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Hello all! I am purchasing a house this summer and was thinking about fostering. My question is, how do you foster a cat when you already have 5 of your own? Should I rethink fostering and instead volunteer time to the shelter?


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It totally depends - do you have time to volunteer? How do your cats do with new cats?

I have 4 cats and foster 2 more at a time. It works well for me because my cats are great with strange kitties and I can't commit to volunteering on a regular basis (I still volunteer when I can).

If you have space, cat trees, toys, litter boxes, areas to separate them initially and areas to feed them and time to do it, fostering is great! But if your cats won't accept fosters then it is probably too stressful and easier to volunteer. :)
 

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Ive had up to 16 cats one time but I had the space for it. My cats accepted everyone added. some intros I did slowly on limited supervised visits to my heated air conditioned garage which was my mash unit. Everyone started out there till they had a clean bill of health and then graduated into my house.
 

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For me it depended on the room. I only have one extra room in the house to put fosters away in and I use that room as the cat room and part time guest room. I have a niece that joined the Navy and I'm hoping she will get stationed here with me so I want to have the room available on weekends for her. Secondly, my MAJOR concern are my 3 senior cats: Missy is 18 has had multiple eye surgeries and is pretty much blind, Zipper is 16 and stresses easily, and we just learned that Lacey has a bad heart. Heavy sigh. I just don't want to add to their stress. We like things pretty calm around here.

For me, since I have the time (I'm retired USN), it's easier for me to come to the shelter. In 4 days I've already put in over 20 hours!!
 

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I have five permanent kitties and foster anywhere from 1-15 cats a time (usually queens with young kittens). My cats are really good with meeting new cats and I have two areas (laundry room and garage) where I can keep fosters separate. It depends on a lot of things, but most important are the personalities of your current cats and the amount of space you have. You must have at least one room that you could use for quarantine of fosters.
 

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Alright, so I've personally been fostering for about a year and a half now - the rescue that I foster with actually would prefer for me to leave my foster cats completely separate from my current cats due to any sickness that could possibly be spread, if you do a proper quarantine time of 3 weeks then it'd be different (I guess) BUT by that time most of the cats are/should be adopted out. I made an exception this time around because I am currently fostering some semi-feral cats so I have them upstairs so they get used to me and all the everyday sounds of living, etc.

Honestly though it may sound really cruel to you to have them in a separate room away from your cats and just spending some one on one time with them in the morning and evening, but it isn't. You have to think of the alternative - atleast that's how I look at it. Most of the cats that I have fostered are cats that are outside and I KNOW even if they aren't getting 24/7 care and attention with me at my house it's much better than being outside 24/7. I give them a higher chance of being adopted and living a wonderful normal forever life than they'd get if they were born outside.

Plus I work fulltime and still spend quite a lot of time with them. <3 I took in a feral mom cat last April and she gave birth and it was my first batch of kittens officially born at my house & I had a very hard time saying goodbye and letting go of that family but man oh man was it worth it!!! I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Anyways - I just want to tell you to not feel bad if you end up keeping them separate, it doesn't make them any less loved. I think anyone and everyone who has some extra space should foster.

I don't like to bring my foster kitties upstairs most of the time, too, because I already have 6 cats and anytime we've foster failed my cat Sophie now has pretty much had enough.. she is totally telling me that. I feel bad and know that there is no way possible I'd be able to really bring another cat into the picture, and that's also why I've been kind of having a hard time with my semi-feral's upstairs as well.

They don't get into real "fights" but they totally have an attitude towards the newer cats, now, I hear more growling & hissing than I've ever heard before in my home. But then they snuggle together or atleast close by one another, so.... yeah!
 

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I'm curious about fostering too. Is there such thing as short term fostering? For a few weeks or months if maybe you aren't wanting to commit to long term?
 

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Our most frequent foster cats are (1) pregnant cat or cat with newborn kittens, (2) medical condition cat requiring a set schedule, (3) cats that would just do better in a home environment away from the clamor of the shelter like older cats, virus-positive cats, or cats who just don't like other cats.

In all these situations we allow for short term fosters. But especially the kittens usually only stay in foster until their old enough for S/N and, if they were feral, socialized to the point where they would thrive in the shelter.

The second group we really try to find long term fosters for, just because of consistency and assurance of care.

The third group are ok for short term because they can just come back to their previous place in the shelter. But they too would benefit from not being moved around a lot so long term is better. It depends on the individual cat.

The first step is going to the shelter and asking to speak to the foster coordinator. They may have special short-term options available (maybe a kitty recovering from an illness or surgery) who would only need to be away a few weeks or months.
 

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We will take short term fosterer too! We have a lot of snow birds here. Its a great opportunity for us to get a cat a temporary place till we can get it adopted or to a more permanent foster home.

My vet told me to let healthy kittens in with my cats and foster cat adults because the adults show them the rules of the cat world. I was keeping them separated at the time.

In my last house I built I had a heated and air conditioned 2 1/2 car garage with painted floors. My poor car was parked outside baking in the sun. That became the triage unit for sick cats and kittens. Lots of space to put up big kennels and cat trees and refrigerator boxes with holes for them to play in. Plus it kept the health issues contained out there! When they got a clean bill of health I transition them into the house with my other fosters.

My friends thought Id forgotten I had a living room!:crazy Wed sit out there talking and laughing to get the fosters use to noise and wed be holding and playing with them to socialize them. Plus the area was easy vacuum and mop up.
 

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Marcia, so you're saying that when you foster a cat, you keep it only in that room until it gets adopted?
That would be my initial try - to keep them isolated, but I know that a cat can establish itself into a household pretty quickly then all is lost - foster failure. Almost two weeks after my initial post to this thread, I have been approved for fostering but have not decided who/what I would foster. I am considering a cat that's been hit by a car with the ultimate end being possible adoption myself. He is good with other cats but my main concern will always be Missy and the other senior citizen's reactions. Missy is 90% blind and 18+ I really, really don't want to stress her. :|
 
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