They do keep you busy!

So my all-time high of six cats and a dog, this past August, kept me constantly shaking my head and wondering how people do it. There are people who have that many pets — and more!
At first, the kittens had to be bottle fed every four hours and it took about half an hour to feed them. I quickly managed to stretch the night to six hours, so I could get something of a normal sleep. (Except that I am an eight or nine hour person!) Just about everything else fell by the wayside.
Even after they started on solid food, I was (still am when possible) feeding them four times a day. The week I was home (thank god) from work, this was a typical day:

6am — get up and feed kittens, change their litter
7am — feed adult cats (three different locations, two different kinds of food), scoop litter (x3)
8am — play with/snuggle kittens (socialization)
8.30am — wake up Bella (dog), go for walk
9am — feed Bella
9.30am — wash everybody’s dishes
noon — feed kittens
12.30pm — walk Bella
2pm — play with kittens
4pm — walk Bella
6pm — feed kittens and Bella
7pm — feed adult cats
8pm — play with kittens
8.30pm — wash everybody’s dishes
10pm — feed kittens, walk Bella
10.30pm — give kittens a bottle to fill them up a little bit more
11pm — go to bed!

In between I had to shower and feed myself, do housework, run errands.
And then there were the days, before and after that week, that I was going to work. So everyone (kittens and Bella) had to be packed up each morning. And settled/set up when we got to work!
Of course I had some help. My cat-sitters (and their parents) were a huge help, even taking the middle of the night feeding when we all went to the cottage. And my co-workers were happy to help, with the kittens and with giving Bella attention/walks.
Through all of it, I worried every day that the adult cats were being neglected. Especially Storm. My guys will come and demand affection when they need it. And they mostly come for a cuddle at bedtime. Storm didn’t have those routines so I tried really hard to give her some quality time every day as well.
This is in no way meant to discourage anyone. The kittens are adorable and rewarding. But I went in with my eyes closed (though, in fairness, my foster coordinator tried to warn me) and anyone interested in fostering bottle-fed kittens needs to realize how much work it is.

Eliot was the first to eat kibble (photo courtesy of Joanna)

Eliot was the first to eat kibble (photo courtesy of Joanna)

Even now, when it’s much easier — no bottles and they eat kibble between meals — I still feel like I’m constantly opening cans and washing dishes.
Of course, no one has to foster kittens. There are plenty of adults who need to find their way to a forever home. They are generally much less labour-intensive. Most of them just want a quiet place to sit and sun, some quality food, and a few toys to play with.


About Adventures in Cat Fostering

I am a cat fosterer for Toronto Cat Rescue. I also have two cats of my own, Jonesy, the black and white, and Murphy, the brown tabby, in the photo. Both were adopted from Toronto Cat Rescue.
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