Cat rescue organisations are always looking for compassionate volunteers to provide temporary foster care to cats.
Shelters and cat rescue organisations do a fantastic job in taking in cats that have been mistreated, abandoned and are without a home, and they work hard to re-home them with loving families.
Unfortunately shelters are often overcrowded, and they just keep getting fuller. The RSPCA reported that 126,673 animals were taken into their shelters in 2012-13, including 49,236 cats.
Sadly, they’re just one of the many organisations in Australia that re-home unwanted animals.
What is Involved With Fostering Cats?
Cat foster carers work with their local rescue organisations by looking after cats in their own home before they’re re-homed, and the reasons for cats needing to be fostered can vary. Foster carers look after young kittens until they are old enough for adoption, pregnant cats, nursing mothers and cats that have special needs or are recovering from surgery.
The cat rescue organisation will usually pay for all veterinary treatment, and some will also cover the cost of other out-of-pocket expenses such as food and litter. Potential adoptive parents will arrange to visit the cats they are interested in adopting at the foster carer’s home.
The Benefits of Fostering Cats
Being a cat foster carer is deeply rewarding, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it can be life saving. By fostering cats you’re giving a loving temporary home to cats that might otherwise be on the streets or in an overcrowded shelter. The cats that you foster will receive individual love and attention, and be kept safe and healthy.
Fostering a cat also frees up space in the shelters for other cats and helps to reduce euthanasia rates. Many cats that come into a shelter have been abused or neglected and as a result, have trust issues, which in some shelters means they are immediately euthanised.
In shelters, most cats are confined to cages; in your home environment they’re treated like a member of the family, which is a much less stressful experience. Opening your heart and home by fostering a cat helps them rebuild their trust, and can turn a previously timid, scaredy-cat into a happy and confident cat who everyone will want to adopt.
Who Can Become a Cat Foster Carer?
The requirements are usually fairly simple; you should care deeply for cats, without the risk of getting too attached (don’t forget, your aim is for them to find their forever home!), have knowledge of cat care and welfare and be able to look after the cats in your care both day and night.
As a cat foster carer you’ll need to be understanding of the problems that cats can have when they come into your care, both medical and psychological, because you won’t always know what a cat has been through before he comes to you.
Don’t forget that sometimes cats need to be fostered because they’re not yet suitable for a forever home, and they may have medical or behavioural issues that can be difficult to deal with. As a cat foster carer, you’ll need to be patient, to take the rough with the smooth, and give the unsociable and aggressive cats just as much care and attention as the happy lap-cats.
From a practical perspective, having your own transport is often required for vet visits, although many rescues will have volunteers who can help with transportation if it’s needed.
If you think you’ve got the time, patience and compassion that’s needed to foster cats, why not give your local cat rescue organisation or shelter a call to find out more.
Have you ever fostered cats in your home? Please share your experiences below.
This blog post is part of the quarterly campaign for Be the Change for Animals – advocating to make the world a better place for all animals.