Many people were affected in many different ways by the pandemic in the last year. One of the main changes people have endured is remote work – it seems as though everyone is working from home. As this can be a big change for some, including myself, most people had to find outlets so they didn’t feel like they were always working. An outlet that I found myself even more passionate about, was fostering. With some animals, supportive care is required somewhat often up to every 30 minutes. I will explain how you can work from home and save lives! For more info on supplies needed for your first foster, my previous blog is a great place to start https://kaelinleavitt.com/2021/03/05/get-ready-for-your-1st-foster/!
I have fostered kittens before the pandemic, so this was not new to me, but it was new for me to be at home all day with these furry creatures. I have found that working from home with fosters can be amazing as well as sometimes frustrating. Kittens are cute little furballs until they’re chewing your laptop chargers and ripping up all of the papers on your desk! In contrast, it is amazing to be by them and provide supportive care when needed. Many fosters thrive off of human interaction, which is a benefit of being at home all day. Animals rescues, such as SNIPSA, have used the pandemic to find more foster homes as well, https://www.mysanantonio.com/life/pets/article/Don-t-work-from-home-alone-Local-shelter-15137851.php.
My first set of fosters in the pandemic were what we call “spicy” kittens in the foster world. Spicy kittens are too young to be considered feral, but they do not like humans yet. They hissed, spit at us, and hid for the first few days, but with lots of love and trust, they were the cuddliest kittens in a week. We talked aloud all day long, which helps them get used to and comfortable with your voice, we bribed them with food, and wrapped them up in blankets, called a ‘purrito’ once a day – this is forced love, but they usually take to very quickly. Being home all day, these kittens learned how to love humans in a short period of time.
My second group of fosters was a mom with her three, 5-week old kittens. At around four weeks old, kittens can be weaned from their mother, and right off the bat, I noticed that this was not happening the way it should. The kittens were sucking the nutrition out of the mom and she was becoming malnourished and unhealthy. Being home all day, I separated her from her kittens, give her some alone time to destress, and fed her. We then separated her from her kittens and found her a home. Now the kittens had a chance to become more independent and learn how to be kittens without their mom around.
My third foster was a little 5-week-old kitten who had a severe upper respiratory infection (URI) and ringworm, which I will explain more about in a separate blog. She had a lot of fight in her, and with hourly supportive care, she was able to grow into a healthy kitten, ready for her forever home. She needed food every two hours around the clock, medicine twice a day, and baths for her ringworm. Within four days, her URI cleared up, and we worked on getting rid of her ringworm lesions. In all of these cases, being home helped the process of providing supportive care a lot easier, and I was able to save all of these kittens in the stories above. Like this post for more information on fostering while WFH!