Open your heart and your door: Foster a pet

If you love animals, but aren’t in a position to adopt, consider fostering a pet! You can save lives by fostering kittens, adult cats or adult dogs. Foster families provide short-term, in-home care for pets until they are ready to be adopted. When you foster, you’re giving an animal the love and attention that he or she needs while waiting for a forever home. Plus, fostering is easy, fun, and rewarding! We provide all the supplies and veterinary care needed. Even if you work during the day and even if you have other animals in the home, there may be a perfect foster pet for you! Interested? Email utahfoster@bestfriends.org or call 801-574-2417.

FAQs about fostering

What do foster families need to provide?

Foster families need to provide:

  • A healthy and safe environment.
  • Transportation to and from the Pet Adoption Center (and, for kittens, Best Friends Kitten Nursery) located in Salt Lake City. Foster parents will need to be able to bring their foster animals regularly for vet appointments and vaccines at our Pet Adoption Center. In the case of dogs, we ask that you be able to bring them in at least twice a week to be available for adoption hours.
  • Socialization, training and cuddle time to help teach your foster animal(s) about positive family and pet relationships.

How much time do I need to spend with my foster animal?

The more time you spend, the more socialized they will be. The amount of time required for feeding and training will vary depending on the age and needs of the individual animal. (Most kittens will be eating on their own, but should have wet food available several times a day.)

Will it cost me anything to foster?

No. Best Friends covers all of the medical costs for the care of our foster animals. We  also provide any supplies needed during foster animals’ stay in your home. We have the following items available for foster homes: wet and dry food, litter, disposable litter boxes, potty pads, cleaning supplies, and toys.

Can I foster even if I have a full-time job?

Yes. The foster coordinator will match you with an animal appropriate for your schedule. We will need you to be available, however, to bring them in for vaccination and vet appointments and, for dogs, a few days a week to be seen by adopters.

Will I need to administer medications?

While we do our best to ensure that we are sending healthy animals to foster care, most illnesses have incubation periods, meaning that if the animal picked up something at the shelter, symptoms can arise after you take them home. Most kittens will require medication at some point and some adult cats and dogs require them from time tot ime. If your foster need medication, we are happy to show you how to administer it before you take them home.

Can I let my foster play with my personal pets?

For adult dogs and cats, it will depend on the individual animal. Our staff will do their best to match you with a foster that fits your home and lifestyle, including existing pets. It is often helpful for foster animals to be in a home with other pets.

Kittens are very susceptible to illness and can carry or catch dangerous ailments easily. For this reason, it is ideal that personal pets and foster animals are kept separate for the entire duration of their stay in your home. We also advise that you consult with your veterinarian before fostering to ensure that all of your personal pets are healthy and up-to-date on all vaccines. If, for any reason, your personal pet becomes ill while you are fostering a Best Friends pet, we cannot provide medical care for your personal pet.

Important note: If your personal cat is allowed outdoors, be very careful when it comes to germs and contamination. Kittens are very vulnerable to illness and we want to limit their risk by not exposing them to anything from the outdoors.

Will it be difficult for me to say goodbye to my foster animal?

Saying goodbye can be the most difficult part of fostering, but remember that we always have more homeless pets who need wonderful foster homes. Keep in mind that by fostering these vulnerable pets, you are playing a crucial role in helping to save lives! When your foster animals go up for adoption, you get a new foster animal, giving us space in the nursery or at our shelter partners to take in animals in need. 

Can I foster animals to fulfill a community service obligation?

Unfortunately, Best Friends in Utah cannot sign off on court-ordered community service hours for fostering. Community service is required to be supervised work, and fostering is unsupervised, since it takes place in your home. If you need community service hours, on-site volunteering is an option.