Cat and her owner

How to Become a foster carer

Are you ready to become an animal's foster parent? 


If you would like to care for an animal but are not ready to adopt for a lifetime, and your lifestyle and circumstances allow it, you should consider becoming a foster carer. Fostering gives shelter animals the best possible chance of being adopted and is a very rewarding experience for the foster carer. 

First things first

Before you start contacting shelters to apply to be a foster carer, you need to think through the implications of this decision carefully. Take a look at FOUR PAWS’ foster parent’s guide to help you decide if fostering is right for you: 

the four paws foster parent's guide

  • Are you financially able to foster a pet?
  • Do you have enough time for a pet that may need special care for example a disabled or young animal, an ill animal or an animal with behavioural issues?
  • Does your landlord allow you to keep pets? 
  • Does your partner/family agree and support fostering a pet?   
  • Do you think your other pets will adapt to having another animal around?  
  • Do you have any plans that may affect your fostering i.e. moving home/jobs, having a baby, going on holiday?
  • Are you able to foster an older, disabled, sick, injured or a young animal?

Start small:  

  • When you start fostering, start with an animal that does not have issues and is best suited for a beginner. 
  • Develop your foster-skills before you take on difficult cases (for example animals with behavioural or health problems) .

So, if you still want to become a foster parent and don’t shy away from the responsibilities that come along with caring for a shelter pet, let’s take the first step: which is to contact the shelter. 

Every animal shelter will have its own requirements for a foster parent/family which they will discuss with you. It will also become clear during this discussion if your circumstances are right and which animal would be most suitable for you to foster. 

important questions to be discussed: 

  • Who will cover the food costs? 
  • Who will cover the veterinary and insurance costs?  
  • Who will pay for an animal behaviourist if one is needed?  
  • Who will pay if your foster pet causes damage to your own or someone else’s property – or even injures someone?  
  • What if you can no longer keep your foster pet due to unforeseen circumstances?  
  • What is expected of you if new potential owners wish to come and meet your foster pet?  
  • What happens if you wish to adopt your foster pet? 
  • How long are pets in foster homes? 
  • What is the process for fostering? 
  • Can you go on holidays with your foster pet? 
  • Do you get support if you have any questions or need someone to talk to while fostering?  

It is always good to find out what the shelters expectations are for foster families and whether there is a foster agreement covering the points discussed. A reputable shelter will ensure that you get all the support you need when you become a fosterer. 

How to Welcome a Foster Pet into Your Home

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