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Can I Crash at Your Place for a While? The Rewards of Fostering

Article by
Emily McCullor

Monday, Jul 24

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On May 25th, 2017 a family walked through the Humane Society’s front doors carrying a tiny, fluffy, buff-colored kitten that they found orphaned on a street corner. I’ve always had a thing for buff/orange kittens, so this little guy caught my attention immediately.

The kitten was approximately four weeks old and seemed to be healthy. Staff attempted to pair it with a nursing mother, but she would not accept the new addition. We kenneled him with another small litter of orphaned kittens for companionship and waited to see if he would eat on his own.

Han Solo While Fostering

The following morning, we discovered that the other three kittens had, almost overnight, developed upper-respiratory infections, but out little buff guy was still healthy. The kittens hadn’t been eating on their own and we needed to start bottle/syringe feeding them.

I never expected to foster, but there was something about this little kitten that I was drawn to. If he stayed with the others, he would inevitably get sick. I knew I needed to help.

I took this little guy, who would become affectionately known as “Han Solo” (named by my husband), home that day with the intention of getting him to a place where he was eating and using a litter box on his own. Well, within 3 days, goal #1 was accomplished.

The easy thing at that point would have been to bring him back to the shelter, but I knew if he stayed with me, in a stress-free environment, he would be much better off in the long run.

During this time, I was able to watch him grown and develop. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed time spent playing with him and grew to truly love him. In the back of my mind, I knew it was only temporary. I needed to keep reminding myself that he would be heading back to the shelter.

Four weeks after he came home with me, little Han Solo was ready to return to the Humane Society to be neutered and find his loving forever family. The first night spent at home without him was tough. I wanted to jump in my car and drive over to the shelter and hold him.

The following day, he was ready to go up for adoption. I sat in the hallway outside my office and snapped a few pictures of him to post on Facebook. As I snapped the last photo, I received a text message from a friend wanting to know if my foster kitten was available for adoption yet. This timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

She drove an hour to the shelter to meet and adopt my little guy and at that moment, I knew that no matter how hard it was to detach myself from this kitten, I had done a good thing. I had accomplished my goal of helping to raise this kitten so he could thrive and find a loving home.

Becoming a foster is a very selfless decision, as you are choosing to open your home and your heart to animals with special circumstances. It can be challenging at times, but the ultimate reward is knowing that you helped save a life.


Fortunately for me, my foster baby was adopted by a good friend, so I still have the opportunity to watch him grow and even visit him from time-to-time. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the joy on her children’s faces when they got to meet Han Solo (now Baxter) for the first time. I able to witness how much love this little kitten receives from his family, and for that, I will forever be grateful.

If you are interested in considering becoming a foster, please contact our Foster Program Coordinator, Laura Wilwohl, at 814-835-8331, x34 or email her for more information. Together, we can save more lives!