Foster Tips

Attention foster parents! Got a great foster tip for cats or dogs? Email it to us at hhayes@ashevillehumane.org and we'll feature it on our website or Facebook to help other foster parents like you. Thank you for helping us save lives.

Foster Kitten Tip:

If you need to give a kitten a bath, the best thing to dry it off with is a paper towel. Paper towels are more absorbent than cloth towels. Because they are thin, they are perfect for drying a tiny kittenís face, paws, etc. Never use dishwashing soap or human shampoo on cats or kittens. Instead use a mild shampoo made especially for kittens or puppies. Itís also a good idea to use a hair dryer set on low to gently finish drying your kitten after its bath. That way, youíll be sure it wonít get chilled! If a full bath isnít necessary, unscented or ďfor sensitive skinĒ baby wipes work well for a quick touch up.

 

Foster Kitten Tip: 

Hereís an inexpensive toy that kittens really love: Take a cardboard box and tape the flaps shut. Using a serrated kitchen knife, cut holes of various shapes and sizes in several sides of the box. Your foster kittens will love jumping on and off the top of the box, hiding inside it and then pouncing out at its siblings, or even sleeping inside the box. Itís great exercise for the kittens and provides lots of fun and mental stimulation. Toss a small cat toy inside the box for extra fun. If youíre fostering sick kittens, be sure to throw the box away when theyíre done with it so you donít spread germs to your next litter of fosters. 

 

Foster Cat Tip:

If you are fostering in a multi-cat household, place the litter boxes in different locations in your home.  Studies indicate that once cats enter social maturity (somewhere between 2 and 4 years of age), grouping multiple litter boxes in the same room causes territoriality that leads to tension in multi-cat households. Even if there are the correct number of litter boxes Ė one box for each cat plus one more  -- and they are all clean and uncovered, spreading out the litter boxes among several locations is more in line with a catís natural instincts, will ease tension among cats over this ďimportant resource,Ē and will usually eliminate any problems with going to the bathroom outside the litter box. 

 

Foster Cat Tip: 

Instead of buying an expensive scratching post for your foster cat(s), go to any grocery store and buy a plastic bag of fireplace logs. These are usually available right outside the store or just inside the entrance. You get 6 logs for about $6.00, MUCH cheaper than a scratching post. Simply place one log on the floor and watch your cat(s) have fun scratching both the bark side and the wood side of the log. If you are fostering sick cats, be sure to throw the log away and use a new one when you get new foster cats so you don't spread germs!

 

Foster Cat Tip:

Consider purchasing a laser pointer from the AHS retail store in the Adoption Center or from Petco/Petsmart. Donít buy the fancy, expensive kind. The cheapest one you can find will be sufficient. Cats and kittens LOVE to chase the red dot of the laser pointer. Itís wonderful exercise and mental stimulation for them. Their playful antics will keep you laughing as they stalk the red dot up the wall, under the blanket, or around the floor!

 

Foster Cat Tip:

If possible, play soft music on the radio or turn on the television to Animal Planet for your cats when youíre not home. Cats find the music soothing and turning on the television helps fosters get used to all kinds to noises and voices so they wonít be timid when they move into their forever homes. There are also special CDs available that contain music and sounds that are especially soothing or interesting to cats. These can be purchased in pet stores or on amazon.com for $10 - $15 per CD, if desired.

 

Foster Puppy Tip:

The best bowl Iíve found for feeding a litter of puppies is a plastic chip and dip bowl that you can buy at Ingles. They are inexpensive (usually under $5), and as many as 6 puppies can eat from it all at the same time. The sides are high enough to keep the food from falling out, but low enough so that the puppies can easily reach the food. Clean up is easy because youíre only using one bowl, yet the puppies donít have to compete for food since they can all fit around it at one time. Itís the perfect solution!

 

Foster Puppy Tip:

Puppies (and kittens too) love to snuggle up with a soft stuffed animal, especially if they are being weaned from mama or if they have no siblings to snuggle with. Any of the Goodwill stores have many stuffed animals to choose from, usually priced $1.00 or less. You can wash them and re-use them if you foster again. 

 

Foster Dog Tip:

Donít throw away your old porch chair cushions or chaise lounge cushions. They make wonderful beds for dogs, mama dogs nursing their babies, or for cats/kittens. You can put an old towel or blanket on top of the cushion if you wish. Although you usually canít wash the cushions, your foster animals can enjoy them until you decide they are ready for the trash.


Foster Dog Tip:

If youíre fostering a sick dog that needs to be given medication, most dogs will gladly swallow tablets hidden inside a dollop of cream cheese or peanut butter or a piece of hot dog. Another good idea is to make a small ďmeatballĒ from canned dog food and hide the pill inside. Wrapping the pill in a piece of real chicken or cheese is a guarantee that your dog will take his/her medication!


Foster Dog Tip:

If youíre fostering a dog that does not know how to walk on a leash, or pulls when youíre trying to walk him/her, ask our Foster Coordinator for an Easy Walk Harness. These ingenious harnesses are easy to put on and keeping pulling to a minimum... making your walks with your foster dog much more enjoyable for both of you!