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**URGENT** Cat Fosterers required

27 November 2016
**URGENT** Cat Fosterers required
Fosterers are people who look after the cat at their home, until a suitable permanent home can be found.
Some rescue centres provide pens for their fosterer's garden, similar to those in a cattery, other rescue centres require the fosterer to keep the cat in a dedicated room inside their home. Depending on the size of the rescue centre, they may have a network of fosterers whereas others only have a few - in both cases however, fosterers are a very important and needed part of rescue. Most rescue and rehoming groups have a long waiting list of cats needing to come in, and not enough room to take them all - one extra foster home could make the world of difference!
Fostering involves taking the cat into your home temporarily and providing all the necessities to ensure they are healthy and happy. If you go out to work, or have other pets, you can still become a fosterer. You don't need to have a garden to foster. The qualities of a good fosterer are: patience, understanding, and unconditional love. Some fosterers also have cats of their own, and some have only foster cats. Fosterers are as diverse and individual as the cats who need them. People who find it hard to cope with the grief when a pet dies, and so decide not to have pets at all. Fostering allows you to enjoy the company of cats again, but without the grief of bereavement... and instead experiencing the joy when they go off to a permanent, loving home, knowing that you helped them in their time of need.
The reasons cats come into us are many and varied. Mostly it is due to an owner's change in circumstances - the owner has moved to somewhere that doesn't allow pets, the family is emigrating, relationship breakdowns and divorce, a family member has an allergy, or the owner has died or gone into a care home.
Some cats are just simply 'unwanted'. Each cat has a different personality, and a different history, and will react differently to being fostered. Sometimes they have been through ordeals that you may never know about, other times you know exactly what they've been through, and yet others will simply have come from a loving home, and just be bewildered as to why they have lost their family. There can sometimes be medical or behavioural problems to overcome. A caring fosterer can really turn their lives around for the better.
Every fosterer makes a huge difference to the lives of these animals, keeping them safe and healthy until they are permanently adopted. Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit to fostering is that you are helping an animal who has fallen on hard times, towards a better future. Sometimes this can be the first time in its life that the animal has felt safe, cared for and loved. The feeling of achievement when a nervous ex-stray finally comes up to you for a fuss, after maybe weeks of shying away from human contact, is wonderful. If you ever felt you wanted to make a real difference to an animal's life, then please consider fostering.
When your foster cat goes to its permanent home it will be bittersweet, especially if it has been a tougher case (i.e. working to bring out a shy cat) as well as if the cat has been with you a long time. It's almost heartbreaking and you may wonder why you put yourself through the heartache... until the next needy cat comes in and you're reminded of exactly why you foster, because they need you.
The main requirements of a fosterer are patience and understanding towards animals of varying temperaments, as they will have come to you from a range of different circumstances and backgrounds. Do also make sure that other members of your household are as keen as you on fostering.
If you feel that fostering is right for you, and live within postcodes LU1 – LU7, then please contact the branch. Once you have spoken to us, if you decide to proceed, the Welfare Officer / Coordinator will come to visit you at your home. This is to assess where you would keep the foster cats, and also the area around to ensure the safety of the animals, making any recommendations where needed. This is also your opportunity to ask questions or to raise any concerns you have about fostering. We will also arrange for you to speak with other fosterers, their experiences can help you to decide. Cats Protection will provide everything you need, all you provide is commitment and love.