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Tiny Paws, Big Hearts: The Power of Fostering Felines

In 2023, we sent 486 cats and kittens to foster - each number representing a life that was cared for, cherished, and loved. Many of those cats came in during kitten season which is right around the corner as spring approaches. Kitten season is the time of year when kittens are born in masses by community cats, with many finding their way to the shelter with the help of community members.

Anna Riccardo and Alexis Joop, two of our volunteer feline fosters, share their stories and what this critical role means to them:


Q: When did you know you wanted to start fostering cats?

ANNA: When my two old male cats passed away within a year of each other, I found the Kitten Lady on social media and started following her journey of fostering. I fell in love with the idea of doing exactly what she did. When my schedule finally allowed for me to foster, I jumped at the chance!

ALEXIS: When I moved into my very first apartment, there were about 13 community cats that were reproducing. One day, I happened to look under the tires of my vehicle before leaving for work, and there was this tiny, fuzzy face staring up at me. I searched for a mama nearby, and there were none to be found. I immediately took it inside and called my vet, who walked me through the steps of bottle feeding a neonatal kitten. Now named Macy, she currently lives with one of my best friends and to this day, when I call her in my “kitten voice,” she remembers me.

Q: What does kitten season mean to you?

ANNA: Kitten season is the craziest time of year for us fosters! It’s generally nonstop, with mamas and babies coming in daily. However, my daughters love it so much because they get to cuddle the smallest kitties and help them grow. It becomes exhausting, but we persist to help as many mothers and kittens as we can. 

ALEXIS: It means gear up for endless lifesaving help. I have so much excitement when it comes time because I know that I can help make a difference in the lives of our tiniest felines.

Q: What is something fostering cats has taught you?

ANNA: It has taught me and my family so much! Patience, persistence, how to care for mama cats vs. kittens vs. adults, all different in their needs. It has made me more compassionate for all types of animals too.

ALEXIS: Just like people, all animals have unique personalities with their own likes and dislikes. Through fostering, I learned about respecting the boundaries of the animal and working to gain trust. All pets have ways of communicating happiness, fear, and uneasiness. Fostering a kitten or adult cat entails learning about their personality and it really comes in handy when the shelter pairs them with a potential adopter.

Here are ways YOU can help our felines!

Become a Feline Foster, just like Anna and Alexis! Learn about our Foster Program here.

Donate wish list items for our Bottle Baby Donation Drive happening April 1 through 7 this week! For more details, visit our Event Calendar. Shop virtually through our Amazon store or drop donation items off in-person at the shelter or East York Petco located on Eastern Blvd.