healthy and socialized.”
Jessica began fostering the summer before her senior
year at Purdue, during prime “kitten season.” She has
many responsibilities for every animal she fosters.
Generally, she focuses on socializing the kittens
and providing them with basic care. A big part of
socializing kittens is letting them express themselves
by playing with toys and other kittens, and being
able to interact with humans. Jessica also allows her
kittens to explore and mingle with the environment
by allowing them free range in their own kitten room.
Her apartment has hand-written signs that read,
“This way to the kitten playground.” “When searching
for my new apartment in Indinapolis, one of the
things I had on my list of necessities was an extra
room for my kittens,” Jessica said. “People have said
my kitten room looks like a baby’s nursery, but for
The kitten playground is full of catnip-filled Kong
Kickeroos with fluffy tails that are irresistible to the
kittens, laser lights to chase, scratching posts, tunnels
to run through and many other items. Jessica enjoys
spoiling her foster kittens and along with the toys
has cat trees, a big kitten playpen and a large shelving
unit that the kittens jump on and off of all day.
“One of my favorite parts of the room is that I have
decorated one wall with pictures of all my past foster
kittens,” Jessica said. “I have fallen in love with all my
foster animals and love to have their pictures up to
remember them all.”
Kanalos treats these kittens as her own, and she tries
to treat them with as much love as possible because
they have never had loving owners before. She tries
to make every experience with the kittens a positive
“I have the kittens at a very important time in
their lives when they are developing and having
their first experiences with a lot of things including
socialization with humans,” Jessica said. “Every
animal deserves to be loved and spoiled and I believe
fostering helps set them up for their best shot at a
happy ending in their forever home.”
Of course, it isn’t all play. Jessica works hard to
make sure kittens will be successful in their new
homes. She exposes the kittens to things they may
encounter. That means she must handle them and
trim their nails so they’ll be used to it. She also
often finds herself fostering kittens that have more
pressing needs, such as ones that are sick and injured
or others that may be feral.
“Sometimes it’s just kittens with an upper respiratory
infection, so I have to give them antibiotics, but I’ve
had a couple special needs kittens, too,” Jessica said.
One of those special needs kittens was Killian who
was feral and had an injured leg that ended up being
amputated. He was a fighter. Early on, Killian hissed
at Jessica and wouldn’t let her touch him, but after a
couple weeks he started to cuddle in Jessica’s lap and
“A coworker told me I saved his life by fostering
him and that really means a lot to me,” Jessica said.
“Kittens like Killian are what make me keep fostering
even when it is difficult.”
Even with loving care, not every case ends the way
Jessica would like.
“I had a couple bottle kittens that I had to bottle feed
and administer fluids and medication to every couple
of hours that ended up passing away,” Jessica said.
“They don’t all end in success, but they all do end with
me giving 110 percent.”
Jessica shares all her experiences, good and bad, in
her Foster Kitten Chronicles blog. The blog started as
a way to record her memories as a foster parent, but
as word spread, she began using it as a platform to
educate other foster parents and pet owners.
Foster Kitten Chronicles features a range of topics:
from Cat Toy Tuesday (which highlights different
toys) to medical topics, to tips for kitten care. Her
blog has reached a wide audience, including people at
work, old classmates and people she has never met.
“I get some comments from people saying they’ve
learned from my blog or my blog has opened their
eyes to fostering and rescue,” Jessica said. “That is
why I keep blogging.”
After graduating in May, Jessica started a full-time
position at the Humane Society of Indianapolis. She
said fostering will continue to be a big part of her life.
“I’m pretty sure I have convinced myself several times
I needed to adopt one of my fosters and it’s so hard to
take them back,” Jessica said. “But, I always remind
myself there are more kittens that need me.”