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06/16/2011

Guest post: “I FELL INTO A K-HOLE OF ADORABLE.” Fostering kittens for the SF SPCA RULES!  »


It’s kitten season! And when I heard the San Francisco SPCA was hurting for foster homes, I realized that duh, I need KITTENS in my FACE! I’m still sort of in the rebound period after losing my ridiculously amazing ferret six months ago (you know, where you want to borrow everyone else’s animals but aren’t ready to commit?) so a perpetual cycle of kittens and loss sounded like an awesome fix. I signed up for the next kitten-fostering class at the SPCA.

The two-hour class was taught by Alison Lane, the SPCA Foster Coordinator, who is super nice and helpful. In it, we learned:

  • Fostering saves lives. Because of foster homes, the SF SPCA is able to take in about 1,000 more kittens a year! BAM!
  • It is a lot of work. Fostering kittens requires a minimum time-commitment of two hours a day. You have to be available to take them to the SPCA for regular vaccinations and in case of emergency.
  • You need a safe, easy-to-clean kitten room away from resident animals. A bathroom is recommended for good reason (more on this later) but I’m poor and share my bathroom with five people—so my bedroom it is.
  • You keep the kittens until they weigh two pounds and can be spayed or neutered and put up for adoption. So you basically get them at the height of preciousness and socialize them to be awesome pets.
  • The SPCA gives you a surprisingly thick volunteer manual [.pdf], which conveniently doubles as a kitten calendar minus the white squares.
  • They also provide dry and wet food (Fancy Feast! These bitches eat better than me!), plus a “vegetable” scale to weigh them every day. You buy the litter box, scoop, litter and scratching post (for a total of $15.23 at the SPCA).
  • I also got my kittens blankets and snazzy toys, but you can use old towels and make your own toys. Kitten badger don’t give a fuck.

For you losers out there who can’t cut it as a freelance writer or artist and have to go to your square JOB that pays you a boring SALARY or whatever from 9 to 5, you can foster kittens, too! You just have to feed them and change their litter before you leave for work, when you first come home, and before bed. Plus they will probably liberate your employed soul, so you should totally do it!

When I got home, I emailed Alison and made an appointment to pick up my antidepressant kittens the following Saturday. I DID NOT get wasteyface the night before, but NESTED like a neurotic mama-goose cat-lady—and magically got up before noon on a Saturday to pick up my kitten babies. After a brief run-down with Alison, she brought out my kittens; Clover and Stars were two tiny, mewling, black amaze-balls, one longhair and one shorthair. I was a little bummed that if all went well, I’d only have the little bros for a week (they start you off easy), but OHMYGOSH KITTENS!

DAY ONE
THE CUTENESS IS ALMOST UNBEARABLE. I’m serious. Because like, there’s nothing to do about it. UGH! You basically get blue-balled by cuteness.

Clover and Stars are exceptionally badass cats — they’re both super playful, curious and affectionate, but I’m quickly learning their individual quirks. Like that Stars FUCKING OWNS the feather toy. And Clover asks to be picked up. AWWW!

DAY TWO
I wake up to two black kitten noses pressed against my face. I remember that Alison specifically said not to take kittens on your bed, but they jump up themselves and won’t listen to me! Besides, I love feeling LOVED!
It’s over. I’m hooked on cuteness contact high.

DAY THREE
I have officially fallen into a K-HOLE OF ADORABLE. I thought the kittens would make me more productive by keeping me in my room and on a schedule, but it’s hard to get anything done when you are anchored to a chair by an impossibly adorable purr-bomb all up in your lap and you can’t even reach your computer.

DAY FOUR

I (metaphorically) stop showering and delete my Facebook (metaphorically). Kittens are all I need now. Kittens make me happy. An anonymous kitten has a little accident on my brand-new duvet, but whatever! Kittens!
I bought them a scratching post, but they prefer my yoga matt (now destroyed). Eye shadows are hockey pucks, curtains a rock-climbing wall. I leave Stars and Clover alone longer than a few hours for the first time and return to find my beloved person-sized trout pillow soaked in urine on the floor.

But whatever, right? Kittens! Anyway, it seems they will definitely reach their goal weight by day seven, so I make an appointment to drop them off soon. Sadness.

DAY FIVE:
WHY ARE YOU PEEING ON MY BED WHEN I HAVE GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING I LOVE YOU SO MUCH WHY???!!!!?!

DAY SIX
I wake up to discover the kittens have officially started using my bed as a litter box (AKA KITTEN POOP ON MY DUVET WTF). I call Alison, who explains that I should have contacted her immediately when the kittens were having litter box issues, so they won’t learn bad habits and be returned by their families when adopted. Of course I feel shoot-me-now HORRIBLE (even though she assures me it’s fine).

I decide to cut my losses and return them a day early. I was SUPER sad to say goodbye but I think my shame softened the blow a little.

Fostering kittens is seriously effing amazing and IT SAVES LIVES and you should do it! Just don’t fuck up like me! If you have to use your bedroom, get a kitten corral or large cage for when they are unsupervised. I already got mine. BAM! That’s right; this kitten mama is coming back for more! That’s how good this shit is, man.
If you are interested in fostering kittens, please contact your local SPCA or rescue group. For information on fostering with the SF SPCA, click here. To sign up for the next foster class, email the Foster Coordinator Alison Lane at foster@sfspca.org. Do it!

UPDATE: Clover and Stars have found their forever homes! If you are interested in adopting a kitten or cat from the SPCA, click here.

Aurora Wells is a writer and artist living in San Francisco with persistent dreams and borrowed kittens. While working on her first graphic novel, she writes about death and pours shots at a dive bar. Art, animals and alliteration are some of Aurora’s favorite things. She will do pretty much anything for that vegan cookie.

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