Sunday, April 02, 2006
In Less Than a Week(We have hundreds of volunteers at our two shelters. Stephanie, the young author of the post below, and her mother, Betty, are dedicated volunteers at the Oakland facility, socializing dogs & cats, assisting public dog training classes, and working on special projects. Stephanie's dad, Kwok Yan, also comes to public class with their dog, Jin Jin. When someone fosters, it's a family affair!)
Last Monday afternoon my mom and I went to pick up our awaiting foster animals. We were going to foster a mama cat and her five kittens. When we got home we gently put the crate down and opened the door. What did I see? I saw the black and white mama cat (Donna Lee) and her kittens clumped firmly to the very back of the crate. Donna Lee turned her head to me and seemed to be saying "your company isn't needed and I don't need any help with my kittens."
For the first two days we just cleaned her litter box, fed her and gave her water. By Wednesday when I came in to give her wet food, I saw Donna Lee come out of the crate. No, she didn't rub against me or purr. She just meowed and her body language was saying "just give me my food." From then on, she would come out of the crate when I entered the room. Because I brought food.
That day, I actually got to see what each of the kittens looked like. The biggest one was gray with dark gray tips on its ears. The smallest was white with slightly gray ears. Two were black and white just like Donna Lee, and one was cream and white
Thursday was the day that I got to pet her. Well, actually it was the day that Donna Lee gave me permission to pet her. She greeted me as usual as I came in to give her food, but this time she came closer and almost rubbed against my leg. I pet her once and discovered that she was even skinnier than I thought!
Now, whenever I open the door she comes to be petted and sometimes I even see her waiting at the door instead of in her crate.
On Friday, Donna Lee let her kittens sleep in the front of the crate. She was no longer worried and spends more time away from her kittens. That night I let the kittens sniff my fingers. There eyes were opened wide and stared at me with such seriousness and they had those blue "kitten eyes" that only last for a little while.
Yesterday, Saturday, I got to pet the kittens. They were so fluffy and soft and are more balanced when crawling around. Their fur has gotten fluffier and they should come out of the crate any day now.
All this has happened in less than a week. I wonder what the next week will bring.
(Thanks Stephanie! If you would like to try your hand at fostering, too, this is kitten season and we could sure use the help. Most of the animals killed in shelters this time of year are underage kittens because they need a temporary home, not a shelter, in which to grow up until they can come back for adoption.)