Foster Parent Spotlight: Betsy Robertson

Betsy snuggles with her black and white cat, Cleo.
Betsy snuggles with her family cat, Cleo.

Since signing on as a volunteer foster parent just 3 months ago, Betsy has fostered a whopping 15 pets! To say she hit the ground running would be an understatement. She started with mature kittens and soon after welcomed more urgent cases like her most recent foster Lina, a feral mama cat and 4-day-old litter of kittens. When Lina stopped nursing her kittens before they could properly wean, Betsy quickly learned how to syringe feed the kittens to give them the chance they needed to survive and thrive. With the help of Betsy’s TLC, Lina’s kittens continue to thrive in foster care before they make their way to adoptive homes.  

Thanks to volunteers like Betsy, who generously open their hearts and homes, we can help even more pets in our community. Check out the following interview with Betsy to learn more about her foster journey, which just might include a “foster fail” (though, we like to call them “foster WINS”) and how you, too, can foster a pet with Seattle Humane.  

Betsy with “foster win” Dennis.

Who was one of your favorite foster pets?   

Dennis (formerly known as Denver) because my family adopted him! He is SUPER spunky! Dennis always got along well with my resident cat who is 7 years old. It’s really fun to watch them interact with one another! Since then, I’ve fostered other kittens that are more cuddly, Dennis is super playful, which is just so much fun!   

What inspired you to foster pets with Seattle Humane?  

I volunteered through the National Charity League in the past. Since I had some extra time, I thought it would be a fun and interesting new opportunity to take on. I had extra space in my laundry room that I set up for kittens without disrupting the rest of the house.  

What is the most rewarding aspect of fostering?  

I love to watch the process of kittens growing up and growing into their own individual personalities. I love seeing them explore, learn to climb and figure out how to leap. I have had Lina’s kittens since they were 4 days old. Now they are running around! I also really enjoy learning more about the kitten growth and development stages and how to best support them as a foster parent.  

Betsy’s former foster kittens Neptune, Pluto, Venus and Jupiter.

When/how did your love of animals begin?   

I have always loved animals. I grew up with dogs and cats, and we had a dog when my kids were growing up. We still have her, she’s 14 years old now! I have always really enjoyed cats. The cat we have now is 7 years old. She is my daughter’s cat and it’s fun to have her around. 

Are there any experiences that you feel helped prepare you for fostering (previous jobs, internships, schooling, residential pets, etc.)?   

Not so much past experience, but I will say Seattle Humane’s foster team is unbelievably supportive. I wondered if I was asking too many questions or worrying too much when I first started fostering kittens. If I was asking them too many questions, they never let on! I always felt I could ask any question at any time. I know I can always call if I have any concerns about my foster pets. The support and resources the foster team provides make the experience truly easy and enjoyable.  

Betsy’s 14-year-old family dog, Tucker.

Do you have any pets of your own?   

Yes! Our dog, Tucker, is a 14-year-old puggle. She sleeps about 23 hours a day. Cleo is my daughter’s 7-year-old cat whom we are taking care of while my daughter is in graduate school. And, of course, Dennis. Dennis is our foster-fail kitten who is now 4 months old.  

Besides fostering, tell us about your hobbies. Do you have any hidden talents we might not know about?  

I play the violin in an orchestra. I also enjoy reading and traveling with my family.  

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about fostering a pet?  

Trust your gut about what type of pet will work for you and wait for the right opportunity. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the foster team because they are amazing.  

Make a Difference 

Just like Betsy, you can make a difference in the lives of pets at Seattle Humane. Become a foster parent or check out other volunteer opportunities to help pets at our Bellevue campus and in the community. 


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