June 20, 2019

A Day in the Life of a Purrfessional Kitten Cuddler

You may have noticed that the ASPCA has been kitten-crazed lately! With so many kittens around the country needing some extra TLC before they can join loving homes, we put out a call for Purrfessional kitten cuddlers—a dream job, if we’re being honest.

Purrfessional kitten cuddling may seem like a tough job with your already-busy schedule and all the feedings and care required for kittens. But in reality, it’s easier than you think! And few weeks of your lovin’ could result in a lifetime of happiness for these cuddly kittens—what could be better than that?

Below, you’ll find a firsthand account from an ASPCA foster caregiver, Milena, who wants you to know just how rewarding and fun kitten cuddling really is!

Part 1: Bringing home your kittens!

Left: Dimitri, Donald and Dixie have arrived. Right: Dimitri and Dixie look up at us curiously as they take in their new surroundings.

Dixie, Donald and Dimitri arrived on June 6!

We set them up in the bathroom for the first couple of days, which provided a safe space for them while they adjusted to their new environment, and allowed us to introduce them slowly to our resident pets—a cat and two Yorkshire Terriers. The setup consisted of wee wee pads (in case they made a mess), their litter box, food and water bowls and their carrier, which provides them with some shelter and something with their scent.

After the first two days, when the kittens seemed ready to come out and weren’t hiding in the carrier anymore, we switched them to a playpen so they could be closer to my boyfriend and me in the living room. This also allowed them to start feeling more comfortable around the other pets in the home.

Upon first introductions, the dogs sniffed the trio through the playpen and barked initially, but after a little while, the novelty wore off and the dogs went about their business.

After a couple of weeks, they are still not best friends but they are inching closer and closer to each other when sitting with us humans on the couch. When we are able to supervise them, we let Dixie, Donald and Dimitri run around the living room.

They love to sprint around and climb over the couch. I love watching them explore things for the first time because they are so curious. Despite being tiny, they are fearless.

Part 2: Feeding

At five weeks old, the kittens need to eat every five hours, which does not include overnight. They eat about a tablespoon of wet food each and have dry kibble available throughout the day.

We are fostering Dixie, Donald and Dimitri for about four weeks, or until they’ve gained enough weight to be spay/neutered (at which point they can be adopted).

One of my favorite parts is actually the feeding. I’ll hear little meows from the playpen when I’m opening a can of cat food, and when I walk over with the food bowl they run up to the front of the pen.

It’s all perky ears and tails!

Part 3: Sorting Your Schedule

I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work from home while caring for the kittens, but can easily see how it’s still possible to foster if you work outside your home.

With a fairly flexible feeding schedule, it’s easy to run out for errands and come back to feed your kittens. As long as you are able to feed your kittens and keep them safely in an enclosed space, leaving them alone for some time isn’t a concern.

While I work or run out of the apartment, I usually have them secured in the playpen so that I know they are safe and staying out of trouble. Sometimes I’ll have them sit with me on my lap and they fall asleep as I type away.

Every day I try to dedicate at least one hour, if not more, to playing and cuddling with these three. They are pretty energetic at this age, but also easily entertained. They have several mouse toys, a cat tree and some other toys they love, but most of the time they prefer to adorably wrestle with each other.

A Day-to-Day Look

For my kittens, our day-to-day is pretty simple! We have our own routine, but every litter of kittens will have different needs and schedules can vary.

7:00 AM – First feeding and clean up from overnight

12:00 PM – Second feeding and litter box cleanup

1:00 PM – Playtime and socialization

5:00 PM – Third feeding and litter box cleanup

6:00 PM – Playtime and socialization

10:00 PM – Fourth feeding and litter box cleanup. But most importantly, goodnight kisses

Thoughts on Fostering

I don’t know much about these kittens’ pasts, but I’m so thankful to be part of their journey. I’ve been able to see them grow in just a few weeks, and I’m so excited to see them move on to their new, loving homes.

I’ve been fostering for a while, but this was my first time taking home a litter of kittens. It’s not always easy and, like with any pet, it involves cleanup and extra time, but I can honestly say it was much easier than expected! They are so easygoing, fun to play with and cuddly.

My advice is that if you’ve ever thought about fostering, just give it a try and you’ll probably be surprised that you do have time, that you can bring another pet into your home, and that all your worries go away when you hear the little purrs and meows. And of course, the reward of knowing that you are an integral part of helping a pet get adopted is the best!

You can still help kittens in need by becoming a foster caregiver yourself! Visit our Meow for Now campaign to get all the details you need and to find a shelter or rescue near you!