Many of us wish we had the money and space to rescue more animals. But even if you win the lottery, a large rescue can cost millions of dollars a year in housing, staff to clean up after and feed the animals, medical expenses, and marketing. But there is a way to get involved without spending millions, and that's fostering. If you work with a large rescue, most (if not all) of the food and medical expenses involved are covered by the rescue. Some of us are born with the heart but aren't blessed with the funds to do this on our own. And this is our window to help.
Fostering is such a rewarding experience. When you foster kittens younger than 6 weeks, you care for them while they are too little to even feed themselves. You wake up every 2 hours to give them a bottle. You watch them grow. You follow them around with your camera snapping thousands of pictures. You may even see them overcome illness. But sometimes, sadly, you may have to help them cross the Rainbow Bridge. No matter who you are, you will undoubtedly fall in love with your foster kittens. It's so hard to let go. And every once in a while, you will probably end up keeping one.
But did you know you can also foster special needs adult cats? For a rescue, finding a foster family for a special needs cat is beyond valuable. It saves on expenses of paying staff to take care of their special needs. And it means that cat doesn't have to spend months, or even years, living in a confined space. No one gets into rescue because they want to watch animals live in cages. But the reality is when people come to adopt a cat, they often ask for the "cuddly" cat, or the ones with no medical issues, or in most cases, the kittens. These kitties may spend the rest of their life at the rescue. Having photos and videos of these cats living in a happy foster home is worth more than I can even put into words to a rescue. The information gathered on their habits in your home cannot be gathered in confinement and will help get them adopted. Your heart will probably break when you have to say goodbye, but there are always more special needs kitties that need your love.
No matter what age you decide to foster, your love and commitment to care for them until they find a forever family is going to make a huge difference in the rescue community. Without foster parents, some rescues could not even continue running.
So what are you waiting for? Schedule an appointment with your local shelter today!
Written by Shawna Marie Markov