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.
What 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.
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.
Do 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?
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! :-)