What is Fostering?

Why Fostering?

Every year thousands of kittens are euthanized in animal shelters around the country. Newborn (neonatal) kittens are vulnerable and require constant care that most shelters cannot provide. These kitten’s only chance is to be taken in by a volunteer foster family. Once the kittens are big enough to live on their own, they can be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and adopted. 

Fostering saves kittens’ lives.

What Do Fosters Do?

Foster parents give kittens a safe environment and monitor their health. They feed the kittens regularly and even help them go to the bathroom. Foster parents make sure their kittens stay clean and warm. Most importantly, they play with and love their kittens to set them up to one day be adopted.


Not all fosters work with the same types of kittens. Some foster young bottle babies, while others foster weaned kittens. Some fosters are experts at taking critical cases or working with animals with special needs. People even foster mother cats along with their babies. Depending on interests and availabilities, someone may focus on a certain type of fostering, but other fosters take all types of cases.

Curious About Fostering?

Contact our foster coordinator [email protected]. Please include your name, email, address and phone number. Let us know what type of fostering you are interested in, and if you have previous experience. We will respond within the week.

Photos of Fostered Kittens

What are the Requirements to be a Foster?

Caring for Growing Kittens


  • Very fragile
  • Must be kept warm
  • Bottle fed every 2 hours
  • Stimulated to defecate
  • Deaf and Blind

1 Week Old

  • Fragile
  • Bottle fed every 2-3 hours
  • Must be kept warm
  • Stimulated to defecate
  • Blind

2 Weeks

  • Bottle fed every 3 hours
  • Stimulated to defecate
  • Must be kept warm
  • Eyes start to open!

3 Weeks

  • Bottle fed every 4 hours
  • Begin learning to use litterbox
  • Begin being introduced to cat food and water

Weeks 4 & 5 (Weaning)

  • Transition from formula to canned cat food 
  • Fed 3 times a day
  • May still need bottle feeding
  • Need many baths
  • Knows how to use a litterbox
  • Playful

6 Weeks +

  • Can eat wet and dry cat food
  • Can use the litterbox
  • Excessively energetic
  • At 8 weeks and 2 lbs, can be spayed/neutered and put up for adoption!

Types of Fostering

Things to Consider

Bottle Feeding
Kitten Central takes on the most vulnerable kittens. Because most kittens come in under the age of 4 weeks they require bottle feeding. The youngest kittens may require feeding every 2 hours through the day and night and help going to the bathroom. As kittens age, this time commitment lessens.

Kittens could bring diseases into your household. Kitten Central does its best, but it is always possible. Fosters must quarantine new litters of kittens for 2 weeks from other animals. This is best done in a spare room or bathroom where other household animals are not exposed to the kittens and vise versa.

We refer to the weaning period as ‘bath babies’. At 4-6 weeks, these babies require frequent bathing both of the messy food face and the back end, as they learn to eat. Diarrhea is common at this stage as transitioning from formula to food can cause some digestive upset.

Fosters must do homework to assist in kittens getting adopted. Each kitten requires a good quality photo and personalized descriptive form. This helps perspective adopters get matched with the right kitten.

Kitten Central does not “own” the kittens we foster, we take care of them for partnering shelters. As such, we do not adopt out the kittens ourselves. If someone you know wants to adopt a kitten you are fostering, we can work with the shelter to arrange that, but cannot guarantee anything.

Support You will Have
When you take on foster kittens, you may be their primary parent, but you are not fostering alone. Kitten Central provides training to new fosters and most supplies. We maintain an active foster Facebook group you can go to for support and our medical team is available around the clock if you need help. Kitten Central also handles all medical and adoption related logistics. Kitten baby-sitting is available to work around your schedule or if you just need a break.

The Goal of Fostering is to Say Goodbye

Fosters spend months caring for their kittens and watching them grow. When the time comes these kittens will need to graduate and move off to become other people’s treasured family members. Foster parents must be able to let go and wish their kittens well on their journey. Fostering kittens is about saving lives. Without empty foster homes, future litters will have nowhere to go. Saying goodbye to one litter is what will allow you to open your home up to the next set of kittens in need. (And we promise this litter will be charming, playful, and adorable too.)

Interested in Fostering?

Foster parents are vital to saving the lives of young kittens. We could not do it without our foster parents.

If you would like to give fostering a try contact [email protected]. Please include your name email address and phone number. Let us know what kind of population you are interested in fostering and if you have previous experience.

Thank YOU for helping us help the most vulnerable kittens.