Always glad to talk about fostering.
A long-time owner of pets and donor to the Capital Humane Society, Colleen Seymour is a retired teacher who got interested in fostering homeless animals because of a colleague. She has fostered over 100 cats and kittens since she started in July 2017. Her most recent fostering involved a mother cat and two kittens.
ALLISON: What are the highs of being a pet foster?
COLLEEN: The highs of being a foster is socializing the cats and kittens so that they will be adopted into their furever home.
ALLISON: What are the lows of being a pet foster?
COLLEEN: Cleaning the cat box, cleaning up messes, medication, expense ( the humane society will give you cat food, etc, but I usually donate it).
ALLISON: Share some memorable moments.
COLLEEN: Several memorable moments come to mind. One, a thunderstorm blew open a window and flooded the room some kittens were in. Two, a kitten disappeared and it took half an hour to find out that he’d climbed into a freezer. Three, a scared mama who escaped into an uncovered vent in the ceiling until she finally returned to feed her kittens. Fourth, kittens tried to nurse off my male ragdoll cat. Last, my golden retriever making sure she could find some foster kittens. I think she actually counted them!
ALLISON: Do you stay in contact with any of the adopters? If so, what are some memorable follow-ups? If not, why?
COLLEEN: Some of my kittens have been adopted by my sister-in-law, my sister, or by friends. All of those cats are in good homes and doing fine.
ALLISON: What have you learned about pet care from fostering homeless animals?
COLLEEN: The most important thing I have learned from fostering is that it makes a difference. Foster pets are more loving and have a better chance of being a forever pet. They’re more likely to be adopted when people come in and hold them because they’ll purr or let you hold and pet them. Two of my fosters that were on 1011 news the other day for at least five minutes let the host of the show hold them. I’ve also learned that patience with the most nervous cats and kittens and kindness can gain trust. Oh, and I’ve learned how to spot illnesses, give medication, and administer an IV.
ALLISON: What are some tips for other fosters?
COLLEEN: One tip would be: make sure you have a suitable “kitty room”. No carpet!
ALLISON: What are other ways ones can help homeless animals?
COLLEEN: Do not ignore strays. A stray can also be taken to a vet for a microchip check. Stray cats can be trapped them and brought to the Capital Humane Society to be spayed or neutered.
Whenever possible, educate about overpopulation. It is NOT okay to let that dog or cat have a litter so your children can experience it. People also need to understand that dogs need a lot of attention. They need to pick a breed that suits their life style. Dogs are social animals and need to be with people. Cats also develop bonds with people.
ALLISON: Why should others foster?
COLLEEN: These cats and kittens are in a very stressful environment at a shelter. When you foster you give them a chance to become healthy and loving, so that they’ll be adopted.
For anyone who is interested in fostering through Capital Humane Society, volunteers are needed to provide foster care for a variety of reasons including:
- A mother cat or dog that needs a quiet place to nurse her litter
- Kittens that need to gain weight before they can be spayed or neutered
- A shy dog or cat in need of socialization
- Dogs or cats that need a course of medication for respiratory illness
- Dogs or cats recovering from a surgical procedure
- Cats or dogs available for adoption but do better outside of the shelter environment
In 2015, over 85 different foster parents for the Capital Humane Society helped prepare 380+ homeless animals for adoption. The Capital Humane Society is always looking for new foster parents to better help the animals in its care. Fostering may last anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the pet’s needs. As part of the program, CHS provides fosters with all needed supplies including food, litter, and medications. For more information, check out this page: CHS foster care.