cat fostering in nyc

The Gift of (Cat) Fostering

Fostering a cat is a great way to give back to those in need of some help.

We had adopted 2 cats from ZFF, and last year we decided to give back by fostering. Fostering cats is both challenging and rewarding. The rewards received are not financial but come in the form of snuggles from the appreciative fosters. We never know what character traits will develop during our relationship, but when it comes to fostering,”the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

We have fostered cats with challenges. Most have come to us with upper respiratory infections (URI), a common problem in animal shelters. URIs are similar to colds for humans and with proper medical attention, good food and water the cats are over this problem in seven to ten days. (Usually a round of Doxycyline or Clavamox, in some cases Baytril does the trick) Some cats were unable to groom themselves due to the misery of the URI so they were sometimes a bit of a mess. Wiping eyes, nose and/or mouth with warm water on a face cloth helps as does a good but gentle brushing.

Sometimes there are challenges with their diet and litter issues but these are usually overcome with a little bit of perseverance and experimenting to figure out what works for them. One cat had ONLY ever used Crystal litter so being fully informed of the foster cat’s previous experiences in a home when possible is always helpful.

Once the cats are feeling comfortable, they become more confident and their purrsonalities start to emerge. Each of our fosters has had different quirks and behaviors. One of the pluses of fostering is that we know the cats more thoroughly. We are then able to provide better details about them for their adoption description in their write up on the web site which we do by sending periodic updates and photos to ZFF.

When we live with them, we have a much better understanding of them– so much more accurate than assessing a cat in a cage in a shelter!

One foster was initially afraid of humans and hid under the bed when we went into his room. We had to block his access so that he could no longer hide under the bed, thereby forcing him out in the open. Baby food on the finger was a fabulous inducement. The change in him was sudden and dramatic as within a short time he went from being a scaredy cat to being a loving lap cat who enjoyed cuddling with us.

So far we have fostered three cats who have been adopted and three more currently in foster with us.  Adoption has to be the purrfect match, not necessarily the first home offered. The hardest part is saying goodbye to someone we have cared for and with whom we have developed that special bond. Definitely not easy but the reward for investing time to help an animal needing a short term home is knowing that cat has been adopted into a good situation, where the cat will receive even more attention and love than we can possibly give because we divide our time amongst our purrsonal cats and fosters.

We may not be able to change the world but we can take a positive step to changing the world of that one furry friend at a time. Every rescue fostered frees up an opportunity for another to be rescued, then housed in the very space that our foster occupied. By fostering one, we can potentially impact the lives of multiple homeless furry friends in a positive way. And if we find we absolutely cannot give up our foster, we can always adopt–we just don’t stop fostering!


If you are interested in fostering one of our ZFF Cats, please fill out our Cat Foster Application.