Mike Kauffmann And Andrea Carr
Hundreds of feral cats and kittens roam the streets of Oahu with no place to call home. Hawaiian Humane Society only can take in so many animals at once, so it relies on the help of volunteer foster parents such as Andrea Carr and Mike Kaufmann.
The couple has been fostering cats (mostly kittens) for almost a year now, and over that course of time has seen about 15 felines come through their door.
“We typically get litters of kittens,” explains Carr, a CPA at an accounting firm. “We get them after they’re weaned from their mothers. We’ve had two single cats, but usually it’s litters because it’s whatever people can basically catch. The last two we got were the first ones that were surrendered.”
The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kittens come into their temporary home with ears erect and eyes wide open, and Carr and Kaufmann normally have them in their care for two weeks.
“It’s until they’re heavy enough to get fixed,” Kaufmann explains, “which is 2 pounds. The last ones we got, we had them for three weeks because they were very tiny when we got them.”
While the humane society provides foster parents with a mix of wet and dry food to feed the animals, Carr and Kaufmann admit that they often will buy food on their own.
“When we are fostering, you tend to notice what they like most,” explains Kaufmann, who works at Hawaii Agriculture Research Center. “We’ll buy similar types of foods to feed them.”
The couple adds that it’s always fun with bouncing kittens in the house. “We certainly enjoy every minute of it,” says Carr. “Even if we’re being scratched. It’s really nice to have an animal, especially when they’re young and cute.”
It’s hard not to get attached to such adorable creatures, and it’s even harder because they are required to name them.
“When you return them, because you have gotten to know them … (we) know their habits, eating patterns, so they (humane society) want you to name them and submit a bio,” says Kaufmann, who also is working toward his graduate degree in geographic information systems. “I get emotionally attached really fast. Andrea is the one who always has to take them back because it’s harder for me to return them.”
“If it were up to Mike, we would have adopted every single one by now,” Carr adds.
Fostering animals (dogs have not fit into the couple’s schedule, as of yet) is a wonderful experience, as both have expressed.
But Kaufmann is quick to note: “It’s more for the animals’ benefit.”