Over the last month and a half, as anyone who follows my dedicated cat-centric account on instagram can probably tell, I’ve taken on some additional responsibilities.
…three of them, actually.
Thomas and Abigail are our current resident foster gremlins, but Georgie was the first to come home with us back in June. The experience of caring for, socializing, and acclimating our entire household to the presence of something so small and precious, and yet so disruptive, was a trial by fire about which I have exactly zero regrets. Managing her care on top of all the other dramatic life changes that are happening behind the scenes here was hard, but not nearly as hard as letting her go early this month. That’s the thing about foster parenting, of course: the goal is always goodbye, but sometimes goodbye happens before we’re ready for it.
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking. “But Elisabeth, isn’t this supposed to be a speculative fiction writing/review/recommendation blog? What’s with all the cats all of a sudden*?”
My response: listen, it clearly says on the tin that this website suffers from something of an identity crisis, so if we’re all being honest with ourselves here, this post is exactly on brand. Kittens today, NaNoWriMo updates tomorrow, records and information management-inspired free-form poetry on Wednesday–I know what the people want, all right?
Anyway, I said all that to say, as kitten fostering continues to take up a larger part of my time, I want to document some of my missteps, mishaps, and other lessons learned here on this blog, in hopes of helping other fledgling foster parents who might be trawling WordPress reader for support or advice.
So, first piece of advice:
If your vet’s office rings you up and asks you, “So, ready to take on your first foster kitten?” before you’ve had time to order your play pen or other essential kitten containment accoutrements, don’t be an exceedingly obliging Southerner. Say no! Say, “Just give me another day and then I’ll be ready,” because while you can pull a hat trick at the last minute and make do with your mother-in-law’s rejected dog kennel, some towels, and an aluminum lasagna tray as an ad-hoc litter box, you will really, really wish you hadn’t.
Take the time you need to get yourself set up. You’ll be glad that you did, and your new foster baby will be, too.
* I actually grew up involved with greyhound rescue back in Alabama, so this work isn’t entirely new to me. That being said, fostering kittens who need medical care is a much different kettle of fish from looking after fully grown adult dogs who can more or less take care of themselves, so really, I absolutely was in over my head when I started doing this. oops.