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May 22, 2019

Diary of a Kitten Foster Parent

Kitten Foster

Here is a day in the life of Sydney, one of our kitten foster parents. She is currently fostering two kittens, Morty and Tank. This is what her average day is like!

Morning

  1. Food prep: First I make the kittens’ food for the day. My kittens each eat about half a can of wet food a day right now since they have both graduated from nursing and being bottle-fed. I mix their wet food with a couple tablespoons of water, a handful of chopped spinach and half a carrot. Everything is put into a blender and mixed until mostly liquified with some chunks.
  2. Weigh-in: The kittens are weighed every morning before they eat. This is to ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight. The goal is to get them to gain enough weight so they can be neutered. Then they’ll be ready for adoption.
  3. Feeding: I do the first feeding of the day. After cleaning food bowls, this is the first round of gruel.
  4. Cleanup: Most kittens are messy and will get food and fecal matter all over the place. Generally, the older they get, the cleaner they are. Sometimes this step includes a quick bath or cleaning with a warm wash rag for the really messy ones. You can also use disposable grooming wipes. Luckily my two kittens are fairly clean so this step isn’t too time-consuming.
  5. Playtime: All the time is playtime with kittens, but it’s a good idea to help them get out some of that kitten energy right away in the morning.

Afternoon

  1. Naptime: If kittens aren’t playing, eating or making a mess, they are sleeping. They nap all day long throughout the day.
  2. Playtime: Kittens have usually a 30-minute play fest amongst themselves. I watch adoringly.
  3. Feeding: I leave food out for them all day so they eat when they’re hungry.
  4. Cleanup: I clean up any poop or food that has been spread around.
  5. Naptime: See above.
  6. Playtime: See above.
  7. Feeding: See above.
  8. Cleanup: See above.

This cycle repeats several times each day.

Evening

  1. Weigh-in: First step in the evening is another weigh-in. After the last nap before about 7 p.m., I weigh them again to see the weight change throughout the day.
  2. Feeding: I feed them the second batch of gruel, which they eat throughout the night.
  3. Cleanup: I do a deep clean in the evening. I clean the litter box, change bedding (towels), disinfect the food area and floor and give baths or wipe-downs for messy kittens if needed.
  4. Playtime: I let the kitties exercise and get out some of their endless energy so maybe they’ll be quiet while I sleep.
  5. Snuggle time: if you’re lucky they might want to cuddle, but they’re cats sooooo…

This was my schedule back when the kittens needed to be bottle-fed:

  1. Feeding: Feedings take place every two hours, day and night. Bottles are filled with KMR (kitten milk replacer) mixed with warm water. You must reheat the mixture from the fridge for every feeding by heating the mixture in a pot of boiling water, then letting it cool to the correct lukewarm temperature for their little tummies.
  2. Bathroom: Bottle-fed baby kittens can’t use the bathroom on their own. Their mamas have to stimulate their bowels by licking them. So while you feed the baby with the bottle, you stroke their face and backs with a toothbrush to mimic being cleaned by their mama. Then you use a warm washcloth to gently message their groin area until they do their business. Then use a clean section of the rag to clean up any mess. Gross, I know.

Kittens are helpless and control your whole life. But it’s so much fun and so rewarding!