Author’s Note: I met the wonderful woman (Jeanne Kudich) behind Random Felines at Barkworld last month and below is the email interview I did with her. What a pleasure to catch up with her again and pester her with questions about her blog, fostering and adopting. Thank you so much Jeanne! Pictures were used with permission.
How did you get inspired to blog?
I wanted a “journal” of sorts to keep track of the cats. I was fostering as well and it made for a good way to keep memories of the kittens.
What has been your favorite post(s) so far?
There have been so many….I think for me it is about having an impact on others. I posted about how hard fostering can be, how applications work for rescues, and probably announcing when my special needs foster Bourbon was adopted.
What have you learned since you started your blog?
About blogging? That I know just enough to keep from blowing up my computer. 🙂 Seriously though, becoming part of a community has been a wonderful thing. I kind of stumbled into it and then discovered there are so many more bloggers out there. The opportunity to share things back and forth and support each other is the best thing.
What advice do you have to other pet bloggers?
Find a voice and go with it. I started out talking as “myself” and eventually changed over to a group cat voice. I didn’t want to pick one cat to be the voice of the blog – what happens when that cat passes away? Though there are times when one cat will take over for a day. And I will post as myself if it is something that the cats wouldn’t talk about or is personal. Skip the “cat speak” – it is just too hard to read and I think it turns people off. And talk about something you love. You don’t have to post every day, but be consistent.
How many pictures do you take on average to get a “perfect” picture for your blog?
I don’t know if I have ever gotten the perfect picture. 🙂 That would be the one thing I would like to improve but I think it would require an upgrade to a much better camera and that isn’t in the budget right now. I will say that like most bloggers, I take WAY more than I actually use. For me it is about catching the cats and kittens doing natural things. And sometimes I get lucky and get a really great shot (or video).
How did you get started fostering?
It was totally by accident. A pair of adult male cats came into the humane society where I was volunteering at the time. It’s a long complicated story (http://www.random-felines.com/2009/11/tim-tom.html ) but the short version is they needed a foster home and I suggested our special adoptables program. I showed up to a meeting and my friend in charge of the program said “sign here you can pick them up Saturday”. It went smoothly and that spring I got an email asking for kitten fosters since they needed help. I took my first litter of kittens, it worked out well with my cats and that was it.
What has been the most reward thing about fostering?
Seeing sick kittens get better and seeing some special needs kittens get homes. (http://www.random-felines.com/2013/01/bourbon-and-moonshine.html) And of course getting kittens and their moms adopted.
What is the hardest thing about fostering?
Some people say sending them back to the rescue to be adopted out. And while that can be harder with some kittens than others, for me it is taking kittens into my home and then having them get sick and die. That loss is heartbreaking every time. And it never gets easier….I know that it happens but after putting so much love and work into these kittens, it is just so hard.
What should people know about fostering that they may not think about?
You can’t keep them all. Know your limits. Ask questions. Know what the rescue expects of you when it comes supplies, time commitment, adoption events, and emergency contacts. Keep in mind too that you don’t need a huge space. A separate bedroom or bathroom is fine. I like using my bathroom since the floor is tile and easy to clean (and I can joke that I haven’t showered alone in several years).
What supplies do you recommend people to have to get them started fostering?
Most rescues will have food and litter available. Since our rescue is small, I just buy my own (keep track of your expenses – if you volunteer for a 501(c)3, your expenses may be tax deductible). You will need a separate space for kittens and cats to adjust (if your rescue allows your to co-mingle your fosters with your resident animals – some do, some don’t). Bowls, litter box, toys, and towels/blankets. Especially with kittens – you are going to be doing laundry. I also have a couple of pens I can set up for restricted play time and finally bought a cat tower.
Do you have any tips to share about fostering that my help others?
Start slow (small litter of kittens that only need a couple of weeks to gain weight). Again – ask questions. See what system the rescue you are with has in place. Talk to other fosters with the rescue and other fosters online – we are all happy to answer questions. Be aware that while it is fun to have kittens, it IS work and requires a time commitment. And it isn’t all fun and games all of the time. It can be hard…but it is rewarding no matter what.
Who was your first foster?
Technically it was Tim and Tom who are now permanent residents. My first litter of foster kittens was a group of 3 that I took in that needed a couple of weeks to get big enough for surgery.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I may have missed?
Be prepared to fall in love. But again, know your limits. I tell people that most of my fosters aren’t screwed up enough to stay. 🙂 Know that there are no dumb questions – we have all been there from time to time. Have a good resource that you can go to….I’m lucky that several friends within the rescue also foster plus I have met some great online friends who foster as well.
To follow the adventures of the permanent and temporary felines, visit: Random Felines or check them out on Facebook they are also on Instagram & Twitter and most importantly they are on YouTube because cat videos the best way to waste time. 🙂
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