Fostering a cat is a true act of kindness. When you open up your home to a pet in need, you increase their chances of a fulfilled life. A cat who has been in foster care will not only have dodged the experience of extended shelter life, they will also be better prepared for life in their forever home.
It’s also a way to do a trial run of pet ownership. By fostering a cat, you can see for yourself exactly what the job entails. You may even decide the cat you foster is the one you want to adopt into your home.
Before you make the commitment of fostering, we put together four things to keep in mind. It’s better to consider all the factors than to rush into the adventure.
- Is your home set up for a cat?
Make sure your home is ready before bringing a pet home. There are logistical concerns, such as where the cat will eat, sleep, and play. If you’re renting your home, you’ll also need permission from the landlord.
If you have children, discuss with them what it means to care for a cat. They may be overly enthusiastic and accidentally scare their new feline friend. If you live with a partner, have a thorough conversation to make sure everyone is on board. You don’t want the new arrival to be a source of stress and resentment.
- Do you currently have any other pets?
If you have pets, their health and wellbeing have to be weighed beforehand. Will they get along with a new animal in the house? Do you have the kind of home where it will be easy to quarantine initially?
The shelter should provide proof of the foster being up to date on vaccines and will likely request the same of your pets.
- Do you understand the shelter agreement?
Different shelters will have their own written agreement. Know the terms and understand the requirements before beginning. Will the shelter be providing items like a litter box? Be clear on whether the cat will need medical care and who pays for that or other costs.
Most shelters cover all or most of the expenses, but you don’t want to be blindsided.
- Are you emotionally prepared?
It takes a special person to love and care for a pet for a temporary period. If you’re fostering because you know you can’t commit to full ownership at this point in your life, you’ll have to prepare yourself for the goodbye part.
Just remember that rescues love having foster homes like you. As fantastic as it is when a cat is adopted, that often means the shelter lose a valuable foster home. Being a reliable fosterer is such a gift to animal advocates who are trying to place as many pets in safe places as possible.