Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Interview with a Fosterer - Colehaus Cats

Introduce yourself and where do you hail from? We are Colehaus Cats: Maxx, Miss Newton, Tessa, Pia Bean, Quint, Olivia, Ruby, Zuzu and Viola with Dad Steve and Mom Carole. We hail from rainy and beautiful Washington State in the Pacific Northwest area of the United States.

What rescue group, shelter or sanctuary do you foster for? For the last two years, we’ve been volunteering and fostering for the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, a no-kill shelter in the town of Washougal located along the mighty Columbia River. Before that, we fostered found cats and kittens on our own until we could wrangle up forever homes.

What kinds of animals do you normally foster? Cats and kittens of all ages.

How did your adventure being a fosterer begin? Love played a big part of it and an overly strong desire to make a difference in the lives of animals that might otherwise have a rough go of it. We always seemed to be “found” by cats who had been dumped or turned out and needed temporary, and yes, sometime permanent shelter. That goes back to the mid 1980’s. That undertaking turned serious when in 1990, we easily found homes for a litter of kittens originally born under difficult circumstances, followed by abandoned cats here and there. A few years later, we bottle-raised six newborns that were not expected to survive and found great homes for every last one. We were hooked.

Cameron, Zooot, Queen Crits, G.B.,  Skitters and Ian
How do you keep yourself from becoming too attached to the fosters you help?
Well, we did have one foster fail right around last year’s holidays but if you’ve seen Viola, you might understand. We’ll always feel an attachment to the kittens we’ve fostered no matter how far away they move. But we also believe in the adage – You can’t have new kittens until you find homes for the old kittens. Keeping that in mind helps! Updates and photos from the forever families helps even more!

What is most frustrating for you as a foster?
Worry and lack of sleep? The constant cleaning? Finding just the right adoptive parents? No, wait. Trying to keep from crying like a baby when each goes to their forever home. That part’s the worst!

Ruby, AKA Pearl, just after recovering from a bad UR infection
What is most rewarding? Seeing lives change, develop and grow strong. When a feral finally accepts a treat, a hand, a petting. When an older cat looks deep into your eyes and you feel it in your heart. When a kitten climbs into your lap and all the day’s stress and worry melts away.

The Niblets - 2013
What experience moved or inspired you the most? Honestly, we have too many to list and picking one experience would be like choosing a single favorite from all our cats. Each experience has inspired us, each memory has, and continues to move us beyond words.

Do you have pets of your own? How do they respond to the foster animals? 
We’ve always had cats of our own when each foster has come into our home. We work very hard to create quiet, relatively stress-free zones for each to explore and become comfortable in before introducing the others. Sometimes, introductions go very well. Sometimes, less so but we employ a few tricks here and there and we haven’t lost anyone yet!

What advice can you give to someone who might be wanting to become a foster?
Read. Read a lot! Look up fostering cats, kittens, dogs, whatever, online first. Print out everything you can find and refer to those notes and articles often. Educate yourself on what to expect and what may or may not happen. Memorize the good and the bad. Talk to other fosterers. All this will make all the difference in the world. These are lives you will help shape. Put your fosters first, give them the best you have to give and love them deeply. Good things will automatically follow.

When you are not saving animals what do you like to do? 
There are other things?? Heheheh, while Dad Steve isn’t big on hobbies, he watches lots of TV while Mom Carole gardens, keeps the Colehaus Cats blog going, writes short fiction and attends writing conventions several times a year. Sometimes, we even catch up on laundry!
The Niblets grown - 2013
And now the questions from Inside the Actors Studio:

What is your favorite word? Yes!
What is your least favorite word? No.
What turns you on? Beautiful surroundings.
What turns you off? Abusive people.
What sound or noise do you love? A kitten’s first purr.
What sound or noise do you hate? An abandoned dog’s barking.
What is your favorite curse word? Well, crap!
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Full-time (and well-paid) author/rock star.
What profession would you not like to do? 
Slaughterhouse worker.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Thank goodness! My kittens have been expecting you!


  1. A GREAT interview! We love the Colehaus Cats and it's lovely to learn more about them! :)

  2. I LOVE that you have a large family of "permanent fuzzy children"! I would love to have a few more 'failed' fosters and maybe a wonderful dog! Thank you for doing what you do!

  3. Oh we love the Colehouse Cats and the work that they do!

  4. YAY!!! We love these interviews. Mom says she doesn't think "oh crap" is a swear word though. MOL

  5. Great interview!!! More please!

  6. yur interviewz ROCKED guys....tho we gotta diz agree with yur mom on her leest fav o rite werd....
    hhhhmmm...wunder what R'z wood bee !! :) de food serviss ladee sayz her wood bee a wee cryin babee two when de fosterz leeved de nest...her cried like a wee cryin babee when de nibletz leeved N they wuz knot even in de houz !

  7. What a great interview!
    I'm sure I will fail fostering if I do - but keeping in mind "can't have new kittens until finding homes for old kittens" must help a lot.

  8. That's a great interview! We love the Colehaus Cats and we are so glad Viola was a foster fail!

  9. I LOVE this interview! Well, I already love the Colehaus cats' blog - but now I love this family even more!

  10. What a terrific interview with some of our favorite bloggers. We love the Colehaus Cats and their family, and now we feel like we know them a little better. :)

  11. We sure enjoyed this interview. We love the Colehaus Cats and their peeps. We loved watching the Niblets grow up.

  12. Great interview! I'm amazed and humbled by those of you who foster these lost kittens and cats. Thank you...Colehaus and Tails from the Foster're awesome!

  13. Wonderful interview! I am in awe of fosterers and the life-saving work they do.

  14. We loved this interview! The Coles are such great and caring people! And we love their kitties too!

  15. What a fantastic interview! What special people Carole and Steve are. We love their blog and loved watching the Niblets grow up too.

  16. Love their blog thanks for a great interview,xx Rachel


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