Kitten Season 101 with @101fosterkittens
Meet Briana (also known as @101FosterKittens on social media, a play on 101 Dalmatians), one of our life-saving feline fosters! In less than two years as a feline foster volunteer, she has cared for nearly 100 short-term and long-term kittens and cats. Briana sat down with us to talk about all things kittens and what kitten season includes!
Q. How long have you been fostering kittens?
A. Since May 16, 2018!
Q. How many kittens have you fostered?
I have had 69 long-term fosters, meaning I had them the entire time they were in foster care. I’ve also had at least 30 other short-term fosters, which are kittens that stayed with me for a few days/nights until a permanent foster became available. I live close to the shelter, so I’m one they can call when they get bottle babies in at the very end of the day and need a foster right away!
Which we are all so grateful for, Briana!
Q. Tell us about Leela!
A. Miss Purranga Leela (I’m a nerd, yes her name is from Futurama) was supposed to be a short-term, one night foster! She came in at the very end of the day and with her eye, they knew she was going to need to be evaluated the next day to come up with a plan. I took her home and when I brought her back the next morning I told them that if she was going to go back into foster care that I wanted to be her foster because that little “didn’t give a hoot about her nasty eye” girl had swan dived into my heart!
She and I have been pretty inseparable since and when the time came for her to go to a forever home, I knew she’d already found her’s right here with me. She was my second foster fail and she’s a rough-and-tumble big sister to the other fosters.
Q. What’s it like fostering these kittens?
A. It’s a crazy, amazing, stressful, fun, sleep-depriving, laughter-inducing, you’ll think you’ve lost your mind, but you can’t give it up kind of experience. I’ve had weeks where I didn’t know if I could do it anymore because everyone was sick, I didn’t know if they would survive, and I’ve lost some. However, I’ve had far, far more pull through. That more than makes up for those tough days, because I can endure a few trying days/weeks so they get to have years living happily in their forever homes. When it comes to bottle babies (neonates) it’s just like having a newborn, except these newborns potty-train, wean and sleep through the night in less than 6 weeks. Human babies need to step it up!
Q. What made you want to foster?
A. I had been working at home for almost a year and that can be really isolating. I was struggling with depression and I knew that I needed to find something that would get me out of the house and more engaged with others on a daily basis. I saw a video on Facebook about fostering and thought I’d look into it. I fell instantly in love with my first foster and haven’t looked back.
Q. What’s your favorite part of fostering?
A. I honestly can’t pick one favorite thing! When you get that email that there are new babies to be picked up it’s like Christmas! You never know what you’re going to get. I love meeting them, getting to learn their personalities, and watching them go from timid and scared to loving lap kittens. I also love getting to see some of them in their forever homes! I always send a card/care package with my fosters when they go in to be adopted and I’ve been lucky that many of my former fosters’ forever parents have shared updates with me. Goodbye is still hard, but I know that these guys are going to be fine and I get the thrill of meeting my next group.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice about fostering with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, what would it be?
A. Ask questions early and often! I was so freaked out the first time I had kittens I didn’t know what I was doing! It takes a little time to figure out what’s ‘normal’ and what’s worrisome. Thankfully there is a comprehensive handbook that I still use, and the foster staff at the time was very supportive. Plus we have a great online community and some of the more experienced foster parents are available 24/7. Also – don’t be afraid of saying good-bye. I hear it all the time “I could never give them up!” I won’t lie, it’s really hard the first couple of times, and I still cry when I don’t have a family lined up, but saying good-bye to one group means you can say hello to a new group that needs you. You will be sad, but you can handle that sadness because it means they get to live. So go into it knowing that part is going to be hard, but it’s always worth it.
You too can help save the lives of kittens by visiting our Virtual Kitten Shower and making a donation to the tiniest in our care!