6-23-10 – Fosters, Past and Present

Jump to comments

Last week (or was it the week before?) Jean asked: How many years have you fostered, and how many cats have you rescued/adopted/fostered? And if you feel up to doing the math, how many unwanted kittens have you prevented from being brought into this world due to your selfless fostering? A grateful nation awaits.

I know. It calls for some higher maths, which you probably swore you’d never use when you got out of high school! 😀

I found this an interesting question because I had no idea exactly how many cats we’ve fostered over the years, though from time to time I’ve wondered. So I sat down and figured it out. I even made a spreadsheet so I could get a total number as well as how many were males and how many were females.

The year we started fostering: 2005 (May 19, to be exact).
The total number of cats we’ve fostered: 125
How many females: 60
How many males: 65
The number of our fosters we’ve adopted: 5 – Tom Cullen, Sugarbutt, Joe Bob, Stinkerbelle, and Kara.
The largest litter we’ve had: 7 (The Seven)
The litter size we’ve had most often: 4. We’ve had 9 litters of 4. Followed closely by 5, of which we’ve had 8 litters.
The most fosters we’ve had at one time (which is different from the largest litter!): 9. We had 4 Wonkas and 5 Cookies last Fall, and we have 4 Bookworms and 5 Rescuees right now.

I was really, really surprised to find that we’ve had more males than females – I honestly thought we’d had more females over the years!

The total number of fosters would be higher except that after we adopted Tom Cullen and Sugarbutt in the Fall of 2005, Fred made me promise to take at least 6 months off from fostering so that Tommy and Sugs would be older and thus less able to fight off any illnesses fosters might bring into the house. We ended up going almost a year before I decided it was time to start fostering again, and I brought that she-devil Maddy (our first bottle baby!) into the house in September 2006.

It’s impossible, of course, to figure out how many unwanted kittens we’ve helped prevent from being brought into the world. The number of litters a fertile female can have in a year (3), and the average number of kittens in a litter is 4-6. Fertile female felines can have kittens through their entire lives, so let’s say the average female cat lives 10 years (though they often live longer – sometimes much, much longer). 3 litters per year times 5 kittens per litter, times 10 years is… drumroll…150. And then let’s say that of that 150, half are females, who each go on to have their own 150 kittens, so that’s… 11,250. And we’re not even talking about the males, who can impregnate myriad females. I wouldn’t even know how to come up with totals for the males.

Let’s just say we’ve prevented at least 11,250 unwanted kittens from being born. And that’s just MY fosters. I’m not the only foster parent for Challenger’s House cats, and Challenger’s House isn’t the only cat shelter in this area, let alone the state. When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that when we walk out of our houses, we aren’t seeing a flood of cats as far as the eye can see.

Because I know you’re totally fascinated by this topic (heh), you can see all my fosters, in order of fostering, and pictures of each litter right here! (If you consider Maddy and Maura – who were the only two cats we had who were “onlies” – to each be their own litter, that means that the Rescuees are our 31st litter!)


“This is where I hide when I’m overwhelmed by all those fosters.”


2009: No entry.
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: What a difference five weeks makes.



6-23-10 – Fosters, Past and Present — 16 Comments

  1. What a wonderful trip down memory lane this was! I had forgotten about so many of these babies. I fell in love with so many of your fosters, which is why my husband has forbidden us to live anywhere near you so I might adopt a few of my own.

  2. Wow, that’s 11,250 kittens and cats who didn’t have to live short and terrible lives. I suspect the number may be more but still that’s incredible.

    I’m amazed at how many litters I’ve known from your list. So many little guys. And manipulative con artists.

    Thank you and Fred for your tireless work.

  3. Wow, that is amazing! You and Fred are both so awesome to have helped so many kitties in need (and prevent there from being more kitties in need). It is funny to go through and figure out which I remember, which I have heard of but never seen, and which are new to me. And we know each and every one of them appreciates the love and care you give them until they are able to find their forever homes (wherever those may be).

  4. This is an awesome collection of the work you guys have done fostering. Look at all those pictures. All those happy kittens. It makes me look forward to getting another cat so I can have a kitten and that’s TOTALLY CRAZY!!

  5. I didn’t realize Jack Frost was one of your fosters! His human comes in from time to time when I’m doing adoptions. He gives Sue money to buy the Kirkland’s food at Costco for Jack Frost. And I think Jack has another cat to play with now. Carl (the human) sure can talk, but I get a kick out of him telling me the latest adventures of Jack Frost. 🙂

    My first foster litter was October 2005 and that was Scully and her 5 babies. She’s the first and only foster I’ve adopted.

  6. Oh gosh I could spend forever just reading about these sweeties – and what amazing stunning pics – big AWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! all round!!

    I’m very sorry but I think I’ll skip Hamilton J Pork, Jefferson and their siblings because that’s just make me sad and angry and sad again! 🙁 Poor little babies!!

    But thank you for sharing the pics and stories of your many, many, many successful foster babies!! And great to see your permanent residents as kitties! Who would have thought that ?Sugarbutt was once Sad Eyes!! 🙂

    You guys are just STARS!!! I’m so so glad you are there for these furries!

    take care

  7. I think it’s amazing that you’ve not only fostered all these babies, but you’ve only kept five! I’m on my fourth (I think?) litter and I’ve already adopted four of the kitties. 😡

    I actually have a great handout that’s from the American Humane Association. I keep it around for those moments when people don’t think that there’s a problem with cat overpopulation. Hah!

    Say you allow two cats and their surviving offspring to breed for a decade. They assume each female produces two litters per year, with an average of 2.8 surviving kitties in each litter. Over 10 years, that’s 80.4 million cats.

    My brain started smoking when I tried to do the math for your 125 former fosters, so I had my dad help. Even if you were to stop fostering after the Rescuees and the Bookworms – I know, the horror! 🙁 – that means you’ve saved over 5 billion potential little kitties for this decade. That’s pretty freakin’ amazing!

  8. So many cute little kitties! And you forgot to multiply your “kittens prevented” number by the number of female cats you’ve had come through. That number was just for ONE! And as for the males, if I remember my population ecology correctly, you just figure based on the females and ignore the males. Keep up the good work and great blog! 😀

  9. Robyn, what an accomplishment. I am in awe of the capacity you and Fred have to provide such loving care for these kittens and getting them ready for their furever homes.

    I am looking forward to going through all the pictures … but must confess to a favorite – Rhian! She looks so much like my tuxedo-tortie Cagney did as a kitten (She’s 16 now and sti/ll like a kitten). Do you know what sort of home she went to?

    I started following with the True Bloods, and was so capitvated by their sage – and by your terrific care of them – that I got hooked!

  10. Kristen: That is such an amazing number, isn’t it?

    Kara: You’re right, I completely forgot. My math skills aren’t the greatest. 🙂

    Webbthistle: Unfortunately, I don’t know what kind of home Rhian went to – except, of course, that I’m sure it was a very good one. I remember her as being an awfully sweet girl – that litter was pretty skittish, but she was the first to approach me for petting and to climb into my lap.

  11. Do I fail at reading comprehension, or are Jake and Elwood not accounted for in this entry?

  12. Sarah, they were left on our stoop and we thought initially that we’d foster them and then adopt them out through Challenger’s House. But after about a day and a half we fell in love with them. They never officially entered “the system” (ie, the manager didn’t get a chance to put them in the computer), so I don’t consider them fosters. 🙂

    (Did I never write about Jake and Elwood? I’m not having any luck finding a post about them – I was sure I’d written about them!)

  13. Pingback: Stumbling Over Chaos :: Lost lands of linkity