The RSPCA South Australia Foster Care Program helps to give animals a new start to a better life. Foster carers provide temporary homes for animals who are not yet ready to go to a permanent home.

Interested in becoming a Foster Carer?

Please read the frequently asked questions below.

Want to fill out the online application form?




What types of animals need fostering?

Underage puppies and kittens
Pregnant animals
Mums with young litters
Animals recovering from surgery or suffering from temporary and curable medical conditions
Animals exhibiting minor and curable behavioural issues
Animals who find the shelter environment stressful (e.g. older animals)
Animals being held and cared for as the subject of a prosecution (for experienced foster carers only)

How does an animal benefit from our Foster Care Program?

Very young animals are not suited to the shelter environment. They will invariably have undeveloped immune systems and may require extra attention and TLC best provided in a quieter home environment.

In addition, pregnant, nursing or older animals are much less likely to be stressed if cared for within a home.

Animals fostered in a home environment regularly show a more accurate display of their normal behaviour. This assists with assessing their temperament and finding them the perfect new home.

How do you benefit?

You will gain an insight into animal welfare by learning about handling and training techniques and animal behaviour. Fostering can be a very rewarding experience and enriches the lives of shelter animals.

Who can become a foster carer?

Any caring person over 18 years of age who can provide:

  • Dedication and commitment to care
  • Time to spend with the foster animal/s
  • A secure environment
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Written permission from a landlord if renting
  • Their own transport to and from the shelter

What are the requirements to become a carer for different animal types?

Dog and Puppy Carers

  • No more than two owned dogs
  • All owned dogs must be desexed and up to date with vaccinations

Kitten and Cat Carers

  • No more than three owned cats
  • All owned cats must be desexed and up to date with vaccinations
  • Must be able to keep foster cats and kittens indoors at all times

Pocket Pet Carers

  • All owned rabbits must be desexed

What do I need to provide as a foster carer?

Dogs and Puppys

  • Food bowls and water bowls
  • Bedding
  • Lots of love and TLC

Cats and Kittens

  • Food bowls and water bowls
  • Bedding
  • Litter tray
  • Lots of love and TLC

Pocket pets

  • Food bowls and water bowls
  • Bedding
  • Lots of love and TLC
  • Hutch
  • Playpen (for outside supervised play)


  • Aviary or bird cage

Horse and Livestock Carers

  • Please contact us at to discuss further about this very special program.

How many animals can I foster?

Most people foster two or three young animals or one adult animal at a time.

How long does fostering last?

The length of time an animal spends with you depends on the reason it needs foster care. This can be anywhere from one week to three months.

What if I have other pets?

It is very important that your animals are sociable and fully vaccinated in order to protect both them and your foster animal. You will need to consider how a foster animal will impact on your life, home and other animals in your household.

What if I have children?

Most animals can be safely fostered in a home with children, although we recommend that our foster dogs go into households with children over the age of 10.

What about feeding and medical costs?

These costs are provided by RSPCA South Australia as part of our support services to foster carers.

What happens if my foster animal becomes sick or needs to go to a vet?

Veterinary costs are paid for by RSPCA South Australia. If any problems arise you will be given contact numbers to ring so that treatment can be arranged.

Will it be difficult to give them back?

Saying goodbye to foster animals can be difficult. However, most foster carers say the rewards of giving animals a warm, happy foster home and helping an animal on their journey to their new forever home far outweigh the pain of parting.

Plus there are always plenty of other kittens, puppies, cats and dogs waiting to fill their space!

How can I apply to be a foster carer?

Applying is quick and easy. Please complete our online application form here.

What are the next steps?

Foster care applicants are not automatically accepted into the RSPCA South Australia Foster Care Program. We will process your application form and contact you as soon as possible.

All prospective foster carers will need to be prepared for an interview to discuss their application form, a premise inspection will be conducted to ensure you have a suitable environment in which to care for foster animal/s.