What is a feline foster parent?
Generally, a feline foster parent is someone who takes care of a cat belonging to a rescue organization, in their home without the intention of keeping it. Usually working under the direction of the rescue organization, the foster parent loves and cares for the cat temporarily or until a permanent adoptive home is found. At Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians, feline foster parents play an important role in helping us save the lives of homeless cats.
Due to the nature of our mission, the cats that come into our care are generally older and may be grieving the loss of their person and familiar home. This can take an enormous toll on a cat who may not be able to handle all the stress. It takes a unique individual to provide the special care and understanding these cats need during such times. If you agree, we would love to have you join our family of feline foster parents. Hearts That Purr has two foster programs: short-term and long-term.
Temporary care that saves a cat’s life
Sometimes we become aware of a cat in a bad situation merely because its owner died or is terminally ill. It could be an older cat at risk of euthanasia or deteriorating physically in a cage at another shelter. In such cases, we would like to help, but may not be able to because we don’t have space or man-power at that moment to provide the proper care such a cat may need. A short-term foster who can step-up and provide temporary care, at our expense, can be a true life-saver.
We think being a short-term foster parent should be a rewarding experience for you. Even if you have not had a good experience fostering for other organizations in the past, you may want to reconsider becoming a short-term foster for Hearts That Purr. If you do, we promise:
- You will not be expected or pressured into caring for a cat any longer than the time you agreed to, nor be required to provide complex care which makes you uncomfortable.
- We cover all the foster cat’s expenses (food, litter, vet care, etc.) including transportation, and are available 24/7 to help with questions, problems or emergencies.
If you are interested in being a short- term foster parent for Hearts That Purr, please fill out the Foster Application and we will be in touch with you shortly. We may not be in need of your service immediately, but would like to pre-approve you in advance so we can contact you when an urgent rescue situation arises.
A "Foster for Life" program with one simple goal: Senior Humans and Senior Kitties, helping each other.
Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians understands how important companion felines are in the lives of those who love them. More importantly, as studies have consistently shown, sharing your home with a companion animal can significantly enhance the physical and emotional health of the human caretaker. This is especially true for senior citizens who live alone. Yet, many seniors choose to spend their golden years without the companionship of a cat, even if they love cats and have shared their home with many over the years. This is so sad when you think about all the wonderful senior cats that wind up dying in shelters merely because they were old and unwanted. So, why don’t more senior humans adopt senior felines?
There are various reasons why, but the two most often cited involve worries over the cost of owning a pet and the fear of predeceasing a beloved pet. Let’s face it. Owning a cat can be expensive. There’s food, litter, toys, treats, and regular veterinary care. Plus, the transportation needed to procure all of these. For many seniors living on a reduced income after retirement or are no longer able to drive, this concern plays an important role in their decision. The other reason, is a concern for what would happen to a pet cat that outlives them.
As we age, it’s hard to ignore our mortality. Worrying about what would happen to a beloved pet if you became ill or even died is not an irrational concern. Thus, many older people who are totally capable of saving a life by providing a loving home for a feline that needs one, choose not to do it. Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians understands these concerns perhaps more than other rescue organizations due to the nature of Our Mission and we wanted to do something about it. We developed a long-term foster care program called “Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens” and its goal is simple –senior humans and senior kitties, helping each other!
Like any foster program, legal “ownership” of the cat remains with Hearts That Purr Feline Guardians. You are not adopting the cat; however, you agree to provide a safe home, warm lap, love and attention for one of our felines for the rest of its life. There is no worry about getting attached to a cat only to have it taken away to be adopted by someone else. As long as you adhere to our Foster Care Agreement, our program is intended to be a permanent placement for the cat’s life.
Since ownership of the cat remains with Hearts That Purr, we maintain responsibility for all veterinary care including transportation. We also supply all the essentials a new cat needs, such as: a litter box, scratching post, food bowls, and toys. In addition, we will also provide a month’s supply of food and litter to get you started. (Note: food and litter past this point must be supplied by the foster, though we may be able to assist with delivery if necessary.) Furthermore, if you became ill or are no longer able to take care of the cat, it will be able to come directly back to our sanctuary.
Ideally, those interested in fostering in our Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens program should:
- Be a Senior Citizen who lives alone and has no other pets.
- Have a telephone and your Landlord's consent to have a pet if you rent.
- Be both physically and mentally capable of basic cat care, like: litterbox scooping, meal schedules, ensuring a safe and clean indoor-only environment for the cat.
- Be able to notify us promptly if the cat's behavior or health changes in any way.
How to apply to become a foster parent in this special program
First, you must fill out our Foster Care Application to describe yourself and your home environment.
Once the application is reviewed, an interview and home inspection is made to ensure your home will be appropriate for a cat. Please understand that not all applicants will be accepted this program because we must make all decisions based on what is best for the cat in a long-term living situation. We also want to ensure a positive experience for the foster parent. Once everything is approved, we may place a cat shortly thereafter or wait until a good match is found.
What happens next?
Once you and your home is approved and the perfect cat is chosen for you, we will arrange to deliver all the cat-care supplies you will need. We’ll also review care instructions and schedule your cat’s arrival. Once the cat arrives, we’ll go over any questions and provide instruction for helping the cat get used to its new surroundings. We will also set up a follow-up appointment and maintain open lines of communication with you to make sure all is going well and both you and the cat enjoy being roommates.
We will schedule vet visits as needed and provide transportation at our expense for any care the cat needs. We are committed to helping you succeed as a feline foster parent and will provide you with contact phone numbers to use anytime you have questions or concerns.
If you think you or someone you know could benefit by participating in the Hearts That Purr Senior Citizens and Senior Kittizens long-term foster program, let’s get started and save some feline lives! You may fill out the online Foster Caregiver Application or we are happy to mail one to you. Feel free to call 520-297-3780 or email us for more information.