Becoming a Foster Carer means all the same snuggles, scritches, playtime, and purrs that owning a cat does - but without the lifelong commitment (unless you choose to adopt your foster cat!). It is a rewarding experience that positively impacts on the quality of life of cats who haven't found their forever families yet.
We cover all veterinary expenses for our foster cats, and can provide you with everything you need to get started (litter and tray, food and water bowls, bedding, toys, etc). Though most of our foster carers are able to cover ongoing food and litter costs, we are able to supply those if needed. All you need to provide is the space, patience, and love!
A Foster Carer for IFR is someone who cares for and provides a temporary home to a homeless cat belonging to IFR; either until the cat is adopted, during a set period (in the case of a regular foster carer's absence), or for as long as the Foster Carer is able and willing.
We have no central shelter to house our rescue cats, so foster care is naturally the alternative.
There is more freedom available to us in matching cats to potential adopters when those cats have spent time in a home environment, where they had free access to affection, were enabled to grow in confidence, and received regular interactive play time - compared to cats not kept in a home environment for long periods (such as a cattery or shelter).
Some of our cats have never had a home before coming to IFR, others haven't had the greatest homes, and others were much-loved pets before unforeseen circumstances lead to their surrender. Foster care is a necessary step for many cats with a troubled past, and our carers are fundamental to the rehabilitation of our more distressed cats. Even the most well-adjusted cat can benefit from being understood by their foster carer to aid in matching them with a perfect forever family.
IFR provides for all veterinary costs associated with our cats. We are usually able to provide extra bedding, litter boxes, food and water bowls, and toys to cover the needs of your foster cat/s. Our Foster Carers usually cover the costs of food and cat litter for their foster cats, although sometimes we are able to provide donated goods. We would love to be able to provide for all of the costs associated with our cats, but this is unfortunately not possible due to our reliance on support from donors.
Yes, absolutely! In fact, most of our foster carers also have their own cats. We are able to offer advice on how to isolate a new cat while it adapts to the change of being somewhere unfamiliar, and on how to introduce a foster cat to your other pets safely.
The cats in our care come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some are okay with cat-friendly dogs, some are okay with less common pets such as goats or bunnies, and others still are untested with other species but may get along just fine with the right introduction - we are always available for advice on how to properly introduce new cats to other animals.
If you are taking on a foster cat that we have had in care for a while and already named, we prefer to keep the existing cat's name, particularly if the cat has already had vet appointments under that name. It is very confusing keeping track of cats whose names have changed over time, so to lessen our paperwork headaches we ask that you continue to use the name the cat has already been given.
If you are taking on a cat that is new to IFR, you are most welcome to name the cat yourself. We do have a list of "currently unavailable" names that we maintain on our Facebook volunteers group (which are names only of currently available foster cats), and we ask foster carers to check the list and avoid any names on it when naming a new foster cat. Naming your foster cat is a fun experience, but anything that helps make our paperwork handling less confusing is a bonus for us. Of course we're always open to negotiation, and have on rare occasions allowed an existing foster's name to be used for a new foster.
We list all our foster cats on Gumtree, and are currently planning to have full listings on our website, but this is still a work in progress. You can also check our social media accounts for updates on our current foster cats, particularly our Facebook page.
We ask foster carers to create and maintain cat biographies through use of our Cat Bio Template form. If you want to check your foster cat's bio, visit our listings on the Rescue Network. If you find that your cat's bio needs updating, visit the Cat Bio Template form and make a submission.
If you decide you want to keep your foster cat forever, we will be happy to walk you through the adoption. Check out the Adopt page for information on the adoption process.
If your question wasn't answered on this page, please don't hesitate to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on facebook here.