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Kitty Post April 2023: Why I Foster Kittens and Cats By Stephanie Stullich


Why I Foster Kittens and Cats

Since our first litter of foster kittens fell into our laps in May 2020, my husband Bob and I have fostered a total of 49 kittens – and 7 adult cats! Although we didn’t plan to become foster parents, that first litter was such a joy – as has been every foster kitty since then – that we haven’t been able to stop.

One reason we keep fostering is we know we are literally saving lives. Sadly, about 90 percent of feral kittens do not survive to their first birthday, becoming victims of disease, predators, cars, and other hazards. Those that do are likely to have a much shorter, more difficult life than pet cats.

As cute as kittens are, there are not enough people willing and able to foster all of the kittens born in the wild each year. As a result, rescue groups too often have to say no – reluctantly – to requests to take in young kittens. They simply have no place to put them all.

So, for every “feral” kitten that Bob and I can take off the streets and transition into a forever home, we know we are having a huge impact on that kitten’s quality of life for the rest of its life, including give it a much longer life. It’s a great feeling.

We also have a selfish reason for fostering it’s fun! Kittens are adorable, right? But they don’t stay kittens forever – and fostering gives us a way to keep enjoying that kitten experience again and again.

One thing that made fostering much easier for us was connecting with Beltsville Community Cats. BCC covers the cost of spay-neutering and any medical care that is needed, so we only pay for food and cat litter. Other volunteers have generously shared their advice and experience, and BCC advertises our kittens for adoption when the time comes, so we don’t have to feel like it’s all on us.

People often say they could never foster because they wouldn’t be able to give the kitties up. Truth be told, we have “foster failed” a couple of times (a tongue-in-cheek term for when a foster parent “fails” to let go of their young charges). But, if we don’t let them go (at least most of them), then we won’t be able to keep fostering new ones, and those are lives that won’t be saved.

So as much as we love them while they are with us, we know that “goodbye is the goal.” For us it has been an incredible joy that is totally worth the brief sadness at the end when we send them to their forever homes. And after the last foster kitten goes to their new family, it’s not long before the house starts to feel too quiet, and we start thinking about getting a new group of foster kittens!

If this story intrigues you, please reach out at hello@beltsvillecats.net or 240-444-8353, and we’ll try to answer whatever questions you may have. It could be the start of a wonderful adventure for you!

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