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. All it takes 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, you can either:

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for orphaned kittens, please also fill out and print the following application addendum and submit it to PAWS along with your Foster Home Application:

Once 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 when foster parents feel they are becoming too attached or they need a break.

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 Center by appointment. 

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.

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 bordatella.

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.