Monday, May 21, 2012

My Foster Kittens

The Foster Room
Last week, I spent some time clearing out my large closet in my art studio. This closet is special because it has plenty of space and two giant sliding doors, making it an ideal space for foster pets to live. The only issue I was having is keeping my own pets out of the foster's space while allowing them to continue with their normal daily routine, which includes spending plenty of time with me while I work. 

So, after some debating, I decided to replace one of the sliding doors with a screen door, so the fosters have plenty of ventilation, but are kept at a safe distance from my own pets. This solution has worked like a charm! Our first residents to the kitten room, Mason and Muru are really enjoying their play space and my pets are having a great time watching them from a safe distance! 

Mason and Muru, the first residents of my new foster room!

Mason and Muru are litter-mates that were brought into the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter on 5.12.2012 and are about 5 weeks old right now. They are quite attached to each other and LOVE to wrestle and play! I am being thoroughly entertained by these two little ones!

Mason and Muru are not the first, nor the last kittens that have been invited into my home. 
Muru talking up a storm!
I first began volunteering with local rescue organizations when I was 16 and since have fostered countless litters of kittens (my favorite animal to foster) as well as puppies, adult dogs and cats and even a few turtles and lizards! Fostering is an easy way to help out the shelter system. Not only does it free up space at the shelter to allow more pets to be saved, it gets these little ones out of the shelter environment where they might be exposed to illnesses that their little bodies can't fight off. 

As a foster parent, I am able to see these little ones turn into little cats as they learn their own skills, such as jumping, chasing each other and learning boundaries. These two are already showing off their social side and are really enjoying cuddles and love from anyone that stops by for a visit! As soon as I show up, both are at their kennel door and are purring so loudly I can hear them across the room! 
Mason and Muru showing off their stylish sweaters!
Unfortunately, one small issue with kittens is that they really are just babies and don't realize that there are things they do that can hurt them. These two in particular are dry-nursing on each other. Dry-nursing typically starts to happen when kittens have been separated from their mother too early (in this case, we don't know where mom was as the kittens were a public drop off after being found as strays). The kittens will start to nurse on anything they can, including each other. Muru has particularly been sucking on Mason's back, where he is beginning to lose some of his fur. I have applied a variety of kitten-safe bittering sprays with no help, so I had to get creative to keep them from nursing on each other... so, now I created some cute new kitten sweaters! These little sweaters are made from small ankle socks with 3 holes cut into them for the kitten's head and front legs to go through. The kittens weren't terribly excited with their new styles, but they aren't suckling each other any longer! 

Mason and Muru are a great little pair of fosters and I am happy to open up my home to them for the next two weeks, until they are old enough to be neutered and have their next round of kitten boosters! My fingers are crossed that they are snatched up and adopted the moment that they are available, until then, I will enjoy my time as their temporary mom and continue to get lots of kitten love! :-)
Sweet little Mason cuddled up on his bed!
Stephanie Conrad
The Pet Studio | Owner | Artist

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