Friday, 21 June 2013

Zelda the Super Foster Mom

Everyone thinks their pet is special. I just happen to be right. Anyone that meets my Baby Z sees it too and falls madly in love with her. Here's her encounter with two 5 day old kittens and her adventures as a foster mom...

So I have recently changed jobs (long story that will eventually be posted). I am now working at my local “no kill” animal shelter as an adoption councillor. I thought I loved my old job but I had no idea just how much I would really love doing what I do now. Part of my job is finding foster homes for animals that need special care. Some of these animals include pregnant cats and orphaned kittens. About 2 months ago while I was at work a father and daughter walked into the shelter with a shoe box. Inside that box was a litter of five 3-5 day old kittens. At first glance they looked good, clean, hydrated, and definitely not starving. I asked where they had come from and the man said that they had found them near his house. When I asked where the mother was he just shrugged and said that there was a feral cat problem in the area and he had no idea. 
I’ll just stop here to give my PSA on finding a litter of baby animals. LEAVE THEM ALONE!! If you are worried that they are in distress or that they have been abandoned please observe them for awhile to see if they truly are abandoned or if the mother was just temporarily scared off. If you touch them it doesn’t matter. She will not reject her young because they may smell like you. This is true for most animals.

That being said we now had 5 kittens that needed specialized care including being kept warm, stimulated to pee and poo and feeding every 2 hours. We got to work feeding them since we didn’t know how long they had gone without food. After that I got to work calling fosters seeing who was available to take them. Since taking care of 5 hand feeds is a ton of work for one person we planned on splitting them up. I found a foster to take the 3 girls and since I couldn’t find anyone to take the 2 boys I decided to take them home for the night and try calling around again the next day.
When I got them home I took them upstairs to get set up for the night. I guess Zelda heard them and followed me upstairs and snuck into the room with us. As I held one of the kittens preparing to feed it she heard it crying and became very distressed pacing back and forth and whining.  I allowed her to sniff him and she immediately began licking and stimulating him to go to the bathroom, something that the mother would have done.  I lifted the kitten away from her and she turned her attention to the kitten still in the carrier. She began licking him and attempted to get into the carrier with him. I realized that she was trying to take care of these kittens as she would her puppies and decided to get a larger container to put them into so that she could lay with them. She stayed with them through that night and refused to leave their side even to eat. I decided that it would be best for the kittens if I just fostered them (with Zelda’s help of course) I brought all three of them into work the next day and everyone was tickled to see a dog mothering 2 tiny kittens. The shelter president decided to call the local paper and see if they were interested in covering the story. They were and came out the next day to get photos and interview me about what happened.  Click here for the article as seen on MSN.

Zelda made a special appearance at the shelters annual volunteer appreciation BBQ as an honorary foster mom. She wore her Google Me shirt and we joked about how she was famous now. After I got home my love asked me if I had Googled her. I hadn’t so while I made dinner he showed me what he found. The article had gone viral! She was the top story on Google. She has been featured on over 10 websites and shared on countless Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. The story had spread further then I had ever imagined! From our local paper to all over the world! Click here to see the article as seen on Life With Dogs website.

The kittens are now almost ready to be vaccinated and taken to the shelter to be put up for adoption. I wish I could keep them but then I wouldn’t be able to continue to foster with Zelda. I lost an amazing cat in January and Ivan my tailless wonder had definitely missed his company. I’m sure the right cat will wander into my life at the right time but I don’t think it’s one of these kittens. Stay tuned for more of Zelda’s adventures in cross species fostering.

UPDATE: Both kittens have been adopted to their forever homes! Zelda has a new little foster a calico baby and she's doing great. Story to come soon!

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