Fostering for the ASPCA
With the help of an amazing group of foster caregivers, the ASPCA Foster Program gives animals who are not yet ready for adoption a chance to live and be loved in foster homes. This exciting partnership with NYC-area foster families allows the ASPCA to take in more cats and dogs at our Adoption Center, reduce the amount of time an animal stays in our Adoption Center and provides us with valuable information from foster families to help prepare animals for adoption. Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience you’ll never forget, and improves the lives of shelter animals in a very direct way. If you live in the New York City area and are interested in becoming an ASPCA foster caregiver, read on!
Why should I foster?
Whether you’re helping a dog learn to love and be loved, or watching a kitten recover from illness or injury, thanks to your care and attention, fostering gives you the opportunity to single-handedly change an animal’s life for the better.
- Each animal fostered out to a home opens up a cage or kennel space for us to help another animal.
- Fostering can provide the unique, individualized attention that some special-needs animals require before they’re ready for adoption.
- Fostering has a direct, positive impact on the animal and is a hugely rewarding experience for those who choose to become caregivers.
The ASPCA Foster Program is always in need of temporary housing and care for our shelter animals.
What kinds of animals need fostering?
Foster candidates are animals who aren't quite ready for adoption, including orphaned or very young kittens and animals recuperating from illness, injury or medical procedures. Some cats and dogs simply need an attentive foster caregiver to help socialize them so they'll become more confident and trusting. Many foster animals require special medical attention, including medicated baths, physical therapy, daily medication or other medical care. Other animals may benefit from a structured home environment where certain behaviors can be monitored and modified through consistent training and positive reinforcement.
Each year, the ASPCA welcomes hundreds of baby kittens born during the feline breeding season, or "kitten season," which extends from spring to fall. Many of these kittens are too young to be made available for adoption, and we need your help to provide them with a safe place to grow and play. In many cases, these are orphaned, neonatal “bottle babies” in need of round-the-clock, attentive care. Fostering kittens helps them develop and thrive in a home environment as they mature, and eventually prepare for adoption. Kitten foster periods may typically range from one to eight weeks.
Many of the ASPCA’s foster candidates are:
- Neonatal and young kittens
- Recovering, sick or injured cats and dogs
- Adult cats and dogs with medical and/or behavioral needs
What requirements are necessary for fostering? Do I need any special training?
The ASPCA provides training, resources and materials to prepare you to care for a foster animal. Whether you plan to foster cats or dogs, you'll need to take our Foster Program Orientation. Our Foster Program Orientations are held twice monthly, at our Adoption Center, located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Foster team will be there to support you every step of the way through your fostering experience and as your foster animals return, and when it comes time, we'll help you prepare to say goodbye to your foster charges as they head to our Adoption Center to find loving homes.
- We require foster parents to be at least 18 years old. If you are not 18, please have a guardian complete the foster questionnaire. Applicants under the age of 18 will not be enrolled in the ASPCA Foster Orientation.
- The ASPCA Foster Program is based in New York City. We ask that our foster caregivers reside in the NYC area in order to easily get to and from our Manhattan-based Adoption Center with their foster animal(s) and for supplies as needed. If you are not in NYC, please visit our Find a Shelter page to find foster opportunities near you.
- Our goal is to match potential foster caregivers to the needs of the ASPCA Foster Program. We welcome foster caregivers who are interested in helping any or all of the following: kittens, puppies, adult cats and adult dogs. Special consideration may be given to foster applicants who have experience with and/or interest in helping: large breed dogs; cats, dogs and/or kittens with special medical needs; neonatal kittens.
- Fostering opportunities for healthy small-breed dogs may be infrequent.
How long does fostering last and will it cost anything?
Foster time periods typically range anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on the animal's needs. The ASPCA gives all of our foster caregivers the food, equipment and supplies they need to care for their animals, and we cover all of the animal's medical expenses, including medication. You need only provide your home, attention and love for your foster animals!
I have veterinary experience. Is there anything I can help with?
We welcome individuals with professional veterinary experience who can provide foster care to our animals, especially those who require special medical attention (such as medicated baths, physical therapy, daily medication or other medical care), or may need support in a home environment to adjust to becoming a lifelong family companion. This is a great opportunity for veterinarians, and other veterinary medical professionals to assist in providing care for our most needy animals as they are readied for adoption. If you are able to assist, we are looking for you! Please let us know by filling out the questionnaire below.
This sounds great. How do I get started?
Ready to enroll? Simply click on the date for one upcoming orientation and fill out the questionnaire. Completed questionnaires will be reviewed by the ASPCA Foster team and you will be notified of your enrollment status. Submitting a questionnaire does not automatically enroll you in an orientation. Please be sure to check your email and spam folder for communications from the ASPCA Foster team.
We look forward to hearing from you!
*Please note, if the form indicates it is no longer accepting submissions, the class is full. Please check back for future enrollment opportunities.