It Takes a Foster Village

3 mins read
Young woman holding her striped cat, which looking seriously. Owner hugging pet on white background.
Photo: Adobe

We assume you love cats and dogs as much as we and frequent social media such as Instagram, NextDoor or Facebook. If so, you have surely noticed the huge number of posts about abandoned animals, appeals for homes for found kitten litters, and rehoming of pets of people who have passed away.

These posts are heart-breaking when there is no one to take care of these vulnerable animals; many will end up being euthanized or living a horrible existence on the streets.

For many small, no-kill rescues, such as Lifeline for Pets, more foster homes are needed for these furry friends. We often have to turn animals away just because we do not have the space.

A foster is someone who agrees to take in an animal on a temporary or even long-term basis. Each rescue has different requirements, but usually, the rescue pays for any vet care needed, while the foster provides food and litter. Transportation and nearness to the rescue facility are also helpful.

a woman holding a cat
Pet foster mom Kate Holmberg. Photo:

Loving and patient fosters are worth their weight in gold! One of our foster moms, Kate Holmberg, has fostered many of our cats and kittens who have since been adopted. She is currently fostering/socializing a shy little pair of one-year-old females and a litter of kittens.

The pregnant mama of the kittens was found hanging out at Home Depot’s garden department. The employees reached out to us, and we contacted Kate, who did not hesitate to take the unhoused mom, who subsequently gave birth to six adorable kittens, all safe and sound at Kate’s home. They will never have to face the dangers we outlined. Mama and three of the kittens have been adopted, and the other friends, Joey, Ross, Chandler, Patches and Miss Bean, are on the Lifeline For Pets Web site.

Besides caring for puppies and kittens, foster homes are also a “purr-fect” solution for older animals. Many older pets have been raised in a loving home surrounded by loving people who have pampered them. Suddenly, for whatever reason, they find themselves abandoned on the streets to fend for themselves or in a cold cage in a noisy, high-kill facility with strange people and other animals.

They just don’t understand what happened.

A woman sitting in a living room
Martha Pinto and her foster cat Sylvester are picture perfect. Photo:

Sylvester is a big fluff of a friendly, indoor, special needs cat whose owners moved out of the apartment and just left him. He stayed near the apartment and depended on the kindness of the new renter to feed him. After several weeks, the right person, Martha Pinto, came along. 

Martha offered to foster Sylvester and became what we call a “foster fail,” because she fell in love with him and has adopted him. Sylvester will never be left out in the cold again.

A foster home is a godsend.

Experienced foster homes are also the best solutions for pets with special needs: diabetics, surgery rehabs, special diets, very shy cats or dogs, and very elderly pets. Take the case of Paco, a tiny 5-pound, 7-year-old chihuahua. Poor little guy had some issues and just couldn’t find a home. When the kennel in which he was housed closed, we were able to find Paco, a truly wonderful foster mom. After being in foster care for over a year, the good news is that a close friend of the foster mom adopted him.

Foster homes are so hard to find in SoCal. Many animal lovers already have several pets. We are also inundated with tons of rescues all looking for more fosters. Plus, there are, sadly, many irresponsible people who do not spay and neuter their pets and who let them roam; hence, all the social media posts by people either looking for their lost pet or who have found an animal or a litter of kittens.

There MUST be more of you out there who can help! If you can’t permanently adopt but have the time and the desire, please consider becoming a foster parent. Check any rescue organization’s Web site for how to sign up. They will help match you.

The time and effort you put in will leave you with a wonderful, warm fuzzy feeling that you have helped a precious, vulnerable animal find a loving, “fur-ever” home.

As the Pasadena Humane suggests, “Fostering saves lives. Whether you volunteer to care for a litter of orphaned kittens or give an adult dog a break from the kennel, you are making a difference in the life of an animal in need. Fostering fills a critical gap.”

The short URL of this article is:

Darlene Papa

Darlene is the Web manager and a longtime volunteer at Lifeline for Pets, a no-kill cat rescue in Pasadena. She loves reading, the theater, movies and music—and has a weakness for chocolate.
Email: [email protected]

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest from Animal House

Accessibility Tools