A Foster's Tale
My Name is Ruth and I live in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. This is the story of: HOPE. On May 25, 2016 my adult son answered the cries of a baby kitten coming from behind our shed and brought this little calico baby to me. I just knew I had to get this baby warm first. A local emergency vet sold me some formula and gave me a crash course in feeding this baby with a syringe. I decided I was going to save this baby on my own even though I had no clue of what I was doing. I found some videos online which helped immensely on feeding neonatal kittens and how to stimulate for urination and bowel movements. However, they were of no help when she wasn’t eliminating.
The next day I found The National Kitten Coalition. I had found other sites and begged for someone to respond because I was so afraid I might be providing the wrong care. The National Kitten Coalition (NKC) responded the next day. The umbilical cord was still attached and soft so NKC estimated she was born within the last 48 hours. I learned to put a heating pad and soft blankets under her leaving a cooling spot for her to crawl to. I learned to make rice sock warmers for her to snuggle up to and how to feed her in an upright position - not on her back. I learned to weigh her every day using a kitchen scale. She gained weight pretty steady and when she wasn’t gaining, these ladies taught me how much and how often to feed her. So many times in the middle of the night or during the day I would message in panic because of diarrhea or dark urine, and I would get a response right away most times. These ladies walked me through every hurdle I came to including an upper respiratory infection which the vet gave meds and some advice but not in as much detail as these ladies gave. It was not just advice but emotional support. They were my lifeline. When she woke up one morning open mouth breathing, I thought she was dying and my heart just broke. These ladies explained what was happening and to get to the vet first thing. I found a vet recommended by a local rescue. She gave me an antibiotic and nose drops and some advice. I sat in the bathroom with the shower going. It was such a satisfying feeling to see her thrive.
When it was time to wean her off of formula, Kitten Coalition walked me through that as well and litter training. To anyone who is pondering the idea of helping out and becoming fosters for these babies, I will tell you that this has been a very rewarding experience. I also have decided to keep Hope. She has become part of our family. I would do this again. In fact, when I retire I plan on joining the foster team for my vet. For me, the National Kitten Coalition ladies guided me through each step and celebrated with me. I have made two new friends who I will probably never meet. I have been so blessed by this experience it is hard to put it into words.
~ Ruth H.
Canadian kitten foster
Want to help more kittens like Hope? Please consider a donation to the National Kitten Coalition to help us educate and train frontline animal heroes - like Ruth. You can make a difference in a kitten's life!