How to foster kittens with adult cats in the house

February 15 | Guest post by reikitty
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
Pussycat in a Pussy Hat bag from Etsy seller PetStudioArt

I've been thinking for bringing in another, younger, cat into our house. I have two cats already (both two years old), but I really miss the kitten stage. It's been awhile and kittens are so adorkably cute. So fostering might be the way to go.

Thing is, would the fostering of kittens be hard on our two adult cats already in the home? I'm not sure how they would react to another version of them running around for a foster period. Does anyone have any experience with this? -Chrissy

I've fostered kitties for over five years now, and have six of my own adult cats. Each adult acts their own way. One of mine just ignores the kittens, and pretends they are not there. One sniffs them for hours then bops them on their head, and is cool with them. Another pounces on them and gives them baths until they surrender to him. Each is a little different so their is no way to know how exactly yours will act.

However introducing adult cats to kittens is WAY easier then then doing adult to adult…

Most adult cats figure out these are kittens

And then they will be more accepting to new little ones. And kittens are typically like "whatever, another cat, cool."

Whatever organization you foster through will probably have even more tips on how to introduce your adults to the kittens. Or you can do a simple Google search for it.

Have a dedicated space for your foster kittens

This is the biggest thing I can recommend. This is where you can keep the kittens separated to give your adult cats (and you) breaks from kitten antics. This has been a life saver!

Just make sure it's not a spare bedroom with carpet or your carpet WILL get shredded by kittens trying to get out. Bathrooms work great too, just make sure they can't turn the water on or pull a drawer out and block the door. (Both of these have happened to me!)

If your cat is very prone to illness

First and for most is the quarantine period. It's very critical and most foster homes who do this for long periods of time have a place in their home for this. But this doesn't always work. This summer the organization I work for pulled a cat from the animal shelter. He was only there for 72 hours but he got something nasty. And even though I kept him well separated and followed my normal quarantine rules which has worked fine in the past, it hit my own personal pets and a couple of fosters I got later.

If something like this does happen you should be aware of what your organization covers and doesn't cover. They covered all cost for the foster kitties, but I had to pay for my own cat. Every group is different though, and every case is different too.

If your cat is very prone to illness you want to talk to your vet in depth about the risks of fostering. It may be fostering might not be safe for you to do.

Typically you'll foster kittens for a very short time

Most kittens, once they're adoptable (fixed and healthy in my organization) will only be up for adoption for 1-4 weeks, before getting adopted. So if your adult cats hate the experience, you'll only have a short time where everyone will have to deal with it. And, if its a complete disaster, the foster organization should work with you in placing them in another foster home.

These are my tips for how to foster kittens when you already have cats, what are yours?

Join our community!

  1. – Get an extra litter box (or two) to try to minimize "accidents."
    – Make sure the kittens have their own space AND the adults have their own space. When we foster we keep the kittens out of our bedroom our adult cats know they are first in our hearts and our bed.
    – Some playing and roughhousing is normal. You'll know when it gets out of hand. Keep a spray bottle around for those times.
    – Feed them in separate rooms (at different times if you can). All our cats are always very greedy.

    Have fun fostering! It is my very favorite thing to do.

    2 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.