Kittens: In-Shelter vs. Foster Care
Throughout the last four months, HSLM has already had 100+ kittens in our care; some have been born within the shelter and some have been surrendered.
Whenever possible, HSLM turns to our foster volunteers to care for newborn & young kittens in their homes for the first 10-12 weeks rather than keeping them in the shelter.
There are several reasons for this:
Kittens in foster homes are constantly around humans and therefore are typically very socialized and familiar with people. These kittens seek out human attention and are used to being handled, pet, and cuddled. In the shelter, the kittens' cages are opened once a day for a clean, change of food, water, and litter. Of course if time permits staff will spend more time with them, however, these kittens still tend to be more timid and standoffish than those raised in foster homes.
In foster homes, kittens grow up in a home environment, and therefore their transition into their adopted homes is usually fairly seamless. Kittens raised within a shelter environment typically take longer to become comfortable in adopted homes; houses can be very overwhelming compared to the cage they have lived in.
Foster volunteers work on litterbox training with the kittens starting at a young age. Typically all foster-raised kittens come back to the shelter using their litterbox without an issue. Litterbox training can be trickier to teach within the shelter. Although their instincts and mothers help, they're more prone to having accidents once adopted as they're used to having their litterboxes only a couple feet away from them in the shelter. Adopters of kittens raised in the shelter are recommended to keep them in a small room for the first couple of days, gradually introducing them to the home so they always have knowledge of where the litterbox is.
The personality traits of each individual kitten are written down throughout their stay in foster homes, which allow for more personalized adoption bio's and better matches when placing them with adopters.
Foster volunteers have been especially appreciated throughout the pandemic, as we have had to limit volunteers within the shelter. Typically our volunteers would be assisting with the socialization of the cats and kittens every day to help with their development. We are sincerely grateful to our foster volunteers who have stepped in to help us during this critical time!
Please be advised that HSLM is not currently accepting new foster volunteer applications and the kittens pictured in this e-newsletter are not available for adoption.