In the past year, I have fostered 32 cats – 31 kittens and one mama. All were rescues and found their way to the shelter in various ways: abandoned, neighborhood strays, hoarder rescues, and ferals. Fostering has given them all a chance to grow big and strong enough to be adopted into loving homes.

All of these sweeties hold a special place in my heart so let me introduce them all to you and share their stories…

The First Four

fostered September 3-16, 2015

These four kittens were strays around 8 weeks old when I began fostering them. They ranged in size from 1.5 to 2 pounds and were very friend. I only had them for two weeks so they were easy to care for – the perfect introduction to fostering!

Harris the tuxie was the only girl with her three brothers. She and Oak were a double adoption.

Brother and Sister

fostered September 16-30, 2015

This brother and sister were found along with three other siblings in a taped box at a dump. An employee discovered them and passed the siblings to someone who offered to care for them. He gave the brother and sister to the shelter. They arrived close to the two-pound threshold so they only needed fostering for two weeks.

Reggie remains my Instagram poster kitten. He was extremely playful, purred loudly, and fell asleep in my lap on his very first day in the kitten room. My sister spoke about this wonderful lap kitten to friends which led to his adoption. Reggie was adopted by one of her co-workers who was ready for a cozy companion after sadly losing his cat several months earlier, and now refers to Reggie as his “best friend.”

The Box Kittens

fostered September 30 – December 28, 2015

These four siblings were abandoned in a box at Safe Haven’s front door. They arrived at the same time as another single abandoned kitten so Smitty, the only boy in this litter, was paired with the singlet and lived with another foster for most of October. The three girls were sent to me. They were my smallest kittens to date, all arriving at barely over one pound each.

Smitty was neutered at the end of October and his friend was put up for adoption, but both Smitty and Sparta had an eye condition that required a longer stay, so he was sent to me to await his diagnosis.

I had a full room of four kittens for a week until the girls all left for their spays, from which only Sparta returned to await her eye specialist appointment with her brother. Sofia and Sisley were both adopted together in early November.

For nearly two months, Smitty and Sparta stayed with us and became the only kittens to gain house privileges as they outgrew a the kitten room. To this day they are the only foster kittens to interact with my own cats (who only reluctantly accepted them after several weeks!) and they even spent Christmas Day with my family. They were four and five pounds each by the time they left and will undoubtedly hold the record for longest length of stay for a while!

Smitty and Sparta had eyelid surgery several days after Christmas and were adopted soon after, together forever.

The Winter Feral Kittens

fostered January 25 – February 16, 2016

These three sweeties and their mama were trapped by a homeowner who had been feeding the mom for quite some time. Mom was spayed and returned to her outdoor home as she was feral and not adoptable while I was given the task of socializing her three skittish kittens.

They were nameless so we had the opportunity to suggest names for the first time. We were fresh off an ice storm, the Panthers were in the Superbowl, and I estimated they were born around the time The Force Awakens hit theaters so I sent several names for each theme for approval, hoping that several wouldn’t overlap names already in Safe Haven’s database of thousands of kitten names. They ended up with one name from each theme: Rey from Star Wars, Snizzle as in a snow drizzle, and Devon after Panthers receiver Devin Funchess.

These feral kittens kept their distance for several days, but I started petting them while they ate meals and they slowly began trusting me from there.

They were all adopted separately and I still consider them three of the absolute cutest kittens I’ve ever laid eyes on and one of my most rewarding experiences turning stray kittens into loving household pets.

The Cereal Kittens

fostered February 27 – March 21, 2016

These four were rescued from a hoarder with their mama and about 20 other cats. They were my first long-haired kittens since my very first litter and oh so fluffy!The shelter referred to them as “The Cereals” and their names all reflect a visit to the Target snack and cereal aisle!

The shelter referred to them as “The Cereals” and their names all reflect a visit to the Target snack and cereal aisle! Lovey and Kravy’s given names were Granolove and Krave, but I gave them nicknames. Lovey ended up being quite an appropriate name as she begged for lap naps every day and was my most affectionate kitten since Reggie.

They were eventually adopted as two pairs – Teddy with Sugar Puff and Kravy with Lovey.

The Game Kittens

fostered May 17 – June 23, 2016

After being without kittens for nearly two whole months while we were on our road trip, I was so excited to pick up these itty bitties!  These four were dropped at a vet office in Durham by someone who saw them outside without a mom and was afraid they would be too cold. The vet then turned them over to Safe Haven.

Like the Cereals before them, the Games had all been given rather un-kitten-like names so I gave nicknames to all but Okey, shortening Cranium to Cray, Zoophoria to Zoey, and Barbarossa to Rosie.

These were my tiniest kittens yet upon arrival ranging from 11-15 ounces each. They were also very quiet, rarely meowing but they purred like crazy! I’d been wanting house panthers for a while and these sweethearts did not disappoint!

The Chima Kittens

fostered June 27 – July 14, 2016

These four feral kittens were trapped with their mom the very morning of the day I received them. Still nameless, I sent a list of possibilities from Gavin’s Lego Chima book so he was proud to name his first litter of kittens!

They were completely scared, hissy, and spitty when they arrived. Windra was the first to “break” and realize she loved chin rubs. She and Lagravis were adopted separately during the Clear the Shelters event in late July while Vardy and Rinona also found homes soon after.

The Gymnasts

fostered July 28 – August 11, 2016

Following the Clear the Shelters adoption event, Safe Haven transferred several cats from the county shelter including this adorable brother and sister. Since we’d have them during the Olympics, I suggested several athlete names and the names of gymnasts Kenzo Shirai and Yana Kudryatseva were selected.

These two were the sweetest pair I’ve ever fostered. They loved belly rubs but loved each other even more. They were always together and I still miss them terribly!

The Element Kittens

fostered August 11, 2016 – present

Mama Francie had been a friendly neighborhood stray for quite some time. She was brought to the shelter by a neighbor, was clearly recently pregnant so staff returned to the neighborhood to search for her kittens. All together again, they were sent to my kitten room and Francie became my first mom. Their periodic table names have mostly been shortened from their given names of Francisium, Argon, Zirconium, Einsteinium, and Tungsten.

The kittens were old enough to be weaned at the time they arrived but they were quite skittish around humans while their mama was not, so she was sent along with them in hopes that they’d learn from her friendliness towards humans. While she was a great mom, Francie was clearly ready to move on from motherhood and didn’t seem to enjoy being contained in a single room after a lifetime of outdoor freedom so she was returned to the shelter after two weeks to be spayed and put up for adoption.

The four kittens remain in the kitten room, becoming more trusting every day and inching past the pound-and-a-half mark on their way to a solid two pounds.