About Fostering

Foster Program

Anti-Cruelty’s Foster Program provides a vital lifeline to help provide extra support and care to animals from all walks of life, from shelter pets to those being boarded in our emergency housing program. The individual love and care of a foster parent gives pets the opportunity to flourish in a home, rather than in a shelter environment. 

Anti-Cruelty provides all fosters with program training, medical care, starter supplies, food, behavior guidance, and ongoing support. Foster volunteers are asked to supply treats, toys, bedding, accessories, and of course, tender loving care.

If you have any questions regarding our foster volunteer opportunities, contact us at foster@anticruelty.org.

As an Open-Door shelter, Anti-Cruelty welcomes animals of all types and all conditions, into our care. Some of the pets who come to us need additional care before becoming adoption-ready, while others may be enrolled in our emergency boarding program, SAFE. No matter the reason, the foster program provides pets from all walks of life with extra TLC to help them along on their journey. 

Some of the most common foster animal categories include:

  • Cats: Felines undergoing treatment for Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), as well as those who may need behavioral or emotional support.
  • Kittens: Underage and underweight kittens who need additional time to grow and mature.
  • Nursing Moms & Litters: Feline mothers and their underage kittens who need a calm, quiet, germ-free environment in which to grow up.
  • Dogs: Canines recovering from injuries or illness, as well as those who may need additional training or behavior modification.
  • Puppies: Underage canines who need to grow and gain weight.
  • Small Animals: Rabbits, Guinea pigs, birds, and other small pets who may be underage or who need a break from the shelter environment. 
  • SAFE: Through this unique program Anti-Cruelty offers emergency housing for pets whose owners are experiencing an emergency that temporarily prevents them from being able to care for the animal. SAFE foster animals are owned pets in need of up to six weeks of boarding while their owner gets back on their feet.

In addition to the opportunities above, Anti-Cruelty foster parents have the opportunity to participate in special projects including:

  • Neonate Bottle Babies: Orphaned, underage cats who need specialized 24-hour care to survive infancy. To donate formula, bottles, and other supplies for newborn, orphaned kittens, please visit our Amazon Wish List.
  • Adoption Ambassadors: Dogs and cats in need of additional behavior support due to their background or difficulty adjusting to the shelter environment. Adoption Ambassador animals are adopted directly out of foster care. 

Animals are nominated for the foster program by our team of behavior specialists, veterinarians, and animal care experts. Our team provides foster volunteers with direction on what care is needed for each individual animal, along with an estimate of how long the animal will be placed in their home.
Foster parents can find information on an animal’s availability for placement through our Foster Candidates page, which is updated by team members daily. Our foster support team provides regular check-ins with foster parents who have animals in their care with an opportunity to ask questions about the animal’s status, behavior, and health.
Prospective fosters are encouraged to review our comprehensive Foster Manual for an inside look at the program before applying to join the team.

These are dogs, cats, and rabbits who are available for adoption while enjoying the comforts of foster care! Adoption Ambassador fosters help with adoption promotion and placement of available pets by acting as their advocate and spokesperson while providing them home-based care.

Home Trial is a program which allows ALL adoptable dogs and cats to be available for both adoption and foster at once. This special program gives prospective adopters a chance to see if a dog or cat is a good fit for their family by inviting them to take part in a one-week foster trial. At the end of the week, people can decide to adopt, become an Adoption Ambassador Foster, or return the animal to the shelter so we can continue to work to recruit them a forever family. Home Trial participants are provided with all of the same perks as a traditional foster parent, including pet food supplies, medical support, and behavior assistance. Interested participants must meet regular adoption criteria.

To learn more, each out to us at adoption@anticruelty.org or call 312-645-8220.

Neonate kittens, often referred to as bottle babies, are orphaned, newborn kittens who are exceptionally fragile and require an extraordinary amount of care. As an Open-Door shelter, we are one of only a handful of local shelters who will accept these kittens. The survival rate of bottle babies is fully dependent on our ability to quickly secure experienced fosters to provide them with round-the-clock care. That’s where our Neonate Kitten Fosters come in! 
Neonate fosters complete specialized training before being assigned to provide care for these fragile felines.

Anti-Cruelty provides all the necessary equipment and supplies, including bottles, formula, heating pads, and scales. Unlike our traditional foster program, there are special considerations individuals should take when deciding whether or not this program is a good fit. Considerations should include:
Availability: Fosters parents with flexible schedules or who are able to work from home are ideal candidates for this project. Just like a human newborn, neonate kittens require feeding and cleaning once every 2 to 3 hours, including middle of the night feedings. Please factor this into the equation when considering participation in this program.
Resilience: Neonates are completely dependent on their caretaker. Neonate fosters are responsible for feeding and stimulating kittens to encourage bowel movements and urination. In addition to the messy business of raising an orphaned kitten, some of the kittens who come into our care may have illnesses or predispositions to fading which makes them more vulnerable to complications. Unfortunately, not all kittens make it through, and that can be emotionally difficult for fosters. 
Housing: Fortunately, neonate kittens take up very little space for the first 2 to 3 weeks of their lives. Because they mostly eat and sleep, they don’t need much more than a small crate or large carrier to house them. However, they must be kept separated from pets at home since we are still learning about the kittens’ health and they are too young to be vaccinated. 
If you are interested in taking part in this lifesaving program, please register for in-person OR virtual training below:

Pajama Party fosters provide a short-term, overnight stay for a dog who is available for adoption and in need of a break from the shelter. These 24 hour foster stints provide dogs with some much needed R&R while providing people interested in exploring our foster program with a short first-time foster experience. 


  • Primary caretaker must be at least 18 years of age
  • Have access to a reliable source of transportation
  • Comfortable navigating the internet and using email
  • Existing household pets must be vaccinated
  • All household members must agree to provide foster support

    Additional Qualifications
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Support our mission and philosophies
  • Commit to following all foster policies and procedures
  • Exclusively utilize fear-free or positive reinforcement training techniques when handling and caring for animals