Fostering means bringing in a cat or dog or any other homeless pet with the goal of nurturing them for a while until they can be dispatched to a permanent home with a family who'll love them forever. There are some major benefits but also some cons involved.

BenefitsThere are many benefits to becoming a foster parent.

  • Foster owners give animals a place to stay while they wait for a forever home
  • Relieving crowding at the shelter
  • Accustoming the pet to a home environment.
  • Fostering is a good way to “test-drive” an additional pet or a different type of pet.


There are also some cons to taking in a foster animal.

  • Foster owners must sometimes absorb charges through necessary veterinary care like heartworm treatment,
  • Extra time and care to help them lose weight or teach them manners before they can be put up for adoption.
  • Fostering also requires the skills of a diplomat to ensure that your family’s own pets don’t feel left out.

If you are considering taking home a foster pet from a local shelter or rescue group, please ask yourself the following questions so you can have a successful experience for both you and the animal.

Current Pets

Will your own pets get along with a foster dog or cat? If your loved one is in charge of your lap, how will she respond when a guest animal tries to sit there? Your well-behaved pet may “act out” with the addition of a new pet. Research your breed. Some are more prone to fighting than others, and bringing in a new animal can upset the balance in your household.

House Trained

Is this animal house trained? Are you prepared to teach the skills necessary? If you're up for potty training, you’ll need a crate and possibly a baby gate.


How much care, socialization or training will this animal require? Bottle-feeding babies often means round-the-clock dedication. Older kittens or puppies, on the other hand, need lots of handling, training and socialization. They may need services at a veterinarian’s office for spay/neuter surgery or teeth cleaning. Adult animals may simply need a place to stay until they are adopted, but sometimes they have special needs as well.

New Family Member

Are you prepared to treat a foster animal as a member of the family? Fostering isn't just making sure the animal stays healthy and safe and eats well. You are responsible for teaching your foster pet how to be a good family member. For this reason, it's important to make sure that everyone who lives in your house is on board with the foster plan and willing to help your temporary pet fit in.


Can you afford to care for an additional animal? Make sure you ask up front what your out-of-pocket expenses will be. Some rescue groups will cover any veterinary expenses, but it may or may not pay for items such as food or cat litter.

Fostering takes patience, love and a good eye for observation. It can be incredibly rewarding for everyone!

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.

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