December’s Foster of the Month is Kathi McHugh! Kathi is a lifelong animal lover who began fostering in June 2019, expecting to start a fun summer project with her teenage son. However, Kathi took to fostering like a kitten to a paper bag and has now fostered several litters of kittens with SAFe Rescue.
Kathi keeps the Foster and Volunteer Facebook group supplied with many adorable kitten pictures, and she says the snuggles are a pretty rewarding part of the experience. However, the biggest payoff, she says, is seeing the changes in the kittens as they grow and getting them into their adoptive homes: “All of our kitties have been adopted from our house so I’ve gotten lots of updates from the new families.”
But as anyone might tell you, fostering isn’t all purrs and floof. Taking care of orphaned kittens is an incredible amount of work and Kathi doesn’t shy away from trickier cases. Her family has volunteered to socialize shy and hissy kittens, and were some of the first participants in our foster behavior program. They’re also no stranger to large litters of four or five kittens, “which is just a challenge in terms of clean up and making sure they each get attention.”
Kathi says her current foster case may be her most demanding: “I’m pretty sure we are in our greatest struggle right now! We have a single, underweight and undersocialized kitty. It’s very different having one kitty, so we are spending a lot of time with him and trying to be patient!” Fortunately, Kathi has help from her family, and her husband and sons both pitch in with the efforts.
One thing that makes Kathi such an asset to the program is her willingness to learn new skills and work with the foster and medical teams to provide her kitties with the best possible care. Careful monitoring and keeping the rescue posted with regular email updates are the behind-the-scenes measures that help everything run smoothly.
When we asked her about what impacts her kittens have on the social distancing experience, Kathi let us know that “Fostering cats has provided us all with a purpose during the pandemic. It’s brought interest and excitement to our home. It’s also had me learning new things and making new virtual connections to become a better foster. Honestly, I’ve gotten more out of it than the kitties I think!” She also encourages folks who are considering fostering to “just go for it!”
We are so thankful for Kathi’s compassion and intrepid fostering spirit. On behalf of the felines and staff of SAFe Rescue, thanks to Kathi for all that you do!