Of being a foster parent ... of kittens
June 4, 2008 12:46 PM   Subscribe

A teeny-tiny bloggie about itty bitty kitties. A foster parent of (usually) motherless kittens at the Tacoma Humane Society, Laurie Cinotto's blog IBKC has developed a following among ailurophiles through occasional shout-outs from Cute Overload.

She shares her experiences of being a foster mommy of the four-legged, which range from "awwwww-cute" to terribly sad. Some of the decisions she has to make as a foster parent are heartbreaking, but her readership shares her joys and griefs.
posted by lleachie (31 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Great post.

I've been following this blog for a few months. The passing of one of the kitties never fails to choke me up, especially this morning when I read about Jerry Lee.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:00 PM on June 4, 2008

While I lived in far east Russia (Chukotka), wild dogs pretty much solved the homeless cat problem in our town
posted by bargainhunter at 1:02 PM on June 4, 2008

so cute! thanks for the post.
posted by pril at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2008

wild dogs pretty much solved the homeless cat problem

And what took care of the wild dog problem?
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:09 PM on June 4, 2008

I'd not seen this before. Thank you for posting this, even if the first post I saw (about Jerry Lee) was absolutely heartrending. ::barely suppressed sobbing::
I'm adding this to my daily reads. Awesome.
posted by hecho de la basura at 1:09 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I recently raised an abandoned kitten from infancy, and I'd count it as one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences I've ever had.

It definitely caused me to look down on human babies, though... I mean, they're sort of cute and all, but compared to this? Get real. I bet your human baby doesn't wiggle its ears and purr while it drinks from its bottle like my kitten did.
posted by saladin at 1:16 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

PS - If your human baby does wiggle its ears and purr while drinking from its bottle, please consult a physician immediately.
posted by saladin at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

Some friends and I raised a litter of foster kittens, once. They'd been born in our shed -- the mother (a stray we'd named Heihachi, due to her huge grey ear tufts) probably got eaten by dogs (Socorro, NM; Chukotka; whatever!)

It's really quite a lot of work; every few hours you have to feed them from an eyedropper, rub their butts with a warm wet washcloth to help them eliminate, and then clean them up. They purr, though, so it's remarkably easy to find enough motivation. Fortunately, all of ours grew up fine, and were adopted out to the various friends who'd taken shifts feeding them. In the process, one of those friends managed to give himself ringworm, as well... but what's a parasitic fungal infection or two amongst strays, anyway?
posted by vorfeed at 1:26 PM on June 4, 2008

Can you rent kittens?
posted by stavrogin at 1:26 PM on June 4, 2008

lil' brudda
posted by jouke at 1:28 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

As a follow-up for those mourning over Jerry Lee Pickett's death, here's some information on Manx syndrome and why his taillessness reflected more serious problems.
posted by lleachie at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2008

Fostering animals is a tough job, and sometimes heartbreaking (when an animal has to be put down) not to mention the bittersweet feeling when that animal that you've been caring for gets adopted out to someone.

But it's worth it. I only wish my apt allowed me to have 2 dogs, so I could keep doing it :(
posted by inigo2 at 1:44 PM on June 4, 2008

And what took care of the wild dog problem?

Gorillas. Luckily they froze to death in the winter.
posted by inigo2 at 1:45 PM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

We raised an infant kitten that my wife found in a bush on a rainy night, a few years ago. He was an incredibly small, not even weaned, ball of wet fuzz that made the saddest little noises.

I remember he had a giant forehead, and huge paws, which we soon discovered were the results of his thumbs (he's a polydactyl). We figured he was working to evolve, and named him Darwin.

He's also the only cat we have that never makes any effort whatsoever to escape outside. My best guess is that he remembers that rain soaked bushes are shitty places to live, and a warm windowsill and canned cat food is a pretty good deal, all things considered.
posted by quin at 1:46 PM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

My two rescue kittehs are purring right here beside me, playing with a catnip mouse and generally brightening up my day. They have a blog, too (disclaimer: self-link! The kittehs cannot type yet, though I wouldn't put it past them one day).
posted by misha at 2:00 PM on June 4, 2008

posted by Electrius at 2:06 PM on June 4, 2008

One of my friends fosters kittens on occasion - or she did before she got a kid(den) of her own and no longer had the time fostering demands. There was the Shakespearean litter, the Nuts, the Great Gatsby Gang, the Flowers, and several others. She was usually lukcy enough to get the mom along with the kittens. Such tiny, tiny kittens. It was hard work, she said, and I believe her. But the cuteness makes up for it.

I wish I had the time to foster. But seeing as I'm only home and awake a few hours each day, barely enough for my highly independant adult cats, there is no way I could handle the care and feeding of the wee ones.

So I think I'll just add this blog to my feeds, and live vicariously through the IBKC. At least until I win the lottery. Heh.
posted by sandraregina at 2:18 PM on June 4, 2008

"Blog" is just too non-cute a word to have describing the IBKC. It's like a club, smacking you on the head. BLOG.

"Bloggie" sounds like a fuzzy little ball with big eyes.
posted by Dr-Baa at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2008

I believe the correct lolcats spelling is "teh itteh bitteh kitteh committeh."

Anyway, great post!
posted by spec80 at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

You know what I don't like? Cats.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:53 PM on June 4, 2008

Kim brought him home from the vet and we took him out to play in the back yard. His toes had never felt grass or dirt before, so we thought that would be a great way to spend his last afternoon on earth.

Dear GOD.

Wait, did I say that? I misspoke, for there obviously is none.
posted by JHarris at 2:55 PM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

bicyclefish : You know what I don't like? Cats.

But I bet they love you.
posted by quin at 3:05 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:41 PM on June 4, 2008

What kittens for breakfast said. Also, I've added this to my "When Having a Bad Day, Click Here" bookmark file. Mew!
posted by IcyJuly at 4:09 PM on June 4, 2008

A few years ago, my wife and I adopted a kitten that had been rescued (from a litter living under a porch) by a friend of hers; it was about six weeks old, and the vet who took care of her before we took her home told us that once cats reach eight weeks they're extremely difficult to socialize, as their distrust of humans is too deeply ingrained.

Anyway, it took almost a year for the kitten to acclimatize herself to our apartment (we had another (older) cat at the time). It was a multi-step process that the vet passed along. First we kept her inside a locked pet carrier inside a room with the door closed (so the other cat couldn't get in), and only opened and closed the door to the carrier to change her food, water and litter. After a little while we started leaving the door of the carrier open so that she could explore the room she was in while we weren't there. At this point, of course, she'd run back into the carrier as soon as we entered the room, but we started to pet her while she was inside the carrier and she'd respond a bit.

When she gained enough confidence to not rush back into the carrier when we entered the room, and felt comfortable enough with us to sit in our lap, nuzzle, etc., we started leaving the door to her room open when we were home; this allowed the other cat (who mostly ignored the new addition once she determined the kitten was not a threat to her status as Alpha Cat) and her to interact (under our supervision), and she would start poking her nose out the door and exploring the hallway close to the door. Over time, the "zone" she felt comfortable exploring grew larger and larger; she'd come down the stairs into the kitchen and living room, and would retreat back to her room if anything startled or upset her. Eventually we started leaving the door open even when we weren't home, leaving her free to explore at will. After several months she was pretty much fully comfortable with us, although she would still disappear for a while whenever we had company (i.e. strangers) over. She still runs into the basement sometimes when people come over, but it seems like more force of habit than anything else, because she comes back up almost immediately.

Now we've had her for about four years, I think, and you'd pretty much never know she was ever a feral cat (although she still freaks out a bit if you try to pick her up when you're standing).
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:03 PM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love cats. My cat was tiny when I got him 5 years ago and it's easy to forget what they're like at that age because they grow up so fast. My friends recently got a kitten and my sister will be getting one within a matter of weeks. They're the funniest animals on Earth, and they're at their funniest when they're still clumsy, adventurous kittens, still learning how to run and climb.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:28 PM on June 4, 2008


Hey, it seemed appropriate.

My rescue kitty is old and grumpy and steals my chair and poops on the floor (literally every time) and tries to bite the baby and costs money in medicine but I still wouldn't give him up usually.
posted by artifarce at 6:34 PM on June 4, 2008

posted by unknowncommand at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2008

I needed this after all the political news today.

Awwww, kittehs.

Our baby Spike was a rescue, and Giles was born feral but rescued right away. They are the bestest kittehs ever. Also, watching Spike's ears twitch while drinking from the bottle = cutest thing EVER.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:59 PM on June 4, 2008

There so tiny. I want one!
posted by Smuggler at 10:02 AM on June 5, 2008

Update: According to the latest on the IBKC blog, the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee was featured on a Seattle-area newsmagazine. Here is the link.
posted by lleachie at 2:31 PM on June 17, 2008

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