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Open your home and save a pet's life

Foster homes are at the heart of PAWS’ ability to save lives. With a commitment of just a few weeks, you can rescue a homeless pet and help it become a well-loved companion.

Thousands of animals who are too young or too sick to be adopted arrive in city shelters each year, and temporary foster care gives them a chance at life. There are always animals at PAWS who need foster care.

Sign-Up to Foster

Ready to take home a foster pet? Get started by signing up here!

If you’ve fostered an animal with PAWS before, email to be matched with a foster animal.

Sign-Up Today!

Sign-Up to Foster

Ready to take home a foster pet? Get started by signing up here!

If you’ve fostered an animal with PAWS before, email to be matched with a foster animal.

Sign-Up Today!

Foster parents are needed for. . .

Adult cats with illnesses

Foster homes are needed for felines in our medical wards with a variety of conditions including upper respiratory infections, eye infections, dental conditions, digestive issues, and more. Some are very ill and urgently need a home setting to heal, and others just need to finish a round of meds before they’re ready for adoption.

Dogs with Medical Needs

PAWS is seeking loving foster homes for dogs of all sizes while they heal from surgery or receive  treatment at our clinic for illnesses and injuries. We focus on saving the neediest dogs, many of whom are seniors with special medical needs requiring ongoing care.

Adult Dogs

Fosters are especially needed for medium and large size dogs to provide walks, play, and training to help them transition to home life and reach their potential as family pets. Rise to the occasion, take the leash, and transform the life of a fun-loving dog who needs you!

Nursing cats with litters

The best kept secret of fostering: mom does all the work! With just the basics (food, litter, vet care, and love) the kittens will grow healthy and strong and ready for forever homes. When Mom’s done nursing, she’ll go on to find a loving family too. Fosters are especially needed during the summer months – also known as “kitten season.”

Orphaned Kittens

Take a pair, three, or more! Kittens who are too young for adoption need temporary foster care where they can grow big enough to be spayed/neutered. The need is most urgent during summer months, especially for bottle-feeding newborns.

Healthy pets of all kinds

Take in a healthy, adoption-ready pet just to open up a space in the shelter. Your foster will thrive in your care while they wait for a home, and we’ll use the spot they leave behind to rescue the next pet in need!

Support for Fosters

PAWS provides vet care, spay/neuter surgery, donated food and supplies when possible, and opportunities to find adopters through adoption events, website exposure, and more. Plus, join PAWS’ online group for foster parents to share advice, gain moral support, and celebrate successes.

Goodbye is the Goal

After caring for your foster, you’ll have the joy of seeing them go on to a loving forever home. There are lots of opportunities for your foster to meet “the one,” and PAWS is here to support you every step of the way.

Let's make a match!

Whether you’re an experienced foster or a first-timer, we’ll help make the best match and can  work with the time frame you have available.

Program Spotlights

Bottle Feeder Program

Join our bottle-feeding team! The tiniest and most vulnerable homeless pets are orphaned newborn kittens. PAWS’ innovative program takes a team approach to giving them the round-the-clock, intensive care they need to survive and thrive.

Learn More

Ringworm Recovery

This common fungal infection requires methodical care, but it doesn’t have to stand in the way of a new life. PAWS has dedicated shelter space for pets with ringworm, and provides fosters with everything needed to help them recover.

Learn More

Hospice Program

When a pet we have rescued becomes incurably ill, our veterinarians, lifesaving staff, and the foster parent form a team to provide compassionate comfort care for as long as the animal is able to enjoy their time.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I foster as a trial adoption?

Fostering is not a trial run before adoption. While fosters may potentially adopt the pet they are fostering, all animals in foster care remain available for adoption by the public. If you’re specifically interested in adopting, our staff can work with you to find a good fit for your household: matchmaking is our specialty!


Can I choose how many foster kittens I take at a time?

We can help match you with fosters based on your preferences. Kittens are sometimes with their mom, and sometimes they are orphaned. Litters come in all sizes, and we often split larger litters into pairs or threes for foster placement. Even if you can only foster two kittens, you will be making a tremendous difference! We typically do not send single kittens into foster care, since they need companionship and socialization of at least one other kitten as they grow.


How do I get started if I want to foster an animal?

Just complete the foster care application and you will be contacted shortly by a PAWS staff member. You can also contact us at and we can help you find an animal who suits your needs, abilities, and lifestyle. There are always animals at the shelter who need foster care!


How can I find an adopter for my foster pet?

There are lots of opportunities to find a loving homes: a listing on PAWS’ website and other adoption websites, adoption events which we hold frequently on weekends, promotion on social media, placement at a PAWS adoption location, and more. We also encourage you to promote your foster to your own friends and family to widen the adopter pool even further!


How long do I keep my foster animals?

Length of stay generally ranges anywhere from 2-8 weeks depending on the needs of the particular animal.


I have animals of my own, how do I keep them safe?

Even if you have pets of your own, you can still take in kittens and give them the chance they deserve. A small room that is separate from the rest of your living space, such as a bathroom, is the perfect place for new fosters. Sick or injured animals may or may not need to be kept separate from other pets in the house; a PAWS staff member can tell you about animals’ specific needs and precautions you’ll need to take to keep your pets healthy and safe. If you have a dog and wish to foster another dog, we’ll conduct “meets” to ensure we pair you with a dog who’ll get along well with your own.


What do I have to provide?

Foster parents are responsible for providing the basics: food, water, a litter box, litter, bedding and toys. If you need help with the start-up supplies, please ask; we may have donations we can provide to you. Daily care required for foster kittens depends on their age. PAWS provides evaluation and treatment for conditions we are able to treat. If a foster animal has a condition we are unable to treat, the foster parent may choose to have the condition treated at a private veterinary practice at their own expense or they may return the animal to our shelter.


I can’t foster. Is there anything else I can do?

Absolutely! Donations are always needed to save more homeless animals. And, you can become a PAWS volunteer and help care for animals in the shelter while they wait for foster and adoptive homes. Learn about volunteering and complete the application, and you will be contacted promptly with information on how to get started.

Everyday Acts of Lifesaving

Tell us you're an introvert without telling us you're an introvert... ⁠

Evie is shy and reserved but this sweet tuxie will hang around close by once she gets comfortable with her people and surroundings. Evie wants to vacate the bookshelf and live her best introverted life as a working cat. She'd love to come hangout in your barn, warehouse, brewery, flower shop, hardware store, etc. Anywhere with room to roam!⁠

Do you think you have the perfect set up for Evie? Read more about her though the link in bio!⁠

OR want to learn more about PAWS' working cats program? Find out more at⁠

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #workingcat

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Everyone enjoys a sunset stroll, including Jojo!⁠

This cuddly grandpa is good with other respectful pets and loves treats, belly rubs, and napping at your feet. Jojo wants nothing more than to spend his retirement frolicking through the flowers in the park with you 🌷⁠

Link in bio to earn more about Jojo!⁠

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #sunsetstroll

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Our building is FULL UP with cats and kittens in need of foster care! We'd love to head over to the city shelter to help save more lives, but we need to free up a few kitty condos at our location by sending more animals into foster care first. If you have space to bring a cat or kitten into your home and care for them until they find their permanent family, NOW IS THE TIME!!! ⏱🆘⁠

Meet our cats and kittens who need foster homes here:⁠

OR are you looking for a permanent feline friend? Take a look at our adoptable cats via our link in bio!⁠

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #nowisthetime

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Someone made a new friend! 🐜 Finnegan (fka Fancy Boy) might be full grown, but he still approaches life with the wonder and naivete of a puppy. He just loves being part of the action and hanging out with his people, plus he has the best smile! ⁠

This fun loving goofball pup would just love a dedicated family and routine to help him through his teenage years by providing plenty of enrichment, exercise and attention! He will truly light up your day with his silliness. ⁠

Finnegan has been loving life in a home with his foster dad, but he'll be coming back soon and we don't want this sweet guy to spend even one night in the shelter! Can he go home with you? Finnegan is available for adoption or foster and you can read more about him through our link in bio!⁠

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #newfriend

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Who is this hunky spud? It's Potato is my Name-o! 🥔

This photo doesn't do this goofball justice- Potato is a staff favorite that wins over everyone who meets him. We guarantee that within minutes you'll be on the floor cuddling! (Check out our stories for proof!)

This loving tater tot is looking for a foster home where he can get all the belly rubs his heart desires. He has itchy skin that requires daily meds and he'd love for you to be around consistently as he adjusts to his new space. But in return, sweet Potato is sure to be a great companion. He's a super sized fry at 86 lbs but don't let that fool you - he just wants to be your live-in couch potato!

Interested in taking Potato home? Email!

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #potato

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Did you know you can sponsor a PAWS pet like Holly? If you’ve fallen for a sweet face on our page but can’t adopt right now, just visit their adoption page and hit the “Sponsor This Pet” button! Your support will help cover their food, care, and medical treatment until they find their forever home. Find your favorite PAWS pet at our adoption page (link in bio)!

Ps. If you’re ready to take home a new family member, sweet Holly is still on the market! Follow her adventures at @foxy_holly_the_foster_cat.

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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UPDATE: we have a winner! Please say hello to Finnegan, who’s hoping to begin-again in a forever home with you ❤️ Thank you to everyone who suggested names and helped us vote!

Help choose Fancy Boy’s new name! It was hard narrowing down so many wonderful suggestions, but the finalists are: Finnegan vs. Dunkaroo. Drop your vote in the comments and check this post at the end of the day for the winner!

While you’re at it, check out Fancy Boy’s bio at our adoptions page to see what makes this cuddly goofball such a special guy (link in bio)!

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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They won't make it without you.

Become a Foster