The Benefits of Fostering - Become a Foster Guardian Today!

Thursday March 14th, 2024

Help Jameson Humane by Serving as a Temporary Foster Guardian for an Adult Cat or Kitten

By Jeffrey Richard, Jameson Humane Volunteer

Jameson Humane rescues and cares for many cats and kittens and always needs foster homes to support Jameson’s adoption program.  Please consider fostering a cat for either a brief window of time, or longer, to help Jameson, particularly for those cats who need a soft place to land and transition while in their senior years.

There are many benefits to fostering, both for the cats and to their foster guardians.  Perhaps you have been thinking about becoming a short-term foster guardian for a cat already? If you work from home or have the space to take care of a cat, and if you think you would enjoy having a cat companion (and receive the emotional, psychological, and even physical benefits discussed below), then you may be interested in finding out more about Jameson’s foster program and the support that Jameson provides to foster guardians. For more information, please contact Jameson’s Companion Animal Program Manager, Jaime Vega, by email at

Fostering cats is a wonderful and fulfilling act of generosity, which yields a Win-Win-Win – for the cat, for the foster guardian, and for the rescue organization that has sheltered and cared for the cat.  When someone brings a foster cat into their home, they help socialize the cat and prepare it for adoption. At the same time, the act of fostering a cat brings many emotional and psychological benefits to the foster caregiver, while allowing them to help out without making the sort of commitment for the life of the cat that adoption entails. Finally, every time a cat goes into a foster home, this not only furthers the rescue organization’s mission of improving the quality of life of the animals in its care, but also helps the rescue by making room for other cats who may have a critical need for their care and attention.

Jameson Humane’s Foster Program

Information about Jameson’s foster program can be found here. There are two easy steps to becoming a foster guardian for cats rescued or cared for by Jameson Humane. The first step is to fill out Jameson’s animal foster application. The application is linked on the Jameson Humane webpage noted above, and can also be found here.

The second step to foster a cat currently in Jameson’s care is to allow a home visit. Jaime Vega (Companion Animal Program manager) explains, “A home visit is a great opportunity for us to get to meet the foster guardian, ensure the home is safe and secure for any future foster animal. It is also extremely helpful in getting to know the home layout as well as any resident animals to further pair any needs in the future.”

According to Mr. Vega, fostering timelines vary, based both on Jameson’s needs at the time, the individual cat’s specific situation and temperament, and the foster guardian’s schedule and availability. Fostering timelines can range from emergency placements of 24 hours, to fostering for a specific period of weeks or months, to a more open-ended period of fostering up until the animal is adopted. Jameson’s fostering opportunities are very flexible and dependent upon the foster guardian’s availability.

Foster guardians receive financial support from Jameson. For all foster animals, Jameson provides all the essential food, supplies, medical care, and any other necessities. (Foster guardians are always welcome to supplement as they wish.) Foster caregivers are also given priority when it comes to adopting their foster animal. And adoption fees are waived for current fosters.

 If changes occur and the foster guardian is no longer able to continue with the cat in their home, Jameson readily cooperates with the transition and either places the cat in another foster home or accepts the cat back into Jameson’s facility and care. Jameson recognizes that circumstances can arise which call for a change, but is most appreciative if notice of one week or more is given.

Jameson enjoys working with its foster guardians and values their ability to help facilitate permanent placements for foster cats. For a prospective adopter wishing to meet a foster animal, “meet and greets” are held at the foster caregiver’s home – with their approval and coordination of course. Foster guardians are great adoption ambassadors as they know their foster animal best and can help make adoption candidates feel comfortable with their choice of their new family member!


How Do Cats Benefit From Foster Care? describes why foster care is so beneficial to cats who are currently in the care of a rescue or shelter:

A foster home is a bridge from a cat’s former life to their new life with a forever family. . . . An environment that feels like home instead of a shelter, is usually best for cats. Cats, like people, need a place to feel safe; a place where they can let their guard down and relax, where they don’t have to worry about where the next meal will come from, what other animal might challenge them in the night, or if they will be warm and dry.  Many cats have been neglected or abused and don’t know what a loving home feels like.  Foster families help them learn what it’s like to eat, sleep and play in a safe space. Foster homes play an important role in caring for cats in an often-overburdened system.

The FelineFoster article goes on to describe the cats and kittens that are most benefitted from finding a temporary foster home:

Neonates: These fragile lives need round the clock care that many organizations are unable to offer. There may be special training needed in order to provide special care.

Young Kittens: Helping these toddlers learn to walk and play can be a nonstop source of laughter!  As these fur kids develop, they need a safe place to learn manners and grow up healthy in order to become the best family members they can be.

Cats in Need of Medical Recovery:  Every day shelters are inundated with cats that are sick and injured. Foster care often speeds up the process by providing a quiet, restful place to heal.  You can use this time to get to know your foster cat, help find them a forever home, and raise awareness about your shelter’s medical program.

Over-Stressed Cats: Imagine that you lost your family and home and found yourself sitting in a kennel.  You used to have a whole home, people that gave you treats and toys, and now you have a small, rectangular cage where you spend 20 or more hours a day surrounded by barks and meows and a parade of people passing by.  Some cats just cannot adapt and begin to emotionally break down.  Short-term foster care is like a vacation when you are stressed, and long-term foster care is a more humane way for cats to spend this transitional period from former home to new, forever family.

Emergency: During times of crisis, shelters may be overwhelmed with cats in need.  Emergency fosters pledge to step up and provide a temporary safe space to alleviate the need for shelters to create space through euthanasia.  This may be during an extreme weather event like a hurricane, a sudden expansive wildfire, or even, a pandemic.

Cats Shelters Need to Learn More About: There are some things that organizations just can’t learn about a pet in the shelter. The role of the foster caregiver is to learn as much as possible about the cat in their care, and share that information with the shelter/rescue group, and all the friends and family you know, in order to make a great match with their new forever home.

Hospice Cats: No pet should spend the end of their life in an impersonal shelter environment. As great as your local shelter may be, a home is typically better.  A fospice (foster/hospice) home keeps a kitty comfortable, for as long as they can, until they can’t. Many times, a cat who was predicted to have weeks left, ends up sticking around longer due to the love and care they receive in a foster home.


How Do Foster Guardians Benefit From Providing Cats a Temporary Home?

Foster guardians for cats derive well-recognized psychological, emotional and physical benefits from having them in their home. Even when cats are fostered for only a short period of time, they can fulfill a foster guardian’s need for companionship, serve to ease loneliness, reduce anxiety, and trigger relaxation.  And, depending on the personality of the foster cat, the caregiver may derive joy and feelings of lightness from interacting with playful and affectionate animals.

Furthermore, providing a home and companionship for animals may provide caregivers with a renewed sense of purpose and personal satisfaction in knowing they are improving the quality of life of another sentient being. In fact, caring for cats and other animals in need may bolster self-esteem and bestow a sense of accomplishment. Fostering a cat will provide the caregiver with an opportunity to feel and demonstrate empathy. And, in turn, experiencing that emotion will often boost the caregiver’s feelings of self-worth and result in recognition of the intrinsic value of compassion.

According to a 2020 article about the health benefits of animal companionship on the website of the senior-support organization, Barclay Friends, having animal companions at home:

  • Lowered cortisol, a stress hormone, and increased serotonin and dopamine, hormones associated with happiness and well-being
  • Lowered blood pressure, heart rate and serum triglycerides
  • Increased daily exercise in petting, lifting, grooming . . .
  • Lowered risk of depression and stress-induced disease.

Seniors and Pets, A Pawsome Combination,” 

In an article written for the Preventive Vet website entitled “Foster Cats 101: Why You Should Consider Fostering a Cat,” LeeAnna Buis, CFTBS, FFCP, describes the emotional and physical benefits she derives from fostering cats in ways that echo the discussion above.  Ms. Buis explains why she is a foster guardian:

I grew up in a household where any animal in need of care was welcome. It was a revolving door of stray cats, dogs whose owners couldn’t keep them, injured, wild this and that, and once, a pregnant spaniel found wandering the desert, who soon gave birth to 14 puppies! It certainly wasn’t easy for my mother to manage and care for all these critters. But she never said no. Well, occasionally, she said no, but never really meant it.

When I moved out on my own, I knew I wanted to continue supporting animals in need, the way my family had. My plan was to buy a house and dedicate a spare room solely to fostering cats. It took a while, but I finally did it. I lovingly call it the Foster Suite. And it has been my absolute joy.

People often choose to foster a cat before making a decision to adopt.  By fostering a cat, they can experience the upside benefits (which as discussed above, are substantial) as well as any downside such as the time commitment to properly care for the cat and any lifestyle changes or restrictions that may result from having a cat at home. Fostering allows the guardian to weigh these pros and cons without making the long-term commitment that comes with adoption.