Some of our homeless animals have been abused, neglected, abandoned or survived on the streets.
Many of these animals who have had a rough start need to learn to rebuild trust in people and confidence in themselves. They benefit greatly from time in a foster home.
Your role as their foster parent will help to socialize these animals. Your devotion will help a cat or kitten become a more attractive candidate for a potential adopter.
Stock Up on Supplies
PAWS Chicago will provide:
- Any necessary medications
You will provide:
- Litter box
- Litter scoop
- Nonclumping litter
- Food bowls: You will need two bowls—one for wet food and one for dry food. The more cats you have, the more bowls you will need. It’s important that every cat has access to his food at all times, unless directed by our medical staff.
- Water bowl: Use ceramic, porcelain or stainless steel bowls, which are heavy and impossible to tip. Do not use plastic; it is difficult to disinfect. It’s also important that every cat has access to clean water at all times.
- Bedding: Old towels make the best bedding! We suggest making a nice, warm sleeping area by using a cat carrier or tipped over box.
- Toys: Disposable and easily sanitized toys are a must! We also encourage cardboard scratchers or a scratching post.
Set Up Your Foster Room
You will need to keep your foster cat in one room. The foster room is where your foster will eat, drink, eliminate, sleep and play.
Choose a room in your home that can be easily temperature controlled (no drafts or open windows). We highly recommend that this room have floors that are easy to wipe up and mop. Bathrooms are often the best choice—just don’t forget to put down the toilet seat!
In the room, place the litter box as far away from your cat’s food as possible.
Make Sure It’s Safe
Kittens and cats are curious, playful and often mischievous. Don’t leave anything out that your foster pet can chew, swallow or break (electrical cords, hair ties, glassware, etc.). Look for places where your foster can hide and be sure to block access to those areas.
One tip: Lie down on the floor and look at your safe space from your new foster’s point of view to ensure it’s completely safe.
Caring for Your Foster Cat
Keep your foster cat isolated from any other animals in the home unless otherwise discussed.
- Health checks
It is crucial that you monitor your foster cat’s appetite, attitude, energy level and appearance every day. We encourage our foster parents to keep a log. If something seems off or different, it’s easy to go back and pinpoint when the problem began.
Cats should be fed at least twice daily. Please feed your foster cat the food and the serving suggestions that we have provided. If he refuses to eat his food, please contact us. We will help you determine your next steps. Wash his wet food dish between servings.
Scoop the litter box in the morning and evening. Note stool consistency.
All foster cats crave playtime. We recommend two play sessions per day with interactive toys like wand toys. Discourage play with hands, which can lead to bites. Change your foster’s environment daily by adding new objects and toys.
Please visit your foster at least two to three times a day for at least 20 minutes per visit. Encourage affectionate behavior with food treats or play sessions.
- Behavior enrichment
We will provide you with specific information on your foster cat’s challenges. Most require a bit of time to settle in and begin building confidence. A home environment is ideal for a shy or scared cat to come out of his shell and show off his true personality. Please provide us with feedback so that we can promote his wonderful characteristics to adopters.