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Foster Care

Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster parent! Foster parents provide temporary care for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies in their own homes. Some animals need as little as two weeks of care, while others may need care for extended periods of time.


Whether you’re helping a dog learn to love and be loved, or watching an injured kitten recover from illness or injury, 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 save another animal. Fostering can provide the unique, individualized attention that some special-needs animals require before they’re ready for adoption.

Common reasons animals need foster care:

~They are too young to be spayed or neutered and adopted out into permanent homes. 

~They are nursing a litter of kittens or puppies. Although, the shelter is a safe environment, it is not ideal for raising babies.

~They are being treated for medical or behavioral issues.

Kitten Season

Spring is when our biggest need for foster parents arrives. This is when we get a huge influx of very young kittens who need temporary homes prior to adoption. This requires a minimum commitment of one month. Potentially longer.


Fostering kittens involves daily feedings, cleanings and socializing. Our staff will train you to how to set up a kitten space, administer medication properly, and guide you on feeding, cleaning and socializing the kitten so he or she will have the best chance for adoption. If this is your first time fostering kittens we will start you off with a slightly older kitten to ease you into the process. We want you to enjoy your foster experience and will provide as much training and education as needed. 


Kittens are fragile, it's important to observe the behavior of your foster kittens; monitor for any changes and record their health daily. Kittens under five weeks need to be bottle fed every 2-4 hours. This is a full-time, around-the-clock commitment until they are five to six weeks of age and weaning onto wet food. This will mean waking up in the middle of the night to feed the kittens. Also, it will mean helping the kitten with potty issues and socializing the kitten daily. The goal of fostering is to help homeless kittens develop into friendly and loving companion animals so they can find forever homes. Fostering is both challenging and rewarding. If you decide to take on this responsibility get ready for hours of cuteness!


6 Tips for safely Bottle Feeding Kittens

Kitten behavior basics

How to Socialize a Kitten

How Foster Care Works

When the Smithtown Animal Shelter receives animals who are not ready to be put up for adoption, we contact foster parent volunteers. If a foster volunteer is not available to foster at that time, we simply try another person. There will be plenty of other opportunities to foster, so there's no pressure to take an animal.

Foster parents come to our shelter to pick up the foster animal(s) to take home. At that time, volunteers receive information about the animal’s condition and needs. Foster parents may need to bring the animal to the shelter periodically to be examined, receive vaccinations or other treatment. 


The shelter provides: food, litter, litter box, large crate, bedding, all veterinary care and medicine for foster animals, foster training and plenty of continuing support to foster parent volunteers. 


Foster parent volunteers provide: time, a place in their home and lots of love. Once the foster period is over, the foster volunteer returns the animal(s) to the shelter.


Get Started

The first step to this process is filling out a “Foster Home Application," make sure to include three references as indicated and submit to the shelter for review. If approved, training will be provided.

The primary caregiver of the foster animal must be at least 18 years old. However, young people can help at home and potentially receive school credit. You'll need to live in the area. Foster volunteers must be able to get to our shelter on a regular basis. Please consider the potential commute before applying to volunteer. If this sounds like something you'd like to try please call the shelter today. Our furry friends will be glad that you did!

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