Grief Transforms to Joy Through Fostering Kittens

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Jean Wilder’s broken heart over the death of a beloved cat is now overflowing with love for the almost 400 kittens she has fostered since 2001.

Wilder is a Kitten Foster Parent for Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV), saving the lives of young cats and socializing them in preparation for their new adopting families.

“It’s so rewarding to see these little kitties develop and become social,” she said. “It’s probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve done, work-wise.”

The 33-year Santa Clara resident used to be an analyst for Hewlett Packard, but now she considers it her job to make sure the kittens that stay temporarily in her home are ready to get along well with both people and other cats and become “nice family pets.”

This new volunteer job is the legacy of a beloved cat she owned 11 years ago, Wilder said.

“I had this cat named Gomer that I loved like people love their children. I was so attached to that cat,” she said. Sadly, Gomer died before he was 4-years-old. “I was heartbroken.”

After a lot of tears she said she, “knew I couldn’t just cry the rest of my life.”

She heard about kitten foster parenting, and attended a training class at HSSV. The tears were replaced with joy, as she welcomed her first litter, and then another, and another. [Read more…]