Kitten Foster Care

Fostering a Kitten

KittensMost animals fostered by the San Francisco SPCA are underage, underweight kittens. Our outstanding record of saving their lives rests with our dedicated foster volunteers. They open their homes and hearts to approximately 1,000 cats and kittens each year, and help them reach the stage where they’re adoptable.

We'll contact you when a mother cat and litter or an orphaned litter need to be fostered. We’ll provide you with food, necessary medications and an unlimited supply of advice. When the kittens are healthy and old enough for adoption – usually at about eight weeks – you bring them back and we place them in loving homes. Read our Foster Kitty Manual.

What it Takes

Foster parents help save the lives of animals who are fragile and at high risk of euthanasia at other shelters. We are looking for people who can commit two to three weeks of fostering to take in under aged kittens, or nursing moms with kittens who are too young or sick to be spayed-neutered for adoption. They need to monitor the health and well-being of the foster animals and bring them in within 60 minutes if necessary. The kittens must be kept confined in a safe space, completely separate from other pets. Foster parents need to follow our directions on feeding and medication. We provide food, necessary medications and 24-hour support.

If you’re an animal lover interested in providing love, nourishment and heaps of TLC to kittens, sign up for a foster class at In addition, please check out our information for foster parents.

If you’ve already signed up for a foster class, you can download your foster care volunteer paperwork here:

Read more about Foster Parent roles and responsibilities.


“How can you not smile when kittens are attacking your broom when you try to sweep?”

“I have done fostering for 14 years and I hope to do it for 14 more.”

“Fostering kittens is so much fun. I feel like I should pay the San Francisco SPCA for getting to do it.” – Kay Harnish-Ladd

“I can balance four saucers of kitten food in my right hand, each dish slipped in between my fingers and thumb. I haven’t dropped one yet. This talent evolved when I needed to respond to four hungry kittens mewing at the top of their tiny lungs.”
– Mary Kirk            

“Fostering at the SF SPCA has enriched my life beyond measure. The kittens teach us so much about patience, perseverance, curiosity and the value of naps and play.” – Joyce Leonard

“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