In early February, my wife and I decided to start fostering for a local animal shelter in Tulsa. Since that time, we have been fostering for Street Cats, a local non-profit animal shelter. It has been a rewarding experience and can help place a cat in a home until the cat is ready to be adopted.
Street Cats’ main purpose is to shelter lost or abandoned cats until they can find a home. Its website states the mission statement: “We are an organization that does not place a time limit on a healthy cat’s life: we keep them until a home is found.” Founded in 1997, the organization has been helping cats ever since.
Linda Holland, a board member of Street Cats since 2003, explained the number of cats they maintain in their facility. “We try to keep it at about 11 cats at the facility. And won’t bring any more in until we know for sure we have a foster home.” As of right now, only two foster homes are available for Street Cats. Fortunately, the fostering process takes little to no time to start.
Holland explained that a board member of Street Cats needs to meet with potential fosters before they can become a foster. Fostering a cat is no easy task. It takes a lot of responsibility – almost like you will be adopting. “We want people who are responsible and will keep the cats inside,” Holland emphasized this need to keep the cats inside and treated with the utmost care.
Many of the cats that come in from off the street may have parasites such as Giardia, a parasite that causes diarrheal disease giardiasis if ingested. This is one of the reasons Street Cats look for fosters who can help house them until the parasite is cleared. “We don’t put cats in foster care just because we have too many. We only put them in for medical reasons,” said Holland. They advise any fosters with cats to keep them separate, she explained. “The cats must be separated from other cats to make sure they don’t spread any illnesses.”
The next step is the medical side of fostering. If there is medicine to be given, then somebody must be willing to give medicine and that’s not always easy.” Luckily, Street Cats provides all the medical assistance for the cats.
Finally, after the medicine has been given, a stool sample for the cat needs to be taken back to Feline Specialties, a Tulsa based veterinary hospital for cats. It will be tested to make sure there are no longer any signs of illness or parasites. If the results come back negative, it is time to return the cats from their foster home to the Street Cats facility. Once the cat is with Street Cats they will be ready for adoption and hopefully to a forever home with good quality pet owners.
Street Cats also provides a Spay and Neuter Voucher Program for cats on the streets. A statement regarding its goal for the voucher program explains, “Street Cats, Inc. believes that all cats deserve a home. We wish to reduce the population of unwanted cats by maintaining a spay and neuter program for feral cats and by sheltering cats who no longer have people to care for them. We seek adoptive families who value animals and who will love and protect our Street Cats.”
Street Cats charge $25 per voucher and that will get a cat spayed or neutered as well as one-year of rabies vaccinations. Street Cats even pays the balance on the vet bill. “Anytime a cat is in foster care, we cover the costs.” The organization supplies litter, food, and anything else the cat may need as well as medical expenses. This is all to help that cats get the best care they can receive before they are adopted.
Street Cats also have an adoption process to ensure the cats are going to a loving home. To adopt out a cat, Street Cats ask potential adopters to print out the Adoption Application and bring the completed application with them when planning to meet the cats for adoption. The organization will not process adoption applications emailed to Street Cats until a member has met the applicant and all individuals who live together.
“The adoption process is different for every cat. Some go within a week while others have been with Street Cats for months.” Holland said, “When we adopt out a cat, if it does not work out in the first 30 days, somebody can return that cat and we will refund their adoption fee. “
Holland said, “We’d love to have more people to be fosters for us.” Fostering is a rewarding experience. To start fostering for street cats, you can fill out a foster application on its website on the Resources tab from the home page and email the application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fostering is a fantastic way to help give cats the care they need before they eventually are adopted. To find out more ways to help Street Cats, visit its website or go to its facility, 6520 E. 60th St., (in Tulsa on the east side of Sheridan, behind Charlie’s Chicken). Street Cats are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, visit the website at Street Cats or call (918) 298-0104.