For the past year, my home office has doubled as a sanctuary for rescue kittens and this Saturday, September 3rd, will mark my one year anniversary fostering kittens. On that date last year, I picked up my first litter of four sweethearts from Safe Haven for Cats in Raleigh.

Prior to last summer, I’d heard of cat and dog fostering, but never put any serious thought into the idea. That all changed very quickly when there were kittens in my home office less than a month after deciding that fostering might be a good fit for me! I’m sharing my fostering journey this week in hopes inspiring others to consider kitten fostering (or dog fostering as they need help, too!).

Today, I’ll share my inspiration for fostering and how my journey began…

A common mid-workday view from the desk in my home office

In the spring of 2015, I found TinyKittens through a series of recommendations. TinyKittens is a 24/7 livestream of rescue cats and kittens based in Fort Langley, British Columbia. Kitten foster mom Shelly was caring for the “Sesame Street Kittens” at the time, five white and ginger fluffballs who had been rescued from a trash can. I quickly became hooked on the livestream, checking in several times a day and leaving it running in the background during the evenings. Watching the kittens was an instant stress-reliever and they were just so adorable!

The Sesame Street Kittens eventually found homes and were adopted. Shelly then rescued a pregnant mama cat, Eve, who gave birth to a litter of five kittens within weeks. This was the first time I’d seen kittens grow from birth to around ten weeks old when they are old enough to be spayed and neutered, and adopted into homes.

While Eve and her kittens were being cared for at TKHQ, Shelly also brought in her first feral mom, Sloaney, who gave birth to four little ones. Both Eve’s and Sloaney’s kittens were eventually adopted and more pregnant moms were brought in during the summer to birth and care for their kittens in a safe environment, all on the full-time livestream.

Meanwhile, while watching the adventures of all the TKHQ families online, I was becoming quite lonely on weekdays. Jasper started kindergarten that July and, with both kids now in school all day, Jeff was able to upgrade is part-time job to full-time so he was gone all day as well. I watched TinyKittens, looked around my lonely home office and thought, “I could do that!” After watching the 24/7 responsibilities required by a foster parent for several months, I knew that this was the perfect solution for my loneliness and I’d also be helping kittens in need.

I stopped by a local cat shelter, Safe Haven For Cats, where my sister had adopted her cat years ago, to simply inquire about fostering. By the time I left, I had completed the foster application and was already on the waiting list!

At Safe Haven, adult cats live at the shelter where they can be visited by potential adopters. As only spayed and neutered cats are adoptable, kittens must wait until they are at least two pounds, the minimum weight for the surgery. Rather than use valuable shelter space while waiting several weeks to grow to that size, fosters step in to care for kittens in their homes until they reach their goal weight.

Just days after that inquiry visit, I received my first call that there was a litter of kittens in need of a home. A few days after that, on September 3, 2015, there were four 7-week old kittens living in my home office!

Tomorrow … Preparing the Kitten Room