Fostering is an immensely rewarding experience and is literally a lifeline for an animal whose future is uncertain through no fault of his or her own. Opening your home and heart to a foster cat requires a true commitment to the health and happiness of an animal and you probably have many questions regarding your responsibilities.
A foster home can aid rescues!
A foster home provides the "between" time: the time the cats spends from the shelter to the permanent home. When a cat is rescued from a high kill shelter, it will likely be very scared, and possibly ill because it has been so stressed. A foster will take this poor frightened cat in and give it good food, fresh water, protection and love! The foster may need to rehabilitate the kitty, so that it will accept human love or overcome behavioral problems. The foster may need to nurse it to health if there are health problems.
What is involved in becoming a foster?
Simply, dedication and commitment ...mixed in with a desire for knowledge of how to provide better care for the cat! The foster needs to be willing to open his or her heart and home to a rescued kitty.
The foster must be willing to care for the rescued cat from the time it's put into foster care until it is adopted. This could be weeks ...or months.
The foster must be willing to put the time and effort into the care and rehabilitation of the cat. Sometimes these animals come from bad or abusive environments, and need to understand how to love again! Sometimes they need to be re-trained to use a litter box…or even eat without feeling threatened.
If the foster is a family, the whole family must be dedicated to these goals. Being a foster home can, at times, be difficult. A successful foster home is one in which everyone works together for the welfare of the cat! Please make sure that everyone who will be involved in caring for the cat will be dedicated to it’s well-being!
What are a foster's responsibilities?
Foster homes are responsible for providing a loving home, premium food, fresh water, healthy treats, and safe toys for the cat. They are also responsible for protecting their own cats through maintaining a quarantine until it is determined to be safe to relax such safeguards.
A foster will be responsible for evaluating the rescue kitty, to ensure that the cats are placed in homes suitable to the cats’ needs. For instance, a home with young children, dogs or people who work long hours may not be suitable homes for some cats.
What is the foster not responsible for?
1. In the vast majority of cases, "vetting" is done at the shelter or on the way to foster. However, in rare cases this is not possible, in which case you may be responsible for taking the cat to the vet for spay/neuter, FIV/FeLV testing, initial flea treatment, worming, and/or rabies or routine vaccination. These will be paid for by the rescue after the prices are
negotiated with the vet by the rescue coordinator in charge.
2. Medications and further vetting, if pre-approved by the rescue.
Are there any risks involved in fostering?
There can be. That is why it is necessary to ensure that, as a foster home, your own cats are fully vaccinated, and of course, healthy! It is also important that a quiet area for quarantine be provided. This is the best and safest way to evaluate the needs of the rescue cat, as well as provide the best care possible for each individual situation.
There is also a BIG risk that you will experience a sense of loss when the rescued cat gets adopted.
All good rescuers/fosters realize this risk. However, the sense of accomplishment and eventual joy that comes with knowing that a cat has been saved and is in a loving home far outbalances the initial risk!
Summary... The cold, hard facts...
Fostering is not always an easy job Fostering can be exhausting,
Fostering is often challenging,
Fostering costs money
Regular checks from the Rescue.
It can be painful to let go/adopt out a foster cat.....
BUT, fostering can be THE MOST rewarding and fulfilling thing a true cat lover will ever do!
Helpful Information for all new fosters
When fostering for the first time or even just for a new rescue there are things that you must know before opening your doors. You cannot be too careful as the incoming cat maybe a danger to your cat and then there is also the costs involved and its health care.
You need to know about the following and preferable have everything in writing from the rescue:
1. The health situation of the incoming cat including vacination state
2. Do you have isolation available for the new cat so it cannot infect your cats with anything it maybe carrying thats is currently unknown
3. An agreement with the rescue on who is responsible for the costs of the health care of fostered cats and who takes them to the vets
4. An agreement with the rescue on which vet to use if the cat gets sick, including out of hours treatment
5. Who pays for the care of the cat ie feeding, litter, toys, beds etc
6. Who is responsible for the rehoming of the cat and any travel costs and home checking
7. If the cat is healthy and old enough, is it neutered and if not when is the rescue going to pay for this to be done