Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Shouldn't Foster?!

So this evening, I called a woman who posted an ad on Craiglist desperate to foster a pregnant cat she found in a trailor park. She introduced herself as a foster mother for a different organization. Being VERY new to fostering, I was concerned with when, where, and how this cat was going to give birth. I have no clue how to care for a pregnant cat, or her kittens, I just wanted to help this poor cat

So here is what I know about the cat:
1. Currently living in a car, because the family has large dogs.
2. Pregnant, and ready to pop at any minute.
3. Found in a trailor park.
4. Completely unaltered.
5. Needs a place to go TONIGHT!

I still have no idea what to expect just fostering, let alone fostering this particular cat, so of course I asked tons of questions, and let her know I had never fostered any cats before. The cats in my home are both declawed, and I'm concerned for their health an happiness first. She seems annoyed by my questions.

Me: So is it okay to have her in a carpeted room? Where will she have her kittens?
Her: She'll have them in a box with a towel in it, or on a bed.
Me: So when can I meet you?
Her: Well, she needs to find a foster home tonight.

*I am talking to my husband, he says tonight is fine, but wants to know more about this cat. Is it declawed? Is it a stray?

Me: Is the cat declawed? Is it stray?
Her: If you're worried about your carpet, and stuff, you shouldn't be fostering anyway.
Me: Uhh.. okay..
Her: *Click*

I'm not worried about what happens to my 'stuff'. I am wondering about what it's like fostering. I'd like to know what I'm getting into, before we take in this cat we know nothing about.

In closing, I still don't know what I'm getting into, and with the responses**, I'm unsure if fostering is right for me. The conversation I had today really has me down in the dumps, and makes me feel rejected from the fostering community. I've had nothing but bad experiences trying to help homeless animals, and I'm hoping that I'll hear some positive encouragement, possibly from the shelter I emailed today, and that they'll call me and make me feel necessary.

PLEASE, foster parents, leave me comments. I really need to know that someone (other that my husband) thinks I can do this.

**Last week, I applied to be a foster parent at the Nevada SPCA, and the woman was rude, and incredibly unprofessional. My time and questions seemed unimportant to her.


  1. That's awful - I'm very sorry how that went! Please don't give up - the animals need you! Just remember there are a LOT of organizations out there, and some of them are better run than others. Its worth it to take your time and find the right organization to foster with - one that will give you a mentor and take their time to answer your questions and walk you through their process. Unfortunately many groups are understaffed and overworked. They get a lot of people who offer to help but then back out, and its easy to get discouraged and doubt people's commitment. So sometimes they're rude and uncaring. Unfortunately they then drive away potential volunteers and adopters and that hurts the animals. The thing about fostering is you have to be committed to the animals in spite of the people, and sometimes that isn't easy. But please don't give up - I will help you however I can, and be happy to answer any questions that you have.

    What that lady should have told you:
    A) Your first foster should NOT be a pregnant cat or dog. The shelter or rescue group should start you off with an easier foster and let you find out what fostering is like before setting you up with a more difficult, long-term foster. So it's good that one didn't work out for your sake! There are too many things that can go wrong when fostering a cat about to have babies.

    B) It's important when you get your first foster to find out what health care they have had - so asking if the cat was a stray was an excellent question. If they haven't been checked out by a vet and dewormed and have a record of receiving vaccinations, and tested for FIV/FeLV for cats, you should keep them separate from your own cats. Also make sure your cats are up to date on their vaccinations before bringing home a foster.

    C) When you're talking to a shelter about fostering, ask them the following questions:
    Do they provide the vet care?
    Will the animal get vet care, including being spayed/neutered, prior to going to your house, or do you need to take them in to the vet for that?
    Do they provide food, litter, supplies, etc? How do they run adoption events? Are you required to take the pet to adoption events, and if so, how often?
    Will you be allowed to have any say in who adopts your foster?
    How long will you be responsible for keeping the foster (i.e. until its adopted, or until its healthy/old enough/adoptable, etc)? Do they have arrangements for if you go out of town, or are you allowed to take your foster with you, or do you need to provide boarding for the foster?

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. There are no "wrong" answers there, but those are things to help you know what you're getting into.

  2. OH MY!!!! You are going to be a GREAT foster mom! No joke - just reading a few posts, you already have the heart and that's a HUGE part of it.

    You've gotten some great advice. One thing I did when I wanted to start fostering was look up a few different organizations close to me on Petfinder - see how they talk about their animals in the bios - see how many they have. I chose an organization that wrote long, informative bios where they related to the pets personally - not just basic info - and one who was sort of smaller in comparison to the one I'm with now. This meant that they had a LOT of commitment to me - they devoted themselves to making sure I understood anything that came around. We (the small) merged into a larger and it's been a tough transition for me (even after only fostering for a few months) bc of the support and encouragement I received. They are all still fostering for the larger now - but it's a little different.

    For your first foster - if you have a choice, make sure it's a dog/cat that fits your home. I had an older puppy which was perfect for my active Pebbles and P for her. My first kitty was a non-chalant girl who could care less if the dogs swiped at her tail or ate her food.

    Taking your time to research and discover which organization is best for YOU is well worth it. I actually applied to four or five and then watched how they treated my application (if they were serious, supportive, informative, quick to reply, etc). Things that were important to me and what I wanted for myself. Then choose from those! It's okay to NOT go with an organization that treats YOU the foster, badly. No, not all people are great to work with bc most of them are animal people ;) but it's worth it.

    just check out dogfostermom's blog or a few others we have listed on our sites to know that it's worth it!! Hearing from adopters, seeing results in those animals abandoned/abused, watching kittens grow!! It's just fantastic! You will ABSOLUTELY love it. Don't let one stressed lady who has seen too much of the dark side (yes, sadly, in all honestly there is a horrible side to fostering) - well, don't let her make your decision for you!!