Cat foster carers need a spare room for cats to use. Discuss.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London require that a foster carer has a spare room dedicated to their cat’s use before they will allow them to foster a cat.

Is this being too picky? Is this being unjustifiably too demanding when bearing a mind the great need for homes in which to place unwanted cats? Perhaps there is no shortage of cat foster carers in London and the suburbs.

Photos: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Applicant for cat fostering turned down

There is a case in point which to a lot of people will be surprising, even shocking. A young man whose name is Joe Lines owns a nice one-bedroom flat in south-west London which cost him £500,000. It has a large garden: plenty of outside space.

He went to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to volunteer to foster a cat. He was stunned when the charity refused to supply him with a cat because his apartment did not have a room for the cat’s exclusive use. The charity said that a “dedicated space” is needed to adequately care for a cat who might be stressed or nervous and might require medical attention. Also, if the fostered cat has kittens the space is required.

The charity introduced the policy four years ago following research by cat welfare experts. Mr Lines received an email after he had applied to be a foster carer which said:

“I regret to inform you your application has been unsuccessful due to not having a spare room for cats to use. Although we do not doubt your commitment to animal welfare, it is a requirement that foster carers can provide the cat/kittens with a secure, comfortable spare room to be their own.”

Joe Lines said:

“I have a spacious garden flat and thought it was ideal for a cat. I wanted to foster to see how I got on. Then I received the email rejecting me because I did not have a spare room. It’s crazy. It’s a luxury to have a spare room in London. If people have them they let them out. I am very disappointed. I think Battersea should be flexible in their policy.”

Apparently neither Cats Protection nor the RSPCA insist on foster carers having a spare room. Further, Claire Bessant of International Cat Care was surprised that Battersea had made such a demand. She made the point that a spare room would be required if the foster carer already had a cat which would allow the new cat to acclimatize but other than that she couldn’t see a good reason.

Battersea’s Peter Lawrie confirmed that all new foster carers are required to offer cats a quiet, unused room where they could settle. He said that unless such a room was made available Battersea risk compromising the cat’s welfare.

For me, this seems to be too picky. The story comes from The Mail on Sunday of today’s date.

Another example of a picky shelter

I would like to take the opportunity to mention another instance, this time in America, of a picky shelter. Alysa visited this website recently and made the following comment:

….We were rejected [from adopting a rescue dog] by 3 different organizations…here were their reasons:

  1. We have a cat
  2. We have two children (8 & 13)
  3. The organization asked for a DMV report…to see if we owned a truck.
  4. Organization wanted to make 3 separate home visits.

My family lives on an Air Force Base, there was no way my husband was going to vouch for a total stranger coming on the federal land.

It was so frustrating, all we wanted was a dog to spoil. We homeschool are children, so basically, the time the dog would be left alone would be minimal. And did I mention my parents live 2 doors down from us?!

Our cat has been with us for 8years & is used to dogs & basically keeps to herself. My son and I did a mission trip to Costa Rica last summer working with animal rescue…we entered up finding a dog, less than 3lbs, missing half his hair, wondering down a busy street in La Fortuna. He spent 5 days at the vet in Costa Rica before we could bring him home. Costa Rica does not have rabies so there is no quarantine period. We named him Tito and literally nurse him back from the brink of death.

He has brought so much joy into our family. Last month, when we had him neutered, I brought him home, fed him turkey jerky by hand while he laid next to me on a heating pad on my bed. My point being….seriously, my family rejected? My sister said, “It’d be easier to adopt a Chinese baby!” Unfortunately, I’d have to agree with her.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • I just want to comment it doesn't matter how used to dogs the cat in the adoption case is. It's how can you trust a dog from usually unknown background not to munch your kitty while stressed or an unknown aggression issue. I've seen this end badly for the family cat too many times not to comment.
    Fostering a cat if you have a resident cat I fully support having a separate room for the foster. Introductions are stressful and there is no way the resident cat can consent to the intrusion especially if there is a string of them over a period of time. For someone wanting to foster who has no pets it's seems a bit petty.

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