I thought this article was informative as I found a stray cat and needed some advice on how to foster him. I wanted him to get healthy before I found him a new home.
As we know, many shelters and cat rescues are often filled to capacity with stray cats, and foster homes allow the agencies to save more cats and acclimate them to living with a new family. Fostering stray cats does require preparation and dedication, but saving the life of a friendly feline makes up for all your troubles.
1. Cat proof your house.
Set up a cat-proof room inside your home. A spare bedroom or bathroom works well, but any room is acceptable as long as the cat can't squeeze out or climb into any small spaces and get stuck. Remove any items the cat may tear up, such as mattresses, bedding or clothing, as changing homes is very stressful and the cat may take out its frustration on your items. Place a cat bed on one side of the room, and place a clean litter box on the opposite side.
2. Set the cat in a crate.
Place the cat in a secure cat crate before you leave the rescue or shelter. Cats are often frightened by the sights and sounds of new places and may try to escape if not crated. Pad the bottom of the crate with a few old towels in case the cat experiences a bout of motion sickness on the way home.
3. Take the cat to your veterinarian
Take the cat to your veterinarian before introducing it to your home. The vet will examine the cat from ears to tail and rule out any illnesses that may be spread to other animals. Your new foster cat will also be wormed and vaccinated before leaving the vet's office.
4. Let the cat explore your house.
Carry the crate into the cat room and set it on the ground. Open the crate door and allow the cat to come out and explore at its own pace. Sit quietly a few steps from the crate, talking softly to the cat as it explores the room. It is normal for cats to pant and cry under stress, so don't be concerned if the cat looks slightly uncomfortable and meows for the first few hours.
5. Food and Water
Fill two small bowls with food and water and set the bowls near the cat's bed. The cat may be reluctant to eat or drink, but as soon as it is comfortable, hunger and thirst will take over. Give the cat treats and toys to amuse it while it's contained in the room.
6. Give the cat time to acclimate
Let the cat explore your home room by room until it no longer seems scared. Allowing the cat to explore your home a little at a time slowly acclimates the animal to its new surroundings without being overwhelming. Ask your family and potential adopters to leave the cat alone and allow the cat to approach them when it feels comfortable.
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