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What is it like to foster cats and kittens?

02 July 2019
What is it like to foster cats and kittens?

Kitty cuddles are definitely on the cards for fosterers from Cats Protection Gateshead and Newcastle branch! But that’s not the only benefit of offering B&B to a cat in need…

With hundreds of rescue cats and kittens coming into the branch’s care each year, fostering volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of unwanted cats in the area.

In fact, fosterers are at the centre of our work as they provide safety, shelter and home comforts to unwanted cats until they find their furrever home with a loving new owner.

It’s not all adorable kittens and Caturday naps though - the role of a fosterer also involves trips to the vets, visits from potential new owners and keeping up to date records about the cats.

Anne Turnbull and her family have been fostering for the branch for almost three years. We asked Anne to reveal what it takes to open your heart and your home to rescue cats…

Why did you decide that fostering would be the best volunteer role for you?
Our eldest child had a serious phobia of animals; she was petrified of them and it started affecting her everyday life. It was also starting to affect our other three children seeing the way she was reacting when she saw a dog or cat out on the street. We couldn’t afford to have our own pets but needed to do something to help her get over this fear. Cats were the animal she was least frightened as I always stopped to have a stroke of the local cats and although she wouldn’t touch them, she would stand nearby. We heard from a friend about fostering for Cats Protection and decided this would be an ideal way to have a pet in the house to show her that there was nothing to be frightened of, and it has definitely helped her to get her used to animals. Cats Protection is often in desperate need of fosterers to help look after cats in a home environment, so it benefitted both us and the charity.

How many cats and kittens have you cared for over the years?
We have fostered 22 cats so far.

Has there been a particularly memorable cat or cats and if so, why?
There are so many that are memorable, and we loved them all! We have a book with them all in so we can remember each and every one of them. But there are three that stand out the most. Annie had an injured leg from when she was a kitten; she couldn’t use it and it was very painful for her, so we had a huge fundraiser to help pay for the operation she needed. She always used to sit with her leg sticking out! Patch was very memorable as we fostered him for a staggering 300 days. And lastly Raven who was our first mum cat to have her kittens in our house! It was a beautiful moment, but then the we had an extra four to look after!

What is the most rewarding part of fostering cats and kittens?
The satisfaction knowing that you are giving the cats a safe place to stay and then supporting the adoption process for people who really want a cat. 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a fosterer?
It is always sad to say goodbye and we have all shed many tears over the years. But knowing they have gone to a lovely home always helps, as well as receiving photos and messages from the people who adopt the cats we have looked after. Especially hearing from them after three years is such a pleasure. 

How do your family feel about sharing their home with foster cats?
We all love fostering for Cats Protection and it gives us a great feeling inside! Our four children are so proud of what they do they are always telling people about the cats we have fostered.

What would you say to someone considering fostering for CP?
I would say ‘do it’! It’s not just about the cats; the people you meet are fabulous too and I have made some great friends through volunteering with the branch. 

About fostering
  • Fosterers can house the cats in pens in their garden or in a spare room in their home, while the cats get back on their paws.
  • Veterinary experience isn't needed and Cats Protection will take care of all needs from litter and food to toys, vet bills, and - if needed - a cat pen for outside. 
  • If your house or flat doesn't have a garden, it's not a problem when it comes to fostering, as foster cats mustn't go outside.
  • Those who already own a cat are still welcome to foster, providing the foster cat can be kept in an area securely away from the owned cat - to keep both cats safe and healthy.
If you’re interested in fostering for Cats Protection Gateshead and Newcastle branch, please contact Barbara by emailing coordinator@gateshead.cats.org.uk to find out more.