A few days ago, Adopt-a-Pet contacted their foster families asking if anyone would be able to squeeze another cat or two into our households. Turns out a couple of shelters had called about a cat overflow...nearly 30 cats and kittens were going to be euthanized if temporary homes were not found.
Sean and I talked it over. We decided we could handle a small litter, but no more than that. We definitely wanted kittens rather than full-grown cats, for a couple of reasons. First of all, adult cats are rather territorial, and we were already having problems with our cats getting along with Sapphire. Kittens - especially young kittens - are not territorial, and this would seriously lower the number of dominance battles fought between cats.
Secondly, we had been told during our foster parenting orientation that kittens had a faster turnover than adult cats. We fully understand that Sapphire might be with us for up to a year, because adults don't get adopted as quickly. However, kittens tend to have a 1-2 month stay before adoption.
Yesterday we went to pick up our new additions to the household, and I thought I would introduce them here (my apologies for the blurry camera phone pic).
The kids are excited about the kittens. I made sure to sit them down beforehand and explain that these are not kittens for keeping. I explained how there are a lot of cats out there who need a temporary place to stay before they get adopted, and the kids all understand that they don't get to keep these cats.
The boys are really happy that they get to help out with the fosters. Every morning the younger boys make sure to feed all the animals in the house - even before their own breakfast! Jon enjoys grooming the cats - both our own, and the fosters. And of course, since they play with the cats, they are helping to acclimate the animals to human presence.
I like the fact that this exposes the boys to the concept of volunteering, and of helping others less fortunate - even if the others are animals rather than humans.