Socializing your kittens
First and foremost, we ask that you treat your foster cats/kittens with the same love and care that you give to your own companion animals. Daily attention (at least one full hour a day) from you and other family members or friends makes them more people-oriented, and more adoptable. This includes petting, playing, cuddling, trimming nails, and grooming.
By spending time with your foster cats on a regular basis, you will not only increase their chances of being adopted quickly, but you will also be able to determine their likes and dislikes – this helps us place them in homes with families that best meet their needs.
You should also monitor your foster cats for behavior problems, such as inappropriate urination or scratching furniture. If problems arise, contact the Foster Coordinator to discuss behavior modification strategies. C.A.R.E. is not responsible for damages that might occur to yourself, others in your household, or your personal property as a result of feline behavior problems while in foster care.
Kittens use multiple objects as prey items when they play. This play behavior consists of stalking, pouncing, jumping, biting, and clawing. They often prefer small objects that can easily be moved with their paws or grasped in the mouth. Avoid objects that are so small that they could be ingested and cause intestinal blockage. Some kittens like to play with objects like string or yarn. If these items are accidentally swallowed, they can cause severe intestinal damage, and you should only allow your kitten to play with them under supervision.
Avoid using your hands as you play with your kitten. This can be dangerous and lead to human injury. The moving hand can become an appealing play object and attempts at correction could aggravate the situation. Although a young kitten may not inflict damage, as it ages and continues to use the owner’s body for play, serious injuries can result.
Simulated prey stimulates cats, so that wands and toys that can be pulled along or dangled in front of the cat are generally most effective. Fishing rod type toys and long wands with prey type toys (feather toys, catnip mice) on the end can be used to encourage play without contact with the owner’s body. Young kittens will often fetch small fleece toys or bat them across the floor.
Crate Training Kittens
Teach your foster kittens to enjoy a cat crate from an early age! Most people have seen adult cats that become very stressed when they need to be crated to be brought to a Vet. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to even get them into the crate. This is usually because they weren’t properly exposed to crates when they were kittens, and they have a negative connotation with the object. We have the ability to start getting kittens used to the crate, even enjoy being in it, if we start at a young age.
We will always send foster kittens in a plastic crate. The easiest way to start conditioning kittens to it is to simply keep it in their kitten area with a nice soft blanket inside and the door removed! Kittens will use it to sleep in and crawl on, using it as a jungle gym. An object that is seen every day isn’t a scary object!
Feeding small meals, or giving treats inside of the crate is another great way to get them used to being in the enclosed area. Keep the door open in the beginning; as your kittens get used to the crate, shut the door for short intervals.
The more your kittens learn to enjoy the crate, the easier it will be to secure your cat for travel in the future.