Foster caring is important for an animal's recovery as it provides a more relaxed, normal environment where the animal can recover quicker, compared to the Shelter environment.

RSPCA WA requires foster carers to help care for Shelter animals, and to provide a temporary safe haven for pets caught in family and domestic violence through the RSPCA Pets in Crisis Program.

On this page, you'll find information about:


Why do animals need foster care?

The kinds of animals who need foster care include:

  • Puppies and kittens who are not old enough to be rehomed.
  • Pregnant animals, cats with kittens and dogs with puppies, need a stable and calm environment in which to raise their young.
  • Animals recovering from surgery or short-term, treatable illnesses.
  • Animals suffering from stress and anxiety.
  • Animals in protective custody while seizure applications or prosecutions are under way.
  • Cats who are timid or not coping in the Shelter environment require a quiet home and some TLC.
  • Dogs with mild behavioural issues requiring behavioural enrichment.
  • Horses, livestock and other larger animals need more space than what is available at the RSPCA Animal Care Centre.

(Please note that all dogs in RSPCA WA's care are assessed by our Behaviour Team, and foster carers will be provided with a details behaviour plan to follow.)

There are currently a number of animals with special needs who need foster carers. Read their profiles here and if you meet the requirements, please consider applying to foster one of them.

Animals seeking foster care


How do I become a foster carer?

Anyone who loves animals and has the time and space to provide a temporary home for an animal in need can become a foster carer.

  1. Complete an application form
  2. Provide photos and details about your property (so we can ensure the animal will be safe and secure)
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions of our Foster Care Agreement
  4. Be available to collect animals, return them for medical checks, and follow instructions from RSPCA vets and behaviour team
  6. Return the animal when they are ready to find a permanent loving home*

*Foster carers often form a strong bond with their foster animal and decide to adopt them. We call this a “foster fail” and it’s perfectly OK! If this happens, foster carers are still required to go through the adoption process.

Foster Application Form


What do I need to provide as a foster carer?

As a foster carer, you are always responsible for the pet in your care. In addition to providing a stable home environment for animals, you will also be required to:

  • spend a larger portion of your time at home (for example, you work from home, are semi-retired, or working part-time
  • provide a safe, secure house and yard, and if caring for cats, keep them indoors at all times
  • if caring for dogs, you MUST keep them on a leash at all times—no exceptions!
  • have your own transport
  • attend scheduled vet check-ups either fortnightly or monthly, during working hours (not on weekends)
  • follow all instructions given by RSPCA WA vets or behaviour team to assist the rehabilitation of the animal in your care
  • have some experience with caring for the types of animals you are fostering
  • have permission to keep pets at your home, if you are renting.

All foster carers are provided with a 24-hour emergency contact number, so you'll always have support when you need it.


What does RSPCA WA provide to foster carers?

RSPCA WA provides everything you need to care for animals in your home, including:

  • food and food bowls (and any special dietary food or supplements that might be required)
  • bedding, carry cages, leads, harnesses, collars, etc.
  • kitty litter and litter trays for cats and kittens
  • toys and other enrichment
  • regular vet check-ups and all medications (and instructions on how to administer)

RSPCA WA also provides 24-hour emergency support to all foster carers.

Apply to foster now


Have you got more questions? Check out the Foster Care FAQs.



In some special cases, an animal may need additional care before they are ready to be permanently rehomed. In these cases, a Foster-to-Adopt arrangement is made, giving the animal the best opportunity to settle into the most suitable home. During the foster period, carers will receive the same assistance from RSPCA WA, with additional guidance and support to ensure the best outcome for the animal. When the animal has settled, the adoption procedure will commence and formal transfer of ownership can take place.

This option is only offered for particular animals and may not be available all the time. You will find these animals here.

If you have any questions about foster care, please contact us.

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