It’s time to talk foster parents. Our shelter manager came up to me yesterday and said, “We need foster parents” and I told her I would write to you about it.
She said we have maybe three or four people she can call on right now to take litters of kittens, with or without a mama, and she knows we’re going to need more once we really start getting into the infamous “kitten season.”
Our foster parents help us so much with litters of kittens by giving them time to grow and get ready for adoptions. Our foster parents save lives. That’s the bottom line to this program.
The kittens are coming
There’s a statistic I read many years ago that says one male cat and one female cat in 10 years can make more than 13 million cats. It’s actually a mathematical equation (my dad and brother would be so proud right now). I’ll be conservative. Let’s say that one female cat can have four litters of kittens in a year and four kittens in each of those litters.
We had a mother cat who came into the shelter a few years ago with nine kittens in one litter, so four really can be conservative.
At any rate still using my four kittens in four litters, that’s 16 kittens in one year. Each of those 16 can go out and have 16 of their own, each of those 16 can have 16 of their own and the numbers continue to increase exponentially as the years go on. Take a calculator and multiply 16 times 16 and see how quickly you get the error message.
You can easily see how we can get overrun and that’s why spaying and neutering is so incredibly important.
It’s also why we always need foster parents.
What are kitten foster parents?
Our foster parents essentially open their homes as a temporary residence for kittens, sometimes with or without a mama. We’ll provide the food, bowls, towels, litter, medicines, vaccinations and sometimes even a crate if necessary for you to care for the animals.
With litters of kittens who have a mama, it’s the foster parent’s responsibility to wean the kittens onto solid food before being returned to the shelter – and don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you would think. The little squirts like eating a mixture of what we at the shelter call “gruel.” We combine a little warm water with hard and soft kitten food, mix it around until it gets mushy and nine times out of ten the little ones gobble it up.
Keep in mind that in some instances, we’re talking about animals being in foster care for possibly up to nine weeks, so our foster parents will sometimes need a time commitment. Foster parents are solely responsible for the babies in their care and shouldn’t leave the animals with someone else while they vacation.
I cannot express to you how much our foster parents help us when we are overloaded with kittens. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for CVAS, please give us a call at (717) 263-5791 or check out our website www.cvas-pets.org and click on the foster parent link to fill out an application.
Naturally, if you fall in love with one of your wards, adoption is not only possible, it’s very welcome.
Our foster parents have some of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met and many of them have saved countless lives and continue to do so. Please considering joining their ranks and help us help more four-legged souls.
Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 717-263-5791 or visit the website www.cvas-pets.org. CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.