How to Successfully Prepare Your Foster Kittens for Adoption
A proper diet and socialization with humans and other animals will help prepare your previously wild foster kittens for their new lives as spoiled house cats. Here's how to turn your wild and feisty foster kittens into the perfect cuddly pets.
Foster Kitten Sweetie Pie
Fostering kittens for the first time can be a daunting task, but you will soon find that often it is easier than you expect. Kittens that are too young to be adopted and who no longer have their mother caring for them need some tender love and care to get them healthy and socialized so they can be adopted out. The two main areas you need to worry about when fostering kittens are diet and socialization/behavior.
Proper Kitten Diet
Kittens have different needs based on their age. Most rescues or shelters that you would foster for will provide you with the necessary food for your kittens. Unless your shelter specializes in helping neonatal kittens (newborn to 4 weeks), you will likely not be dealing with bottle feeding.
The main goal of feeding kittens is to get them to a weight of 2 pounds, which is the minimum weight to spay or neuter them. Once a kitten is old enough and big enough to be fixed, they will likely soon be put up for adoption. There are a couple of different ways you can help your kittens reach this goal weight.
Kitten Diet Elements:
- Wet food: Recently weaned kittens are likely not completely ready for dry food, so wet food is a good transition food. Wet food should be of a variety that's made specifically for kittens.
- Dry food: Some kittens will quickly take to dry food which makes the entire process easier for you!
- Nutri-Cal supplement: For kittens who aren't putting on weight as quickly as they should be, there is a high-calorie supplement that you can give to your kittens twice a day.
With kittens, since the goal is to help them gain weight, you don't have to worry about overeating. Dry food should be left out at all times and wet food can and should be given multiple times a day. Supplement with the Nutri-Cal in addition to feedings if needed.
Kitten Behavior and Socialization
Someone who is looking to bring a kitten into their family is going to want a kitten they can play with, snuggle with, and who is properly litter-box trained.
Kittens may be shy or timid when you first bring them home, and even once they warm up to you, it may take some time for them to be okay around other people. When they first come into your home, it is important to give the kittens some space. The kittens will need some time to get used to their surroundings before they are ready to trust you. After they've been given a day or two to adjust, spend a little time with them. This can be done by simply sitting near where you keep them and gently petting them if they allow you to come close. Luring them out with some food on your finger also occasionally works.
Play is very important for kittens as they do need exercise. Kittens will likely play with each other, but providing them with some small toys will also help encourage play. Toys are important because it will help keep the kittens from trying to bite you while playing.
Introducing the kittens to other animals in your home should not happen until they are comfortable in the area you keep them and even then, they should always be supervised.
It may seem impossible to socialize kittens when you first bring home a feisty bunch, but with patience, you will have them purring in no time!
Giving Back Your Foster Kittens
One of the hardest parts of fostering is giving your kittens back when they are ready to be adopted. During prime kitten season, it might not be as difficult as you could very well be taking home another litter right away. Instead of feeling sad about giving back your fosters, channel your emotions into helping them find new homes. Sharing their pictures on social media can help attract attention to your kittens and the rescue or shelter you are fostering them through.
Fostering kittens can be incredibly rewarding, especially when your kittens find a new home. Remind yourself that by making your fosters available for adoption, you will be able to help even more kittens. The reward of knowing you helped animals in need always overshadows the struggles along the way.
If you are interested in fostering, contact your local animal shelter and/or rescues today!