Kitten fostering 101
We’re so thrilled that you’ve signed up to foster kittens and help save the lives of the most vulnerable among us. It’s our pleasure to provide some of the information you’ll need to get started. (More in-depth training will come directly from the organization for which you’re fostering.)
Not sure yet if you want to foster? Learn what fostering is all about »
Preparing a kitten-friendly space
One thing you don’t need when it comes to fostering kittens? A lot of space. Kitten Lady is a nationally recognized kitten rescuer, humane educator and New York Times best-selling author who has dedicated her life to finding innovative ways to protect animals. As she explains:
“A small carrier is enough space for a newborn kitten, and as they get older they can be upgraded to a playpen or a small room. What’s most important is that their space is safe, soft, temperature-controlled, separated from other animals, and easy to sanitize.”
Supplies: what you’ll need
Usually, your shelter or rescue group will provide everything you need to set your tiny houseguests on the path to health and happiness, but some shelters lack such resources so they ask you to furnish your own supplies. Of course, your supply list will vary depending on the age of the kittens and whether mama cat is around to feed her little ones and provide body heat.
Guide to kitten development
As you’ll soon see firsthand, kittens are constantly changing and growing, so feeding them properly at every stage is critical. Your goal is to have them eating on their own by the time they’re ready for adoption.
So what exactly can you expect along the way? When do they go from wobbling to walking? When can they see and hear and smell? And what can you do to ensure they learn all the behaviors needed to live with a family of their very own?
Fostering a mama cat and kittens
When Janie Palmer decided to give fostering a try, she wasn’t sure what she and her three children could expect from the experience. But when the opportunity arrived to provide temporary safe haven to a cat and her three kittens, she and her family fully embraced it — especially knowing that mama cat takes care of all the initial cleaning and feeding. Check out Janie’s story in the video below.
Your ultimate goal as a foster caregiver is to prepare your temporary charges for forever homes. While a big part of that is helping the kittens to grow and be healthy, another component is helping them to develop habits and behaviors that will make them loving companions for adopters.
Promoting your foster kittens
How can you help your foster pets find permanent loving homes? These seven tips from a social media pro can help you get maximum visibility for your whiskered wee ones.
Don’t live near a Best Friends location? No problem.
There are thousands of Best Friends Network partners across the country, and there’s one near you that could use your help with fostering kittens.
About Best Friends
Best Friends Animal Society is working to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes. As recently as 2016, nearly 1.5 million cats and dogs were killed in America just because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources needed to save them.
Best Friends is committed to change that by 2025, by operating the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals and working with shelters across the country. Together, we can Save Them All.