Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interview with a Fosterer - Kitty Jay

The interviews are coming fast and furious!  I love it.  If you foster consider yourself begged for an interview.  I'm way too introverted to ask, you totally intimidate me (you know who you are) and I would be beyond honored if you'd just answer the questions, send me some photos and the answers (email over there on the right-----> )

Our newest interviewee I met on Facebook.  I have really enjoyed meeting Kitty Jay and reading her posts and seeing everything at her "I Love Fostering Cats community page".  I am so very glad she offered to participate when I called for interviewees on Facebook recently

Kitty Jay ~ Courtesy of Kitty Jay
Introduce yourself and where do you hail from? Kitty Jay, born and raised in Houston, former 8th grade teacher, and mother of kitties: Gwen (8 yrs old), Jack and Pixel (7 years old), Luna (1 yrs old), and Graymalkin (6 months old). Daughter Éowyn is 4 years old and dog Blackberry is 2.

What rescue group, shelter or sanctuary do you foster for? Previously for Friends for Life, and currently for Houston SPCA and the South Houston Animal Shelter through Saving Pets Lives.

What kinds of animals do you normally foster? Kittens or nursing momma cats and their babies. My family and I started fostering about 1 1/2 years ago and have already fostered and helped adopt out almost 20 cats. That is when we "technically" started fostering. I've been raising and helping find homes for kittens since I was in college and on my own. My father was allergic to cats while I was growing up, so I was never allowed to have one.  I'd love to foster bottle babies as well, but I never have the time. My favorite fosters are always orphaned kittens about 4 weeks old that think I'm their momma.

How did your adventure being a fosterer begin? As I said, I've been caring for kittens since college (ferals were everywhere in my apartment complex), but I didn't get truly immersed in it until my daughter got old enough to be more independent and I found myself having the extra time to volunteer at Friends for Life. While there I was asked to start fostering momma cats with litters, and later moved to kittens with no mothers, and now I foster sick and weak orphans for the Houston SPCA.

Fosters from April 2011 ~ Courtesy of Kitty Jay

How do you keep yourself from becoming too attached to the fosters you help? And have you ever adopted one?  It is easier for me not to get attached when I foster a momma cat and her litter. Those kittens already have a mother, available milk, and siblings to play with. It is when I get the orphans that it is hard not to get attached. I like to keep the orphans close to me for warmth and socialization, and they often require medications every few hours. I do get attached to each one, but I always tell myself I have to send them to a home so I can help the next needy kitten. I currently have one 'foster failure' at my house. Those tuxedo kittens are good at tricking you into loving their personal kind of crazy.

What is most frustrating for you as a foster? Spreading my time evenly between my fosters and my own cats, and upsetting my own brood by having fosters around that they don't know.  I'm sure what is most frustrating for most kitten fosters is actually losing a kitten to sickness and malnourishment  but thankfully, that hasn't happened to me yet.

What is most rewarding? The most rewarding thing is taking a sick and homeless animal and helping it become healthy and vibrant, and finding someone that will adopt it and form a bond with that cat that will last its lifetime.

What experience moved or inspired you the most? Any time I can turn a cat's health entirely around by my actions, I am inspired. The first momma cat I ever fostered was a very young female that was practically a skeleton with three kittens nursing off of her. I was able to fatten her up, and thus fattened up her babies. I kept one of her daughters, the one that purred the loudest. The mom just got adopted this week, after looking for a home for over a year.

Do you have pets of your own? How do they respond to the foster animals? Yes, I have 5 cats and one dog. My older cats tend to completely avoid my fosters and ignore them. My two younger cats are up for tumbling around with kittens when they get old enough, if there is no angry guard of a mom to go after them. I tested my dog with cats before I adopted her. She is too busy harassing my younger cats in a good-natured way to pay attention to the fosters, which are usually separated from the main living area anyway. My personal cats used to HATE when I fostered and refused to hang out with me while they were still in the house, but the more I foster, the more they are getting used to it and coming around.

What advice can you give to someone who might be wanting to become a foster? If you love and want to help animals, fostering is the best thing you can do. I absolutely LOVE having a constant influx of kittens in my house. Kittens are my favorite animals. But before you foster, make sure you have sufficient room to keep them separated in, that your personal animals are up to date on vaccines so they do not get sick, and get ready to have fun but also be willing to deal with grief in case you lose one, and be ready to clean, scoop, and clean some more!

When you are not saving animals what do you like to do? Ironically, I am a dog walker and pet sitter by day. So I love playing with dogs all day (it relieves stress!), but I also like to read about animal behavior, and hang out with my cat-loving husband and daughter.
Daisy - adopted ~ Courtesy of Kitty Jay

And now the questions from Inside the Actors Studio:

What is your favorite word? adopted!
What is your least favorite word? torture
What turns you on? witty geek humor
What turns you off? people that do not care about the lives of animals
What sound or noise do you love? the content purring of a tiny kitten warming itself on my neck next to my ear
What sound or noise do you hate? an animal in pain
What is your favorite curse word? all of them (but I only use them when I'm mad or playing video games) ;p
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? What I really would like to spend my days doing is being a cat behavior specialist, a la Jackson Galaxy. I want to help people keep their cats in their home, and out of shelters where they could be euthanized! I started a Facebook page,, in an attempt to help people in the Houston area with their cat behavior problems.
What profession would you not like to do? animal control. I could not stand to see animals in abusive situations every day and also be in charge of euthanizing the animals in my care if adoptive families can not be found. That would be a nightmare for me.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Thank you for your empathy and taking care of animals that could not care for themselves.


  1. another great interview. I LOVE these - plus a new facebook page. :) Nice to meet Kitty Jay and put another face to the world of fostering.

  2. Great interview. I didn't know Kitty Jay before. This series is very interesting.

  3. Kitty Jay reminds me a lot of you, Connie! You are both so kind and passionate about your work, which is truly a laPURR of love.

  4. Fostering is such a tough job. You do great work! Meow from Au, Target and Guido

  5. Great interview! Thanks for sharing!
    I liked Kitty Jay's FB page!

  6. Fostering is too hard for me!! You came for a visit--thank you!!!!! I have fostered a dog and these 2 kittens that were 2 weeks old when they brought them!!! I fed them by the bottle every 3 or 4 hours in the beginning. The are going to be 8 weeks old next Tuesday and I can't give them up now!!! How do you do it???!!! You are a lot stronger then I!!! I commend you!!
    You are an angel!!!

    1. I have come to the tipping point in my house that I know adding anyonen else will harm everyone. The Crew will get not get enough attention from us, and they will be stressed to the point of squabbling or spraying.

      We each need to decide what we can handle financially and emotionally. For some people it is one cat, for others it is a dozen.. For me it is apparently six (and yes, I do have seven, why do you ask??) :)

  7. Great interview. I love this series you're doing.

    Nubbin wiggles,


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