Shelter Cat Getaway

We are currently looking for foster homes for 20 adult cats. If you are able to help us by fostering through our Shelter Cat Getaway program (details below), please contact Betsy at bsalmon@arl-iowa.org. Thank you!


The purpose of the Shelter Cat Getaway program is to give long-term ARL resident cats a chance to get out of the shelter during the ARL's busiest times of year and enjoy the in-home life they deserve. It also allows the ARL to bring more cats into adoption. About 50 new cats arrive each day in the summer!

Shelter Cat Getaway Details

  • The ARL will continue to promote each cat through the normal adoption channels, including the website and media, but vacation homes are encouraged to find adopters themselves, too!
  • A dedicated Facebook fan page has been created for Shelter Getaway hosts to network, share photos, best practices, ask questions and more!
  • Host families are encouraged to keep the ARL updated on what you observe about the cat(s) so we can better promote them to permanent adopters.

How It Works

The ARL will:

  • Provide a healthy, adoptable cat(s) for you to temporarily house
  • Fully vaccinate & microchip each cat
  • Recommend which cat(s) will fit your current household and provide integration advice for any current pets
  • Provide ongoing behavior advice as needed (click here to view our cat intro tips!)

Getaway providers will:

  • Commit to housing the pet for a week, a month, or longer if needed - cats can either be introduced to current pets or have a private room if they have a travel buddy
  • Sign foster home agreement
  • Provide supplies needed for the cat(s) to enjoy their getaway (i.e. food, litter)

GROUP SPECIALS: Cats do best in pairs (or more) so we highly encourage you to host a cat AND a travel buddy during their Shelter Getaway!

The Beginning of the Shelter Cat Getaway Program

I was at the ARL cleaning on Easter in 2011 and met a cat I would later name Maude (nickname, Maudie May). She was a stray awaiting her forever home. Maude and I had an instant connection and for weeks I couldn’t get her out of my head. I would seek her out and say hello every time I was at the ARL. I cleaned again on July 4 and she was still there waiting to be adopted. When I opened her cage she would head butt me (something she did daily over the years after I adopted her). As I walked away, I had a feeling she was watching me so I looked over my shoulder and she was squished in the front of her cage just to see me. That day, I whispered in her ear that I would be back to get her. Already having 7 cats at home; I drove away thinking of ways I could help her find a home, and that’s when with the help of a couple friends, we developed the idea of a program specifically for adoptable adult cats, later to be named ARL’s Shelter Cat Getaway (SCG). Maude was the first cat into that program – with me. Tom and I adopted her July 16, 2011.

The bond between a person and an animal can be a powerful thing. The bond between Maudie and me meant a new ARL program which would help hundreds of cats for years to come, giving adoptable adult cats a break from the shelter while they await a new home in a foster home.

Maudie May will never know what she inspired; but I will never forget the power of the human animal bond. Maudie passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, in her sleep on February 15, 2017. She will forever be missed.
- Carol Griglione