Getting Started
With Fostering

Are you interested in fostering an animal with the Kingston Humane Society? Here are answers to important questions.


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 foster 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 an 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. The 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 though 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 behaviour 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.

A dog recovering from an injury or illness may need more or less time. Actual time required will change depending on the condition of the dog. A behavioral foster would need a minimum of two 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 supploes, 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/neutered of course!!

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Contactless adoptions will begin on May 6th for limited number of animals

Kingston, ON – May 1, 2020
Beginning on Wednesday May 6th, the Kingston Humane Society (KHS) will resume adoptions of animals to suitable members of the public. The number of animals available will initially be limited and significant safety protocols will be employed to avoid any contact or direct interaction with potential adopters.

Five weeks ago, the KHS suspended all adoptions in an effort to significantly reduce the potential of COVID-19
transmission within the community or to the KHS staff. In that time, more than 100 foster volunteers have stepped up to care for animals that would normally have been housed in kennels and waiting for adoption.

“Our foster volunteers have been incredible,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director, “but we’re starting to see
the expected spring influx of animals and we need to be sure we have capacity within the shelter once things
begin to open up again and once the foster families begin returning animals to us.”

The capacity of the current building is limited to 75 cats and 44 dogs. The KHS currently has 112 animals in
care; the majority in foster homes. In May of 2019, the Kingston Humane Society took in just under 200
animals. After this year’s mild winter, Animal Programs Manager Christie Haaima expects numbers to rise significantly, potentially putting the shelter well over capacity.

“Each year, we see a large influx of animals heading into the summer months, predominantly stray cats and
orphaned kittens,” said Haaima. “We can’t allow Covid-19 to prevent us from saving the lives of nearly 2,000 pets this year. We need to be prepared by continuing adoptions and expanding our foster program.”

Pre-adoption counselling and meet and greets will be done virtually utilizing available electronic meeting platforms. The successful adopters will then come to the shelter to pick up the animal in a no-touch environment. Adoption payments will be accepted by debit or credit only using no-touch or minimal contact protocols. All KHS staff employees will wear full PPE and adopters will be asked to wear gloves and masks when picking up their new family member.

“This is new to all of us and we expect to experience small glitches that we’ll address and correct on the fly,” said Hunter. “Our goal is to find forever homes for as many animals in our care as possible and to remain within our somewhat limited capacity, keeping the strain on staff and animals to a minimum.”

Beginning Wednesday May 6th, the public can find animals available for adoption on our website at . Online applications will be processed as received and suitable adopters will be contacted for virtual meet and greets.


The Kingston Humane Society is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS continues to provide shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. We promote responsible pet ownership and compassion and respect for all animals. In addition, we work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

Gord Hunter, Executive Director KHS, 613-546-1291 ext 105

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