• Nina

Can't Afford a Pet? Foster!

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

When I moved out of the dorms and into a house off-campus in my junior year of undergrad, the impulsive voice in my head started whispering to me: adopt a cat, your very own cat, it is time, you have a home, you must put a cat in it.

But, the odds were too stacked against me. I was a busy student, and the money I made dog-walking and personal-training gave me just enough to feed myself; I couldn’t afford to feed an animal companion, let alone pay for its medical bills. Plus, I would have to move around multiple times a year between semesters, and that can be stressful for a cat. It would have been irresponsible of me to welcome a new face into my family before I was prepared to support one. However, I was not out of options - there would be a cat in my home, I wasn’t going to give up my dream that easily. I would become a foster. I contacted a local rescue group, Pets Bring Joy, and just a few days later I was sharing my home with my very first foster baby, Carvel. Since then, I have fostered over 20 cats in the last three years (please enjoy the photos of a few of my babies scattered throughout this article).

Rescue neonate foster kittens

Not ready for your own forever friend? Foster!

I’d been wanting to foster for years (thanks to Hannah Shaw’s influence - check her mission out at kittenlady.org and @kittenxlady on instagram), and decided that fostering was the best option for me at the time. I loved doing it so much that even though I have my own forever friend now, I still always share my home with a foster kitty. Fostering a rescue baby gives them a place to stay outside of the shelter, where they can feel comfortable and loved until it’s time for them to go home to their forever family. Typically, the shelter or rescue group will pay for all of the foster’s medical expenses, and let you use donated food and supplies if you are unable to pay for them yourself. And fostering isn’t just for cats and dogs; shelters need space for all types of rescue animals, from guinea pigs to snakes; I have a friend who’s fostered several bunnies.

Get started

Foster cats rescue forever-friends

The shelter or rescue group, once they determine if you and your home are ready to foster, will determine what types of animals would really thrive in your household. So, if you’re looking to foster a dog, and your house is really quiet; maybe a shy senior would learn how to gain confidence living in your space! Or, if your house is busy and full of roommates; maybe a rambunctious puppy would be happy there since he’d have plenty of people to play with! Would the animal only be able to stay in your room? Not a problem, a lot of couch-potato cats would be perfectly fine with that. Maybe you’re only going to be staying in this apartment for two months? That’s okay, any amount of time you can offer will help someone. I guarantee you, you can do it, no matter how much money or space you have, there’s a rescue baby who would be so happy to live with you until they’re adopted. Talk to your local rescue group and see if fostering is something you could do. Shelters and rescue groups are always looking for fosters, so educate yourself and ask around.

Bottom line, even if you’re not in the right place to commit to a pet at the moment, you can still share your love with some sweet babies who really need it by joining a foster program.

Foster cats rescue

I’ve only ever fostered cats (fosters are needed for everybody - dogs, reptiles, birds, hamsters, pigs - there are so many animals who need a hand!), but I’ve housed everything from orphan bottle-baby kittens, to snuggly old seniors. Since adopting my own baby Elsa, who doesn’t really care much for excitement, I’ve typically only been fostering docile/shy kitties, and young kittens who won’t disturb her beauty sleep.

A note - the holidays are a very difficult time for shelters; they're short on volunteers, and there's almost always an influx of animals in need. Please consider hosting a furry friend for the holidays!

Have you or do you foster companion animals? How did you get started? Got any cute pictures? Let’s talk in the comments! Here's a photo of my girl, Elsa.

cat with pink blanket

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