Best Friends Blog

Houston area foster homes urgently needed

White and gray kitten inside a small cat carrier
One of the most powerful and inspiring experiences of my life was my work in Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. From our corner of the recovery effort at NRG Arena, where we cared for or networked about 1,600 dogs and cats displaced by the storm, I watched the city pull together to get things done and support each other. We had a tremendous turnout of volunteers from across the greater Houston area joining with our staff and volunteers from around the country.

It was a demonstration of what can be accomplished when a community is activated and empowered to connect with their neighbors, solve problems and engineer local solutions. It is an experience I will never forget.

And today I am turning once again to the people of Houston to address an immediate crisis that is taking place in the Harris County Animal Shelter. Since Harvey, the shelter has experienced an amazing turnaround. In 2016, the operation was only able to save about 52 percent of the animals entering their system. So far in 2018, thanks to a partnership with Best Friends Animal Society and other local groups in the area, including Houston Pets Alive, they are at an astounding 90 percent save rate for all animals entering the shelter.

But there is a big immediate problem. It’s kitten season, which means that shelters everywhere have lots of “bottle babies” who need regular feeding and older kittens who are eating on their own but are still too young to be adopted. Some are kittens who are still with their mom. The Harris County Animal Shelter is overflowing with them.

While this may sound more like a photo op than a problem, it is, in fact, a big problem for two reasons: (1) Kittens are tremendously vulnerable because their immune systems are not fully developed yet and (2) they can’t be safely adopted until they reach about eight weeks of age. The Harris County shelter doesn’t have the cage space to house the steady stream of kittens for that long, nor do they typically have the resources to provide the intensive care and feeding that’s required around the clock.

Your help is needed today! The kittens need help to survive and the shelter needs help to sustain their heroic lifesaving work.

The solution is a simple one: Local foster homes are needed for some of the most adorable animals you will ever meet.

Best Friends has deployed some of our staff to Houston to work alongside the shelter staff. We have pulled together an urgently needed foster care program and we are putting out the call for your help to get involved to save these otherwise helpless kittens.

Here’s how it works:

  1. To sign up to foster, please email
  2. We provide all of the supplies (food, litter, toys, bedding) and cover all medical costs.
  3. We have foster mentors who are available to answer your questions 24/7.
  4. Some of the kittens just need a week or two until they can be fixed and then adopted; others need more time or care. We need both kinds of homes: those willing to provide several weeks of care and some that just want to help for a week or so.
  5. All it takes is a few extra minutes each day to clean the litter box, feed the kittens, and watch them wrestle with each other.
  6. You don’t have to be an experienced cat lover or a crazy cat person, because all the kittens really need is a safe place to grow.
  7. Some of the kittens who need a couple of weeks to get ready for prime time can help you read a book, work on your computer or watch your favorite Netflix show.

We can do this! We can save these beautiful babies and, together, we will Save Them All.

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Judah Battista holding a small brown dogJudah Battista
Chief regional programs officer

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