‘Tis the season. Kitten season, that is. They are cute, cuddly, and, statistically across the United States, most likely to not make it out of the shelter alive.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, kittens are some of the most at-risk animals in shelters. Best Friends explains, “Round-the-clock bottle-feeding and 24-hour care: It’s what kittens need to survive, but most shelters simply can’t provide it.” (Best Friends Animal Society). With dozens of newborn kittens and expectant mommas pouring into the shelter week after week, what is our shelter to do?
Turn to our a-mazing Kitten Foster Care Families! Dedicated volunteers take in the most vulnerable kittens and mommas and provide them with a home-away-from-home until they are adoptable age (at about 3 pounds or 12 weeks old). Goals of the fostering program include:
- Providing a safe, healthy, nurturing environment for mother cats to raise their kittens.
- Providing individualized care and socialization for shy or timid cats and kittens.
- Allowing mother cats to recover in a relaxing, uplifting environment.
Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. We could not save as many lives as we do without the dedication of our foster parents. Fostering opportunities range from the relatively easy (nursing mommas with kittens) to the more challenging (orphaned bottle babies). Is kitten fostering tugging at your heartstrings? We hope so, because we need quality foster homes, beginning immediately. Take a look below to see if fostering may be right for you and your family.
Is fostering right for me?
- Do you live in the Williamsport area? We accept foster homes that are roughly 30 minutes from our shelter.
- Mind a mess? Moms and kittens can make quite a mess with their litter box, food bowls, water dishes, etc. There is often a good deal of daily clean-up that occurs.
- Can you provide the fosters with a separate area from your other pets and living area? Foster kittens must have their own room – even if you do not have other pets. Our cats and kittens come to you as healthy as we know about, but they can harbor illness for up to 2 weeks, so it is important to isolate your fosters from other pets for at least two weeks. Nursing mommas and baby kitties also need a safe and quiet place to rest and prepare for the big world beyond. We find that bathrooms work best, at least for the first couple of days, until they can move to another room that allows more space.
- Are you and your family emotionally prepared for the death of an animal? As badly as we wish otherwise, some of our little ones do not make it.
- Can you afford their care? You will be responsible for food, litter, and other supplies. See “What about expenses?” below.
- Are you able to provide a stable environment for up to 12 weeks? Are you able to bring the kittens in for their vaccines and check-up at 5 and 8 weeks, as well as their spay or neuter at 12 weeks?
What about expenses?
The Lycoming County SPCA covers all medical care expenses for foster cats if performed at the Lycoming County SPCA’s on-site veterinary clinic or at other veterinary clinics if approved in advance. You will be responsible for supplying food, litter, and other supplies (toys, scratchers, etc) if not readily available at the shelter (and during the height of kitten season, we struggle to keep these items in stock even for ourselves). These expenses may be considered a tax-deductible donation. Keep all receipts and track your mileage when traveling to and from the shelter. Then, once your kittens are adopted, ask for an in-kind donation form.
What about medical care?
Do not fear – you are not alone! Our Foster Coordinators are here to help. Our Foster Coordinators are in communication with our on-staff veterinarian and vet tech. Additionally, there is a Facebook Foster page specifically for foster parents. All foster families are invited. The Facebook page helps us answer questions quickly and easily at difficult times during the late night hours or during our busy days. It is also on this Facebook page where you will learn of new arrivals needing foster homes.
I want to foster! What next?
Excellent! Your willingness to open your heart and home to homeless mother cats and kittens enables us to rescue cats we would otherwise have to turn away due to limited space in our shelter.
- Fill out a Foster Family Application form (download here or visit the shelter).
- Send your application to the Lycoming County SPCA via email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail or drop it off at 2805 Reach Road, Williamsport, PA 17701.
- Once approved, wait to see who you will be matched with!
- Any questions, contact the shelter (570) 322-4646 or email@example.com. Our Foster Coordinators will be happy to help.
From all of our momma cats and kittens, THANK YOU!