Fostering a cat or kitten requires a lot of time and dedication, but it’s an amazing life experience that offers so many benefits for both the cat and the foster. In Surrey, it starts with our dedicated SurreyCats volunteer trappers and ends with the kitty finding their furever home.
While we don’t have a foster program, we partner with different animal welfare organizations who do, such as the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA). Once we rescue a cat or kitten, our trappers assess and place them in the care that’s most suitable for them. If the cat is tame enough to be socialized and doesn’t need medical attention, we match them with one of our partners to be placed with a foster or placed for adoption.
Surrey has too many feral and homeless cats on the streets, which is caused by lack of resources for spay/neuter. Many of the cats that we trap are pregnant or have young kittens. VOKRA takes in those pregnant cats, litters, and kittens under one year old.
To celebrate National Pet Foster Care Month in May, SurreyCats is highlighting one of VOKRA’s incredible fosters. We hope her story encourages more people to become a foster.
A firsthand experience
Kim has fostered 19 adult females and 69 kittens since she began fostering with VOKRA in February 2018. She started fostering because of her deep love for cats.
“It broke my heart to learn of the number of lost or abandoned cats who are left outdoors to fend for themselves, countless not spayed or neutered,” says Kim. “I wanted to help provide a positive environment for cats and kittens to live in until they were ready for adoption.”
The adult females are often scared, overly protective of their babies.
With no other pets in her home, Kim is able to foster more vulnerable cats, typically ones who are pregnant or moms with young kittens—some just hours or days old—which can require more experience and patience.
“The adult females are often scared, overly protective of their babies, and may be experiencing medical issues from birthing and/or from being outdoors for an extended period,” Kim explains.
Before sending them off to their furever homes, kittens stay in her care until they’re around 12 weeks old. The adult females stay for at least three months and can be adopted once they are spayed and their kittens have found great homes.
Consider being a foster
There’s no financial commitment involved with fostering, as the foster program covers all related costs, such as food, litter, and vet appointments thanks to the generous donations they receive. But as a foster, Kim is an integral part of the adoption process. She hosts virtual viewings for potential adopters, tells them what the cats’ temperament is like and what kind of home they would do well in, and provides input to the adoption team about which adopters would be a good fit for the cats.
You’re helping cats and kittens who don’t deserve a life without a food source, shelter, human companionship, and love.
If you’re thinking about fostering a cat for the first time, Kim’s advice is to start simple.
“The advice I would give to first-time fosters would be to start small—possibly a tame or friendly cat at first and then progress to cats who require more patience and need time to learn how to trust humans again,” Kim recommends. “Once you gain experience, young kittens and then pregnant cats could follow if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s important to recognize that fostering a pregnant cat does require additional space and is a long-term commitment, as mom and kittens are with you for approximately 12 weeks, possibly longer.”
Being a foster is a rewarding experience—fosters are saving lives.
“I wholeheartedly recommend fostering cats or kittens,” says Kim. “It is one of the most rewarding encounters you will experience. You’re helping cats and kittens who don’t deserve a life without a food source, shelter, human companionship, and love.”
How to get involved
If you’re interested in becoming a foster, contact one of our partner organizations: