Thank you for thinking of opening your home to a rescue animal. These pages will introduce you to what is required by a foster carer, and what can be expected from the experience. It also includes tips on fostering generally, and our own policies and procedures. As you will see, some of the information is general to fostering for any organisation, any animal – some is specific to Animal Advocacy (see Fostering For Animal Advocacy).
Objectives of Foster Care
To provide a nurturing environment in your home where animals receive the care they need to grow, heal and/or socialise in order to improve their chances of ﬁnding a new, loving forever home.
At Animal Advocacy our main efforts revolve around cats and kittens, but we sometimes rehome stray dogs, mostly due to our good relationship with the local dog warden. Other organisations take in any kind of animal you can imagine – domestic, farm and wild animals all need foster care at some point.
Animal Advocacy focuses mainly on TNR – we rarely foster owner-surrenders or Good Samaritan surrendered cats and kittens. We’re happy to help both groups of people. However, we generally expect them to self-foster and rehome with assistance from us.
Animals that need foster care fall into the following categories:
- Animals too young to be adopted.
- Orphaned animals.
- Abused animals that need socialization and tender loving care.
- Injured animals.
- Animals recovering from surgery or illness.
- Abandoned nursing mothers and their offspring.
- Humanised cats that require further socialisation.
Animals that should not be put in foster care, or should only be fostered by very experienced volunteers, include:
- Feral cats – see Discover the Truth About Feral Cats.
- Animals that are extremely ill – these are the responsibility of the rescue centre and should only be fostered by experienced fosterers.
- Neo-natal orphaned kittens – see How to Care for Neonatal Kittens.
Things To Think About
Issues around foster care are many and varied, including:
- Requirements of Foster Homes
- Time commitment and responsibilities
- Letting go
- Your Home and Your Foster Animal
- Preparing a space for a foster
- Keeping the household safe and healthy
- Animal proofing your home
- Introducing the foster cat to a new space
- Cleaning up between fosters
- Foster Animal Health
- Health records
- Vet visits
- Vaccination and parasite treatment guidelines
- Parameters for standard medical care
- Knowledge of illnesses and injuries
- Giving medications and providing home-medical care
- Socialisation With Other Animals
- Special Circumstances
- Adoption Process
- Picture taking
We’ll be adding more information to our webpages in the future but, for the moment we’re going to refer you to some excellent handbooks on Foster Care already in existence.
- Cat & Kitten Manual – from Erie County SPCA, though the medications, and some of the issues, are American specific. Very detailed information, including handrearing neonatal kittens.
- Kitten Foster Care Manual – from Best Friends Animal Society – again, an American publication, this time an online resource.
- Alley Cat Allies
- Animal Outreach
- Erie County SPCA
- Discover the Truth About Feral Cats
- How to Care for Neonatal Kittens
- Cat & Kitten Handbook
- Kitten Foster Care Manual