It’s spring and that means kitten season has arrived. I don’t have any fosters yet, but there are local bottle babies growing and learning how to kitten. Last year was very strange because I was kept in reserve for my unique skill set … all year.
While I wasn’t actively fostering, I wasn’t idle. I read extensively and worked on filling in gaps in my knowledge. I’d had a few very tough cases in 2019 and wanted to better understand felines so I could help them. Dot and Shadow benefited from what I learned and were showered with even more love and attention this past year.
I’ve begun to organize all my kitten resources at pennyshima.com/kittens. At the moment it’s still in its early stages, right now it’s mostly links to resources I find helpful as well as several articles I’ve written. In the future I hope to include some of the forms created to help me manage my kittens and also a photo album of the kittens I’ve worked with over the years.
Following are two reviews of resources I found incredibly helpful. The first is a course that teaches you how to be a more effective and beneficial volunteer with animals in a shelter system and many lessons can be applied to fostering situations. The second is a book that I was initially hesitant to read but I’m thrilled to be able to recommend it.
As a volunteer with the Humane Society of Westchester at New Rochelle, I qualified to take the Fear Free Shelters Course. It is geared primarily to working with animals in a shelter environment and covers both dogs and cats. The lessons covers how to assess the emotional state of animals in your care and ways to reduce stress.
Since I had limited felines to work with to practice my newfound skills, I applied what I learned and Dot gained the confidence to curl up and nap in my lap. We both may have gained some weight from all the treats we used as I learned this training method.
Now I’ve pulled out my notes as I begin to anticipate being around strange people once we get vaccinated.
Tiny But Mighty
by Hannah Shaw
I’m hesitant of any book that has a considerable amount of hype. This title was no exception, I follow Shaw and her partner on Instagram. Yes, she’s The kitten lady, but would this actually be a helpful book?
This is the book I wish I had the afternoon we brought our first group of five adorable kittens home for socialization. So much has changed since 2013; the amount of resources that are widely available is remarkable.
This book covers everything you need to know to help kittens. Chapters include explanation of development stages, ways to treat diseases (tip: find a medical professional), TNR programs, how to result in a successful adoption, ways to prevent compassion fatigue (burnout), and of course lots about poop. It’s well organized and there are example kitten stories to help you learn that you’re not alone in navigating this often scary world of helping kittens in need. I enjoyed listening to the audiobook while snuggling Dot.
This is a great book I highly recommend for those curious about fostering and want to know everything first, for those getting started and want a resource you can read to your kittens, and for experienced fosterers — I’m sure you’ll learn something, I did!