Kitten Fostering FAQs
Have you been thinking about getting into kitten fostering? That’s wonderful! You’ll be able to do your part to give helpless animals the support they need to thrive until they find their forever homes.
But you probably have a lot of questions if you’ve never fostered animals before, right? That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list of some of the most frequently asked questions regarding what to expect when you volunteer to foster kittens.
How can I find the right rescue to work with?
A quick internet search could yield a surprising number of rescues, shelters, and foster networks in your area. But how can you know which one is the right one for you to join?
Start by contacting several of the rescues in your area so you can speak with their foster coordinator. Find out what supplies they provide, what expenses you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, if any, and what type of veterinary care you should expect to be involved in. Basically, you should use this as an opportunity to learn all about the rescue’s foster program and what they would expect of you. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, move on to the next rescue until you find a good match.
Related: 5 Purrfect Jobs for Cat Lovers
What do I need to provide?
Oftentimes, a rescue will provide foster parents with the basic supplies that they need to take care of kittens. For example, you might get food and litter, as well as necessary medications, at no cost to you. Some rescues might even be able to give you even more, such as bedding, toys, and carriers. Many foster parents, however, have no problem with purchasing food, litter, and toys for the kittens in their care. But, again, calling a rescue and asking them about what you should expect will clarify all of this for you.
Aside from that, you’ll be responsible for providing a safe and healthy environment in which your kittens can grow. Socializing the kittens by playing with them and cuddling with them is key, as you want them to be comfortable around people.
You’ll also need to be prepared to transport the kittens to veterinary appointments, and there might be emergencies that you’ll need to deal with as well, as kittens are fragile. Bottle-fed kittens will require round-the-clock care, so keep that in mind as you decide which age is the right match for your schedule.
Once they’re ready to be adopted, you might even be involved in choosing the right adopter, or you might be responsible for transporting the kittens to an adoption center. This will depend upon the arrangement that you’ve made with the rescue.
Do I need to have a lot of room to foster kittens?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a lot of room to start fostering. Many foster parents have a spare room that they can keep their kittens in, but some will even use a large bathroom. The younger the kittens, the less space they’ll need, but they’ll need more room as they grow and start to play and explore.
Should I foster one kitten or more than one?
Fostering two or more kittens is recommended, as they’ll be able to grow up together, learn together, and play together. In addition to being comfortable around humans, they’ll get along with fellow felines, and that’s important. Plus, they can keep each other entertained so they won’t get lonely, and that could make your job easier.
How long should I expect to foster the kittens?
It will depend on their age. The older they are, the closer they’ll be to the age at which they can be put up for adoption. Also, many rescues ensure that the kittens are spayed/neutered prior to being adopted out. Bottom line: it might be weeks, or it might be months.
Can my foster kittens play with my resident pets?
Because kittens are susceptible to a range of illnesses, and they might even be carrying illnesses, it’s best to quarantine them so they won’t come into contact with your resident pets. Once they’ve received the right veterinary care, they’re old enough, and enough time has passed to ensure that they’re healthy, your rescue might allow you to let them interact with your other pets.
What if it’s hard to say goodbye to my foster kittens?
If you talk to any experienced foster parent, they’ll tell you that “goodbye is the goal” of fostering. You want your kittens to grow up healthy and strong, and you want them to head off and live the best life with a loving forever family. Plus, if you enjoyed the experience and all of your kitties are adopted, you get to save even more lives by fostering more cats in need. But, if you do end up connecting with a foster kitten, you can certainly talk to the rescue about adopting that kitty.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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