Fostering 101 (Dogs and Cats)

Posted on May 10th, 2015 by Anna Nirva

Definition of “fostering”

Providing a temporary home for a shelter or rescue animal, while they are on their path to permanent adoption, as a volunteer for a shelter or a rescue. Foster-to-adopt situations, also known as trial adoptions, are not addressed here. There is a difference between fostering homeless animals and pet-sitting family pets for family, friends and neighbors. Homeless animals usually don’t know their names nor the people helping them along the rescue road. They don’t know anything about where they are at first. And they are typically grateful for your role in saving their lives and getting them out of the shelter. They know.

Typical foster responsibilities may include:

Provide food and shelter

  • In-home living 24/7 usually required for cats and pocket pets; foster dogs might enjoy some outdoor time such as walks and backyard play time
  • Crate sleeping and feeding often recommended
  • Meals twice daily
  • Fresh water availability at all times
  • Dogs are provided appropriate pottying time outdoors
  • Dogs are always leashed outdoors, unless the yard is securely fenced (no free-roaming allowed)
  • Cats are provided litter boxes, cleaned daily
  • Socializing time with family members and other family pets AFTER the foster dog or cat has had appropriate time to settle in and relax

Provide some additional services (these will vary depending on foster type and shelter/rescue organization)

  • Attend training classes with the foster pet, to help the pet become more adoptable and better socialized
  • Attend adoption marketing events with the foster pet, to help the pet meet potential adopters
  • Drive foster pets to and from vet appointments
  • Answer email inquiries, speak with potential adopters on the phone, meet with potential adopters, all to provide essential information about the temperament and health of the foster pet


Types of foster homes needed

  1. Kitten/cat
  2. Large-medium dog/puppy
  3. Small dog/puppy
  4. Behavioral needs
  5. Medical needs
  6. Seniors
  7. Undersocialized cats
  8. Respite care
  9. Momma & litter of cats
  10. Momma & litter of dogs
  11. Transport overnights
  12. Service dog
  13. Military family dog
  14. Animals that may be awaiting a court disposition

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