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10 Things to Consider Before Fostering a Cat

April 21, 2012

Photo courtesy pixelconscious

Just like adopting a cat, the decision to foster can be a big one. It can be exhausting, difficult, challenging, expensive and emotionally painful. Despite all of that, foster parents agree that it can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can ever do.

Basically a foster parent offers the “between” time a cat needs between arriving at a shelter and being adopted to his forever home. During this time, you’ll provide the love, care, support, and possibly rehabilitation and/or behavioral correction the cat needs.

Generally, a good foster needs to have a big heart, some knowledge about cats and their behavior, and must be committed to the situation. Sometimes this can be incredibly difficult, especially if the cat comes with some emotional baggage, so it’s important for everyone in the family to be onboard.

Consequently, you’ll want to make sure that becoming a foster is the best option for all involved. How can you do that? Consider the topics below, and give your shelter a call to discuss your options:

Think About Your Qualifications:

  • Do you feel you’re properly qualified to take in a foster pet? If you’re considering it, you most likely are a compassionate, patient person, which is excellent. If you live with others, you’ll need their cooperation and support, too.
  • Are you good with animals? Along those lines, do you have any background in animal behavior? This will come in handy so you can identify the animal’s needs and correct any undesirable habits. If not, your shelter may be able to pass on some knowledge.

    Photo courtesy sneakerdog

  • Along those lines, will you be able to monitor the cat’s health? Often cats go to fosters because they need extra attention or aid that the shelter can’t provide. It may be your job, depending on the cat’s situation, to monitor any illnesses or conditions and notify the shelter of any changes. Most likely the shelter will have a long conversation with you about this before you take the animal home. I’ll soon publish a post on other questions you should ask about a foster pet before you bring him home.
  • If necessary, could you easily and quickly get to the shelter’s vet or emergency clinic?
  • Can you afford the costs associated with fostering kittens? Depending on your shelter, you may need to pay for the necessary supplies and veterinary expenses.
  • Do you have a flexible schedule? Depending on the ages and needs of the animals, you may need to devote a great deal of time to them (especially kittens!). Additionally, the length of time the foster pet spends in your home may need to be extended. Will your schedule accomodate that?
  • Will you be able to let go? Granted some folks end up adopting their foster pets, but most likely you’ll need the strength to allow the cat to move on. Sometimes that means that the cat will return to the shelter and may not be adopted right away. But at the end of the day, it’s even more important to remember that thanks to you, this cat now has a better chance of finding his forever home!

Think About Your Home:

Photo courtesy Mr. T in DC

  • Will you be able to separate your foster pets from your own pets? Placing the fostered pets in their own room is usually best.
  • Will the room suit the cat’s needs? This is especially important if there’s a possibility you may foster a special needs cat. I’ll soon post on how to prepare your home for a foster CH cat.
  • Are you prepared for any amount of clean-up or damage that may result? Remember, anything can happen from accidents on the floor, scratched furniture, torn curtains and more.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know by sharing in the comments!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2012 6:54 am

    The hardest thing of all is giving them back

  2. April 24, 2012 8:16 am

    This was an awesome article. I think you covered all of the realities of fostering. And yes, giving them back is the most difficult thing we face as a foster parent. Thank you.


  1. WHAT DOES FOSTERING A CAT MEAN?? - The Cat Pet Shop : The Cat Pet Shop

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