IBKC is beautifully laid out. As a Graphic Designer, I especially appreciate the lovely typography and design of the book. It’s an easy read for an adult, as would be expected, but I still found myself getting carried away as each story reminded me of many of the cats I've fostered over the years. It's impossible to read this book without having a smile on your face.
There are also special sections highlighting different aspects of kitten care, without going into too much detail for a child to absorb. The photos are real show-stoppers, making it difficult to choose a favorite—probably like picking a favorite kitten from a litter, you just can’t do it.
I shared an advance copy of the book with Hanna, an 8-yr old whose family had just adopted their first cats from my rescue, Kitten Associates. Although she was a bit too young to understand the information completely, she was delighted and giggled at some of the photos. Her father helped her go through the book and was thrilled to have something on hand that he could refer to to help Hanna understand the basics of kitten care. He mentioned he planned on reading the book to Hanna as part of their bedtime ritual and that she would be taking it to “sharing day” at school.
Based on Hanna’s reaction to IBKC it was clear that shelters and rescues could also benefit from selling copies of this book to new adopters with young kids.
CiCH: What was your inspiration to begin fostering kittens and did you foster for more than one place before you found a good fit?
LC: We moved into a new neighborhood and met our neighbors, Kim and Sarah, who were fostering our now permanent resident cat, Charlene Butterbean. Prior to that, I didn’t even know that foster programs for animals existed. We got see a few litters come and go at their house, and eventually we decided to try our hand at it too.
CICH: What do you tell people who ask you: "how you can let those foster kittens go? Doesn't it break your heart? Do you want to keep them all?"
LC: It is hard to say goodbye, but that’s just part of the process. It has gotten a little bit easier over the years, but still, it’s never easy and sometimes there are tears.
We’ve been lucky to find some really amazing families to adopt our kittens, and knowing the kittens are going to be loved and well cared for by these fine folks, makes it all bearable.
There are been a few extra-special ones that we could have easily kept, but we just can’t do that. We need to keep our cat population at a reasonable number if we want to continue to foster.
CICH: I see it says your book is for middle grade readers. Would you also suggest it for younger kids or adults? If so, why? Why did you choose this level of reader? Was that on purpose?
LC: I think it’s appropriate for kitten lovers of all ages! I’ve shared it with adults and young children too, and they all seem to enjoy it. It’s packed with lots of photos of adorable kittens, which works for any age group!
I had many conversations with my editor about what this book could be. We knew it would be for kids – Roaring Brook Press publishes children’s books – but it took some time before the full idea took shape. Once it did, we decided on what the age of the audience should be and tailored the content for that.
CICH: Do you mostly take on whatever fosters your shelter gives you or do you find kittens who need help?
LC: Once our kittens leave our nest, I’ll let the shelter know that we’re ready to receive more, and they let us know who is available. Sometimes we get kittens that need a little more help than others – they have medical issues, or need help transitioning from bottle to solid food. Sometimes they need help with socialization.. Sometimes they just need a little bit of time to get bigger.
We’re happy to take on whatever or whomever they send our way. Each batch is different when they arrive, but all leave happy, healthy, social and trusting.
CICH: Do you often face having to medicate sick or injured cats? Were any of them remarkable in how much care they needed? Perhaps more so than you could include in a book for kids? Can you give an example of one or two of those kitties?
LC: With each litter, there’s usually a medical issue or two to deal with. We’ve seen a lot of diarrhea, vomiting, fleas, ear mites and upper-respiratory infections. We’ve had to give many rounds of antibiotics and lots of sub q fluids over the years.
The transition from wherever they were before, to the shelter, and then to our home can be stressful on their little bodies. We are fortunate to have great vet staff at our shelter to guide us through any issues we have.
The biggest challenge we have ever faced was with the last litter we fostered. One of the kittens, Filbert, came to us with the Panleukopenia virus, which sadly took his life. It’s a highly contagious, so after his passing, we were quite worried it would take his sisters down too. They survived, thank goodness, but later we discovered that his sister Wylla had a condition called Megaesophagus. With this condition, she didn’t have the muscle tone in her esophagus to push food into her stomach, and she regurgitated nearly everything she ate. It took many trips to the vet to diagnose her condition, and a lot of work to learn to manage it.
Eventually, we decided we would keep her. After all we went through with Wylla, we just couldn’t say goodbye.
CICH: How did you get your book idea sold? Did the publishers come to you or did you have an agent?
LC: My editor had been following the blog, and when I mentioned on Twitter that I had dreams of publishing a book, she contacted me.
CICH: What is the one thing you hope results from kids reading your book?
LC: I hope it makes them happy. This parade of kittens that has passed through our home has brought a tremendous amount of joy into our lives. I want others to experience that same joy.
I also hope they’ll take a way some good practical information and become responsible and respectful pet owners.
ONE entry will be CHOSEN AT RANDOM to WIN. You may only leave ONE comment for ONE CHANCE to win per person. This Giveaway ends Wednesday, MARCH 26, 2014 at 11:11 PM EST and is open to residents of the USA, only (sorry guys!). Rules, quantities and whatever else I forgot are subject to change without notice. WINNER will be notified via email. If you do not respond within 48hrs another winner will be chosen.
The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee is available for purchase for $12.99 (list price) for a softcover version or less for Kindle and other e-readers at Amazon and other outlets.