From time to time we have the privilege of finding cats and kittens new homes.

Sometimes we have pregnant mums and little tiny tots. We enjoy this process and finding wonderful forever loving, safe indoor homes for the babies. We always have them desexed so that continual breeding does not happen.

If you have ever wanted to foster kittens and cats and you have suitable facilities, we are often looking for carers.

You are welcome to submit an application to foster. Below is a guide to fostering to help see if you would like to be a part of this wonderful service we offer.

There are different types of animals for which you can become a foster carer:
• Pregnant cats or cats with litters
• Orphaned kittens requiring to be hand reared (neonates)
• Kittens that are too young for re-homing
• Cats and kittens that have behavioural problems that require socialisation or other types of behavioural modifications.

Fostering Requirements

We look for a safe, secure home environment with lots of love, attention and handling so our little ones return happy and well socialised and ready to go to a new home. Carers need to be aware that socialising is as important as keeping animals healthy.

Foster carers don’t need to be home all day to look after their four legged felines. However, they do need to provide love and companionship for at least a few hours a day so that they return to us well-socialised, and have the best chance of finding a forever home. We recommend that kittens be contained in smaller spaces and in areas that are tile e.g. spare bathrooms, laundries or studies etc. and, as already mentioned, if the carer is able to spend a few hours a day with these babies it is sufficient. Tiled rooms are much easier to clean for disease control.

If you have your own animals and prefer them not to interact with your visitors, yes, you can still foster. Some carers allow their charges full run of the house and this certainly helps with their socialising – remember though that carpeted areas are difficult to disinfect. However, not everyone is able to provide this – some resident pets will not tolerate visitors in their territory and others may stress too much. Don’t think you can’t foster if this is you.

If you are able to provide a safe, restricted environment for little ones then it is still possible for you to foster. If you have pets of your own, they must be fully vaccinated. For foster families with children, we encourage sensible child involvement, but parents must assume responsibility.

By fostering a kitten, you can make a huge difference in the life of that cat. Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as an animal lover. It offers the best of both worlds to you – the love, affection, and gratitude of an animal without the lifetime of emotional and financial commitments. They will provide you with love, joy, and the satisfaction of having saved a life.

Time and Commitment

A lot of commitment and effort is required in caring for foster cats and kittens. Many of the animals that require fostering have already been through stressful changes, so the carer may be faced with a period of adjustment where the cats or kittens, particularly older ones, may be unresponsive or afraid. This is usually overcome with time and patience.

It is important, especially for very young animals, to spend time interacting and playing with people and being cuddled. People who work full-time can foster animals, providing they are willing to spend quality time socialising their charges. You will also need time to feed young animals a minimum of three times each day. Cleaning can also be considerable!! It is in the animal’s best interest to stay with the same foster carer until they are permanently rehomed; transferring between foster homes is not ideal, so we appreciate that you carefully consider that you have the necessary time before committing to foster caring.

In some cases, due to unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary for you to return an animal to the shelter. If this is to occur the Animal Care Manager should be notified as soon as possible so a replacement carer can be found. If you know you will be unavailable at any time during kitten season (eg: going on holidays) please advise the Animal Care Manager. Caring for an animal means that an attachment will be formed. Giving them up, even when you know they are going to loving homes, can be difficult and an emotional experience.

Make sure that you discuss this aspect of fostering with your family before making a commitment. The fostering period can be anywhere from one week to ten weeks – each situation is different. Mums with new born babies rely on finding special foster homes. These carers should be prepared to keep all of them together for five weeks, at least, until mum can return to us for desexing and rehoming while her babies grow on solid food and learn some independence. Kittens need to weigh at least 1kg before returning to us to be desexed. The kittens will be booked in for the desexing appointment at the time of their 800g vaccination.

Preparing to Foster

Preparing Your Own Pets:

If you have pet cats in your home, review their veterinary records and update any vaccinations that may have lapsed (proof will be required). Your pets will also need to be desexed, up to date with worming and flea free. If your own cat is under current veterinary treatment then you may not be allowed to participate in the foster program, depending on the circumstances.

Preparing Space for Foster Kittens:

Foster kittens are to be kept indoors or in a secure outdoor enclosure at all times. They are not allowed to go free-roaming outside. Outdoor enclosures must be escape proof, sufficiently warm, provide adequate shelter from the elements, and have a covered bed, litter tray and free access to fresh clean water. They should also be sufficient size for cats to move freely about in. Outdoor enclosures are not suitable for kittens under 6 weeks of age. When keeping cats indoor they should be confined to one room of the house until they become familiar with it. Their litter tray and water bowls should also be kept in this room.

When they start to venture into the house they will have a familiar “safe” room to return to should they become frightened or stressed. All windows in the rooms that the cats have access to should be kept secure. The flooring should be made of a material which is easy to clean and disinfect, such as hard wood, ceramic tiles, linoleum, or smooth concrete. The kitten room needs to be “cat friendly” and “kitten-proofed”: Everything in the room should be easy to wash and disinfect or replaceable. Remove anything that might fall on a kitten (even a book can cause serious injury) Be aware that kittens can climb into tiny holes and crevices and get stuck.

Remove any chemicals or cleaning agents. If using the bathroom ensure the toilet seat is closed. If using the laundry, ensure that the cupboards, washing machine lid and clothes drier are kept closed and that disinfectants and detergents are not able to be accessed by the kittens. It should contain everything the kittens will need to eat, drink, eliminate, sleep and play. Have at least one bowl for water, one for wet food, and one for dry food. It is best to provide more bowls if you have several kittens so no one has to compete for access to food.

Put the litter trays as far away as possible from food, water and bedding. Be sure to provide enough trays so that each kitten has a clean place to eliminate – one tray for every 2 kittens . A secure sleeping area, such as a cat carrier with the door removed or a box on its side, will help the kittens feel safe—this is especially important for shy kittens. Provide safe, disposable or easily sanitised toys to entertain the kittens when you are not with them, such as ping pong balls.

Introducing a Foster Animal into your Home

Introducing a new animal to your home where you already have pets can take a bit of planning. Make sure that you have an area in which to separate animals if there is a problem. Some key points are: Newly introduced animals should not be left alone together unsupervised for the first few days. Never leave adult animals with kittens unsupervised.

Most of all we enough continual communication with us to check in and ensure the cats and kittens are doing well. AND HAVE FUN! Oh.. and take lots of photos for us along the way!

Our Foster Angels