Boston Animal Care and Adoption Center

Are You My Foster Home?

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.

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 close to 5,000 animals a year, and 65% of the animals we take in are cats. We place kittens who are too young to be adopted in our foster program. We also place cats that have been injured or have a cold in foster care to give them time to recuperate before they are made available for adoption. 

- 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 small animals such as guinea pigs.

- For dogs, we have started a new Adoption Ambassador foster care program - learn more about our new Adoption Ambassador Foster Program for Dogs.  A large majority of the dogs in need of foster care are Pit Bull Mixes.  If you are interested in fostering small dogs, we would encourage you to apply to foster with All Dog Rescue a wonderful rescue groups that is need of foster homes for small dogs.

How Much Time Will it Take?

The time required to foster varies depending on the species and the reason for foster. For cats, it can be as little as two weeks or as long as many months depending on the needs of the particular animal. For our dog foster program we ask foster parents to foster the dog until he/she is adopted. 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 Requirements for Foster Parents

If you rent your current apartment, we need to gain permission from your landlord or rental company before you can foster. It is recommended that you find out your apartment's pet policy before applying to our foster program. If you own your home, we ask that you bring proof of home ownership - a tax bill, water bill or mortgage statement- with you to the foster orientation.

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. For this reason all foster parents should be within a 30 minute driving distance to the MSPCA. We are reachable via public transportation, but keep in mind there may be times when a cab is required if emergency visits are required.

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!

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 two hours long and are generally held once a month. - either on weeknights of weekends.

For more information on our Foster Volunteer Program, please call (617) 524-5708, or email  

Don't Have Room to Foster an Animal? 

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