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Foster a cat family

Chestnut Cat Sanctuary needs good foster homes for pregnant mums and new littersAs we enter kitten season again, Chestnut Cat Sanctuary is under incredible pressure to house pregnant mums and their litters. Could you help by becoming a volunteer Foster Carer?

We do everything we can to help pregnant cats and their kittens. But the fact is, they take up a lot of space in the Sanctuary for a long period of time. That's why we run a Foster Carer programme to help us deal with the increased number of needy cats and kittens at this time of year.

What do Foster Carers do?
Foster Carers look after pregnant cats during pregnancy, birth, and for the first few weeks of a kitten's life. When the kittens (and their mum) are ready to start the rehoming process, they move back to Chestnut Cat Sanctuary. We also use Foster Carers to look after litters of kittens (and their mums) after they've already been born.

Feeding a ragdoll kitten at 1 week old from Chestnut Rescue Centre

Feeding a kitten at Chestnut Cat Sanctuary

How long does it take?
Kittens are ready to start the rehoming process at the age of 6 weeks, so if you're looking after a mum and her litter the fostering process will take up to 6 weeks per family of cats. If you're looking after a mum during pregnancy too, the whole process can take up to 4 months!

What we look for in a Foster Carer
Looking after pregnant queens and their kittens is a big responsibility - but it can be incredibly rewarding. This is how it works:

  • You'll need to spend a couple of days with us, training in general cat/kitten care (even if you're experienced, it can help to have your memory refreshed, especially in the care of pregnant cats)
  • All Foster Carers have their homes inspected for suitability by Chestnut Cat Sanctuary
  • You must be at home all day, and you need to have a good amount of experience with cats
  • There must be no dogs at home, and limited numbers of other animals (so we know you'll have the time to look after your foster cat)
  • You need an unused room to house the pregnant mum and her litter - somewhere warm, quiet and undisturbed
  • You must have a phone and car, so you can contact us and our vet (in case of emergency) and take the cats there at any time
  • You also need to stay in touch with us at least every other day by phone
  • You must be prepared to assist at the birth of the kittens, which often happens in the early hours of the morning
  • All food, litter and vet treatment will be covered by Chestnut Cat Sanctuary

The birthing process can be extremely dangerous for the mother cat and her kittens alike. About 1 in 4 kittens in any litter can have a breach birth, where they come out backwards. If that happens it can block the birth canal, which puts the mother and the entire litter of kittens at risk. You must be ready for immediate action to save their lives - which means you must be there, be able to keep a calm head, and know what to do!

A kitten reared successfully at Chestnut Cat Sanctuary in Essex

The same kitten 18 months later!

How to apply
Remember, we're looking for the best possible carers to look after pregnant cats, which means we're pretty fussy about the sort of environment they'll be going into. If we refuse, please don't be offended! In return, we offer you an incredibly rewarding experience bringing new kittens into the world, and we'll pay for their upkeep while they're with you.

If you're interested and you meet all of the criteria above, please call us between 9am and 2pm, and ask for Cathie - or just email her directly.


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