When our frequent foster mom Pam Donald wrote what it feels like to be a foster mom we had some questions about what exactly is involved in fostering.
To quote the Good Mews foster care manual the major objective of a foster family is to “in the comfort of your own home, ensure a safe, nurturing, peaceful environment in which kittens, nursing mothers and/or special needs cats can grow, heal, recuperate, socialize and become/remain adoptable or live out the rest of their days.” So how do I do that?
There are a few requirements to becoming an approved Good Mews foster home. First, you have to agree to and pass a home inspection. This is required by the Department of Agriculture as you will be acting, in essence, as an annex of the shelter. Don’t worry; we won’t come in and tear your house apart. We have to know that our cats will be staying in a comfortable, safe, clean environment and must have the paperwork to prove as much to the Department of Agriculture so as to not put our license in jeopardy. From there you must receive medical training from the shelter’s medical volunteer coordinator to be sure you’ll be comfortable giving fluids, taking temperatures, and pilling cats/kittens should that become necessary. And if you are interested in raising orphan kittens there is a mandatory training class.
Your level of responsibility varies depending on the age of your fosters and the reason you are fostering. A cat recuperating from surgery may require more frequent trips to the vet than one who simply needs some one on one socialization before coming to the shelter. And a litter of kittens requires extra effort because you are taking on more than one cat.
In general the responsibilities include:
- Feed, socialize, groom, medicate, clean and monitor animals
- Ensure the safety of the foster animals and respond to the needs of the animal.
- Ensure that foster companion animals are current on vaccinations and spayed/neutered.
- Observe and report any problems to the Shelter Manager at Good Mews.
- Transport fosters to and from veterinary appointments as scheduled by Good Mews.
- Return the animals to Good Mews at the appropriate time upon completion of the foster assignment.
- Comply with the policies, procedures and philosophies of Good Mews and act as a representative of the organization.