Fostering kittens more rewarding than volunteer ever imagined

by Bob Gordon, FOTAS Director of Communications
Debbie Snyder arrived at the Aiken County Animal Shelter (ACAS) carrying cans of puppy formula. She’d read on the FOTAS Facebook page that the shelter was running low and needed donations. Being a dog lover and owner, she often did her part to drop off food, treats and other goodies for the canines waiting to be adopted.

But on this day, she would not leave empty-handed.

“When I got there, (FOTAS Programs Coordinator) Kathy Jacobs asked me if I’d ever fostered kittens,” Debbie said. “I told her I wasn’t really a cat person and I didn’t know much about them, but if it would save their lives, I’d give it a shot.”

The kittens in question had been found and brought to the shelter by a good Samaritan but their mother was nowhere in sight and they needed continuous bottle feeding and care. Debbie took the newborn foster kittens home and what started out as an act of kindness, gradually became a rewarding personal journey for the retired lawyer.

“From the moment I got home, I set up a warm spot for them and let my two yellow Labs smell them and they quickly got very comfortable with the kittens,” Debbie said. “Over the next seven weeks, the three little guys went from being completely helpless to very affectionate, and it’s been wonderful watching their personalities develop.”

In the beginning, taking care of the kittens was a bit challenging. They had to be bottle fed every few hours and needed help with elimination. Debbie would patiently massage their bottoms and tummies until they pooped and peed. But after about three weeks, they could eliminate on their own and at five weeks old, they started sleeping through the night and could be fed kitten food mixed with water in a bowl. It was about this time that Debbie named her three fosters: The fuzzy, black one became Edward and the two Tabbies were christened Ben and Keith.

Today, the three brothers are nearly two months old, healthy and happy, and running and playing in Debbie’s home. They love playing with her large Labs and are so comfortable around them, they’ll sometimes climb on top of them. In a typical fostering situation, the kittens would be ready to head back to the shelter for adoption. But Debbie became so smitten with the cuties, she adopted them herself. The ailing orphan kittens, who were fighting for survival, now have a forever home and an owner who is committed to giving them love and care throughout their lives.

“I’m so glad I decided to foster them,” she said. “If you have the time to do it and love animals, I think you should try it. FOTAS provides terrific guidance on what needs to be done and is always available if you need support or have any questions.”

Many kittens and puppies ,along with dogs and cats, are currently being received at the shelter, and FOTAS is in urgent need of foster homes. If you can help foster shelter animals at your home, or are interested in volunteering in other ways, please email

Their lives are in our hands.

debbie snyder kittens

FOTAS Volunteer Debbie Snyder at home with her three foster kittens.
FOTAS Volunteer Debbie Snyder at home with her three foster kittens.