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Fostering Pets

The following guest post is written by Lauren M. from The Social Stage:

When animal shelters overflow or animals waiting for adoption need a little down time, foster parents step in to fill the gap. As a foster parent for the Seattle Humane Society, I have fostered eight cats, six of which were adopted soon after I returned them to the shelter.

Since my busy schedule prevents me from adopting my own cat, fostering has been an incredibly rewarding way to spend time with deserving animals. I love learning their individual personalities and preparing them for adoption by nursing them back to health if they are ill or socializing them if they have behavioral issues.

Here’s how the fostering process works:

  • As a prospective foster parent, you attend an orientation meeting with Humane Society staff.
  • You fill out a profile indicating what type of cats (or dogs) you are willing to foster – some foster parents specialize in fostering new kittens while others, like me, focus on older cats or cats dealing with illness or behavioral issues, or cats that just need a break from the shelter. The Humane Society tries to rotate cats out to foster homes if they have been at the shelter for more than two months.
  • The staff assigns you one cat at a time. They provide all the supplies from litter box and litter to food and any medications the animal needs.
  • You care for the cat for anywhere from two weeks to a few months, depending on his or her individual needs. Some cats need to go back in to the shelter for a medical checkup midway through their stay with you.
  • It’s a good idea to dedicate a separate room of your home to your foster animal, keeping them away from any of your own animals, and giving them their own space to feel safe. This will also help them acclimate to their new environment more quickly, and save both of you the stress of pulling them out from under your couch or behind your washing machine.
  • Once their stay is over, you take the cat back to the shelter to be adopted.

People always ask me if it’s hard to give the cats back. It is most of the time, but I feel great knowing that they are going to find their forever homes. For information on animals available for adoption or to attend the next foster parent information session, visit the Humane Society.

About Guest Blogger @Trupanion

Interested in guest blogging for Trupanion? Send us an e-mail at socialmedia@trupanion.com! Learn more at: http://trupanion.com/blog/guest-blog-for-trupanion/

3 Responses to Fostering Pets

  1. Heather says:

    Thank you so much for being a foster parent! I know how rewarding, but demanding and emotionally draining, that can be. I wonder – do you ever keep your foster kitties in your home once they are available for adoption? Or do they always go back to the shelter to be adopted?

  2. Lauren Mikov says:

    You’re very welcome! Great question, Heather. Sometimes I keep cats who have been sick for a little while after they get better (while they are what the vets call “post” – post sickness) to make sure they are completely well and not contagious anymore. I then take the cats back to the shelter as soon as possible, since having them there and visible to the public in the “kitty condos” gives them the best chance of being adopted.

    Cheers,

    Lauren

  3. Deana says:

    I’m lucky enough to work with Lauren and I get to hear the tales of recovery and discovery! As the cats begin to feel better and become comfortable in their new foster home, their personalities really blossom.

    Some turn out to be playful and curious, some of them succumb to Lauren’s gentle nature and realize that people are kind and it’s safe to be close to them. I’ve seen some of them go from scared and shy, to loving lap cats, destined for happy and loving permanent homes!

    Lauren does an amazing job with them, and the kitties end up the stars, which is just how Lauren likes it. :)

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