Fostering at BHS

General Information

  • Quite often animals arrive at the Burlington Humane Society in need of a temporary home. This could be for a multitude of different reasons, but essentially the animal is not ready to be adopted yet and needs a home in order to build their strength and/or confidence. This is where you come in! 
  • Fostering is super important because it allows us to help more animals and provide the specialized care that so many animals need. Although we do everything we can to give the best possible care to the cats and dogs in the shelter, there is something about a home and that consistent love that cannot be replicated in a shelter environment. 
  • Each foster experience is unique, just like the animals themselves! Our foster program includes everything from cats and dogs, to kittens and puppies. Because of the diversity of the needs of each individual, the time commitments for fostering can equally vary. While we do our best to estimate the duration of each foster term, a foster should always be prepared for it to go a bit longer than expected! 


  • A room to isolate fosters from resident pets (cats remain in one room for the duration of the foster period)
  • All resident pets must be up to date on vaccines and healthy
  • Reliable transportation 
  • Comfortable giving medication
  • Time available each day to dedicate to your foster
  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Minimum weekly communication with the Adoption Counsellor on the status and well being of the foster

Types of Fostering 

  • Socialization: cats and kittens can be quite scared and distrustful of humans due to their history or upbringing. It is your job to work with them to help them gain confidence and learn to be comfortable in a home with people. Cats in this category are likely to hide, hiss, swat and try to bite. Knowledge of cat body language is a must! The time commitment: varies greatly depending on how quickly the cat progresses but usually 3-5 month minimum.
  • Nursing or Pregnant cats: A shelter is not a suitable environment for a pregnant or nursing mom. Fosters must weigh kittens daily and monitor growth as well as maintain a quiet, clean environment for mom to raise her babies in. Be prepared to step in as a surrogate mom if needed. Time commitment: 2-5 months
  • Orphan or bottle babies: kittens under 8 weeks are too young to come into the shelter and kittens under six weeks of age should still be nursing from their mom. Sometimes kittens are found without a mom and need to be hand raised. This requires bottle feeding as often as every 1-2 hours if they are newborns, then 3-4 times daily as they approach 5 weeks. Time commitment: 2-10 weeks
  • Medical needs: stress does not help a cat to heal from illness or injury. In order to get better some cats need a low stress and quiet environment, regular medication, and close monitoring. Time commitment: varies depending on the needs of the cat
  • Dogs and puppy: canines need foster homes too! Dog fosters care for under age puppies, attends to medical needs, bring dog in for meet and greets with potential adopters, and may be required to attend training sessions. Time commitment: 2-12 weeks. Please note our dog foster program is small and we do not have an urgent need for more dog foster homes. 


Foster Application Cat



Foster Application Dog