The Surprising Truth About My First Foster Kitten
I’m going to mix it up a little today and tell you a personal story that I am starting to go through. As you can see from the title, it is a foster story. Actually, that was the very intent of my post when I first starting this fostering experience. But like everything in life, you make plans and God laughs.
So while this post is going to talk about my first foster, it’s also going to talk about so much more. And It will lead to the next series I’m going to do. Any guesses what you think it could be? I’m sure some people are thinking what the process of fostering is like, or how to find foster organizations. And while those are awesome ideas and I will do that later, that’s not what the next series will be
I’m going to be slightly evil and make you wait a little while before I release what the next series will be about. Patience, young grasshopper. So without further ado, I’m going to introduce my foster, Binx.
Again, Binx is our foster kitten. She is currently a 6-week old black female cat. We don’t know her exact breed, so I am going to recommend BasePaws to her owner. BasePaws allows you to see exactly what different cat breeds coexist within your little furbaby. And what is also cool is they have given me a discount code to take $10 off your order. Use LLAPTRIBE to take an additional $10 off your order!
Listen, people, they were on Shark Tank…their prices are definitely not going to stay this low as they continue to grow in popularity. Get them while they are hot! (I will be doing an entire post about them as well here in the future so stay tuned for that)) But back to Binx, she is a sweet little kitten who was abandoned from her mom and came crashing into our lives.
How Binx Came Into Our Lives
The weekend of July 4th, I was at an amusement park near my parents. It was late and I received an Instagram DM from a friend of mine. She said she knew I loved animals and needed help with a 4-5 week old kitten that she had just found in a pipe. I offered some assistance and even offered to foster her but explained that I would be doing just that, fostering. We had only had Wobbles for about a year and didn’t want to add another one in the mix unless it was absolutely necessary.
My friend looked for owners who could be a forever home and found one, or so we thought. We had about two or three days of calm before I started receiving messages again. The girl said the owner couldn’t keep her. She was meowing too much and too much for her to handle.
So that following Friday, I met my friend and got the kitten. The poor thing was so tiny! She cried the entire ride home. And I tried to give her a bottle, which she did not take. I was so overwhelmed, to say the least! How was I going to keep this cat alive?! Little did I know she was actually only about three weeks old, very underweight and STARVING!
The First Two Weeks
The first two weeks with Binx were pretty typical of someone fostering a newborn kitten. I was doing a lot of research as to how she should be progressing, feeding her bottles, and sleeping very little. There were so many nights where I just felt defeated while caring for this little cat. And I don’t say this to dissuade people from taking care of newborns. I mention this so you know that if you’re fostering or caring for a newborn and feel like breaking down from time to time, you are not alone. But with every night of feeling like a failure, there was usually a day or even a moment of progress, that made everything worth it.
Within the first two weeks we had found her an owner, she was growing and we were even starting to get her into a routine. She was gaining weight nicely and starting to have more energy. We had even began to make plans for her new owner to take her home.
I had taken her to the vet after the first few days to get her checked out. They said everything looked good. They agreed she was underweight and recommended putting her on a de-wormer which is common for orphaned kittens. She got her first dose at the vet and they said she should be good for a few weeks and to bring her back in about 6-7 weeks for her first round of shots.
Remember when I mentioned before about us making plans and God laughing? Well, that happens again here soon.
So, things were going great. She was getting fairly easy to take care of and growing and gaining weight as she should. Her owner came over to see her and play with her. She was doing so well that I had even offered to let her go home with him.
After we discussed it further, he wanted another week of her being fed at lunchtime, which he couldn’t do with his job, and I could. So, I said I would keep her for another week.
One other callout to say is about two hours before he arrived at my home, Binx had horrible diarrhea in the bathroom where I keep her when I am not home. Like bad enough to where I had to completely scrub the bathroom once I got home. She needed a bath and was not happy about it.
She continued to have diarrhea about every hour and a half. Initially, I didn’t think anything of it because I was feeding her more and figured her body was just starting to catch up with her. I had read that sometimes it takes their digestive system a little while to get used to a change in diet. Her little butt was raw from me cleaning it up. But little Binx was still as cute as ever when her owner came to see her.
I explained everything to her owner and he didn’t seem too concerned either. He joked that he hoped that everything was good next week when he was planning to take her home. The evening came and poor Binx’s diarrhea got worse. She seemed so uncomfortable I didn’t know what to do. I started doing additional research and my fiancé and I agreed to just call a vet.
We called the 24-hour vet near us and explained our situation. They were not too concerned either but recommended us either bring her in that night or to our vet first thing in the morning. I, being the crazy person I am, decided it was time to bring her in. So at 10 o clock at night, my fiancé and I were off to the vet. She was becoming more and more uncomfortable and her diarrhea was making her very cranky. We signed into the vet and they did a quick triage of her and brought her back to us.
The vet continued to work on other clients for about a half-hour before we were brought back. We gave the vet all the information and she diagnosed her with parasites. We informed her that she had had a de-wormer and she continued to tell us that a typical vet prescribes a de-wormer that covers the common parasites, but lucky Binx got one of the uncommon parasites. She prescribed her medicine and some pain medicine to help her feel comfortable for the rest of the night.
The Second Accident
We brought Binx home and we were exhausted. It was past midnight and we both had work the next day. I made the little kitten her bottle and fed her 30 ML which is a pretty normal amount for her. We got ready for bed and put her in her little carrier bin that she sleeps in.
I was very anxious for some reason and couldn’t go to sleep initially. The cats seemed to stay around Binx’s carrier which is not common for them at night. I sat there in bed and then I heard the noise every cat owner hates. She started gagging and then puked. She had puked up all her milk. I initially thought it was the pain medicine upsetting her belly, but when she started walking away. I noticed a BIG red bump on her bottom. It looked like her butt was going to explode.
I want to be honest with you all. In that instance, I panicked. I froze for a second and called my fiancé over. He walked over and looked at her and froze. That’s when I burst into action. I grabbed her, wrapped her in a towel and I told my fiancé to grab shoes. We jumped straight into the car and headed back to the emergency vet. I called them while we were on the way. When I saw the bump, I thought it was a cyst and was afraid for it to pop.
We get to the emergency vet and they take her back right away. And my fiancé and I are left in the emergency room alone at 1 in the morning. I was heartbroken. I was so scared she was going to die with strangers around her and scared. I didn’t want her last moments to be frantically searching for us. (Gosh, I still tear up as I write that.) So I was just sitting there in the waiting room crying.
They called us back and told us that Binx had a prolapsed rectum. She had literally been pushing so hard that her colon fell out. This can be deadly for cats and has to be caught early. Lucky for Binx, we got It the instant it happened and had to back in the vet within 15 minutes. This allowed them to easily push the colon back in, stitch it up and send her on her way.
I was so thankful that she was going to be okay. We sat in the room for an hour as the surgery was performed. They brought her out in a cone and told us not to let her lick her stitches and that they could be removed either Wednesday or Thursday of the following week.
Sometimes You Need Help
So it was about 3 AM the next morning when we finally got home. I didn’t really sleep and was checking on her every 15-20 minutes. I ended up calling off and my fiancé decided to take a half-day so we could attempt to get some sleep.
One call out that I need to say before continuing is I call my mother every morning on my way to work. So I had to inform her that I was not going to be making it into work that day. Naturally, she wondered why, so I filled her in on our night.
While talking to her, I was so tired I began to tear up. I felt like this little kitten was fighting for her life and I was giving everything I could to keep her alive. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. And as much as I love my fiancé, the thought of the two of us taking care of the kitten alone was scary.
My mom offered for us to come to her for the weekend with all the cats (three at the time) and she would help take care of the kitten. This was only an hour and a half drive, so not outrageous. I talked it over with my fiancé and we agreed that was the best thing to do.
I knew that we COULD take care of this kitten on our own, but what would be best for the kitten was another set of hands caring for her. We would all stay sane and be able to give her the best care possible. People do say it takes a village to raise a child. A sick baby kitten is the same way.
So we spent the weekend at my parents and it was a god-send! We got to sleep, she got the care she needed, and my mom was able to help us out TREMENDOUSLY! Saturday night though, she sat me down and talked with me about the kitten. This kitten needed 24/7 care until the stitches came out. With both my fiancé and I working, that was just not something we could physically do. So, she offered to take care of the cat for a few days until the stitches came out. She would be able to give her constant care and make sure her stitches were healing as they should.
This I struggled with. As a pet blogger and online pet coach, I should be able to care for a kitten. And I can care for a newborn kitten. But sometimes, even the professionals know that you need to ask for help. When you are stretched too thin, you don’t help anyone and end up doing more harm than good.
Her Current Condition
So my mom took her for about four days. The stitches were removed successfully, and I was able to pick her up the following day. She has continued to grow and eat on the bottle and is starting to go through the weaning phase. I will do another post about weening kittens because that was another process that I have some tips I want to share with everyone.
But she is running around and growing like a weed. Looking at her, you would never know that a few weeks ago she was being rushed to the emergency vet trying to save her life. Her forever cat dad is so happy she is doing well and is so excited to bring her home.
In fact, he will be picking her up the week I am writing this. He is going to start with a weekend, and add in more days as he feels comfortable. I want this process to be smooth and easy not only for him but mainly for Binx. She is still a growing kitten and needs stability and security during these times. Little does she know there are just too many people who care about her.
My first foster seems to have been a success story. I do add in seems because you never really know. I did tell her owner that if he realizes he cannot do it that I will take her back no questions asked. So there is still a chance I will get her back. But knowing her new dad, and knowing Binx, I don’t think there will be any issues.
The biggest thing I want everyone to get from this story is to know that fosters, of any age, will have their ups and downs. Anyone that tells you fostering is just a magical experience is straight-up lying to you.
The same thing is true for taking care of newborn kittens. I have heard and read stories from people who say it was “so fun” and while there were amazing moments that made everything worth it, there were definitely down moments. So if you are in the middle of caring for an orphaned newborn reading this as you are feeling defeated, you are not alone. I just wish I had a post like this during that time to make me feel better about everything. Now you do!
And in case no one has guessed it yet, the next series that I will be talking about is….Taking Care of Newborns! This week by week guide will go into details about what to expect, when to be concerned, and any tips I have picked up while caring for my little one!