This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Food, Shelter, & Love™ Program, but Paws and Effect only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
Every year I talk about kitten season and the importance of spaying and neutering to stem the tide of kittens that overwhelms animal shelters every year and puts adult cats at grave risk of being killed because homes can’t be found for them. But I’ll never forget the summer when kitten season came to us.
My mother called me one sweltering July afternoon. “A very pregnant cat just showed up on my doorstep,” she said. “She looks like she’s just about to pop, but I can’t afford a mom cat and a litter of kittens and I don’t know if I’ll be able to take care of them!”
I knew I couldn’t take in more cats. I already had three, and the place where I was living was not an appropriate or safe place for a mom cat and a litter of newborn kittens.
“How about calling the town shelter and seeing if they could help you out with the costs if you agree to foster for them?” I suggested. “I’ll help where I can, too.”
And thus began my mother’s fostering adventure.
Mom and I are no strangers to kitten care, having midwifed and raised several litters produced by our own cats back in the days before spaying and neutering was a thing.
One thing Mom taught me is that you can have all the shelter and love in the world, but if you don’t have food for mom-cat and her babies, things will not end well. Volunteering at an animal shelter also showed me just how much food even a small shelter goes through every single day. With that experience, I’m all about supporting any way for shelters to get the food they need to keep their feline charges healthy, so when I heard about Hills’ Food, Shelter & Love Program, I knew I wanted to spread the word.
In the case of my mother’s fostering experience, although the town animal shelter provided for vet care, they didn’t have the budget to pay for food for the mama cat (who was now named Rosabelle, or Rosie for short) and her kittens, so Mom and I took care of that. After all, proper nutrition means happier and healthier cats and kittens, which means they’re more likely to find great homes — and since we’d both fallen hard for Rosabelle and her kittens, we definitely wanted to make sure they’d have the best shot.
Our fostering story has a very happy ending. Once the kittens were old enough to find homes, all three of them found wonderful families with whom to spend their lives. As for Rosabelle? Mom couldn’t send her off to the shelter: she’d chosen Mom to be her rescuer, and Mom adored her right back. So once the kittens had found their homes, Mom signed the adoption papers and made it official: Rosie, too, had her forever home.
If your shelter is interested in participating in the Food, Shelter & Love Program, learn more about the benefits of the program and how to qualify.
If you happen to feed your cats Hill’s Science Diet, you’re helping to support the Food, Shelter & Love Program, and if you’re fostering kittens, you might want to check out Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Development Kitten Formula.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story and photos….I had a fostering experience five years ago and it was an accidental and absolutely unforgettable experience. I had four little boys, all 3.5 weeks old, and I took care of them for three months until I found good homes for three and then kept the fourth for myself. I had no idea what to do but was helped by my vet and other foster people in rescue programs.
We had just lost a loved one in our family and it was great therapy to help these litttle guys. I would have kept ALL of them if I could have. But the homes we got for them were really good and it took quite a while for me to find the right people.
Alley Cat Allies is a great group that helps people to foster kittens , with tons of videos and hands on advice on how to do it. ( http://www.alleycat.org ) They have a great webinar series, free and available anytime on their site, called ” Help, I’ve Found a Kitten,” and it tells all about what to do if this happens. I wish I would have had them five years ago !