We need volunteers to provide a safe and loving environment for friendly pets until they are adopted. Though animal shelters house thousands of cats, there are still staggering numbers of strays that these facilities simply cannot accommodate without the help of foster homes. Generous cat foster parents open their hearts and homes to cats in need, enabling these organizations to help more cats. Although finding enough dedicated foster homes is a daunting task, fostering saves countless needy cats. Linda Lord, DVM., assistant professor at Ohio State University’s Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, conducted a survey of animal shelters across Ohio in 2004 and found the number of cats entering shelters increased 20 percent since 1996. She says that while she cannot say with certainty that other areas experienced similar increases, she believes it is likely. More cats mean that shelters are often cramped for space. The Brazos Animal Shelter in Bryan, Texas, uses foster homes for cats that aren’t ready for adoption. This creates space in the shelter, which allows the facility to help more cats.