FOSTERING

Thank you for your interest in fostering (and saving lives) for Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.  By opening your home and heart to foster pets, you are not only saving lives you are providing much needed attention and love to these wonderful animals that have started life with so little.

While cats and kittens are safe and cared for in our shelter, it cannot compare to being in a loving home with lots of contact.
Kittens are among the most at-risk pets in shelters today because they require intensive around-the-clock care in some cases, and personal attention in all cases.  Most shelters do not have the resources and staff needed to provide that level of care.  Cats and kittens are our focus of rescue and we are usually their last chance.  Sometimes they are abandoned in horrible conditions and always in need of medical care such as flea treatment and vaccines.

Fostering is the ideal start for these rescues, giving them comfort, hope and a sense that humans are really pretty good pet parents where they will be fed, treated well, and provided a safe home. There should be no surprise that if these rescues go quickly to a foster home they are taking a giant step to begin their journey to their forever home.

Foster homes are asked to provide care for the rescues and provide transportation to and from veterinary appointments as needed.  Animal Outreach will provide food and litter and a foster coordinator that can answer your questions and ease your concerns.

For kittens, once they reach about 2-3 months, weigh at least 2 pounds and are healthy you will be asked to transport them to our facility for spay or neutering.  In the case of older cats, we like to see them get mostly over their fears and are used to being handled before bringing them in.

In all cases these wonderful animals need a safe/warm place, feeding schedule, cleaning and lots of play and snuggling.

What do foster families need to provide?
•  A healthy and safe environment.
•  Good food and clean litter boxes. (Food and litter provided)
•  An ability to pick up litter and food from designated Animal Outreach locations.
• Plenty of attention
• Transportation to and from our facility and/or adoption sites
• Basic record keeping of health and behavior including observations of them around other people or other dogs and cats.
• Some occasional light cleaning. Small kittens are not very neat or clean at times.

Can I foster cats and kittens if I work?
• We require a safe environment that they can be housed in while you are away.
• Be sure to spend as much time as you can with them while you are home.

How long will I need to foster the rescues?
• In most cases kittens need a little over two months to reach the minimum 2 pound weight.
• Adults can usually be spayed or neutered fairly quickly but may need a little longer time with a foster to resolve behavior problems such as being fearful of humans.
• Once spayed or neutered they can be put up for adoption within a few to seven days if there are no other health or behavior problems. This is for both kittens and adults.
• Spayed females need several days to recover before being adopted.  Communication with the Foster Coordinator can be specific to each rescue.

Will I need to give medications to the fosters
• Most rescues will receive treatments and vaccines when taken in and at the time of the spay/neuter.  Even so occasions arise after you take them home.  If they need an examination you will need to take them to the Clinic in Diamond Springs. We will provide the medication and guide you in administering the medication.  These could be topical (applied to their skin), liquid or pill form.  This is why we ask for your ability to give them medications on the Foster Application form and for your ability to travel to and from the Clinic if the need arises.

Can I let my fosters play with my personal pets
• Kittens do not have fully engaged immune systems when very young.  This makes them susceptible to illness that can be passed from animal to animal.  We ask that regardless of the age of your fosters they remain quarantined away from your personal pets for two weeks.  Never leave them alone during any interactive play time.
• Be sure your existing or new pets are up to date on their vaccines.
• After their quarantine time, exposure to other cats or dogs can be a good thing if properly supervised.

Do I need to do any bookkeeping while fostering.
• Keeping a short daily log of any behavior or health questions can be invaluable to maintaining the health of fosters, young and old.  The first thing we will ask if contacted about such a concern is when did it start and what were the symptoms or behavior. This can be a very brief daily statement.

Can I adopt one or more of my fosters when they are ready
• You are eligible for a one-time 50% discount on one rescue. You can adopt others but the price will be the full public price. You will have to fill out the proper adoption paperwork for the adoption.

What do I do to prepare my home for fosters
• Your fosters need a separate location (with food, water and litterbox). It should be small, easily cleaned.  Young kittens cannot regulate their body temperature yet so it needs to be a heated and cooled space. Kittens can never be put in a garage, outside area or space that has access to the outside.
• Be sure your existing pets are up to date on their vaccinations,
• Cats and kittens are naturally inquisitive. They will attempt to play with anything. Items such as electrical cords should not be accessible at any time.
• Put away small items a kitten may swallow.
• Remove toxic plants.
• Remove any breakable items and block electrical outlets.
• Place litter boxes as far away from food bowls as possible and clean often.
• A foster coordinator will be able to answer more questions on this topic.

What supplies do I need
• Animal Outreach will supply the food and litter for your fosters.  If in an emergency be sure to use the same cat/kitten food you are initially supplied.  Changing diet along with a new environment can cause gastric distress including diarrhea.  If purchasing litter make sure to purchase clay, non-clumping litter. Kittens start life playing in the litter box and the clumping kind can block their airways and cause problems in their lungs.
• You will also need a litter box with low sides and small bowls for food and water separately. We do not recommend plastic bowls. Kittens can get what is called “Chin Acne” from their contact with such bowls.
• Towels, blankets or other such bedding that is easily washed in hot water.
• Toys to play with. Nothing with strings that can wrap around their neck when playing. Nothing with small attached pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed.

While we cannot tell you not to be nervous the first time you foster, there is no reason for this type of fear if you care about animals.  Every foster we have ever had said they had some minor concerns the first time they fostered, but quickly learned to enjoy the process.  The hardest part of fostering is usually giving them up for adoption.  That passes quickly when reminded of your life saving actions and watching them grow into loving attention loving pets.  Fosters that continue to take in rescues say it is even more wonderful as they get to know feline behavior and the differences between each foster.

Including children of an appropriate age that can understand the needs and rules of fostering usually makes a wonderful family project where they get very involved and look forward to doing it again.

Thank you for being a true hero!

How do I sign up?
Just fill out the form below and submit it.
The foster coordinator will then be in contact with you, generally within a week.