Foster parents at the Maryland SPCA provide relief for the shelter during kitten season

Posted at 8:31 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 20:36:18-04

There's always that one sibling that likes to cause trouble, ruffle feathers and make mischief.

In the case of a litter of seven-week-old kittens at the home of Lanie Yerman, that sibling would be Tom.

Tom loves to wrestle with his brothers and sisters, bat around his toys, and cry for attention.

It's never a dull moment with Tom and his four tiny siblings, and Yerman loves every moment of it.

"The love that you get back everyday from playing with them and hanging out with them, its worth every minute that you give them," she said.

Yerman and her family started fostering kittens for the Maryland SPCA about four years ago, when her son wanted to get involved in helping homeless animals.

The first rule: no adopting any of the kittens.

"We are doing it for a community service purpose, and we are doing this to allow these kittens to start their life in a positive way and then sending them off to loving families," Yerman said.

During their temporary stay, the kittens are fed, cleaned up after and given endless amounts of cuddles and kisses by the Yerman family. They are also taken to the Maryland SPCA often for medical check ups.

The Maryland SPCA covers all of the expenses that come with fostering an animal through their organization. And now is the time of year when the Maryland SPCA is in need of foster families because the warmer months means kitten season.

"Usually in kitten season, we have about 200 animals out in foster," said Becca Cranwell, the assistant foster care coordinator at the Maryland SPCA.

The shelter has roughly 325 foster families in their system. They help take care of litters of kittens and puppies, as well as animals who need extra medical care or are severely stressed while staying in the shelter.

"If we can get those animals into a foster home, its a double win," said Cranwell. "They're getting better in a more comfortable place, and its freeing up a kennel at the shelter so we can bring more animals in and help the community."

For anyone thinking about becoming an animal foster parent, Yerman gave some advice.

"Make sure that you have the time, energy and patience to love and care for these animals in the best way possible," she said.

"I keep doing it because you forget about the clean up and the maintenance, because there's nothing more rewarding than this," she said as she showed off Tom, sleeping soundly in her hands.

Even the troublemakers need a nap.