On Friday, I received a text from Priscilla at the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter. They had 59 cats and kittens, and she asked if I could foster any of them.

I agreed, of course, and I left work that afternoon in time to pick up my newest family members.

Because of Ollie, my bully cat, I can’t let fosters run loose in my house without major upheaval, so my foster cats stay in my guest room. It is a large, sunny room with two window seats and good ventilation. While not perfect, it is better than a cage and so far, I haven’t had any complaints.

I have told the shelter staff I could accommodate three adult cats that get along or a mama cat with babies. On Friday, I picked up mama and her six babies.

Mama is a half white and half orange tabby and a sweet, quiet girl that enjoys lying on the guest bed, out of range of her demanding children. I am naming the babies according to physical markings to try to distinguish between them, as every single one of them is an orange tabby. I have not yet determined the sex of each, so the names may or may not be gender appropriate.

Junior is very much like his mother in coloring and is the most outgoing of the bunch. Mitzie has white mittens, while Tipsy has a tiny bit of white on the end of his tail. Both are wonderfully funny.

The parallel orange lines down Zip’s back gave him his name. Ringo has a single stripe on his tail and Tre has three distinctive stripes.

I think I have them sorted out. It is hard to tell, as all six are either racing and wrestling or piled up napping.

I can’t tell you how much joy these sweet babies have already given me. Within 24 hours in my home, they had developed their own distinct personalities, shed their shyness and stole my heart.

When they are ready to leave their mother, one of them (I think Mitzie) will be my mother’s companion. We both love orange cats, and since Ollie won’t let me keep one, mom’s house is the next best option. I’ll be posting photos on the shelter’s website, so if you want to lay claim to one, check them out and fill out an application.

Upcoming event

Mark your calendars for the grand opening of Paws & Claws, the volunteer-operated thrift store next to the shelter. From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, you can adopt a cat or dog while shopping for all kinds of great stuff you didn’t know you needed.

Every item is donated, and every penny raised goes directly to the shelter to save more animals. Find some treasures to donate, enjoy a hot dog and chips, enter the gift card drawing and take home your new best friend.

— Pets and the People Who Love Them is brought to you by your friends at the Athens Limestone Animal Shelter. To adopt a dog or cat, please visit the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter at 1701 U.S. 72 (behind Limestone Veterinary Clinic), visit our Facebook page or call us at 256-771-7889.