cats, foster cats, fostering, kittens, worms

My Surprising New Fostering Assistant

I have a surprising new assistant helping me with the foster kitties.

We’ve discovered that Otis simply loves the kittens. All our foster cats/kittens usually live out on the sunporch. We haven’t added furniture or renovated the area because we need to replace the supporting posts (one is rotting) and possibly the windows (which are sagging, but once the posts are replaced that problem may correct itself).

So with its carpeting-that-can-be-ruined (because we’re getting rid of it anyway) and its wall-to-wall windows with wide sills that overlook our back patio, the neighbor’s pool, and the parking lot/lawn tables of the ice cream store, it is a perfect cat porch. Lots of entertainment, sunshine to lounge in, space to run, and no one minds if they make a mess.

The last few days, though, the temperatures reached into the 90s and the cat porch became a cat oven. I moved the kittens into a large dog crate in my office. For a while, I kept Otis (and Fanny) out with a baby gate at the door, but I finally relented and that’s when I discovered Otis’ obsession.

In his mind, they are his kitties. When Fanny tries to check them out, he body-blocks her to keep her away from them. Then he spends his entire day alternately playing with them (they bat his nose and he wiggles in excitement and jumps into play pose), lying beside the crate, or lounging on the bed watching them. No longer does he prowl the house looking for errant crumbs.

Twain is his best playmate; the two have what amounts to love fests all day long (until Twain gets tired and has to take a nap).

Hemingway will occasionally give Otis a few minutes, but mostly because he just wants out of the crate. Poe ignores Otis, and Harper watches him wide-eyed.

The kittens are getting more active and growing. When they are two pounds they can be spayed/neutered and adopted. Hemingway is nearly there and Twain isn’t far behind him. Poe just topped a pound, but Harper has yet to even reach a pound. We’ve been battling worms and this week it finally feels like we’ve turned a corner as everyone’s weight went up (and not down) for two days.

It’s been fun watching them turn from babies into tiny cats – complete with claws and confidence. They love attention and climb my legs to get to me. They’re wrestling matches have become quite verbal and sound downright mean. It reminds me of puppies when they find their voice and the battles get loud.

I think I’ll enjoy fostering kittens this summer, and I know Otis will. Ian suggested I needed to get Otis his own cat, but I think it will be more fun for him to enjoy a steady stream of new playmates.

Keeping one would make it harder to save more. We won’t be foster failing with kittens (famous last words), but Addie is intent on adopting one and I’m steering her towards the one I wouldn’t mind having as my own (since that would be a real possibility, at least temporarily, with my globe-trotting daughter).

On Monday I head out on shelter tour and Ian will be in charge of the kittens. He’s a wonderful photographer and I’ve tasked him with getting new photos to go on Petfinder. Hopefully, I’ll share those with you but it’s unlikely you’ll see a post on this blog next week.

Meanwhile, you can follow along on the shelter tour on the Who Will Let the Dogs Out Facebook or Instagram. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the blog to read the real stories of what is happening in our shelters and how you can help.

Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at

9 thoughts on “My Surprising New Fostering Assistant”

  1. My Cavalier, Gracie, is in charge of socializing our foster kittens to dogs, and she does a great job. But she gets SO MAD when I adopt HER kittens out. She walks around the empty foster room with an accusing eye, angry that her kittens are gone again. But since we always have another group waiting for their reservation in our foster room, she doesn’t usually have long to wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think Otis will be devastated when his kittens leave, but, as you say, there will always be more, sadly. Some day when there aren’t, I’ll just have to get him one of his own. I’m not sure he’ll enjoy a cat as much as these babies.


      1. Gracie is definitely better with the kittens than our adult cats. And Otis is doing a great service for the kittens – good for him!


  2. Gotta love Otils’ reaction and attention to the new ‘wind-up’ toys, er playmates. What a great kitten assistant he is. In this day an age, finding good help is tough, who knew you had one right under your roof. Total adorable. Stay safe on your upcoming tour.

    Liked by 2 people

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