“I love it. I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s my niche. It really is just about trying to save a life,” says Nancy, a kitten foster.
Since 2013, Nancy has been teaming up with animal rescues and shelters in the Franklin, Indiana area. Her job is to nurse back to health newborn kittens that have been orphaned or abandoned. “Many of these kittens are less than two weeks of age and are needing care 24/7. That is something that most shelters can’t provide, so that’s where I step in to help. I have developed a very close relationship with the animal agencies in my area. The shelters usually provide me with formula and vet care. I provide the rest,” she says.
After five years of filling bottles, warming kittens and lots of snuggling, Nancy has fostered nearly 100 babies and nursed them back to health. “You know they won’t make it if someone doesn’t step in. Newborn kittens are really delicate, but they are super tough in their dedication to live. I have gotten calls for help at all hours of the day and night,” she says.
A Memorable Rescue
One of Nancy’s most memorable rescues happened this summer. It was a Sunday morning and she was in church when she got the call. “I got an emergency call about four orphaned kittens. Their mother had died. I didn’t know a lot about what was going on with them, but I left church, ran home to make a bottle, grab a heating pad, and make up a ‘diaper bag’. I had just received a sample of Breeder’s Edge® Foster Care Feline Milk Replacer the day before from Revival, so I put that in the diaper bag and then rushed to get the babies,” she says.
When she arrived where the kittens were, she discovered just how young and frail they were. “They were newborns. I even had to get some of the afterbirth off of one. The kittens were in pretty bad shape and so cold they were stiff, in fact I had to hold them up to my ear to see if I could hear a heartbeat or if they were already gone. They were all alive! I rushed back to church with the kittens in tow, hoping to be able to catch the second service. While at church, I got them warmed up, pottied, and fed. They all survived,” she says.
Learning the Ropes of Kitten Foster
Having fostered nearly 100 kittens, Nancy has learned several things along the way. “Miracle Nipples are a lifesaver, kittens must be burped, and Breeder’s Edge® Foster Care Feline is the best formula I have ever used with foster kittens! But perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is that each kitten is a little different. Each has a unique personality and your job as a foster parent is to learn that personality,” she says.
When the foster kittens reach about seven weeks of age, Nancy returns them to the shelter so they can become socialized with other animals and get ready to be adopted. “People say to me, ‘I could never do what you are doing. It would be too hard to give the kittens back.’ But I tell them, I keep it in my head that this isn’t my forever baby. I’m just babysitting,” Nancy says.
Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.