Help make the holidays brighter for a shelter cat.

Our cats will spend the holidays surrounded by those who love them, in a warm home, with full tummies and plenty of toys. That’s quite a contrast to how shelter cats will spend their holidays. For them, they’re not going to be any different from any other day spent waiting for that one human who will rescue them and give them a forever home.

To help make the holidays brighter for some of these shelter cats, is sponsoring its annual Foster A Lonely Pet For The Holidays program, and asks you to open your heart and home to a cat from a shelter or rescue group this holiday season. For more information and a list of participating shelters and rescue groups, please visit Staff and volunteers at each organization will be available to answer questions about the fostering process and help select a pet who will be a good match for the foster family’s lifestyle.

First created in 2009, the Foster A Lonely Pet For The Holidays program was inspired by Greg Kincaid’s book and movie, A Dog Named Christmas, about a young man who sets out to convince his community to participate in a local animal shelter’s inaugural “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program.” Kincaid just released a sequel to this immensely popular book, A Christmas Home, which picks up the story when Todd, the hero of the first book, is twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter.

Would you consider fostering a cat for the holidays?

If fostering is not an option for you, I’ll have information for you next week on other ways you can help brighten the holidays for shelter cats.

15 Comments on Holiday 2012: Can you foster a lonely cat for the holidays?

  1. I would LOVE to do this, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t give it back!! Plus my guy Diego is very much “this is my house”. So unfortunately I can not be a foster parent. But I do donate to my local shelters!

  2. I totally understand Rose’s position … but we’ve noticed that even a furlough of a week can help out with kennel stress in some cats. Often the volunteers at our shelter will do this and the cat comes back less irritable and with a better chance of finding that permanent forever home.

    • I totally agree with you, Lisa, which is why I used to rotate my cats in and out of the Petsmart adoptions area. As Ingrid said, it totally depends on the personality of the individual cat, and the rescue group should know which cats would do well with a break and which ones would not.

  3. We would love to but I’m the jealous kind and we don’t have room to keep a foster separate from me. I almost ripped the last cat that came in her apart. My aunt fosters up to 20 cats at a time.

  4. As someone who has been in cat rescue a long time, and who currently has 20 foster felines (17 kittens and the 3 mama cats who gave birth to them), I am not sure that most cats would benefit from being fostered for the holidays, not like dogs would. Dogs are a whole different energy, social, adaptable, comfortable almost anywhere. Not true of cats. They take time to trust and adjust, for the most part. Perhaps the hope is that the foster family will adopt the cat, of COURSE, but I would only recommend you “foster a lonely cat for the holidays” if the fostering can to continue AFTER the holidays and until the cat gets adopted into its forever home. I mean, how would a cat feel after being freed from his display cage and getting to enjoy a home, starting to feel like he was adopted, and then being “rejected” and returned to the cage?

    Back when I was with a rescue group who had space in one of the Petsmart adoption areas, I rotated my cats out frequently, and none of my cats stayed in Petsmart more than 9 days (Saturday through the Following Sunday to give them 2 weekends and one work week to get adopted). As a group, each member had access to at MOST two cages, so it was easy to do, and better for the cats. The short-termers got adopted, and the long termers knew they would come “home” in a week or so, plus their foster moms (us) were there frequently, so they did not feel abandoned. And some of them came home to US and stayed forever when it was clear they didn’t seem to be good candidates for adoption (i.e. they were black, or over 5 years old, or just somehow lacked the “X Factor” that gets some cats adopted while others are overlooked again and again.

    Kittens adapt much better, and fostering them for just the holidays would improve their social skills and make them more adoptable, but please be careful with the older guys, and if you can’t foster them indefinitely, perhaps they may be better off to stay where they are, in a familiar setting, until their furrever family comes along.

    • You bring up a good point, Rose – thank you for sharing this point of view. I would imagine that it really depends on the personality of each individual cat. Thank you for everything you do for cats!

  5. We’ve been fostering for 5 years for our local SPCA–over 70 cats & kittens have come and gone through our house. While it can be heartbreaking sometimes (we lost 3 kittens and 1 adult last year), the joyous times far outweigh the sadness. I have spent many hours watching 5-6 week old kittens learn to play, jump, wrestle–it’s far more entertaining than TV anyday! Give it a try! Worst case scenario you fall in love and adopt your foster!! Foster failure is a really good thing!! (as a 4 time foster failure…. 🙂 )

    • Good for you Laura! Fostering greatly expands the capacity of local rescue groups, and the 70 that came through your house made room for 70 more that could not have been taken in without folks like you. I always praise the adopters too, although they are always praising rescuers — but without adopters, we could not be rescuers for long — we would become hoarders by necesity, not by choice, and you would see us on Animal Planet!

  6. Hello

    I so love and applaud what you are doing! I myself have only ever had rescue cats and they are the love of my life. Unfortunately I can not be an adopted parent at this time but would love to contribute in a monetary value. Even if it is small. I will try to connect and donate as much as I can.

    Best Wishes

    Jordan Roberts (Yes I am a Girl! HAHA)

    • I’m just spreading the word about this wonderful program, Jordan. Even though I’m not able to foster, I hope that blogging about it will help some cats find a home for the holidays.

  7. Thank you for posting this reminder. As a volunteer at a local animal rescue, I can say it is the most rewarding experience! Fosters are ALWAYS needed…. the more fosters the more animals that can be saved. If you can’t foster, look into volunteering at your local rescue. Just giving some extra cuddles to the kitties makes a world of difference to them.

    • Great idea, Laurie – go to a local rescue over the holidays and spend some time with the cats there. It helps the cats, and what a great way to get away from all the holiday stress!

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