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Cat fostering - some questions...

(26 Posts)
yellowDahlia Sat 26-Nov-16 19:17:52

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 grin.

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!

Fawful Sat 26-Nov-16 22:25:17

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.
Hth!

Fawful Sat 26-Nov-16 22:31:10

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.

yellowDahlia Sat 26-Nov-16 23:33:59

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?

thecatneuterer Sun 27-Nov-16 02:49:13

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.

yellowDahlia Sun 27-Nov-16 10:05:29

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! hmm

thecatneuterer Sun 27-Nov-16 10:55:54

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.

yellowDahlia Sun 27-Nov-16 12:00:28

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?

chemenger Sun 27-Nov-16 12:44:23

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.

yellowDahlia Sun 27-Nov-16 13:52:28

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 grin

thecatneuterer Sun 27-Nov-16 13:56:55

There isn't really any extra time commitment involved, except you need to play with any kittens to get them socialised.

yellowDahlia Sun 27-Nov-16 14:04:36

you need to play with kittens to get them socialised

I suppose I could spare some time for this...smilesmilesmile

yellowDahlia Sun 27-Nov-16 21:34:13

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 hmm

yellowDahlia Thu 01-Dec-16 21:39:22

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?

yellowDahlia Fri 02-Dec-16 12:04:26

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!

thecatneuterer Fri 02-Dec-16 15:03:33

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?

yellowDahlia Fri 02-Dec-16 20:15:39

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 grin

yellowDahlia Tue 24-Jan-17 14:27:04

Reviving my own thread to update that even though I've spoken to DH about this 2 or three times now he's unmoved..just isn't happy with the idea at all sad

I'm quite gutted, I really think we could help in this way but he won't even entertain a trial run.

The shelter is just next to my work so I'm planning to keep in touch and pop in on lunch breaks to play with some cats - hopefully that's as good for them as it is nice for me to have a 'dose' of cat..! Today I snuggled with a very affectionate young tabby girl and played with a sweet little black kitten who just wanted to sit on my shoulders.

I do wonder if there's any other way I can help - I almost feel I'm taking advantage going in to play with cats but not able to take them home..

cozietoesie Tue 24-Jan-17 14:34:51

I'd disagree - good for the cats, I suspect. (Rough on you but then fostering might be rough anyway: having to give them up and all.)

yellowDahlia Tue 24-Jan-17 14:46:25

Honestly, I think I could deal with giving them up - they'd be going to forever homes and I'd get a different cat or kitties to play with and help them get used to being in someone's home again.

We have a good set up at home which would allow us to do it, I think I have the time to do the practical stuff and I have two DDs who would help and benefit massively from the pet contact... I just don't know how to convince DH of all this sad

ittybittyluna Tue 24-Jan-17 17:54:37

Giving them up isn't an issue really. I must admit I bawled when our first foster went to her forever home as we'd had her for three months and she had needed some intense rehab so we'd invested a lot in her. We get updates though and she is so, so happy with her new owners.

DP was not keen to foster initially, and I told him that if he hated it then we would not foster again. I told him that life without a pet was not making me happy and fostering was a far better compromise than a forever pet. He of course was smitten by Foster #1 and we have had eight since her.

yellowDahlia Tue 24-Jan-17 19:18:01

ittybittyluna your story is lovely, and your DP's change of mind gives me a teeny tiny bit of hope...I think DH would come around if he experienced fostering - he's put off by the hair/smells he thinks would be a problem but he's a softy deep down and I'm pretty sure he'd find the benefits would outweigh the inconvenience. Unfortunately though he's more than 'not keen' - he 'doesn't want' and is a bit of a stubborn git.

yellowDahlia Wed 25-Jan-17 15:51:48

Oh help. The CPL lady has been in touch today to ask if we'd foster an older cat who's needing a change of scenery, she's been in the shelter a while and takes medication.

I wasn't going to broach the subject with DH for a while, although I've been open and chatting about the fact I'm going in there to visit the cats sometimes. I don't want to push it as he usually digs his heels more if he feels under pressure...but I don't want to say no to the CPL without at least running it past him, in case by some miracle he'll reconsider.

Any top tips on being super-persuasive? Cross your fingers for me...

Potentialmadcatlady Wed 25-Jan-17 22:14:09

I'm currently in bed with one foster cat on my knee, another foster one in her bed under my bed and my kitten is sleeping on my heated clothes drier... It's so worth it..hope you managed to talk him round!

yellowDahlia Thu 26-Jan-17 12:30:36

So. A very useful discussion was had last night. The bottom line is DH is not a Cat Person. He just can't get his head round having a cat in the house and envisions kitty ripping up all his stuff, leaving hair everywhere and causing him much anxiety. So I have to respect his bonkers view as it wouldn't be fair to bring a cat into a home where it wasn't really welcomed by all the residents.

But - on the upside and completely in contradiction to his reasons for not wanting cats he's up for us getting a dog at some point when circumstances are right and we have enough time to commit to a full-time family pet.

So although I'm still a bit gutted that we won't get to foster cats I am massively relieved that he's not taken pet ownership off the table completely as I'd find a pet-free future difficult to deal with. I really didn't know he would consider a dog, as he's never shown willingness before and I was certain I'd have to work even harder to persuade him of this than of a cat!

I wish all of you cat fosterers well - maybe someday I will join your ranks, I won't give up hope completely, and thanks for talking me through it anyway. I plan to keep visiting the shelter for a regular dose of cat so I can contribute in a small way at least.

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