Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fostering policies


Fostering for Hyde Park Cats: A Quick Guide

Hyde Park Cats is an all-volunteer, donation-driven organization working to help stray, feral, and street cats in and around the Hyde Park neighborhood.  Foster homes are an integral part of our organization.

Our cats come from several main sources.  We work with colony caretakers to remove friendly cats from outdoor feral-cat colonies.  Some of our cats are strays or were abandoned.  We also partner with other humane or rescue organizations, such as Animal Welfare League.  Our work makes a direct contribution to getting cats off the streets of our city and into loving homes.

Your role is to ready your fostercat for “prime time.”  Some of our cats are not familiar with the ins and outs of indoor life.  Some of them may be quite shy.  Some may think they will never get another bowl of food!  Some may need time to recover from a wound.  Whatever the case, your home is a turning point in their lives.

As you get settled in with your new companion, please reach out if you have questions or concerns.  We have a list-serve full of cat-owners and cat-lovers who would be happy to give their two cents on issues such as the best scratching-post training tips, litter box problems, and introducing two or more cats to one another.

Our goal is to find forever homes for our cats, so we appreciate the opportunity to learn more about each individual cat and what works.  We appreciate your opening your home and want the experience to work for you as well!

You must be on our listserve and receiving HPCats email.  This is our main form of communication amongst the group.

Your responsibilities as a foster parent:

·      Love your cat
·      Get your cat familiar with the sounds, smells, and sights of life as an indoor companion animal
·      Send in regular (weekly would be appreciated) reports on your cat.  Email is fine: hydeparkcats@gmail.com. Details, photos, and video are what get cats adopted!  Even just a quick anecdote of something funny kitty did is valuable. You may also share via our Facebook page.
·      Abide by HPC policies regarding foster and adoption processes
·      Be available on days when we have scheduled spay/neuter surgery or other care for your cat.  Scheduling is tight but we will always let you know in advance when you must be available.  This may require fasting your cat overnight (if surgery is scheduled), getting it into a carrier in the morning, and handing it off.  In the afternoon of that same day you will need to be home to take the cat back. 
·      Be available for adoption meetings with potential adopters.  Another Hyde Park Cats volunteer will be present during these meetings.  
·      Provide food, water, toys, litter, litterbox, and a scratcher (scratching post or cardboard scratcher).  We have an irregular supply of these items and will provide what we can.  However, we cannot keep you regularly supplied.

Our responsibilities as the parent organization:
           
·      Provide veterinary care
·      Work on finding your fostercat the very best forever home possible
·      Be responsive to your questions and concerns

If you would like to volunteer in other ways, we welcome the participation of our fosterparents.   We need folks to drive cats to and from the clinic (uptown) for spay/neuter days.  We always need postering!   We organize monthly trips to visit the homeless animals at Animal Welfare League, and we are always on the lookout for people who can help us with our core mission of Trap-Neuter-Release of street cats on the South Side.  Please join us on Facebook and follow our blog.

We also try to schedule social meetings every so often and welcome any input.

Thank you for opening your home to our cats.

IF YOUR CAT GETS SICK:

You can take your foster cat to the
Hyde Park Animal Clinic
In the case of emergency
We have an account – you do not need to pay

773-324-4484

but! we do not get a discount! so do not just go there for the hell of it! 

please be in touch with our vet care coordinator, Ruth, when you have a concern. 


·      Throwing up a couple times is not an emergency.  If your cat throws up after gobbling food, it is because the cat is gobbling.  Try feeding kitty a little at a time, or putting food on a large tray instead of a deep bowl.
·      A hair ball is not an emergency
·      We do not get a discount at the clinic so don’t schedule treatment unless you believe it is an emergency, in which case we do trust your judgment. Better safe than sorry. 

Supplies:

We do get donated supplies and fosterers are welcome to them when they’re available.  

Cat supplies are available at several locations in Hyde Park, including Walgreens and CVS and Treasure Island. We recommend Parkers (1342 E 55th St. (http://www.parkersnaturals.com/), which has many high-quality foods. And don’t forget you NEED a scratcher (cardboard is good).

The nearest large pet store is PetSmart on Roosevelt. 

We do ask that fosterers pay for supplies themselves. When we have donations available, an email is sent to the listserve (so pay attention to the listserve).

Vacations:

If you go out of town, we ask that you make every attempt to find your own cat sitter, such as with friends, roommates, neighbors, just the way you would for your own cat. We can recommend several members who do cat-sitting. We ask that you cover the cost (our members who sit will give you a discount), just as you would for your own pet. We try and use the donated money we have for spay/neuter/other veterinary needs, and constant cat-sitting payments will put us out of business very quickly. However, please let us know if you cannot pay. We will figure something out.

If you are going out of town for a long period of time, we will try and move your foster kitty to a different foster home. PLEASE let us know your plans IN ADVANCE. This helps us minimize trauma on the cats being moved around and ensures that we can place everyone appropriately.

Adoption Meetings:

The time will come when your foster cat meets a prospective adopter.  Please see “The Adoption Meeting” for your role, what to do with the paperwork, etc.

We welcome fosterers to trumpet their wonderful foster cats. Please post your foster cat on Facebook, etc.; let everyone know you have the best kitty in the world seeking a home. However, do not promise anyone they can adopt your foster kitty.  Your friends and relatives must still apply and go through our process!  As the foster parent, you do have first dibs on any foster cat who comes through your home (keeping our general policies under consideration, such as not separating kittens).


GENERAL POLICIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1.     We have a multistage adoption policy. You may not promise or give your cat to anybody without our Adoption Coordinator’s permission. The Adoption Coordinator will let you know more about the process.  Please respond promptly to all queries from the Adoptions Team when an adoption meeting is being scheduled.

2.     Our Foster Coordinator is in charge at all times of where our cats are.  You must not move your cat, take any additional cats from any organization, exchange your foster cat for another cat, or anything else, without permission from the Foster Coordinator.

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