Seattle Animal Shelter provides comfort and joy to pets with its “fospice” program

By Katie Johnson

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a pet foster parent, consider becoming a fospice parent. The fospice (foster-hospice) program is for pets that come into the Seattle Animal Shelter’s care that are nearing the end of their lives. Volunteer foster parents provide a home, and the shelter provides the medical care necessary to keep the animals comfortable. I talked with Christiane Woten, a dedicated fospice parent, to learn more about the program and about her experience.

Why did you become a fospice parent?

I saw an email about this beautiful little cat, Susie, who was still in stable health but was not considered adoptable due to her age and illnesses. This was before our official fospice program started, but there was a lot of shelter support for someone to take Susie home.

How is being a fospice parent different from being a foster parent?

It is not that different! The biggest difference is that you are not responsible for promoting your cat for adoption. And it is possible that fospice can turn into a long-term commitment. I had Susie for nine months, and it has been almost 10 months with Ginger. Which goes to show that it can be very difficult to determine how much time a sick animal really has!

How do you acquire any necessary medications or supplies?

Ginger is on medication that I get from the shelter. Susie ate a prescription food that I got from the shelter. Fospice animals are seen by the shelter vet, so there is no cost to me.

How long do animals usually stay with you?

Ginger was very sick in the shelter, and everyone believed she had a very short time. However, once out of the stress of the shelter environment, in a safe home, and eating food that did not make her sick, she has completely rallied. She’s even put on weight!

Fearless and friendly Susie spent nine happy months in her fospice home.

Who has been your most memorable fospice pet?

I will have to say my first fospice, Susie. Not only was she a stunningly beautiful cat, she was fearless and friendly. She would meet me at the front door at night and want me to pick her up and carry her around. Anytime anyone sat down she was in their lap.

What do you love about being a fospice parent?

Animals matter until the very end of their natural lives. Both Susie and Ginger were surrenders; their families gave them up to the shelter when they were old and sick. In many places, cats like them would immediately be euthanized. I am so grateful that SAS gives them another chance. I love old kitties. They have just as unique personalities as younger cats. Ginger still loves to play with wand and feather toys. Susie liked to go out on the balcony and watch the birds. I find it immensely rewarding to foster old kitties until the end. When Susie’s time came she had spent nine happy months in a home, and I was with her at the very end, the way it should be for all pets.

What would you like someone who is thinking of becoming a fospice parent to know?

Please just consider trying it. The shelter always needs more fospice homes. Some animals may need more actual care than others (fluids, shots, pills, etc.) but not necessarily. You may end up having the animal a lot longer than you think, so be prepared for that. And recognize that eventually you will lose them, but at least they had a good life until the end.

To apply to become a foster parent at Seattle Animal Shelter, visit the Foster Care section on the SAS website.

Foster cat orientation at Seattle Animal Shelter Sept. 10

Angel is just one of the adoptable cats at the shelter, not currently in a foster home.

Have you been thinking about getting a cat but aren’t ready for a long-term commitment? Do you need some kitten snuggles in your life? Do you have a soft spot for senior cats?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you should become a foster parent! The Seattle Animal Shelter is in great need for foster cat parents, especially foster parents that are willing to socialize kittens or foster senior cats. If you’re interested, apply to become a foster parent on our site (http://bit.ly/fostercat) no later than 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7. Once you have signed up, we will email you with a confirmation and orientation packet. Our next orientation is Sunday, Sept. 10.

The foster care program is quite simple. You provide a temporary home; the Seattle Animal Shelter provides the rest! The shelter’s “Help the Animals Fund” subsidizes the costs associated with the foster care program including all pre-approved vet care, food and supplies.

New this year, we are recruiting foster parents for our “fospice” program. This program is for cats that have a terminal illness and a prognosis of six months or less. Foster parents who open their homes to these needy cats have told us it is a rewarding experience. From a current fospice parent, “It feels good to help anyone through a hard time, especially if their health has been compromised. In my case, I can really feel the gratefulness of my fospice cat.”

If you attend an orientation session you are under no obligation to foster an animal, but we hope you do!

For more information or additional directions call 206-386-PETS (7387) or visit www.seattleanimalshelter.org.

Kitty Hall is back – Monday, Aug. 21 at Seattle Kitty Hall

Cuddling an adoptable kitten at the 2016 Kitty Hall

Kitty Hall returns on August 21 in Seattle City Hall to promote the Seattle Animal Shelter cat fostering programs and cat adoptions.

“It’s a celebration of felines, the Seattle Animal Shelter, SAS foster programs and our wonderful, supportive Seattle community,” said Interim Volunteer Supervisor Laura Mundy.

Although previous Kitty Hall attendees proved they will wait in long lines to play with kittens, SAS will reduce this year’s wait times by providing two to three tents, instead of just one. SAS will fill tents in the Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall with kittens from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and some will be available for adoption, according to Mundy.  

SAS volunteers will be on hand with information on fostering programs, on-site adoptions, pet licenses for cats or dogs, a kitty photo booth and donation opportunities. All donations will go to the shelter’s Help the Animals Fund, said Mundy.

As an SAS cat foster parent, Lauren Foster said to come excited and bring your kids.

“Your cheeks are going to hurt from smiling so much,” said Foster.

A job worthy of her namesake, Foster got involved with SAS through the cat program by fostering two cats – Teddy and Mag. She said the SAS team supported her through her experience by providing vet needs and advice on cat care.

Since cats are social creatures, they feel more comfortable in a foster home while they wait for adoption. SAS suggests that cats suffering from “shelter stress,” senior cats, injured cats or those recovering from surgery should be in foster care.

The goodbyes were rough, but the time Foster had with the cats made it worth it.

“I look at it as a summer fling, […] you let yourself fall in love even though you know it’s going to end,” said Foster.

Foster allowed herself two months to find the cats a new home and marketed the cats on social media with cute costumes and character biographies.

“Some people think that if you just hit the key notes, like if the cat is female, then they will get adopted, but you have to dig deeper,” said Foster.

The right person can create a loving, temporary home for a cat in need of adoption, according to Foster.

At Kitty Hall, the Cat Foster Team will have more information on fostering and how to visit a cat in foster care for adoption. Visit the Kitty Hall webpage for more information about the event and the SAS volunteer webpage for more information about volunteer opportunities.

Story by Erin Berge, SAS volunteer

Fabulous Felines cat adoption event at Meadowbrook Community Center

The Seattle Animal Shelter will host a cat adoptathon on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at the Meadowbrook Community Center, located at 10517 35th Ave. NE, Seattle. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m. and features numerous kittens and cats of different breeds. Cats available at this event have been living with foster parents, who are available at the event to share information about the personality and habits of the cats with potential adopters, helping to make a perfect match.

“With our monthly neighborhood adoptathons, we hope to continue to spread the word about the joys and value of adopting shelter pets and saving lives. If you have room in your home and your heart for an orphaned animal, this is a great opportunity to come and see some of the wonderful pets available from our foster-care parents,” said Don Jordan, Seattle Animal Shelter director.

Adoption prices range from $45 to $135 (plus applicable license fees) and include:

  • Initial vaccinations
  • Deworming
  • Feline Leukemia testing
  • Certificate for free health exam at local veterinarians
  • Spay or neuter
  • Microchip

The Seattle Animal Shelter has a foster-care program to rehabilitate sick and immature dogs and cats. Donations from the city’s “Help the Animals Fund” pay for veterinary care for these animals while they are being fostered.

The Seattle Animal Shelter, located at 2061 15th Ave. W., is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. For more information, call 206-386-7387 (PETS), or view animals available for adoption online at www.seattleanimalshelter.org. Adoptable pets are also featured on “Pet of the Week” on the Seattle Channel at http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityStream/Pets.

Kittens return to Seattle’s “Kitty Hall”

It was all smiles and purrs today as kittens descended on City Hall, renamed “Kitty Hall” in a proclamation by Mayor Ed Murray, highlighting the benefits of cat ownership and encouraging the public to consider cat adoption from the Seattle Animal Shelter. The public was invited to Kitty Hall to play with and cuddle kittens in an enclosed tent, and encouraged to attend the shelter’s cat adoptathon event tomorrow, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Montlake Community Center, located at 1618 E. Calhoun St., Seattle.

Like at last year’s Kitty Hall, the line to enter the tent was long, but eager kitten cuddlers were in good spirits while they waited for their turn to play with a handful of the 11 kittens at today’s event. Following the plaza event, the kittens napped, relaxed and played on Kitty Hall’s seventh floor, where they were then visited by Mayor Murray. Photos of the event are available at http://bit.ly/KittyHall2015Photos.

The kittens that were on hand at Kitty Hall are all currently under the care of foster parents. The shelter currently has about 150 cats and kittens available for adoption, both at the shelter and in foster homes. Anyone interested in adopting a cat or meeting available cats is encouraged to attend the Fabulous Felines event tomorrow.

“Our monthly neighborhood adoptathon is a wonderful way to meet your potential new pet. Foster parents will be able to tell you about the cat’s personality and habits and help you find a perfect match,” said Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan. “If you have room in your home and your heart for an orphaned animal, this is a great opportunity to save a life.”

The Seattle Animal Shelter relies on volunteers to provide temporary foster care in their homes to rehabilitate and nurture sick, injured and immature cats and kittens or to just give adoptable cats a break from the shelter environment. Visit the shelter’s website at www.seattle.gov/animal-shelter/volunteer/foster-care for more information about the foster care program.

The Seattle Animal Shelter, located at 2061 15th Ave. W., is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. for adoptions and licensing. For more information, call 206-386-7387 (PETS), or view animals available for adoption online at www.seattleanimalshelter.org. Adoptable pets are also featured on “Pet of the Week” on the Seattle Channel at http://www.seattlechannel.org/CityStream/Pets.

Kitty Hall attendees Manpal Kaur (left) and Esther Yune (center) stopped by the Seattle Animal Shelter kitten tent to interact with some of the shelter’s adoptable felines. “Frankie” presides over Kitty Hall activities while awaiting a visit from Mayor Murray (right).

Mayor Murray and First Gentleman Michael Shiosaki receive a visit from “Mario” at Seattle’s Kitty Hall event (left). Not even Mayor Murray could resist the kittens’ playfulness at Kitty Hall (center). Former councilmember Sally Clark visited Kitty Hall today and its very own cat in the hat (right).