‚ÄčEnsuring a New Foster or Adoption doesn't bolt or get lost

First of all, you are a WONDERFUL person for adopting or fostering! Well done!! 

And while your new arrival WILL come to know that, right now its possible all they know is they were at a noisy, scary place, and now they're in a strange place with people they don't know.

They don't know if this is temporary, they don't know if you'll hurt them which may have happened in their last home, they may still be trying to find the owner that gave them up. Sad but true.

So first of all, do NOT take it personally if they're looking to run. They are anxious and confused.

So for now, a few tips to avoid a bolt/runner/lost pet or foster:

  • Never leave them unattended in the backyard EVEN if its fully fenced - they can jump and dig and push on loose boards.

  • For cats, put signs on the doors to remind people to keep them shut (a new arrival cat should not be allowed outside until its acclimated and calm).

  • Setup a safe space in the house for when you're gone; the laundry room, a spare room, with potty pads, water bowl, food, soft bed and leave a radio on (mine like newsradio vs music). See our video on creating a foster area. This works for cats and dogs; for dogs you can also create a gated area within the house (see our video on potty training - it works for that too!)

  • On walks, do NOT take off leash for now. 

  • Lots and lots of extra positive reinforcement, training treats/cookies for dogs; for cats, brushing (use a soft bristle brush not a wire brush) is a good way to calm and bond.

Finally, don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for advice from the shelter, your pet sitter, other foster moms/dads, or your Veterinarian. Problems can often be quickly solved with a little advice versus a return which is upsetting for everyone including the animal which has now bounced around from home to shelter to home and is now even more stressed and anxious.

Feliway (I find this invaluable and worth its weight in gold) and Rescue Remedy (never used but I hear from people who do use it and say its great).

Don't expect them to share food bowls, beds and toys right away - they dont know each other yet. Remember how you hated your little brother or sister when he/she first arrived?

Always wait until the new arrival has had time to calm down and get used to you and the house before trying introductions or leaving them together while you go out. This goes for cats and dogs. Read our article on best practices for introductions.

Finally, don't forget to run down our new arrival checklists for your new BFF!

New Cat Checklist

New Dog Checklist