This Foster Caregiver Is Helping Tiny Kittens Get Their Best Chance at Life

August 23, 2022

Zanzibar, left, and Zurich, right. 

Emily G. had just finished her PhD program and was looking for a way to volunteer in order to fill her newfound free time. 

“I decided to foster to honor the memory of my first cat, Mancattan,” Emily remembers. “He passed away suddenly in 2016. When that happened my other cat, Albert, and I really missed him. Mancattan brought me so much joy. I wanted to foster kittens so other people could adopt and experience the same joy that Mancattan brought to my home.” 

Emily signed up to become an ASPCA foster caregiver in New York City that summer in 2017. She attended our orientation and took two extra trainings, bottle training and a virtual Lion Tamer training. 

“The process is really easy and the ASPCA gives lots of information and support,” says Emily. “I’ve always felt confident that I know who to reach out to and what to do when I have questions.” 

Since 2017, Emily has become an incredibly valuable foster caregiver for the ASPCA, caring for so many cats and kittens through the ASPCA Adoption Center and the ASPCA Kitten Nursery, that she’s lost count! She’s been the foster to adult cats, tons of kittens and mother cats with their newborn babies. We couldn’t be more thankful for all Emily has done for us and all that she continues to do for animals in need. 

Caring for Kittens 

On July 10, 2021, we announced a significant achievement by caring for our 10,000th kitten through the Kitten Nursery. The 10,000th kitten, Zanzibar, arrived at the Nursery at only four weeks old and in need of specialized medical support for an upper respiratory infection. After being assessed by one of our veterinarians, Zanzibar and her sister, Zurich, were placed with an experienced foster caregiver. This caregiver was none other than Emily!

Emily holding Zanzibar and Zurich with ASPCA Kitten Nursery staff members.

When Emily picked up Zanzibar and Zurich, they both had upper respiratory infections, runny eyes and diarrhea. Emily helped care for the sick kittens by giving them oral medication, eye drops and a special supplement in their food. Thanks to their medication and their diligent foster, the kittens were given a clean bill of health after a few weeks.

Now, it was time for the kittens to grow into big, strong cats! 

“It was so rewarding to watch them grow up and change from tiny kittens to young cats,” says Emily. “It’s so fun watching the different personalities come out. Zanzibar had a lot of energy and would prefer to sit next to me instead of on my lap. Zurich was a little more reserved and she was always climbing up to nap in my lap.” 

“Kittens can be so goofy and loving,” she continues. “I love the little moments like when they do something silly that makes me laugh out loud. I also like the firsts; like the first time I hear them purr, the first time they climb into bed with me, the first time they fall asleep in my lap.” 

Of course, not every day with kittens is the easiest, but Emily knows that every challenge is worth it as the kittens grow and thrive. 

“There are some days when fostering can be really challenging, like when kittens are learning to eat, making lots of messes and learning to use the litter box. I always remind myself that these challenges are temporary. Kittens are so smart, and they always figure out how to learn these behaviors.” 

Many people are wary about fostering a pet in fear they will grow too attached to the animals and won’t be able to give them up in the end. And while Emily agrees that it is hard to let her foster kittens go, she also finds that returning them to the Adoption Center is the most rewarding part. 

“I love reflecting on all the progress they made, and it makes me so happy to know they are ready to be adopted as a great addition to some lucky people’s families,” she says. “Of course, this is also the hardest part of fostering. It is so hard to say bye to the little babies that I have fallen in love with over the last several weeks. I always tell my fosters that they are in my home for a short time, but they are in my heart forever.”

After returning Zanzibar and Zurich to the Adoption Center, both kittens were adopted into loving homes!  

You can help our most vulnerable animals like Zanzibar and Zurich by temporarily providing a comfortable and loving home! Sign up today to become an ASPCA foster caregiver in New York City, Los AngelesAsheville, North Carolina or Columbus, Ohio. If you are looking to foster kittens with us, please only apply for our New York City or Los Angeles foster programs. 

If you live outside of these areas, sign up to foster for your local shelter