The Anatomy of a Kitten Foster Room

We often hear people say "I would love to foster kittens but I just don't have the space".  Many people don't realize just how little space is needed to set up a successful kitten foster environment.  After completing this brief training, you hope will have a better idea of what is required of a kitten foster room and be able to make an informed decision as to whether fostering is for you.

Let's talk about possible foster locations.

Possible locations

Hmmm, where to put the little ones?

Kittens do not necessarily require a lot of room.  In fact, for young kittens, the smaller the space the better. Ideal locations are:

  • a spare bedroom,
  • an extra bathroom,
  • any extra room in a house,
  • a finished basement, or even
  • any room in a house that is in use but has an appropriate space.

Spare Bedroom

A spare bedroom can make an ideal location for foster kittens.

"Working" Bedroom

A "working" bedroom can also make a an ideal foster room if you can section off an area for your foster kittens.

Spare Bathroom

A spare bathroom can also make a good location for a foster room, especially since the floor and surrounding area can be easily sanitized before and after fosters.

Special considerations

Things To Think About

When choosing a location as a foster area, keep the following things in mind:

  • Is it a safe area, away from cords, outlets and other household dangers?
  • Is it free of dangers such as plants?
  • Is it away from other animals (fosters should always be kept separate from pets, for the safety of your pet and the foster)?
  • Is it in a warm and dry location, free of drafts?
  • Is it in an area that can be easily sanitized, both before and after foster groups?

Can you spot the two potential hazards in this room? Click on the potential hazards.

Can you spot the two potential hazards in this picture? Click on the potential hazards.

Environments designed according to age

Kittens 0-20 Days Old

0-20 Days Old

Kittens aged 0-20 days should be living in a small area, like a top-loading carrier.  You should line the carrier with a fleece blanket, heat HALF of the area with a Snuggle Safe, rice sock, or heating pad (if you must).  Make sure it’s not too hot and make sure the kitten can’t uncover it (their paws can burn). Supply the kittens with a smaller blanket (a blanket they can burrow under for comfort and heat retention). Supply the kittens with cat safe stuffed toys.  

A Snuggle Kitty/Puppy is also highly recommended because they have a battery-operated heartbeat.  If you don’t have one, then any stuffed kitten-size toy will work to give them company.  This is especially important with solo kitties.  Kittens are messy and poo/pee a lot so be prepared to change their bedding daily.

Kittens 3-4 Weeks Old

3-4 Weeks Old

Kittens 3-4 weeks old can be transitioned to a bigger space, either a very large storage bin, soft-sided playpen, or even a bath tub.  Week 3 is huge in terms of development so it’s important they get more space before transitioning to their final foster living space.  It can be set up the same way as the carrier.  If you decide to use a tub, line the tub with a towel for extra insulation.  Tubs are naturally chilly.

Kittens 5-8 Weeks Old

5-8 Weeks Old

Kittens 5+ weeks can be moved to a larger area or room.  It can be set up almost the same as for an adult cat.  They will need a litter box (or several around the room), shallow food and water dishes, lots of toys, something to scratch (so they can teach themselves to scratch poles and cardboard boxes) like cat trees that will help them release their kitten energy.  Note: keep in mind if you are using a bathroom as your foster room, KEEP THE TOILET CLOSED!!!!! Kittens can fall in and won’t be able to get out.  This could lead to hypothermia and/or drowning. 

A closer look at a kitten foster room

A Typical Setup

All You Need is a Corner

This image shows a foster kitten setup in the corner of a "working" bedroom.  As long as the location is safe and away from other animals, you can probably convert it into a very effective foster environment.

Click on the markers below to learn more about the typical parts of a kitten foster room.


Some other possible foster environments

Other options

There are plenty of other possibilities for foster environments.  Below, are a few more ideas.

Playpen

When kittens are young and unable to climb or jump high, an enclosed play pen are may be a good idea.

Blow up pool

When kittens are small and unable to climb or jump, a children's pool could work.

Dog crate

A dog crate is another option for kittens.  It is easily sanitized and keeps them contained.

Two dog crates joined together

Two dog crates joined together offers even more space.

Ferret cage

A ferret cage, with multiple levels is another option for a foster environment.   

Bird cage

A bird cage would also work for one or two small kittens.

True or False: A bathroom can be a foster kitten room.

  • True
  • False

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Thank You!

Thank you for taking the time to check out our tutorial on setting up a foster environment.  If you have any questions or are interested in possibly fostering, please contact the Foster Coordinator at  [email protected]

Fostering is not a lifetime commitment, but it is a commitment to saving lives.