at the end, but worth it for helping the momma cat through it and finding the babies happy homes.....

I am also wondering if after the first 4 wks or so if it's OK to leave the kitties with a cat sitter on a long weekend or something incase I have/want to get away, or is this a bad idea...... do they need a lot of care from the human side?

Also I don't know how to go about it, do you apply to shelters, there are some highthroughput shelters here and I know there have been pregnant cats there....... I just don't know if I should start enquiring now! Anyways I figured here would be the place to get advice....
post #2 of 16
I have fostered a new brood of kittens with the mommie. It was pure hell. First of all, the mommy wanted to kill my cats because she was protective of her babies. They hated her as well.
one bedroom is not enough room for them, and even though the rug was covered with a shower curtain, they managed to get to the carpet. Mommy cat poop stinks to high heaven when she is lactating. The kittens were not put up for adoption when they should have been and I had all of them for 4+ months, of pure hell.

I have my own house, job, and no other responsibilities. My advice to you is NO No No.
If you feel you absolutely must foster, I would suggest taking a very old cat that needs love, and hope your other two cats don't pick on it, which they will, because that seems to be their nature.

Your motives are admirable, but you should just get your school done, get a job, get your own house, (landlords don't take kindly to tenants turning their apartments into kennels) and then foster away. Perhaps you could volunteer at a shelter with cleaning the area, and giving some love?
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
wow, i appreciate the honesty. Thanks for the advice, I don't know if i'll ever have no other responsibilities though so I guess it's not for me!
post #4 of 16
I almost fostered young kitten when my Coco had her kittens. My vet had a litter of kittens that the mom wasnt taking care of and asked if we can foster them and let them nurse off Coco. The mom ended up taking care of them so Coco didnt have to nurse them. I have never fostered but have caught alot of ferals and it is alot of work.
post #5 of 16
I respect gailluvscats opinion.....sounds like the group fostering for was not so fantastic in that case? I've had a completely different experience.

I'm fostering Eden & her babies. They're in my bedroom. Babies are now....ah...5 weeks I think. Yeah, there's been some poop on the carpet. They're just babies learning to use the litterbox. Yes, Eden's poop stinks....but I scoop multiple times a day to help with that issue. Doesn't alleviate the stinky poop, but I just deal with it. Thankfully, it's the right time of year that I can open the bedroom window to air the room out.

The babies are AWESOME. Seeing them learn they have paws, learn to walk, learn to play.....it's amazing. And they all come running to see me when I come in the room. Eden, she's just slightly annoying sometimes. Can't blame her. She wants to be cuddled all the time. Other than sleeping plastered by my side at night, she's not too bad.

I had some issues when the babies started to walk with Eden becoming aggressive. Last night, I had Dorky Fish in the room with her to see how she reacted, and she was fine. Yes, some (many?) nursing mothers get protective/aggressive. When Eden was trying to get out the door after my kitties, I simply put up a baby gate I'd have to step over, so she'd run into it when she tried to bolt out.

I myself have 5 other cats of my own, plus 1 other foster care, & my 3 dogs. I spend at least 1 hour in the am & 1 hour in the pm (usually more, as I watch TV for awhile & play with Eden/her babies) with them.

Thankfully, with Eden & her babies, there haven't been any issues. Things like something going wrong at birth/needing a c-section, something happening to a baby, etc. I've been lucky, but things can happen. As for getting away for a weekend, I don't know what to say about that. I'm working hard on socializing the kittens, so I wouldn't want to go away for that reason....and mostly cuz they're so blasted cute I want to enjoy them while they're little!


Many fosters have cages the keep momma/babies in, which I think is a good idea, especially when the babies are very young. I know one other foster here keeps the mom/babies in a large puppy kennel, easy to clean. When she's home at night, she moves the mom/babies into the kitchen to run & play. The floor is linoleum so easy to clean.

Basically, yes, mom & babies are messy. They do require more time than an adult cat. Maybe considering fostering an adult? If the room is carpeted, be expecting messes....so consider that.

I have LOVED every minute of fostering these guys, and while it'll be sad to see them go.....I got them here. I made them adoptable. I was a huge part of their life. That's a feeling you can never replace.
post #6 of 16
[quote=white cat lover;2406099]I respect gailluvscats opinion.....sounds like the group fostering for was not so fantastic in that case? I've had a completely different experience.

QUOTE]

Don't get me wrong, I loved the kitties and the mommy cat, and cried when I had to take them up for adoption, it broke my heart, and Pansy is still here. He was one of them. But it is a tremendous amount of work, it was incredibly stressful trying to jocky the cats around the house and avoiding skirmishes between my cats and mommy cat. IMO, It is certainly not something a student renting a two bedroom apartment should be taking on, no matter how much they love little kitties.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post

I'm fostering Eden & her babies. They're in my bedroom. Babies are now....ah...5 weeks I think. Yeah, there's been some poop on the carpet. They're just babies learning to use the litterbox. Yes, Eden's poop stinks....but I scoop multiple times a day to help with that issue. Doesn't alleviate the stinky poop, but I just deal with it. Thankfully, it's the right time of year that I can open the bedroom window to air the room out.

The babies are AWESOME. Seeing them learn they have paws, learn to walk, learn to play.....it's amazing. And they all come running to see me when I come in the room. Eden, she's just slightly annoying sometimes. Can't blame her. She wants to be cuddled all the time. Other than sleeping plastered by my side at night, she's not too bad.

I have LOVED every minute of fostering these guys, and while it'll be sad to see them go.....I got them here. I made them adoptable. I was a huge part of their life. That's a feeling you can never replace.
I have no problem with cleaning up poop, and I already scoop litter a couple times a day so that wouldn't change. and I know my landlord wouldn't mind. I have thought about an older cat, but I would have a hard time leaving at older cat locked up by itself, I guess if my kitties got along with it I wouldn't have to, but I'm not so sure about cello. I figured with mom and babies she would be so preoccupied that one room would be sufficient and she would always have her babies (not that I wouldn't give them TONS of attention)

It's something I will consider for the future, I just love the babies so much and alwasy feel TERRIBLE for the mom's having babies in the small cages at the highthroughput shelters, but if I can't give them the proper time and care I would also feel terrible...

PS I am still in love with Eden.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It is certainly not something a student renting a two bedroom apartment should be taking on, no matter how much they love little kitties.
well my situation is a little different. I am a PhD student so it's like having a job, I don't go to class, I work in a lab. I have money and get paid, not a lot, but I do....... and my SO has a fulltime job.... the only reason we are renting is because we are probably only going to be in this city until I'm done my PhD.

The apartment has almost as much useable space as some small starter homes we've looked at, minus an unfinished basement etc.

However I do understand it isn't something to be taken lightly, the only reason I'm even considering it is because of how settled I am, and how much free time I have, or atleast time I am at home writing on my computer...
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmunsie View Post
PS I am still in love with Eden.
I bet she'd get along with Cello....she's very lovable!
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I bet she'd get along with Cello....she's very lovable!
oh I have no doubt SHE is! it's he....... that isn't so lovebale, unless you're me!
post #11 of 16
That's OK, none of my cats like her either. She's used to hatred.
post #12 of 16
Everyone has some very valid points here. I'd just like to add my two cents and answer a few other questions you had!

First, I've never fostered a pregnant mom, my youngest have been 8 days. I had a cage I kept them all in when I wasn't there, and let them have free run of the room when I was (which was often!). I do think you should be open to fostering who ever needs your home and love! Since kitten season is nearing it's end (if there is such a thing...), my guess would be that the first one that will need you won't be a pregnant mom. But you never know!

My experience with kittens? They are expensive, a lot of work, and more love than you know what to do with! The only mom cat I've delt with was feral, so that was an experience. Because of that, I never socialized her with ANY of my other pets. I only kept them in one room. Which should work for you, if you're worried about them getting along... As for potty training, my first group did GREAT. Just a few accidents. My second group was fighting a cold or something, that ended in diarehea. Yeah, we had some nasty messes... This next guy seems to be doing great! But he is 4 1/2 mns old...

You also asked how to go about starting. I just emailed / called. And a word to the wise- it can take a while, took me a few months, but once you do get in contact with someone, you're likely to end up with a cat that evening! So I'd recommend you don't start looking until you are ready!

As for leaving them for a weekend, I'm with whitecatlover. Why would you want to?? If you have to, they do need to be watched. So I wouldn't recommend it, but if you have a qualified pet sitter, it should be fine. If you're lucky, they won't hardly need anything from you but a clean home, food, water, and love. If you're not lucky, there can be all sorts of things. I had to supplement my guys because mom never wanted to feed them. So she weaned them at, um, 4 weeks or something ridiculously early.

Anyway, long story short, I think all you need to foster is room, a bit of money (I've always had to buy my own food, litter, KMR, bottles, feliway, you name it...), and love! Sounds like you have it, so I think it'd be GREAT. But I do second that you will find the same love and reward with any age cat you can foster. Of course, I've only fostered from 8 days to 4 1/2 months...

Good for you for even wanting to, thank you!!
post #13 of 16
Imunsie,

I think you'd be great at fostering and I think you would love it. If you are concerned about all the cat drama involved in taking in a momma and kittens, you could always foster orphaned kittens. The only issue with orphans (IME) is that they need a LOT of attention. When you have a mama, she does most of the work while you sit on the sidelines. But when you are mama, you have to bathe them, feed them (bottle feed if they are young), etc PLUS they always want you to hold and cuddle them.

So fostering orphans vs a mama with kittens are two completely different situations. Personally I think you would be great at either one and living in your spare bedroom would exponentially better for the cat/kittens than being in a cage at some shelter. So I think you should go for it. It is a relatively short term committment, so if you don't like it, it's only for a few months.

If you are interested you should contact your local rescue groups....that;s what I did. They are always looking for good foster homes.
post #14 of 16
I WOULD suggest you read through fastnoc's thread about his foster having kittens. Imagine this happening in your life. How would you react? How would it affect your life? Is it something you could deal with?

Those are the important questions, I think.
post #15 of 16
Hands of Eden she is my baby! If I lived close to WCL she would be MINE!

Anyway, I love fostering and feel like it is something I will do for life. I am fostering 2 families right now. Lucia and her 8. Persephone and her 4. I could foster another set but I don't want my cats to revolt.

If it is in your heart do it. It is so rewarding. I know that I am making a difference in the world. These cats can only make it if we have foster families.
At my shelter if we can't find a foster we can't do a transport out of the kill shelter. Both of my mothers are sweet and real beauties.
I get to enjoy adorable kittens in all their kitten cuteness without having to commit to having more cats. I get so many cuddles and have so much fun with them.

My cats are okay with having kittens and Queens in the home but a single cat would not go so well.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
thanks for your input everyone...... I'll let you know what happens! I can't think about it until my brother moves out in December so I have lots of time to do research!
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