Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center

Are You My Foster Mom?

What is the Foster Care Program?

The MSPCA Foster Care Program is a life-saving extension of our adoption center. Foster parents provide temporary homes for animals that aren't quite ready for adoption. Fostering is a personal and wonderful way to contribute to saving the life of a homeless animal. We currently depend on the generosity and dedication of over 100 foster families, but we are in desperate need of more.

What Animals Need Fostering?

The animals most in need of foster care at the Boston MSPCA Adoption Center are cats and kittens. Our adoption center takes in many thousands of animals a year, and 75% of the animals we take in are cats. Our next biggest need is foster homes that have experience with rabbits and are interested in fostering rabbits for socialization and litter box training. We also have the occasional need for foster care for dogs and small animals.

**Please note: Our dog foster care program is currently full. If you are interested in fostering dogs please visit All Dog Rescue or PittieLove Rescue Inc  - two wonderful rescue groups that are in need of foster homes for dogs. Thank you!

Why do Animals Need Fostering?

  • Newborn kittens need fostering. Our foster parents take in mom cats with a recent litter of kittens or litters of stray kittens found without their mothers.
  • Animals who have developed a cold (in cats this is called an Upper Respiratory Infection) and need some TLC.
  • Injured animals that need time to recover before being placed in a new home. 
  • Animals that just need a little extra time to socialize and get ready for placement in a permanent home.
  • Animals that have come to us with behavior issues which require time and training in a home to work through.

How Much Time Will it Take?

The time required to foster varies depending on the species and the reason for foster, it can be as little as two weeks or as long as many months depending on the needs of the particular animal. Our adoption center staff will work to make sure we match you with an animal who is right for your lifestyle and schedule.

What are the Responsibilities of a Foster Home?

  • Provide a nurturing, caring environment for the foster animal.
  • Feed, medicate, groom, and carry out training programs according to MSPCA standards and specific requests.
  • Isolate foster animals from owned animals, unless specifically given permission from the MSPCA. Even when separated, foster homes must be responsible for keeping their own animals up to date on all vaccinations.
  • Ensure the safety of the foster animal. Dogs must be on leash at all times when outdoors, and wear proper MSPCA ID at all times, indoors and out. Cats must be kept exclusively indoors, and wear proper MSPCA ID at all times.
  • Observe and report any changes in behavior, health or temperament to MSPCA staff.
  • Maintain proper level of discretion and confidentiality regarding foster animals and their situation when speaking with those outside the foster program.
  • Foster animals must remain in the care of the approved foster home only. In the event of an emergency, the MSPCA staff must be notified immediately of any changes in animal housing status.
  • Return the animals to the MSPCA when scheduled, as well as all follow up appointments while in foster care.
  • Support the MSPCA's philosophies and policies, and comply with all care standards.
  • Foster homes understand that the MSPCA retains legal ownership of the animal while it is in foster care and that all potential adopters must go through the MSPCA's adoption procedures.
  • Foster families will need to dedicate the time to make frequent visits to the adoption centers if, and when needed

Is Fostering Right For You?

Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience that requires a real commitment.  The emotional aspects of fostering are difficult and should be discussed with all family members.  It is easy to fall in love with any animal especially one that has depended on you. Oftentimes it can be difficult to see them leave your home for their new forever home. The wonderful part of fostering is knowing that you played a tremendous and extremely crucial role in getting them there!

Check out Borrowed Kittens- a foster care blog from one of MSPCA's cherished foster families!

What Does the MSPCA Provide for a Foster Animal?

We will provide you with all the supplies needed.  Food, bowls, leash, collar, medication and litter are all provided by the MSPCA.  We'll send anything the animal is attached to, such as a bed or special toys.  Our vet staff will care for the animal if the need for medical attention arises, and we will incur those costs.  Foster animals are not to be brought to your family veterinarian or another MSPCA veterinarian without prior approval from our staff.

How Do I Become an MSPCA Foster Parent?

If you are interested in Fostering for the MSPCA, please click here to fill out an online application. We will contact you when we schedule the next orientation. Orientations are generally held once a month.

For more information on our Foster Volunteer Program, please call (617) 541-5083, or email  

Don't Have Room to Foster an Animal? 

Consider making a donation to help support our foster and adoption center animals.