My husband and I live just south of Charlotte, NC, with our two rescue cats, Will Feral and Oshie. We could not do what we are doing with ferals, fosters, and rescues without their cooperation. Will is our former feral, and Oshie is our shelter “foster fail,” an expression many of you recognize as a cat we intended to foster to adoption, but fell in love with and adopted ourselves. You can read about Will’s and Oshie’s journeys in the Happily Ever After blog posts.

For those of you who foster, you can appreciate the struggles and rewards recorded here. The struggles are to get our fosters healthy and socialized, and then adopted into forever homes with forever people. The rewards are when the very young or very sick charges finally get well, or when that feral admits to itself that living among people has its benefits.

Here is my story: I began fostering kittens through LASS (The Lancaster Animal Shelter Supporters) in early 2019, shortly after I retired as a neonatal intensive care nurse. 2021, I started Cheryl’s Ferals & Fosters (CFF), a non-profit 501(c)(3), specifically to focus on newborn orphaned or abandoned kittens that would most likely be euthanized if taken to a shelter.

Very young kittens provide their own challenges. For one thing, they are very fragile, and some, regardless of the around-the-clock care, don’t survive those first few weeks. However, many of the skills I learned in the NICU translate well to kittens. I even have two incubators for orphan newborns because kittens can’t regulate their body temperature until about three weeks of age. But orphan kittens that young also require feeding every few hours for the first few weeks of life, either with a bottle, syringe, or a feeding tube. That’s why the shelter simply doesn’t have the physical or financial resources to care for these kittens.

The orphans I have fostered have done especially well in their adopted homes because from the moment they opened their eyes at 8 to 10 days old they looked to humans for food, safety, comfort, and companionship. And, yes, I absolutely bond with every cat or kitten that comes through the door, but always keeping in mind that I am caring for and socializing another family’s new pet. 

The reward there is the tremendous satisfaction in seeing how well these fosters adjust to their new families and new surroundings, and then seeing the pictures and hearing the tales of their happily-ever-after stories.

If you are interested in adopting one of my ferals or fosters, please fill out an adoption contract application. You can also follow their stories in my Cheryl’s Ferals and Fosters Chat Group. This is also where those who have adopted from CFF post updates.

Special thanks to my sponsoring vet, Sun City Animal Hospital. We could not do what we are doing without the support of Dr. Katta, Dr. Kundla, and the SCAH staff.