I guess the proper statement would be “I hated cats.” I didn’t understand why people had cats and if you had cats I seriously thought you were so weird. Growing up, none of my friends had cats. My neighbor had a cat that would sit in the window and stare at us and I thought it was so weird and mean. When I was a kid a cat gave birth to a bunch of kittens in a nook under my neighbor’s house. I wanted to make sure they were taken care of and brought to the proper shelter but I didn’t even ask my parents if we could keep one. We had a dog and all I knew was dogs. It’s safe to say I was ignorant when it came to cats. It wasn’t until my 20s that I pet my first cat (I’m not even kidding). My sister from another mister, Nancy, had three cats, who were okay, she rescued all of them from some crazy situations and I commend her for being a hero! However, they didn’t really like strangers too much and I hated how they hid every time I came over. My best friend Alex had a cat that was old, Morsel, who purred when I pet him and actually hung out with me like a dog but I’d be at her house for an entire weekend and I would see Morsel once, which is strange when you are used to growing up with dogs because they are always IN YOUR FACE.
I maintained my “I hate cats” opinion until the end of August 2017. I work with Motley Zoo Animal Rescue here in Seattle – but they help rescue animals from all over. Every few weeks, Pate, who works at Motley Zoo, brings adoptable animals to our studio and we talk about them on air in hopes to help find their forever home. I met my first set of kittens in our studio in spring 2017 and they were so so cute. I fell in love. They made little noises, and they were so soft. But the thought of owning a CAT was completely out of line for me. I wanted a male dog named Ralph. I’ve even had the Instagram account @RalphWantstoPlay for a few years. I couldn’t adopt a dog because my work and travel schedule was insane. I was never home. I talked to Pate at Motley Zoo about one day fostering a dog, but I’d have to wait until I wasn’t traveling so often.
In July of 2017 I was at a Mariners game when I saw Motley Zoo post on Instagram about being in desperate need of fosters because they were about to be inundated with kittens. I’m not sure why, but I felt compelled to help. I texted Pate immediately and told her I had 3.5 weeks of no traveling so I could foster a kitten but I’d have to give it to a different foster if it wasn’t adopted by the time I was traveling again. She said it would work but there asked me if I’d be okay fostering sister kittens because they were bonded and I said “Sure.” I had NO idea what I was getting into.
When I told my friends, family, and co-workers I’d be fostering kittens I received extremely polarizing responses. “Awww send me pics” and “Ew. Cats.” I had to remind the haters that they were kittens and I wouldn’t have them when they were cats because, I too, hated cats. On July 25, 2017 I met Caroline and Max, my new fosters. Motley Zoo gives all of the animals a pop culture name and these two were named after Caroline and Max from “Two Broke Girls” on CBS. I took them home, set up their litter and water and gave them a bath. I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of a cat, Pate told me everything I needed to know. I went to Mud Bay to get some pet supplies and that’s when I first heard the term that now defines me...“Foster Fail”. As I was buying some toys and supplies I picked up a giant feather and asked the people working there if it was a toy or decoration. They chuckled and said “Toy, cats love it. There’s a woman who comes in every week to buy new ones for her cats” and I thought to myself “that sounds crazy.” But I bought one for the kittens to play with. I talked to the woman at the register about my new fosters and she said “Oh, you’ll be a Foster Fail.” I asked her what that meant and she said “So many people foster, but they get attached and can’t give them up.” I said “Not me. I have no choice, I can’t keep them. I work all the time and I’m traveling four out of the next seven weekends” If I had a dollar for every time I said that exact sentence, it would have paid for their adoption fees and vet visits.
I’d be on air every single day talking about the kittens! "They're four months old, they're sisters that have to be adopted together because they were found roaming the streets of Yakima, WA together, and they're so cute!" I didn’t tell anyone that Caroline (the white one) was terrible at using the litter box and would fling her poop everywhere, oh and she had diarrhea. Or that Max (orange) liked to pee on the floor whenever her sister was eating out of the food bowl. (This was later fixed by giving them each their own bowl). They were driving me crazy and it was only a few days in. I didn’t know what to do…but they were so cute. They started to warm up to me, I’d nap and they’d sleep on my chest. It was so fun watching them learn and explore. Every time I posted a picture on Instagram letting people know they were adoptable the comments would be flooded with the word “foster fail”. I HATED it. I mean HATED it. “Don’t these people know ANYTHING about me? I have NO time in my life for animals. I’m busy. I’d have a dog by now if I had time for animals. Oh, and I HATE CATS.”
After about two weeks and our first vet visit things started to calm down. Caroline stopped flinging her poop and stepping in it and Max was only peeing in the litter box. I let them roam around my apartment when I wasn’t home instead of being in the bathroom all day. At this point, they were sleeping in bed with me, I’d go to bed and they would hop in and sleep on my pillows above my head. It was too cute. When people would ask “why don’t you just adopt them” on Instagram I’d respond the same way as always, but I was even angrier. I wanted to keep them, but knew I couldn’t. There was no way. I’d be leaving them alone too often or I’d have to pay a stranger to come and feed them when I wasn’t home and I didn’t like that idea. I remember the first moment I wanted to keep them, or the moment I knew I’d be so sad giving them up. I was showering, my shower has a cloth curtain and then a clear curtain on the inside, I looked down to see that both of them had weaseled their way underneath the cloth curtain and were staring at me. I cracked up, it was the cutest. Now every time I shower Caroline gets under the cloth curtain like a maniac and jumps on the edge of the shower and watches the water droplets hit the clear curtain.
I couldn’t believe that people weren’t trying to adopt them. While there were a few people interested, they didn’t meet the criteria of adopting from Motley Zoo. My traveling started again on August 18th, so I made plans for Pate to pick up Caroline and Max from our studio. They were going to get spade on Saturday and I wasn’t going to be there for them afterwards. I cried almost everyday the week I had to give them up. I was so attached, but there was nothing I could do about it, they didn’t fit into my life. One morning I talked about them on air and mentioned how another Motley Zoo foster wrote me a nice message about being a foster parent. I read it on air and I BALLED. I had friends and coworkers reaching out to me telling me if I wanted to adopt them they’d love to help me take care of them when I wasn’t around. I couldn’t believe it, but still, it wouldn’t work. On Friday August 18th I brought the kittens to the studio so Pate could take them for the surgery and bring them to a new foster. It was awful. I felt so bad, they had no idea I was abandoning them that morning. I left for Chicago that day, and while I missed them, I didn’t feel the loneliness until I returned to home and they weren’t there. I cried for three days toying around the idea of adopting them and if it would work. Finally, I texted Pate from Motley Zoo and said “If no one adopts them by the time I’m back from vacation next week, I’ll adopt them.” And she said “okay, are you sure?” and I’m pretty sure I replied with “Okay, I’ll adopt them. Can they stay with their foster until I’m back from vacation?” And just like that I was the new mom of two cute and crazy kittens.
I took them back to their forever home on August 30, 2017 and I could not have been happier. Max is my tiny little girl who likes to make noises and sit on your face if you’re watching videos on your phone, and if you scratch her in the right spot she will plop onto the floor and roll around like a maniac. Caroline is my chubby purr box who is unbelievably deviant but cuddly at the same time and every single time I sit on my toilet seat she comes running into the bathroom and swirls around my legs until I pet her, I have named my toilet “the Caroline petting station”. I refer to them as “the girls” never “the cats” or “the kittens” maybe because I hate the word “cats” but I believe it’s because they are way more than “cats” to me. I don’t think I ever really felt alone at home but having them here makes it feel whole – I know it sounds super cheesy and may not make sense to everyone, but it’s the truth. I love them so much. And no, I don’t hate cats anymore but I firmly believe you have the ability to make your cats personable. I have squeezed these little boogers every day to make them used to being held and touched. If you hate cats I think you should get over yourself and try to foster a kitten, just like I did. Then report back to me. You’ll be just like the girl who was buying the feathers at the pet store for her cat every week…because I do it now too.
Special shout out to Brooke who told me the only thing missing from my website was Caroline + Max, thanks for the idea! Huge thank you to my co-workers Kimmie and Houston, and my neighbor, Ellie – they take turns watching the girls when I’m away and I’m forever grateful for them.