Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

P Shopper Columns


Companion animal overpopulation is a serious problem in our society. Shelters and rescues across the country are bursting at the seams with homeless animals. These facilities could not stay afloat without the support of the community. Whether through fostering, donating, volunteering, or advocating, there are so many different ways to help. Everyone can help, but for those with a little extra time and love to give, there's a very special way to contribute: fostering kittens! Shelters are overwhelmed with orphaned kittens year-round, but especially during the spring. While many dedicated, compassionate people work tirelessly to TNR (trap, neuter, release) feral cats to help mitigate the stray population, one unspayed female could have up to one hundred and eighty kittens in her lifetime. One hundred and eighty!

One unspayed female could have up to
one hundred and eighty kittens
in her lifetime.
One hundred and eighty!

At any hour of the day, shelters can expect to have days-old kittens dropped at their door. Kittens are some of the most at-risk animals in shelters because they cannot survive on their own. Caring for orphaned kittens can be a fulfilling experience, but it is also time-consuming. They must be bottle-fed every few hours, depending on the age of the kittens being fostered. Very young kittens need to be bottle-fed every two to three hours, while older ones may eat on their own or need just a couple of feedings a day. Shelters will work with anyone to find a suitable foster to accommodate one's availability.

Fostering bottle babies is a life-saving commitment, and it's one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences there is. These tiny creatures truly could not survive on their own. It's a joy to watch them grow and thrive in one's care. Becoming a volunteer foster parent is an immense help to humane organizations, but it can also be gratifying too. For those who travel and can't have a permanent pet, fostering is a great way to experience the joy of kittens again and again. With kitten season just around the corner, shelters are depending on those with room in their hearts and homes.

Breonna Loxley is an animal care technician at an animal shelter. She is an avid artist, writer, and animal-lover. She lives with her parents, a younger brother, two cats, and one dog.