Getting Acquainted

Being in a new environment is stressful for most cats, and a normal reaction may be to hide.

Allow your foster cat time to adjust to your home while being housed in a “safe haven” such as a roomy crate or a separate room. A spare bathroom is ideal since there aren’t hiding spaces and it is easy to disinfect.

Block off small areas where the cat may try to hide and get stuck. Confinement is not harmful or cruel to your cat in any way as long as there is sufficient

space for him to stand up, turn around, lie down fully stretched out and rest in an area away from the litter box and food and water bowls.

Scared cats have been known to hurt themselves by wedging themselves inside air-conditioners, heaters, and radiators; behind ovens or inside ceiling tiles—or by

dashing out the front door in fear. It is much safer to keep a frightened new cat safely in one cat-proofed room. Open up your cat carrier and let the cat decide whether she wants to explore or wants to remain in the carrier. Many times a cat will remain in her carrier for hours.

Never try to pull your new foster cat out of hiding. Instead, use toys or treats to encourage her to come out. If your foster cat still won’t come out, let her be. Cats

need time to adjust to their new environment.

Let your foster cat get used to you slowly. Sit in the room and bring treats with you. Read a newspaper or a book out loud while you’re sitting there so the cat gets to know your voice. Offer treats to your foster cat in moderation.

When your cat is eating, drinking, using the litter box and moving around the room in a relaxed manner, he may be ready to explore more of the house (after the initial quarantine period). However, if your cat runs when you enter the room, hides, only eats or uses the litter box at night, slinks around the room with his body low to the ground, hisses, growls or cowers, these are signs of fear and mean he’s not ready to come out of confinement yet. Keep your cat confined and contact the volunteer director if there is no progress after one week.

Some cats may need less than a day to adjust; others may need days or weeks to become comfortable enough to explore the entire house without fear. This is normal cat behavior.

Introducing Fosters to Resident Pets

If you want to introduce your foster to your resident pets after the 14-day minimum quarantine,

recommendations from the volunteer director can be provided on how to do so safely. Cats or kittens should not be introduced to resident pets unless they are free of signs of disease.

NOTE: Isolate the foster from resident pets and call the hotline for assistance if your foster cat develops any of the following:

  • Lethargy Weakness
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • (sneezing, watery/red eyes, coughing)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visible parasites
  • (e.g. fleas or worms)

Medical Appointments

The timing and location of exams, boosters and spay/neuter surgery will be provided to you by the volunteer director.

Feline Foster Care Content:

Overview: Is Fostering Right for You?   

Preparing Your Home and Family                     

Getting Acquainted

Kitten Growth Milestones

Daily Care for Moms with Kittens

Daily Care for Orphaned Kittens

Grooming, Bathing, Socializing

Cleaning & Sanitizing

Medical Information & Concerns

Print & Post Resources for Caregivers

More Foster Resources on ASPCApro

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