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thinking about fostering

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I am the owner of one nuetered male, 8 year old, indoor/outdoor kitty, as well as 2 dogs. All my animals are kept up-to-date on shots, and all are fixed and microchipped. I try to be a very responsible pet owner. I am also a homeowner, and have been looking for a way to help my community. I think fostering would be a good chance for me to do that. I've convinced my husband to at least let me do it once, and if he absolutely hates it then I won't do it again. Husbands, eh?

Anyway, I have a few questions. I've been looking at both the local humane society web site, as well as craigslist, and they both seem to have a need for foster homes. I'd like to go with the humane society (that's where we got one of our dogs from), but they say that you should keep your pets and the foster animal separate. How am I supposed to socialize kittens to dogs if I'm always keeping them separate? Also, I would imagine that the foster animals would get tired of being kept in a small bathroom for up to several months, or however long it takes for them to be adopted, but I wouldn't be able to let them out due to the fact that I let my animals have the run of the house, with the exception of a few rooms. Do you think this could cause problems? Also, I don't have any children, is socialization around kids especially important?

Are there any potential issues that you can think of that I haven't mentioned that you could tell me about?

Thank you for your replies!
post #2 of 8
You'd have to keep them separate for at least a few weeks to make sure the fosters don't have any germs your pets haven't met yet. Other than fear the fosters may hurt your pet/break something, I'm not sure why you'd have to keep them separate once the health issues/introductions were settled.

Having said that, I have my fosters on a heated sun porch that my pet cats are not allowed on. When I don't have fosters, it is my cat free zone.

I am lucky to have it because the last litter I had had an awful case of ringworm and I was very happy I did not introduce them to my pets.

Does the shelter insist on separation throughout the fostering period? If so, they must have a health/insurance reason.

I do not foster for a shelter - my name is on the "she'll take us in list" for all the strays out there, so I am never at a loss for fosters. That basically means I can decide for myself whether to keep everyone separate.

It has worked so far - except for the four fosters who became permanent guests in our house. Hmm - no wonder my husband worries whenever I announce we're having another foster come stay "for while."
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the reply, Ondine!

Ok, yeah that makes sense about the germs. I'll have to ask the humane society about whether the animals have to be seperated the whole time or not. The website doesn't say!

Why do you prefer fostering on your own? I was originally planning on doing that, but the humane society pays for food and shots and neutering, etc. I'm a college student, and I don't have the money for all the things a litter of kittens would need...
post #4 of 8
Our vet will not vaccinate a mom cat until the kittens are weaned so for the sake of our foster parents pets we ask that they are never introduced to their pets - much of the reason for fostering is so we dont take up space having a mom and kittens in the shelter for a few reasons

1. it is stressful on the mom cats
2. try telling someone they cant play with the cute itty bitty 3 week old kittens or adopt them
3. most shelters now (not animal controls) vaccinate all animals before they come into the shelter and the vets wont vacc them (at least here)
4. URI is rampant in shelters and can kill young kittens

If the shelter is paying, I would go that route, at least to begin with as strays can get very expensive
post #5 of 8
Why do you prefer fostering on your own?

Our only shelter has a high kill rate for feral cats -100%, including any kittens that come in. They have an 83% kill rate for cats in general and identify any hissing cat as a feral. (What cat doesn't hiss when its scared?)

They have very few fosters and they usually only take dogs. Even then, one foster turned her kittens in after ten weeks (She'd gotten them at one week) and the shelter ended up killing them because they "couldn't find homes." They never advertised or anything. So, I have no use for this particular shelter. She fosters for our spay/neuter group now.

There are so many opportunities to foster solo and I am truly blessed to be able to afford it. Luckily, my vet works with me when I bring in a foster.

However you decide to go, thank you. There are many disappointments but far more rewards.
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by PitaKat View Post
Hi all. I am the owner of one nuetered male, 8 year old, indoor/outdoor kitty, as well as 2 dogs. All my animals are kept up-to-date on shots, and all are fixed and microchipped. I try to be a very responsible pet owner. I am also a homeowner, and have been looking for a way to help my community. I think fostering would be a good chance for me to do that. I've convinced my husband to at least let me do it once, and if he absolutely hates it then I won't do it again. Husbands, eh?

Anyway, I have a few questions. I've been looking at both the local humane society web site, as well as craigslist, and they both seem to have a need for foster homes. I'd like to go with the humane society (that's where we got one of our dogs from), but they say that you should keep your pets and the foster animal separate. How am I supposed to socialize kittens to dogs if I'm always keeping them separate? Also, I would imagine that the foster animals would get tired of being kept in a small bathroom for up to several months, or however long it takes for them to be adopted, but I wouldn't be able to let them out due to the fact that I let my animals have the run of the house, with the exception of a few rooms. Do you think this could cause problems? Also, I don't have any children, is socialization around kids especially important?

Are there any potential issues that you can think of that I haven't mentioned that you could tell me about?

Thank you for your replies!
Hi! That is great you want to foster. It is very rewarding, but also very time consuming and emotional.
Your humane society has the no interaction rule to keep your own pets safe/healthy, and to cover their butts legally. Its very important to keep them seperated for at least the first couple weeks so you can monitor their health. Even after that, there is always a risk. I would not introduce them to your cat, unless it is a single kitten you are fostering, and only when it has shown no signs of illness, had a vet check, and is big enough (id say at least 6 wks).
As far as the dogs go, there is not much risk of them getting sick from each other, but there are a few things like parasites. If you do, also wait until they are big enough of course, and have them meet through a baby gate on the bathroom door, ALWAYS supervised.
I wouldn't want to tell you to go against their policies, but of course socialization is good and will help them get adopted. Just know the risks, take every precaution you can, and be quiet
My first foster was a 4 wk old male kitty. He was about 6.5 wks when I introduced him to the crew and everyone adored him. He got so attatched to them all.......and still is a year later
post #7 of 8
You got here many excellent advices and sound views.

Good your animals are in/out and of course fully vaccinated. This way you dont need to overdo the quarantene (although you should have some quarantene as everyone said).

Try to specialize on shy semiferales. If you have help of a friendly residents, preferably cat, but also a friendy dog may do - it usually goes a lot easier.

Most shy semiferales have no issues with the residents, they are submissive to and eager to please themselves in. And later on - they do follow lead.

Although exceptions do occur.... So watch out some, and be prepared. Some cats do prefer to be left alone...


Good luck!
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ondine View Post
Why do you prefer fostering on your own?

Our only shelter has a high kill rate for feral cats -100%, including any kittens that come in. They have an 83% kill rate for cats in general and identify any hissing cat as a feral. (What cat doesn't hiss when its scared?)
......
Wow, we have three shelters in our area, one a private foster only group who mostly pull from the kill shelters in neighbouring cities or surrendered cats, then animal control which is not no-kill but will do everything they can not to euthanise an adoptable animal and always call us asking if we have space before they do euthanise (and trust me they know their ferals too - I have had a run-in with them over a local managed colony) and the shelter I volunteer at which has a bigger shelter than animal control and is no-kill (within the usual parameters, we do euthanise when a vet recommends it and have had to euthanise a few ferals that the vets could not handle to speuter or because they would need ongoing medication which could not be administered. Usually we will return them to where they were found or find a barn home for them.

Our fosters are only for pregnant cats & dogs / those with kittens or puppies or handfeeder kittens/puppies as well as the odd injured animal or one that freaks out completely in the shelter environment and those ones are usually taken home by Board members or staff

Our foster homes are really important to us, mom cats especially are so stressed in the shelter that we want them in homes - we pay for everything except 'love and toys' (and then they usually get toys and soft beds when the foster picks them up anyway - but thats our official policy) - fosters go home with litterbox/scoop and litter, food dishes, wet and dry kitten food, we pay for all vet care etc
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