Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interview with a Fosterer - Random Felines

Welcome to the first of what I hope to be a very long running series of posts called Interview with a Fosterer.  I found the idea off The Fabulous Animal Rescue Project (which has been abandoned) and loved the idea.

My first lucky victim interviewee is Jeanne from Random Felines.

Introduce yourself and where do you hail from?  Jeanne from Ohio, with Maestro (18 yrs old), Tim & Tom (9 years old), Mozart (6 yrs old), Ivy (4 yrs old), Spud (4 yrs old - but not related to Ivy) and Junior (2 yrs old)

What rescue group, shelter or sanctuary do you foster for? CHA Animal Shelter and Colony Cats

What kinds of animals do you normally foster? Kittens and momma cats. Age doesn't matter. No bottle babies though, I am just not home enough. I will take them healthy or sick (I don't mind giving meds). I can't take adult males however - the age cut off is about 7 months. Any older and Tommy views them as "adults" and gets crabby. I tried it once and Tommy sat outside the bathroom door (where I keep fosters) and stalked the guy inside the room.

How did your adventure being a fosterer begin? I was a volunteer with the local humane society (I have since moved on from there). Tim and Tom had been brought in and were living in one of the two community rooms. They were adopted and brought back about 5 days later saying Tim wouldn't come out from under the bed. There was an effort being made to keep the boys together since Tim was so shy and scared. About 2 weeks after they were returned, a fight broke out in the community room. Tim caught the worst part (there is a scar on his nose where the hair grows in opposite directions now) and someone told the vets that Tommy started it. I couldn't believe it unless someone had gone after Tim first. Due to their size, the shelter was saying the only option would be to separate them. I suggested putting them into the special adoptable program. They agreed. I showed up for a meeting a couple of days later and was handed a foster application and told I could pick them up Saturday. Huh? What?? I got suckered. I took them to adoption events, which they HATED. After four months, everyone had adjusted so well that I decided to just adopt them and add them to the household.

Tim and Tom

How do you keep yourself from becoming too attached to the fosters you help? And have you ever adopted one? Adopted one - how about 4 (Tim & Tom, Mozart and Ivy). And Spud and Junior showed up as strays and never left either. It is hard not to become attached. I don't think you can do this and not get attached. If you don't feel something like that then I think the animals suffer in their adjustment. I think the big picture is knowing that there are homes out there - even if it takes time. And by getting the current fosters adopted, I then open up a space at my house to help the next group that needs help.

What is most frustrating for you as a foster? That my skills and space are continually in need. I tell peoplel that as much as I love kittens, I would also love to be out of the foster business. SPAY & NEUTER PEOPLE!!! I had a momma cat this spring that was noted on her intake paperwork that the person who found her had also seen her around the previous summer. The momma cat and all 6 of her kittens ended up dying. If this woman had taken a little bit of responsibility LAST summer, this cat could have been spayed and adopted out when she was younger and not had to survive on her own, get pregnant and sick and lose her life.

What is most rewarding? Seeing the shy kittens or the sick ones bounce back. There is a great reward working with a sick kitten and seeing them get healthy and get adopted. Same with the shy see them go from terrified to outgoing and seeking attention is wonderful.

What experience moved or inspired you the most? I think it would have to be the only bottle baby I have raised. She was heard by a neighbor under a set of stairs and after pushing her on a broom and pulling her out, we discovered a tiny week old white kitten. I took her to work with me for 2 weeks and then she took over the house. I ended up finding her a great home. Plus, she was the inspiration to start working with another neighbor to TNR the adults in our neighborhood. We had one litter of kittens the following summer and one this summer (from a momma cat I had never seen before). All the kittens have been adopted and the moms spayed and released. Bottle babies are hard, but when she started to walk she got the nickname "baby duck" since she would follow me around the house squawking for her dinner.

Do you have pets of your own? How do they respond to the foster animals? Yes - there are 7 house cats here. All rescues - though Maestro was the only one that was sought out - everyone else is a stray or foster failure. After over 140 foster kittens and momma cats, they are just resigned I think. Tommy and Spud hiss at the bathroom door for the first couple of days and then give up. If they know there is a momma cat in there, they will give the door a wider berth after having one angry momma cat come charging out several times. Junior LOVES the kittens - when they get big enough it is someone for him to play with. And Tim loves that where there are kittens, there is kitten food (I have used him to help socialize feral kittens before).

Gin and Maestro
What advice can you give to someone who might be wanting to become a foster? Have a specific space set aside. I bought my condo before planning to foster. So the fosters end up in the bathroom. I can't tell you the last time I took a shower without an audience. And know that it isn't all fun and games. Kittens get sick and sometimes they die. And it is heartbreaking. When that happens, I grieve but then also know that my skills are still needed. And I learn something new from each group. Just when I think I have seen it all, something new turns up. And be prepared for the fun too - kittens on the run can be better than cable.

When you are not saving animals what do you like to do? Work. haha  Gotta afford the cat food somehow. I love writing my blog and spending time with friends and family. I love to read as well which is a great quiet way to spend time with my animals and my fosters.

And now the questions from Inside the Actors Studio:

What is your favorite word? snoopervising
What is your least favorite word? abuse
What turns you on? laughter
What turns you off? anger
What sound or noise do you love? the sound of my 8 year old niece laughs - she cracks me up
What sound or noise do you hate? an animal in pain
What is your favorite curse word? oh - this is hard....I like "dammit" a lot. I tend to use son of a ___ cause I can stop before I get in trouble.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would love to have enough money to start my own sanctuary
What profession would you not like to do? teacher - kids scare me. :)
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? good job

Thank you so much Jeannie!  I really appreciate you being open to doing this and sharing more of yourself with me and the blogosphere!

Until next time!  (any volunteers?)


  1. Great interview! I loved getting to know Jeannie better (like her name! LOL).

  2. Thanks Connie......I loved the questions - made me think about how and why I am doing this.

    Jeanne from Random Felines

    1. No no, thank YOU Jeanne (and I apparently must feel your name has an I in it. let me go fix that now.. ) I really appreciate you taking the time to do this with me.

    2. NO big - you should SEE some of the weird things I see (not to mention hear).... :)

  3. fab interviewmakes you think about the good times and the bad times

  4. What a good idea--what a great story.

  5. That is a great story but then we already were fans of Jeanne's. I think all you foster people are the best since it sure helps the kitties and cats get adjusted to living with other cats and being in a home. Good stuff.

  6. This was great!! You made the perfect choice for your new feature - I read your blog and Jeannie's Random Felines blog every day.

    1. Thank you Sparkle! I really enjoyed doing it and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

  7. This is such a great idea--and we love the story!

  8. Connie, this is a great idea and terrific interview with excellent questions :)

  9. Really good idea, love it! We love Jeanne and Random Felines!

  10. We lover her and what a great feature!

  11. Great interview, Jeanne rocks!!! We met when she helped with a leg of the transport for our Kip who was traveling from Illinois to Canada :-)

  12. We LOVED this interview!!

  13. Thanks for this interview, that was so interesting! And thanks to Jeannie for sharing her foster role with us!


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