Happy Tails – Foster Parent Jackie

Jackie M. has fostered around 40 cats over the years. She currently fosters for Almost Home Foundation in Illinois, an all volunteer, foster-based rescue group that works with both cats and dogs. Jackie currently has 10 animals in her house – three cats and two dogs of her own, plus five foster cats – a momma and her four newborn kittens.

A conversation with Jackie

How did you get into fostering?
I lost my cat to diabetes and just thought it would be helpful to do.

Foster Parent JackieWhat surprised you the most about fostering?
How you can fall in love with each and every one you foster.

What is the best part about fostering?
The feeling of knowing you saved a life and are helping them to get a better life than what they started off with.

What is the worst part about fostering?
Letting them go of course!

What do you think most non‐cat people would be surprised to learn about fostering? 
It can be very emotionally exhausting. The ups and downs of dealing with a sick kitty can really resemble that of dealing with a child in many ways believe it or not.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about fostering? 
Make sure that you are mentally prepared because many people tell me they don’t understand how I can just let them go. You have to be in the proper mindset that yes they are leaving, but now you can help another.

What’s a typical morning routine with the fosters like? 
Well, I foster kittens mostly because my adults don’t take kindly to other adults in the home. So, if you have bottle babies, you’re up every 3-4 hours preparing bottles and feeding them (just like a newborn). And if they are older, it’s listening to them meow as you open their wet food cans and make sure they have clean water and litter and dry food.

Foster Parent Jackie

How much litter and food do you think you go through on a weekly basis? 
It’s all going to vary on what ages they are. Babies don’t go through quite as much as older kittens do. But I’d estimate a case or two of wet food and possibly a big bag of litter per week. It all depends. I’ve had litters of five kittens or just one.

Foster Parent JackieDo your own pets get along with the fosters? 
My dogs could care less, but my cats? Well, my two foster fails love having kittens in the house! After the separation period, they groom them and run around and play like crazy. I do have that one grumpy guy who just hates everyone, so they learn pretty quickly to stay away from him!

How do the other people in your household feel about you fostering? 
My three kids love it. My husband not so much, but he knows it’s what brings me joy, so he deals with it. lol

What’s a fun stat you can share? 
I’ve had up to 40 paws in my house at one time!

Do you have a favorite foster story to share? 
They are all my favorite, but the ones I love the most are the ones where a kitty was really sick and everyone assumed was going to die, but they pulled through and are thriving. I’ve had two of those and one of them is my own foster fail!

And just for fun…

What’s the last movie you saw? 
Deadpool. Funny!

Pie or cake? 
Cake obviously! Unless the pie is from Bakers Square!

Do you have any hobbies or interests? 
Old lady hobbies, lol. Cross stitching, writing, watching my daughter cheer.

What would your cat super power be? 
Their agility I think. Especially since I’ve had back problems for almost 20 years!

Do you have a favorite rescue organization or charity you’d like to give a shout out to? 
Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. They make these really funny videos called The Real Treehouse Cats of Chicago. They work with feral cats and are a no kill shelter and are opening their new building this summer with a cat cafe! I can’t wait to go!

Many thanks to Jackie for sharing her foster parenting story with us. You can connect with Jackie on Catastic (@almosthomefoster) and keep up to date on her foster kitties. Jackie is also thinking about starting a blog about her foster experiences. Three Chatty Cats would love to see that! :-)

Foster Parent Jackie

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19 thoughts on “Happy Tails – Foster Parent Jackie

  1. Thank you for sharing!

    Jackie, thank you for all that you do to help cats!! I know that I couldn’t be a foster of kittens (and maybe not even adult cats) because I know I’d get too attached to all of them. It would break my heart every time I had to let one go. You are very strong for what you do, and it’s because of people like you that kitties’ lives are saved!

  2. I loved this interview. Jackie is totally amazing and very inspiring. I so admire folks who foster! It must be very bitter-sweet when they go to their purrmanent homes but then there is room for another.

  3. Love reading these stories.
    Do most fosters just care for the kitties for awhile while the agency works out getting them to adoption events, or do the fosters have to take them to events weekend after weekend after weekend?

    1. Thank you, glad you like them! I do too, which is why I like posting them too.

      It really depends on the cat and the rescue group. I’ve known some who have fostered kittens into adulthood because they were just never selected for adoption at the event for whatever reason. And some kittens go really quick. I also think it probably varies on transport to the event too. But I think most fosters are responsible for that part. But then they don’t have to stay at the event – just drop off and pick up. Some of the bigger rescues will have volunteers who just transport. But my guess is that’s probably rare.

      Thinking about fostering? :-)

      1. I think about it all the time but my house is already full (<1,000 sq ft with 5 adopted cats and 2 stays I'm "co-tending"); I'm not good about time commitments on the weekend; and I know I'd try to keep them all!

      2. but I’m hoping to start an NPO this year to donate to animal charities. With a long term goal of opening a laundromat (or other low overhead business) with profits funding the NPO.

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