Mom turns son’s room into kitty condo

Motherly love like gold in this Rockwall County home

Who can resist that face? Jeri and Paul couldn’t, so they adopted Coco Chanel.

(ROCKWALL, TX – May 11, 2015) Jeri Fontenot is the richest person in Rockwall County. That’s if you believe Mildred B. Vermont’s famous statement, “Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.”

Jeri is the foster mom for a house full of homeless cats. Since every kitty in her home was at risk of dying at a local animal shelter, Jeri receives more love and appreciation than usual from her foster kids. 

Groucho’s temperament lived up to his name, so he had difficulty finding a new home. After several months, Jeri and Paul fell in love and adopted him.

Once Jeri’s actual children Danielle and Jacob moved out on their own, she didn’t waste time putting her motherly instincts to work for homeless cats. Since Jeri and her husband Paul live on the Rockwall County side of Rowlett, they got involved with the Rowlett animal shelter.

“I wasn’t fostering at first,” Jeri said, “But the Rowlett shelter needed someone to take care of some bottle baby kittens.”

Blue, a homeless cat with feline immunodeficiency virus, makes himself at home on the Fontenot’s coffee table.
Tara’s kittens are growing up in splendor in the former bedroom of Jeri’s son Jacob.

She turned Jacob’s former room into a kitty condo. “That’s primarily what I’m about,” Jeri explained. “I keep one room clear in case Rowlett needs me.” Jacob’s old bedroom is a scene of motherly bliss right now, because it’s occupied by a cat named Tara and her kittens. Siam, a one-eyed kitty, has taken up temporary residence in the bathroom next door. Everyone is happy, from the tiniest kitten to Jeri’s husband Paul. “Paul likes cats, so I can get away with it,” she said.

It’s been such a happy arrangement that Jeri and Paul have fallen in love with their foster kitties more than a few times. Walk in their front door, and you’ll receive a purring welcome from Blue, a handsome foster cat, who’s sharing living quarters with Samara, Noodles, Groucho and Coco Chanel, all of whom are now official members of the Fontenot family.

“It’s definitely empty nesting,” Paul said with a smirk.

Noodles enjoys his favorite daily playtime with a rubber band.

Jeri’s foster mom duties extend outside her home. She assists with the Rowlett shelter cats who are waiting for new homes inside the nearby PetSmart. She serves as treasurer for Friends of Rowlett Animals and as a board member for Rockwall Pets.

With so many foster children, Mother’s Day is a special occasion at Jeri’s house. The love and appreciation she receives from her homeless kitties is reflected in Jeri’s dedication and drive to give each individual cat an opportunity to find his or her perfect home. There’s more than enough love to go around, so anyone can experience the joy Jeri feels simply by adopting a homeless kitty from their local shelter. Because when Blue, Siam, Tara and all those kittens are living happily with their new families, Jeri’s door will be open for more.

Siam, whose outgoing personality wasn’t diminished by the loss of an eye, enjoys the Fontenot home while he awaits his new family.

In her unassuming way, Jeri downplays the impact of what she’s doing. “I’m just fostering these because nobody else wanted to do it.” But Proverbs 22:1 says otherwise, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” That’s why Jeri Fontenot is the richest person in Rockwall County.

Story and photos by Blue Ribbon News guest columnist Michael Kitkoski, co-founder of Rockwall Pets and No Kill Solutions.

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