How to Foster Kittens

You'll typically receive two or more foster kittens at one time.

You'll typically receive two or more foster kittens at one time.

Fostering kitties can be a rewarding opportunity to teach young cats social skills and nourish them though early stages of life. You may get the chance to foster several groups of kittens in one season. While foster programs vary, general prep tips can help you get started.

Items you will need

  • Water bowl
  • Food bowl
  • Bedding
  • Litter box, litter and scoop
  • Kitten food

Step 1

Find foster kitten programs near you. These may be run by animal shelters, SPCA groups or other nonprofits. Your vet should be able to direct you to local kitten foster opportunities.

Step 2

Read the program literature, noting any requirements. You may need to live close to the foster location, own a car so you can transport kittens, commit to attending foster mom education classes or other classes, and complete an application. If you have existing pets, you may need to keep the foster kitties in a separate and enclosed room. Complete the application if required.

Step 3

Prepare a safe space for the kitties. Kitten-proof your enclosed room by blocking electrical outlets and small holes, removing anything kitties could accidentally ingest or get into, and sealing windows. Kitties need water and food bowls, bedding material, and a litter box. The rescue organization may provide some or all of these, or you may need to purchase them.

Step 4

Bring home kittens when your foster program has little ones in need of foster care.

Step 5

Feed the kittens a prescribed diet of kitten milk replacement or kitten food (your foster organization should provide you with food). The organization should tell you how much food to give the kittens each day and how many times a day to feed them, based on weight. If your kittens do not eat or do not gain weight, contact the foster group.

Step 6

Play with the kittens as often as you can. Some organizations have recommended minimum playtime, such as three 20-minute sessions per day. Try to follow these guidelines.

Step 7

Bring your kitties to any medical appointments they need. Foster groups may provide free medical care.

Step 8

Return the foster kitties when time is up. Some groups have a weight-based guideline, such as asking foster moms to return kittens that weigh 2 pounds. Others may have a time-based limit, such as number of weeks in age.


  • When fostering kittens, you are responsible for following all of the guidelines the foster group puts forth. When in doubt, don't second guess or call your own vet -- follow the procedures provided.

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