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You’ve probably seen a post on Facebook or maybe heard a radio ad by your local animal shelter pleading for new foster homes because despite how much we love dogs and cats, there is still a huge pet homelessness problem. Staggeringly, there are about 70 million stray animals living in the U.S. and only about six to eight million cats and dogs of that 70 million enter the nation’s 3,500 shelters every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Even while a number of U.S. residents already opt to adopt rather than shop for their feline and canine companions, a large majority still choose to go for animals from breeders, whether full bred or a designer mix. To help combat the pet overpopulation crisis, fostering an animal is one of the most hands-on ways a person can help pet homelessness.

Shelters need foster families when an animal cannot be adopted immediately because they are too young, have medical or behavioral issues, or the shelter is simply overcrowded. Regardless if you open up your home to a dog, cat, bird, small pets, pig, any pet, you can feel wonderful knowing you have saved a life and cared for a pet who will soon find his or her forever home.

But fostering an animal can seem daunting. How long will the animal need to stay with me? What if my animals don’t get along with them? How am I going to say goodbye when I have to return them? All valid questions! Thankfully, animal shelters offer an abundance of support and resources to foster parents and thanks to the power of social media, dozens of people are helping to show how great fostering truly is.

If you’re on the fence about fostering an animal, meet some of these amazing foster parents hoping to educate and inspire!

1. Hannah Shaw 

You know the silly “Crazy Cat Lady” stereotype? Well, what’s crazy about wanting to help animals?

Hannah Shaw, also known as The Kitten Lady, is aiming to break down the negative stereotypes while raising awareness for the plight faced by orphaned kittens.

The Kitten Lady/Facebook

Like any baby, animal or human, orphan newborn kittens (aged eight weeks and under), are an extremely vulnerable population. They cannot generate their own body heat, they cannot go to the bathroom on their own, they cannot groom themselves, and require specialized knowledge and overnight care that most shelters are not equipped to handle. Unless a foster parent who is experienced in handling newborns steps in, most orphan newborn kittens are euthanized before close of business the day that they are brought in to shelters.

In a recent video, Hannah shows the “nitty gritty” of what it’s like to foster kittens. You weigh them, help them pee/poop, feed them, clean them and then give them a kiss. Kiss optional, but highly recommended!



Shaw’s end goal is something we all can get behind: to end the unnecessary euthanization of kittens everywhere. To learn more about The Kitten Lady, visit her official website. For educational and rescue videos, check out her YouTube channel. You can also follow her on Facebook and on Instagram for instant cuteness!

2. Chris Poole

Felines have a huge advocate on their side: Chris Poole. Known as “Cat Man Chris” to his 55,000 fans on Facebook, Chris is determined to help as many cats as possible. 

Through multiple platforms, such his YouTube channel, Chris seeks to raise awareness for kittens everywhere by sharing stories of rescued kittens and providing educational videos.

Cat Man Chris 

Chris also shares videos and photos of his own two kitties, Cole and Marmalade. Cole and Marmalade are so popular that they even have their own YouTube channel with half a million subscribers. The channel features rescue stories and informational videos, such as how to brush your cat’s teeth!

Cat Man Chris 

To learn more about Cat Man Chris and for more educational and rescue videos, check out his YouTube channel. You can also follow all things Cat Man Chris on his Facebook and on Instagram!

3. Beth Stern 

American actress and author (oh, and Howard Stern’s wife), Beth Stern is a committed foster kitten mama.

With over 359,000 followers on Instagram, Stern delights her followers every day with precious photos of her foster cats and kittens, as well as the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the adoption!

Beth Stern/Instagram

Beth shares daily photos of her current foster cuties. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to all this adorable fluff?!

Beth Stern/Instagram

You could have a nugget just like this little one in your house if you foster… just saying!

Beth Stern/Instagram

Sometimes Howard makes an appearance on Beth’s Instagram but lets be honest, what people really want to see are the cats. The Sterns have fostered over a whopping 300 animals over the years. It’s refreshing to see a high powered couple not just give money, but instead get hands-on by housing kittens in their house.

To follow Beth and get daily cat photos on your Instagram feed, click here!

Feeling Inspired? Here’s How You Can Foster, Too 

Each organization will have their own set of requirements and paperwork for becoming a pet foster parent, so you will need to check with the shelter you want to foster for. There are common need-to-knows that include making sure you meet foster requirements, being physically able to care for an animal, and attending an orientation and foster training.

The foster program will select a good match for you, your family and other pets you may have in the home based on meeting and the answers given on your foster application. From educating yourself on the kind of animal to the foster pet’s individual needs, the things you need to know before becoming a pet foster parent can be similar to that of adopting.

Make sure you provide a quiet space where your foster pet can have a bit of alone time if needed, especially if you have other pets in your home. Always introduce pets to each other slowly so no one becomes overwhelmed, and know that there can be an adjustment period when another animal is introduced into a home. The organization you’re fostering for will be able to provide helpful tips that can make the transition easy for everyone involved.

Even if you cannot foster or adopt, you can still help kittens. Participate in your local trap-neuter-release program to ensure that no unwanted kittens are born or use your social media accounts to raise awareness about the importance of adoption and spaying or neutering your pets.

Lead image source: Kitten Lady/Facebook 

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4 comments on “Why Fostering Is So Important and Who to Follow for Inspiration!”

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1 Years Ago


Victoria Jacques
1 Years Ago

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Suzannah Rodriguez
1 Years Ago

I think fostering is bad for animals; because a child can be told, "This is a temporary home until we can find you a permanent one", but an animal doesn\'t understand that. An animal becomes attached to its foster home and comes to love its foster parent, never having any idea that the set up is only temporary. That poor thing then has to once again emotionally suffer the devastating loss of another home and family it loves. Way to encourage separation anxiety!

The Ghostie Cats
08 Sep 2017

In the ideal world, every companion animal would be wanted and would have a loving home, with responsible folks who had them spayed/neutered. We do not live in that world.

Every year literally hundreds of thousands of healthy cats and kittens are euthanized in US shelters for want of loving homes.

No-kill rescues are stretched to the seams and beyond. Loving foster homes expand their resources, as well as providing a lower-stress environment (important for all animals), with less potential exposure to contagions (especially important for kittens, whose immune systems are not yet fully developed,and who have not yet been vaccinated), and offering the possibility for the sort of round the clock care that few shelters or rescues could provide (massively valuable for under-socialised cats and for sick cats, and vital for "bottle babies").

Foster homes are there to care for kittens until they are weaned, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and hopefully also viral tested and microchipped and ready to adopt. They are there to feed the "bottle babies" - orphaned kittens with no mama cat to care for them. And they are there for the adult cats who are unwell or under-socialised and need a little help getting ready to be adopted into a new, loving home.

Granted, some of this could be accomplished by adopters, without leaning on foster homes to get kitties "ready". But, let\'s face it, most woud not be interested in taking on a sick or under-socialised cat. And some of this care is beyond the knowledge and experience of someone who is not working with an experienced shelter to support them. Also, avoiding adopting out youngsters until they have already been spayed/neutered helps ensure that more unwanted companion animals are not going to be brought into this world.

Will there be some adjustment period when the previously fostered cat or kitten is adopted into a new home? Usually, yes. But a better fostering experience will usually mean that cat or kitten is better socialised and better able to cope with the change. And there are many ways to help make the transition as stress-free as possible.

So, at the end of the day, do you prefer having these wonderful little creatures needing to face the short-term, and generally moderate stress of transition to a new home? Or do you prefer having their lives cut short?

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