The Responsibility of Adorability [Tall Drink of Nerd]
The felines have taken over my home. We currently have 6 cats in our 2-bedroom apartment. They outnumber the people now, 3-1. I know what you’re thinking but, no, this isn’t the beginning of my audition tape for Animal Hoarders; Seen and I have become kitten foster parents.
It started about 10 days ago. The no-kill rescue kennel, Lange Foundation, where we volunteer every Saturday, put out a call for people to help foster kittens. The founder, Gillian Lange, heads to the local county shelters daily to rescue dogs and cats that are scheduled to be put down. She brings them to the Lange kennel (either in West LA or at their beautiful ranch in Canyon Country) where they are safe and sound until adopted.
As it’s kitten season, due to overpopulation in shelters, kittens are often euthanized when they are too young to be adopted out and get sick easily at the kennel. Stats are grim for animals entering an animal shelter, according to the Humane Society, four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year. While a big solution to this problem would be convincing everyone to spay/neuter their pet, immediate action to save animals in danger now rests with rescue groups. With foster parents, more kittens can be rescued into the Lange family.
Attached to the call for fosters was a picture of 5 fluffy, orange kittens with a note ‘These 5 kittens were scheduled to be put down, but now they’re safe with a foster family until they can find their forever home.’ That was like bait and I was the sucker for such adorable tactics. After a few conversations with Seen, my kitten-loving husband, we decided to let the staff at Lange know we could foster a mommy and kittens.
“But not until Monday,” I said on Saturday afternoon, “I’ve got people coming over tomorrow.”
I think you all know what happened next. Yup, Christina from the shelter called on Sunday afternoon. “We’ve got Mom’s and kittens coming in at 3:30 today. Can you take some?”
Of course I could take some. That afternoon, about an hour before my guests were arriving, we hoofed it over to Lange to grab out charges. Gillian had saved two families that day. There was a tiny calico/tortie mom with 3 kittens around 4 weeks old and one fluffy orange mom with 4 fluffy orange kittens. Christina said we could choose which family to foster.
The calico mom rolled onto her back and batted her eyes at me. She was affectionate and so scrawny I could feel her spine and her ribs. The mama kitty purred at the slightest touch when I bent into the cage to pet her. Her kittens seemed a little shy and we decided they looked like they could use extra special attention, so we piled them into a carrier, loaded up the rest of the supplies and drove them to our apartment.
On our drive home, we named them: The mom was Olivia, the kittens (2 boys and a girl) would be Peter, Walter and Astrid. Nerds get to name their animals after nerd stuff, like characters from their favorite TV show. The Fringe litter was in residence at the Robinson house.
The regular Robinson cats, Ling Ling and KoE are not adjusting well. Even though they haven’t seen the invading horde of Momma and kittens, they can smell them. Ling Ling (aka Stinky Jr.) pretty much lived in the office before Fringe got here. The Fringe family stays in the office now and Stinky Jr. is not taking this betrayal lightly. She went on a hunger strike for 3 days and hid under the blankets on our bed, only coming out when I prodded her. KoE threw up about 5 times from the stress, but now she seems to have settled. My animals are such Drama Queens.
When I originally told the Lange staff we could take kittens, they worried if we would be able to give them back after fostering for a few weeks. Apparently there is usually a lot of crying involved when fosters bring back the kittens. I’ll admit, there is something really addictively adorable about these trusting, playful, bug-eyed, big-eared young-uns. Astrid is a gentle tortie soul who really only causes trouble when egged on by Walter, who is about as ornery as an orange tabby kitten can get. Peter is needy and sweet, has the fluffiest, softest cream-colored fur, but is only at about 70% with the litter box training so far. I think the hardest one to give up with be the Mom, Olivia. She’s only about 8 months old, so still a kitten herself, but mostly mellow and so affectionate it’s hard to see how anyone could have left her at a shelter.
As I play with them, wiggling fingers and waiting for a somersault attack of itty bitty fur-ball, I get to know their personalities, already formed, but still moldable. I can’t help thinking that without Lange, these living creatures would have been euthanized last week. Rescuing animals is hard, expensive work. Thankfully there are people and organizations who take on that time and cost so that little Peter has the chance to bite his sister, Astrid’s butt while she is chasing her Mom’s flicking tail.
I highly recommend becoming a foster if you have the time and space. It is virtually impossible to be in the same room as kittens and not end up giggling. Between the sideways hopping into an attack and the relaxed teeny purr that tickles your leg when they curl up for a nap, these 1.5-pound critters steal your heart.
We’ll probably hand the Fringe family back to Lange next weekend. At the kennel, they will be spayed/neutered and they can have visitors and be adopted into a forever home , which will happen quickly because they are all completely irresistible. You should come visit them (or maybe even foster a family of your own!)
View the rest of my Facebook Fringe Foster Foto Album here.