Are there any costs to fostering kittens?

If you foster a cat for a verified nonprofit shelter, you can claim it on your taxes.

We know that #2 had extensive experience with taking in stray cats & kittens and getting them to good homes.  Good on ya!  #2’s experience was very expensive and someday she’ll post pictures of the kitten-destroyed master-bathroom that cost ~$600 repair (on top of vet and food bills).

#1 has started a slightly lower-stakes fostering experience with a no-kill cat shelter that ultimately has responsibility for the kittens.  Yes… kittens!

They are mostly-black, which makes it hard to take good photos…. here they are in their crate…

a pile of kittens

and little faces…

4 little kitten faces

There is another one, but she is sick and so she is with the foster coordinator right now, getting extra meds and care.  These ones are on antibiotics, which are supplied by the shelter.  The shelter also supplied some chicken baby food to mix the antibiotics into, although I will have to buy some more.  They supplied me with several weeks’ worth of crunchy kibbles and about a week’s worth of kitten-safe litter (I have already bought more).  I have to bring them back to the shelter periodically for free check-ups and vet care.  They are actually 2 litters that were put together.  I think they may be around 6 weeks old.  Don’t know what happened to their mommies.  They weigh, on average, about 1 pound and 4 ounces each.

They come in this big crate (it folds up) where they sleep and play.  The shelter provided the bed, blankets, litter box, and water dish.  They also sent a scale to weigh them and a thermometer for taking kitten temps, along with an extra litter box and a handbook of what to do.  They also have a carrying cage.

I let them out to roam the bathroom and play, and they have supervised time in the living room when we can watch them.  We are getting lots of mileage out of a toilet paper tube, cardboard boxes, and a plastic Easter egg.  They also have a couple balls to chase, and each other to wrestle.  I bought them a cardboard scratching post for around $7, and I trim their claws for my own comfort when they climb on me.

We are doing a fair bit of laundry because they occasionally have potty accidents (they are just babies).  And running through quite a bit of hand sanitizer.  That’s it so far, though!

Your local shelter needs you.  Donate today.

25 Responses to “Are there any costs to fostering kittens?”

  1. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    If I fostered kittens, the cost would be multiple cat-years of food, vet bills, and so on. It takes me maybe ten minutes, tops, to bond with a cat, and I feel responsible for anything I feed. Those babies are super-cute and remind me of Reina when we got her.

  2. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    Just donated to my local shelter! I think I must like animals more than people.

    I really want a cat, but my husband says no. It’s practically the only thing he has ever said “no” to. Neither of us had cats growing up, so he’s afraid we won’t like having one and will be stuck with it.
    Maybe I should see if he would let me foster one? That way, I could try things out and prove to him that having a cat would be awesome. I love cats. He says he’s not a “cat person,” but seems to like other people’s cats. I WILL GET A CAT.

    • Thisbe Says:

      Yes! Fostering is a good way to try. If you foster an adult cat and it goes well, you could also try suggesting adopting an older to elderly cat. That way, instead of signing up for 12-20 years of cat life, you might only be signing up for a few years with a nice old cat that already knows how to be a good pet. A lot of times, older adult pets that have belonged to elderly people who went into a care facility or passed away have a really hard time getting adopted (because they’re not Young and Vibrant and Cute), but are really nice animals.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        I would actually prefer an older cat. I have a 12-year-old dachshund and I imagine he would like a mature housemate instead of a kitten. I would also like a cat that is already litter box trained since I have no experience with that. An older cat would be great!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 agrees that adult cats are the way to go. Their personalities are set and they have good habits already. I would never have done kittens if we hadn’t ended up getting them from our backyard.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        Question: If you foster a cat and it works out well, will they let you just keep it?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Usually yes. (Though with the adoption fee and paperwork etc.)

      • Thisbe Says:

        When you foster a cat and then that cat is yours forever, we call it (in the biz) a Foster Fail. The best kind of failure!

    • Rented life Says:

      My husband thought he was a dog person. I got a cat after we got married. She’s now a daddy’s girl :) and he’s officially a cat person.

      • Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

        That could easily happen to us. Here’s what I want to know: How do you know you’re not a “cat person” when you’ve never had a cat?

      • Katherine Says:

        I have never had a cat, but I know I’m not a cat person because most of the cats I know scratch me on a regular basis. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong – cats love my husband, and I try to model my cat interactions on his, but they usually end up with scratching anyway.

        I want my pet relationships to involve lots of snuggles, and I think I’m way more likely to get that from a dog than from a cat. Also I don’t like dealing with litter boxes.

        I’m not a cat person.

    • becca Says:

      *sings* Kittehs are better than people……..

      Response to pictures: Squee, squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee squeeey squee! adorables!

  3. OMDG Says:

    Alas, the only cost of fostering a kitty would be the carnage left after my dog ate it. Sadly. I would like to have a multi-pet family but with Miss. Ferocious currently owning the premesis, it won’t be happening.


  4. Rented life Says:

    Holy crap those guys are cute. I want a cat for my LO as zie loves the 2 we have but its not mutual. (They tolerate that LO exists.) Sadly they also wouldn’t take well to another pet. But they are pretty set in their ways as senior citizens.

  5. middle_class Says:

    Life is too crazy right now, but you just gave me the great idea to foster a dog someday!

  6. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    Soooo cute!! I didn’t think I liked cattes until PhysioWife and I started dating, and I got to know her catte. Now I love ’em!

  7. MutantSupermodel Says:

    We just applied to be a foster famiy for a boxer rescue group here. They told us all the stuff about taxes and things like that. They handle the vet expenses. We have to provide the food and the mileage to the vet and to adoption events. We’ll see if we end up with one. They have to do a home visit and things like that. My kids and my boyfriend are dying for a dog but I seriously don’t want the commitment. I think that sounds awful but I’m being honest and I think it’s better to be honest and foster than anything else.

  8. Final batch of kitten fosters | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] talked about fostering kittens before, but it bears […]

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