What is a foster home?

A foster home is the most important part of this program! Without the dedication of people who open their homes to care for these military owned cats, the cats might be in peril and the military people who own then could not look forward to returning these companions!

A foster home provides the "between" time: the time the cats spends while their owner is away after being called to duty. When a cat is temporarily relocated, it will likely be scared and depressed because the owner is missing and the surroundings are not "home". This is a stress for the cat. A foster will take this poor frightened cat in and give it good food, fresh water, protection and love! The foster may need to have patience, allowing the cat to re-acclimate after such a drastic change in their life.

What is involved in becoming a foster?

Simply, dedication and commitment to the cat and respect for the military owner who is sacrificing for our country ...mixed in with a desire to provide care for the cat and solace for their owner far away! The foster needs to be willing to open his or her heart and home to a kitty.

The foster must be willing to care for the cat from the time the cat is put into foster care until the owner returns. This could be weeks or months ....and occasionally a a year or more if a duty call is extended.

The foster must be willing to put the time and effort into the care and reacclimation of the cat. Sometimes these animals come from are quite stressed by the changes in their lies, and need to understand they have not been abandoned! Sometimes they see the new home as threatening and take lots of patience and kindness to adjust.

If the foster is a family, the whole family must be dedicated to these goals. Being a foster home can, at times, be difficult. A successful foster home is one in which everyone works together for the welfare of the cat! Please make sure that everyone who will be involved in caring for the cat will be dedicated to it’s well-being!

What are a foster's responsibilities?

Foster homes are responsible for providing a loving home, premium food, fresh water, healthy treats, and safe toys for the cat. Who pays for food, litter, and amenities for the cat should be negotiated with the military owner before they leave. The military owner should arrange to cover any necessary veterinary bills while they are gone by making arrangements with a veterinarian all parties agree upon.

Foster homes are also responsible for protecting their own cats until it is determined to be safe to relax such safeguards. We do provide suggestions in our Foster FAQ regarding how to introduce a new cat into a home with other cats or with cats and dogs.

A foster will be responsible for evaluating the kitty's heath daily and assess the cats’ needs and provide for them.

What is the foster not responsible for?

1. In the vast majority of cases, any necessary "vetting" costs are paid by the owner and payment for same is prearranged  with the veterinarian agreed upon by the owner and foster home.

2. Food and litter costs are the responsibility of the owner, though many fosters offer to cover those costs themselves. We provide a suggested contract which may well be modified to fit what all parties agree upon.

3. If it becomes impossible to continue to foster a cat, the foster is not required to keep the cat indefinitely. The foster is responsible, however, for informing the owner and Operation Noble Foster, helping to find an alternative foster home for the cat, and holding the cat safe and secure until an alternative foster home can be found.

Are there any risks involved in fostering?

There can be. That is why it is necessary to ensure that, as a foster home, your own cats are fully vaccinated, and of course, healthy and that the military owner provide the vaccination and FIV/FeLV testing history on the cat.

Spayed and neutered cats are less likely to have problems or cause problems, so it is strongly advised that the cat to be fostered is spayed or neutered before entering the foster home. If that is not possible, the military owner and foster are advised to make arrangements for spay and neuter soon after foster home takes the cat.

It is also important that a quiet area for the cat is initially provided and that introductions to other pets are gradual and monitored. This is the best and safest way to evaluate the needs of the rescue cat, as well as provide the best care possible for each individual situation.

There is also a BIG risk that you will experience a sense of loss when the owner returns and reclaims the cat. All good fosters realize this risk. However, the sense of accomplishment and eventual joy that comes with knowing that a cat has been returned to their owner, that a service has been provided for our brave military, and that the cat is back in a loving home far outbalances the initial risk!

Summary... The cold, hard facts...

Fostering is not always an easy job,
Fostering can sometimes be exhausting,
Fostering is often challenging,
Fostering may sometimes cost you money.
It can be painful to say goodbye to a foster cat when the owner returns.....
BUT, fostering can be THE MOST rewarding and fulfilling thing a true cat lover will ever do to support our military!

What are the steps to becoming a foster?

Step 1. Fill out the Foster Volunteer Form
Step 2. Wait for a military cat owner to call or email you, making sure to keep us updated if your email address or phone number changes. This wait varies depending on locale, the owner's choice from available foster home applications, and the number of military being called up at any given time.
Step 3. When called, discuss the cat in detail, ask for a "cat resume" or detailed information on the cat's likes, needs, veterinary history. Ask about the length of the deployment, what should be done if for some reason the situation changes and you cannot foster throughout the deployment,  and the terms of  the contract, making an agreement about who pays for what and how that payment is arranged.
Step 4. Make mutually agreed upon arrangements with the owner as to how the cat will get to you and when.
Step 5. Proceed to foster in the knowledge you are doing a service to the cat and to our country.

Okay, sign me up!

Thank you for taking the time to read this information and for caring!

Realistically, the more foster homes that are available, the fewer military owned cats will end up in shelters and more of the military can look forward to return home to their pets. Please consider helping, by becoming a  foster home! To offer a foster home for a military cat, sign up here.

One more thing!

If you are also interested in becoming a foster home for an at-risk cat rescued from a shelter for Purebred Cat Breed Rescue, you can learn more about fostering for a rescued cat here.

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