Why publish a picture of a foster kitten? Firstly, I think he’s an incredibly cute foster kitten. He has an unusual coat and appearance generally which is reason enough to publish a picture of him on this website. But secondly, it reminds us that every cat is an individual, a sentient creature demanding our care and love. They enter our world. We brought them into the world because we can control whether cats breed or not. We often don’t control this aspect of their lives which is why there are too many unwanted cats. Which in turn is why they might end up as foster kittens. In many respects it is our responsibility to take care of these kittens which is why cat foster caring is quite popular.
It is certainly very useful and often times it is vital. The well-known charity, Cats Protection, is based upon cat foster caring. Interestingly, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home have temporarily suspended applications to foster. They say the reason is that they are working with their existing staff and volunteers to provide ongoing care. I suspect that the underlying reason is that currently they do not have the demand for foster carers due to Covid. Foster carers really are overspill rescue voluntary workers. They are a way of expanding a cat rescue organisation in providing a lot more accommodation for their cats without actually building extra facilities.
Sometimes rescue cats are better off in the home of a foster care volunteer because they are quieter. So, for example, new mothers caring for kittens might be better off in a foster home as might shy and scared adult cats who need the peace and quiet of a person’s home.
Battersea Dogs & Cats
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home state that a rescue animal foster carer needs to live within one hour of their three centres and be able to travel to their centre when required on short notice sometimes.
Foster carer criteria
They cannot have other pets in their home. They say that their foster animals tend not to be comfortable with other pets. On that basis, it would seem that a person who wants to live with a cat might consider being a foster carer permanently. It’s a way of obtaining cat companionship and the responsibilities of looking after cat which some people enjoy without the necessity of living with that cat for the lifetime of the animal. This can suit some people. But they’ve got to be able to relinquish the cat to an adopter when the time comes 😒.
Battersea say that foster carers should have no young children. For adult cats in foster care, they look for foster families where the minimum age of any children in the home is 13 years. When a person is a foster carer for mothers and their kittens, they ask that there be no children under the age of eight.
Battersea foster carers should have experience in looking after cats and kittens and particularly very timid cats. They provide all the advice and support that you need so a willingness to learn and be receptive to their advice is important.
Finally, they ask that foster carers genuinely love the cats they care for which is reflected in showing compassion and empathy and treating every cat as an individual.
In terms of facilities, they request that foster carers have a secure spare room which is exclusively available for the foster cat in their charge. This is because the cats that they place in foster care are stressed and fearful, requiring a quiet place to rest and hide. This gives them the space and time to regain their confidence.
Also, they require that foster carers do not leave cats in their charge alone for more than one working day. In respect of mothers and kittens, they can’t be left alone for more than four hours as it is essential for their health and safety to be constantly supervised. And kittens need a lot of socializing in the early weeks to enable them to grow up to be well-adjusted adult pets.
If you want to work for Battersea as a foster carer you should commit to a long-term relationship with the organisation. You can read more if you wish by clicking on this link. I am sure that the RSPCA or any other rescue centre has similar requirements. The guidelines, here, I think would be applicable to anyone considering volunteering.
Here is video from Battersea on fostering a dog. Nice video. Go on…steel yourself and like dogs for 3 minutes 😉. Bailey is a lovely dog.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.