Why You Should Consider Fostering
By Melina Guth
We’ve successfully adopted out over 50 cats in our time fostering, above are a few of our previous fosters. Source: The Guth family
Millions of stray cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals that do not belong in the wild are living amongst us in our cities and towns across the country without anywhere to go or proper resources to survive. Of these millions, an estimated 58 million stray cats in the United States roam about our streets.
You can help lower that number and change the lives of these feline friends by opening up your home to them where they will be sheltered and taken care of, but most importantly, loved. This is called fostering! When you foster an animal, you allow them to experience life outside of a shelter environment and relish in the comfort of a home setting until they are able to go to their forever homes.
To get started with fostering, reach out to your local shelters to see if they have any foster programs available. Shelters across America are constantly being overwhelmed by strays or “unwanted” animals. The sad reality is, not all of these animals are afforded a chance at life as some shelters have to resort to euthanization or rejection when their numbers are too high. Disclaimer, every shelter has different policies so make sure you do your research beforehand as not all shelters turn to these alternatives.
My family has been able to rescue, rehabilitate, and adopt out many cats in the past two years that we’ve been fostering. We’ve had our highs and lows, experienced success and loss but that is about what’s expected when you’re dealing with life as fragile as a newborn kitten’s. “I like being a part of a nonprofit that does change animal and human lives,” Nina Guth said. Our host shelter, Small Miracles Cat and Dog Rescue, has been amazing in providing us with medication for our ill fosters and necessary operations.
The cats we receive from Small Miracles are cared for and looked after by everyone involved, from those at the shelter to the fosters at home. We are able to watch not only our furry friends grow, but we too are able to take valuable lessons from what we do.
“I think letting them go to their forever home is bittersweet or letting go of one that you really wanted to keep. You do see stories that do not have a happy ending,” Nina Guth continued. Sudden and serious illnesses such as Fading Kitten Syndrome (FKS) unfortunately claim the lives of a few vulnerable kittens each year. There isn’t much we can do all the time, sadly.
We all cope with loss differently and throughout this time, we learn that life truly is fragile and not to be taken for granted. Every animal is deserving of a life where they may know kindness, warmth, and care.
Giving away the kittens after having seen them grow up and get strong, develop different personalities and find their way into our hearts isn’t easy. Especially the kittens that took a little more TLC than the others.
We’ve seen some pretty miraculous things while fostering. Fanta, one of our past foster cats who was mother to four of her own kittens, gracefully adopted an orphaned litter of nine kittens. She helped nurse these kittens, most of which had health problems, back to health and provided them with love that only a mother could give her babies. All 14 cats went to loving homes.
You too will see great things from these animals if you so choose to foster as no experience, no two homes or families are the same. That is what makes fostering special, you are able to help mold an animal’s individuality and outlook on the world. But, most importantly, you will help save lives.