Cat Foster Guidelines

Cat Fostering Guidelines and Timeline

Before you Pick Up

When Picking Up

1st Week Home

Week Before Foster Leaves

What Not to Do


Foster homes save the lives of our Darlington pets. We cannot thank you enough for sacrificing your time, personal expenses, and space in your home. You truly are saving a life for the Darlington County Animal Shelter. Our euthanasia rate could be almost 90% if we did not have fosters like you.

As our foster program has grown, so has our need for structured guidelines and procedures. We would like to take a moment to go over some basic guidelines.

Before you Pick Up

  • Contact your foster coordinator and discuss your choices for a foster pet.

  • Please make sure you have a kennel or room away from other family pets so your foster can have their own space with a litter box, food, and water so they can take their time getting to know you, your family members, and your home. 

  • Mama cats and kittens should be in their own space away from the loud noises and foot traffic that may cause unnecessary stress.

  • Set an appointment time to come to the shelter and pick your foster up.

  • All cats must be able to be available for adoption meet and greets and vetting. 

When Picking Up a Foster from the Shelter


  • Write your name and contact number on a Post-it note, and place it on your cat’s paperwork in the foster binder.

  • Ask the vet tech at the shelter for any medicines your foster will need. (vaccines, flea prevention, and wormer.) Make sure to have written instructions for any medicines you take home.

  • Ask for a copy of your foster’s intake sheet.

  • Feel free to bathe your foster in the office bathroom before leaving the shelter.

  • Write your name, contact number, date, and the foster’s name on the clipboard on the wall titled, “Where’d That Cat Go?” (hanging in the office behind the computer monitor) This gives the staff a quick reference and helps us keep track of where every pet is.

Within the First Week of Fostering


  • Take pictures of your foster animal and their intake sheet and send to

    • Name 

    • ID Number

    • Arrival Date

    • Age (stage of life, kitten, older kitten, cat, etc.)

    • Gender (if known)

    • Biography: write a short bio of your foster -likes and dislikes, behavior with other dogs, cats and/or children, adjustment to life in your house/crate/kennel.

The Week before your Foster Animal Leaves for Rescue

  • Your coordinator will be in touch at least one week before the transport date to see if your foster needs any medicine or vaccines before leaving.

  • Document all information concerning your foster pet on your copy of the intake sheet.  Example: additional flea meds given by you. 

  • Bring all documentation to vetting with your foster animals.

  • You can send along notes with your fosters to rescue with their likes and dislikes, their personalities, and how they acted in your home.



  • Keep receipts for cat food and other expenses you have while fostering–even miles you drive to the shelter. Since the rescue is a non-profit organization, we can give you a tax receipt for your donations.

Be Sure to


  • Text, message, or call your coordinator if you have any questions at all or if something changes in your foster’s behavior.
  • Pick up food from the shelter for your foster.

  • Ask if you are unsure of anything.  Things come up all the time with living creatures and we can in no way predict what those things will be so when something happens you aren’t sure about, ask.  We’re here to help and want to set you, and your foster, up for success.

What Not to Do

  • Attempt to find homes for your foster cat. Your foster cat may have already been selected by a rescue group. Often, the rescue has the cat’s pictures on their website and has homes already waiting when the pet arrives with the rescue group. If someone inquires about adopting your foster, explain that it may already have rescue and please have them contact the shelter.

  • Ask a neighbor or friend to watch your foster if you go out of town. Contact your foster coordinator so that she can make arrangements to help you. Remember we do have boarding arrangements with a facility in Florence. It will only cost you $5 per day to leave your foster in their secure, 24 hour staffed facility.

  • Change the name of your foster. This causes problems with the cat’s permanent records at the shelter.

  • Contact rescues directly via any means. We have worked for years to develop a trusting working relationship with our rescues, and we need to maintain the one voice, from our Rescue Coordinator, to maintain that professional, consistent working relationship.

  • Take your foster pet to your own vet. We have veterinarians who work specifically with us. If you do take your foster to your own vet, you may be responsible for the expenses