Do you love spending time with cats and kittens, but aren't sure you're ready for a lifetime commitment to a furry friend? The Carroll County Humane Society is currently searching for homeowners to house foster kittens in the Carroll County area.
According to Karen Baker, director of volunteer and foster services, the foster program is an essential part of the Humane Society's mission, allowing young kittens a space to grow and develop away from the stresses and communicable diseases of the shelter situation. Foster kitten volunteers are paired with animals corresponding to their experience levels, from lone kittens that need to be bottle fed, to a mother cat with kittens, to kittens that have already been weaned.
The kittens remain in the foster home until they weigh 3 pounds or are 3 months old and are ready for the spay and neuter process.
"We don't have cage space for all the animals," Baker said. "You're saving lives by giving us space for more cats and kittens."
Baker said kittens are particularly susceptible to diseases when living in close quarters, and getting them into a stress-free environment like a home away from the shelter is vital to their health and future adoptability through socialization. Kittens are often moved to foster homes within 24 hours of being taken to the shelter. During that day, they are vaccinated, given a B12 injection to boost their immunity, are wormed, and are treated for fleas and ticks.
Once in foster care, the Humane Society provides all medical treatment, food, bedding and litter for the young kittens. The foster family is responsible for bringing the kitten in every three weeks for check-ups.
"It's basically just important to have a place in the home where you can keep them safe," Baker said. "Make sure you can dedicate time to socialize them, and give them the love and care they need."
Lydia Hoover, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, has fostered three litters for the Humane Society over the past year. She said it's been a thrill to be a part of these kittens' lives. Hoover said that even though she hasn't spent time with kittens since her childhood, it's been easy to help take care of these shelter kittens.
"It doesn't take a lot of time. Even if you work full-time, you have the time to do this," Hoover said. "I commute to Baltimore and work as an attorney, and at the end of the day, I still have the energy to foster kittens."
There are currently more than 130 kittens in foster homes around the area, and 30 more in the shelter who need foster homes. To participate in the program, contact Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://hscarroll.org/foster.