Dustbunny, Septra, Lord Pounce, Lady Whiskers, and Hearty are visiting us from our local Humane Association. They were weaned from their mother the moment they were lifted out of her enclosure and into our carrier, but they've been solid food champs from the beginning, they're darn good with the litter box as long as the girls remember to change it every morning...
...Oh, and we love them a lot:
But being babies, they're also lively and playful and fun and just stinkin' adorable and they make us so happy:
Our jobs as foster parents are not just to keep the kittens in fresh food and clean water and to change their litter, but also to socialize them to family life. By the time they're ready to go back to the Humane Association for neutering and adoption, they should be disciplined about their litter box, they should know that biting and scratching humans is unacceptable, they should be comfortable with as many different types of people and animals and noises and environments as we can introduce them to, they should welcome human affection, and they should be very, very, very used to being handled:
We've got that part nailed down already, don't you think?
We always love our foster kittens so much. We're their first family, in a life in which we hope they'll only need one other, and even knowing that we'll be giving them back in a month, we love them wholeheartedly. And more than all the training, all the discipline, all the discouragement from scratching our hands or pooping on our carpets, it's that background of being so loved (as well as their luck in being cute little kittens) that is our gift to them, that gives us hope that when we send them back and they're left to negotiate the world without us, they'll be okay.
Huh. Not terribly far off from raising kids, is it?
P.S. If you're curious, this is why we choose to foster kittens.