The cats and kittens rescued by Lonely Miaow are all cared for in volunteer foster homes. This allows them to be socialised properly, and means that many of our cat s and kittens are used to dogs, children and the hustle and bustle of a busy household. It also means that our cats and kittens get lots of attention. This is an important period of transition.
Fostering can be extremely rewarding, and sometimes heartbreaking. While it would be great if all cats and kittens could be happy, healthy and well-adjusted from the day they are rescued, this is often not the case. Many of our cats and kittens are scared, malnourished, sick or injured. Therefore our foster homes need to be prepared to deal with these situations.
On top of the usual cat and kitten related “chores” such as cleaning litter trays, and washing and filling food and water bowls, you may need to administer medications, bathe sticky eyes, and clean wounds. You will also need to keep a very close eye on cats and kittens in your care for any signs of illness. Lonely Miaow pays for any vet consults and medications that cats in your care might need, so you will not need to worry about the cost of this.
The most important thing is to care for foster cats as though they are your own pets. The greatest reward is to see a sick, malnourished and scared cat or kitten blossom into a happy, confident and loving companion.
Foster Home Sign-up Process
After you have emailed us to express an interest in fostering, we can answer any initial questions and send you a copy of our Foster Home Guide to read over carefully. Once you have read and understood the Foster Home Guide, and if you are happy with the responsibilities that are required of you as a foster home, please fill in the ‘Agreement to Abide’ and return it to our Foster Home Manager.
Once we have received your ‘Agreement to Abide’, a Foster Home Coordinator will be in touch with you, to arrange a time and date to visit your home and talk over any further questions you have about fostering and ensure that being Lonely Miaow foster home is a good fit for you. The Foster Home Coordinator will also bring any equipment or supplies you require to get started, so that you are ready to receive rescues as soon as possible.
Your contact details will be recorded on our private database so that our rescue team members can make contact when we have suitable foster cat/s for you. At this point you can say no to a foster placement if your circumstances have changed and you can no longer foster, or if current circumstances prevent you from fostering temporarily.
Your main form of day-to-day communication as a foster home will be via email or phone, and we will also add you to our Foster Home support group on Facebook.
Commonly Asked Fostering Questions
In many cases, a kitten will only need two to three weeks of care before it is ready to be placed in a new home (kittens must meet a minimum weight requirement before they can be desexed, and must be desexed, microchipped and have received their first vaccination before they are able to go to their forever home). We also have a pre-adoption process, where a kitten is placed on hold for its adopter until it is able go to its new home. Our cats are fostered for as long as it is required for them to find a forever home. For adult cats this could be a couple of weeks, a few months, or more – it depends entirely on the people looking for a new feline family member. There is no ‘ticking clock’ or time limit for cats to be adopted, and if need be they can be moved to another foster home if your circumstances change in the meantime.
Even with the ever-increasing number of cats and kittens being rescued, there are always more waiting in line for a foster home. For every cat that is re-homed, we have another ready to fill its place.
Since the Ministry for Primary Industries Code of Welfare for Companion Cats came into force, kittens are required to stay with their mother (if possible) until eight weeks of age. None of our kittens are rehomed before eight weeks.
If a foster home is unavailable for a period of time, for example going on holiday, renovating their home, or just wishing for a break from fostering cats and kittens, there is absolutely no obligation to continue fostering if their situation changes. Existing foster cats or kittens in the home can be transferred into the care of another fosterer.
Generally, as ‘re-homeable’ cats and kittens come in, we need to find foster homes for them immediately. There usually isn’t a selection to choose from in terms of colour, gender, coat length or age.
Some people only wish to foster kittens – while it’s great that we have foster homes available for the many kittens we rescue each season, a large number of kittens come with mother cats, so we may not be able to give you any sole kittens to foster straight away. There are many adult cats which come into our care after being abandoned by their families that are equally deserving of your love and care. Adult cats are also lower maintenance than kittens, requiring less cleaning and are less likely to get sick during their time in your home. So, please think carefully about whether you can accommodate adult cat/s before asking for kittens only. In addition, in colder months, there are very rarely any kittens.
If your living situation is best suited to a particular type of cat, please discuss this with us and we will match you with rescues that fit your requirements.
The donations and grants Lonely Miaow receives each year allow us to provide most of the essential items such as carriers, food bowls, wet and dry food, litter trays and litter, bedding and crates. We also cover all veterinary costs that may be incurred – Lonely Miaow is associated with over 30 vet clinics in Auckland, so you should be able to find a LM-associated Vet near you.
We have regional “Super Homes” – foster homes who are able to store supplies for other fosterers to collect from in the area. In case of emergencies, such as if you are unable to get to a Super Home for supplies, one-off purchases are able to be reimbursed by Lonely Miaow, however we ask that our foster homes keep an eye on their supply levels and avoid this as much as possible.
Cat ownership or experience with cat care is not a compulsory requirement in fostering with Lonely Miaow. However, we encourage you to research cat care prior to enquiring about fostering with us, so that you have an idea of what it may be like taking care of cats and kittens. We have a dedicated volunteer Foster Home Manager whose role it is to take care of our foster homes, and a very supportive and readily available foster home network on Facebook that is able to give advice on many different situations in fostering.
Yes, for the most part. While we are able to support you by giving advice and covering the financial costs of fostering, one of the main responsibilities of the foster home is being able to receive enquiries from potential adopters via phone or email, and arranging a visit at your home for them to meet the cat or kitten. It is also your responsibility to ask questions of the adopter, to ensure that the rescue cat or kitten is going to an appropriate home in their best interest.
For advertising our rescues for adoption, we have a dedicated volunteer in charge of our TradeMe account which all of our cats and kittens are listed on, and we are also able to place classifieds on rescue/adoption pages as well as our own website. The foster home is required to provide photographs and a description or ‘blurb’ for each cat.
However, there is never any obligation for the foster home to continue fostering if their situation changes, and rescued cats or kittens can be moved to another foster home if need be.
Once you have a cat to foster, you simply need to take care of him or her as you would your own cat:
Interact with them as much as possible, reassure them that they are in a safe environment, and that you are trustworthy.
Take plenty of photos, and write a description to describe your foster cat the best you can.
When your cat or kitten is healthy, ask the Cat Administration Team to list them on TradeMe, Pets On The Net, Facebook, and this website to find homes for them. Usually people will contact you directly about a cat or kitten in your care, and visit them at your home. You will therefore need to be comfortable with having people come to see the cats and kittens at your home.
You will need to decide whether the person wanting to adopt the cat or kitten are a suitable forever home for your foster cat – our foster home manager and more experienced foster homes and rescuers can advise you on this.
You will also need to arrange vet appointments for your cat/s or kitten/s to be desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, and to have regular flea and worm treatments at a Lonely Miaow-associated Vet prior to them going to their new homes.