Fostering cats when you already have one

stir_fryiJanuary 8, 2010

How do you foster when you have a permanent cat at home already?

I am just wondering if it would be to stressful for my 4 year old cat to have a "stranger" come in and out of the house every few months.

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I wouldn't risk bringing disease into the house. Other than that, I think it depends on your cat. My male would be fine with it, my female would freak.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:53PM
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I always have fosters...I understand not wanting to bring the disease, but I guess I look at the problem differently.These poor homeless kitties are no worse and no different from the cats I already have...and if this means saving their lives - and most of the time it does - I am willing to take the chances. They are not some diseased creatures - they are cats, same cats as my own I love so much...

Besides, what diseases are there that can be brought in? If your house cats are vaccinated and rather young and healthy, there is nothing to worry about.
Sure, my cats got ringworm - did not kill them. I had to do a few rounds of deworming and defleaing and learned now to separate the new comers for a week or two, and only let them mingle with my cats after the deworming and defleaning is complete.

My older cats used to get grumpy over new comes, but they have since gotten so used to new faces, they do not care. It does keep my cats young though, as there always kittens for them to play with.

I myself love having kittens at home. It is hard to part with them, but I know there will be more coming :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Yes, of course, it depends on your cat... also on whether you have a good, comfortable home setting to keep them apart, at least for a while.

I just had my first experience with a foster cat and .. 4 cats of my own. I would do it again, just because, in spite of all the worries, I believe I gave that cat almost 3 months of knowing the only home she might have known in her life and a lot of personal TLC. But it was stressful. I simply did not know what I was getting into. A word of caution.

Besides, what diseases are there that can be brought in? FIP.. which I believe she had. And we could not save her. Lost her battle a week ago, so it is fresh in my heart.. Of course, whenever you bring in a new cat, that could happen.

I would first go for a cat that is recovering from some surgery and needs a quiet environment away from the stress of a shelter.

Also.. if, like me, you are the type who gets attached easily... well you know..

Anyway, I do believe that fostering is a wonderful thing you could do for a sick cat or kitten. Wish more people (without cats) would do it!


    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 4:22PM
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Our neighbor fixed up big cages in her garage for foster cats. Our weather is mild and she also has a space heater in the garage.

As was stated, keeping them separate is safest. Be very careful to have sanitary practices so that you don't end up spreading ringworm or other diseases.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:35PM
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"Besides, what diseases are there that can be brought in?"

FIP. I spent $4k caring for a cat with it. I now guard my cats like there is no tomorrow. They are never boarded and they never associate with other cats (I won't care for friends' cats in my house, for example). I don't even like bringing them to the vet.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 5:54PM
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I knew - knew - FIP would be brought up and should have put a disclaimer

FIP is not contagious, per se. Have your cats vaccinated and keep the fosters separate until they are vaccinated and wormed.

Hundreds, if not thousands, do it (fostering), so it is. Best thing to have a separate room, if possible

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:51PM
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I have read that FIP is not contagious. Yet every kitten in my cat's litter died of FIP (my cat first showed symptoms at about 5 months old). It was believed that the mother was a virus shedder. My understanding is that there are cats who are exposed to the virus who do not get FIP but who are chronic virus shedders. The vet thought my cat was one because she was symptom free for so long (had symptoms which resolved), but then they restarted and she eventully died.

I realize I am extra cautious. But I could not handle going through that again.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:53PM
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Sue, I understand, and I sympathize with you. You went through a heartbreaking battle...

Yet, I do not want to see people get discouraged from fostering. I think it is fare to give an honest picture: yes, some risks are involved. With caution and common sense, fostering can be a wonderful and rather rewarding experience

The death of the entire littler from FIP is more than expected. It is believed that genetics play a key role as to which cats will succumb to FIP. Litter mates are more genetically alike and thus are predisposed for the corona virus mutation.
Corona virus is omnipresent, and probably all of our cats have been exposed to it at some point. Yes, a new cat can bring corona virus with it, and most likely, the cats will get nothing but a "kitty cold" out of it.

Unfortunately, if a cat's body is going to let the virus mutate, it is going to happen, regardless of whether one fosters or not. It is sad.

But, on a happier note, fostering can be fun. Little kittens are bundles of joy (I foster all ages) and entertainment.
Two weeks of isolation is a very good idea. I often set up cages in the garage, while deworming, defleaing and observing. Some of my older cats love playing with foster kids...

From Honey From Kittens November 2008

Giving them up is hard...some more than others...
One of my latest fosters, a white deaf kitty Powder Puff, is such a love, I am keeping him...I just cant part with him!

From [Kittens October 2009](

And let me tell you, if you ever want to adopt a kitty but in the process of looking...fostering is THE best way to find that best matching get to know the personalities, their silly habits, and such...You literally fall in love with some of the furry fosters:)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 9:01AM
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Olyagrove, I could not agree more with you on everything you said. Yes, genetics play a big part in which cats will have the corona virus mutate, especially in young cats. That's why, when I learned my foster cat had tested positive for the corona virus and had obvious symptoms of FIP (uveitis, poor growth, weight loss), I NEVER even thought about returning her to the shelter or keeping her apart from my other cats who had grown fond of her. But I kept litter boxes and food/water bowls apart--as I had done from day one, and this implied much vigilance...

I could not foster kittens because they are so 'fragile', but, I would take in any adult cat who has a tough time recovering in the stress of a shelter.

Sir_fryi, if it is stressful for your cat, you can always return the cat, but you won't know until you try...

Again, It is a wonderful thing you can do for these cats! Just look at these happy faces from Olyagrove's 'babies'! Great pictures!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:41PM
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I would keep the fosters separate from the one you have already. My vet would not let me bring home my dead cat's body to bury because of the risk of spreading the FIP virus, so apparently it is considered contagious by some professionals. You can not vaccinate for FIP and the mutated virus can be shed by cats who have it, according to my vet.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 10:12PM
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