The Art of Rescuing: Kayt Hester

Kayt Hester is an artist and cat lover who uses her artistic talents to help raise funds for local rescue groups in her area. Her artwork is created from bits of hand torn black masking tape and is quite unique and fascinating. Kayt also runs a pet supply store called Fussy Friends in Jersey City, NJ, where she gets to play with and help socialize the cats who are waiting for adoption from two local rescue groups. And in addition to all of that, Kayt also cares for feral cats!

A conversation with Kayt

How did you get involved in helping local cat rescues?
I am an artist with a pretty decent fan base here in Jersey City. I discovered that my cat art was popular and sold quickly. Knowing that my friends who run these local rescue groups will often spend their own money caring for their rescues, I thought I should do something to lend a hand. I started making cat pieces in which the funds of those sales go directly to the rescue groups. I usually have one big solo show once a year, and I will have an entire wall of fundraising pieces.

Kayt Hester

What has been the most successful for you for fundraising?
The cat/animal pieces usually tend to sell quickly because I keep them affordable and people love to know they are helping out the cats. Not everyone is in the position to feed or rescue, so they like to know they are helping out any way they can. I will have stickers and pins for one dollar each and people like that stuff. Small, affordable and safe pieces that people want to have in their homes or to give as a gift. Things geared towards animal lovers. Over the past five years, I have raised close to ten thousand dollars for the various rescue groups of Jersey City.

Kayt Hester

Have you tried anything regarding fundraising that hasn’t worked well?
Not really…I discovered what works well early on so I stick with that! I have seen other fundraising efforts that have photos of abused animals or that try to guilt you into giving money…I would never go that route. It turns me off personally, so I would never try it.

I also hear you have TNR’d some kitties. How did you get involved with Trap-Neuter-Return?
Yes! I moved in with my boyfriend five years ago and the backyard had a few feral cats. When Spring hit, we had way more than just a few!! I contacted my good friends who are TNR experts and they taught me how to properly trap a cat and then get them spayed / neutered. We got about 12!

Do you currently care for any community cats? 
Yes, I have a colony in my backyard now and everyone is neutered. They each have their own houses filled with straw and even two electrically heated houses. I feed them all twice a day. I do my best to medicate them for fleas and worms in the summertime. The friendly cats are easy! The more shy cats are a challenge to medicate.

Will you describe what you do for the cats at the pet supply store? 
We allow two local rescue groups to house a few of their adoptable cats at the store. (Companion Animal Trust and Hudson County Animal League) I clean their crates, feed them and scoop their boxes. If they are not shy, I let them out to run around the store and I make sure they get lots of exercise and socialization. If they are more shy or timid, I spend time with them, petting and sweet talking them to help get them comfortable and bring them out of their shell. I also talk them up to the customers and on social media. I let everyone know their funny traits and really try to get people to interact with the cats and connect with them. We have great success with adoptions from the store.

Do you have a favorite rescue organization or charity that you’d like to mention?
I have quite a few! Companion Animal Trust, Hudson County Animal League, PAD PAWS Rescue, Broome Animal Sanctuary, Not Lost JC. My favorite dog rescues are See Spot Rescued and Animal Lighthouse Rescue. Each of these groups does amazing and important work.

Do you have any pets at home? 
I have two goofy cats who run my house. Harold and Pixie Doodle.

Kayt Hester
Harold and Pixie Doodle

Anything else we should know about you? 
I love dogs just as much as cats, but I have my hands full with all the cats so I can’t really have a dog at this point. Though I would love to!

A big thank you to Kayt for using her artistic talents to help raise funds for local animal rescue groups – and for caring for community cats! She’s obviously quite the cat lover. You can connect with Kayt and see her artwork at her website, Facebook and Instagram (@kayt_tape). For cat photos, connect with her other Instagram account (@k8balls_o_fire). The hashtag #coles_street_strays on Instagram will show all of the photos of Kayt’s ferals.

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  1. Katy is a rock star – what a wonderful thing to do, share her talent in a way that helps animals! I love that she is also well educated on the variety of ways rescues work with kitties, including TNR! Thanks for sharing this great article – as well as Katy’s beautiful artwork!

  2. How wonderful for Katy to use her talent to help these rescues and her dedication to the cats by having a TNR program.

  3. What a wonderful person! Thank you Katy for all the animals you have helped, Your two cats are adorable.

  4. Such amazing talent and generosity! I’m blown away by how a piece of art can be created by something seemingly so simple! A huge thank you to Kayt for all that you do and have done to help the animals in need in your community!

  5. Beautiful and amazing art work. $10,000 raised is absolutely wonderful . Are those shelters pictured made of Styrofoam coolers? What a good idea. I had never thought of that.

  6. What beautiful art. Kayt is definitely a hero and has her hands full. Doing art to raise funds, a store, feral cats, and her own two beauties. WOW! Thanks for all you do Kayt. Thank you for sharing this post.

  7. Oh my gosh, I love her art! I also love how she found a way to use her talents to help animals. $10,000 – WOW! So great when you can combine passions! I’m off to follow her on Instagram.

  8. Harold & Pixue Doodle are beautiful! What a wonderful thing to donate both your time & your work to help cats in need. Great interview!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  9. Kudos to Kayt! That is my hood and I had no idea about her or most of those organizations. I wonder if she knows A Call 4 Paws? I think it’s PAW PADS that is run by a fellow blogger.

    1. Kayt is one talented artist and completely committed to the rescue, care, and humane treatment of outdoor cats! PAD PAWS is lucky to have had her art offered during our biggest fundraiser to date, and we love visiting with her at Fussy Friends! Kayt, thank you for all you do for the cats, dogs and other critters in JC! It’s a more loving and beautiful community because of you!