Friday, May 7, 2010

Foster Guidelines

Fostering for Hyde Park Cats

We are always seeking foster homes. The more foster homes we have, the more cats we can save; it's as simple as that. Fostering can be long- or short-term. To apply, please email

Coming into your home will be a big transition for your foster kitty; even the friendliest cats generally dislike change. Please read this FAQ on 'new cat.'


Who feeds the cat and pays for vet bills?

We try and distribute food and litter when we get donations, but we expect our fosterers to be able to purchase food and litter on an ongoing basis. We are responsible for the cost of veterinary care.

Will I get to choose which cat I get?

Although we will ask for your preference or ability (for example, can you foster more than one cat, nursing mother, etc.) you don't get to choose specific cats. Our organization is so small that it is on an at-need basis. We will hear about a cat in need, or another foster family will go on vacation and we’ll email to ask if you can take the cat in. If for any reason a particular cat is not working out we would do what we could to transfer quickly. It is the nature of cat rescue that not all of the cats will be cuddly kittens, some will be "right off the street" and it takes a bit of time and TLC to get them cute and cuddly. Remember, your job isn't to have a pet cat; it's to make that cat a good pet for someone else. Please also remember that the foster/adoption team (including you!) is made up of volunteers doing the best we can. We appreciate fosterers who can be flexible, friendly, and have a sense of humor.

What happens when a potential adopter visits?

Adoption visits will be scheduled in consultation with you. We will never give out your address or phone number. Another Hyde Park Cats volunteer will attend the meeting; your job at the meeting is to give information about your fostercat's personality. We don’t do same day adoptions: the adopter will be asked to get organized and come back to pick up the cat after his/her house is ready.

What do I need to do as a foster parent?

Provide love and attention, food, water and litter. You should also buy a scratching post (cheap ones readily available and we often have them to give you). Groom your cat, pet your cat, talk to your cat. Your job is to make the cat as adoptable as possible. Some cats will arrive to you "ready to go." Some may help with their presentation (going from scruffy to shiny). Others will be shy or scared. You should spend as much time as possible socializing and training the cat. Please see below for socialization guidelines.

We also ask our fosterers to send us regular updates regarding the cat's personality, with pictures. We use this info and the pictures to create blog posts, Petfinder profiles, etc. Without this information, we cannot "shop" the cat to appropriate adopters, so this is a very important part of the work.

But I don't know a lot about cats ...

It's OK. We are here for you and our network of volunteers is available 24/7 by email (a little less available on phone). Even if you've never had a cat before, we are interested in hearing from you!

But I have a studio ...

That's OK and in some ways preferable (the cat will be forced to spend time with you.

If you have pets in your home, all resident pets must be neutered and vaccinated.

Feral- or shy-cat socialization guidelines

Urban League
Alley Cat

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