It’s a sad fact: According to the Humane Society, 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year. You can help by fostering a cat—which means taking a cat into your home while a shelter or rescue group looks for a suitable “forever” home. Whether you’re currently pet-free or a veteran cat parent, here are a few good reasons to foster a cat:
1. You could save a cat’s life.
It’s that simple. There are more homeless cats than there are spaces in no-kill shelters. By welcoming a foster cat into your home, you’re saving a life.
2. You’re thinking about adopting a cat.
If you’re considering adoption, fostering lets you experience pet parenting so you can be more certain you’re ready for the long-term commitment.
3. You already have plenty of cats.
Fostering a cat is a great option for pet parents who love cats, but who don’t want to add another permanent feline resident. Be sure to talk to your shelter about how to introduce a foster cat to a multi-cat household.
4. You love kittens.
The rambunctious kitten phase is great fun, but it’s not for everyone. If you love playing with and caring for kittens—but you’re not interested in getting another adult cat—fostering young cats is a great option.
5. You love adult cats.
It’s typically much harder to find a permanent home for adult cats, so there’s a lot of demand for foster families willing to take adult cats that are waiting to be adopted. If you like things on the quieter side, fostering an older cat may be for you.
6. You love a special challenge.
Often, pet parents feel drawn to cats with illnesses, disabilities, or other special needs—but taking them on permanently can be daunting. Providing a foster home for a sick or disabled cat allows you to help, without taking on more than you can handle.
7. You want to become an expert pet parent.
You’ll learn a lot from fostering a cat—like how to handle a variety of cat temperaments, how to socialize young or feral cats, and how to help cats get along in a multi-cat household. This will improve your life with the cats you already have, and any cats you adopt in the future.
8. You already are an expert pet parent.
If you have lots of experience with cats, you can help a foster cat become an ideal pet by socializing it, teaching it to tolerate grooming, teaching it good litter box habits, etc.—which will give your foster cat the best chance for a long, happy life with a loving family. Who could say no to that?
There are lots of good reasons to foster a cat. If you love cats and have the time, energy, and resources to spare, helping a homeless cat make the transition to a permanent home might be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.