10 Things to Know Before You Foster a Cat - Pet Hub USA

10 Things to Know Before You Foster a Cat

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Foster parenting prepares at-risk and traumatized animals for a permanent home. To ensure success, first-time foster parents must be prepared. Here are 10 crucial things to know before fostering a cat.

10. Ensure You Have the Time

woman carrying cat while standing on porch
Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

Before agreeing to foster any animal, consider your current commitments. Evaluate whether you can give your foster cat the time commitment it needs and deserves. As a foster parent, your job is helping the cat build trust again so it can ease into a forever home with the least amount of stress. Having the proper interaction and playtime is crucial.

9. Budget for Out-of-Pocket Expenses

gray kitten sitting on floor
Photo by Kim Davies on Unsplash

While most shelters will cover some of the expenses, such as vet fees, you will have to cover many of the expenses of fostering a cat. This could include food, food and water bowls, beds, crates, litter boxes, kitty litter, grooming, leashes, collars, harnesses, and more. It could be costly if the cat has a pre-existing condition that requires a special diet.

8. Make Sure Your Home Is Safe

White Cat on Black Piano
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

Cat-proof your home by removing and/or relocating any items that could cause harm to your foster cat. Look for items on high shelves that could fall or furniture that could tip over. Ask: Are there toxic plants or foods? Accessible dangerous chemicals or medications? Are there electrical wires or other items that can be chewed? Could the cat escape?

7. Create a Secure Space

orange tabby cat sleeping on white pet bed
Photo by Aleksandar Cvetanovic on Unsplash

Your foster cat needs a hiding spot, a small covered nook like a cardboard box, or draping something over a crate. You’ll also need an area to, at least temporarily, confine and prevent the cat from roaming your home until it’s ready to interact with others. A room with a door, extra bathroom, or area with playpen panels will work.

6. Account for Other Pets and/or Children

woman holding white cat
Photo by Veronika Homchis on Unsplash

A shelter cat may be in survival mode and/or trying to recover from a traumatic experience. To reduce stress, make sure everyone in your home approaches the cat gently. Separate foster cats and other pets for at least two weeks. Tell children to allow the cat to approach them and not force a relationship with the cat.

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5. Risk of the Zoonotic Conditions

a close up of two cats near one another
Photo by Yurii Khomitskyi on Unsplash

Cats can transmit some parasites and diseases to humans. Shelter cats that have been outside or feral carry a higher risk of exposure and transmission. A rescue facility likely had a veterinarian examine the animal before releasing it to you. However, the cat may need follow-up care. Use common sense hygiene to protect yourself and your family.

4. Limit Stress Factors for the Cat

white and gray tabby kitten on brown wooden crate
Photo by George Bonev on Unsplash

A shelter cat may have previously been removed from an abusive or unsafe home, or experience some other form of trauma. Therefore, it’s important to reduce as much stress from your home environment as possible. Create a low-traffic, quiet place for your cat to hide away. Keep children and pets away from your foster cat for the first two weeks.

3. Anxiety: Adult Cat Versus Kitten

brown tabby kitten on white textile
Photo by Joe Cleary on Unsplash

Kittens separated from their mothers and siblings before eight weeks old are likely to be fearful and need more work to settle in. Depending on their background, some adult cats can settle quickly, while others can be more difficult than a kitten. Some breeds of cats are naturally more fearful, while others are more sociable.

Read More: 10 Essential Things Every New Kitten Owner Should Do

2. Create Routines

Person Lying on Sofa With Cat
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels

Some cats have never experienced life with a human. Creating a routine around meals, playtime, and more will help your cat understand and be comfortable with life in a human household. Use positive reinforcement to help your cat learn the “house rules.” Consistency will help the cat feel safe and build trust.

Read More: 8 Reasons to Adopt an Older Cat

1. Aiding the Transition to a Forever Home

woman lying beside brown cat
Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

Your main job is to help your cat prepare for the transition to a forever home.  All pets need love and attention. Your interactions and bonding make all the difference. Patience and love will help your foster cat lessen its fearfulness and learn to better understand humans and life in a human home.

Read More: 10 Biggest Mistakes Cat Owners Make

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