Phew! Our foster family of four, the Weasleys, went to their forever homes last week. They’re all the most adorable things ever and it’s been amazing to watch them grow, but I’m still happy that the number of cats in our home is going down. The money we’ll save on litter alone!
However, kitten season is upon us. My foster group has already had a bunch of neonatal orphans come in, and it’s only March!
You don’t need a lot to start fostering. Some people keep kittens in their bathroom, or even their closet! Our local shelter helps out by giving as many supplies as they can to fosters, as well, so no one’s ever filed for bankruptcy over the amount a nursing mother eats. (It’s a lot. They’re not eating for two, they’re eating for four! Or seven!)
However, since we started fostering almost a year ago, I’ve come across a few extra bonus items that help make fostering even easier, or at least smoother. They’re definitely non-standard, but I’d fight anyone who tried to take them away.
Number One: The Litter Genie
I adore this magical trashcan. For our first couple fosters we cleared the litter box into a regular trashcan. It was miserable. Cat poop can be stinky, and when there’s a lot of it, or you’re, say, in the middle of a Florida summer, the smell can knock you on your butt. Some of the other fosters had talked about how much they love their Litter Genies, so we went to the pet store and grabbed the first one off the shelf. (This was a mistake. It didn’t have a lid. Pro tip: make sure your Litter Genie has all the pieces when you buy it.) They come with a little buckety thing that hangs off the side, and a litter scoop to store in it, which I love.
It’s a simple concept, but completely ingenious. You dump the poop in the litter genie like normal, but then you pull the handle in the front so the poop slides down into the bottom compartment and voila! No more smell.
The bag is another clever design. It’s like a paper towel roll, in that it’s kind of eternal. When your Genie is full you have to cut it using the cutting edge inside (well protected so you can’t accidentally slice a finger) and tie it off. Then you tie off the hanging end and you’ve got a new bag! (Pro tip: blow into the new bag, or shake it out. Otherwise the poop gets kind of stuck and can’t slide down because your bag is stuck together. It’s like a trashbag.)
Price: The basic Litter Genie (we have two) is 9.99$ on Chewy.com. Bag refills come in two- or three-packs, and are 12.99$ and 22.49$ respectively, or a bit cheaper if you use Autoship.
(Pro tip: If your Litter Genie is starting to smell a little, wipe down the inside of the top. Litter dust can hang out there and start smelling after a while. Still better than a trash can!)
Number Two: iLife’s V3 robot vacuum
Okay, I’ll admit: we’ve had these since before we started fostering, but only now that we have cats around on the regular am I fully appreciating its full use. I went from having to empty it every week or so to every other day. And that’s when it’s just us and Squeaker! Bring fosters into the mix and look out.
Why do I love this particular robot vacuum more than others? Two main reasons. One) It’s dumb. It doesn’t have WiFi connectivity or mapping capabilities. There have been a few scandals of smarter robot vacuums sending the information they gather back to their companies, who may or may not sell what they learn to places like Amazon. That does mean that it’s less efficient than it could theoretically be when cleaning, but considering it runs every day and I never vacuum, I couldn’t care less. Two) It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the other brands. No robot vacuum is truly cheap, but this one outclasses the other brands in the price department by a heck of a lot.
Price: 159.99$ on Amazon
Number Three: The Vava Air Purifier
I live in a small space. Occasionally, I have a lot of litter boxes and a lot of cats using them. I also like to have people over. You can see where I’m going with this, right?
Cats pooping is a smelly process that can totally, even if temporarily, permeate my entire home. One of my biggest fears when we adopted Squeaker and began fostering was that our home would get that “cats live here” smell. We’re (well, Kevin) is diligent about litter duty (ha. Duty.) but that never felt like enough. (Have I mentioned I have anxiety? Because I have anxiety.) So I did some research. This little sucker has four fan settings, which means I can have it going near-silently in the background for hours or set to “Oh, god, the bad pooper is approaching the litterbox” turbo. (Pro tip: Turbo is also a good setting when you’re frying things.) It’s got a little indicator light to tell you when the air quality it’s sucking in is bad, and it changes color back to green when you’re in the clear. It’s also got timer settings and all kinds of cool stuff I never use. We’ve actually gotten comments (unprompted, even!) that if it weren’t for the food dishes, visitors would never know we had a cat, which I consider the highest compliment. (Also an indictment of Squeaker’s opinion on strangers.)
Price: 159.99$ on the Vava site and Amazon
There are a million other things that make our lives easier during fostering (these pop-up social pens, for instance) but these are my top three “non-essential essentials.”)
Kitten season is cranking up, so everyone here is getting ready. If you need a good excuse to buy a robot vacuum, try fostering! We need you.
Do you foster animals? What’s your favorite, can’t-live-without-it gear? Is your pet a rescue? Let me know!
P.S. My manuscript is being edited! Slowly. But it’s happening!