Lovable kitten’s short-term stay gets longer

Normally when I write about my personal fostering experiences, it’s about the puppies that I take home. Truth be told, I prefer fostering kittens over puppies for the following reasons:They do not feel the need to put everything in their sight line in their mouths.They do not chew on chair legs, drywall, flooring or other permanent fixtures in the house.They do not require eight weeks of 24/7 monitoring in order to keep them from doing serious harm to themselves.They do not scream at the top of their lungs for hours on end when the lights go out for the night.They don’t need to be bathed every other day.And, most importantly, they don’t leave me little “presents” or puddles every 10 seconds.MORE SPCA NEWS: It's raining dogs and cats at the Cumberland County SPCAIris (Photo: CCSPCA)So a couple of weeks ago, when I spotted a tiny, long-haired torti kitten lying in a cage all by herself, my love of kittens kicked in. She was beautiful in spite of the fact that she obviously was malnourished and dehydrated – two things I knew I could fix very quickly. One of our vet techs told me that her rib cage was not formed properly on one side, so I held off on taking her home for foster care until the vet saw her the next morning and could determine if this was a condition that would affect her quality of life. As it turned out, the vet said one side of her rib cage is short and curls under, which reduces her chest volume by about 25 percent, but that it is definitely something she can live with. The only issue for the kitten is that anesthesia can pose a risk. This risk factor actually cemented my intentions to foster her because I would not want to send her home with one of our volunteer foster parents and have them suffer on the outside chance that her spay surgery doesn’t go well.I took her home with me that night, and for the past two weeks I have been nursing her back to health (she is now eating four times as much as my adult cats eat in a day, and she only weighs a pound and a half!) and spoiling her rotten. I think having this risk with her spay surgery coming up makes me more determined to make her feel happy, healthy and loved. Needless to say, giving her all this extra-special attention has left me even more bonded with her than usual.Developing a bond with foster animals is inevitable, and it’s always bittersweet when they leave you for their forever homes. In this case, I knew I was setting myself up for heartache when it’s time to let her go, but I usually bounce back quickly when I see how excited and happy the adopters are as they come to pick up their new family member.FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInADOPT US! Dogs & cats at Cumberland County SPCA need a home! FullscreenBane  CCSPCAFullscreen1 of 15 Next Slide15 PhotosADOPT US! Dogs & cats at Cumberland County SPCA need a home!I’m normally fostering puppies and kittens that leave as soon as they’re 8 or 9 weeks old and can be altered. Puppies are easily adopted, and I’m usually VERY ready for them to go and pee on someone else’s floor. With the kittens, it’s much more difficult to find homes. And since they’re no trouble, I’m fine waiting for a good home for them. I knew in the case of Merida (named after Disney’s heroine princess for her bravery), I probably would have her a couple of extra weeks because she would need that extra time to grow and develop. But panic surged through my veins when I talked to the vet about the schedule for her normal kitten wellness care and her surgery … FOUR MONTHS! The vet wants to wait until she’s at least 4 months old before we spay her! She’s only 6 weeks old now, which means I have to love her for another 2½ months and then let her go!I lucked out with Amazing Grace, the last foster puppy we had. I couldn’t help but have a special bond with her because of the near-death experiences she suffered and the fact that we got her when she was just a few days old. As soon as I wrote about her, a wonderful couple came forward after reading the column, so she was on track to go to a fabulous home right from the beginning. I’m hoping that Merida, with her beautiful face and outgoing personality, also will pull on someone’s heartstrings so that she can move on to the next chapter in her little life as soon as possible.Shelter needsThe South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in Vineland seeks donations of kitten chow, A/D Diet, canned chicken, hot dogs, cheese singles, soft dog treats, litter, cat and dog toys, catnip, cat blankets, paper towels, and gift cards from grocery and pet supply stores.

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