After debating for quite a while, I finally decided this weekend to go ahead and become a foster mom for kittens. Countless pictures of adorable baby kittens posted on craigslist had tugged at my heart for long enough - it was finally time to do something about it.
I went to the shelter on Saturday, expecting to be given some reason that I was not qualified to take some babies home with me. After filling out an application and waiting a bit for an answer, a girl came and told me that it was time to pick out my kittens. We went into the room, and it was more depressing than I thought. There had to be twenty cages of litters of kittens - some orphans, some with their mothers - in a room. The room was solely a cat maternity room. The girl pointed out two litters who were urgent - a litter of all solid black babies, and a litter of babies who mostly were white with markings. I looked at all of the litters, just to "aww" over how cute they were, but I already knew that I would take whatever was the most urgent. I decided on the black babies, who seemed super-friendly and eager to play.
And then the girl took me to another room, to show me kittens who were also urgent. There were two - a little orange and white baby whose paperwork said "bite case," and a tabby and white baby whose paperwork said "bite case" and "scratch case." The story was that when this one had been caught, she had scratched the kids who were shoving her into a cage. And I thought "good for her." Because really, if you were a stray kitten and had never had human contact, and some rotten kids came along and threw YOU in a cage, wouldn't you fight? I would.
I said I would take her as well. When I learned that she was to be put to sleep in an hour or so, since she had been at the shelter for ten days already, the deal was final. She would come home with me and get over her cold, and socialize with other kittens (and cats and dogs) and she would be fine.
The shelter worker asked a few times if I was SURE that I wanted to take all six - that adding the single kitten on would add more work, and that would be a lot for a first time foster. I assured her that I would be fine, and that this kitten WOULD NOT be put to sleep that night. I would have taken the little orange kitten too (rather than the litter) if his time had been up, but he had a few days - and everyone loves orange kitties - so I figured he had a shot at getting out later. An urgent litter and an urgent single kitten. That was certainly a fine start for a first time foster.
On the way home, I decided that the single kitten would be called Taylor, after another Taylor I know. The girl who was told that she wouldn't live, that she didn't have a chance, that all of the odds were stacked against her, and that things would not be okay. And like her namesake, this little kitten is going to make it.
A little bit about my kittens:
Taylor is skittish, unsure of herself and of her surroundings. But then, this is presumably the first time that she has been in a home, the first time she has had a dog trying to lick her in the face, possibly the first time that she has had other kittens to play with. Her coloring is mostly grey tabby, but her nose and chin are white, as is her entire underside, and she has four white "socks." She has the cutest little pink nose. She is fighting a cold, so her eyes look pretty pitiful and runny all of the time, but they have gotten considerably better in just the past two days, so I think that once she is all better, she will be a stunning little cat. She is probably somewhere around twelve weeks old, judging by her size.
I named the kittens after five of my favorite cities (I love matching names for litters of pets, so I got to match without being too terribly cutesy about it).
Charlotte is the boss. She is all black except for her chin, a spot on her belly, and tiny spots under her arms that are white. She adores chewing on my toes. She also seems to be the leader of the pack, and catch onto things quicker than the others. She is also the most likely to come hop on my lap.
Anna (named for Annapolis) is all black except for a spot on her belly. She is my little food hog. When I feed them, she literally will lay in the food dish, arms all sprawled out, growling at her brothers and sisters when they try to eat. She is the reason that I now use two dishes for food.
Indy (named for Indianapolis) is Anna's little shadow. If you see Anna, Indy will be right behind her. She is completely black, not a single spot of white on her. I originally decided to give her and Anna names that were cute together since I couldn't originally tell them apart. I still have to pick them up and flip them over to see which has the white belly spot. And since they act to similarly, I can't easily pick them apart.
Nash (named for Nashville) is probably my favorite, coloring-wise. He is black with a white neck, white belly spot, and teeny bits of white on the tips of his back feet. He is the biggest and the calmest. He definitely likes to play and roughhouse with his siblings, but when the other four are acting crazy, he is the most likely to be sitting in my room by himself taking a nap.
Philly (short for Philadephia) is a tiny little boy. He is all black, not a bit of white on him, and weighs a bit less that his siblings. When I took them from the shelter, the rest of the siblings weighed about 1.15 pounds, and little Philly only weighed about .95 pounds. It might not seem like a big difference, but he is definitely a tiny bit of a thing. He is also completely fearless. He was the first to start checking things out when I opened their carrier to let them start exploring my room. He was the first to attempt to climb up my pant leg. He is generally the last one to make it to the bowl of food (perhaps that is why he is such a shrimp), but he cracks me up with his antics (he is wrestling his brother as I write this, and despite the obvious size difference, is definitely winning).
Depending on how this experience goes, and how easy it is to find adoptive parents for kittens once they are fixed and everything, I absolutely see doing this again. Madden and Champ are great about it, and let the little ones climb all over them (thanks to having Bella - now called Bailey - here this Spring/Summer). Taylor is afraid of the dogs, but then - Taylor is afraid of a lot of things. The others adore them, and the dogs adore them right back.
Pictures soon. I forgot my SD card at Donnie's, and couldn't get any shots tonight.