Foster Handbook: medical care & treatments


All cats/kittens who are healthy at or over 4 weeks of age will receive the FVRCP vaccine and first deworming treatment before going into foster care.

Sometimes cats are too small or too sick to have these treatments before going into foster care. As kittens grow and become healthy, they will need to return to HCH to receive them. Mother cats will usually receive medical services at the same time as their kittens.

Our standard medical care includes:

  • FeLV/FIV tests – Testing will be done only on cats or kittens who are at high risk for FeLV/FIV, without prior testing documentation, including cats known to be living outside, with poor body condition, with visible bite wounds or abscesses and/or with chronic dental disease.
  • FVRCP Vaccines – For kittens, these start at a minimum 1 pound or 4 weeks old and are boosted every 2-3 weeks for a total of 3 vaccinations or when adoption occurs. Adults without known vaccination history will receive an initial vaccination and one booster.We try to schedule vaccinations at least a week prior to any surgeries to not stress the cats’ or kittens’ immune systems.Sometimes cats will run a low fever, be less active or eat less for 24 hours following a vaccination. If these symptoms last longer than 24 hours, or if kittens are so lethargic you can’t wake them, please call your Foster Manager or Cat Care Manager immediately.
  • Deworming treatment – cats or kittens will receive Panacur, a basic dewormer, at 1 pound and repeated in 2 weeks. Adult cats with unknown medical histories will be given two dewormers 2 weeks apart.
  • Dosing medication — Direct dosing can harm the bond you are building with your foster cat or kitten. We have a protocol for dosing in food, which is far less stressful. However, the protocol must be followed exactly in order for the kitty to receive the full dose. Please discuss this with your Foster Manager if your cat or kitten needs medication.
  • Spay/neuter – Kittens must weigh at least 2 pounds. Surgeries are performed on various days at spay/neuter clinics. Either one kitten in a litter or the mother will be FeLV/FIV tested at this time. HCH will schedule the surgeries and notify the foster parents through the Foster Manager.
  • Cats and kittens will be fasted (except water) the evening before the surgery starting no later than midnight. The foster parent will keep them quiet and observe for at least 3 days to make sure their surgeries are successful and they are healing properly.Please be aware that cats may not recognize their cat friends or family immediately because of the surgery smells. Please wipe them down with familiar bedding before putting them back together. Don’t be afraid to separate them if they appear stressed. Once things are back to normal, they can either be brought to HCH for adoption or pre-matched with a potential adopter with a meet-&-greet. This can take place at HCH or at the foster home, if you’re comfortable with that.
  • Microchips – Microchips will be inserted by Cat Care Manager or trained medical staff or volunteers.