Cat fostering - some questions...(17 Posts)
I would love to do this, but have some questions which I'm hoping anyone with experience could answer?
I work part time, would this be a barrier to fostering? I'm usually out from 9.30-5.30 three days a week and on those days one of the GPs or DH picks up the kids, so there's someone around from 3.30ish onwards. I know cats are quite happy on their own, but is it a different case for fosters? Do organisations (I'm thinking probably CPL as there's one very close to my work) prefer people who are at home most of the time?
Also the DDs - they're 10 and 6. Do organisations give fosters to homes with young-ish kids? And if so, how does it work when you've got to give the cat to its new owner - are they traumatised forever??
Also for the kids - if Cat is a bit grumpy or stressed is this a bad combination?
I do have experience of cats - I grew up with them and am prepared to deal with stinky food, litter trays etc, and just desperate for some cat contact on a more regular basis! We live on a busy road though so the prospect of owning one makes me a bit anxious, I think I'd worry about this. However if foster cats are to be kept inside this would be a good solution and give me a chance to get comfy with cat ownership again. I'd also really like the kids to have more experience of dealing with animals and 'owning' a pet. We do have three chickens, but they're not very cuddly .
I need to get my head around the idea before broaching the subject with DH - tbh he could be the biggest barrier to this idea, as he's never shown much enthusiasm for pets. I'm hoping I can persuade him, but need some solid facts first!
Hi, just a quick reply before I fall asleep to say that I don't think your job will be an issue for Cats Protection, I work full-time and it was never a problem.
They did say that not many people with kids foster but they didn't mind (mine are 8 and 13). I suppose it might be different if they were toddlers.
My kids weren't traumatised when the cats went, i was! But it's good to know they go to good homes. We've only had friendly cats, I don't think they'd give you v grumpy ones, esp not to start off with (antisocial ones might be better looked after in pens than in homes?).
The bigger issue was the carpet, I did wish I had Lino when my first tomcats started weeing on the floor because they didn't like the litter. CP does say carpet isn't ideal. But it's still ok (I've kept the carpet, I just need to wait 4 weeks between cats).
It's such a pleasure to be good to these cats, and fun to see their character, I've fostered for about 6 months and am really liking it.
Re: a stressed cat, knowing you have young-ish children I think they would place more confident cats with you. The cats do come to us after spending some time in a pen with CP staff so the they already have an idea of their character.
Fawful thanks that's quite useful and reassuring!
Good to know you usually get sociable cats as it would be difficult to get the kids (or DH) on board if they were likely to get scratched or hissed at every time they approached.
So do you usually keep your foster cats in one room? I suppose I hadn't considered the potential mess/smells of some male cats, but we do have a large laundry room with vinyl flooring or my office with laminate so I'd aim to base a cat in there most likely.
If you do let them roam around the house is it difficult to keep them from getting outside?
Part-time work, or even full time isn't a problem.
As long as the children are sensible and supervised they shouldn't be a problem.
Yes, we recommend that foster cats are generally kept in one room.
thecatneuterer can I ask why this is? I suppose I imagine it would be nice to enjoy the benefits of temporary cat ownership eg having a wee snuggle with them on your lap in the evening, company around the house etc (depending on the nature of the cat of course) and I wouldn't mind letting them around my house as it's a good size and would give them space to explore, especially if they're limited to indoors.
We've got double doors leading to both the back and front (a porch at each iyswim) so escape this way would hopefully be more difficult. But I know I'd have to be careful of windows. I'm the only one that ever opens them in my house anyway!
Well it partly depends on the set up generally of the house. If the fosterers have other pets it's done mainly to keep them separate. And it's also done because of windows/doors. There must be no open windows at all where the cats have access. People often think a cat can't possibly get out of such a small/high up/whatever window, but they do.
Also if it's a mother cat and kittens, which it generally is, they like to feel they have their own safe space - particularly away from children in the household.
It can be done without a spare room if there are no open windows and no access to opening doors and they can have their own safe-feeling place somewhere in the house.
Ok, that sounds reasonable and I'd certainly be willing to take each cat on its own terms, especially if there are kittens concerned. I would plan to have them based in one of the back rooms I've mentioned (office or laundry room) and then if it was happy and I could monitor windows/doors closely perhaps they could roam a bit.
The idea of containing them somewhat might help me convince DH... which I'm going to have to do! The more I think about the idea the more I like it.
In terms of time commitment, is there much more than what's involved in 'normal' cat ownership?
There is information online about fostering for cat protection, and some YouTube videos. Our foster cat is out in the whole house, we don't have any other animals. Our front and back doors both have inner and outer doors so we can operate an airlock system. And I remembered to check the cat flaps were locked. I was all set up to keep him in one room if he had been very nervous but he is pretty chilled.
That's good to know chemenger thanks, sounds like we have a similar door set-up to you.
I'll check out YouTube for some more info too, although if there are cats/kittens involved it's guaranteed not to put me off
There isn't really any extra time commitment involved, except you need to play with any kittens to get them socialised.
you need to play with kittens to get them socialised
I suppose I could spare some time for this...
YouTube has also been helpful - have checked out a couple of vids by CPL and others.
I'm now mentally walking around my house wondering where I can put cats/kittens/cat-related paraphernalia... I think I really want to do this! Now to start work on DH - he can be a tough nut to crack
Bumping my own thread to report that I went to the local CPL branch today during my lunch break to ask about fostering and they certainly seemed keen for volunteers! I spoke to their welfare lady and she was realistic about what's expected but encouraging.
I got the impression they prefer you to foster the cats in a room rather than whole house, although she said some of their volunteers do this anyway. Is it a generally considered a bit of a no-no to give them the run of the house?
I can see the pros and cons - better/easier to let them loose so they and you can enjoy their presence and company - but then you might get too attached if you're snuggling on the sofa every night. And you have to watch windows and doors.
Confining them means you can clean the room and take another cat quicker, a more practical option. But might be more difficult to manage with the DDs - DD2 would almost certainly manage to let a cat escape its foster room!
Just trying to figure out how to make it work in our household with the least amount of disruption or inconvenience for all concerned - cat and family!
Anyone with experience of fostering and family life able to weigh in with a view?
And also I'm wondering if they are confined to one room, how much time to you spend with them?
Sorry, lots of questions and maybe not too many folks able to answer, but at the very least posting here is helping me to think all of this through!
If you are fostering a mum and kittens then they really either need their own room or a pen to start with. The mum needs to feel she has her own safe space.
If you are fostering adult cats then having a run of the house is probably a good thing, as long as you can be sure they won't get out. Unless of course your six year old overwhelms them, in which case a separate room feel calm and secure in would be a good idea.
If you can't trust your children not to let them out of the spare room can you trust them with outside doors?
Thanks thecatneuterer I think that's what I would plan to do - kittens/families in one room (laundry/utility, vinyl floor, quiet room) and adults in my office (window, sofa, laminate, even quieter) but with the option to let them into the house if they were happy.
As for the doors, we have a porch at the front and a sunroom at the back, so I would do an 'airlock' system like one of the PPs has, I would just need to train the DDs and DH to do this. And the kids very rarely take themselves outside without warning so in some ways I think it would be easier to keep a cat in the house than in one room, when a child or husband might go looking for socks/bin bag/lightbulb and be a bit careless with closing the door.
Tbh I realise I'm now overthinking this a bit...think I just need to get on and give it a try and find out how it works for us. So next step is to find an opportune moment to warm up DH to the idea
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