Did you know that June is Foster a Pet Month? Dr. Taia Lubitz has been a faithful foster and champion for animal adoption for many years. Her insight and personal experience with foster programs provide a great testimonial for anyone interested in getting started as an animal foster.
Life is always better with kittens around!
I find that fostering these fun-loving creatures creates rewarding experiences for my family. It’s a great way to do a little bit of good for the world and teach our daughter some valuable lessons along the way. The reward for all of us is that we get a lot of love, in return. As a family, we’ve fostered adult single dogs, a pregnant dog, puppies, kittens, and even goats. Over the years, we have found that the best fit for our household is neonatal kitten fostering. Our first foster kitten was a bottle baby dropped off by a good samaritan at Manchaca Village Vet Care in 2017. Once she was off to her permanent home, we were hooked and wanted more!
Currently, we are fostering four kittens. This litter brings our fostering total to forty. When we started this fostering journey, we were concerned that it would be too hard to say goodbye to our fosters once they were adopted. We were especially concerned about our daughter’s reaction to letting go of the kittens because she was very young at the time. The first experience of saying goodbye to our foster kitten was a little difficult–you get attached! However, the joy of seeing little “Moonshine” find her forever home was a good lesson for all of us. It felt wonderful to see her go to a good home and taught us a lot about the joy that comes with giving of yourself to help others.
Why is fostering important?
Animal adoption does some good in the world by helping to control the pet population. Millions of pets are euthanized each year to find more space in shelters. Fostering helps to take some pressure off of the shelters for space. Fostering is also beneficial for the pets. Pets in foster can receive extra attention and care because they have a dedicated person or family looking after them. This can help greatly with socialization, especially if the foster home has children and other pets. One of the best parts of fostering is discovering the personality of each pet so that they can be matched with the best person possible. Some kittens, for example, are more playful than others and would shine in homes with kids and other pets. Others have personalities more suited for less crowded households. Fostering allows true pet personalities to come out in a way that a shelter environment cannot provide.
Get involved with animal fostering!
If you have an interest in fostering or adopting a cat, Central Texas and Austin, in particular, is a great place to be. Rescue groups exist for both cats and dogs of all breeds and ages. Our family fosters through Austin Pets Alive, but there are other groups such as Austin Animal Center, Austin Siamese Rescue, and the Austin Humane Society. One nice part of feline fostering through Austin Pets Alive is that their program is extremely flexible, which works well for us. Bottle babies can be more demanding on time (and so cute!) but there are older kittens and adult cats that need a temporary space until they find their permanent homes. As a foster, I can attest that the process is very gratifying! An extra bedroom, or even a bathroom, is all it takes to get started, along with supplies. Our foster babies start out in the tub, then graduate to the entire bathroom, then the bedroom, then the entire first floor. If you are not sure where to start, but want to foster, most organizations provide education and vet care. All you need to provide the food, TLC, and love. If you have a heart to help the pet population, I highly recommend fostering. There is truly nothing like it!