Cat foster 1.0: Creating a cat foster network

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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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Cat foster 1.0: Creating a cat foster network

  1. 1. Why Do You Need a Foster Network? Space: Foster homes create “infinite” space and provide you with complete flexibility. Cost Savings: Foster homes provide the majority of the care and feeding supplies for the animals. Better Marketing: Fosters know the cats best. Potential Adopters: Fosters have large social networks to tap into. Happier /Healthier cats: Cats hate cages!
  2. 2. What Exactly Do You Need To Start A Foster Network? A foster application: So people can apply to foster. Zoho Version
  3. 3. Foster Application - Wordpress
  4. 4. Getting Started: Data Systems You need a way to track animals moving around into and out of foster homes. Keeping track of animals that you don’t physically have in your care can be difficult, have a plan for every step of the way!
  5. 5. Getting Started: Follow Up Systems Follow up is about prevention (not reaction) and reminding people before something is due. Send reminders BEFORE things are due. Times to contact your fosters:  As soon as they pick the animal up  Before items are due (vaccines, spay/neuter). Weekly reports BCC mass email.  Spay/Neuter reminders – enough time for them to schedule. Better yet – schedule the appt. before the animal leaves your care if possible, then remind people of their already scheduled appointment.  Overdue reminders  If not responding – call!  Legal letter sent if no responses  Outcome as adopted or stolen (get it off the books)
  6. 6. Email When A Foster First Takes Home A Cat
  7. 7. Reminder Emails
  8. 8. Getting Started: Foster Documentation Sign Out Sheet
  9. 9. Getting Started: Cat Foster Manual - Zoho
  10. 10. Getting Started: FAQs/Handouts Common illnesses happen often, having easy to copy/paste info is essential, fosters will always have lots of questions!
  11. 11. Cat Flu FAQs
  12. 12. How To Tell Age/Sex/Breed Of Cats Whoever is going to be trying to get cats out of the shelter and into foster MUST know how to tell a cat’s breed/age/gender! Train and make signs.
  13. 13. Cat Breed Training Example
  14. 14. Getting Started: Staff/Support This can be basic and all volunteers. Grow the staff as the foster network grows.  Foster Approval Team: People to screen new fosters (auto email apps to them)  Foster Manager: Someone to “manage” the fosters (can be multiple people  Foster Mentor team – not 100% necessary but helpful if you have a lot of fosters, provide extra support to foster homes
  15. 15. Decisions On Setting Some Basic Foster Rules You’ll want to make sure your foster approval team is aware of the rules for when they call to screen fosters 1. Quarantine 2. Indoor only – 100% indoor to prevent losing them or injury etc. 3. Live within X amount of minutes of the shelter/vet services. 4. Who to contact for medical needs and how to get them taken care of 5. How many cats can one foster home have (2 cage rule) 6. What to do if a foster’s personal animals aren’t neutered/vaccinated/etc.
  16. 16. Keep It Simple! Keep it simple for fosters to sign up, and avoid lots of loop holes. • Vet References, calling landlords, home visits – sound good on paper, not great in practice. • The vast majority of people are not abusive/neglectful • Prevent hoarding/overload – your primary thing to worry about • Educate your fosters - the best way to ensure they will provide good care!
  17. 17. Getting Started: Communication Tools For Staying in Touch With Fosters Somewhere to plea animals from the shelter so fosters can know who needs saved as well as foster to foster transfers. Somewhere to send out rule changes or announcements (i.e. we have open spaces at the PetCo cattery!)  Yahoo groups  Google groups  Facebook (warm and fuzzy)
  18. 18. Yahoo Group
  19. 19. Google Groups
  20. 20. Facebook – try to keep it warm and fuzzy
  21. 21. How Do You Build A Foster Network? Okay now that you’ve got everything you need to manage your fosters, how the heck do you find anyone willing to do it? • Craigslist • Facebook • Flyers • Volunteers/Staff • Your website • Adopters • Email everyone you know, ask them to forward to everyone they know
  22. 22. Craigslist Ad General Recruitment
  23. 23. Craigslist – Targeted Ad
  24. 24. Facebook Post
  25. 25. Recruitment Flyer
  26. 26. Website
  27. 27. See Cat Foster 2.0 presentation for information on maintaining the foster program once you have started it!
  28. 28. Thanks For Coming!

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