We are looking for volunteers who can commit to fostering underage kittens in their homes for an average of 2-4 weeks. Kittens in the Foster program are largely those who are too young for adoption and who need a nurturing environment until they old enough for the adoption floor. These kittens are small and require more individual care than they can receive in a shelter environment, making the foster home an ideal placement. Foster volunteers care for the kittens in their home, ensuring that their basic needs for food, warmth, safety, and socialization are met, while closely monitoring their health and growth. As their caretakers, foster parents schedule and bring in their kittens for regular vaccine appointments. We’ll provide you with food, supplies, and the support you need every step of the way.
Is Fostering Kittens For Me?
Fostering kittens is hard but also rewarding work. Please ask yourself the questions below to see if fostering is a good fit for you and your family:
We ask that you spend a minimum of 2 hours per day providing invaluable socialization and care for your kittens.
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 kittens. We don’t recommend leaving kittens 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 will need to be brought in for vaccine appointments every two weeks, and for additional medical appointments if they become ill.
Foster kittens are tiny and curious and must be kept in an enclosed and easily sanitizable space such as a bathroom or kitchen with a door. Additionally, foster kittens must remain separate and isolated from resident pets at all times.
Foster kittens do make a mess sometimes, and may have diarrhea and/or vomit if they become ill. Your kitten space must also be sanitized between litters of foster kittens. Additionally, kittens can ruin curtains, carpeting, and other household items.
Please understand that only our medical team can treat foster animals.
A kitten foster period is generally 2-4 weeks, depending on their age, weight, and health. When agreeing to take foster kittens we ask that you commit to the entire duration. However, if an emergency or unforeseen situation does occur, you are able to return the kittens to the SF SPCA.
It can be difficult to bring back kittens once you have become emotionally attached, but there are always more kittens 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 kittens might be a great volunteer opportunity for you. Here’s how to get started:
How to Get Started
**PLEASE NOTE: We have temporarily suspended upcoming foster orientations due to COVID-19, so Foster Applications cannot officially be submitted since no date is provided on the form in Step 2 below. You will be able to submit an application when we post dates below in Step 1, or if you would like to stay in the loop, please return to our main Foster page, and submit a Foster Interest Form. Thank you.**
1. The first step in becoming a kitten foster volunteer is to attend a Kitten Foster Volunteer Orientation. Please choose a foster orientation from the dates listed below:
None currently scheduled
2. Complete a foster volunteer application and include your desired orientation date. Please note that this application is for foster applicants only (register and fill out an application here, you will be automatically registered for your desired orientation date).
3. Read our Kitten Foster Manual
4. Attend the Kitten Foster Volunteer Orientation
5. The Foster team will work with you to schedule your first kitten pick-up!
“There is no better way to end the day than to sit down and have 2 or 3 or 4 kitties climb into your lap and on your shoulders and start purring.” – Mary Godfrey