What is fostering? Fostering kittens in your community

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Fostering kittens and cats for a local animal shelter or rescue group involves hosting a homeless animal in your home. They stay with you until they are ready to be adopted or another milestone is reached.

You provide food, water, shelter, basic medical care, and unlimited amounts of love for the animal or animals. Foster kittens may be with you for anywhere from one week to several months, until they are cleared by your organization to be ready for adoption. You can foster cats and kittens even if you work full time or like to travel! If you have a busy exam schedule during certain times of the year, it is easy to lighten your fostering load during a heavy academic season.

Why is fostering needed for cats and kittens?

Staying in a shelter can be very stressful for adult cats. And a shelter is not an ideal environment for young kittens to grow up in. Cats will benefit from your foster home because your home is a much less stressful environment than the shelter. Your home has less noise, fewer smells, and more consistency and human interaction. There is just too much going on at the shelter!

Despite all efforts, there are not enough loving caretakers for each and every kitten at an animal shelter. Kittens who grow up in a peaceful, loving home are much more likely to be well-balanced as adults and make great pets.

A brown tabby cat relaxes on his back in the crook of someone's arm

What do you do with your foster kittens?

While your foster kittens or cats live with you, you’ll often treat minor injuries and illnesses, such as an eye infection or a broken claw.

You might teach young kittens how to have their nails clipped, and manners around play and household behavior. You’ll pet and soothe the cats and kittens. You’ll make sure that mama cats have enough food and a quiet space to care for their newborn kittens. And you’ll get to know the personality and quirks of each sweet animal you care for so that you can work with your organization to find the best forever home for them!

Aside from a few extra needs, the day-to-day of fostering is very similar to having your own cats or kittens.

Why would you want to foster kittens?

You get to meet and fall in love with many, many sweet cats and kittens!  But there are numerous other benefits to fostering animals. Fostering kittens is a truly rewarding investment. You’ll become more involved with your community, while providing a much-needed service. Connecting with the local fostering community forges deep friendships as you support each other through the ups and downs of fostering! Some animal shelters even run promotions with local celebrities. You and your foster cats could be involved in a celebrity ad campaign for your organization!

Watching a cat grow from a nervous creature into a happy, loving pet is another rewarding aspect of fostering. Many of the cats who need foster homes the most are young kittens! These cats bring the most joy to their foster homes as they soak up love and care, and their uniquely sweet personalities emerge.

 There are so many reasons that fostering animals for your local shelter can be an immensely rewarding experience. 

A trio of young foster kittens cuddle together in their new foster home.

Learn more about fostering in our ebook that covers all the basics of how to foster cats and kittens!

Kelsey Madison

Kelsey Madison is a cat lover, fostering enthusiast, part time vet tech & writer. She has fostered close to 300 animals over the last 10+ years, and currently has 3 beautiful tabby cats who love to stick their faces in her morning lattes. She is passionate about helping others develop a deeper understanding of their beloved felines and learn more about fostering.

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