Is Fostering For You?

The Highs and Lows of Fostering

Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.  We couldn’t save as many lives as we do without the dedication of our foster parents.  When you think of fostering, what are you interested in taking home? Will you want a mom with her kittens, or older kittens that are not big enough for the adoption floor?

Is fostering right for you and your family? Please go over this with your whole family.


  • Do you live in the City Name metro area? We accept foster homes that are roughly 30 minutes from our shelter as long as we have a mentor available in your area. The foster coordinator will confirm the availability of a mentor prior to inviting you to training.


  • Are you aware there is a great deal of clean-up time and there is always a possibility of damage to your home? Mother cats and kittens can be very messy with the litter box, their food bowls, water dishes, etc. 


  • Are you able to separate your foster cats/kittens from your own animals?  Foster kittens must have their own room whether you have resident animals or not.  Even though we conduct intake examinations and have current medical records for our foster cats/kittens, they can harbor illnesses that do not immediately present symptoms. Therefore, it is important to keep your resident animals separated from them for at least 14 days.  After that time, you can introduce them to your foster cats/kittens as long as they are indoor-only and current on their vaccines. Your foster cats/kittens must have also received a FVRCP at least five days prior to an introduction. Before an introduction, you must pick up litter boxes, food bowls, and water bowls. *Please do introductions slowly.


Introductions can pose a risk to your resident animals. If your pets get sick from your foster kittens, the HAWC will not cover their medication or vet visits. Please keep this in mind before introducing the two together.


  • It is important to keep your foster room clutter free – no special knickknacks. You must start your kittens in a bathroom or other non-carpeted room to ensure they are not harboring any illnesses and using the litterbox well. After a quarantine period, you can move them to another room that allows more space if you have it available. Please be aware that mother cats can scratch at doors or carpet to get out of a room and may jump on any surface they can access. 


  • Are you and your family emotionally prepared for the death of an animal? As badly as we wish otherwise, death can occur. Not all animals are born to live. In feral colonies, moms will have large litters, hoping to keep at least two kittens alive. Unfortunately, some kittens are born with congenital birth defects that we cannot see. Others are just too weak to survive. Our death rate is only 3% in foster care, including kittens who don’t survive hours after they are born. Because you will feed high-quality food to your foster kittens, house them in a warm, safe place, and provide them with preventative care treatments, their chances of survival are high. The death of a kitten can be emotionally difficult, but most of the time, they are not the result of your fostering skills or abilities. 


  • Will you and your family be able to give up your foster kittens at the end of the foster period? Foster families can become attached to their foster kittens and sometimes find it difficult to give them to their permanent families or return them to the shelter. 


You can adopt one of your foster kittens, but you will need to go through the same process as anyone else. You will pay the adoption fee and participate in adoption counseling. Please don’t adopt your whole litter. Our adoption counselors are thorough in their screening process and will find good, loving homes for your kittens. You can always pick up another litter - sometimes even the same day to help you get through the empty nest syndrome.  


  • Will you and your family be able to spend quality time with your foster cats/kittens? Socialization is as important as feeding and keeping them clean. We ask that you spend quality time with your kittens. We want you to play with them so they learn hands are not toys. We also want you to snuggle them. Socialization is a big part of fostering. You are training these kittens to be super cats when they grow up. We are hoping that your kittens will not fear humans. Sometimes this does not always work out, but kittens that run to the front of the cage will get adopted first.


  • Are you prepared to work with our veterinarian system? Will you be able to bring your kittens to the shelter when they need to be seen? We specialize in shelter medicine and know what medications will treat illnesses we see in the shelter. Moreover, treatment at our shelter is free to you and cost effective to Organization’s Name. As you do not legally own these cats, you cannot legally seek outside treatment for them. 


  • Do you feel comfortable telling people that these kittens are not your animals and can only be adopted through HAWC’s adoption procedures? You may need to remind family, friends, and neighbors that you are a volunteer for the HAWC and cannot take your foster kittens out of your home for “playdates” or adopt them outside of the HAWC.


  • Are you aware there may be some financial obligations? We provide food and litter, but you will need to purchase toys, scratchers, litterboxes, food/water bowls, cleaning supplies, etc. However, we will work with you should you need assistance with supplies. 


  • Foster cats/kittens are your responsibility. We ask that you check on them at least three times per day - once in the morning, again after work, and then before bed. You should also closely monitor their health and behavior. Close observation helps us better treat health issues and find appropriate permanent homes for them. Are they all playing? Is one sitting in the corner? Are they all feeling well? Is everyone pooping, peeing, eating, etc.?


  • All cats and kittens must be kept strictly indoors. If your resident cats go outside, your foster kittens must be isolated from your cats to avoid the transmission of disease. Your foster kittens cannot go outdoors unless they are in a secure crate and going to the shelter or an outreach location. They cannot go outside even for Petfinder photos.


  • Supervise all interactions between your foster kittens and children under 10 years of age. This is not an exact requirement, as some children under 10 may be able to safely handle kittens and may not require supervision. Use your best judgement. 


  • Your own animals must be spayed/neutered and current on vaccinations and veterinary care. No exceptions. If you cannot meet these requirements, we can provide you with resources to help you provide the appropriate care for your animals before you take a litter home. We do this to help stop the pet-overpopulation problems in our area.

Rewards of foster care – Saving lives!


  • You are saving animals. 


  • Children learn about the responsibility of caring for animals. It is a great way to help children understand what it takes to have a pet. How else can children learn about the wonder of birth, and the same time, be responsible animal guardians?


  • There is no greater joy than watching kittens at play, or nursing a sick kitty back to health! Having foster kittens in the home can also foster quality family time. 


  • Knowing that you are making a difference is a nice feeling inside.

*If you do not feel comfortable with our procedures and guidelines, we want you to know that we understand fostering is not for everyone. If at any time your situation changes, please feel free to contact us again in the future.

Foster Program FAQ’s

How do I become a foster parent?

You will need to fill out two forms, HAWC Foster Family Information Sheet (found below), HAWC Foster care Agreement (found below) And then send these to:

Once these forms are received, and foster kittens become available, the foster coordinator will contact you.


What is required of me as a foster parent?

Providing a safe, ‘kitten-proofed’ room in your home that contains the kittens’ necessities: food, water, bedding, litter box, toys, etc.  You are responsible for ensuring that your kittens receive any scheduled medical treatments on time, are healthy, and well-socialized.


I found a litter of kittens, Can I foster them through your program?

Yes, with approval and appointment. We will try to work with you on scheduling an intake appointment if you are the foster parent. If you cannot foster this litter, it may take us some time to find a foster home. We will do our best to work with you.

What are the requirements for a foster room?
The foster room needs to be a designated place for your foster kittens to spend the bulk of their time.  HAWC recommends a spare bedroom, den, office, or a large bathroom.  This room will need to be ‘kitten-proofed’ and have plenty of space for a litter box, food and water dishes, as well as sleep and play areas.  

What supplies do I need to provide myself?
The HAWC is a non-profit 501c3 organization and does not have the resources available to supply the needs of our pets in foster care. We will need you to supply all basic necessities for our fosters when in your care. Wet cat food, dry kitten kibble, formula as needed, food and water bowls, litter and litter box(es), toys and scratching implement, bedding, and other small incidentals. However, if you need help with some of these supplies, we will do our best to help you. 


How do I get a group of foster kittens?                                                  

As foster kittens become available, the foster coordinator will contact you and will then send further information with specifics on arrival and pick-up information.


How much do I need to supervise my foster group?
You need to do welfare checks on your foster group at least three times per day.  This is to make sure everyone is healthy, eating, and using the litter box.  You need to spend about 1-2 hours per day interacting with your foster group so they become well-socialized.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Can my foster kittens and mom cat interact with my resident pets?

You must keep your foster kittens separate from your resident pets. 

Can my children interact with the foster kittens?
We encourage your children to have supervised interaction with foster kittens.  

Children should not be permitted to handle newborn kittens. Caution and direct supervision is a must!


Do we bottle feed kittens?
HAWC may take in young kittens that will need to be bottle-fed.  If this is the case, we will place the kittens with a foster parent who is experienced at bottle feeding. There are times, however, when you may need to provide supplemental bottle-feeding to a nursing kitten who isn’t getting enough to eat.


If people come to my home and want to adopt a kitten what do they do next?
You will need to send your adopters to the HAWC’s shelter, located at 230 Cook Rd                            Lebanon, Ohio 45036 to complete the adoption process with a trained adoption counselor.


If my foster kittens get sick do I take them to my own vet?
All veterinary care will be provided through the HAWC.  You are not permitted to seek veterinary care from outside clinics.  Any visits to outside veterinarians that are not pre-approved will be your financial responsibility!


What do I do if my own cats get sick?
Your kittens should be housed separately from your resident cats.  However, we do recognize that cross-contamination can happen.  If your cat(s) get sick, it is your responsibility to seek veterinary treatment.  If in the event this circumstance should arise, arrangements should be made to return your fosters to the HAWC. Remember, there is always an inherent risk of disease when you bring new animals into your home. This is why we require all resident pets in the home to be current on vaccinations.


Do my resident pets have to be up to date on their vaccines?
For everyone’s protection and safety, your resident pets are required to be current on vaccines. You should contact your veterinarian to find out if your animals are current on vaccines when fostering kittens. It is best to check before you bring kittens home.

Do my resident pets have to be spayed or neutered before I foster kittens?                                               Yes. The HAWC can provide you with resources to aid you in achieving this goal.                                                                                                                            

Contact Us


230 Cook Rd Lebanon Ohio, 45036

  Adoption & Animal Information: 513.695.1176  Donations & Public Relations: 513-695-2076

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