Life Saving Work: On the Importance of Fostering


Ghost, before and after foster care with Ten Lives Cat RescueAt Ten Lives Cat Rescue, foster volunteers are the core of our work and the essence of our mission.  We do not have a physical shelter, which means when asked to take in a new cat we can only do so if a foster home is available.  We talk about this a lot on our other platforms, but today we’re going to dive into the details of why fostering is so important and how it makes a life changing and life saving difference for these cats.

Shelters can be great; they can save a large number of animals from life on the street, from bad situations and harsh weather, from starvation and abuse.  Shelters are able to optimize the amount of cats they can accept in a way foster homes simply cannot.  And, of course, many animals they take in do well and go on to be adopted by their forever families.  The reality, however, is that no matter how hard a shelter tries to ensure their cats are comfortable and happy, it isn’t the right environment for every animal.  In fact, shelters can be overwhelming, even terrifying, for many cats.  In turn, this causes animals to feel extreme stress and leads to them suppressing their true personalities.  They hide, isolate themselves from potential adopters, grow depressed, or even refuse to eat—and as a result, they are passed up by families looking to adopt time and time again.

Charlie, before and after becoming a happy foster cat

This is where foster homes become so vitally important.  Cats in foster care learn what it’s like to live in a home, something many cats have never experienced.  They get one-on-one attention with their foster family, learning essential socialization skills while being given the time they need to come out of their shell.  They begin to realize that not all humans are scary; they learn to trust and understand what it means to be given affection and love and be part of a family.  They become braver and more confident, and they do all this in a relaxing, safe environment.  Cats who were previously strays, neglected, or in shelter cages open up once they’re in foster care, allowing their true personalities to shine through and giving them a chance to work on any fears and traumas they may have from past experiences.  Shy, nervous, and timid cats who need extra time and patience can then blossom, becoming happier and better adjusted.

Foster homes are absolutely life changing for the cats who are deemed unadoptable by many shelters.  Cats with special needs, those with injuries or illnesses, pregnant or nursing cats, and litters of young kittens especially benefit from the extra time and care they receive with their foster families.  Being in a home also means the foster volunteers learn things about each individual cat, such as what foods they prefer, whether they would do well in a home with other animals or small children, along with any health issues that must be addressed.  This allows fostered cats to be better matched to potential adopters, and significantly reduces the risk of them being surrendered or returned.

From abandoned to loved: foster cat Walter

Now that we’ve covered some of the extraordinary and life saving benefits fostering provides to the cats, let’s take a look at what fostering requires for their human counterparts.  All you need is a spare room in your home and compassion in your heart, and you can begin the process of becoming a foster.  The length of time a cat stays in their foster home depends upon their specific needs and situation; it can be anywhere from weeks to months, but fostering costs nothing for the volunteer—all food, litter, medical care, and other expenses are covered by Ten Lives Cat Rescue.  Fostering is an amazing way to help save homeless cats, and it comes with the flexibility that typical volunteer positions cannot offer.  If the lifetime commitment of adopting a cat is something you are unable to do at the moment, fostering is also a wonderful way to enjoy the companionship our furry friends provide while making a difference. 

Most importantly, by allowing these cats a temporary respite in your home, you are absolutely and immediately saving a life.  And it doesn’t end there; as a foster you are dramatically improving the quality of that life, too.  By providing a warm home, some kindness and love, you are giving these animals another chance so they may find their forever family.  And really, what’s better than that?

Former foster Eclipse

Fostering saves lives. 

You can, too!  Ready to make a difference and become part of the Ten Lives Cat Rescue team?  Click here!

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