Various shelters and the RSPCA have foster care programs for the animals that are brought to them, including kittens of various ages.
Because shelters and pounds are unable to keep kittens for a long stretch of time because of the sheer number of animals brought to them; foster care can literally be a matter of life and death for a kitten.
What does “foster care” mean and what does a foster carer do?
A foster carer is someone who only takes care of a kitten temporarily (in “foster care”) instead of adopting them for life. The reasons why kittens need to placed in foster care is listed below, but the care can last from a few weeks to a few months.
Once selected as a foster carer, the individual will be responsible for the feeding, shelter, socialisation and any other care the kitten may need. For instance, if the kitten is ill, the carer will need to make sure that they receive and take their medication as prescribed. These kittens also need as much love as possible as many of them come from very troubled or awful situations — even kitten mills.
The kittens will therefore not only have to learn to trust people (some rescued kittens may not have had contact with humans for the first weeks of their lives, for example), but will also have to be spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, etc. The foster carer, however, doesn’t pay for this, the shelter does. It is the carer’s responsibility to see that they get to the shelter for their vaccinations, however, for example. Being a foster carer is a big responsibility.
What kind of kittens are put in foster care?
There are various reasons why kittens are put into foster care to be taken care of at people’s homes rather than at the shelter itself.
These reasons include:
What steps do I need to take to become part of a kitten foster care program?
The first step — after taking ample time to think it over and discussing it with your family or roommates — is to express interest in becoming part of a local shelter or RSPCA’s foster program through registering on their website or emailing them. You will then be able to fill in application forms to get the ball rolling!
To find out more, read this article on becoming a foster caregiver to kittens as well as the rewards and challenges of the role. Here is a quick guide to caring for foster kittens.
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