Foster an Animal

Unable to adopt right now? Consider fostering

PAWS is able to help hundreds of cats and dogs find new homes each year because of the generosity of its foster families. They provide temporary loving, caring, and safe environments for animals, as well as valuable feedback on animal behavior and health.

You do not need professional experience to become a PAWS foster parent. PAWS provides the supplies and veterinary care. All it takes from you is a loving heart, basic knowledge about the type of animal you will foster, good observation skills, and a desire to help companion animals.

To apply to the PAWS Foster Program, start by filling out the Online Foster ApplicationOnce completed and submitted, you will be contacted to go over your application, and we will work with you to find an appropriate foster match.

Foster Questions, Foster Answers

How long will I have my foster pet?

As a non-euthanasia shelter, PAWS works for as long as it takes to find permanent homes for its animals. That can mean a week, a month, or even a year. However, PAWS will make other living arrangements for animals if you need a break, are going on vacation, or have visitors and need the foster to temporarily be out of your home. 

How do people who want to adopt meet PAWS animals?

Each weekend, foster families bring their animals to the PAWS Adoption Center, with cat drop-off on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings and pickup on Sunday afternoons. Dogs are brought to the facility by appointment and for regular showings, which occur on weekends. 

What if the foster needs....?

PAWS covers all veterinary care for their animals, including fosters. We also provide any food and supplies you need. You're welcome to spoil your foster with a special bed or treats, but know that we can give you all the basics! 

Can I select my foster animal?

You decide what type of animal your home and lifestyle can manage, with the option of specifying size, sex, breed, and other characteristics. We'll work with you to find the right match. 

Can I foster more than one animal at a time?

PAWS may limit the number of foster animals in a house.

Can foster families have other pets?

Yes, as long as all pets in a foster home are spayed or neutered with all the necessary vaccinations. For cats, that includes rabies, distemper, and Feline Leukemia. For dogs: distemper, rabies, parvo, and bordetella. We advise our cat/kitten fosters to keep their fosters in a separate area of the house, to make things less stressful for your them and the resident pets; it also helps prevent illness from spreading. 

Can I foster an animal that I have surrendered to PAWS?

In many situations, yes. All PAWS foster families, including those who have rescued or previously owned the pet they wish to foster, must agree to all PAWS foster home policies and protocol. This includes but is not limited to: bringing the animal to PAWS for regular public showings, keeping the dog/cat indoors as a member of the family, and deferring all medical, behavioral, and placement decisions to PAWS. Animals are considered PAWS foster animals after the owner/rescuer has completed in-person surrender paperwork with an intake volunteer or PAWS staff member.

Is it hard to let them go?

Of course, but it's rewarding to know that you've made a difference in the life of an animal. At any given time there can be between 100 and 200 cats and 20 to 30 dogs waiting to become PAWS animals. With more foster families, PAWS can help even more animals.