Kitten Foster Care

Kitten Fostering

We are looking for volunteers who can commit to fostering underage kittens in their homes for an average of 2-4 weeks. Kittens in the Foster program are largely those who are too young for adoption and who need a nurturing environment until they old enough for the adoption floor. These kittens are small and require more individual care than they can receive in a shelter environment, making the foster home an ideal placement. Foster volunteers care for the kittens in their home, ensuring that their basic needs for food, warmth, safety, and socialization are met, while closely monitoring their health and growth. As their caretakers, foster parents schedule and bring in their kittens for regular vaccine appointments. We’ll provide you with food, supplies, and the support you need every step of the way.

Is Fostering Kittens For Me?

Fostering kittens is hard but also rewarding work.  Please ask yourself the questions below to see if fostering is a good fit for you and your family:

Are you able to spend quality time with the foster kittens?
We ask that you spend a minimum of 2 hours per day providing invaluable socialization and care for your kittens.

Does your work schedule allow you to foster kittens appropriately?
A flexible schedule or varying schedule of household members is ideal for foster volunteering. That said, most SF SPCA foster volunteers do work full time and manage to care for their kittens. We don’t recommend leaving kittens unattended for more than 8-9 hours per day.

Are you able to get to us quickly in an emergency?
The SF SPCA requires foster volunteers to live within 45 minutes of the Mission District campus.

Are you able to commit to appointments ranging from once a week to every two weeks?
Foster kittens will need to be brought in for vaccine appointments every two weeks, and for additional medical appointments if they become ill.

Are you able to keep foster kittens in an enclosed space and separated from your own pets?
Foster kittens are tiny and curious and must be kept in an enclosed and easily sanitizable space such as a bathroom or kitchen with a door. Additionally, foster kittens must remain separate and isolated from resident pets at all times.

Are you aware that kittens require a good deal of clean-up and might cause damage in your home?
Foster kittens do make a mess sometimes, and may have diarrhea and/or vomit if they become ill. Your kitten space must also be sanitized between litters of foster kittens. Additionally, kittens can ruin curtains, carpeting, and other household items. 

Are you willing to work with our veterinary care system?
Please understand that only our medical team can treat foster animals.

Can you commit to spending the entire foster period with the animal?
A kitten foster period is generally 2-4 weeks, depending on their age, weight, and health. When agreeing to take foster kittens we ask that you commit to the entire duration. However, if an emergency or unforeseen situation does occur, you are able to return the kittens to the SF SPCA. 

Are you prepared to bring the animal back at the end of the foster period?
It can be difficult to bring back kittens once you have become emotionally attached, but there are always more kittens who need a foster home!

Are you emotionally prepared to handle the death of one of your foster animals?
This can be very difficult, but the sad truth is that, though rare, it occasionally happens.

Do you love cuddling kittens and want to be on the frontline of saving kitten lives?
Foster volunteering will provide both of these experiences in abundance!

If you answered “yes” to all these questions, then fostering kittens might be a great volunteer opportunity for you.  Here’s how to get started:

How to Get Started

1. The first step in becoming a kitten foster volunteer is to attend a Kitten Foster Volunteer Orientation. Please choose a foster orientation from the dates listed below:

**Please check back in 2019 for Kitten Foster Volunteer Orientation dates**

2. Complete a foster volunteer application and include your desired orientation date. Please note that this applicaiton is for foster applicants only (download application here)
3. Email completed application to
4. Wait for an email confirmation from SF SPCA Volunteer Services to be sent to you (within 7 days of your application submission) confirming that your application is being processed and that you have been registered for your chosen orientation date
5. Read our Kitten Foster Manual 
6. Attend the Kitten Foster Volunteer Orientation
7. The Foster team will work with you to schedule your first kitten pick-up!

“There is no better way to end the day than to sit down and have 2 or 3 or 4 kitties climb into your lap and on your shoulders and start purring.” – Mary Godfrey

Read more about foster parent roles and responsibilities.