Betty + Foster Kittens

After a Year of Tragedies, Woman Finds Purpose in Fostering Kittens and Finding Them Homes

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Betty + Mousey, Snickerdoodle & Boo

Over the course of a truly terrible year, I endured several devastating losses – my husband Jim, my son Allen, my aunt Helen, my 21-year-old cat Sundance, my 16-year-old dog Bonnie and my 16-year-old bird Ochi all died that year.

I had an extremely hard time dealing with these losses. Although I worked until exhausted, I could not sleep. My whole world was turned upside down, especially without my beloved husband, who was my best friend and partner in all things. I was buried in memories, suffocating in grief, and I knew my life had to change or I wouldn’t survive.

Six months after the unexpected deaths of my husband and son, my daughter Lisa sent me a note asking if I wanted to foster kittens. I decided that just might be the thing to ease my pain, so I opened my house and heart to orphaned, fragile, bottle-baby kittens who needed around the clock care to live.

"I poured all the love I had for my husband and son and pets into these baby cats who were radiant with life and blossoming under my care"

I had to get up and feed these babies, make milk, do all the washing and clean the litter pans. I couldn’t let any of them die. I had to get up and take care of them, and I had no time to think about the past. When the tears started streaming down my face like a river, I would sit with all my fur babies, and they would crawl all over me and love me as much as I loved them. It was as if they were telling me everything was going to be okay.

I poured all the love I had for my husband and son and pets into these baby cats who were radiant with life and blossoming under my care. They were an incredible comfort to me and helped me heal in many ways. They saw me through what would have been my 53rd wedding anniversary as well as birthdays and holidays. They taught me to laugh again.

All total I helped 54 cats and adopted three as my own – Boo, who wants love over food, Mousey, who greets me with her tail touching her head and Snickerdoodle, who camps on my lap.

These foster kittens were real therapy for me and others in my life. The comfort and love the kittens gave to every one of us was incredible. We could all go forward. They ushered me through grief. They touched my life and gave me cause to keep going. Their love changed my life, giving me hope, perspective and a reason to get up each day.

I have a purpose now and am on my feet running again. I continue to foster kittens, and I host Town Cats of Morgan Hill’s adoption fairs every weekend at my local Petco, helping find homes for precious, homeless cats.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Betty Wenker won Town Cats of Morgan Hill in Morgan Hill, California a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.