Animal shelters are crying out for foster homes for cats. But it takes a very special kind of person to love a kitty then happily let it go on to its furever home. Could you have what it takes to foster a cat?
In this article, we’re looking at everything you need to know about taking in a foster cat, including what it’s like to care for an animal in need, what the role of a foster carer is as well as the pros and cons.
But before we get to that, let’s look at why you should consider fostering rather than adopting a cat and what the difference between the two is.
Fostering vs Adopting: What’s The Difference?
We’re often asked what the difference between fostering and adopting is, so we explain exactly that in this section.
Adopting an animal means giving it a permanent home with you for the rest of its life. On the other hand, Fostering means that you provide an animal with a temporary place to stay until it finds its forever home. Vet costs are covered, and you are fully supported by the charity that you’re fostering through.
What Does It Mean To Foster A Cat?
You’re probably wondering why you should consider fostering a cat, especially when there are so many shelters around the country. But to be honest, shelters often don’t have the space to help the thousands of animals in need, leaving many more uncared for in sometimes very desperate situations.
Foster families that open their homes and hearts to a cat:
- Fostering helps to free up space for a rescue centre or shelter to take in another animal in need.
- Provide the forster cat with a safe, secure and loving environment (possibly for the first time in the cat’s life)
- Provide a bridge between centre life and a family home. Socialise the cat and help it adjust to a home environment with other people and pets, ready for potential adopters.
- Help the shelter learn as much as possible about the cat so it can be matched with the perfect forever family.
But over and above these reasons, you will be giving a shelter needy cat a second chance at a new life. And for us and the many foster carers that provide this essential service, there is nothing more rewarding or fulfilling knowing you have made a difference.
Interested in finding out more? Carry on reading to find out what your role as a foster carer would be.
What Is The Role of a Cat Fosterer?
In a nutshell, the role of a cat fosterer is to help a registered charity or rescue centre such as cats protection, home an animal temporarily until it is placed with its new forever family. forstering cats is a voluntary role that involves taking care of the cat in a nurturing and loving environment.
If you’re thinking about fostering a cat, but are concerned that you don’t have space, or have limited time, don’t worry. The shelter will match you up with a foster cat that fits in with your lifestyle, and you can foster on a short or long term basis.
Who Can Foster A Cat?
Not sure if you can foster a cat? Well, the good news is anyone can become a volunteer. As long as you are an animal lover, you’d be perfect for the role. And there’s no age limit. Even senior citizens can be matched with senior ‘kittizens’. In fact, retired folk and pensioners often make for the best foster carers as they have the time, patience and understanding.
But no matter your age, background or circumstances, we can guarantee there’s a foster cat out there that needs you!
Is It Possible To Foster a Feral Kitty?
Shelters are always looking for foster families to care for feral kittens, especially during what is commonly called ‘kitten season’ time. Because feral kittens aren’t used to human contact and are often scared of people, they need carers with the time and patience to foster and help with socialisation.
You see, while it’s not always possible to rehome a feral adult cat, in the right environment and with the proper care, a semi feral kitten can go on to lead a happy life as a pet.
Is Fostering A Cat Hard?
We’re happy you asked this question. Fostering a cat certainly has its challenges, but we think the rewards are worth every moment. More often than not, a cat needs foster care through no fault of its own. It could be a change in the family’s circumstances, such as a death, divorce or moving house. Sometimes, the owner can no longer care for their pet, or the animal is simply unwanted or abandoned.
Whatever the reasons, more and more cats require care, which means more foster carers are desperately needed.
We suggest speaking to the rescue centre to find out as much about the cat’s history as possible, so you can be prepared. And of course, as long as you’re fostering, you will always have the support of the rescue team members. No matter the challenge, it’s important to remember that you will be making a huge difference.
Pros And Cons: What You Need To Know
Whether you’re fostering or adopting an animal, there are both pros and cons. Let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail.
- Undoubtedly, one of the biggest pros to foster cats is knowing you are providing an animal with food, shelter and care in its time of need. For many cats, this may be the first time they have been loved and cared for.
- Gaining a nervous kitty’s trust over time is an incredible feeling, and knowing that you’ve helped it overcome its fears is a massive sense of achievement.
- Nothing can beat the overwhelming feeling of joy (and pride) when your foster cat finds its new forever home.
- The hardest part of fostering a cat is when it finds a permanent home. After all, you will have formed a bond and the heartache at having to say goodbye may leave you feeling heartbroken. Until the next foster cat arrives and you remember why you’re doing it.
- The only other downside to fostering a cat is that you fall in love with it and decide to keep it. But to be honest, we’re not sure if that’s actually a con!
Volunteer As A Pet Foster Carer
Ready to volunteer as a foster carer? Here’s what you need to know before you start fostering.
Organisations across the country need foster carers. We suggest getting in touch with your local RSPCA or Cats Protection centre by email or a quick telephone call. They will provide you with all the relevant information and send you an application form to complete.
Once you have filled in this form, the shelter will want to visit your home to make sure it is suitable for a cat and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Some charities also offer a training programme for people new to offering foster cats temporary homes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering A Cat
Still not sure whether you have what it takes to foster a cat? Take a look at our frequently asked questions.
Can anyone become a cat foster carer?
Yes, anyone can become a foster carer. With so many cats in desperate need of a home, rescue centres are always looking for foster volunteers. As long as you have the patience and the ability to provide a cat with a caring and loving home, then you can become a ‘pawrent’ to a kitty in need.
Do I need a large garden to foster a cat?
No, you don’t need to have a large garden to foster a cat. As long as you have a house where a kitty can explore and grow, you can foster a cat. Some rescue centres can provide you with an outdoor cat, while others are happy if the cat is kept safely indoors. A spare room where your foster cat can get some space and time to adjust to its new home can also be a help., though it’s not essential.
What are the costs involved in fostering a cat?
The good news is there are no costs involved in fostering a cat. In fact, with volunteers in such demand, registered charities like Cats Protection will provide you with everything you need to care for a cat, including food, vet treatment, cat litter and toys.
What happens if I can only foster a cat on a short-term basis?
It’s up to you how long you foster a cat. While some volunteers are happy to provide a home on a long-term basis, others prefer doing it for a limited time. The rescue centre’s volunteer coordinator will discuss your preferences beforehand.
What if I need to take a break from fostering?
Circumstances change, and there may come a time when you need to take a break from fostering. If for whatever reason you can’t continue fostering, we recommend you get in touch with the foster carer coordinator at your rehoming centre so they can make the alternative arrangements to find a new home for the kitty.
Can I foster a cat if I have other pets?
Yes, you can still foster a cat if you have other animals. Most rescue centres are more than happy for foster carers to have other pets and often try and match you up with a cat that will fit your current living situation.
Is other support available for foster volunteers?
When you become a foster carer, you join a caring community with many like-minded people. Whether it’s support from other volunteers just like you or the team at the rescue centre, there is always someone available to give advice or listen to any concerns.
Ready to open your heart and home to a cat in need? Apply now and make a difference to a kitty in need of a loving, caring home.
Are you currently fostering a cat? We would love to hear about your experience with foster animals in the comments section.