Kingston Humane Society - The What-Ifs of Fostering
The What-Ifs of Fostering
By Lindsay Hadcock
Temperament Evaluator, Volunteer and Rescue Coordinator
What is the time commitment for fostering a pregnant cat?
The cat gestation period is 61 to 69 days. Once she has her babies, she weans them by six weeks. At six weeks, mum comes back to the shelter and we ask our foster families to keep the kittens until they are nine weeks old.
What if I work all day?
The majority of mum cats take care of their brood with little support from people. As long as mum is taking proper care of her babies, there is no need for you to be home during the day.
Do I need to have a lot of space for a mum with her litter?
Ideally, your litter would settle into a spare room to have their private space away from the hustle of other pets. Once the kittens get older, it's nice to be able to give them a secure place for their kitten shenanigans.
Do I need to have experience with kittens/cats?
Not necessarily. Since most mums take care of the litter on their own, many are suitable for a family with little experience. We're happy to provide guidance each step of the way. However, some litters may require an experienced family who may be up for the task of bottle-feeding, medicating, or other specialised care.
What if my kittens/mum get sick?
Sometimes the animals will become sick and may die due to their compromised immune systems. If at any time you feel that your animals are not doing well, you can call to speak to one of our vet technicians. They will advise you whether you should bring the animals in for an examination or not. If their require a trip to the vet, it would be arranged through us, at no charge to the foster family.
What if my friend wants to adopt one of the kittens?
Your friend would need to proceed with a full adoption through the Kingston Humane Society. If you can find homes for the kittens, that's great! But it needs to be arranged officially through us with paperwork completed.
What about fostering dogs?
We are currently developing a program for fostering dogs. We're looking for folks who may be able to care for under-socialised adults or puppies, orphaned puppies, dogs recovering from illness, or potentially dogs with behavioural problems. We may require foster for dogs with no apparent issues if we become overcrowded.
How long would I foster a dog?
It depends on the nature of the dog's problem. A litter of pups need at least eight weeks in their foster home, with mum able to come back to us when the pups are weaned at about six weeks. A dog recovering from an illness may need more or less time, depending on the condition. A behavioural foster would need a minimum of two weeks.
Are the dogs trained?
Most of our dogs have had little training. Some may be housetrained. All will need leash training! We can provide training assistance to help our foster dogs become more adoptable.
General foster issues
What supplies will I need?
The KHS provides all supplies, from litterboxes to food and blankets/towels. If you run out of anything during your fostering time, you can drop by the shelter and replenish whatever you need.
What about my other pets?
You need to keep your foster animals separate from your other pets. In the case of a mum and babies, they need a room of their own without interaction with other animals. In the case of a foster dog, we will do an introduction here at the shelter and provide you with a crate for separation when you're out of the house. All of your animals should be up to date on vaccines - and spayed/neutered of course!
I'm a student; can I foster an animal?
Depending on their schedule and social life, many students make great foster homes! Often in a houseful of students there will always be someone at home during the day and, of course, there is no shortage of energy for training and exercise. Plus, you get all the fun and companionship of a pet without the long-term commitment!
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