First of all, don’t get too hung up on making the perfect room for your fosters. Work with what you have, and add (or delete) as you go. Cats and kittens have survived for millennia without chevron stripes or matching food dishes. I mean, maybe they didn’t thrive without those things, but they did survive. Anything you can offer your fosters is better than a cage at a shelter. But if you happen to come across some cute chevron-striped stuff, by all means, buy it immediately.
Are you on your neighborhood ‘Buy Nothing’ Facebook group?
You’re NOT?? But then, how are you going to get free stuff for your kitten room??
Because the shelves in my kitten room closet were FREE! They were originally from IKEA, and I painted them with chalk paint (which is my favorite thing besides cats and food and chevron stripes). My favorite kind of chalk paint comes in many beautiful colors. The color I used above is called ‘Seven Seas’.
I’m extremely ever-so-not-good at painting things, and most of my back patio is now also colored Seven Seas because that’s where I painted the shelves. But the beauty of chalk paint is this: you don’t have to do fancy pre-paint work like sanding or priming, which is good because one time I had to prime something with KILZ.
If super glue and wet cement had a baby, KILZ would be the result. (Satan’s Milk, I call it.) I splashed half a gallon of it all over my kitchen countertop, across the sink full of dishes, down the front of the dishwasher, slightly inside of the dishwasher, and across the wood floor. Also all over my hands and my feet. This was three months ago, and there’s still vestiges of KILZ on our dishes and in the cracks and crevices of everything it touched; also one of my toenails is still all white. I’ve always been clumsy, but this was a personal record for me. Who would’ve guessed I’d PR at my age?
You can paint just about any surface with chalk paint, and now I’m wondering what Ancient Beagles would look like covered in a beautiful shade of Seven Seas. And chalk paint is easy to wash up, in case your beagle looks better in Verona Rose. And I think the chalk paint people should be in charge of naming other things because man, they’re good.
Now, let’s talk about storage bins. Putting things into other things is my super power. The bins in my kitten room are from Target and can we just have a moment of silence for the adorable boxes and bins at Target?
*insert photo of silence here*
Organizing by type/usage will help you remember which things are inside each bin: especially useful as you rotate the kitten’s toys. Here are what the insides of my bins look like:
This box is closest to the litter box, and carries litter-related items. There’s also a roll of paper towels next to it on the shelf. Fragrance-free wipes are tucked in behind the Lysol, and before you educate me on Lysol and cats, let it be known that I never wipe my cats down with Lysol or let them suck on it. It’s strictly for wiping up spills, not cats.
This one is a larger bin, and holds wand toys. Wrap the string-part around each wand so they don’t get tangled.
Cans of food go in this bin, as well as salad plates for serving the cat food, because in no way are we a fancy enough family to require special salad plates.
This is probably my favorite life hack. See all those cute compartments? That’s a desk organizer! They’re perfect for sorting tiny things that will get lost otherwise. (Those are puppy pads in the back. One could make an argument that puppy pads should go in the Litter box Box, but I don’t argue with people who are bossy enough to have opinions about my cute boxes).
I have another one just like it (that’s actually a lie: I have four more just like it) that holds eye drops, kitty medicine, laser points, nail clippers, and other small things. Organizing is fun, and sometimes so is lying.
Sorting by type makes it easier to keep track of what you have.
Big toys go here.
Small toys go here.
Balls go in this one.
This one holds receiving blankets.
You’ll find that rotating toys keeps your kittens interested in them. Having a good system for storing toys helps you know what the kittens have and haven’t played with.
My Favorite Tips
Kittens are splatter-y. To save my walls from kitten juice, I use adhesive-backed adorable contact paper on the bottom third of my wall (The Kitten Juice Splatter Zone).
Contact paper is SO GREAT: it’s wipeable and scrubbable, comes in gray chevron stripes, is easily removable, comes in yellow chevron stripes, protects your drywall from excessive moisture, comes in aqua chevron stripes, makes an adorable backdrop for kitten photos, comes in pink chevron stripes, is an inexpensive way to decorate, and comes in black chevron stripes.
Hanging contact paper can be tricky, so it’s best to do it in, say, February, when you can swear in your mind a little and Santa won’t be listening.
Adhesive hooks on the back of the door provide some vertical storage:
Can you see the potential here? The Target bag on the left holds trash (mostly empty cans of kitten food, so I can rinse them out and recycle them) and the other one holds, well, more Target bags, actually.
And definitely try to find a small-ish broom/dustpan combination. It makes sweeping up litter and other kitten-droppings fun and less gross. This one tucks into the corner of the closet, right next to the litter box.
Speaking of litter boxes, here is how I have mine set up:
The shelving unit fits inside the closet; the litter boxes are on the floor underneath all the storage. I took the closet doors off, and built the bottom shelves high enough so cats and kittens have easy access to the litter boxes, and I have plenty of room to scoop and re-fill them.
Each box sits on a puppy pad, and the litter genie is off to the right, behind the broom/dustpan. This litter mat is amazing at catching and holding bits of litter so they don’t get tracked around the room. (I wash and dry it with other kitty laundry).
What else do you want to see? Comment below, and I’ll try to add it!