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Fostering a pet is a great way to change an animal’s life while at the same time seeing how the role of being a “pet parent” fits you.

Take a look at our tips below to help you prepare for the experience of fostering a pet. 

What you will need to foster a pet

  • Patience and time

    Expect to set aside time for your pet each day for feeding, walks and socialisation. You should also prepare to devote more time should they need extra behavioural assistance or medical care.

  • A safe environment

    Puppies and kittens will play and chew on just about anything. Make sure that you properly prepare your home – and family members – before your curious new friend arrives.

  • A kennel or carrier

    This piece of equipment is a great help in transporting cats to veterinary appointments or adoption events.

  • High-quality food

    It is essential for the well-being of your pet to choose a high-quality wet or dry food that is appropriate for both your animal’s lifestage and any health issues they might be facing

  • Poo bags or litter box

    Whether you’re walking your foster dog or cleaning up after your foster kitty, you’ll want all the necessary equipment to keep their space clean.

  • Toys

    One of the fun responsibilities of your job as a foster parent is to help socialise your pet through play. For cats, make sure to give them a good place to scratch.

What to expect when fostering

You'll be required to fill out paperwork, and perhaps undergo training and a background check. Some typical questions a shelter may ask include:


Do you have other pets?

They will need to be up-to-date on vaccinations and have the right temperament to welcome another pet into the house.


Do you have space for the foster pet to be separated?

It’s important to have a pet-proofed room where new foster pets can be isolated. Sometimes a pet may not have had all of their vaccinations yet, or just simply need a place to be alone.


Do you have the time and flexibility to foster a pet?

Part of the reason a pet is coming into your home is to be socialised, so you'll need to be home frequently to interact with them.

Questions to ask the shelter

You should feel free to ask any questions you may have about fostering during the approval process. Some questions you may want to ask include:

  • Does the shelter provide food and litter, and cover the cost of medical care?
  • Is the foster pet fully vaccinated and dewormed?
  • Does the foster pet have a history of behavioural issues, incl. aggression?
  • Can a foster animal be returned if the match in your household is not right?
  • Will you have the option to choose the animals you want to house?
  • Is there an option to adopt your foster pet if you decide that you would like to keep them?

The answers to these questions will likely vary depending on the shelter. No matter what the answer is, it is important to make sure that you are comfortable with the practices and rules of the shelter before moving ahead.

Most shelters will provide assistance

Are you unsure about the costs of fostering? Many organisations will pay for veterinary care, while others provide supplies, such as food and bedding. Call your local shelter ahead of time to ask about their specific policies.

Find a shelter near you

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