Should I Foster A Cat Before Adopting One?

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Having a cat as a pet can be a big time commitment. Are you ready for it? If you are thinking about adopting a new cat, you may be wondering if you have what it takes to be a pet parent. Maybe you are considering whether you should try a foster animal in need first — to get a feel for things.

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There is much to consider before bringing a new cat into your home including playtime, grooming, keeping your cat safe and healthy, and cleaning up after your pet. You may also want to find out what type of temperament and breed would fit into your lifestyle. Some cats are more standoffish, while others can be extremely affectionate, and even play games like fetch! If someone in your home has allergies, you may also want to look into hypoallergenic cats.

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With all there is to contemplate about pet parenthood and your new furry friend, if you are looking to understand what a day (or month) in the life of cat ownership looks like, you may indeed wish to foster a cat before adopting one.

Fostering vs. adopting

You may wonder, "why should I foster vs adopt?" Although both fostering and adopting pets can help an animal in need, the two are not the same. According to the Lake City Humane Society, fostering a pet provides a temporary, short-term home environment for pets from a shelter who are waiting for their forever homes. When someone rescues or adopts a pet, they are signing on to provide a permanent home and taking on full financial and general responsibility for the animal as their pet parent, including their health and wellness.

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Benefits of a foster cat

Besides making biscuits, hypnotic purring, and basically the ultimate cuteness overload, there are many benefits of fostering a cat. Taking in foster kittens or fostering older cats can save lives by freeing up space in local animal shelters — shelters that have less room to take in more animals. According to the ASPCA, here are some other compelling reasons to foster a cat:

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  • Provides a safe home for an animal in need.
  • Creates more room in shelters for other animals in need.
  • Introduces foster kittens and cats to a new prospective pool of adopters.
  • It's fun.
  • Fostering saves lives!

If you are a first time pet owner and wish to get a glimpse into what life is like with your own pets, fostering can also be a rewarding experience. Fostering can give you an insight into how a cat fits into your home and lifestyle.

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What is a foster fail?

You may have heard the phrase "foster fail," but what does that mean? Can you fail at fostering? Well, according to the ASPCA, a foster fail is when the caregivers of foster kittens or cats decide to adopt their temporary house guests as permanent residents. It's actually a beautiful thing, and the ASPCA prefers the term "foster fortune" instead. Adorable, right? Finding the right home for a cat is a fortune indeed!

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In summary

If you haven't owned a pet before, or a cat, you may wish to consider fostering before adopting. It can be good to understand how a cat will fit into your home and life. Fostering is not permanent, and if things don't work out, you will be committed to finding a new home for your foster kitten. If you fall in love with your foster cat (and it seems to be a good fit) you can opt to "foster fail" — and make them a permanent part of your home and family.

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