Cat & Small Animal Foster Program Information
Thank you for opening your home to one of our NACC shelter animals! Your generosity will help save a life and increase the chance of them finding a forever home. Our foster program is crucial for the underage kittens that enter our shelter because kittens are the most at-risk pets in shelters. They require so much more care than the shelter staff/hours can offer, which is why we seek out loving foster homes to help us continue to save kittens less than 12 weeks of age.
HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS: Our Foster Coordinator will work with shelter staff to determine which dogs are the most at need of foster care. When an application is submitted to foster, you will be added to the “NACC Cat Fosters” email chain and Facebook Group. The foster coordinator will send out a daily list of felines that will need foster homes. The list will include pictures and behavior notes about the felines in need. When you see a feline (or felines) that is a good match to your homes/skills, you will respond to the email/Facebook post and set up a pickup time. Norfolk Animal Care Center will provide you with all the necessary supplies for fostering, support you throughout the entire process and will be available to address any questions or concerns.
PREPARING FOR FOSTER KITTENS: Your foster kittens should be separated from all other animals in your household and kept in a small area, such as a spare room or bathroom, where they have access to their food, water and litter box. kittens cannot regulate their body temperature so this area should also be in a warm, draft-free area. It may be a good idea to consider an area that is easy to clean up in terms of spills and litter box accidents, which will happen since the kittens are learning. Please do not put fosters in a garage, shed, or place that has outdoor access as those locations are not safe. We are happy to provide any and/or all necessary supplies that are listed below.
• Food/water bowls.
• A supply of food (canned & kibble/pellets.)
• Litter box with low sides.
• Non-clumping clay Litter.
• A heating pad or snuggle safe disc.
• Bedding, blankets, towels.
• Scale - for tracking weight gain.
• A secure sleeping area (Dog crate)
• Hay and Care Fresh type bedding for small animals.
• Only applicable for litters that are bottle-feeding kittens:
o Kitten Nursing Bottles and Extra Nipples
o Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR)
o Syringes for supplemental feeding
MEDICAL CARE: All cats must be spayed/neutered, FVRCP vaccinated, and microchipped at the time of adoption. As a foster, you will be responsible for bringing the kittens in for their routine vaccinations (every few weeks.) While all animals are checked for general health before going into foster, they may develop other health concerns along the way, and may need to be seen by the shelter veterinarian. NACC provides all medical care for our foster animals at the shelter with the shelter veterinarian at no cost to the Foster.
TYPES / AGES OF FELINES/SMALL ANIMALS NEEDING FOSTER: There are many different foster opportunities available! Below are some descriptions of our most common needs, though there may be more and different opportunities at any given time. Foster lengths will vary with each animal. The ones listed below are simply a general guideline.
Mother with Nursing babies: Nursing moms (either feline or small animals) who come into the shelter with their babies either as strays or surrenders, or they will give birth while already here. Mom will need to be kept with her babies until they are weaned around 4-6 weeks of age, and the babies will need to remain in foster until they are ready for adoption (around 8-9 weeks of age). May require up to 9-10 weeks in the foster home.
Bottle Baby Kittens: Newborn kittens who come into the shelter who do not have a mother and will need to be bottle fed until they are able to eat on their own. These little guys generally require round the clock care, including overnight feedings, until they are at least 2-3 weeks old. They will not be very mobile or able to eliminate on their own until they are at least 3 weeks old as well and will always need to be kept warm. They can live in a carrier for the first couple of weeks. May require up to 9 weeks or so in the foster home.
Slurry Baby Kittens: These little ones are just past the bottle-feeding stage and have just started eating on their own around 3-5 weeks of age. The slurry refers to a mixture of canned kitten food and kitten formula as they may not be able to eat the dry food on their own and will just be learning to drink water on their own as well. They will sometimes need some assistance via syringe or supplemental bottle feeding until they really get the hang of it and will require at least 4-5 daily feedings until they are eating more consistently on their own. They should be starting to use the litter box on their own but may need some help with that at first as well. Will usually require 4-6 weeks in the foster home.
Underage kittens: These kittens will be about 5-8 weeks of age and should be fully weaned and eating completely on their own and generally be pretty good with the litter box. They will usually be pretty independent and playful and will only require two wet food feedings in addition to their dry food. Will usually require about 2-3 weeks in foster depending on their age.
Under-Socialized Cats/Kittens/Small Animals: These animals can vary in age and need some work learning how to fully trust people so they can become adoptable. Some will have come from feral colonies or hoarding situations and may never have known people before, and others just may be very shy. They will require a lot of patience and work with safe handling techniques to properly socialize them. The time in foster will be extremely variable depending on how easily they are able to be socialized.
Sick, Injured, Surgery Recovery, Break from Shelter and Hospice Cats/Small animals: These are many various scenarios that we may have a need for. These animals can vary in age, temperament, and need level. Most just need some TLC until they can come back for adoption, or a comfortable place to live out their days due a terminal illness. We will give complete instructions for their care both in the home and any necessary follow up back at the shelter. The time in foster will be extremely variable depending on the reason for foster.
MORE INFORMATION? QUESTIONS? Email the Foster Coordinator at: fosterNACC@Norfolk.gov