RSPCA Guildford and Epsom Branch

Cat fosterer

What does it involve?

Fosterers provide safe and loving homes for our cats and kittens until they can be found permanent adopters.


Provide a temporary home for animals who are in need of foster care whilst they are waiting to be rehomed. Some animals need one-to-one care (eg if they are recuperating from an operation) or perhaps don’t cope well in an animal centre environment. This role can therefore make a huge difference to the chance of an animal being successfully rehomed.

Ideally suits

Pet owners/previous pet owners. Previous experience of fostering would be beneficial, but experience of caring for cats, dogs or small animals is essential.

If you choose to foster indoors you will need a separate room to keep the cat(s) in. Your family must be fully supportive of your choice to foster. If you have existing animals they must be spayed/neutered unless there are medical reasons why they can’t be.

Key activities  

  • To provide care and suitable housing in a safe environment for the animal(s) while they are in foster care, in accordance with Society policies and guidelines.

  • To feed, water and groom animals as appropriate.

  • Provide suitable bedding (supplied if required).

  • Keep accurate records of expenditure on animals, via receipts and completed expense forms.

  • Talk to possible adopters about animals in your care with the hope of rehoming them.

  • Please also see the frequently asked questions below

Time commitment

Flexible –dependent upon number of animals fostered and their needs. We would require a 3 month minimum commitment from you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can foster?

Most animal lovers, within reason! Some fosterers have cats of their own, and some only have foster cats. Fosterers are as diverse and individual as the cats that need them – for example some are excellent at socialising feral cats or rehabilitating abused or very poorly kitties. There is no upper age limit to becoming a fosterer. People who take several holidays in the year often resist getting a cat as a result – for them short-term fostering can be a great compromise.

Do I have to sign anything?

You will be asked to sign a fostering agreement. You will also receive a booklet on RSPCA policy and practices which outlines your and the Society’s obligations.

Do I have to have a big garden?

No – we can provide pens for the fosterer's garden, similar to those in a cattery, but alternatively fosterers can keep the cat inside their home. A spare bedroom or similar type of room can be used provided that there is adequate daylight and ventilation.  The room should be made safe and secure and able to be easily cleaned for the maintenance of good hygiene.

How long will I have the animal in my care?

Unfortunately, this is impossible to estimate. It could be anything from a few weeks up to many months. We will discuss individual placements at the point of foster.

Do I have to pay for food, cat litter and equipment?

No. All food and equipment is provided or paid for by the RSPCA. We can either arrange to deliver food directly to you or, if you prefer, you can buy the food yourself and we will reimburse you via the expenses form.

What happens when I go on holiday?

We arrange to bring the animals into an animal centre, or they go into a cattery or to another fosterer, when you go on holiday.

Can I let a cat out?

No. Unfortunately the risk of a cat absconding in an unfamiliar area if it is let out is too high. We therefore ask our fosterers not to let our cats out of the house.

What happens about booster vaccinations?

Your foster pet will come to you with up-to-date vaccinations and worm/flea treatments. We will supply you with worm and flea treatments when they become due. Vaccination boosters, if they are required, should be done by the local RSPCA vet. Ring the office and we will arrange the appointment.

What do I do if the foster animal becomes ill while in my care?

In an emergency, take the animal to the nearest vet for treatment. If it is not an emergency, the animal should be seen by an RSPCA vet.


Mission Statement

The charitable objectives of the RSPCA are to promote kindness and prevent or suppress cruelty to animals by all lawful means.


The branch promotes animal welfare in the local area primarily through veterinary assistance, neutering and re-homing. We run a voucher scheme which assists local people with veterinary bills for treatment and neutering. It also helps to control dog and cat populations, thereby promoting responsible pet ownership.


The branch assists the RSPCA animal centres, mainly Millbrook and South Godstone, with re-homing unwanted and abused animals by home-visiting.  We also pay for veterinary treatment of stray animals and wildlife attended to by the Inspectorate in our branch area.


The RSPCA provides advice for owners on animal care. It also helps animals brought to us for rehoming because their owners are unable or unwilling to keep them. Ill treated or injured animals are cared for by the Society. The public benefits from knowing that we can intervene to assist animals in need.


We have a website to raise awareness of the activities of the branch and to help members get more involved. We provide volunteering opportunities for those who wish to support our work, including trusteeship, fundraising and home visiting. This benefits local people and companies by providing the possibility of doing work which is compassionate and rewarding.


We also have to fundraise to enable us to continue with our charitable work. The RSPCA receives no government or lottery funding.