We’re grateful Brittany Rall joined Seattle Humane’s crew of foster program volunteers earlier this year. We especially appreciate her can-do attitude as she welcomes the opportunity to foster cats and kittens with more complex medical needs. She is up for the challenge given her experience with her own cats as well as her time fostering a ringworm-positive kitten through our pals at PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society).
Brittany’s first Seattle Humane foster, Dora, was a diabetic senior cat who required insulin injections and close glucose monitoring. Shortly after Dora, Brittany took in a mama cat and her three 2-day-old kittens who suffered complications during birth. Brittany attentively cared for the kittens and brought them to and from countless vet appointments. Thanks to Brittany’s TLC, the mama cat and all three kittens defied the odds and thrived!
Volunteer foster parents like Brittany prove the power a healing human touch can have in transforming a pet’s life. We are forever grateful for her dedication to the pets of Seattle Humane.
Check out the following interview to learn more about Brittany, including how she manages the household dynamics between her personal pets and foster pets, and what extra special goodies she gives her foster cats and kittens.
Who was one of your favorite foster pets?
Our longest-term foster was a torbie kitten named Truffle, who we fostered through PAWS. Truffle was pretty special and the closest we’ve come to a “foster fail.” My husband and I joked that she kept finding excuses to come back to our house. Her very pregnant mom came in on a transfer and gave birth to a litter of eight(!) in our spare bathroom. We gave them chocolate-themed names: Chip, Godiva, lookalikes Cocoa and Cacao, and so on. They went in for surgery when they made age and weight and most went up for adoption right away, but the vets found a bladder abnormality on Truffle during her spay and wanted some extra observation. Everything was fine and when she went up for adoption again, she promptly caught a kitty cold; back to foster with a new kitten friend, Brioche, who also had URI. Turns out Brioche had been exposed to ringworm and several weeks later, guess who had fungus lesions… Miss Truffle. We hadn’t fostered pets with ringworm before, but since we’d had Truffle since birth, we decided to do it, stinky lime dips and all (she was not a fan
.). After a couple of months of bonding over their ringworm ordeal, Truffle and Brioche ended up being adopted together, which was a lovely outcome.
Our current Seattle Humane foster, a 2.5-month-old tripod kitten named Khonsu, is also stealing our hearts. We’ve had him since he was two days old with quite a guarded prognosis, and now
, he is doing great!*
*Good news! Since this interview, Khonsu was adopted!
Do you have any pets of your own?
We have two black rescue cats, Spot and Shadow, who were adopted as kittens from PAWS Cat City in Seattle. They’re eight years old now and we absolutely adore them. Shadow is also our household’s foster fail prevention: She mostly gets along with Spot, but hisses and growls at all other cats. The couple of times we’ve seriously considered keeping a foster cat/kitten and done a preliminary intro, she reminds us that two is the right number of resident cats for us!
Are there any experiences that you feel helped prepare you for fostering (previous jobs, internships, schooling, residential pets, etc.)?
Shadow, our girl cat, had been very sick in her early months. Her littermates all passed away, she didn’t hit the two-pound mark until she was over four months old, and she had a medical waiver when we adopted her. She had a slight head tilt and very bad balance when she came home. My husband had cats growing up, but little experience medicating them and I had only lived with a family dog before. We quickly got comfortable with eye ointment, eardrops, and oral medications, all of which we have since done many times with fosters. Thankfully, Shadow’s head tilt resolved and her balance improved, so now she is just on the clumsy end of normal.
What inspired you to foster pets with Seattle Humane?
Both of our cats benefitted immensely from fostering when they were young: Shadow because of her medical issues and Spot because his mom was part of a significant hoarding situation. He was born just days after that rescue and because he has known human kindness since birth, he’s super friendly. But his life would have been vastly different without dedicated shelter staff and loving foster care. We truly believe that shelters and foster programs saved both of our feline family members’ lives. Fostering for the past six years is our way of paying that gift forward to other animals and their future families.
What is the most rewarding aspect of fostering?
I have two. One is that I really enjoy learning about different situations, medical conditions, treatments, etc., and I’m not squeamish so I find it interesting to give more advanced care such as insulin injections and subcutaneous fluids. Seattle Humane taught me how to do both of those processes. The other is seeing foster animals thrive, which means something different in each case. Sometimes it’s getting a sad, sneezing, booger-filled cat back to their playful or cuddly self. Other times it’s just hanging on to animals waiting for surgery and knowing they are happier in a temporary home than they would be in a shelter environment. Occasionally we feel like we helped save a life—we’ve had several kittens pull through tough situations. While it can get difficult and emotional as we’re going through it (and especially in the rare case that a foster animal doesn’t survive), the overwhelmingly positive outcomes are more than worth it.
When/how did your love for animals begin?
It’s been there for as long as I can remember. My first word was “duck”—when I was very young my mom used to take me on walks to a nearby pond to see the ducks—and the rest is history, I guess! My husband has loved cats forever and turned me into a cat person.
Besides fostering, tell us about your hobbies. Do you have any hidden talents we might not know about?
I learned to crochet this year and have made several little toys for my fosters and my own cats. My heart just about explodes when I watch a kitty enjoying something I made by hand especially for them.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking about fostering a pet?
Go for it! And don’t be shy about telling shelter staff about your space, experience level, what types of fosters you are and aren’t comfortable with, and so on. There are plenty of animals who need care, and everyone is very happy to help find a good match for your situation.
Help Make a Difference
Just like Brittany, you can make a difference in the lives of pets at Seattle Humane. Become a foster parent or check out other volunteer opportunities to help pets at our Bellevue campus and in the community.