Have you been thinking of fostering, but aren’t sure if it’s a good fit for you? You might be surprised to find out that you could provide a great home for an adult cat even if you work outside the home or have limited space to offer.

We recently sat down with one of our foster parents, Jamie, to ask her about experience and what is involved in caring for adult cats.


Q: Why did you get into fostering?

A: I originally started fostering when I was an animal control officer, and would bring animals to the shelter as part of my job. Because of that, I saw how many pets were sitting at the shelter, and decided to help out by fostering kittens, especially the feral/unsocialized kittens that I brought in myself. More recently, I started fostering again after losing our own cat. I wasn’t ready yet to adopt a new cat, so I resumed fostering as a way to keep a feline presence in my life while also helping homeless kitties.


Q: What type of animal do you typically foster and how many fosters have you had?

A: I’ve only fostered cats (so far), but everything from tiny newborn kittens with their mom to older, adult cats. Over the years I’ve fostered about 25 cats.


Q: Can you tell us about a foster animal that was special or memorable in some way?

A: The first cat I fostered with MH came very close to also being my first ever “foster fail”! Lionel with a big, fluffy, orange tabby who’d been at the shelter a while for medical reasons, and needed a shelter break. I brought him home, and within a couple of hours he was begging to be let out of my foster room to go hang out with my dogs! He hopped right up onto my couch and cuddled right up with the one dog who’s the most hyper. No cat (not even my own cats) have ever wanted to cuddle with her before, and she didn’t know what to think! Lionel was joining both of my dogs on our bed for morning snuggles before the weekend was out. He was so awesome that I came really close to adopting him, but instead he got adopted by another family with a dog (since we now knew how much he loved dogs!) and is very happy. I’ve since fostered others that I wouldn’t have been able to help if I’d adopted him, so it’s good that Lionel went to a new home after all. Still, he was a pretty amazing kitty.


Q: What do you like most about fostering? What’s the hardest or most difficult thing?

A: I love knowing that I’m helping animals get adopted! There is so much that you can only learn about a pet when it’s in an actual home setting rather than a shelter. Do they get along with other pets? Do they like kids? Do they like to spend their whole day with a person, or do they prefer their solitude? All of these are great details to learn for a pet’s profile, which helps make future adoption matches easier. I also love watching a cat blossom at home when they’d previously been having a hard time at the shelter.

The hardest part for me is bringing a cat back to the shelter when they didn’t “fit” in my foster home for some reason, which in my case is usually because the cat didn’t get along with my dogs, but also wasn’t content to stay separated in my foster room. It makes me feel like I’ve let down the cat by bringing it back, even though I know that these are still learning experiences (such as: we learned that that cat does not tolerate dogs but does want to hang out with people).


Q: How much of a time commitment is fostering adult cats?

A: Depends on the cat! Some are very independent, and only take as much time as it takes to feed them, scoop a litter box, and give a few pets throughout the day. Others need more socializing, so they benefit from someone sitting with them for a few hours each day so they get used to people. Most are somewhere in between. I like to spend extra time giving adult cats the “spa treatment” of extra brushing and grooming so that they look and feel their best for adoption, so that takes up more time.


Q: If you were to give one piece of advice to anyone who is thinking about getting into fostering what would you tell them?

A: Start with something short and easy, like a friendly cat who just needs a few days of shelter break before going up for adoption. Once you get used to fostering, take on the more challenging fosters like those who need socializing to trust people again, those with more complex medical needs, or longer term fosters.


Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: Fostering is a rewarding experience and a much needed service! Plus, you’ll always have a new cute furry friend to take pictures of to show your coworkers.


If you have the time and space to foster an adult animal, please visit our foster webpage and begin the foster orientation process today!


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