Caring for Cats' "Permanent Foster" Program Helps Special Needs Kitties Find the Love They Deserve!

The team at Boxiecat never ceases to be amazed by the creativity and care that our Shelter Partners provide for the kitties in their communities. We recently learned about a truly wonderful program run by our Shelter Partner, Caring for Cats, that helps place cats with special needs in home environments where they can thrive and have the happiest lives possible. Shelter Operations Manager, Kelley Schmidt, took some time to tell us about the program and we are so excited to share her words with you!

One of the challenges faced by no-kill shelters is management of cats with special needs, such as diet, medical conditions, older age, or possible behavior issues, such as needing to be an "only" cat rather than share a space with other felines. These kitties can spend months or even years at the shelter, waiting for their forever families. Barriers to adoption may be concern about ongoing medical costs, cost of specialty food, or fear related to the grief of potentially losing a pet friend who is senior.

At Caring for Cats, we looked for creative ways to meet these challenges and remove these barriers. What matters most to our shelter is finding a loving, supportive home for the cats in our care; when the shelter environment becomes stressful for them, we need to find an alternative.

To that end, the Caring for Cats "Permanent Foster" program was created. This unique program is an agreement between our shelter and a willing foster family who can provide love, care, and ongoing health and welfare for our kitties within their homes. In return, Caring for Cats will pay for all medical care for the life of the cat, will pay for any specialty food required, and will cover other possible expenses related to the well-being of the kitty for as long as it lives.

Potential Permanent Foster families must complete an application to confirm they have appropriate housing and available transportation to the Caring for Cats veterinarian of choice, that they agree to an initial home visit and to ongoing visits from our staff for the life of their pet, and that they will stay in regular contact with the shelter medical staff to provide updates and share any concerns immediately. The commitment of these families is strong, and the commitment of our shelter team is strong--we are all in it together for the welfare of our cats. To-date, we have over 25 cats in the program, and the kitties are thriving in loving homes where their individual needs are met every day.

One delightful outcome of the Permanent Foster program is our "Seniors with Seniors" matching program. We have been able to match several senior cats with senior citizens who are craving the companionship of a feline friend, yet may be on a fixed income and not able to afford a pet on their own. Older kitties are mellow, ready to sit on a lap, and eager to provide attention to someone who is focused on them. We could not have asked for a more heart-warming result--proof that there is someone for everyone, and that a little love for a pet goes a long, long way in improving quality of life for everyone.

-Kelley Schmidt, Operations Manager at Caring for Cats

Want to learn more about the amazing work that the Boxiecat Shelter Partners are doing? Check out the Boxiecat Shelter Partner Page in our Help Center to find links to the pages of the amazing shelters, rescues, and animal care organizations that partner with Boxiecat!