Should I Stop Fostering?

Perxian

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Hi everyone,
So to begin we have a 5 year old cat, Miso who we adopted out as an adult. We are unsure of her previous situation, but know that she can at least tolerate other cats as we adopted her from a cat cafe where other cats seldom bothered her. An important detail, we have also recently realized that she is seizure-prone. Vets are unsure of the cause, but it is (as far as we are aware) well controlled with medication.
Within the last month we have decided to open up our home to our first foster cat. She is 10 months old and very playful and affectionate. Thinking that she was so friendly with humans, we decided to try a supervised introduction of the two kitties to see if Miso would be okay with having a friend to "observe". Unfortunately this introduction began and ended very poorly with the foster trying to attack miso and her cowering in fear of the foster. It broke my heart to make my cat feel this way and I'm now reconsidering fostering. I'm not only concerned for my cat possibly being bullied, but also that the stress put on her might cause her to have more seizures.
The whole situation has made me feel a bit jaded about fostering in general. I'm looking for advice on what i might be able to do. We live in a relatively small house so not allowing the foster to enter rooms other than the one we set her up in causes her a lot of anxiety (excessive meowing, clawing at beneath the door). And conversely I would prefer not to lock my cat up in a room as it's pretty much her house and I want her to go where she pleases. Does it sound possible that I could strictly request more "submissive", friendly, or laid back cats and kittens or does it sound more like Miso should remain an only cat? thank you for reading!
 

Cat McCannon

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Only you can decide what’s best for your cat. But the introduction process was rushed. If you continue fostering, you must be patient and do the introductions right. A foster attacking your cat is stressful and stress can trigger a seizure.
 

ArtNJ

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Very common error, always do a full introduction process with adults. Don't blame yourself though, its a natural mistake. Cats that are friendly to other cats in a particular home or a shelter quite often have problems with new cats in a different environment such as a new home. A full introduction process might get them getting along though, so you don't need to give up on fostering. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 

Kieka

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Continuing fostering is a choice only you can make. I'd agree that introductions were rushed but I'd add on that maybe you should keep fosters separate at all times.

There are plenty of people who foster and have resident cats, mixing the fosters with residents isn't always something that happens. One concern would be illness exposure for your resident from the fosters. I would mix foster and resident unless it had been at least two weeks and the group I was working with did health testing to ensure nothing got passed from foster to resident. I know some fosters who will change clothes between the foster room and their resident cats to ensure there is nothing transferring. If you've done a quarentine period first, then it becomes more a question if Miso is interested in spending time with fosters.

Some cats can coexist in some settings but it's Miso's own territory, not a shared space. She is probably less inclined to share her home with others. Some cats do enjoy foster kittens, or adults. My boy I've always thought would love to be exposed to fosters, but he's brought home neighborhood cats and loved when Rockey was a kitten. But my girl absolutely despises other cats and would be uncomfortable with fosters even in a different part of the house.

I'd say, you need to really exam what's best for Miso and if you are willing to either do slower interactions or keep fosters separate to reduce stress on Miso.
 

flybear

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in general I would never introduce new cats to a cat who is not 100% health wise ... if she has seizures- eve controlled with meds ... it might be too stressful for her to have cat companionship. Sick animals tend to get isolated by their groups ... and chased away ... another consideration is age ... a 10 months old is a Kitten during their worst time of adolescence - they will pounce on everything and everybody for fun and enjoy raucous games ... older cats want to lounge around and have their peace and quiet ... conflicts will arise even among the most social individuals at that stage. My rule is that I foster either really little babies ( who my cats perceive as no threat and get accepted easily as young kittens can still be disciplined gently ) or ... very calm and older cats used to other cats with good social skills ... everything else is too stressful for my existing cats who live as a group with clear defined boundaries and hierarchies . My boys know not to mess with the two girls ( who raised them more or less ) - it works because my girls are siblings who have never been apart and the boys were very young when they came in AND they are mellow and shy. Just like humans ... not all cats can room together ... it has to be a good fit ... cats DO form really close bonds with other cats and friendships - they groom, lick and sleep together - mine really enjoy their little pride ... but put a strange cat in there who is not a teeny tiny kitten ... and half of them hides and half will chase the intruder away
 

CatladyJan

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Most people I know foster in another room or outbuilding. That is a lot of stress on both kitties and your purpose is to provide a temporary place for your foster kitty until it can be adopted out.

I'm fortunate to have an outbuilding where I can do my fostering and I until I have a clean bill of health I treat them as if they are in a shelter and make sure I wash and remove my shoes etc...

I just completed fostering 8 kittens and now I just have their mommas who are healthy, but it would be way too stressful for either to come into my home with my other 6 cats and dog.
 

tarasgirl06

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Hi everyone,
So to begin we have a 5 year old cat, Miso who we adopted out as an adult. We are unsure of her previous situation, but know that she can at least tolerate other cats as we adopted her from a cat cafe where other cats seldom bothered her. An important detail, we have also recently realized that she is seizure-prone. Vets are unsure of the cause, but it is (as far as we are aware) well controlled with medication.
Within the last month we have decided to open up our home to our first foster cat. She is 10 months old and very playful and affectionate. Thinking that she was so friendly with humans, we decided to try a supervised introduction of the two kitties to see if Miso would be okay with having a friend to "observe". Unfortunately this introduction began and ended very poorly with the foster trying to attack miso and her cowering in fear of the foster. It broke my heart to make my cat feel this way and I'm now reconsidering fostering. I'm not only concerned for my cat possibly being bullied, but also that the stress put on her might cause her to have more seizures.
The whole situation has made me feel a bit jaded about fostering in general. I'm looking for advice on what i might be able to do. We live in a relatively small house so not allowing the foster to enter rooms other than the one we set her up in causes her a lot of anxiety (excessive meowing, clawing at beneath the door). And conversely I would prefer not to lock my cat up in a room as it's pretty much her house and I want her to go where she pleases. Does it sound possible that I could strictly request more "submissive", friendly, or laid back cats and kittens or does it sound more like Miso should remain an only cat? thank you for reading!
Hello Perxian Perxian and Miso and welcome to TCS! Previous posters have all shared good thoughts and suggestions. Bottom line, yes, it's your decision as to whether or not to foster. And I for one am very grateful to you for fostering. I work in cat advocacy 365 days a year and every ACC, shelter, humane society, rescue and sanctuary I know of, all over the world, is DESPERATE for good fosters. But yes, most fosters do separate their own cats from foster cats, and health checks are what any responsible entity would perform before releasing a cat to foster.
If I were in your shoes, I would opt to foster adult and older cats. They tend to get overlooked in favor of kittens but need good foster homes just as badly! and they would tend to be more calm. I do hope you can work out a good fostering scenario where Miso is safe, healthy and not stressed, and needy foster cats are given the safe haven they so need and deserve.
 

sunny091

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I always keep my fosters separate from my own cats. Usually the rule of thumb is making sure fosters are separated from your own cats for at least two weeks to make sure they’re healthy, but there are also other things that don’t pop up quickly (ringworm!!!!) and are a bit harder to confirm before the two weeks are up (parasites). Not to mention that it is very stressful on your own cat. Think if someone walked into your house and you had to share space with them, not knowing their intentions or if they were going to hurt you. Sounds pretty frightening to me.
 

hopscotch

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I have been fostering kittens and mama cats with kittens over the last year through my local shelter and love it. The training I had to take was clear that it had to occur in a separate room with a tile/cleanable floor and a cleaning protocol using AHP (accelerated hydrogen peroxide) from the shelter both before and after each foster to prevent transmission of illness. I think if they found out I was not doing that they wouldn't let me do it anymore...

While very tempting to want to socialize everyone, mixing the animals together risks them sharing diseases unintentionally as well as the social mishaps and cat stresses you encountered. A case in point was the last kitten I had here developed a sneeze and my cats would have been at risk, including an elderly cat I have.

My three cats are fine with foster cats. They know the fosters stay in the foster room and don't threaten their territory in the rest of the home. A plug-in Feliway Friends or two also helps.
 

tarasgirl06

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I have been fostering kittens and mama cats with kittens over the last year through my local shelter and love it. The training I had to take was clear that it had to occur in a separate room with a tile/cleanable floor and a cleaning protocol using AHP (accelerated hydrogen peroxide) from the shelter both before and after each foster to prevent transmission of illness. I think if they found out I was not doing that they wouldn't let me do it anymore...

While very tempting to want to socialize everyone, mixing the animals together risks them sharing diseases unintentionally as well as the social mishaps and cat stresses you encountered. A case in point was the last kitten I had here developed a sneeze and my cats would have been at risk, including an elderly cat I have.

My three cats are fine with foster cats. They know the fosters stay in the foster room and don't threaten their territory in the rest of the home. A plug-in Feliway Friends or two also helps.
Huge props to you, hopscotch hopscotch ! As a ferocious advocate for cats, I applaud your walking the talk and being a hero for cats!
 
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