Lessons from kittens

My household volunteers for an animal rescue charity, fostering kittens and cats when possible. The organisation takes surrendered animals, and rescues kittens, cats, dogs and rabbits from death row shelters across Victoria. Fostering means preparing kittens and cats for permanent homes by getting them through medical assessments and treatments (including neutering). Fostering often entails ensuring guests heal emotionally from whatever they experienced before rescue.

Lessons from kittens:

  • Kittens are already who they are.
  • I’m not changing kittens, I help them overcome fears and hesitations about humans.
  • Every kitten is different, yet fulfill the Platonic idea of Kitten.
  • This should be repeated: kittens have unique personalities and quirks. Within and beyond breeds.
  • It takes time to help kittens recover from human abuse and neglect.
  • Kittens respond to kindness. Sometimes with tiny claws and baby teeth, but it’s a response.
  • Never underestimate the damage a kitten can do.

Floofer kitten now homed.

  • Kittens have moods. These include: “hangry,”  “sleepy love eyes,” “rampage against the world,” “cuddle all the things,” “freedom at all costs,” “who even are you?” “fight club time,” “Imma having that,” and “too busy.” Etc.
  • Kitten moods change swiftly.

Cuddle pile – all have been adopted!

  • Every kitten appreciates food given, security provided, and time spent. Much like human children.
  • Each kitten uniquely expresses this appreciation.
  • Kittens are louder than you think.
  • Curiosity is a kitten trait expressed at differing levels.
  • Kittens always say thank you in whatever way they choose.

Kittens are difficult to photograph.

  • Kittens teach each other. Including things you don’t want them to learn.
  • Kittens are rougher than you can ever guess.
  • Kittens are sweeter than ever you thought possible.
  • So much mess.
  • Many humans don’t deserve kittens, nor the cats they will become.
  • Kittens are babies. They need boundaries to explore and learn safely, like human children.

A view like this is the reward.

  • Kittens live in the moment, attacking a toy here, eating there, sleeping full on, and then wake to their awakening, senses alert to distraction.
  • Kittens take moments with them, remembering their favourite toys, their friends and siblings, the love they have offered and received.
  • No single moment you witness defines a kitten. A kitten who is quiet now will play later. A short hair kitten today could floof tomorrow (believe me).

Even other kittens are awed by kittens.

  • The wise and calm sheltering tree of the adult cat exists in the tiny acorn that is the exuberant kitten.
  • Kittens choose to like you, but you can make the choice easier by being as gentle and as kind as possible, even when their claws* rake the skin from your limbs in bloody and ragged strips as they play.

Safe to rest & play after being saved.

  • Love is never wasted on a kitten.
  • You want to keep them all.
  • It’s hard to let them go. It’s not hard to love them.
  • Anything can be entertaining to a kitten.
  • You question kittens constantly. For example:”what are you eating?” or “how can you sleep like that?”, or “have you hurt him/her/yourself?”

Some kittens love close and personal.

  • Know that if you want a kitten, it will not always be a kitten. You will end up with a cat. Just like how babies transform into toddlers, teens and adults so that they don’t much often resemble their drooling, mewling tiny selves. If more people realised this, foster carers would be required.

Safe now.

*(Never declaw – it cruel and thus illegal in Australia. If you don’t want your limbs or furniture clawed don’t have a cat.)

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