Kitten Season: A Serious Need For Fosters

Alana here today. I’m a little late with our post today, but we have good reason. You see, last night, I saw online that there was an emergency need for bottle baby fosters. There were thirteen kittens in Chicago that were going to be euthanized that day.  And, while we’re still living in a hotel and our house is a mess from repair work, I still couldn’t think of a good enough reason for me not to step up and help.

You two! Come with me.

You two! Come with me.

Would I miss out on sleep? Yes. Would I have to section off a portion of my house/room for them? Yes. Would I have to wash my hands 900 times a day for sanitation reasons? Yes. Were any of those good enough reasons to ignore their need?

No. 

I could not justify not doing something, not after just this week I’ve had a plea from Tabby’s Place to advertise their bazillion kittens, a plea from Feral Fixers to help find fosters for babies, and a plea from Tree House to help save bottle feeders that only had a few hours to live.

The thing about kitten season is that it’s not just about the fun and joy of cuddling kittens. It’s about the very real fact that thousands of kittens, many of them only days or weeks old, are being euthanized because there isn’t anywhere to put them. CACC (Chicago Animal Care and Control) in Chicago often euthanizes kittens under six weeks old the same day they arrive because of a lack of resources to care for them.

Kittens that come in without a mother are in real trouble. Either they need a surrogate mom to nurse them, which means someone already has to have a nursing mom somewhere, or they need a human being willing to mix their formula and feed it to them with a bottle every two hours. They need someone that’s willing to help them poop, change their towels, keep them warm, and bathe them.

Foster dad preparing the bath. I have a lovely husband.

Foster dad preparing the bath. 

Nursing bottle baby kittens is a serious job, and not everyone is willing to do it.

Keeping all that in mind, I still decided that we couldn’t leave that on our conscience. We knew they were there, we had the ability to help, and so we did.

Thank you for saving me!!!

Hurray! I’m safe!

As part of the Tree House Kitten On Deck program (a program where at-risk, unweaned kittens who arrive at CACC without their mothers will be transferred by Tree House out of CACC),  we went to CACC with the intention of pulling two litters of bottle babies. When we arrived, we found out that eight had already been taken to safety thanks to Tree House, and another kind lady (also through Kitten on Deck) was there waiting to take the two very youngest, who were only a few days old. Sadly, as we walked in, we found out that one of those two had already passed away, and when they went to get the second, he too, had died. Without a mom, they just couldn’t make it.

Since this other lady was about to leave without kittens, I asked her if she’d take one of our litters, and she agreed. She took three tiny bottle babies home, and we took two, slightly older ones. In fact, I feel like we lucked out, because they were older than we expected. Instead of having to get up every two hours to feed them, I was able to feed them every five. I only had to wake up three times during the night instead of five or six, mostly to make sure their heating pad was still on.

After his first bath. That's me, looking a little sleepy.

After his first bath. That’s me, looking a little sleepy.

And now we have two kittens in our bathtub, completely oblivious to how close they came and how lucky they are. They are two of thousands who just happened to be in the right place and are now fortunate enough to call themselves Tree House cats for life.

I'm a Tree House kitten!

I’m a Tree House kitten!

If you have a space in your home, even a small one, please consider helping, especially during this season. Contact your local rescue and ask how you can be involved in fostering. They’ll more than likely be very happy to train you and provide you with supplies, and you will be making a big difference to all the tiny ones you save.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Alana (and Crepes, who exists today because of Tree House’s foster program.)

PS. I’m calling them Hash Brown and Tater Tot, or Hash and Tot, for short. That’s subject to change.

Click here to donate to Kitten on Deck. 

30 thoughts on “Kitten Season: A Serious Need For Fosters

  1. Alana, the work that you do for kitties in need just amazes me. I am so honored that through the magic of the Internet we are friends. Thankfully here in Vermont we don’t have such a large need. Actually, our area adopts pets out so fast that when Maddie’s Fund happened here in May we brought some animals up from the south to get adopted! I wish every area was as lucky as we are.

    • That does sound lucky. There are so many here that it’s so hard to keep up. Thank you for your lovely compliments. 🙂 We’re just doing a tiny part of a huge network of people that are helping.

  2. MEGA rocking awesome of you Alana & Michael…

    I know if hash brownz N tater tot could speak, they would say THANX a million …we love you… and we totally dig our new names ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

    the best of fishes… as the tabbies say… to ALL the wee ones~~~ and hope you guys get to go back home…soon

  3. what a good deed!!! bottle babies are tough….would love to do it more but the whole work thing makes it tough since they can’t come here. so glad the whole crew is safe, even though a couple didn’t make it.

  4. Big blessings to you and your husband for helping to save those tiny lives…..blessings to anyone who can foster ANY cat but especially those innocent little ones who have no Moms and are so close to death. I love the names you gave them! They are absolutely precious. There’s a special place in heaven for those who save lives – you’ll be there for sure……

    Big Hugs, Sammy and his Mom

  5. Bless you for feeling the calling. It’s not for everyone and your cal to foster goes out to anyone who lives near a shelter which means just about everyone! Last night at the shelter, it was a kitten mania. I was talking to a volunteer who is bottle feeding 10 kittens and it’s a labor of love. For those who can’t foster, then, let’s share far and wide.

  6. Great respect to you for taking on the kittens while you two are still trying to get your home back in order! I did neonatal foster care for many years for our local cat rescue, and while it is definitely challenging, the internal reward you feel for helping such beautiful, innocent creatures thrive is far, far greater. Also love that you discussed it with your husband first (although I’m guessing he is the amazing type who can’t say no to so much cuteness!). Best of luck with these little ones, and kudos for getting the word out. This is a post I will definitely be forwarding!
    (And for anyone interested in fostering but not sure if it is the right fit for them, most cities have one or two groups who do classes to instruct with proper bottle technique, answer questions, and just make it much less scary!!)

  7. Thank you for doing this. We wouldn’t have our Astrid if she had not been rescued and bottle fed. Tot and Hash are absolutely darling, and they are very lucky to have you as their foster mom. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  8. You guys deserve a great deal of thanks. Saving the lives of these innocent kitties is such a selfless thing to do. And I love the names you gave them!

  9. I honestly think people have no idea what the term kitten season truly entails. The thought of getting up EVERY TWO HOURS (yeah, just like brand new human infants!) just doesn’t compute. And then there are the ones that don’t make it.

    What you’re doing is truly unsung. And don’t worry if your regularly scheduled programming grinds to a halt – these two are far more important than a blog post! We’ll still be around after you return to your previously un-sleep-deprived status in a few weeks!

  10. My human saw these two on Facebook earlier today – and they are BEYOND cute! How fun to get up several times a night to take care of them and wash them and stuff – because that means you get to LOOK at them and TOUCH them! Paws up for your rescue efforts.

  11. Paw up to you, Miss Alana! We’re sure glad you and the others stepped up and took these babies so now they will have a chance. Those who foster are angels…the mom keeps threatening us that she’s gonna bring some foster babies home one day. And we love the names you’ve given them. 🙂

  12. You are already Rock Stars…but now you are going to have your very own star in the galaxy named after you…what a pawsome deed indeed. Mom L has helped our Vet friend Dr Josie with her bottle babies when she takes them in…it is surely a tough job. We still focus on adult cat rescue because the kittens become ‘cats’ and then they get dumped. Kittens and Cats are living beings; how can we humans be so unclear about that? I know, preaching to the choir…LOL…

  13. even if you can only take the older ones so that you don’t have to get up at night, do it.. that saves space for wee ones who need attention all through the night. The need is so great, that no matter what you can do, it is of help.

  14. Oh my…
    We think you guys are stars! That’s a big responsibility and you stepped up, good for you!
    Hash Brown and Tater Tot are adorable!

    Noodle and crew

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