What To Know When Fostering Kittens: 6 Essential Tips

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kitten wrapped in a hat

Kittens are some of the most adorable animals on the planet, and you would be hard-pressed to find more cuddly and lovable creatures!

Not only do kittens love to spend a lot of their time playing and cuddling, but they are also looking for someone to bond with and to make them feel safe and secure.

When it comes to fostering, in addition to providing them with a happy and healthy home environment, the ultimate goal with fostering kittens is to make them adoptable into a permanent home.

So, before you bring home kittens to foster, it’s very important to be mindful of several important factors.

If you are not properly prepared and not ready for the commitment, you may end up with unhappy and maladjusted kittens down the road. And unhappy and maladjusted kittens can be more difficult for shelters to adopt out.

In this article, we will give you some important information about what to know when fostering kittens, as well as giving you some useful tips about how to provide your foster kittens with what they need to develop into happy, healthy, and adoptable cats.

At A Glance: Things To Consider When Fostering Kittens

  • Basic Supplies – Kittens require a few, basic supplies in order for them to be happy and healthy. These supplies include food and water, a litter box (and litter), a scratching post or scratching pad, comfy beds or cozy spots, grooming supplies, and some toys to play with.
  • Home Environment – Making sure that your home is kitten-friendly is another very important aspect of fostering. So, before you bring your new friends home, be sure that you have a safe and friendly environment that is free from any potential dangers or stressors.
  • Time Commitment – It’s very important to be sure that you will be able to spend a good deal of time with your foster kittens. Spending time with them will not only help to keep them safe, but it will also help them to develop a sense of trust and companionship with humans.
  • Basic Hygiene – Foster kittens, especially when they are orphans, may need a little help when it comes to cleanliness. So, it’s important to pay close attention to their overall hygiene to make sure that they don’t develop any hygienic issues.
  • Quarantining – It’s vital to make sure that your foster kittens and any pre-existing cats in your home are continually separated from each other. Doing so will prevent the spread of any infections while your fosters are developing their immune systems.
  • Medical Care – While your foster kittens are in the early stages of developing their immune systems, pay close attention to any irregularities in their general health, and be prepared to take them to a veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness.

Things To Keep In Mind When Fostering Kittens

kitten in a litter box

When fostering kittens, your goal is to make them socialized, well-trained, and adoptable.

In this article, we’ll expand on some of these important things to consider when fostering kittens. Remember, all foster kittens have their own unique personalities, so you may have to do some experimenting to discover what works best for them and what works best for you.

Still, fostering kittens can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience, and you can definitely help to provide a wonderful existence for the kittens that you foster.

Foster Kittens Need Specific Supplies

Before you bring home your foster kittens, make sure that you have all of the supplies that they will need, which include food and water (and food and water bowls), a litter box and litter, scratching posts or scratching pads, beds and blankets, and plenty of toys for them to play with.

Make sure that the wet and dry food that you feed them is specifically made for kittens so that they get the nutrients that they need, and be sure that their litter box has a low enough profile for them to be able to climb into. Also, when it comes to litter, non-clumping litter is a better option for kittens because it won’t stick to their fur or their tiny paws.

Read More: Best Cat Litter for Kittens

Provide A Safe And Healthy Home

Kittens are very curious by nature, and exploring, climbing, and chewing are very common habits when it comes to fosters who are trying to get used to their new environment. So, making sure that your home is kitten-friendly is a very important aspect of fostering.

An unsafe home can be very detrimental to their immediate and long-term mental and physical health, so it’s important to prepare your home beforehand.

Make sure that cords, cables, and blind cords are out of their reach, make sure that there are no potentially poisonous plants or flowers near them, and make sure that your toilet lids are closed. Also, be mindful of curtains that might be appealing for kittens to climb on, be sure to keep all of your windows closed, and always keep your foster kittens indoors to prevent injuries and infections.

Spend Time with your Foster Kittens

Kitten drinking milk from a bottle

Kittens require the unique balance of nutrients present in their mother’s milk. Anything besides this milk or a specially-formulated cat milk replacer will lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Foster kittens require a lot of attention and care to make sure that they are happy, healthy, and safe. So, if you are considering being a foster parent for kittens, definitely think it through beforehand, and make sure that you will be able to spend an ample amount of time with them after you bring them into your home.

Not only is spending time with your fosters important when it comes to their general well-being, it’s also vital that you set aside several minutes each day to spend with them for playing, grooming, and cuddling.

Doing this will help them to develop a sense of trust and affection with humans, which will help to make them more adoptable when it’s time to return them to the shelter.

Keep your Foster Kittens Clean

Cats are generally very clean animals and spend a lot of time grooming themselves. However, it can take a little time for kittens to learn some basic grooming skills, and this is especially true when it comes to foster kittens that are orphans since they don’t have their mother present to teach them these skills.

It’s better to provide them with non-clumping litter since it has less of a tendency to get stuck to their fur or get stuck in their paws and between their toes, but you should still inspect them regularly and be prepared to give them a thorough cleaning now and then. It’s easy to clean up your foster kittens either with kitten wipes or with a washcloth soaked in warm water.

Give Your Foster Kittens Their Own Space

It can be very tempting to bring home your foster kittens and simply let them loose with the hope that they will begin to socialize with any other animals that may already live there.

However, this can be very dangerous and unhealthy for your foster kittens, as well as being potentially dangerous and unhealthy for your pre-existing animals.

Typically, kittens should start receiving their first round of vaccinations at approximately 6-8 weeks of age, so it’s important that they remain quarantined prior to their vaccinations while their immune systems are developing.

Also, foster kittens can unknowingly bring home fleas or infectious diseases from their shelter, which can inadvertently be transferred to other animals in your home.

Be Prepared for Veterinary Visits

As mentioned, it takes time for kittens to develop their immune systems, and they should be approximately 6-8 weeks of age before they receive their first round of vaccinations. And, since foster kittens are coming from a shelter environment, they may have infections or illnesses that you may not be aware of right away.

So, before you make the decision to become a foster parent, it’s very important that you consider the potential cost of unexpected veterinary visits.

Before you bring your foster kittens home, find a veterinarian in your neighborhood that treats cats and kittens, and be ready to take them to these unexpected vet visits if you see signs of illness or other irregularities.

Final Thoughts


Fostering kittens can be an incredibly rewarding experience for you, as well as being a wonderful and nurturing experience for the kittens themselves. However, there are many things to consider and prepare for before you make the decision to become a foster parent.

That being said, if you properly prepare yourself, properly prepare your home, and know what you are getting into beforehand, you can help your foster kittens to thrive and become happy additions to their eventual forever homes.

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About Michael Vogelsang

Owned by a colony of 12 cats, Michael is an animal lover, writer, musician and voice actor who has always loved having animals in his life. He and his wife enjoy their involvement with local shelters and the rescue community, as well as taking care of their ever-growing family of animals.

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  1. Angela Meyers

    Hello we just recently took in a kitten that was found in a field by herself.. we managed to get her stayed and got her first shots spayed and got her first shots… We love her so much but she’s really a finicky eater and we are spent a small fortune on different types of soft food he is mostly eating hard food but I was told it’s good for their diet to have the wet also and it is time I recently became I’ll and cannot work. And have yet to get any benefits do you or your company have any source of maybe donating 6 or 12 cans of a healthy variety of soft can food for my Xenia… It would help us greatly and would be so appreciative my number is 314-230-3283 much to ask about litter also?

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hi Angela, thanks for reaching out to us with your question about getting appropriate food on a restricted budget. I’ll send you an email. Best, Mallory