Fostering cats has become more popular in the Athens community due to Georgia’s shelter-in-place order. 

Maria Strom, who recently fostered two cats, said “it’s great to have them around and keep me company while I’m working. It has been more company than I would normally have because I’m not seeing a lot of people.”

Maria Strom and one of her foster cats, Stitchy. (Photo Courtesy/Maria Strom)

Fosters like Strom are helping the local shelters a lot right now, according to Kristall Barber, the director of Animal Services in Athens-Clarke County. She said fostering makes this time easier on the employees because it gives them less animals “to physically take care of.”

 Why It’s Newsworthy: Cat fostering in Athens has increased due to Georgia’s shelter-in-place order. Athens-Clarke County Animal Services says fostering makes it safer for the animals and staff if members of their crew get sick or personal issues come up. 

 

Despite Georgia’s shelter-in-place order ending on April 30, Animal Services is not changing their current work strategy. While this is subject to change as the situation evolves, they will continue to not use volunteers at this time and see the public by appointment only. 

Why Are More Locals Fostering Cats?

Strom said the shelter in place ending soon doesn’t affect her decision to foster and that she “plans on keeping the cats until they are adopted.” 

Barber said they have always had a good foster base, and while fostering for both cats and dogs has increased, they have seen the biggest increase in the amount of cats being temporarily placed in homes. 

She feels that not everybody gets excited about fostering cats because they’re more independent and don’t always cuddle. But “because of the quarantine, they were stuck at home for four or five weeks. And they’re like, ‘hey, why not get a cat?’”

Even Strom, who had taken in kittens last year, said she wasn’t planning on fostering again until the feline breeding season in the summer. 

“The two that I got are older. They’re about 10 years old, and they weren’t doing really well at the shelter. It’s a very stressful place to be. So, I was really happy to get them, and the virus definitely sped up the calendar for me bringing in cats.” 

Why Fostering is Good for Cats

Barber feels that because they’ve had so many new people step up to foster cats, that there have been “a couple extra adoptions that [she thinks] probably wouldn’t have happened.”

“We call those foster failures, and we love foster failures because that means that the foster failed, and they’re now adopting,” Barber said. 

Barber said she enjoys seeing people in the community foster if they are able to.

Because of the amount of animals being fostered, many cages at the animal shelter are empty. (Photo Courtesy/Kristall Barber)

“It’s a great help for us and it gets the kitties out of the cages, and into a home,” Barber said. “We try to make it as pleasant as we can here, but it’s just not a home.”

Savanna Schmidt is a senior in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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