Thinking about fostering kittens

I'm considering becoming a foster parent at the SPCA where I volunteer. If I become one I might want to foster kittens who's mom either rejected them or died. I know that it takes A LOT of work but I'm home all day (except when I have to go volunteer at the shelter but I can always take them with me) and I'm fine with getting up in the middle of the night to feed them. I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on fostering kittens. I know that you have to keep them warm and help them potty for the first few weeks but what are the best ways of doing this? I've read a bunch of stuff online and they all say different things!

Asked by Garfield on Jul 20th 2008 Tagged kitten, foster, spca in Fostering a Pet
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I don't think anything goes by the book. I think you could say it's like child rearing. Use all the info you have. I know some of it conflicts the other, but you will be able to decide which is the best thing to do at the time. I find it's all trial and error and each individual kitten will react differently from the others. So I don't know if there is a right and wrong. Ask at the shelter any questions you may have.
They do say feed a kitten the right way up (not upside down with belly up) as they may take the milk down the wrong way. Yes and you are right regular feedings, as well as through the night. As far as toileting I used a warm wet tissue but I know they hated it they would squirm but you need to do this. As this will let them know when to poo. It's great, amazing little creatures, and they stay clean.
Good luck and have fun. I thank the hardest thing is giving them back MOL

♥Sam answered on 7/20/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

I'd like to add that most rescue organizations have fostering classes where you can learn what you need to do. If you take a class offered by the particular organization you want to foster for, you can learn their own methods. If they don't offer a class, ask to speak with someone in the organization who has been fostering for a LONG time. Ask if you can call them if you run into problems or have questions when you begin to foster. It's like having a "mentor". It does take a lot of work, but it is rewarding (and heartbreaking) and you need to be prepared to understand that you have to give them up at some point which is more difficult that it sounds. God bless you for wanting to do this. You will become a "kitty angel"!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 7/21/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

♥ Suey ♥

Garfield's mum, the youngest kittens we have fostered were about 4 weeks old when we got them, but we hope we can still offer some advice. We love it. It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to see the ones who are able to move onto loving homes.

I second Izzie's advice of seeing if there is an experienced foster parent who you can get in touch with. Our shelter has a couple of very experienced people who are very happy to give help and guidance, and were awesome for us.

Our shelter does have a couple of those kitty heating doll things, it's like a soft toy with a heating pad inside, that a lot of the kittens like to snuggle up to when they're very young.

We have an isolation room, with big plastic shower curtains on the floor covered with big fleecey sheets, and paper on the walls behind the litter boxes.. It helps keep things cleaner.

Good luck!!!:)

♥ Suey ♥ answered on 7/21/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I would clean out an extra room that is the "cat room" for fostering kittens. Even if you don't have any other pets, kittens that young should be kept in a small room until 5-8 weeks, or until ready. It's also helpful if people were to be opening outside doors or something ever.

Have your supplies ready- including all paper towels, trash bags, cleaner, toys, water and food RIGHT there. It's a pain to keep running out for stuff.

Give them options on where they want to sleep or sit or play in the room. They don't like to be told what to do and when.

Be very quiet and only allow one to two people in the room at first. Too many people overwhelm even the most affectionate cat!

Have fun and go with the flow! Find a good vet and don't be afraid to ask the SPCA a lot of questions about the cats. If anything goes awry, call them and ask them something, or if it's big, call the vet or just go.

I hope you have a lot of fun!

Mimi answered on 11/15/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I've fostered about 20 cats & kittens, including ones that we've bottle fed. There is no one way for most of the process.

Here's the exceptions:
Feed every two hours, and use kitten milk replacer (KMR), following the package directions for feeding amount.
Use small animal nursing bottles. Human bottles will let in too much air and/or are too hard for the kittens. There are adapters if you want to use the bottle part of a human bottle.
Feed the kitten in an upright position (kitten "standing" on its back paws) so that it can nurse without too much air getting in its system. There are some helpful videos on YouTube for this, search "bottle feeding kitten".
Keep a cat-safe heating disk/hot water bottle in with them, but let them have somewhere to escape from the warmth as well.
Burp them by rubbing their backs after feeding.
Realize that not all of them will make it, but it's a really rewarding experience for all involved.

Member 258059 answered on 5/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Well the only thing i can tell you is.....
You will end up with way too many cats to handle!
Good luck!

Scully answered on 6/28/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Be sure to get paperwork! Find "Ask Questions Before Fostering a Pet" on Craigslist or google it. Lots of good information.

When Foster animal comes into your home isolate it. It should not come into contact with your pets. If you have no other pets start the foster cat in your bathroom so that it can calm down and get used to being in a new place.

After getting used to you, your voice and being petted the cat will calm down and be ready to occupy more space.

To help kittens potty use a moist, warm washcloth to wipe their tushies. This is replacing the mothers tongue which is rough. Between the warm and the slightly rough the kitten will be stimulated and poop and pee.

If you bottle feed, NEVER, put a kitten on its back. Human babies yes, kittens feed on their stomachs as they would if mom cat was nursing.

Wishing you the best of luck, it is a wonderful experience!

Calista answered on 10/1/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Keep them warm by an electric blanket, and wipe their rear with a warm, wet washcloth. You can take a box and line it with a soft blanket in winter or a Quilt or homemade blanket for warm days. Keep an electric blanket underneath the blanket. Put the kittens in there and play with them every day, very often. They should occupy each other, but put a couple toys in there that aren't feathered or breakable so they don't hurt themselves or swallow anything. Remember they are super delicate and make sure they don't climb out of the box and fall. I know all this because I was a member of FOBAC, Friends Of Berlin Animal Control. I fostered three litters and tamed one wild cat. I think you've made a good choice and you won't regret it. You need anymore help, Ask me. My email is and I'd love to give you tips for those beautiful bundles of fluff.

Zeke answered on 4/18/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer