What is the time commitment for fostering a cat?
Pregnant cats often have the longest foster terms. The cat gestation period is between 61-69 days. Once she has her babies, she weans them by 6 weeks. At six to eight weeks the mother cat comes back to the shelter and we ask our foster families to keep the kittens until they are 8 to 10 weeks old. This makes the entire term of fostering roughly 15 to 18 weeks. Orphaned kittens will be out until they are 8 to 10 weeks as well, so their term of foster depends on the age at which they are sent out. Sometimes adult or older cats are sent out for socialization or illness. These foster terms are often the shortest, usually being only 2 to 3 weeks based on the animal’s progress.
What if I work all day?
The majority of mother cats take care of their brood with little support from people. As long as mom is taking proper care of her babies, there is no need for you to be home during the day. Orphaned kittens are pretty good at entertaining each other, and adult cats are very self-sufficient. The need to be home during the day would depend on the health condition and if any care was needed throughout the day. This would be disclosed at the time of the foster request.
Do I need to have a lot of space for a mum with her litter?
Ideally, your litter would settle into a spare room to have their private space away from the hustle of other pets. Once the kittens get older it’s nice to be able to give them a secure place for their kitten shenanigans.
Do I need to have experience with kittens/cats?
Not necessarily. Most mother cats take care of their litter on their own so many are suitable for a family with little experience. The same goes for orphaned kittens and adult cats. If you have questions or concerns, we are happy to provide guidance each step of the way. There are however, some cats or litters that may require and experienced family as they may require bottle feeding, medicating, or other specialized care. Foster families are selected based on their comfort level with this type of additional care.
What if any of my fosters get sick?
Sometimes animals may become sick, especially young or bottle-feeding kittens, often due to their compromised immune systems. If at any time you feel that your animal is not doing well, you can call to speak to a member of our veterinary team. They will advise you on whether or not the animal should be brought in for an examination.
What if my friend wants to adopt one of my foster cats?
Your friend would need to go through the adoption process at the Kingston Humane Society. If you can find homes for your foster animals, that’s great but the adoption will need to be officially handled through KHS with all the required paperwork completed.
What about fostering dogs?
We are always on the lookout for people who are willing and able to foster one of the canines that come into our care. Please note that there may not always be a dog suited to your lifestyle. The dogs most often needing foster are under- socialized, dogs recovering from injury or illness, females with puppies, or dogs with minor behavioral challenges.
How long would I foster a dog?
It depends on the nature of the dog’s problem. A litter of puppies require at least 8 to 10 weeks in their foster home, with their mother returning to KHS when the puppies are weaned at about 6 weeks.
Are the dogs trained?
Most of our dogs have had little training. Some may be housetrained. All will need leash training! We can provide training assistance to help our foster dogs become more adoptable.
I'm a student, can I foster an animal?
Depending on your schedule and social life, many students make great foster homes! We find that a house full of students often have someone at home during the day and have lots of energy for training and exercise. Plus, you get all the fun and companionship of a pet without the long-term commitment!
What kind of supplies will I need for fostering?
The KHS provides all start-up supplies, from litter boxes, to food and blankets. If you are able to financially contribute by purchasing food and supplies when you run out, this is wonderful! However, it is not required. If you run out of anything during your fostering time, you can drop by the shelter and replenish whatever you need.
What about my other pets?
It is in the best interest of all animals involved that you keep your fosters separate from your other pets. This is the easiest way to keep everybody healthy and stress free. In the case of a mother and babies, they need a room of their own without interaction from other animals. In the case of a foster dog, we will do an introduction here at the shelter and provide you with a crate for separation when you’re out of the house. All of your animals should be up to date on vaccines – and spayed or neutered of course!