Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kitten Fostering

My name is Hilary Rice and I have just retired having spent the last 24 years as chef and owner of a small restaurant in Dinas Powys. I have always been passionate about cats and three years ago decided to see if there was any volunteer work I could do with Cat’s Protection.

On enquiring in Bridgend I could not believe my luck when I was told that CP was just about to start fostering out mums and kittens. This would help ease the pressure on the ever-busy maternity section and help socialise the kittens at the very important 2-8 week stage of their lives.

Working restaurant hours, although long, meant I was around for kitty meal times and had 2-3 hours a day to spend caring for mum and kittens.


We prepared a kitty foster room in a spare bedroom, making space for a pen, and 2 areas for litter trays and a different area for a feeding station. Cat climbing frames, toys and cat beds in place and a thorough check to make sure the whole room was kitten safe and we were ready to start!!

I eagerly anticipated my first little family’s arrival – how tiny were they going to be? How many of them? Was the mum going to let me anywhere near them? I suddenly felt a huge sense of responsibility together with great excitement!


Teresa and Alice from CP Bridgend arrived one afternoon in April 2014 carrying 2 cat baskets, a big pen and all the supplies I needed to care for my new little foster family. Tina and her 3 three-week-old kittens Theo, Tobias and Terence were all jet black. We placed them in their new pen and after giving me contact details in case I needed advice, Teresa and Alice left and I was now officially a kitty fosterer!!!

 

As a fosterer each day begins around 8am, when mum and kittens (from 4 weeks) are ready for breakfast. Followed by cleaning litter trays and thoroughly cleaning the pen, time then to check the kittens from ears to tail, to make sure they are all fit and healthy. Next, play and cuddles, after which they are ready for a snooze again, so pop them all back in the pen. During the day then they have two more meal times and at least two more play and cuddle times. These times increase from about 4 weeks as kittens get bigger and need to be introduced to different experiences and people.

 
Time flies by and at 7 weeks old, just at the curtain climbing stage it is time to arrange for mum and kittens to return to CP to be adopted. Now they are strong, confident, happy and cuddly kittens ready to take on the big wide world. I always shed a few tears as I leave them, then head home to prepare the room ready for the next little family!
 

I love fostering; it is so rewarding to see the growth in confidence and increase in size of the kittens in such a short time and the good feeling of setting them up for their life ahead.