Do you love cats? Do you want to help cats in need? If you answered, “yes” to these questions you may want to consider becoming a feline foster parent. While I hear fostering cats is very rewarding, it isn’t for everyone. There are several things you need to consider before you apply with an organization to become a feline foster parent.
First, you must consider the other people and/or pets residing with you. Feline fostering requires that cats come into your home to live with you until they are adopted. Sometimes cats can be adopted quickly; other times it may take years to find an adopter for a particular cat. Ask your partner and children how they feel about fostering cats. Ensure that everyone involved understands that fostering a cat does not mean you get to keep the cat; he or she will leave when matched with an adopter.
Likewise, if you have pets, consider whether or not fostering cats will be too stressful for them. Do your pets get along with other animals?
Second, being a feline foster parent takes a lot of time and work. Specifically, cat rescue organizations may use foster homes for ill, injured, neglected, and/or abused cats. These cats need a lot of attention, patience, care, and love. Injured or ill cats may require they receive medical treatment at specific times in the day. Kittens require frequent feeding. Abused cats require a lot of patience and love; it may take weeks or months before abused cats will allow you to get near them. Thus, becoming a feline foster parent means you are committing your time and talents to any given cat for as long as it takes to find him or her a suitable adopter.
Third, you need to consider whether or not you can afford to foster homeless cats. Some feline rescue organizations provide the funds for food, veterinary care, and litter while others expect the foster parent to be able to contribute to these costs. Check with your local rescue organization for their specific expectations of feline foster parents.
Once you decide to become a foster parent, you’ll want to work with a reputable organization.
First, visit your local rescue organizations to see how each one takes care of its cats. Talk to the individuals who work there, including the veterinarians to attain an idea of their experiences of working for that specific organization. If you want to be able to deduct any costs incurred from fostering cats, you will need to ask the organization you work with for a copy of their IRS document showing that the organization is classified as a 501(c)(3).
A good rescue organization will address any and all of your questions and concerns. The organization should provide you with a contract that details your responsibilities as a feline foster parent. The contract should address who handles the expenses for specific items and what you should do in an emergency as well. Ensure that you understand the contract entirely before signing it.
Becoming a feline foster parent is such an important responsibility. When you become a foster parent for homeless cats, you save lives.