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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Kitten season calls for caregivers: How to choose your purrfect foster

Apr 03, 2024 10:32AM ● By Jenna Kretschman

Spring marks the beginning of the busiest time of year for animal shelters—kitten season. This is a time when shelters expect a steady stream of kittens of varying ages in need of all different levels of care.

During much of spring and summer, Roice-Hurst Humane Society often has more than 100 kittens in their care at any given time—a significant undertaking only made possible by foster caregivers who open their homes to temporary feline houseguests for a couple weeks or months. 

If you’re ready for a rewarding new hobby (and want to make visits with the grandkids a lot more fun), sign up to foster! No matter your lifestyle, you’re likely to find a purrfect foster match. Plus, most animal shelters provide all necessary supplies and veterinary care for foster pets, so there’s no cost involved for you! 

Bottle Babies 

Bottle babies are young kittens between 0 to 4 weeks old who have been separated from their mother and require a human to perform all their care duties, including bottle-feeding and keeping them clean and warm. These babies need around-the-clock care, so those who have flexible schedules and nurturing spirits make an ideal match. It’s a worthwhile labor of love! 

Mama Cats and Babies

While fostering a mama cat and babies, your role is that of a caring supervisor. You’ll take care of mom so she can do what she does best, and you’ll help monitor and socialize the kittens as they grow older. This is the perfect situation for people who work during the day or can’t regularly provide care overnight. 

Weaned Kittens 

These kittens are about 6 weeks or older and can eat and use the litter box independently. They’re basically miniature cats! Weaned kittens are usually close to adoption age and therefore require shorter foster stays, so this is a great situation for those who travel often or can’t commit to more than a couple weeks of fostering at a time. All they need is a safe place to sleep and play until they’re ready to find new families!

Under-socialized Kittens 

Many kittens arriving at shelters are born outdoors to community cats and have likely never met a human before. The prime age for transforming wild kittens into affectionate house cats is between 5-10 weeks. If you would find it rewarding to show a kitten what love is for the very first time, take on one of these spirited kittens as your next project!

Medical Kittens

Some kittens require extra care to overcome a medical challenge. If you have a heart for treating the ill and injured, and perhaps have experience in the veterinary or human medical fields, you may have a knack for fostering medical kittens.

Adult Cats

Let’s not forget about the grown-up kitties looking for love! During kitten season, adult cats spend more time in shelters. By fostering an adult cat, you give them a more comfortable place to wait for their new family to find them. If you would be content to trade a warm lap for calm companionship, consider fostering an adult cat.


Finally, if cats just aren’t your thing, foster a shelter dog! 

Where can I foster?