In early spring, humans found themselves stuck at home. Many discovered that nothing takes the sting out of isolation like an animal who provides unconditional love and affection, snuggles on the couch during a Netflix binge, and doesn’t judge its owner’s quarantine wardrobe. Social distancing left many people with more time at home, sometimes alone, and a desire for companionship, resulting in an increase of applications for animal fostering and adoption. If you need this kind of love in your life but aren’t ready to permanently adopt an animal, fostering could be for you.
What is pet fostering?
The reasons animals—most often dogs and cats—may be placed in foster care are varied and include lack of shelter space, as well newborns, injured, pregnant, or nursing animals needing round-the-clock. Some animals just need more socialization or behavior modification before they are ready for adoption.
Fostering animals requires patience and commitment. The Erie County SPCA has a preliminary checklist of capabilities for those considering it, including:
• Provide daily care, cleaning, feeding, and administration of medication if prescribed (food, medications, and other supplies are all provided by the SPCA)
• Socialize and provide TLC for the animals
• Provide transportation to and from the shelter for medical or vaccination appointments
• Commit to the animal’s particular circumstances, which can range from one week to three months or more of fostering.
Additionally, foster homes must have a separate area where foster animals can be isolated from resident animals. For more information, download foster care manuals at yourspca.org.
How does it work?
When shelters or foster programs take in animals that are not immediately ready for adoption, they quickly contact foster volunteers and provide the individual animal’s information including the reason for foster, age/number of animals expected, and timeframe. A pick-up is scheduled and volunteers are provided with necessary supplies.
Animals remain with foster families until they are ready to return to the shelter for adoption or a permanent home is found. Usually foster volunteers, their familes, and friends get first priority to adopt.
The skinny on kitties
Ten Lives Club
3741 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell; tenlivesclub.com, 646-5577
Spree recently spoke with Michelle Paryz, vet tech assistant at Ten Lives Club, a non-profit no-kill cat adoption group based in Blasdell with fourteen offsite locations. Adoptions are by appointment only for the time being; a gallery of available cats and kittens can be viewed on the website.
What are the criteria for fostering a cat?
Volunteers need to own their own home and have a separate room for the foster cats. For the most part, foster volunteers do not need experience. unless the animals are kittens that need to be bottle fed, or hospice cats.
Where do your cats come from and what’s the intake protocol?
Ten Lives Club takes in only friendly cats. We get a lot of stray cats, some personal pets, and transports of cats from both local and out-of-state rescues. To surrender a cat, the owner has to call our hotline at 646-5577 ext. 102 and make an appointment to bring the cat in. The cat will be seen by our in-house vet staff, who will also microchip, combo test, vaccinate, flea treat, deworm, and spay/neuter each cat. Then it’s ready for adoption.
I imagine people get attached to the cats they foster; what are some suggestions for separation?
Just know that you are a stepping stone for them in their life, and you paved a path for their next journey. You gave them love at a time they needed it the most.
What’s in the future for Ten Lives Club?
We are in the middle of building a vet clinic, which will offer low cost spay and neuter surgery to the public. This will not only help cats in our care but personal pets and other rescues, too.
Foster & adoption resources
Buffalo Animal Shelter
380 North Oak Street, Buffalo
Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue
775 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Buffalo
(866) 796-8786, buffalopugs.org
SPCA Serving Erie County
300 Harlem Road, West Seneca 875-7360, yourspca.org
Niagara County SPCA
2100 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls
Awesome Paws Rescue
5148 Berg Road, Buffalo
Buffalo C. A. R. E. S.
1319 Turock Drive, Cuba
Buffalo Paws and Claws Animal Shelter
Pets Alive WNY
Nickel City Canine Rescue
5637 Harris Hill Road, Williamsville
Open Arms Rescue of WNY