Foster Care Program

Each year over 3,000 Kentucky Humane Society pets spend time in volunteer foster homes. You can help by opening up your heart and home – temporarily – to them.

Pets at the Kentucky Humane Society need YOU!

Typically pets who need temporary foster homes are too young to be spayed/neutered and adopted, pets who are recovering from illness, injury or surgery, or adult animals who need a break from the shelter for a short time until space on the adoption floor is available for them. We also have an Adoption Ambassador program that allows pets to remain in a foster home while they are available for adoption; this helps free up valuable space at the shelter and ensures that adoptable animals can relax in a foster home while they wait for their forever home.

KHS provides all necessary supplies including food, leash/collar, litter, preventives, crate, etc. All you need to do is provide a temporary home and love. Once you sign up and go through our online orientation, you’ll be added to our foster email list. Whenever animals are in need of foster, you’ll get an email and you can respond if you are interested in a particular pet. Foster assignments average two weeks, but can range from a few days to a few months depending on the animal. We are happy to work around your vacation schedule!

You’ll receive plenty of support while you foster. Our foster team is here to answer any questions you have. We also have a private Facebook group for foster parents where you can share photos of your foster pets and ask questions of other foster caregivers.

Most of our foster caregivers work full time and have other pets at home. Many families enjoy fostering, as the experience teaches children how to care for young or injured pets and how they can personally make a difference in an animal’s life.

If you haven’t fostered an animal before, give it a try! You’ll find it to be a rewarding experience, and you will have the assurance that you are helping KHS save more lives.

Kitten Season Fostering

As the weather warms each spring, “Kitten Season” begins across the country. Though some regions see kittens born year-round, most areas follow seasonal cycles timed with longer daylight hours and mild temperatures. In Louisville, the time when the greatest number of kittens are born coincides with the beginning of spring and continues until late fall.

During Kitten Season, KHS needs a variety of foster caregivers to open their homes to help cats and kittens in need. Our staff will provide you with the needed information and resources that you’d need for any type of kitten.

Types of Felines to Foster During Kitten Season

Moms with Litters

Pregnant or mother cats handle most of the kitten care themselves – nursing, grooming, socializing and more. Your role as a foster is to provide a quiet, comforting home so she can focus on raising healthy, well-adjusted kittens without the stress of the shelter. All you need to do is give them a safe place to rest and monitor that momma and her babies are thriving. Momma cats need foster care until her kittens are big and old enough for adoption – so you may have them for 8 weeks or longer. By giving this feline family a home during this critical time, you’ll allow a devoted mother to devote herself fully to her kittens while they grow.

Adult Cats

Adult cats also need support during Kitten Season. Shelter life can be stressful for cats of any age. Some require medical care; others just need a break from the shelter while awaiting adoption. They simply need a caring person to provide care and affection!

Weaned Kittens

Between five and eight-weeks-old, kittens usually transition to eating solid food. They are at an adorable and energetic time of their lives where they begin to learn how to be a cat. New foster families often find this to be a fun time, watching each kitten’s personality emerge. While the kittens are a bit more independent, they still need supervision and care as they transition from the newborn stage. As a foster, you’ll provide a safe home for them until they are old and large enough for adoption (around 8 weeks or 2 pounds).

Transitional Kittens

Around 4 weeks old, recently weaned kittens separated from their moms need special care. They start eating solid foods, but occasionally need bottle feedings, formula or wet food to ensure they receive the nutrition they need. Don’t worry, KHS’ foster team will make sure you know what and when to feed each kitten.

Bottle Babies

Bottle Babies require a high level of care, commitment, and experience.
We do not recommend fostering Bottle Babies if you are not an experienced foster.

Kittens who are orphaned between newborn stage to four-weeks-old are what we call “Bottle Babies.” They require dedicated round-the-clock care, including bottle feeding every few hours. They are tiny and vulnerable and rely on the foster’s help for survival. Keeping them warm and properly nourished requires extensive effort. But, the investment pays off because you will be giving abandoned kittens affection, attention and sustenance during critical early development!

Unsocialized Kittens

If a kitten hasn’t had much human contact, the world can seem like a scary place. They may hiss or hide, but with patience and time, they’ll learn to be trusting of people. Kitten socialization takes a different amount of energy and care for each feline. With dedicated fosters, kittens learn to blossom into affectionate, confident kittens as they prepare for adoption. This is a rewarding process, because with a little work, that nervous kitty can transform into an energetic feline before your eyes.

Interested in becoming a foster parent?

Read more about the foster program and fill out an application here, or contact the Foster Coordinator at [email protected] or 502-366-3355 ex. 4007 with any questions.

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