Jackson fosters furry friends: does good in an adorable way

Senior Jane Jackson closes the front door of her house behind her after a long day at school. She drops her backpack on the ground and is greeted by a clumsy collection of raised tails: tufts of fur with bobbing heads: a symphony of high-pitched meows.

For almost a year now, Jackson has been a member of the Animal Humane Society’s fostering program for kittens. Her house often accommodates a fluctuating number of kittens depending on how many have found new homes. In the interim between being claimed by the Humane Society and being adopted, these cats spend weeks in the care of Jackson and her mother.

We always rename [the cats.] Gansey was named Elvis and I couldn’t swing with that.”

— senior Jane Jackson

“The animal humane society has a program where you can sign up as a volunteer and it’ll notify you when they have incoming animals […] we like cats a lot. We started out last spring with a litter of four kittens and their mom,” Jackson said.

Such a commitment entails cleaning up after messes and uncommon olfactory experiences, but the ultimate challenge for Jackson is resisting the urge to adopt all the temporary feline house guests.

“Recently I totally failed at being a foster because I adopted one of [them]. That’s the hardest part; not wanting to adopt all of these cute animals,” Jackson said.

Typically, Jackson’s incoming fosters have fallen into two categories; single kittens or litters of four.

“There’s no in-between,” Jackson said. “A litter of four is fun because you get to see them play with each other. With single kittens, it’s cuter because they’re lonely. The first [single] kitten we had would just play and interact with my room. It’s a much more personal relationship. They’ll sleep on you, and you get to know them better.”

Jackson also has the opportunity to creatively rename kittens as she sees fit.

“We always rename them. Gansey was named Elvis and I couldn’t swing with that,” Jackson said, referencing the foster kitten she has adopted.

“One time we went on a presidential theme. I deferred to my mom and told her she could name them. They’re pretty arbitrary, though, [based on] what kind of mood we’re in. We usually base them off a theme, like Greek gods theme or something like that. There was one that I named Mochi (I was holding that name for a really long time—I have a name bank for pets—) who had this weird fur that was black at the roots but silver at the top. It was all really short and dense, so I called him carpet for a really long time before we actually decided on Mochi.”

Although Jackson’s fosters are not human, her experiences with the kittens has exposed her to moments of empathy that transcends the inability to speak with the cats.

When I come home I’m not just going to take a nap, I’m going to take a nap with a furry little kitten.”

— senior Jane Jackson

“One time one of our kittens from a litter got string stuck around its leg and it was screaming. It was an awful scream, the kind of scream that makes you run towards them. I this understanding of danger, even though it’s just a kitten, you want to make the screaming stop because you know it’s hurting,” Jackson said. She parallels the phenomenon with watching kids grow up.

Jackson is known among her peers for brightening up followers’ Instagram feeds with photos and videos of her foster kittens.

“You kind of feel it in you heart, the throbbing cuteness. I think that travels across technology, so it’s worth sharing,” Jackson said.

“They’re really not too hard to take care of. It’s great. I think of, at school, when I’m tired, that when I come home I’m not just going to take a nap, I’m going to take a nap with a furry little kitten.,” she said. “And I’m going to be warm not because of my blankets but because of a kitten.”