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25 Things to Ask Before Bringing a Foster Cat Home

May 7, 2012

If you’ve mulled over the 10 things to consider before fostering, and you think it’s the right option for you, congratulations! You’ve decided to do a magnificent thing for an animal in need.

Photo courtesy sneakerdog

The next step is to contact your shelter about fostering if you haven’t already. At this point, you’ll likely be asked to fill out a foster application, and possibly asked to attend some sort of training session. Shelter staff may also ask to visit your home prior to you fostering your first cat.

While you’ll obviously learn more about the particulars and details from your shelter, there are some questions you should keep in mind once an animal becomes available for fostering.

As Jane Harrell, associate producer of says, in order for the fostering experience to turn out well for all included, it’s essential for everyone to understand their responsibilities and what’s expected of them.

To help with that, Jane created an extensive list of questions you should ask. I’ve added in a few that are CH-related:

About the cat’s background:
  • How did he come to be with the shelter or rescue group and how long has he been there?
  • Why does he need a foster home now?

Photo courtesy sneakerdog

About the cat’s health:

  • Does he have any medical concerns or need medication?
  • Has he been neutered (or spayed, if the cat is female)? If not, when will he be?
  • Is he up to date on his vaccinations and has he been tested for diseases such as FELV and FIV?
  • Since conditions such upper respiratory infections cannot be tested for, how long should I keep him separated from my own pets?
  • If he has special needs, like cerebellar hypoplasia, how severe is his CH? Is the vet sure it’s CH, or could it possibly be something else?
  • Does the kitten have siblings with CH? How severe are they?
  • Has the CH contributed to any complications (arthritis, chipped teeth, sprains, etc.) that I should watch out for?

About the cat’s behavior:

  • Does he have any behavioral issues or concerns? How are they dealt with?
  • 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?
  • Do you know how he does when left alone?
  • Is he litter box trained?
  • If he has limited mobility (due to CH), what can he do? Can he climb? Jump? Can he get in and out of the litter box? Or would he need some sort of assistance?
  • Should additional considerations be taken for this cat? Should his area be CH-proofed, if necessary?

Photo courtesy sneakerdog

Questions about the fostering process:

  • 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?
  • What happens if I can no longer care for the cat?
  • Who pays for medical bills if they arise? Does that include treatments for my pets if they catch something from my foster cat?
  • What should I do if there’s a medical emergency?
  • Who is responsible for communicating with potential adopters, screening them and introducing the cat to them?
  • Will I be required to bring him to adoption events and, if so, where/when?
  • Will you provide food, litter, supplies (such as a litter box), medications, etc., or will I be expected to?
  • If I have a problem, whom can I contact? If I leave a message, how quickly will that person get back to me?
  • Could my foster cat be deemed unadoptable and, if so, what happens then?
  • Can I adopt him if I choose?

For those who have fostered before, is there anything else you feel should be asked? Please share in the comments!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 24, 2019 1:30 pm

    Thanks for pointing out that we should ask if the cat needs any medications. My husband and I are interested in getting two cats for our daughters. I wouldn’t have thought to ask about medications, so thanks for sharing that tip.

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