Seven Reasons You CAN Be A Cat Foster Parent

Every single year, thousands of cats and kittens are saved thanks to the power of fostering. We cannot overstate how vital foster homes are to our lifesaving success, but understand some people may be hesitant before jumping in. Think you can’t foster? Here are some easy answers and solutions to common misconceptions about cat and kitten fostering:

“I don’t have enough time”
If getting up at night to feed bottle babies or constantly cleaning up after rambunctious six-week-old kittens doesn’t work with your schedule, we understand – and can offer many alternatives! A timid adult cat not quite ready for the adoption floor would love to decompress in your home for a few weeks, requiring only the time to clean the litterbox and put out food, as well as just spending time with them while you’re relaxing at home. If you’re concerned about the length of commitment and not daily time requirements, consider fostering kittens less than two pounds for a few weeks – once two pounds, they are immediately eligible to be spayed or neutered and moved to an offsite adoption location. Friendly adult cats with kitty colds only need two weeks of antibiotics before they can head to an adoption center when they feel better!

“I don’t have enough space”
Do you have a low-traffic bathroom, extra small bedroom, or laundry room? That’s a perfect area for kittens to grow and explore. We can even loan you a large crate to safely house kittens while you are at work. Adult cats also do well in bathrooms or in a bedroom with the door shut.

“What if I screw up?”
The thought of caring for helpless young kittens may be scary; we understand. And the reality is, sometimes kittens die, often for no clear reason. But helping to save lives to the best of your ability is never wrong! Start out with older kittens that have a more developed immune system and are eating on their own. When you feel more confident, move to the bottle babies. And don’t forget, you are never alone – you will have the support of staff and the entire foster parent community, including an active Facebook group that can help answer frequently asked questions.

“I will get attached and not want to give up my kitten.”
Everyone “foster fails” at some point or another and keeps the pet they intended to temporarily foster – sometimes you just fall in love. But if you’re worried about feeling sad after finding homes for your cat or kittens, it helps to remind yourself throughout the process that this is temporary and you are simply a stepping stone to their forever home – “goodbye” is the goal. Focus on the good you are doing, and keep in mind that when you keep your home open for future fosters, more lives can be saved! Check out this “Foster Failing – A Lesson” video by Hannah Shaw, aka the “Kitten Lady“, a neonatal kitten advocate.

“It won’t make a difference.”
Well, this is just silly. Every single cat or kitten saved by your efforts is a life saved. It’s that simple. For most fosters pets, foster care literally saves their lives. Whether you foster one cat or hundreds of kittens, what you do matters and makes a real difference in the lives of pets in need. And don’t forget…when you open a cage in the shelter by taking home one cat or a litter of kittens, you’re also saving the life of the cat or kittens who take that space.

“Will I be stigmatized or called a “Cat Lady?”
We don’t believe in the tired, judgemental stereotype of the “Cat Lady”. As “Kitten Lady” Hannah Shaw explains, “When we feminize cat rescue, I think it ultimately hurts cats because it makes half of the population feel like they shouldn’t participate,” (read Shaw’s full interview with Vice here). Cats are awesome, and so is saving lives – your gender doesn’t matter. Be proud of your hard work and if anyone makes a derogatory comment…show them a photo of your adorable foster cat on your phone. We bet you will make a friend and maybe even recruit a new foster parent 🙂

“Will it be expensive?”
ACCT Philly provides all age appropriate vaccines, spay or neuter surgery, wellness/sick exams, and any relevant medications (antibiotics, etc.) completely free of charge! We also often have donated food and basic supplies to offer foster parents, but we cannot guarantee food. Plus, any money you spend on fostering is tax deductible, so save those receipts!

So go ahead – take the plunge! We promise that fostering will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Fill out a foster application to get started, or attend our Kitten Shower on June 3-4th! Learn more here or RSVP directly to Tammy at tammy@acctphilly.org