WHAT MAKES A CAT OR KITTEN ELIGIBLE FOR THE FOSTER TO ADOPT PROGRAM?
There are lots of reasons why we might put a cat, or even in some cases a kitten, into our Foster To Adopt program. Oftentimes these felines are incredibly sweet at their foster homes but have a hard time handling all the sights, sounds, and smells at PetSmart. Not every cat responds well to being in a cage, and can you blame them? We call it “not performing well”, because the sad reality is that people at the store are looking for cats that are super playful and super cuddly and want to be held, and while these Foster To Adopt cats may fit those descriptions in real life they get too terrified at PetSmart to let their true personalities shine, and potential adopters never see how special they really are. Despite how much our Adoption Counselors try to reassure people, it’s hard to commit to taking home a cat based on a personality that someone says they have, but that you haven’t witnessed firsthand. With our Foster To Adopt program, potential adopters are given the opportunity to interact and bond with these cats in a more natural setting and over a longer period of time, which allows you to see their true personalities and better determine whether they’re a good fit for your household.
HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR NEW FOSTER INTO YOUR HOUSEHOLD
Change can be scary, especially for older cats. The most important part of Fostering To Adopt is making sure that you properly introduce your new cat/kitten into your household. This will make for the simplest transition and allow your new foster to bond more quickly with both you and your current pets. When your new FTA kitty arrives, make sure that you have a separate room prepared for them. It is crucial that they have a space on their own where they can feel safe. Don’t be surprised if for the first few days they hide or seem scared, this is perfectly normal. Give them time to adjust, spend time in the room with them even if they’re hiding and make sure that they have access to plenty of food and water. As they grow more comfortable, spend as much time as you can playing with them, snuggling them, and allowing them to bond with you.
We recommend waiting a week until introducing your FTA kitty (or any new pet, for that matter) to your other pets.
During that week, make an effort to exchange scents between your new foster and your current pets. Swap their blankets at some point, be sure to allow the others to sniff your hand after petting your foster, so that they become familiar with the new scent. When everyone is ready, open the door and allow your foster to venture out and meet your current pets. Don’t be alarmed if there’s some initial hissing, that’s normal. If there’s any aggression between one of your current pets and your foster, simply separate them and give your foster some more time in their room before reintroducing.
The amount of time you need to wait for a successful introduction varies with each pet – your current pets and new foster may be comfortable in less time than that, or they may need a little more time than a week. Give them as long as they need!