A Pet Foster for Capital Humane Society

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.

Adventures in Fostering: Love Letter to Onyx

Dear Onyx,

Thank you for coming into our lives. You’ve brought us many happy moments. We love how affectionate and playful you are. Now that you’re healthy, you’re also starting to explore and show your unique quirks, which is equally fun to see.

From the moment we first held you at the Capital Humane Society, we knew that you had lots of love to give. Yes, you might have clung to us out of fear, but you also kissed me with your tiny tongue. When we finally got to bring you home, it didn’t take long before you wanted to touch our hair, our fingers, our toes. You’ve always wanted physical contact and that makes you very endearing to us. Now that you know us, you’ll run up to us or flop on the floor to ask for tummy rubs. You’ve even climbed on my keyboard and pushed the pages of a book I’m reading to get me to focus on you. When we pick you up, you no longer cling to us out of fear, but now instead you snuggle on our laps, our tummies, our chests. And there you purr up a storm of content. You’re super cute when you stretch out your paws to touch us. You are a love.

How impressive is it that even when you were sick, you proved yourself an escape artist? Just three days after we brought you home, you wriggled out of the side of your crate when you heard me fixing breakfast. Within a week, although you had started gaining weight you still weren’t having solid stools, but you were determined to climb onto the guest room bed. I underestimated how fast you’d figure that out. One minute you were on the floor and I was arranging blankets in your crate, the next minute you were on the bed and I was watching to see how you did it. I finally figured out that you were scrambling up the sheets. One of my favorite things is when you play hide-and-seek. You wrap yourself around a bed post, peek your head out to catch my attention, and then duck it back when you see me. And then there’s your latest trick, that of trying to run away when you don’t want to get caught, especially at bedtime.

In that first week after we brought you home, you showed so little interest in food and toys that more than once we thought we were going to lose you. We even took you to our vet. I raised the possibility of “failure to thrive”. Our vet immediately dismissed the idea. No, you weren’t well. But you also had spunk. And you showed it during our visit. You kept wanting to jump off the exam table. We finally put you on the floor, where you promptly tried to eat dirt off the floor. You wouldn’t eat kitten food, but you’d eat dirt! That’s some weird logic. But we didn’t care, because then you started to play with some dog leashes that were hanging from a hook. We had never seen you play before. It didn’t take long before you were playing with all kinds of things. Some of them we’d rather you wouldn’t, such as my pencils and papers. Others we’re more than happy to let you have, such as soft balls, plush mice, and wand toys.

Time passes so quickly. In just another couple of weeks, we’ll be looking for an adopter for you. We’ll be happy-sad to let you go. The moments we’ve shared with you have been priceless. But you’re also going to fill your adopters’ lives with happy moments. Little Bat Girl, we wish you the best life.

Love, your pet foster parents.