And suddenly, you know: it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.Meister Eckhart
Only a couple days after the home visit, I received my first foster request email. I think I would have taken any animal in any circumstance; that’s how excited I was!
So when I read about two black kittens, one male and one female, who were a couple months old and needed foster through their lice treatment, I didn’t immediately twist my face with disgust and discount them. I looked up cat lice and realized it wasn’t communicable to dogs or humans, and then right away responded that we would take them. And then I waited…. And waited…. And waited. I checked my email every ten minutes waiting for a response. After a few hours, it finally arrived. Could we pick them up the next morning? Yes, yes, yes!
The next morning, I collected the carrier with two terrified kitties peering out. The foster director, Ann, explained that I would need to give them medicated dips once each week, comb them, and give them a dewormer during their stay in foster. The treatment was expected to take a couple weeks. I was given food, bowls, litter, a litter box, toys, blankets and towels. I signed a foster agreement explaining the rules (foster cats must stay in the foster’s house and care at all times) and off we went!
At home, I set up a cozy area for the kittens to sleep, an eating area with wet food, dry food, and water bowls, and a litter box area in the master bathroom. I opened the carrier and left the room. I wanted to give the kittens some time to explore their new area before confronting them with new humans too. Later, I went in and sat quietly, hoping the kittens would be ready for some attention. These were, however, undersocialized kittens who wanted nothing to do with me. They slunk around the large bathroom looking for good hiding places. I stayed 10 minutes and then left.
The children were so excited to have our first fosters! We had twin boys who were 10 (Andrew and Dane), a daughter who was 8 (Mae), and a daughter who was 4 (Nora). They couldn’t wait to meet our new kitties when they got home from school! I explained to them that the kittens were shy and we needed to be calm and quiet when around them, especially for the first few days, so that they could learn to trust us. They were so awesome at this! They sat in the bathroom very patiently and for such a long time that eventually the male kitten approached and even consented to some pets. But four year olds cannot sit still forever. Eventually Nora made a quick movement that sent the kitten scurrying all over again. She had to endure some evil glares from her siblings as punishment, and then they started the sit still, pet kitten until he got scared again cycle all over again.
Then there was the issue of names. These two kittens had not yet been named by the shelter or any former caretaker. We decided that the children would take turns naming any unnamed foster animals. Mae and Andrew were going to take their turns first. Andrew named the male kitten Shadow and Mae named the female kitten Midnight.
We checked on Shadow and Midnight so many times that first day, hoping they were happy with their set up, hoping they would become comfortable and thrive under our care. I could hardly believe that we were really doing it!