Fostering cats

Battersea has temporarily suspended applications to foster whilst we prioritise working with our existing staff and volunteers to provide ongoing care for our dogs and cats during the Covid-19 outbreak. Please check back on our website for further updates.

Becoming a cat foster carer means you are providing invaluable support in caring for lost, abandoned adult cats and kittens. It is an extremely rewarding job. As a foster carer you will care for all the cat's needs including feeding, grooming and socialising.

What type of cats will I foster?

Foster families care for cats of all ages while we find them permanent homes. This can be helping new mothers care for litters or looking after shy and scared adult cats who need the peace and quiet of a home.

We will always ensure the cat is suitable for you and will discuss all the details of the cat with you first so you are fully informed.

What are the requirements to be a cat foster carer?

We ask that all cat foster carers:

  • Live within one hour of one of our three centres and are able to travel to a centre when required, sometimes at short notice.
  • Have no other pets in the home. Our foster animals tend not to be comfortable with other pets.
  • Have no young children. For adult cat foster carers, we are looking for foster families where the minimum age of children is 13 years, and for mums and kittens, no children under the age of 8. This is by no means a reflection on your children but is due to the nature of our foster cats.
  • Experience in looking after cats, particularly cats who are very timid or are fearful or young kittens in the case of mum and kittens fostering. However, a willingness to listen to advice from Battersea staff and follow a care programme is the most important thing.
  • Show compassion, empathy and the appreciation that every cat is an individual.

In addition to these, there are a few requirements specific to adult cat and mum and kitten fostering listed below.

What are the specific requirements to become an Adult Cat Foster Carer?

  • A secure spare room. This should be a room that is available only to the cat and has no other daily purpose such as a study or bedroom. Unlike rehoming, this is essential for any adult foster cat. The type of cats we place in foster homes tend to be those who are highly stressed and fearful and often hiding away in the cattery. It is therefore vital that they have somewhere comfortable and quiet, away from busier parts of the home. This gives the cat a chance to gain confidence at their own pace.
  • Not leaving your foster cat at home alone for longer than one full working day.

What are the specific requirements to become a 'mum and kitten' foster carer?

  • Have leaving hours of no more than 4 hours. For their health and safety, kittens require constant supervision. It's also really important that kittens receive enough positive experience of being around people early on if they are to grow up into well-adjusted adult pets.

We would like people to commit to us on a long-term basis as the cats that need fostering require a nice stable environment, which in turn requires commitment from the cat foster carer. Each individual foster case will vary; from two to three weeks up to three months and sometimes even longer if they are struggling to find a home. Our kitten foster cases typically last up to 9 weeks.

Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience and a chance to make a real difference to a cat who might be finding life in a cattery challenging. It is, however, different to rehoming. If you are interested in owning a cat and want to find out more, please read our rehoming information.

What do I need to do as an adult cat foster carer or mum and kitten foster carer?

  • Care for all the cat's needs – feeding, grooming, socialising.
  • Be willing to follow our guidance and regulations on training and handling.
  • Be happy to play a part in the rehoming process by providing photos, videos and regular updates via email.
  • Be able to get to our centre to attend clinic or rehoming appointments, sometimes at short notice.

What support will a cat foster carer receive?

  • Training in cat behaviour and welfare.
  • Regular contact with our Fostering team.
  • Veterinary and behavioural support.
  • Most importantly you will know you are helping some of our most vulnerable cats while they wait for a happy home.

What's the process to become an Adult Cat Foster Carer or Mum and Kitten Foster Carer?

1. Application

Complete the application form and provide much information as possible.

Before applying we that recommend you read our fostering FAQs.

2. Phone call

A member of the fostering team will call you for an informal chat and to answer any questions you may have.

3. Home visit

We may want to arrange a home visit. This is in no way to judge your home. It is only to check that it is a safe environment for our animals.

4. Induction

You will be invited to an induction for training.

Unable to foster a cat?

From animal welfare roles to office duties and events staff, we strive to ensure that our volunteers are involved in all aspects of our work.