The Pros and Cons of Fostering

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Why Foster

Feline Cat Rescue is always in need of new people to help foster cats until they find their forever homes. With our current level of fosterers we can take about 50 cats, but while that may sound a lot, the truth of the matter is that there are many more cats that we are unable to help and our lists are always full, sometimes as long as 6 months. In an ideal world we would have many fosterers taking in 2-3 cats.

Could you help? Here we thought it might be helpful to explain some of the best and worst things about fostering cats.

The Pros
  • Meeting lots of lovely cats and kittens!
  • A sense reward and satisfaction from helping animals, especially when you are able to win the trust of a cat who has had a tough start in life
  • Watching and helping kittens grow and thrive – we are all proud Cat Mummies and Daddies!
  • All food, litter and vet bills are taken care of by the charity.
  • Hilarious stories of cat antics.
  • A strong support network amongst the fosterers – not only are we a community, but we are all on hand for advice at any time.
  • Friends and family will be impacted so it helps if they are supportive – even better if they are also cat-lovers – you may find they want to visit more often!
  • Volunteering in your community – you can do as much or as little as you’d like, but there are other opportunities to get involved with the charity fundraising, door knocks and leafleting.
  • Meeting new people when they come to choose a cat or kitten/
  • Keeping up to date with adoptees - we often stay in touch with families who have adopted cats from us through our Facebook group Feline Cat Chat where families post progress photos of their adopted cats, and seek ongoing advice Learning about cats – you think you know a lot about cats? You will become a Cat Expert in no time!
  • Being part of a wider network for the support of animal welfare – we work closely with lots of other cat charities and rescues, and work cooperatively with them

The Cons
  • Like having any pet, fostering is a commitment. However most of our fosterers will tell you that once you have experienced fostering it’s addictive, and hard to imagine life without it.
  • Saying goodbye can sometimes be hard to a cat you have grown fond of. However, this gets easier with experience – we find it helps to remember that the cat has a new, loving home and now we have space to help another needy cat. We also have a rule that no fosterer can adopt a cat in the first year, which helps new fosterers to get used to letting go.
  • There will at times be cats and kittens with health issues which bring challenges. Rest assured more experienced fosterers and our vets are available to help you.
  • Not all cats are friendly! Some are naturally bad-tempered, and some may be difficult at first due to their history, or because they find the change in environment unsettling. However, with patience and care we often we find cats can be brought around to be loving pets – conversely this is one of the most rewarding parts of fostering.
  • Some cats are long-term fosters if they don’t find a forever home – this is no bad thing as you have the opportunity to develop a special relationship.
  • Our foster cats must be homed indoors for many reasons: we do not let them roam free as they are not ours to lose. We don’t want them picking up things from other local cats or the environment, such as fleas or diseases, or getting in fights – they are protected in our care. We don’t want them building up a territory that they may try to return to after rehoming. However we don’t see this as an obstacle as many cats are predominantly indoor cats anyway – you may wish to welcome cats into a spare room, or heated conservatory/shed, or give them the run of the house - it’s up to you.
  • Homing indoors also demands our foster cats to have access to indoor litter trays, food and water – you will need to be able to deal with associated pee, poop and smells normally associated with indoor cats. Each cat will need their own litter tray.
  • Also cats naturally sharpen their claws. You may want to consider purchasing scratching posts to reduce scratching of furniture or carpets, and/or toys to entertain them – the charity is unable to accept responsibility for damage caused by cats as its simply in their nature.
  • Occasionally cats will escape! This is a natural part of fostering and has happened to all of our seasoned fosterers – cats are wily, and that’s part of why we love them! Don’t worry – although we always feel terrible and sick with worry, with our collective knowledge and experience we have many clever ideas and advice that will entice them back again.