Foster FAQ

What is a typical foster placement?

Most foster groups are kittens sometimes with a mom sometimes without. When at all possible we like to keep the kittens with their moms until they are 8 weeks old. Adult cats will sometimes be placed in a foster home for medical reasons or to get them out of the shelter because they are stressed. If at all possible, we like to have cats/kittens in a comfortable environment so that we can see their true personalities.

What are the roles of a foster?

Your role as a foster is to provide a comfortable home and a nurturing passion to help cat(s) and/or kitten(s) become socialized with humans.

For shy or semi-feral cats, your care would include patience, initial quiet interactions with toys, treats, simply sitting near or next to and earning their trust. Slow progression into touching/petting and lap time would be ideal.

For kittens, your care would include getting them comfortable with being held, lap time, playful, non-skittish with all humans (having outside visitors at the right time of development is encouraged) and, if possible, introducing them to a dog to determine if they could be adopted to a home with a dog.

For friendly cats/kittens, your role would be to provide a non-stressful home environment in order to determine the cat’s/kitten’s true personalities so they can be adopted into the purrfect home.

How long will I have my fosters?

Every situation is different. It’s possible to have 8 week old kittens that are healthy/friendly and ready to show for adoption and they can be with you a very short time. You may also receive a pregnant mom that may not deliver for 2-3 weeks. The kittens will then be with you for at least 8 weeks until they are ready to start showing for adoption. Other situations, such as rabies quarantines can be up to 6 months, but we would not subject you to a dangerous situation. Rabies placement quarantines are mostly due to the utmost caution and following the law. When you receive a call to see if you’re available to take in a group, please be aware we like to keep the fosters in one home until they are adopted. If you don’t feel like you can make a commitment for the necessary amount of time, it’s best to wait for another group and that is okay!

Do I have to keep my fosters separate from my own pets?

Yes. All animals are vetted before going into a foster home but it’s not unusual for a cat/kitten to have parasites and/or an upper respiratory infection. By exposing the fosters to your own pets, you are putting your own pets at risk. Also, if you have a mother cat with kittens she can be very protective and may go after your pet to protect her babies. So it is best to have a separate room for fosters.

Are the cats/kittens friendly?

MWHS works with both friendly and semi-feral cats/kittens. Semi-feral cats/kittens have been born outside without human contact and they are often very shy and will hide if given an opportunity. Because many other shelters will not take in semi-feral cats/kittens, these groups are what we are the most in need of foster homes for during kitten season. We always try to start out new foster homes with 1 or 2 “typical” friendly litters before moving to semi-feral groups. Raising semi-feral kittens can be challenging but the rewards are amazing if you have the time and patience to devote to these special cats. Please understand that semi-feral does not mean “aggressive”. Semi-feral means a cat may hiss to warn you they are afraid but they do not lash out with swatting with their claws. With semi-feral cats/kittens, it simply takes a calm, slow, gentle demeanor to ultimately win over semi-feral cats/kittens and allow them to reach their inner purr boxes.

When is kitten season?

Cats can have up to 4 litters per year. Kittens are generally born starting in the spring and the season continues through the fall. It’s not impossible to get a call on a winter litter but it is unusual.

How are the cats/kittens adopted?

If a cat/kittens are in a foster’s home, we like to keep them in their comfortable environment because they show better when they’re relaxed. We ask the foster for their availability and work with them to schedule a time that is good for both the foster and the potential adopter(s). An adoption coordinator will meet the potential adopters at the foster’s home with the foster there as well. The point of the meet and greet is to get a feel for how the adopter(s) will interact with the cat/kittens. The potential adopters will have already been screened by the adoption counselors to make sure the home the cats/kittens are going to will be a good fit for the cats/kittens a foster has. For example, we want to make sure that if a cat/kitten in foster has been determined it should be an only cat in their forever home, we will not entertain a potential adopter who has other cats or a dog. VERY IMPORTANT: A foster has just as much say as the adoption counselor on whether you think a potential adopter is the right candidate for your foster cat/kitten(s). If something doesn’t feel right, you have every right to voice
your opinion to the adoption counselor. It is a collaborative effort getting our cat(s) and kitten(s) into the purrfect homes!

Occasionally, there is a need to bring your foster cat(s)/kitten(s) into the shelter to be seen by potential adopters. This will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you, the potential adopters and the adoption counselor.

Will I need to provide my own supplies?

No. MetroWest Humane Society will provide any and all supplies for you to care properly for the cat(s)/kitten(s) in your care. This will include litter boxes, litter, cans of food, dry food, bowls for wet food, dry food and water and toys. We ask that you provide a separate room, ideally with limited places to hide, and a warm heart to care and nurture the cats/kittens in your care and get them ready for adoption. You can also provide your own supplies if you wish and/or buy your own supplies and ask for reimbursement.