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Fostering Felines

Annie
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Lady Bird

Pictured is cat rescuer Jennifer Johnson’s temporary foster kitten, Lady Bird. “She came with awful ringworm at two weeks old,” said Jennifer. “[She was] sent to Alaska last month for a forever family [after she became healthy].”

This month, we shared a story called Must Love Dogs with our readers about neighbors who foster homeless dogs in their homes.

In addition to dogs, cats are also in need of a temporary place from living on the streets and euthanasia in overcrowded shelters. 

Buzz resident Jennifer Johnson has been fostering cats for about two years. She saw a plea on Facebook and decided to jump in and help out. She has four cats of her own, Jeter, Captain Hook, Jose and NoNo.

She says too many kittens are being euthanized every day because of the lack of resources and foster homes. She typically has about 2-8 foster kittens or cats in her home at any given time, and fosters for Houston Pets Alive, Best Friends and the Harris County shelter. She got heavily into it after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, leaving a lot of Houston animals without a place to go.

Jennifer is in the trenches of fostering. She takes in orphaned kittens that would not be able to survive on their own. “The ones I take are typically anywhere between 10 and 21 days old and need a lot of attention,” she said. “These guys have to have our help, or they can’t make it. They often come to me very sick with respiratory infection, worms and skin issues so its most rewarding when I know they are going to [be ok]”, she said.

There have been challenging moments (but with silver linings) for Jennifer, like when she pulled a litter of very sick kittens from the shelter to nurse back to health. She helped a family find a rescue cat for their son’s 16th birthday (which was a black kitten from the litter). They all had a bad upper respiratory infection and one kitten had sadly already passed by the time she pulled them. “I raised the litter for 8 weeks knowing one was going to a fantastic home,” she said. “The kitten was perfectly healthy, and the boy was thrilled with his birthday surprise,” she said.

Not all cat fostering requires so much time and attention. Rescue groups are also in need of fosters of healthy kittens and adults. 

Looking to get involved? Jennifer says that Best Friends will be holding monthly kitten training classes to teach what to do when a homeless kitten is found, such as bottle feeding, box training and socialization. Find them on Facebook or see bestfriends.org. 

Interested in fostering? See Must Love Dogs for a list of Houston rescue organizations looking for foster homes. 

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