Kitten Fostering: The 'Test Drive' for Cat Ownership
By Jackie Kelly
If you’re considering adopting a kitten or really want a pet but can’t make the commitment, you may want to try fostering! Fostering a kitten is a great way to test your pet parenting abilities or fulfill a desire to be a pet owner while working around your schedule and financial resources. So before you go straight to pet adoption, consider our top five reasons to foster a kitten.
1. Kittens are Adorable!
You’ve seen all the YouTube videos of cute cuddly kittens learning how to walk, jump, and pounce. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a kitten to go home to that will bounce around and play with your shoe laces with her cute little pink paws? When you foster a kitten you get all the snuggly, fluffy, big blue-eyed benefits of having a kitten without the 20-year commitment to the cat.
2. Perfect Trial Run
Fostering a kitten is a great way to see if you’re ready for the permanent kitten commitment. Towards the end of the foster period your foster kitten will naturally start exploring more, playing with greater intensity, and start exhibiting more of an adult cat personality. This period of time can last for about a year and it can be one of the more difficult times in a cat owner’s relationship. If you have children who swear “please, please, please, we’ll take real good care of her,” this is a great way to show them how much work it actually takes to care for another living being. However, I would advise that the children be of an appropriate age and fully aware that fostering is not a permanent situation or there may be tears.
3. You’re Saving a Life
Young kittens need to be fostered until they’re about 8 weeks old, or at least 2 pounds. This is because of the volume of germs they’d be exposed to in the animal shelter environment. If they’re under a certain age or weight their chances of contracting an illness are greater. By fostering a kitten you’re ensuring that someone’s future pet gets the proper nutrition, nurturing, and medical care needed to be a healthy house cat.
4. Less of a Financial Commitment
If you really want a kitten and can afford cat food and toys but not vet bills, fostering is a great way to experience having a pet without the long-term financial commitment. Vaccinations, medications, emergency care, and other unforeseen expenses need to be planned for when taking on a kitten full time. If you’re not quite financially stable enough to accommodate the possibility of having to deal with an emergency situation, you should consider fostering a kitten instead of adopting. The shelter should take care of most or all medical needs for the kitten you’re fostering and often they provide food as well. You’ll still need to have things like kitty litter and cat toys, but for the most part it’s much less expensive than being personally financially accountable.
5. It’s a Month or Two vs. 20 Years
The notion that adopting a kitten can require up to a 20-year commitment is more than a little daunting for some people, and it should be. Two decades is a long time; most people don’t even know where they’ll be in 5 or 10 years. Thus, if you’re considering relocating in a year or so, having a baby, changing career paths, or any other life altering decisions, it may be reason enough to put adoption on hold and foster a kitten instead.
As you can see, fostering a kitten allows you to have the best of both worlds — you can have a cute kitten without as much of the responsibilities or costs that are associated with being a long-term pet parent. So what are you waiting for? Head down to your local animal shelter and ask them for more information about kitten fostering.