Fostering Multiple Litters: What to Do and How to Decide

New and experienced kitten fosters alike often feel pressured to take on more than one group of foster kittens at a time. While having the ability to do so is a wonderful way to save more lives, it’s important that you’re prepared for the challenge it brings. You need to (1) check in with yourself to make sure you can handle fostering more kittens, (2) be prepared to quarantine the groups of kittens from each other for at least two weeks, and (3) make a plan to balance your time between each group of kittens. Perhaps most importantly, you should take time to reflect on what cases and scenarios you’re willing to say yes and no to when the time comes.  

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Take More Foster Kittens

If you’re reading this, you’re either already a kitten foster parent or you’re planning to sign up. You have a heart full of compassion for animals, and sometimes this means you’re tempted to take on more than you can handle. Your eyes have been opened to the vast world of animal welfare, but you wonder if you’re doing enough. 

No step is too small. You are doing enough. But it’s normal to want to extend your reach. Whether it’s because you’ve been asked by a rescue to take on a new case or because you’re prepping your spare bathroom for yet another litter of kittens, please ask yourself these questions:

  • How many kittens am I considering taking in? 
  • How many kittens are already in my care?
  • Do I have the ability to quarantine the kittens from each other for at least two weeks?
  • Do I have the space to accommodate each kitten and all of the supplies?
  • Do I have the time and energy to take this on, considering how many foster kittens I already have?
  • How is my mental health at the moment? Have I spoken about my stress levels to anyone lately or attempted to release any of it? 
  • Is my current group of foster kittens currently healthy?

Regardless of your quarantine and disease control protocol, this last question is very important. Health conditions like panleukopenia and ringworm make fostering multiple groups of kittens very risky and stressful for everyone involved. Other health concerns, such as upper-respiratory infections (URIs) and eye infections, while they create extra work, are not as serious. 

How to Keep Each Foster Kitten Healthy

Agreeing to take on more foster kittens means that you have to be prepared to keep each group completely separate from one another for at least two weeks. At a minimum, you’ll need to:

  • Keep each group in completely separate spaces.
  • Use separate supplies.
  • Wash your hands (and sanitize your phone) in between interacting with groups and after touching supplies.

One or both groups of foster kittens might be healthy initially, but things can change so quickly. Before you can let your guard down, the kittens should be (1) past their two week quarantine, (2) have healthy stools, and (3) tested negative for FIV and FeLV

At this point, you or the organization you foster for may decide that it’s in the best interest of the kittens to be combined. This is especially true for singletons who will thrive when they have fellow kitten playmates. If everyone is healthy and you follow a careful introduction process, this is often a very enjoyable fostering experience!


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Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

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How to Balance Your Time Between Litters

Fitting fostering into your schedule can be challenging at times. Make sure you have the time to allow each kitten to receive at least one hour of your attention. For example, with two groups of weaned kittens, you could dedicate an hour playing with and socializing each group of kittens. You could plan to play with one group in the morning and the other group in the evening. 

It’s also helpful to set a limit for how many fosters you’re willing to accommodate at once. For example, you could set a limit of six foster kittens because you know you have an entire spare bedroom and a spare bathroom to house them temporarily. Maybe your limit is four because you have a couple of playpens to use. 

Whatever the case, deciding on this limit will help you set healthy boundaries for yourself and those who ask you to take on more. By setting this limit, you can feel more confident in your decisions about whether or not you’re going to take on more foster kittens. 

Deciding to Take In More Foster Kittens

You might feel compelled to say yes to taking more foster kittens for a variety of reasons. Your head and your heart will send you all kinds of messages that you’ll have to sift through. Factors that make kitten foster parents say yes include:

  • Having space, such as a room or a playpen, that’s clean and not in use
  • Feeling in their heart that they can help a certain medical or behavioral case
  • Having a particular work schedule or environment that allows them to free up time and space
  • Feeling guilty about the thought of saying no 

Saying yes to the good samaritan that found a kitten outside or to the shelter that’s begging people to step up for a large litter of kittens is a big deal. You’re agreeing to do your best to give at least one more kitten a chance at a healthy and happy life. However, there are always valid reasons for saying no to taking in more kittens. 

Deciding Not to Take In More Foster Kittens

First, please understand that yes, it’s completely okay to say no. Each foster home has limits, and not everyone can support multiple groups at a time.

Some people offer to work with the individual or rescue group to find another foster home. Others offer to foster the kittens until someone else can take them for a long-term stay. However, it’s still okay to say an absolute no. Factors that make kitten foster parents say no include:

  • Not wanting to spread themselves too thin
  • Not having the space or time to take on more responsibilities 
  • Currently fostering a group of kittens that have high needs
  • Already planning on taking a break from fostering after their current group gets adopted
  • Knowing that not everyone in the home is on board

Regardless of the reason, each foster needs to be able to recognize their limits and know that it’s okay to say no.

How to handle feelings of guilt and peer pressure

When you decide that the time is not right for you to take on multiple groups of foster kittens at once, you might be left feeling guilty. You might feel like you’ve failed as a rescuer. You might deal with pressure from other rescuers to say yes or with feelings of guilt pushed onto you by them because they wish you would’ve said yes. 

Here are some ways to cope with these feelings and stay strong in your decision:

  • Know that it’s okay to say no. You’ve already said yes to helping a group of kittens. That’s amazing.
  • Respect the boundaries you’ve set. 
  • Be proud of yourself for protecting your mental health and avoiding burnout. If you said yes every single time someone asked you to help a kitten, you’d eventually reach the point where you’re so exhausted that you can’t help at all anymore. 
  • Rest assured that you can help in a way other than fostering. You can spread the word, help find another foster home, sponsor an adoption fee, donate, etc. 

Now you’ve been given the tools to prepare for the care of multiple litters of foster kittens and to make an appropriate decision for your unique situation. You’ll know what to do the next time someone asks you to take on more kittens or when you feel compelled to increase your capacity. 

Take some time to reflect on whether or not this is a pattern where you live. Are other kitten fosters and rescuers in your area constantly being asked to take in more kittens? Whether you’re fostering for an organization or independently, you can take action by recruiting more foster homes and advocating for Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) programs. 

For more detailed information on kitten quarantine protocols and disease control, read about common illnesses in foster care and how to disinfect your foster room. To reassure yourself that you’re already doing an amazing job as a kitten foster parent, you can read more about the importance of fostering.

Exploring animal welfare one foster kitten at a time

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