Foster Care

Care for underage, sick or injured animals who cannot immediately be adopted through our adoption program. Sign up for a foster class.

COVID-19 Foster Update

Thank you for your interest in fostering! We have received a generous outpouring of support from community members who want to foster during the COVID-19 outbreak. We cannot thank you enough for your offer to help during this difficult time.

Currently, we are relying on help from volunteers who have already completed our training prior to the pandemic. If more assistance is needed, we will contact those who have filled out our Foster Interest Form (see blue panel to the right).  We do not have an online training course for fostering.

We plan to resume our normal foster orientation schedule as soon as possible. If you’re interested in fostering at a later date, please scroll down and review the information on the following pages based on the foster animal group of your interest.  When our next orientation date is scheduled, it will be posted on the respective animal foster page. 

During this unprecedented time, we are still continuing to provide lifesaving care to animals who are homeless or suffering from critical medical conditions, but with only a fraction of the support. We are an independent nonprofit that receives no government funding and is not affiliated with any national organization. If you can, please consider making a donation to help us continue our lifesaving work:

Become an Adult Dog or Cat Foster Parent

For adult dog fostering, please attend a Puppy Foster Parent class. For adult cat fostering, please attend a Kitten Foster Parent class. Email for questions.

Is Fostering for Me?

We ask that you spend a minimum of 2 hours per day providing invaluable socialization
and care for your kittens/puppies.

A flexible schedule or varying schedule of household members is ideal for foster volunteering. That said, most SF SPCA foster volunteers do work full time and manage to care for their animals. We don’t recommend leaving foster animals unattended for more than 8-9 hours per day.

The SF SPCA requires foster volunteers to live within 45 minutes of the Mission District campus.

Foster kittens/puppies will need to be brought in for vaccine appointments every two weeks, and for additional medical appointments if they become ill.

Foster kittens/puppies are tiny and curious and must be kept in an enclosed space that can be easily sanitized, such as a bathroom or kitchen with a door. Additionally, foster animals must remain separate and isolated from resident pets at all times.

Foster puppies are prohibited from meeting any animals on the street or park. Because the puppies are not yet fully vaccinated, they are susceptible to contracting potentially fatal canine diseases that are present in the environment, such as Parvovirus. For this reason, they are also prohibited from walking on the ground outside the home.

Foster kittens/puppies do make a mess sometimes, and may have diarrhea and/or vomit if they become ill. Your space must also be sanitized between litters of foster animals. Additionally, they can ruin curtains, carpeting, and other household items.

Please understand that only our medical team can treat foster animals.

A kitten/puppy foster period is generally 2-4 weeks, depending on their age, weight, and health. When agreeing to take foster animals we ask that you commit to the entire duration. However, if an emergency or unforeseen situation does occur, you are able to return them to the SF SPCA. 

It can be difficult to bring back animals once you have become emotionally attached, but there are always more who need a foster home!

This can be very difficult, but the sad truth is that, though rare, it occasionally happens.

Foster volunteering will provide both of these experiences in abundance!

If you answered “yes” to all these questions, then fostering might be a great volunteer opportunity for you. 

Ready To Adopt?