MARYLAND – Last spring, JJ Edwards had a total of seven furry roommates: Fairley, Farley, Felicity, Finley, Fleur, Fritz and Friday. Sharing a room with that many animals may sound chaotic, however, it seems to be no big deal for the 10-year-old. JJ and his family have taken in more than 50 homeless kittens over the past six years.
The truth is, they expect more in the next few weeks. That’s because kitten season is here, the time of year when there is a surge of kittens born. A few are taken in by PetConnect, a Maryland animal rescue organization where JJ’s mom,
The Edwards family has volunteered to “foster,” or provide a temporary home for some of the homeless animals.
The kittens usually remain at the family’s Gaithersburg home for just a couple of weeks or so, until they’re old enough to be adopted.
Each and every kitten season, JJ turns his bedroom into a feline romper room. It’s decked out with cat trees, cat toys, and carpeted stairs to help the kittens climb onto his bed. He likes to get them used to being around humans.
JJ plays with Puff Daddy, a kitten he fostered but his parents then allowed him to keep. (Family photo)
“They were tiny and super scared at first,” JJ stated of last year’s kittens.
To help them learn to trust humans, JJ will often sit on the floor outside his room and waited for them to come out.
The kittens grow more confident, snuggling and even purring a little more each day. When JJ holds up a wand toy with a dangling feather and danced it all around, they chased, pounced and backflipped.
One of the challenges that comes along with fostering kittens is keeping things tidy, JJ said. The kittens he has cared for loved to scatter their toys and tip over their food bowl.
Another challenge, of course, is saying goodbye. When Jimmy, a gray-and-white kitten who was in their home for almost three months, got adopted, JJ was sad.
“Letting a kitten leave is hard,” he recalls. “Sometimes I cry, but mostly I’m happy they got a good home and a good life.”
Last Christmas, one of JJ’s wishes came true: His parents let him keep a kitten he had fostered. Puff Daddy, who is now 4 months old, makes friends with visiting foster kitties and even helps JJ entertain them.
“I think the kittens appreciate me,” he stated. “I watch them, stay with them, take care of them, and they purr.”