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Foster and Forever Pet Rescue

Finding loving homes for strays.

Foster and Forever Pet Rescue matches homeless animals with caring foster homes until their forever homes are found. Big Y has supported this nonprofit organization through its Community Bag Program.

Tell us about Foster and Forever Pet Rescue.

Foster and Forever was founded in 2011 with the goal of improving the lives of homeless animals. Our mission is to serve as an umbrella under which foster homes will provide care for homeless animals until loving, permanent homes are found. 

We work with the community to plan, build awareness, and improve services for homeless animals. Right now, we are strictly focused on cats due to the high demand, but we used to help dogs, also. For the animals we take in, we provide spay and neuter services as well as any necessary medical care. We also provide supplies for all animals living in our foster care homes. 

We are grateful to have a great team of volunteers. Foster and Forever has approximately 30 foster homes, all working tirelessly to care for our animals and find them their forever homes. We have other volunteers who do various other tasks, such as fundraising, vet visits, and transportation. 

Foster and Forever has approximately 30 foster homes, all working tirelessly to care for our animals and find them their forever homes.

What services do you provide to the community?

We get calls almost daily about cats in need of rescuing, whether they were spotted in someone’s backyard or were seen living on the streets. It’s not as often, but we also receive owner surrenders. For example, if an owner is moving and can’t take their cat with them, we step in. But situations like this don’t happen that often, so most of the cats we work with are strays.

Since we are foster-based, everything depends on what our foster homes have space for. Many of these homes have taken in several cats at a time.

Once we bring stray cats in, we flea-treat them. We also treat them for worms, and they are fecal tested as needed. If they’re old enough, we immediately make vet appointments to help them get spayed/neutered, vaccinated, snap tested, and microchipped. If a cat is under 12 weeks old, they will stay in foster care until they are old enough to have this done. Kittens often get sick, so even if they are not old enough for spay/neuter, many still need early vet care appointments. While they are in these foster homes, we take care of anything they need for their wellness. Once all of this is taken care of, they go up for adoption. They can be viewed on our website, Facebook page, Instagram and at our adoption events at Petco Southington.

As funding allows, we also do some trap-neuter-release (TNR) for feral cats. The state provides some population control vouchers (not nearly enough), which we use to go out to the community and trap feral cats, the priority is females, to minimize reproduction.

What sets Foster and Forever Pet Rescue apart from other nonprofits in your community?

We are completely foster-based. All of our cats go into wonderful, loving foster homes and are with loving families 24/7. 

We work seven days a week, both day and night. If something goes wrong, we can immediately address it. For example, the other night, we had a kitten who needed medical help, and I was able to be on the phone with the foster family at one o’clock in the morning. So, we really go above and beyond. We truly have the best foster families and volunteers, all dedicated, hardworking people who care for and love the animals. 

We work seven days a week, both day and night. If something goes wrong, we can immediately address it.

Tell us a story that illustrates the good work of your organization.

Two of my volunteers (Kathy and Eileen) messaged me recently about a hoarding situation. They had discovered that 20 cats were living in a mobile home in deplorable conditions and the owners were being evicted.

Kathy and Eileen were able to remove all the cats from this situation. They would go day by day and convince the owners to surrender a couple more cats each time until they were all safely in our care. Many of them have been adopted already! Once removed from the situation, Eileen, who initiated the project, took each of these rescued cats into her house. As they were treated at the vet, they were able to go to other foster homes. Little by little, we treated each one and moved them to a foster home or to their forever home. It was a huge project our fosters undertook, but all the cats are now safe, and many have been adopted into loving homes. 

We also had another hoarding situation in downtown Waterbury, where the cats were living in disgusting conditions. One of our volunteers (Cindy) had been working on it for years before she joined us, so together, we were able to get all those cats removed, treated, and relocated.

What is your most outstanding achievement or contribution to the community?

When I came into this rescue, it was very small with only a few foster homes. Collectively, we have built it into a very respected rescue, and I’m very proud of that. We have a very good reputation in our community and thirty foster families. 

We also started tracking all of our animals, so we know when we took a cat in, where it came from, who was involved with rescuing it, and where it was placed. I’m really proud of this accomplishment. In addition, before placing them in their forever home, the cats are microchipped.

Every call that comes in is addressed. If we cannot personally take the animal in, we network with other rescues to find them someplace to go. Of course, this collaboration is so important. In cat rescue, it takes a village and then some!

What do you want people to know about Foster and Forever Pet Rescue?

I want people to know that we are a dedicated, caring group of animal lovers. We do our best to help as many animals as we can. 

Of course, there are always funding and housing limitations. As much as we want to rescue every cat in need, we don’t always have the room in our foster homes. In addition, even with an adoption fee, the medical cost is expensive and increases every year. So, we are always in need of monetary and supply donations. Despite our constant need for funds, if one of our rescues needs medical attention, it is provided. At times, a rescue cat may need a major medical procedure, and we need to reach out to the public for help in paying the surgical bill. We could not help all the cats and kittens we do without the help of generous animal lovers, who support our fundraisers and pleas for donations.

For anyone interested in opening their home to a rescue by becoming a foster, we have applications on We check all references and do a home visit to check the potential home. Any foster home needs to have an isolation room to separate foster cats from any other animals until they are deemed healthy. We also need somebody who can transport their fosters to and from the vet, specifically if they aren’t local. Once you’re approved, the adventure begins! Fostering is a very rewarding experience, and our fosters are never alone as they are supported by our other experienced fosters.

Fostering is a very rewarding experience, and our fosters are never alone as they are supported by our other experienced fosters.

How will you use the funds you’ve received from the Big Y Community Bag Program?

All our funding goes directly to the cats we care for. We have no paid employees, so any money that comes in supports our work. The majority of our expenses are vet bills, so everything we receive from this program goes to cover these medical costs.

Interview with Ann Cianciolo

Published May 28, 2024.