It’s heartbreaking to see how many kitties wind up at the shelter. And it’s almost impossible to not want to help. Well, if you’ve considered growing your fuzzy family—that’s great! Or if you’ve decided you aren’t quite ready to be the next Cat Lady of the Year, but you want to help by fostering—that’s wonderful, too!
This article is here to help make the transition easier when you’re bringing a new purr box into your home. From helping your adoption go smoothly to providing you with an insider’s insight into fostering, we have what you want and need to know.
Fostering Saves Lives: Why You Should Help
Fostering helps cats learn social skills while freeing up space in the shelter. This helps more cats over time find furever homes! Even if you don’t have a huge house or a whole lot of time, you can still help a needy cat learn about what she can expect once she is adopted.
And fostering becomes much easier when you remember that your new friend will find a loving home. And most shelters pay for their supplies and vet bills.
What Should Your Ask if You’re Considering Fostering
- How long will the foster need to be in my home?
- Who pays for the veterinary bills and food?
- Will I have to arrange meetings with possible cat parents?
- What is the after-hours contact or emergency procedure?
- What is this cat’s story?
- Why is this cat being placed in a foster home?
- What is his or her health status, including whether or not s/he’s fixed?
- Are there any behavioral issues I should be aware of?
- Is this cat litter trained?
- Will I be able to adopt this cat if I choose?
How to Setup your Home up for Your Adopted or Foster Cat
Once you’ve picked out your new best friend, you may want to wait to bring her home while you get your house ready (or prepare your home before you begin your search). Here’s what we suggest:
- Designate one room for your new cat’s first few days. Too much space will make your new kitty nervous and she may get overwhelmed. This also helps your current cat and your new cat meet through the comfort of a door to help minimize confrontation.
- Get your litterbox ready and place it somewhere private and convenient.
- Setup up your kitty’s food bowl, water, and play area. You will want to begin with a variety of toys to learn more about what your cat enjoys.
- You also want to establish places for your cat to relax at differing levels of height and secrecy.
- Don’t forget you will need:
- A scratching post
- A cat bed
- Any medicines the cat was taking at the shelter
- Litter scoop
Welcoming Your Cat on Her First Day Home
Many people immediately open the door of their cat’s crate and pull their cat out. This isn’t the best way to keep your kitty calm and comfortable. Instead, open the door to the carrier and wait for her to come out in her own time.
Make sure your cat has plenty of privacy, food, and water. You will probably notice your cat seems more nervous or scared. This is because cats take time to adjust to change. Don’t worry, she’ll warm up!
After the First Day
It normally takes cats a few days to a couple weeks to get used to their new home. Remember to not force your cat out of her comfort zone too fast.
You will need to take your cat to the veterinarian and slowly open more rooms for her to explore.
What You Need to Know About Fostering a Mother Cat and Her Kittens
- You will want to create a comfy nest with high sides. This will prevent the kittens from crawling across the floor but allow the mother to go eat and catch her breath before returning. You can use layers of blankets and towels that can be easily washed.
- Let the momma cat do her thing and take care of her kittens without intervention.
- Use food the shelter recommends for nursing mother cats.
- Once your kittens are about a month old, they are ready for soft food.
What You Need to Know About Fostering Orphan Kittens
- Kittens need you to clean up after them. Try to keep their nest dry by providing layers of towels and blankets that can be thrown in the wash.
- Use a heating pad set to “low” on one side of their nest.
- You can use formula found at your pet store. You will want to use a syringe or kitten bottle. Ask your shelter to show you what method they use.
- Kitten naturally nurse lying on their bellies. Don’t try to hold them upright while they feed.
- Your kittens will need to eat every two to four hours.
- Use a warm, damp cloth to rub over your kittens’ nether region to encourage them to eliminate waste.
If you’re considering bringing a cat home from the shelter as a foster or adoptee, you’re providing a very special gift to the cat you help and the others that stay at the shelter. Remember to be patient and be the best cat parent you can be!
2019 ViviPet At Catcon
— Meow for now —