For the past couple of months, I have been fostering kittens. There’s 4 of them, two brothers and two sisters. One of the boys is all black and has huge paws. The other boy has double thumbs on each front paw. One of the girls is mostly black with long fur, and the other girl is the perfect little black and white cat. And as expected, they are all adorable.
How to Foster Kittens
I thought it would appropriate to write a post about kitten fostering since this is a cat blog. As I type this, one of them is trying to chew on my laptop charging cable. Kittens like to chew on everything.
Believe it or not, there is a bit more than just bringing them home and letting them loose. Below are some things to consider if you want to foster a kitten.
Foster Home for Kittens – How to Set It Up
The first thing you need to do is set up some dedicated space for the kittens. You don’t want them running all over the house. They are tiny, and it’s easy to lose them. Also, it’s easy for them to get stuck in places. You’d be surprised just how small of a hole or space they can wriggle into if they want to explore something.
Mine got the office. It was big enough for them while they were still very tiny and kept them safe.
Although they couldn’t jump at first, I did go through and put anything heavy or breakable in a box. Eventually, they will make that jump and knock something over.
Anything with a cord was either unplugged and removed or the cables tucked away where they couldn’t chew them. Picture frames and glass items also got packed up. I tried to make the room as free of excess stuff as possible.
Kitten Sized Essentials
Kittens are not cats, yet. Therefore they need stuff for kittens. Here a few of the basics to have on hand if you are going to foster a kitten.
Litter Box for Kittens
I had a couple of small litter boxes already. The other option is to use a small box with low edges. I found a Fancy Feast case box is the perfect size and short enough for them to get in and out of. It also made for easy cleanup since I could just empty the box and recycle it. I have a stash of boxes, so I used them.
Water & Food Bowls
For feeding them, instead of getting little bowls, I used small cat food plates. Small paper plates work too, but the only drawback is they don’t stay in place well. I did like the convenience of being able just to toss them out when dinner was over.
As for a water bowl, I found the opposite true. I started with a small bowl and upgraded to a large, heavier bowl because they were constantly spilling the water everywhere. When I switched to the larger bowl, I didn’t fill it as high and there was less water mess.
Also as a tip, I put the water bowl on a tray with an absorbent pad under it to help contain the water they spilled every day. Here are a few options. I’d suggest a heavier ceramic bowl over the light weight stainless steel ones because you want to make it harder for them to tip it over.
The main thing with toys is you want to be sure there are not loose pieces that can be chewed off since as mentioned above, kittens love to chew stuff. My cats have always loved these soft catnip toys and the kittens did too.
–>Warning: No String Toys
Also, no toys with strings. It’s okay to play with them with one of those string toys, but don’t leave it behind when you’re done playing. Take the toy out of the room and put it away where your kittens and cats are not able to get to it.
I almost had a kitten strangle herself when she got the string wrapped around her neck and the stick lodged under a chair. It was scary, and from that day on I have preached this message. Luckily, I was sitting right there when it happened, and she started screaming. I was able to get it off of her, but she was struggling to breathe and clawing me.
Best Kitten Food – Royal Canin & Purina Pro Plan
Cat food is not kitten food. You should feed them age appropriate food. If you go the to market or a pet food store, you will be able to find food labeled for kittens. Read the labels and buy the food based on your cat’s age.
I give my cats and kittens both wet and dry food. Be sure you get the wet and dry food for kittens. I went with the Purina Pro Plan and Royal Canin wet food which is a bit more expensive but found the best prices on Amazon.
The kittens seemed to prefer the Royal Canin to the Purina, and liked the thin slices Royal Canin better than the loaf. So just like people, the kittens also preferred the more expensive options.
Of the Purina flavors, they like the chicken and liver flavor better than the seafood one but you can try a variety pack to see which one yours like the best.
Here’s the bags of dry kitten food I got for my fosters:
Taking in a foster kitten is a rewarding experience. It is hard not to get attached to them. Kittens need extra attention, and you should be aware this is a time commitment too. It’s more than just feeding them and scooping a litter box.
One thing I also did was I set up a pet cam so I could check in on them when I was at work or out. I had a pet cam that let you talk to them and play with a laser too. The pet cam gave me peace of mind that they were safe and it was entertaining too.
The pet cam kept a connection for me, but you still need to spend in person time with them too. Foster kittens need activity, so you need to go into the foster experience with the expectation you will be spending time with them and playing with them every day.