Fostering Felines Can Make a Difference

These days, many animal rescue volunteers make a concerted effort to bring the pets they save into a home environment so that that are comfortable around people and learn social skills that will help them settle in their forever homes. Thus fostering a cat or a litter of kittens can be a very rewarding experience. You are playing a very important role in that pet’s future.

Apart from the personal rewards, fostering plays another very important role in the animal adoption system. If it weren’t for the many wonderful shelters with foster programs, and the dedicated foster parents who open up their homes and their hearts to these deserving cats, thousands more would be euthanized each year.

Often when people think of fostering, they think of tiny kittens that need to be bottle-fed until they are old enough to be adopted. In fact, many adult pets need care and attention too, and under a variety of circumstances. You can foster a pet for a member of the military who has been deployed away from home. Or, alternatively, help out pets separately from their families because of a natural disaster, scenarios that sadly happen all to frequently in this country.

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, give careful time and consideration to the requirements. It can be both emotionally and physically demanding. Some pets require special time-consuming medical attention; while others have behavioral issues and need time gain your trust. Simply, they need you.

The best fostering situation is one in which there is at least one adult at home at all times. You also need transportation to take your charge to the shelter on a regular basis for veterinary checkups and, possibly, for postoperative care.

While the adoption shelter typically will provide you with basic necessities like food and medication, you will need to make special preparations in your home in order to give your foster pet the best care. Often this means setting aside a room and keeping foster pets apart from the rest of the animals in your household. This separation allows the pets to settle in and adapt to your warm loving environment. Pheromone calming products can also help this process. They’ve even been used for this purpose in conservation efforts in South Africa on wild dogs – and just now, on African wild cats!

A good way to transition into becoming a foster parent is to volunteer at your local animal shelter.

However, if you don’t think your home and lifestyle is suitable, you can always give a monetary donation or purchase certain useful items for other foster parents, such as beds, food and water bowls, heating pads and even cleaning materials.

Whether you foster a pet for a couple of weeks or many months, it’s important to remember that eventually you have to let them go to their forever home. Never forget that you are letting him go with the knowledge that you’ve saved a life. Now you can open your heart and your home to another deserving cat  or kitten.


Photo Credit: Feature image from flickr by Pargon.

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