There are a number of basic kitten fostering supplies that you may find useful while opening your home to kittens and/or older cats. If you are fostering with a local shelter, they might provide some or all of these supplies. However, you may also prefer to have some extras on hand at home.
A lot of these items you may already have lying around your house, such as old towels, hot water bottles, or food bowls you can share or “donate” to your fosters. Let’s jump in and see what supplies might be useful in your fostering journey!
A large crate can be useful particularly for housing kittens and cats that are very nervous or under socialized. Scared kittens won’t be able to hide behind furniture and ignore you. You’ll be able to provide a safe-feeling home for the kittens while slowly increasing your interactions with them until they love you and no longer need the crate.
Shampoo is useful to have on hand for when a kitten gets a little too messy to just wipe down. Sometimes kittens get food matted in their feet or around their necks that just won’t wipe off with a damp cloth or rinse out with plain water. A very gentle kitten-safe shampoo helps you to quickly clean the kitten’s fur so they can get back to playing.
Large towels are great for fostering to make padded spaces for cats to rest, and to quickly clean up messes and spills. They are essential in your collection of kitten fostering supplies!
High quality kitten food
Feeding bowls and mats
Kitten formula is essential for kittens that are too young to eat solid food, and don’t have a mother cat to nurse from. Even kittens who are eating solid food or do have a mama cat sometimes benefit from supplementing with formula if they are not thriving or gaining weight.
Feeding syringes are used in a similar way to bottles. They can be used to help supplement a tiny kitten who is struggling with a bottle. You can mix a medication dose in a small amount of food, water, or formula and administer it with a feeding syringe to ensure that the medication gets ingested. And when you are transitioning kittens from formula to wet food, a syringe can sometimes help them get the hang of eating “gruel”, or formula mixed with wet food, as a stepping stone to independent eating.
Small Paper Plates
Small paper plates make great disposable cones for kittens with a minor injury or who have just been spayed or neutered. Simply cut out the middle of the plate, and staple it to the right size. If it gets messy or soggy with food or water, just take it off and make another one. So easy! However, if DIY isn’t your thing, there are reusable options such as this plastic cone.
A cozy place for a foster kitten to rest and snuggle is a must. An easily washable cat bed is a great addition to your fostering supply kit. One that is plush and soft will even encourage your fosters to knead and purr!
Kitten-safe litter is important for young kittens. Clumping litter is very dangerous for cats who might eat it, like young kittens exploring their environment. If it clumps inside their delicate bodies, it can cause serious health problems or death. Avoid this by using a no clumping clay or pellet litter
Small Litter Boxes
Litter boxes that are accessible to kittens are important. Most boxes are too tall for small kittens to enter, and the disposable nature of these “litter pans” makes it easy to grab a fresh one periodically or between litters of foster kittens. Small, reusable plastic litter boxes are also available and great options for once your fosters are a 4-6 weeks old and able to navigate in and out of the bigger (but still small!) box.
Wand toys are a fun, interactive way to exercise cats and kittens and provide entertainment and stimulations. You’ll make plenty of fond memories playing with your fosters with these long-lasting toys. Balls or spring toys are great for independent play, or for kittens to play with with each other!
Disposable gloves can be a useful tool when cleaning up messes so you don’t have to wash your hands quite so many times (especially in dry winter weather – dry hands are the worst!). Gloves can also be useful to transition between handling sick foster kittens and healthy animals.
Your shelter will likely supply you with cat carriers as needed, but it can be very useful to have your own to use with your foster kittens.
Cat Nail Clippers
Cat clippers are what you’ll need to keep your foster kitten’s nails trimmed. Kittens have unbelievably sharp nails, and the more often you clip them, the more used to it they will be. Soon you’ll be able to clip them all in just a minute or two, and comfort with nail trims is a skill your foster kittens will carry with them throughout their life.
For more about how to get started fostering cats and kittens in your local community, check out our ebook!