Foster a Cat
When you foster, you agree to take a homeless cat into your home and give him or her love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the cat is adopted.
Why do adoption groups need foster homes?
There are many reasons a cat might need foster care. Some of the most common include:
- A rescue group doesn’t have a physical shelter and depends on foster homes to care for cats until suitable homes are found.
- A kitten is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home.
- A cat is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.
- A cat is showing signs of stress such as pacing or hiding in the shelter.
- A cat has not lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized.
- The shelter is running out of room for adoptable cats.
Why should you foster a cat?
Fostering a cat is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have (other than adopting, of course). By taking an animal in need temporarily into your home you’re:
- freeing up a spot so the shelter or rescue can take in another cat.
- giving your foster cat the time he needs to be ready for adoption.
- helping the shelter or rescue learn more about the cat so he can end up in the best home possible.
- socializing the cat to a home environment and possibly getting him used to being around other pets and different types of people.
Not sure you can foster a cat? We know eight reasons you can, even if you think you can’t.
How do you sign up to foster a cat?
Find a rescue group or shelter near you and contact them. They’ll likely have you fill out a foster application and, if you are approved, they will work with you to figure out the right foster cat for your household.
The above was originally published on the Petfinder Blog.
By Jane Harrell, Petfinder.com senior producer
Fostering pets can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and is something we would encourage everyone to do. But most who have done it have learned some big lessons along the way.
For the experience to turn out well for the foster parent and the rescue organization (and, most of all, the cat), it’s crucial that all parties communicate and be clear about their expectations and responsibilities.
Here are some questions to ask the rescue group or shelter before you sign up to foster (the group will most likely have you fill out a foster-home application as well). Don’t be alarmed if the group doesn’t have answers to all the questions you ask. Each organization has its own procedures.
Questions about the cat:
1. How did he come to be with the shelter or rescue group and how long has he been there?
2. Why does he need a foster home now?
3. Does he have any medical concerns or need medication?
4. Has he been neutered (or spayed, if the cat is female)? If not, when will he be?
5. Is he up to date on his vaccinations and has he been tested for diseases such as FELV and FIV?
6. Since conditions such upper respiratory infections cannot be tested for, how long should I keep him separated from my own pets?
7. Does he have any behavioral issues or concerns? How are they dealt with?
8. Do you know how he is with kids, cats, dogs and/or strangers? Can my children or pets meet him before I commit to fostering him?
9. Do you know how he does when left alone?
10. Is he litter box trained?
Questions about the fostering process:
1. How long will I be expected to foster this cat? If it’s until a suitable home is found, how long do you expect that to take?
2. What happens if I can no longer care for the cat?
3. Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster cat?
4. What should I do if there’s a medical emergency?
5. Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the cat to them?
6. Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
7. Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as a litter box), medications, etc., or will I be expected to?
8. If I have a problem, whom can I contact? If I leave a message, how quickly will that person get back to me?
9. Could my foster cat be deemed unadoptable and, if so, what happens then?
10. Can I adopt him if I choose?
Even the best-prepared foster parent should expect the unexpected.