Some great news is coming out of Philadelphia this summer: Cat euthanasia rates have plummeted from where they were at this time last year. Sue Cosby, executive director of Philadelphia’s Animal Care and Control Team, told newsworks.com that euthanasia rates for kittens are down 72 percent and the overall euthanasia rate for cats is half of what it was last year. She attributes this to a grant that supported extended hours at the shelter and more foster homes for kittens.
Fostering kittens is incredibly rewarding and it saves lives. Here’s why.
Shelters are not a good place for newborn kittens whose immune systems are still developing. The respiratory infections commonly found at shelters can easily kill a young kitten.
Shelters need to take care of kittens until they’re old enough to be weaned and spayed or neutered. That’s usually at least eight weeks. Because they’re not available for adoption, these moms and litters take up cage space that could be used for cats who are ready to find homes. When kittens are fostered in private homes, it leaves more room for adult cats.
Shelters do the best they can for the cats in their care, but kittens raised in shelters — particularly if those shelters keep cats in cages — don’t have the chance to develop the physical and social skills that will make them adoptable. In private homes, they learn how to be cats and how to interact with people and other pets.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they want their cat to have a litter so they can show their children what it’s like when babies are born. All these “miracle of birth” demonstrations add up to thousands of unwanted cats who are abandoned, given away, and possibly put to death because there’s no room at the shelter.
If you want to have kittens in your home, but you know that you’re not ready to deal with the decades-long responsibility involved in adopting a cat, fostering is a great way to enjoy kitty energy and still leave yourself free to go where your life takes you.
If you’ve been holding off on adopting a cat because you know that you wouldn’t be able to afford proper veterinary care, fostering is a great solution. You provide the food, litter, toys, and love, and the shelter pays for any veterinary costs, including spay/neuter and vaccinations.
Have you fostered kittens before? If so, what was the experience like? What were the best and the hardest parts? Did I leave out any reasons why fostering saves lives? Share your thoughts (and cute foster kitten pictures) in the comments.
Read more about fostering:
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.