My daughter loves animals. We have a little dream of moving to a more rural spot and having a farm of all miniature animals. Since this is not happening in the foreseeable future, we've been visiting the shelter for several months just to play with the kitties and be around animals more (even though we have a dog and guinea pig at home). We asked about volunteering at the SPCA but she's too young (she's 9 and you have to be 18). Then we learned about being a foster home. This was perfect for us because:
1) I wasn't prepared to make the commitment to adopt
2) I'm not a cat person
3) You get all the fun of cute, playful kittens without the lifetime commitment
After fostering a few kitties I might be amending my #2 (not a cat person) haha!
I signed up (it's free) and sure enough, we started getting calls in the spring when "the season" started. Babies are born but need a home until they're 2 pounds and can get fixed and adopted. I actually refused the first couple calls because the kittens were so little and needed bottle feeding every 4 hours. I just couldn't take on that responsibility at this time. The SPCA will provide some food but you need to get litter and a box. I did have to buy some more wet food when we ran out of the SPCA stuff.
Our first foster kitties were around 7-8 weeks, a brother and sister that were found in a barn. They were cute, playful and totally made themselves at home. At first I confined them to a bathroom to make sure they were using the litter box. Then we branched out to my daughter's room and our office, and before long I let them free in the house all day. After around 3 weeks it was time to take them in for their vaccinations (at the shelter, doesn't cost you anything) and they were big enough to stay for their surgery so we had to say goodbye. Sadface.
That same day, they had more kitties that needed homes. A group of FIVE fluffy, playful kitties or another set of two smaller ones that were around 3 weeks old. I just couldn't bring home five cats and expect my husband not to divorce me (haha) so we took the smaller ones. Welllll... one was super skinny and had been in foster care and was returned with diarrhea (yuck!). Sadly, the skinny one didn't even survive the night. It's very sad but it's something you should be prepared for with any kittens. Although in this case I feel the SPCA should have warned me that the situation was a dire as it was -- I was told the kitty was eating on its own but needed a little encouragement. They tube-fed her before I took her home. Later I found out that other employees were worried about that kitty surviving. Not a fun thing for my daughter to wake up to, but a good life lesson, I suppose (if there is a silver lining). The other one in the set is doing well -- she was bathed immediately upon arrival (remember, diarrhea). She's very much like a real baby -- she meows loudly when she's hungry, she hasn't figured out the litter box yet, and she doesn't really play yet, just eats, sleeps and poops. It will be fun watching her grow.
I like to think we are a good foster home since the kitties will be accustom to a dog, a toddler and lots of activity/noise. If you think you would make a good foster family, contact your local SPCA to see if they have the same program!