A Temporary Pet
“I want to get another cat, but I’m not sure how my current cat will react to that.”
“I have allergies to certain cats.”
“I travel and I’m not sure if I have enough time to devote to a cat.”
“I wish I could adopt another cat, but I can’t afford another animal.”
Not only are these all statements I’ve heard, but they are really valid reasons for not adopting a cat. Adopting a cat is a serious commitment. Some cats live 20+ years and when you agreed to adopt you are committing to providing for that cat for the rest of his life.
Whereas adopting is a permanent decision to add a cat to your household, fostering is temporary. Fostering allows you to “try out” a cat or kitten. Not sure if you or a family member has serious allergies to a cat? Foster a cat, try it out! Not ready to make the long-term commitment of adopting a cat? Foster one! One of the great things about fostering is that you can let the shelter or rescue know how much time you have allocated to keeping the cat in your home. Maybe you have a trip planned in the fall, but that’s a few months away. Let the shelter know that you have a few weeks available to foster. It’s true, most fosters need a few weeks to a few months in foster care, but that’s not always the case. Each cat or kitten has a different circumstance and most rescues are willing to work with your time period. I have even fostered for 2-3 nights until the kitty went in for neuter surgery.
It’s true that you need a separate space in your home for the foster cat or kitten to reside. A spare bathroom, bedroom or even a pet playpen is a great place to keep your foster kitty. Keeping the foster separate from your resident cat will prevent the spread of disease. The rescue group will let you know when the cat has tested negative for disease and is vaccinated. At that time a slow, proper introduction to your resident pet can be done. If you are contemplating whether or not your resident cat or dog would be good with another cat, this is the perfect opportunity! If it works out and the foster kitty is a match, most rescues will allow you to adopt your foster kitty. Some even allow you to adopt the foster at a discount! If it doesn’t work out and you decide that this foster is just not the right fit for your household, no problem! The kitty will go back to the rescue and placed for adoption. And you can feel really great about yourself for helping out a foster kitty in need.
Cost is often something that holds many people back from bringing in a foster. Most rescues or shelters however provide foster parents with the basic necessities. They also will provide medical care and medication if needed. Each rescue or shelter is different so be sure to talk with the Foster Coordinator at your local rescue and find out what is and is not provided for your foster. Cats are pretty simple. They don’t require a lot of fancy toys or an extravagant foster space. And here’s a tip any cat owner will gladly attest to…cats love cardboard boxes! (Free toy!) Once your friends and family know that you are fostering a kitty or a litter of kitties, many times they will start donating used blankets, towels and even toys that their cat no longer uses.
Fostering not only frees up valuable space in shelters, but helps the kitty to adjust to life in a home environment. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want kittens to come home to? So now...what’s holding you back from fostering?