Frequently Asked Questions about Kitten Fostering

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about kitten fostering

What do foster families need to provide?

  • A healthy and safe indoor environment for their foster kittens
  • Transportation to and from the Humane Society of Carroll County
  • Transportation to and from Green Acres Pet Center in Mt. Airy for spay/neuter surgery
  • Socialization and cuddle time to help teach the kittens about positive family and pet relationships
  • Provide appropriate food, water, and medical treatment (if applicable)
  • Report to shelter staff immediately if any issues/concerns with kitten (i.e. not eating, sneezing, diarrhea, etc.).

How much time do I need to spend with the kittens?

As much time as you can. The more time you spend with your foster kittens, the more socialized they will be to people. The amount of time required for feeding will vary depending on the age of the kittens you are fostering. Very young kittens need to be bottle-fed every two to three hours, while older ones may be eating on their own and needing to be fed just a couple times a day. Before you select which foster you want, please determine how much time you want to commit. When selecting a foster we will cover what needs the kittens have so you can make the best foster choice for you.

Can I foster kittens even if I have a full-time job?

Yes. The foster coordinator will match you with kittens appropriate for your schedule. We will need you to be available, however, to bring the kittens in for medical treatment if needed.

How many kittens will I be fostering?

After you sign-up to kitten foster we will discuss what kittens are available for fostering. This can include a single kitten, a pair/group of kittens, or a mom and kittens. You will choose how many you’d like to foster. We try to keep kittens in pairs if possible.

How long will the kittens need to be in foster care?

Once a kitten weighs three pounds and is healthy, he/she can be spayed/neutered, given vaccinations, and put up for adoption. When you select which kittens to foster you will be told what the estimated length of fostering will be. The average length of stay is a few weeks to a few months. You will be able to choose what your level of time commitment is before taking a foster.

What is my role before and after the kittens’ spay/neuter surgery?

When it comes time for your kitten(s) to be spayed/neutered we will arrange for a surgery date and time. The kittens will need to be dropped off at our vet partner Green Acres Pet Center (Mt Airy) the morning of surgery, and then picked up after surgery is complete. Kittens will have to recover in their foster home for three days before they can be adopted or returned to the shelter to be adopted.

Will I need to give medicine to the foster kittens?

While we do our best to ensure that we are sending out healthy kittens to foster care, most illnesses have incubation periods, meaning that if the kittens picked up something at the shelter, symptoms can arise after you take them home. So, some kittens do not require any medicine, while others do. If your foster kitten(s) need medication, we can show you how to administer it before you take the animal(s) home.

When discussing what fosters are available, we will let you know if the kitten(s) are currently on medicines and if they have any other special care requirements.

If your foster kitten(s) develop an illness while in care we will provide you medicine and support in how to administer the meds. Humane Society staff provide 24/7 support for foster needs, and if a medical emergency arises. We also make sure our fosters are comfortable with the level of care needed. If the medical care needed surpasses a foster’s level of comfort, we will take over care and find a foster more equipped for that specific kitten.

Can I let my foster kittens play with my personal pets?

Kittens are very susceptible to illness and can carry or catch dangerous ailments easily. For this reason, we recommend that foster parents isolate foster kittens with their own supplies for at least two weeks to try and ensure that the kittens are healthy prior to exposing them to your personal pets. We also advise that you consult with your veterinarian before fostering to ensure that all of your personal pets are healthy and up to date on all vaccines. If, for any reason, your personal pet becomes ill while you are fostering a Humane Society of Carroll County animal, we cannot provide medical care or cover costs of veterinary care for your personal pet.

For more details on how to introduce fosters to your personal pets please see helpful articles on our blog page.

Never leave your personal pets unsupervised around the foster kittens.

Will any of my foster kitten(s) die?

Sadly, kittens are fragile, so it is always possible for them to become ill and pass away while in a foster home. This may be the hardest thing about fostering kittens. If it’s something you don’t want to encounter, then fostering kittens may not be the best fit for you. But please keep in mind that without foster homes, many shelters have to make difficult decisions when at capacity. Luckily, the Humane Society of Carroll County has an amazing group of fosters that help us save lives and prevent euthanasia due to lack of space.

Who will take care of my foster kittens if I need to go out of town?

When signing up for kittens the estimated length of fostering will be listed or discussed with you. Please do not sign up to foster kittens if you cannot commit to the entire length of foster stay for them. If an emergency occurs and you need to leave town, please contact the foster coordinator immediately. Emergency contact information for our cat staff will be provided.

What if a foster kitten bites me?

If any of your foster pets bite you and break skin, causing you to bleed, you need to report the bite to the foster coordinator within 24 hours of when the bite occurred. We are required to record instances such as these for safety. Please note, reporting an incident does not mean your foster will be punished in any way. We are simply trying to keep our foster families’ safe from issues caused by the bacteria in a cat’s mouth.

If you are unsure if the bite has broken the skin, please report anyway.

What if I want to adopt one of my foster kittens?

If you want to adopt a foster kitten, you will need to follow our adoption protocols. All adopters are required to complete an adoption contract and pay any necessary adoption fees. As a new foster, your first cat adoption is free.

If interested in adopting your foster kitten please let the foster coordinator know as soon as possible.

What if I know someone who’s interested in adopting one of my foster kittens?

If someone you know is interested in adopting one of your foster kittens, please contact the foster coordinator as soon as possible, because once the kittens are up for adoption, we cannot hold them for anyone.

All adopters must complete our adoption contract and pay before the kitten is released to their custody. The kitten must also be spayed/neutered and have all medical treatment completed before adoption (unless otherwise approved).

Will it be difficult for me to say goodbye to my foster kittens?

Saying goodbye can be the most difficult part of fostering. However, we like to remind our fosters that when agreeing to foster you are saving lives. Saying goodbye is much better than a shelter having to turn away kittens in need because they have no space.

Can I foster kittens to fulfill school service hours?

Yes, you can foster to fulfil hours. You receive one half hour of time per kitten per day. So if you foster a kitten for a week you get 3.5 hours. If you foster two kittens for a week you get 7 hours.

For any additional questions please contact Amanda Rasch (Feline Coordinator) at