How to be a Purrfect Cat Foster Parent

By Katelyn Michele Here at Beach City Kitties, we are always looking for foster homes. But a lot of people don’t really know what fostering entails. So I decided to write up a guide on How to be a Purrfect Cat Foster Parent. Fosters are extremely important to us here at Beach City Kitties. Our kitties’ lives are in their hands! Fostering Saves Lives Like many rescues, we don’t have a brick and mortar rescue center. (Other then my beach house, and my hubby is not all that keen about hosting 12 cats at a time like we are currently doing… lol) That means that our cat rescue relies on kind people who are willing to open up their homes to cats in need. We are forever thankful to our foster parents, and so are our kitties! Here is what is expected of you as a foster. These 5 tips will teach you How to be a Purrfect Cat Foster Parent: screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-6-43-35-pm   #1 Provide a Safe Environment Beach City Kitties can only rescue a cat if he/she has a safe place to stay. By agreeing to foster you are saving a kitty by taking them off the street or death row at the shelter. When you agree to foster, that opens up a spot for another kitty at my beach pad or with one of our other regular fosters. (Which we fill immediately since kitty lives are on the line!) So please don’t flake or change your mind after making a foster commitment, as that places us in a stressful situation with far too many cats to care for. We prefer a foster commitment of at least a month. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, a short tem foster is usually not ideal since we have to make a long trek in LA traffic to get the kitty to you, which means time and gas money. If you can help with transport, like vet visits, etc that also REALLLLY helps us. (Beach City Kitties needs to do the initial drop off of course, so we can check out your place.) It also takes a couple of weeks to get the cat “adoption ready” and at least a few more weeks to find them a home (longer for older cats). #2 Nurse Kitty to Heath-Mentally & Physically Being a purrfect Cat Foster Parent requires not only giving the kitty a place to stay, but also helping with the rehabilitation process. Our kitties are usually rescued either from high kill shelters or the street, so they often come with minor health issues, like worms, fleas, eye infections, etc. If you have other cats it’s best to quarantine the foster babes in a small area like a bathroom for the first week to make sure they are healthy. (It’s usually best for their mental transition too.) Unfortunately,a lot of shelter rescues develop URI’s (Upper Respiratory Infections). Which is basically just a bad cold, but at the shelter will get them sent to death row. Time and antibiotics is really all that is required to get your foster kitty over a URI, but it can be a little scary because they often don’t want to eat when their noses are all stuffy. It is dangerous for cats to go more then a day without eating and drinking, so in this case you must syringe or hand-feed. (Which really isn’t that hard just a little messy and require a little time and patience.) funny-cat-meme-my-terms-are-simple #3 Be Patient It’s going to take a little time for most kitties to get adjusted to their new foster home Whether they need some time to get over being sick or a little time to earn your trust, it’s not an overnight process. If they are a street kitten they may not be comfortable around people at first, but as long as they are young, it just takes a little time and patience to turn that around! Same applies if they have been in traumatic situations… like a shelter. Having a full time job shouldn’t stop you from fostering. Cats are pretty independent. But you do need to commit to spending several hours a day with them to ease their transition. Often that means going and hanging out in the bathroom or spare room you’ve confined them to and letting them get used to your presence. Bring in your laptop or a book to read, hang out in their eye line, and talk to them. Let them come to you. In my experience, a bathroom is better then a bedroom, since it gives them nowhere to hide. Set up a cat carrier, or house with some blankets on a high surface and sit on the floor to make yourself less intimidating to the cat. Many cats only require this for a couple days, but some skittish kittens may require a week or two to be socialized. If you have another cat, also be patient when making introductions. Most cats will not get along immediately; it takes a few weeks to them to warm up to each other. It’s natural for them to hiss at each other (or you) at first. It’s just how they communicate. In general, I have found that almost all cats enjoy the company of another other cat/cats once they get to know each other. Since you will be spending a lot of time alone in a room with your foster kitty, this is the purrfect time to start #5 on my list screen-shot-2016-01-20-at-8-11-46-am #5 Take lots of pictures and use social media to help with the adoption process Great pictures are pretty much our number one tools in getting cats adopted. Take lots of them. (It takes 20 or 30 pics to get one good one.) Try not to have a bunch of mess or crap in the background. Stage them. Here are some examples of great pics befunky-collage Use your great pics to tell the kitties stories on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and snapchat. (Videos work too) You most likely have a whole different social circle they we do, so you’re also helping Beach City Kitties by introducing us and our kitties a whole new group of prospective adopters, fosters and donors! ☺ You never know who wants to adopt. When you share, people will get invested in the kitties stories, and share with their circle, which results in more education, more donations, more foster homes, more adopters and more kitty lives saved! ☺ Your posts and pics also give us more content to share with our networks, which will help them find their forever homes quickly! Once they are healthy, well adjusted and have great pics, the adoption process begins…which moves us to 6c8216015-tdy-130703-cat-cafes-1-blocks_desktop_large #5 Allow perspective adopters to come visit When we have a perspective adopter, we’ll usually connect the two of you so you can arrange a visit around your schedule. I know most of us have very busy schedules, but we do ask that you respond as quickly as possible and be accommodating as possible, as potential adopters may lose patience or move onto another rescue. (Sadly, there are a lot of kitties needing homes out there, so they have no lack or choices and most people have short attention spans) When someone visits, it’s nice to give them some alone time with the kitty and give them as much information about his/her purrsonality as you can. If it’s a love connection, and they pass the application process and home check, your job as foster is done. You have helped save a kitty life and given someone his or her new best friend! As someone who has fostered dozens of cats, I can tell it’s a an extremely rewarding experience and far outweighs any of the small sacrifices you may have to make in order to be the purrfect cat foster. If you haven’t sign up to be a foster yet, please email, and we will match you up with the purrfect kitty/kitties for your situation. Good Luck and happy fostering! xoxo Katelyn Michele Katelyn Michele