SPCA New Zealand

Volunteer positions

Foster parent - Queen with kittens
Auckland (Mangere) Centre

Foster parent - Queen with kittens

Many of the animals that come into our SPCA Centres across the country need additional care, treatment and socialisation before finding their new forever home.

Our volunteer foster parents provide a temporary home for these animals and help them recover from surgery, give them medicine for an illness, or work with them to improve their behaviour.

As we approach our busy kitten season, we urgently need foster homes for queens with kittens.

Why foster a queen and her kittens?

If you can only open your home on a temporary basis, fostering an animal is a great way to rescue an animal in need.

Every animal that you foster is given a second chance at life – and the more you foster, the more lives you can help save. Helping a queen raise her babies is an extremely rewarding experience. You will be asked to care for the queen and her kittens until they reach 800 grams.

What we will provide

All SPCA foster parents receive training and ongoing support from our Centre Team. We supply all food, bedding, toys and everything else to make the animals comfortable while staying in your home.

What you need to help:

  • Time – on average queens and kittens will be staying with you between 3-8 weeks but this can differ depending on the animals you foster
  • Spare room – a safe and secure space away from other animals which could be a spare room, bathroom or laundry. Your space will need to be big enough to accommodate litters as they grow. Ideally you will have a separate room so you can give the queen some time away from her kittens, although this is not essential.
  • Consent from your landlord – if you don’t own your home.
  • Care – some animals will require medication throughout their stay (training on how to medicate an animal is provided)
  • Transport – you will need your own transport 24/7 to bring foster animals to and from the centre or to an after-hours vet should your foster animal need emergency veterinary treatment in the middle of the night.
  • Availability for vet appointments – you will need to be able to bring the foster animal to vet appointments, most of our appointments are during the week. Queens and their kittens will need vet checks every 4 weeks to ensure they are all growing well.
  • Attend a foster information session at the centre before you start fostering
  • Your love and patience

​What does fostering involve?

Every animal has different needs, but a typical foster experience might include:

  • Filling out our application form and a quick follow-up phone interview with our foster team
  • Reading through our training material and completing an online quiz
  • Pick up your foster animals and required supplies.
  • Give your foster animals your love, care and patience, and introduce them to a real home life experience, rules and boundaries
  • Complete daily monitoring records
  • Return the animals back to the SPCA Centre when they are ready

Foster FAQs

Can I foster if I have my own animals?

Yes, we welcome pet owners as foster volunteers. Queens can become protective of their kittens when they are exposed to other animals, so we ask that you keep your household pets completely separate to your foster. Despite fosters being completely separate from your household pets, it is still a good idea to ensure your pets are fully vaccinated.

Can I foster if I have a full-time job?

It depends on the flexibility of your job and your schedule. If you work full-time you will need to be able to spend time with your foster animals before and after work. It is, however important that you are able to accommodate urgent vet visits in your schedule if a foster animal is seriously ill and needs to be seen by a vet right away.

How much time do I need to spend with my foster animals?

As much time as you possibly can. The more time you spend with your foster animals, the more you will help with their socialisation. You’ll also be able to spot signs that your animals are not feeling well, which in kittens this young could be critical. Besides, it’s a lot of fun to play with your foster animals and watch them grow!

How long do animals stay in foster care?

The typical foster stay is between two weeks to a couple of months, depending on the need of the individual animals.

What expenses are involved with foster care?

Foster families are provided with all the food, bedding, equipment (such as litter trays) and medical expenses are covered for the animals in their care.

If you have any questions, please contact our foster team on 09 256 2525, or email us at auckland.foster@spca.nz.

Apply now
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