Preparing Your Home
You will need to keep your own companion animals separate from your foster animals. It is always a health risk to expose your animals to other animals, so to be on the safe side, you should keep them separate for the entire foster period if possible if not they should be kept separate for the quarantine period of one week.
If you are fostering kittens or puppies, remember that they will play or chew anything they can find! Drapes, electrical cords, lamp-shades, etc. so be sure to “kitten/puppy-proof” your home.
Supplies you will need:
- Cardboard box: You can use the carrier in which you took the animal home. It will provide a familiar smelling, dark, quiet home. A bigger box is desirable to allow you to see in, as well as to provide plenty of room if you have a mother and a litter of kittens or puppies.
- Newspapers: Keep several layers in the bottom of the box. They will come in handy when the foster litter starts to roam around the room and into their litter box.
- Two food bowls: One is for the eat-at-will dry cat food, the other for canned food. You can use TV dinner trays, paper plates, or whatever you have any shallow bowl or saucer will do. The larger the litter, the larger the plate should be, so that no one in the litter gets crowded out. Some cats have allergies to plastic, so try to avoid plastic dishes.
- Water bowls: Provide access to water at all times. Remember, young animals can drown, so make sure the bowl is very shallow.
- Food: Pet supply store food tends to be more nutritious than grocery store brands. Kittens need a mix of dry and canned food specifically formulated for kittens (it’s a good idea to wean them onto dry food). We will tell you if an animal you are fostering needs any other special food.
- Litter box & non-clumping litter: Cats will instinctively use a litter box and mom will begin teaching her kittens how to use a litter box. You should get a shallow litter box, or use an old cake pan. Clumping litter can be very messy as it sticks to paws and can cause serious health problems if eaten (which most kittens will do). A cat or kitten can even die if the clumping litter forms a blockage in the intestines, so use only non-clumping type cat litter.
- Heating pad or hot water bottle: Depending on how warm your room is, these extras will ensure that everyone is comfy and cozy. If you use any of these items, be sure that there is space for the animals to move away from the heat in case they are too hot, and always place heating pads on the lowest setting.
- Scale: Although not critical to success a food or postal scale is very helpful for monitoring small kittens’ growth, which averages 3-4 ounces a week.
- Toys: Go crazy if you want! Mice and buzz balls make kittens happy and can be reused as long as animals do not have any contagious diseases. Kittens can amuse themselves with empty rolls of toilet paper. Empty cardboard 12-pack soda boxes are good for a number of different games. Clean tennis balls, old socks stuffed with nylons, caps of liter soda bottles, and paper bags make great toys as well. Young kittens don’t respond to catnip, but mom will like it.
- Other: Bottle of “Nature’s Miracle” for accidents. A rope or carpet scratching post. Adoption applications to give to people who are interested in your foster care animals.