Guideline for Fostering Asan Shelter Cats

Adapted from Allison's fantastic write up on fostering Asan Shelter Dogs, below is a guideline for fostering Asan Shelter Cats!

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Thank you for making the selfless decision to foster a cat from Asan Shelter. Once a cat is placed in foster-care, the chances s/he will be adopted are drastically increased, making fostering one of the most important steps in helping a cat find his or her forever home.

Below are the guidelines and expectations of a foster parent who chooses to help a cat from Asan shelter. If you have any questions concerning any of the following information, please don’t hesitate to contact Daisy at dbisenieks@gmail.com

BRINGING YOUR FOSTER CAT HOME

Before you can bring your new kitty home from the shelter, you must have completed the following procedures:

* Submitted a foster application and been approved by a coordinator. (This can take anywhere from a few days to over a week. Please be patient!)
* Visited the shelter at least once to meet and interact with your potential new companion.
* Upon fostering approval, fosterers must visit the shelter again to pick up their new addition. If you are traveling by public transportation, it is necessary to bring a suitably sized carrier in order to bring your animal home with you.
* Pay the assigned health-check fee to Mr. Park.
* You *must* bring a collar with I.D. tag with you to pick up your lucky kitty. If you do not have an I.D. tag complete with your current information, you will not be allowed to bring your cat home.

VET CARE

If you have chosen to foster a cat from Asan, chances are, s/he has already been vaccinated against rabies, feline rhinotrachetis, calci panleukopenia, chlamydia psittaci and spayed/neutered. Great! It’s still important that you visit your own vet shortly after bringing your new furry friend home to see if any vaccinations, boosters or tests are needs. Some things you should ask your vet to do:

* Check the cat’s eyes/ears/skin/claws
* Blood test to check antibody levels and if booster vaccinations are required
* Heartworm test
* Faecal test
* Tick/Flea Treatment
* Heartworm Prevention (Common topical treatment include “Advocate” or "Revolution". This is something that your cat needs done every month in order to be protected against heartworm, which is extremely prevalent in Korea and very expensive to treat.)
* If your foster is a kitten or is in need to be neutered/spayed, discuss the best time to do this with your vet.

Since the shelter lacks the funds to pay for vet care, foster parents are responsible for the brunt of the costs accrued for vetting. However, there are many vets in Korea that offer discount services for rescue animals, and we are always willing to provide a great list of vets to our foster parents. Furthermore, if the unlikely situation occurs where a foster animal will need an expensive procedure or treatment, we can sometimes help organize fundraisers/donations to help cover the cost, but fosterers should be prepared because there is never a guarantee.

TRAINING

Since the main purpose of fostering an animal is to help him or her become more adoptable, it is important to teach your new kitty manners that are required to live happily in a home. Some things you should definitely work on with your foster kitty:

* Appropriate places to go to the bathroom! (Cats thrive on consistency! Ensuring clean litter trays are always available, are never located where a cat eats and establishing toilet routines. You can even train cats to use the toilet!)

* A neck collar should * always* be worn and have an ID tag with your current information (address, phone number) attached. In the event that your kitty ever runs away or goes missing, contact your adoption coordinator immediately!! Please see the end of this article for steps to take if your kitty goes missing*)

* Socialization - Often cats develop behavioral issues due to lack of attention, exercise, or environmental stimulation. Spending quality time socializing and playing with your kitty is essential. Many shelter cats have had limited time with people and would benefit from engaging with yourself, other people and even other animals. Have treats out for your kitty when in the company of strangers or meeting new people for the first time. If you cat is extremely shy and uncomfortable around new people or situations, take things slow and don't force them to interact. Allow them to explore at their own pace.

*Outdoor life and Leash training - Most of the shelter cats have been previously abandoned and they may have trust issues, which may lead to the development of behavior issues such as scratching doors, excessive meowing, and a strong desire to go outside. Depending on your living arrangements, it's your responsibility and judgment to decide whether you feel the cat can be trained to be both an inside/outside cat and when the cat is ready to be trained for this. However, many people prefer not to let their cats outside in Korea as there have been cases of people leaving poisonous food for strays, not to mention the dangers of living near roads or encountering those who don't take kindly to cats. However, cats can also be leash trained and this may be something you would like to explore in order to give your cat more stimulation as well as make the cat more adoptable.

* Instilling healthy habits with your cat using a scratching post (and not furniture!) and feeling comfortable while being groomed with a brush.

* Getting your cat comfortable with having their teeth brushed regularly. None of the cats at Asan have had their teeth regularly cleaned and the shelter food diet hasn't been kind to their teeth either. There have been cases of stomatitis (like a feline gingivitis) amongst the shelter cats at Asan in the past and while your foster may not display obvious symptoms, there is a possibility stomatitis symptoms can develop in the future and thus require some expensive dental treatment and care. Most cats that are exposed to an environment where stomatitis has occurred WILL NOT develop it, but some cats will, and a depressed immune system does seem to make them more likely to develop it. However, if by any chance this arises, the cat coordinator can refer you to a fantastic vet in Seoul who specializes in feline dental care and give advice about tackling expenses.

PROMOTING YOUR FOSTER CAT

Chances are, your foster cat probably already has an adoption profile on the ARK website. If not, we are more than happy to assist you in creating one! If s/he does already have one, it is up to you how you’d like to proceed. You can either take over “authorship” of the profile in order to update and edit yourself, or you can simply email pictures and updates to the current author and have them update it for you. We require weekly updates from our foster parents via email or updates to the profile. Some things that are really important in terms of generating interest for your foster cat:

* Pictures, pictures, PICTURES! Pictures are the first things that attract a potential adopter to your cat. Lots of cute, colorful pictures that show your foster cat at his/her most adorable are very important!
* Videos of your foster cat being cute, sleeping, and playing are also very effective in showcasing his or her personality. The more videos, the better!
* Updates regarding housebreaking, behavior, and personality are a must! Let potential adopters know your foster cat’s best qualities and strengths.
* Keep the profile current with lots of updates and photos. Don’t let their profile expire!

It is very important that you actively search for a forever home. It can take a long time to find the right match for your furry friend, but it is not fair to the cat if you don’t proactively search, and all of a sudden he has no place to go when it is time for you to leave Korea. Keep profiles and pictures current, and promote him/her on ARK Facebook and your own Facebook page. Ask your friends to share and cross-post. The right home is out there, you simply have to find it!

APPLICATION PROCESS

So you’ve put in the hard work, training, and time, and now comes the pay-off: someone is interested in adopting your little kitty! Asan Shelter has a strict application process that we require all foster parents to adhere to:

* Anyone interested in adopting MUST fill out an application form. It’s best to have potential adopters fill out the form before even meeting the cat in person.
* After the form is completed, you and an adoption coordinator (the person you have been in contact with since the beginning) will screen the application together. Usually, there are follow up questions and clarifications necessary. The form must be approved by both yourself and an adoption coordinator from Asan before the application process can continue.
* Once you and an adoption coordinator have approved the application, you should set up a time to meet the potential adopter in your home. It’s best for people to meet the cat where s/he is most comfortable and most likely to behave like “themselves”.
* We do not usually recommend “same day” adoptions. Unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as the potential adopter living a long distance away) it’s nice to give them a few days to really think it over, and time to prepare for the arrival of their new friend! It also gives you the chance to decide if the potential adopter is a good match for your foster cat.
* If both parties decide to go through with the adoption, please let the adopter know that if anything, for any reason, at any time, does not work out, they are required to contact you and return the cat. Under no circumstances are they to re-home or give away the cat to anyone else. We will always take the cat back, no questions asked.
* Keep in touch with the adoptive family. Updates, pictures, and videos of the cat in their new forever home are always welcome and encouraged!

PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK FOR A JOB WELL DONE

Fostering is one of the most selfless things one can do in relation to animal rescue. You put in time, money, patience and love, only for someone else to reap the benefits when they adopt ‘your’ cat. Fostering can be emotionally draining, but so worth it. Without amazing foster parents like you, many cats would still be sitting in the shelter, rather than a comfortable, loving forever home. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

*****IMPORTANT: WHAT TO DO SHOULD YOUR PET EVER GO MISSING
Accidents happen, and even the most responsible of animal owners can be faced with the terrifying situation of losing a pet. Here are some absolutely necessary steps to take in the event your cat ever goes missing:

* As mentioned above, inform an adoption coordinator immediately.
* Inform all vet clinics in your area as soon as possible, and provide them with the animal’s photo, description, and your contact information.
* Have posters made ASAP and put them around your area the same day your pet goes missing!!! Posters can be simple: a photo of the animal, your name and contact information, and most importantly, a reward.
* Ask your adoption coordinator to post a “lost” ad on www.animal.go.kr and to inform local pounds and shelters ASAP.
* Look for your animal as often and with as many people/friends as possible. Don’t give up!

There are also important precautions to take in order to prevent something like this from happening, and in the event it does happen, you can increase the chances of having your cat returned safely:

* Your cat should *always* be wearing a collar with an up-to-date I.D. tag. This is something so simple that can save your cat’s life --- please do it!!
* If possible, microchip your cat.
* Make sure to lock your doors and warn friends to be careful about leaving doors open/ajar when they come to visit.

We can’t thank you enough for choosing to foster from Asan shelter. Remember, if you need anything at all; support, advice, or simply want to chat about your foster cat, contact your adoption coordinator. That’s what we’re here for!

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Tags: fostering, Asan Shelter

Comments

clare_bell's picture

AWESOME!

Megan2024's picture

This is epic!