Kittens – The good, the bad and the downright ugly side of being a foster mum

“I wish I could foster kittens. They are so cute! Must be the best job ever”.
The lady who told me this looked so excited when she said it and I thought to myself – if you only knew…

If you knew about the hourly feeds.
The agony to watch a kitten suffer and only be able to make it comfortable knowing that you have done all you can to save it but failed.
The heartbreak to add another dead kitten to the list knowing that it could have prevented if everyone just had their cats neutered.
The endless hours of cleaning litter trays and feed bowls.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not all bad. Seeing those that do make it go to their forever homes makes it all worth it, even though it does break the foster mum’s heart just a little bit every time to see them go. And to hear that feral kitten go from spitting and hissing to purrrrrrring when you pick him up – melts your heart with love and pride.

I spoke to Shona, one of Hallswoods amazing kitten mums, and she is a special person doing what she does. I asked her, so how many kittens have there been this year, thinking maybe 10 or 11 would be the answer. Instead, there was 33.
33 kittens and that is just with one foster mum.
33 kittens in desperate need of help and that is just in 4 months.

Let that sink in a bit.

There was the three found at a building site only 3-5 days old and mother cat nowhere to be seen.
Sadly two of them were too damaged to survive and the genetic defects they were born with took their lives. The one left is living with Shona as it can’t be adopted out due to medical needs.

Then there were the four premature babies. Sadly none of these made it.
Again due to genetic defects.

After that came four babies found close to our shop in Mile X.
They all looked good at a glance but 3/4 had internal maggot issues due to fly strike.
The mother cat was found close to kittens dead probably due to complications giving birth.
One little girl was too damaged and died despite both Lyz and Shona spending hours trying to remove all the maggots. The upside to the story is the three boys who are now in their new homes.

Then there was the kitten brought to Shona from another rescue. Weighed only 58 grams (should be around 100 grams). Now weighs about 600 grams, is around 10 weeks old and ready for adoption.
Followed by two kittens from a litter of five, born prematurely. Mother cat didn’t survive the operation and the surviving kittens were brought to us. When kittens are ready they are going to a loving home.

Then another three from another rescue. Two survived and are now ready for adoption.

Then four feral kittens brought from another rescue for socialising. Now not feral at all and ready for homes.
Four more feral kittens from another rescue. These four were in danger to be put to sleep because no rescues had room for them. Now ready for homes.
Another two kittens found one week apart outside a supporters home, dumped by someone. Both now in loving homes.
And two more dumped by a road in the middle of the night. Both terrified and needed socialising. Both now in loving homes.
And then another two feral girls trapped at a farm. Approx 6 weeks old and in need of socialising.
Last but not least two feral boys brought to us from a vet. Now getting socialised and then they will be ready for adoption.

This is the story about one of our kitten mums.
This is between May and now. 4 months.

It is not all fluffy kittens, catnip cuddles and purrrrfect little bundles of joy.
And that is why it takes a special person to be a kitten rescuer.
Thank you for what you do – and shame on the world that you have to.

xx Maria

PS. Are you interested in adopting a cat or kitten from us?
Why not pop over to our event on the 9th of September in Hellesdon High School and have a chat with Lyz and Shona.
Home checks will be made and we base our adoptions on suitability rather than colour so please no PMs with “I want a ginger kitten to complete my set” (yes. We did get an email like that…)

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