Looking for a way to help homeless cats and dogs? You may want to consider fostering a pet, which involves temporarily bringing them home and providing a safe, happy space while they await a permanent adopter. But before you take the leap into fostering, there are some things you should know. Let’s go over some important facts about fostering dogs and cats that will help you decide if it’s the right choice for your lifestyle.
First, why foster? There are lots of benefits to fostering dogs and cats. For starters, you’ll be saving lives. Rescues and shelters are often overrun with animals. An unfortunate truth is that some of them end up euthanizing animals due to capacity issues. By fostering a dog or cat, you’ll be helping your local shelter safely free up space.
Fostering also provides a great opportunity to test drive the experience of pet ownership without fully committing. If you end up falling in love with your foster pet, you can always opt to adopt them yourself. Plus, some shelters cover the costs for pet food and medical bills, so you’ll be able to enjoy the love of a pet without the cost.
When you foster an animal, you’ll be expected to care for them as family members. While it’s a temporary situation, you’ll still need to provide for the cat or dog as if they were your own pet. Be sure you have time to devote to your temporary furbaby. If you aren’t ready to care for an animal, don’t foster.
Basic tasks for a dog usually include daily feedings, walks, playtime, grooming, bathing and affection. For cats, you’ll need to provide meals, grooming, playtime and pets (if they’re into human affection). If your foster pet becomes ill, it will be your responsibility to bring them to vet, even if the shelter covers the costs. And remember, not all shelters offer financial assistance.
Foster animals are often unfamiliar with domesticated life, so you may be expected to help socialize and train your animal, too. Be prepared for some naughty behaviors from your dog or cat who hasn’t perfected their manners yet. Training expectations may include house training, leash skills, barking issues, litter box etiquette and more.
How To Foster An Animal
Once you’ve made the decision to foster a cat or dog, you’ll need to connect with a local shelter in your area. Contact the rescue, let them know you’re interested in fostering and ask for the next steps in the process. You can also browse available animals on Petfinder.com.
Before bringing your foster dog or cat home, make sure you have a good understanding of your new friend’s behaviors. Ask the shelter about where the animal came from, what their personalities are like, what their food preferences are and how much attention they prefer to receive from humans.
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