FIRST THINGS FIRST, THANK YOU!
We so appreciate you signing up to be a foster parent! Maybe this is your first time fostering an animal at all or maybe this is just your first time fostering with The Rescue Team. Whatever brought you to our team - thank you!
THE ROAD TO ADOPTION
We ask that our fosters keep their animals until they are adopted. But getting your foster animal adopted takes some work on the part of the foster family. That work includes:
- Nutritious food. We will try our hardest to provide fosters with food, but many foster parents opt to buy their own (which we are very thankful for). If you would like to provide food, please make sure it is grain-free food. Many companies that sell cheaper cat food do have a grain-free alternative. We want to start these animals off as healthy as possible.
- Medical care. We have a bi-monthly vaccine clinic in Santa Monica every other weekend where kittens get their FVRCP vaccines, dewormer and flea treatment. Kittens need to be immunized this often because of maternal antibody interference which you can read all about here and they are immunized until they're adopted out (or until 4 months old if you're fostering a slightly older kitten). We do require our fosters to come to these events, although we understand that issues come up.
- Socialization. Please play and handle your kitten as much as possible. Invite some friends/family over to play. If you have other animals, slowly introduce your fosters to them. Possible adopters are always interested in knowing how their potential new family member will be with their family and other animals.
- Photography. As I'm sure everyone will agree, social media exposure is the key to a successful business. The more pictures we can post of your foster animals, the more exposure they get. Even well before they're at an adoptable age, we want to start advertising them. Some people are willing to wait until an animal is an adoptable age if they've fallen in love with a picture of that little 4-week old kitten with the adorable face. Also, we can't put any animal in Pet Finder or other adoption sites without a picture, so that's a very large audience you'd be missing out on. Pictures should be clear and well-lit. Please make sure that there is not anything in the background that would detract from the adorableness. No one wants to see a picture of a kitten in a dirty litter box, no matter how cute its face is. And sometimes it takes 20 attempts to get 1 good picture. Just be patient - you'll get some good ones if you give it some time.
- Biographies. People are much more likely to want to meet a foster animal if they know something about them. And we're not talking about the Sarah McLachlan music-inducing kind of information. We don't need to dwell on the fact that they were from the street or shelter. Keep it fun and informational. What is their personality? Are they people-lovers? Have they been fostered with children or other animals? Give us some fun facts. Be creative if you want.
- Adoption events. We have a monthly adoption event at Animal Kingdom in Santa Monica on the first Saturday of every month. Kittens 4 weeks and up are welcome (before they are old enough to be spayed/neutered, they will be available for pre-adoption), but they must be vaccinated at least once within the prior 2-week period (meaning - don't miss those vaccine clinics!). Just like social media exposure, in-person exposure is great. Even if your kitten doesn't get adopted, it's just nice for them to get more socialization and confidence.
- Spay/Neuter surgery. The sad fact is that people are most interested in young kittens. As they get older, it's harder to find a home for them. We need to get them ready for adoption as soon as possible and we can't adopt out an animal that is not spayed/neutered. Once kittens hit that 2 lb mark (or 3 lbs - depending on the clinic being used), we need to get them fixed. Also, a lot of animals that come from the city shelter have a voucher which has an expiration date. We need to make sure the appointment is made before that date.
UH-OH - SOMETHING'S WRONG
Everyone who has ever fostered knows that things go wrong, especially with kittens. They're resilient most of the time, but they're just little babies and they can get sick. The most common issues you will run into are poop problems (ew) and upper respiratory issues. The first thing you should do is email our foster coordinator and explain the situation. Send pictures or videos if you're able. This will help us determine whether an emergency vet visit is required or if we can just monitor the issue. Your kitten's eye is running? It could just be a scratch they got from playing. They're limping? Maybe they just fell off the couch. Just let us know and we'll give you some guidance.
We're not trying to reinvent the wheel with this foster information. There are so many great resources out there that you can look through. The Kitten Lady has an amazing Foster 101 page that answers so many questions. Best Friends has a great Kitten Foster Manual that has a wealth of information as well. And always feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We're here to help!