In California, kitten season begins in February and continues through the end of October or even mid-November. During that time, Nine Lives is constantly in need of foster homes to temporarily house young orphaned kittens and moms with litters of kittens. The shelter environment is not appropriate for young, immunologically immature kittens making foster homes essential for our mission to save hundreds of kittens each season. Foster homes provide a safe, nurturing, non-stressful environment for the kittens and moms with kittens to grow and develop properly until they are weaned and transitioned to solid food, generally at six to eight weeks of age.


Fostering involves keeping the litter of kittens or mom with kittens in your home, separated from any resident cats or dogs, in a crate (provided) or spare bathroom or bedroom until they are old enough to be adopted and spayed or neutered (usually 8 weeks of age). The foster time commitment may be as little as 1-2 weeks or as long as 8 to 10 weeks depending on the age of the kittens at intake. If you are fostering and have a planned vacation or trip, we are happy to accommodate you with temporary foster care until you return.


Fosters are not responsible for finding homes for the kittens nor are they responsible for any medical care if needed. All check-ups and medical as well as spay/neuter, vaccinations and deworming are provided by Nine Lives Foundation at our facility. We do ask that our foster families live or work within 30 miles of Redwood City to make the required check-ups, medical care and surgical services as convenient as possible. Foster check-ups are scheduled every 2 weeks until adoption. Please be aware of this time commitment... we will do our best to accomodate your schedule!

Interested in fostering in the future?  Please fill out our foster application 

We will put you on a list of available fosters and call you when we have a group of kittens for you depending on your age preferences:

  • Mom with newborn kittens

  • bottle babies

  • transitional babies

  • self-feeders

Please note: we have temporarily suspended our foster program during this transition, as we ramp up staffing and normalize our operations. Sign up for our newsletter if you'd like updates on our foster program!

Fostering is a great way to see if your family will want to adopt!


Fostering can be a wonderful experience for families with young children wanting to share the joy and excitement of kittenhood.....without the long-term commitment of cat ownership!

Wanted: Kitten whisperers

We often have kittens that need some extra socialization -- can you help? A little extra love and attention will help prepare these shy kittens for their forever homes!

What Do I Need to Do?

Provide a safe, warm environment for your foster kittens.   A bathroom or spare bedroom is a great place to keep them.

If kittens are not being fed by their mom, or are not weaned, bottle feed them at intervals appropriate to their age

Monitor the kittens' growth and well-being.  This includes weighing the kittens regularly

Give the kittens love and attention to help socialize them and prepare them for their forever home!

Bring them to the Nine Lives Clinic every two weeks (call clinic for appointments) for checkups and vaccinations.  All medical care is provided by Nine Lives. 

Keep the kittens' environment clean -- change/wash bedding, scoop litterbox

Foster and Kitten Resources