Foster Support Helps Pave the Way to Successful Outcomes for L.A. County Kittens

March 27, 2024


In August 2021, the ASPCA launched its Community Foster Program in El Monte, California, which supports residents who find kittens in need of help. The program provides fully subsidized medical services including spay/neuter surgeries for kittens living in zip codes where animal shelters have historically taken in above-average numbers of cats and kittens as strays. Since then, 306 kittens have avoided being brought to shelters where they risk becoming ill and or being euthanized because they are too young or too fragile to thrive in a shelter environment.

Stevie was one of those kittens, part of a litter of five cats born outdoors in El Monte where he was found and cared for by a community member.


“The ASPCA supports kitten finders by helping them in ways that allow them to keep the kittens in their homes and out of shelters,” says Tina Fried, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s L.A. Feline Programs. “We provide medical care, food and other necessary resources so they can continue to take lifesaving action until the kittens are old enough and healthy enough to be adopted into their new homes.”

‘What’s One More?’

Unfortunately for Stevie and his littermates, they developed upper respiratory infections. Every kitten in Stevie’s litter lost at least one eye; Stevie lost both.They were surgically removed at the ASPCA Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Once healthy enough, Stevie was transferred to one of our volunteer kitten foster homes——where he and a littermate were cared for by Andrea C., a long-time foster caregiver.


“We typically keep community foster kittens in the location where they are found, with their finders,” says Debra Olmedo, the ASPCA’s Senior Manager of Community Outreach and Medical Care. “But because Stevie and his littermates’ conditions needed more care than what the finder could give, we matched them with fosters better suited to their needs.”

Andrea has fostered kittens for 10 years, including more than 75 cats for the ASPCA. Our L.A. Foster Program began in 2017 and supports L.A. County Animal Care Centers by taking kittens and nursing mothers out of those care centers and placing them in foster care.


Before taking in Stevie, Andrea had four rescued cats of her own including Ziggy, a former foster who loves to care for kittens. Andrea’s adult sons, Ethan and Andrew, also help by bottle feeding.

“I had zero experience with blind cats, though,” Andrea says. “I thought I’d need to keep Stevie contained to keep him safe. But he made it very clear that wasn’t what he wanted. At first, he ran into things, but he learned the layout of the house very quickly.”

After a month of fostering Stevie, Andrea couldn’t let him go and adopted him.

“I’m a sucker for a good sob story,” she says. “Besides, what’s one more?”

‘There’s Nothing He Can’t Do’

In addition to Stevie and Ziggy, Andrea’s other cats are Echo, Carson and Shadow.


Stevie bonded with Andrea’s cats right away, and like Ziggy, loves caring for foster kittens.

“He stays close to where the kitties are and is always interested, playing with them and grooming them,” Andrea says. “There’s nothing he can’t do. He runs, pounces and knows how high to jump to get onto my bed.

“Sometimes there’s a cat like Stevie who stands out,” Andrea adds. “I think he’s grateful he ended up here. Besides, it’s so much fun to have kittens in the house.”

From April through November, an influx of kittens are born in Los Angeles. Many well-meaning animal lovers unintentionally orphan kittens by removing them from their mothers and taking them to a shelter. Once an underage kitten arrives at a shelter, their strongest chance for survival is in a dedicated foster home. To learn about the best way to help kittens you may find outside, please review our interactive Found Kittens tool.