Foster families needed for abundance of kittens
Article and photos by Lynn Zahorik; photos courtesy of Jen Reising
With the arrival of spring comes the kitten season, the time of year when cats give birth, flooding animal shelters and rescue groups with homeless litters. Cats can breed anytime throughout the year, but there is a larger influx April through October due to the warmer weather. In the height of the summer, the Dumb Friends League (DFL) can have as many as 900 cats in its care at one time.
If you have a place in your heart and home for kittens but you are not prepared to adopt, the DFL would like you to consider fostering. Its “Homes with Hearts” foster care program lets animal lovers bring pets from the shelters into their homes on a temporary basis to prepare the animals for adoption. Every pet that is fostered has a better chance at a happier and healthier life ahead with a forever family.
Foster homes are needed for kittens of all sizes and ages. Small litters of kittens are constantly available that need to be fed and lovingly nurtured until they are eight weeks old and a minimum of two pounds. As a foster parent, you may give a mother cat and her kittens a place to live until the kittens are old enough for the entire family to return to the shelter for adoption. Some foster families will take on the tiny newborns which need to be bottle fed.
Foster volunteers go through “Foster 101” training. The DFL provides all the supplies needed, including food, litter, bedding, medical care, and toys.
Castle Pines resident Jen Reising and her teenage daughter Taylor have fostered more than 20 animals over the past four years for the DFL. “We started fostering because so many shelter animals have had such a rough start in life and without foster families taking in these animals, they would not have the life they deserve. We love taking in the skittish barn kittens and seeing them slowly learn to trust us,” said Reising. “Fostering is so rewarding, though it is very hard to let them go. I have come so close to keeping a couple of my fosters, especially the ones that are with us longer.” Earlier this year Reising fostered one of the puppies featured in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl.
Spaying and neutering must be done before the kittens become available for adoption. The Dumb Friends League (DFL) offers free spay/neuter services for cats through its mobile clinics in an effort to help reduce the number of cats and kittens coming to animal shelters. A schedule of dates and locations of upcoming clinics can be found at www.ddfl.org/spayneuter.