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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

Help us #ClearTheShelters this week and all month long! If you're interested in fostering a shelter pet or learning more about PAWS' foster program, we've got you covered:⁠

🐾 TODAY at 4:45: Facebook & Instagram live shelter tour⁠
Tune in on Facebook or Instagram to meet some of the pets at PAWS' Grays Ferry location who are looking for foster homes right now!⁠

🐾 TOMORROW, August 16 at 6pm: Online foster info session⁠
Join us for a 30 minute online info session and Q&A with PAWS' foster manager to learn more about what fostering is, how it works, and how to get started. Register today through our link in bio!⁠

🐾 THIS WEEKEND, August 19-21: Foster weekend at PAWS’ Grays Ferry location⁠
Sign up in advance, then come get matched with a foster pet! Our goal is to empty our entire Grays Ferry shelter this weekend. With all that open space, we will head right to the city shelter on a mission to save as many more lives as we can! ⁠

🐾 ADOPTION & FOSTER APPOINTMENTS ARE AVAILABLE ALL MONTH! Visit our link in bio to sign up to foster or check out our adoptable pets page.⁠

@ClearTheShelters is a month-long, nationwide lifesaving event taking place every August, with a goal of finding foster or adoptive homes for as many shelter pets as possible so we can open desperately needed space to save more who are counting on us. Please join us however you can (sharing this post counts too)!⁠

#getyourrescueon #fosteringsaveslives #adoptashelterpet #adoptlocalphl #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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Meet our @CioccaSubaruofPhiladelphia adoptable pet spotlight, Angie! This friendly young pup was found tied up under a bridge in a local park, but now she's being spoiled in a PAWS foster home and is ready to start her new life with you. Angie's foster mom describes her as a low maintenance sweetheart who just wants love. She has a passion for snacks and chew toys, but her favorite thing in the world is snuggling up with her humans!⁠

If you're looking for a kind-hearted cuddle bug, learn more about Angie at our adoptions page (link in bio)!⁠

Our friends at Ciocca Philadelphia been vital partners to PAWS, contributing thousands of lifesaving funds though their #SubaruShareTheLove event and special sponsorships. We are profoundly grateful for their support and look forward to saving more lives together!⁠

#phillypaws #cioccadealerships #dogsofphilly #rescuedog #adoptlocalphl #phillypawsfoster

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Lola is waiting to wow you! This affectionate girl was a whole new pup during her temporary foster break, but she's more stressed than ever now that she's back at the shelter, and looking for a long term foster or forever home ASAP. According to her temporary foster, Lola was a delightful companion at home and just needed some extra guidance during her walks outside. She's looking for a home with a fenced backyard where she can exercise and play, or a home in a quieter neighborhood where her walks will be uneventful. Visit our link in bio to foster or adopt Lola!

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #phillypawsadoptable #rescuedog

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Storm wants to know if you’ve signed up to foster for #ClearTheShelters!

Our cat (and dog!) housing space remains full, and every pet we send home opens a space for us to rescue a new one with nowhere else to go. If you’re not able to make a lifelong commitment by adopting right now, you can make a HUGE difference by becoming a foster and providing a temporary home to a pet who needs you!

Visit our #linkinbio to sign up to foster, or register for our Online Foster Info Session next Tuesday, August 16th at 6pm!

#fosteringsaveslives #getyourrescueon #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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🚨Breaking news: the world’s first ever dog-bunny hybrid is available for adoption at PAWS! Grandma Sugar is 39 pounds of sweetness and love. If her tiny front teefers don’t make you swoon, her kind-hearted personality surely will. At 13 years young, Grandma’s house manners are impeccable, and her warm and loving demeanor would make her a wonderful family companion to kiddos of any age.

Grandma Sugar had a difficult start to her golden years: she lost her home when her owner passed away, and arrived at the shelter with a large mass that required surgery and a long recovery. Now that she’s finally healed, she can’t wait to start her next chapter with you! Learn more about adopting this special granny at our adoptions page (link in bio)!

#bunnydog #teefs #dogsofphilly #seniordoglove #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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If Lola is this happy after a week-long shelter break, imagine what a joy she'll be in a forever home with you! It's been beautiful and a little bittersweet seeing the stress melt away from this sensitive girl after just a few days in a home, and it’s clearer than ever that she’s going to make an amazing companion once she finds her special someone!

Lola’s short-term foster has shared that she loves to play with toys and has an adorable habit of snuggling her head behind her human’s back on the couch (this girl was made for Netflix marathons). She’s also made tons of progress during short walks on her block — a big milestone for Lola, who’s struggled to find a home where she can get her exercise in a quieter environment.

This sweet and silly girl will have to come back to the shelter soon if a longer term foster or forever adopter can’t be found, and we need your help to keep that from happening! Lola would be a great fit if you:
❤️ Love snuggly goofballs
❤️ Have a pet-free home
❤️ Have an enclosed yard or live in a quieter area where walks will be uneventful

Email if you’d like to learn more about fostering Lola, or visit her adoption profile to make her a permanent family member (link in bio for our adoptions page)!

#getyourrescueon #adoptlocalphl #couchpotato #dogsofphilly #fosteringsaveslives #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster

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#Mondaymood with Munchkin 😑

This cutie was 100% stink face when she arrived, but all it took was a little socialization in foster care to have her enjoying snuggles like any other kitten! If you’d like to help a nervous cat or kitten come out of their shell, learn more about PAWS’ foster program at our link in bio 🐾

#getyourrescueon #fosteringsaveslives #kittensocialization #fostersrock #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #rescuekitten

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Update: foster found!
This cutie with a booty is looking for a foster home! Agatha's owner had to give her up when they moved out of the country and couldn't take her with them, and she's understandably stressed at the shelter. She's got over two years of experience as a beloved family pet, and has lived with kids, cats, and dogs (both big and small)! Agatha was so loved that she's now got a few extra pounds to lose (we get it, those eyes are hard to resist!) so a little diet and exercise will go a long way.

If you'd like to give this adorable dog/cow hybrid a home for a few weeks until she's adopted, learn more and sign up to foster through our link in bio, or email with any questions!

#getyourrescueon #fosteringsaveslives #dogsofphilly #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #chonkyanimals

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The shelter remains full and we urgently need your help!

Cats, dogs, and kittens continue to flood into @acctphilly every day, and we’ve already had to pass on several pets who needed our rescue assistance simply because we had nowhere for them to go. The good news is, there are several ways to help!

1. Sign up to foster and temporarily open your home to a shelter pet through our link in bio. Short-term and long-term foster parents are urgently needed for orphaned kittens and nursing moms, dogs and cats with medical or behavioral needs, and healthy dogs and cats needing a break from the shelter.

2. If you’ve been thinking of adopting, now is the time! See our full list of adoptable pets and fall in love today at (link in bio)!

3. If you can’t take a pet home, please share to help get the word out!

4. If you want to support our work, consider making a gift through our Paw It Forward campaign through our link in bio.

Together, we can say YES to cats and dogs who are counting on us!

#getyourrescueon #fosteringsaveslives #adoptlocalphl #catsofphilly #dogsofphilly #phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #nokillphiladelphia

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This week, Paw It Forward for pets like Nori! Like so many of the animals we rescue, this gentle senior needed a lot of help when she arrived at PAWS.

In addition to being severely emaciated from an untreated metabolic disorder, Nori suffers from a large, painful mass on her back end that will need to be removed as soon as she’s strong enough to undergo surgery. Our veterinary team is diagnosing a variety of other ailments and helping her safely gain weight, feel better, and get ready for the road to recovery that lies ahead.

As this sweet girl is being showered with love in a PAWS foster home, she is starting to know the carefree life that all dogs deserve. “Nori is already looking a whole lot better and has gained about 7 pounds,” shared her foster in a recent update, “Despite her condition, she is still the sweetest girl ever!”

Once Nori is ready, we will find her perfect match and she will make a family whole as their cherished pet. Please Paw it Forward today to help us welcome more homeless animals like Nori who are depending on all of us for safety, care, and love!

Choose your support level and secure your thank you care package (or donate any amount for a chance to win one) through our link in bio!

We’d also like to give a very special thanks to our friends at @teknion_philadelphia for their generous sponsorship!

#phillypaws #phillypawsfoster #nokillphiladelphia

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They won't make it without you.

Become a Foster