Although we have a centre where the cats patiently await their new homes, we use families to foster mother cats and their kittens, under-age kittens and orphan kittens until the kittens reach 1 kilogram in weight (around 10 weeks of age) and are big enough to be neutered before going to new homes. We are also increasingly using fosterers for traumatised or very stressed cats to give them a bit of time out and handling before they return to our centre for rehoming.
The cats and kittens stay in a family environment to ensure they are used to being handled and socialised. The cats and kittens are not adopted out from the foster homes – they return to our centre for neutering and final vet checks before they are released for adoption.
Please read the FAQs below and then contact us using the form at the bottom of this page if you’d like to foster or to find out more.
What sort of cat(s) would I be caring for?
We foster out kittens, with or without their mother. We would not expect any fosterers to care for an adult feral cat or a cat displaying overly aggressive behaviour. Sometimes we have single feral kittens who require one-on-one fostering for socialisation purposes. Sometimes we have adults who are traumatised who would benefit from some one-to-one attention.
How long would the period of fostering last?
We ask you to return all the cats to our centre when the smallest kitten reaches one kilogram (1kg) in weight, typically at the age of ten weeks. Sometimes the kittens don’t come into our care until they’re several weeks old, so you would have them for a shorter period of time in this situation. Sometimes they don’t gain weight as quickly as we’d expect so we may ask you to care for them for a little while longer. If you take a pregnant queen to foster, you may have her for a few weeks before she delivers as well as approximately ten weeks after the birth. Adult cats needing rehabilitation will be fostered and returned on a case by case basis.
What happens if I want to keep a cat or kitten?
We ask you to return all the cats to us for neutering and final vet checks, however we will give you first refusal, and you can reserve a cat or kitten at that time. We will ask you to pay the full adoption fee. We reserve the right to deny a cat to anyone who, in our opinion, has too many. We ask you to sign an agreement to the effect that all cats will be returned to our centre.
If your friends want to adopt a kitten from the litter, they must contact us to confirm and they will be asked to pay the adoption fee at the time they reserve it. The kitten will still be required to return to our centre for neutering and final vet checks.
We reserve the right to decline any such requests and to reserve the kitten without advising you, so you need to clarify with us before you advise friends that cats can be reserved.
Will the kittens already be born, or will I have to take a pregnant cat?
This is entirely up to you. If you feel capable of handling a pregnant cat that’s fine by us, but if you prefer to wait until the kittens are born, that’s OK too.
Do I need experience?
Usually we would prefer you to have experience of being a cat owner, although we would not expect you to have experience of newborn kittens. We would not normally allow an inexperienced fosterer to take a pregnant cat – we would probably start them off with an older litter to enable them to gain experience. You will need to attend a foster induction session before we give you your first fosters. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions, to learn about both kitten-care and about Yorkshire Cat Rescue and an opportunity for us to satisfy ourselves that the cats and kittens will be cared for appropriately whilst they are with you.
Does it matter if I have other pets?
Usually we prefer there to be other pets, as it accustoms the kittens to other animals, however we will take each fosterer and each cat on a case by case basis. A lot of it will depend on how laid back the mother cat is, but we may decline to put a nursing mother in a home which already has an adult female cat resident.
And what if I have children?
We encourage families to become fosterers. It is great for kittens to have children to play with as they learn, and it is great to teach children both the joys of cat ownership and the hard work involved! Generally we prefer lively households for our foster cats and kittens.
Where do the cats live whilst they’re at my home?
We would recommend that you start tiny kittens off in a quiet room to enable them to bond with their mum, and to develop good eating and behaviour patterns. This is less stressful for the mother cats. At the age of approximately five weeks we would expect you to start introducing the kittens to the main household, to get them used to household noises etc. We would not want the cat and kittens to live in outdoor accommodation, and we do not want them to go outside at all unless the fosterer has a cat-proofed garden, which has been approved by us.
Do I have to live locally?
We prefer our fosterers to live within about half an hour’s drive from our centre, although we may consider applications from fosterers living further away. Fosterers must be able to collect and return the cats and kittens by car to our centre.
Do I need any special permission?
We would suggest that if you live in rented accommodation that you have permission from your landlord BEFORE applying to become a fosterer.
How much will it cost me?
Nothing! We pay for all food and vet costs, and any other expenses you may meet.
What happens if I go on holiday?
We will contact you when we have a cat or a litter of kittens needing to be fostered. We will tell you their estimated return date. If you have a holiday booked during this period, we would offer that particular litter to another fosterer and wait for another litter that would fit in better with your arrangements.
What support will I receive whilst I am fostering?
Our experienced staff are on hand to answer any queries and we will give you access to veterinary back-up at the time you foster. We also have a very active and useful Facebook group for our fosterers to access. It is completely private and manned by our staff and by other fosterers. You can ask any questions on there – it’s a great community and a good source of information for our fosterers.
If you would like to consider becoming a fosterer, please complete and submit the information below.
Application to become a fosterer