Thursday, April 30, 2009

We’re foster parents! For 5 Abandoned Kitties

Kittens1 Monday morning we got the call we’d been hoping for from Animal Humane of Albuquerque: they have an onslaught of abandoned kittens, and they have a litter that needs fostering!

Two weeks ago we applied to be “foster parents” for Animal Humane. We said we could take kittens, puppies or adult dogs.

(We figured that with our current pet population, we’d better not try to take nursing mothers of either species – too stressful for all involved.)

We have 4 cats and 4 dogs of our own (all but one are rescues). On 5 acres, in a smallish house, that’s plenty. We simply can’t permanently adopt any more. But, we realized, we can foster animals that need help.

How Animal Fostering Works

Kitten3_Gumdrop When Animal Humane receives animals too young, too small or too sick for immediate adoption, they send them to live with volunteer foster families like ours.

We give them the special care & feeding they need, and socialize them. They can get used to people, being picked up, petted, and fed -- and to being around other cats, and dogs, especially large dogs. Our smallest dog is a Weimeraner, to give you an idea.

Then, when they are old enough, large enough, and healthy enough, we return them to Animal Humane for permanent adoption. Strong and healthy, they have a much better chance of finding what AH calls their “forever home”.

Animal Humane provides us all the supplies we need to take care of the kitties. When we left the AH “campus”, we had two heavy sacks full of kitten formula, feeding bottles, stage-two weaning food, canned wet food, dry kibble, cat toys, a cat carrier and even a fleecy hammock to hang in our pet crate.

About the Kittens

Kitten5 These guys are tiny! There are five of them, from different litters. They do not yet know how to lap from a bowl, or to eat solid food, so we are bottle-feeding them every 2 hours.

On May 12, we’ll take them in to Animal Humane’s clinic for a check-up and vaccinations. Animal Humane provides all their medical care free of charge.

They’ll stay with us for an estimated four weeks, until May 25. By then, we hope we can fatten them up to 2 pounds, and they’ll be old enough for adoption. At that point, we’ll take them back, with their chances for survival greatly improved.

Other Ways to Help

Kittens6 As my veterinarian in Belize used to tell me, over and over like a mantra, “You can’t save them all.”

It’s not always possible to permanently adopt an animal, I know.

And I know that not everyone has the time that fostering animals requires. I’m lucky to be able to work at home, so I can provide the round-the-clock care & supervision that these little guys need.

But there are many other ways to help your local animal shelter. Our Animal Humane shelter has a list of ways you can help them, for example. Your local shelter probably has a similar list.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Cash donations are always welcome, of course. AH spends an average of $21.64 per animal, per day caring for their rescued animals.
  • If you can’t care for animals in your home, you can volunteer your time to help out at the shelter.
  • You can donate items from your shelter’s wish list. This might include cat litter, blankets, pet toys and so forth.
  • Many shelters like Animal Humane operate thrift stores to support their good work, so you can donate gently used goods and clothing to those for resale.

We are so grateful to the people of Albuquerque who support the efforts of Animal Humane. Their donations made it possible for us to foster these kitties.

Thanks to all of you who support animal rescue!

Designer, kNotes for kNitters
Sandia Park, NM

P.S. If you’d like to take a peep at the kittens in real time, we’ve set up a Kitten Cam for streaming video, on-air live usually from 8 am to 6 pm or so, Mountain Daylight time!

Currently we’re trying to extend our feeding times from every 2 hours to 2-1/2 hours or so; feeding times are posted on the video site and on Twitter. (Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates.)

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