A great way to have a pet experience without a long-term commitment… try fostering!! In my opinion, I believe every child should have the opportunity to care for and play with an animal IF they express interest. I was surprised to find out that kittens are so easy (speaking from 4wks and older). They don’t need bottles and they are already born with “must use the litter box”. Also they SLEEP A LOT and don’t really get into mischief (not that early I guess LOL). Also it’s not that expensive as I thought because we didn’t actually go to the pet pantry for anything. I probably spent about $100 max on: kitten formula (that was the bulk of the expenses because it costs $10 for ONE CAN & used 4); kitten food (the good stuff “Purina” solid and cans); Dollar Store for most toys, scooper, liners/training pads (turned out that wasn’t really needed LOL), we actually used aluminum pans for the litter box (so I could throw it away when it got too messy); Ross store for a scratch pad which she rarely used & also a litter catcher to go in front of her litter box; & the carrying crate was donated by the shelter to transport her. My sister ended up giving the infant bed part to her daughter’s playpen to use as the kitten’s bed and a snuggle fleece outerwear for extra cushion and warmth. She’s ALL set!
So here’s my experience with my children while we temporarily moved to Washington, DC to help my sister and my niece.
It’s after 10p and there’s a visit from my sister’s boyfriend. He shows up with a sneaker box and a kitten inside wrapped in a shirt. My kids rush to get the kitten and I just finished cooking a late dinner (no judgments LOL), so my hands were preoccupied with handling food. I quickly asked who’s kitten is this? What’s the story on this kitten? How old is this kitten? Where is the mother? Etc. All he know is that this kitten was given to him from someone he knew that no longer could care for it.
My kids are already hugging and holding this kitten. I’m a cat lover and have had 3 cats as a kid and lived with a roommate with a cat at 20yrs young but never a kitten. In fact, about 2yrs ago I thought it would be a great idea once I found out that fostering kittens was something people could do!! However, it came with too much of the same responsibilities as an infant (1wk or a few days…still bottle feeding) so I quickly changed my mind after going to a workshop. 😦
Well I said, we’ll keep it and then give it to the shelter in the morning. I immediately went into “Cat Mother” mode LOL. I knew that the kitten needed to be cleaned because she looked dirty and I suspected could have fleas. So my oldest, Isiah puts on gloves and I used the dawn dish soap to clean the kitten, who now has a new name he gave, “Cloud” because “she was puffy as a cloud”. I’ve never had a kitten so between google searches and YouTube videos: I determined her age to be 4wks; kittens nor cats DO NOT drink milk (despite the myth & we LEARNED THE HARD WAY the next day); kittens innately learn to use the litter by themselves so no need for potty training (yay!!); they spend 80% cleaning themselves as an adult cat (so our job was to keep her clean); and she shouldn’t be left alone for longer than 4hrs being a kitten (you’re not “tied to the hip” and must take everywhere). WHew!!!
Low and behold, Cloud had so many fleas (of which I initially didn’t know what those black dots were in the sink!!!) I thoroughly washed her and she looked so much better. The next morning came and I ended up buying $10 kitten formula!(I don’t remember regular baby infant formula being that expensive for one can LOL), litter, a scooper, and a toy rat. Cloud was all set! She’s such a cutie and really in one night we decided that we can’t take her so soon to the shelter. This could finally be a chance for my kids who felt attached already, to take care of her and have their 1st responsible pet experience plus Cloud has a new loving home!! It’s a WIN WIN!!
In my opinion, I think parents should give their kids a pet experience if the kids express interest in that. Let the kids understand 1st hand what it’s like, going beyond playful moments and cuteness–there are the FEEDINGS and POOPING that comes with the territory too!
2wks in we decide it’s time to take her to the shelter. More like Mathieu and myself. The kitten never got her shots so even though I googled symptoms of rabies, it was still a concern seemingly how we’ve all been scratched giving her baths or wiping her butt after using the litter! LOL I’m sure we gave her one too many baths but she’s so much better being clean 🙂 At this point her new name was “Miss Cuddles” because she liked to cuddle with us and fall asleep, but also even play with my niece who was 10mos (my younger sister, Kitty even named her too, “Nola #2”.
We’re at the shelter and I’m actually feeling sad. My sister and older son wants to keep her but Mathieu and myself was like let’s leave her and don’t look back. We voted and my 10mos old niece sided with Kitty and Isiah -_- so we were outnumbered. We were told about food pantries, where to go for the $15 shot and free neutering, and given a free cat carrying cage.
1.5mos living and caring for “Cinnamon” was our kitten’s final name given, (still not sure where that came from because she was grey and white), was a joy to be around!! Every night she slept with us; rarely sleeping in her own bed; she loved falling asleep on the bathroom rug; in her box; on top of her box; in the basket of Nola’s stroller; in Nola’s playpen; in Nola’s highchair; in Kitty’s drawer; on Kitty’s sneaker; on the couch; and top of Nola’s stroller! It was hilarious!
So we finally, reluctantly make it to the shelter yet again to turn her in because although we didn’t officially foster her through the shelter, we knew long term we weren’t ready for a long-term commitment. & surprisingly enough, Mathieu and myself really didn’t want to leave her while Kitty and Isiah was ok with the timing this time.
Cinnamon brought so many beautiful experiences and I was happy to find out that within 2days, she was already adopted!! She went from the misery of living with a bunch of fleas to a playful, clean, happy, loved kitten!!
This was also my #1stTimeExperience to add to my accomplishments in life. I hope one day you too will have the compassion to care for an animal in need. You never know the impact you’ll have on their life and neither the impact on yours too!! 😉