Fosterers needed! Help a cat get back on its paws
29 December 2020
2021 is here - and it's Spring! Kitten season is upon us! As always, the North Birmingham branch of Cats Protection has a long waiting list of local cats who need to come into care - but the charity needs more fosterers on board to help.
So the appeal is: "If you might be interested in indoor fostering, please read the FAQs below to see if fostering could be your new year, or any time of year, volunteering resolution!"
Who are the cats we help?
There are always cats in North Birmingham who find themselves in difficult situations. Many are friendly strays who have lost their way and have been living rough. Others are family pets who now find themselves without a home as a result of changes in their family circumstances. These cats need our help in finding them a new forever home.
Members of the public call our Branch helpline to report a cat in need - either a stray who is visiting their garden or a family pet they must sadly relinquish. For strays, we follow a series of steps to ensure the cat is truly stray and not a missing pet cat. Then the cats are added to our waiting list. The cats on our list are usually homeless and living rough, so we are looking to recruit more fosterers to help us bring them in and give them a better life.
How does fostering work?
Once you are registered as a fosterer and complete the online training, you will receive a visit from our Welfare Team and we will meet with you to bring you supplies and paperwork, and let you know when there is a suitable cat for your first fostering experience. Your role is to nurture the cat and to give love and care they need until they are ready for their forever home. This will involve vet visits, taking photos, and writing descriptions for the website.
Potential adopters will apply to meet your foster cat after a home visit from one of our volunteer visitors and/or our homing officer. Once approved, we provide the adopter's contact details, and you can arrange for the adopter to initially visit and then to adopt the cat directly from your home.
What are we looking for in a fosterer?
We are looking for devoted cat lovers who would like to help needy cats find their forever homes. Fostering is a rewarding experience, and you will make an immense difference - the cat you foster will have a second chance in life. As well as your love and care, we need you to understand the practicalities:
1) transportation to our vets
2) giving up a spare room and
3) following Cats Protection policies and procedures
What are the costs involved?
There are no out-of-pocket costs to the fosterers. As a charity, we cover the costs of the cats in foster care. We will provide you with any supplies needed, food and litter, and we have contracts in place with vets who are invoiced directly for veterinary costs.
Which vets do we use?
Our branch vet is Lydon Veterinary Centre, 828 Kingstanding Road Kingstanding, Birmingham B44 9RT. You would be required to take a foster cat to Lydons for any treatments.
How long are the cats in care with a fosterer?
Every cat is different, and the time cats spend in care varies. Some cats need to be in foster care for several weeks before they are ready for adoption. This may be because of medical issues that need to be addressed or personality issues. Some cats have been traumatised before coming into care and need time to work with their fosterer to blossom. Once the cat is ready for adoption and advertised on the website, some are adopted immediately and others maybe not adopted for several weeks or months. Potential adopters fall in love with the cats on our website via their photos, and clear quality images can help get a cat adopted.
Can fosterers go on holiday?
Of course! We simply ask that you notify us of your planned holiday dates well in advance so that we can make arrangements to move your foster cat to another fosterer. We can also move the cat if the fosterer has an emergency situation.
Can foster cats go outside?
No, all foster cats are required to stay indoors while in foster care. Fostering is a transition period before cats go to their forever homes. Cats are territorial and are typically very scared when they are brought into a new environment. Foster homes are not forever homes and are meant to offer a controlled indoor environment where cats can be rehabilitated in preparation for their forever homes.
Can foster cats mix with other pets in the foster home?
No, all foster cats must be kept separate from any other pets. There are several reasons for this:
1) Introducing cats to other animals is a stressful experience for the animals involved and needs to happen slowly. Foster cats are often traumatised as it is, and foster care is not the appropriate time to complicate matters with introductions to other animals. It would be stressful for your pets to continually endure introductions to foster cats who come and go.
2) Foster cats may carry diseases that would be transmissible to your cats if they shared food bowls and litter trays. Until foster cats are vaccinated, it is not safe for your cats to be exposed to them directly. Even after vaccination, foster cats should still remain separated to avoid stress. Foster cats must be kept in a spare room. Resident cats usually cope when foster cats remain in a separate room.
How do fosterers cope with letting go of a foster cat?
This is often the most challenging part of fostering. Some say they could not foster because they would not be able to let the cats go. But letting your foster cat go to their forever home means that we can help the next cat in need. You will bond with your foster cat, and you will likely shed a few tears when they are adopted, but it is a bittersweet experience. Fosterers are usually happy to see their cats go to their forever homes.
If you think fostering is for you, we would love to hear from you! Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to have an initial chat so we can find out more about you including the following questions.
- What is your full name?
- What is your address?
- Do you live in a house or a flat?
- How many bedrooms do you have?
- Who else (humans) lives in your home?
- Do you have any pets (if so, how many and what animals)?
- Do you have a spare room?
- Are you able to drive (or use alternative transportation) to get to and from the vets we use?
- Why do you want to foster?
- Do you have any questions for us?
Thank you so much for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you!