Foster Care

View PAWS Chicago’s Fosters of the Week!

By fostering a homeless pet, you enable us to have greater space at our Rescue and Recovery Center to save more animals. Many puppies, kittens, dogs and cats are sitting at the city pound, uncertain of their fates. The more animals we can take in, the more lives we can save.

Fostering is an integral part of our organization. By utilizing a dedicated volunteer network and a home setting to get animals rehabilitated and ready to be re-homed, we can help animals that we would otherwise not be able to facilitate. It is through foster homes that more animals are given the chance at life they deserve. Click here to see some of the pets who are in need of a foster home.

One of the main reasons we need puppies and kittens in foster homes is because they have depressed immunities at young ages, and until they’re fully vaccinated, they’re more susceptible to getting sick. We also need foster homes for animals that are recovering from surgery and some that are too shy or timid to enter our Adoption Center

What would my responsibilities be?

As a foster parent, you would be responsible for taking a homeless animal into your home and providing him/her with food, water, toys and lots of love. We provide all medical care, and a support team to help you with any questions you may have during the foster period. Foster parents may also be required to transport their foster animals to scheduled medical appointments or adoption events. In some instances the foster parent may be asked to administer medications or special diets. Foster parents should be committed to the animal/s that they are fostering for the agreed foster period.

The Emergency Network

Occasionally there is an emergency situation where in order to rescue a particular animal we need to have a foster home already “on-call”. Our On-Call Emergency Network lets us take in orphaned neo-natal kittens, nursing mothers, animals with medical conditions and senior animals by having a foster home ready on the other end. Emergency Network fosters may have to be home longer periods of time and have experience with animals. Having any special skills, vet tech experience, or neo-natal experience are helpful in candidacy for The Emergency Network. The Emergency Network is a major part of PAWS Chicago’s dedication to no-kill. We are always in need of foster homes to be part of this network. For more information on this program please contact the foster hotline at 773-475-9464.

How do I Become a Foster Parent?

We recommend attending a PAWS Chicago Volunteer Orientation. If you are currently an active volunteer and would like to become an Approved Foster Parent, complete the Foster Care Application.

If you would like more information on the Foster Program please contact us at 773-475-9464 or email Please note that in order for you to become a PAWS Chicago foster parent, you must be 21 years of age or older.

Foster Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements to become a foster parent?

  • Must be 21 year of age or older.
  • Must have reliable transportation to the PAWS Chicago Rescue and Recovery Center (3516 West 26th Street, Chicago) for appointments as well as to the VCA Berwyn Animal Hospital (2845 S. Harlem Ave, Berwyn) in emergency situations.
  • All pets in the home must be spayed or neutered.

Which animals are in need of foster care?

  • Puppies and kittens under six months.
  • Special needs cats/kittens and dogs/puppies, generally due to a medical condition or a behavioral issue.
  • Cats and dogs in our Crisis Care program.

Where are the animals eligible for fostering located?

  • All the animals available for foster are located at our Rescue and Recovery Center at 3516 W. 26th Street.

If I already have animals, can I still foster?

  • Yes. However, PAWS highly recommends that you have the ability to isolate the foster animal in a separate room or section of your home.  Even a bathroom is not too small, especially for a cat or kitten. If you have a dog or cat and are fostering the same, for health reasons you should not expose your pet to the foster animal.  There is also no time to properly socialize your animal to the foster animal. Both animals will be less stressed if they are kept apart.

What supplies will I need to have?

  • PAWS Chicago provides fosters with all the food needed during the foster period, as well as a crate, blanket, and leash and collar for dogs.
  • Fosters will need to provide a litter box and litter for cats and kittens.
  • All animals enjoy toys and many benefit from playtime.