Chicago’s Inspiring 13-Year-Old “Cat Lady” Spends Her Time Fostering Neonatal and Feral Kittens; Never Gives Up Despite Heartache

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There are some people that are born to be an inspiration to others. 

At just 13-years-old, Julia Plambeck has begun that journey earlier than most. 

Photo: @julia_fosters

Her inspiring goal is to show others the importance of fostering and spay/neutering. 

Julia and her family foster through Paws Chicago and the Feral Feline Project. 

Quickly becoming an Instagram favorite, her more than 3,000 followers are treated to her feline filled life.

We imagine that number will grow quickly! 

Photo: @julia_fosters

Check her out @julia_fosters!


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One of her most recent success stories involves a family of feral cats. 

Photo: @julia_fosters

Anyone who has worked on TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), knows that it’s not as easy as it sounds. It also RARELY goes according to plan.

Cats are sly. Many ferals have lived their whole lives avoiding traps and humans.

In this case, Julia and her family were able to trap 4 kittens born feral.

Ideally, younger kittens are able to be socialized, fixed and then adopted out. This is certainly true of some older cats as well; there’s no set rule on socializing. 

These 4 were named the “Coffee kittens”. 

Left to right, they are Java, Caramel, Chip, and Bean.

Photo: @julia_fosters

They were originally found in a window-well with their mama in early September. The owner of the home contacted a local organization, Spay and Stay

With Julia joining the rescue mission, they were soon safely secured.

They were not necessarily happy about it, but their lives were saved that day.

Photo: @julia_fosters

Mama had eluded the traps though.

Julia refused to give up her attempts to catch the cat. 

She knows that one intact female cat can become pregnant 2-3 times a year!!!

The owners of the property kept a close eye out for mama and promised to call if they saw or were able to trap her.

Photo: @julia_fosters

Just 5 days ago, almost 2 months after the kittens were saved, they were successful!

Mama Coffee was trapped and happily she’d be fixed.

There’d be no more kittens left to live in the dangerous outside world from this beauty.


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Got ya!! Everyone meet mama coffee!(or mama for short). She the mom of the feral kittens we found a while back(who are now adopted!). No more kittens for you mama! We were FINALLY able to trap her early this morning and she will be spayed tomorrow morning! So far, she hates my guts! She’s currently in my garage in her trap until she gets spayed. TNR saves lives people! – – – – – – – – – – @myfosterkittens @feralcatcolony @kittenxlady #cat #feralcat #cutecat #feralcats #tnrsaveslives #spayandneutersaveslives #fosterkittens #cattoys #spayandneuter #spayandstay #trapneuterreturn #tnrworks #tnrsaveslives #tnrcatsofinstagram #tnrcats

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In animal rescuing however, life is not always kind. 

On September 20th Julia shared a heartbreaking update on the “Coffee Kittens”. 

“As some of you may know some of the kittens (Java and Bean) started to have seizures. Sadly, Java passed away a few days ago from the seizures. The cause of them is still unknown. The vet is guessing it’s either a congenital heart defect that they were born with, or a heart infection which is more likely and treatable.”

Photo: @julia_fosters ~ R.I.P. Java

Sadly, even at Julia’s young age, she is aware of the difficulties of living this life. 

But bravely and with a wisdom well beyond her years, her outlook on life’s disappointments is something we all need to remember.

“This grief is one that is hard, but it’s what keeps me going. If we, as rescuers let this grief keep us down, nothing will ever come of it. Use it as fuel. As a way to keep pushing, to keep fighting. It’s worth it. Always.”

“Spay and neuter. It’s the easiest way to end this terrible suffering. PLEASE, my message to you: SPAY AND NEUTER!”

Photo: @julia_fosters ~ Mama Coffee post-spay surgery.

This mission will continue well into Julia’s adult years.

She plans on becoming a veterinarian someday; reportedly a shelter vet specifically.

The world is extremely lucky to have souls like Julia looking out for the voiceless animals. 

Photo: @julia_fosters

For now, she’ll continue the lifesaving work she’s been inspired to do by other cat loving crusaders.

Julia’s heroes don’t necessarily wear capes….and if they did, they’d proudly be covered in cat hair! 


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Let me just start this post off by saying @kittenxlady is the sweetest person in the world. I met her in May at a meet and greet and again tonight. I walked up to her and she remembered me! I showed her all of the kittens I’ve fostered and have her a letter I wrote her. She started CRYING because she was “so proud of me”. We took a few pictures, including some on her phone and talked. I also bought a new shirt and some stickers. Thank you for being so sweet Hannah and @sipandpurrmke for hosting this event! It was a truly amazing experience.❤️ – – – – – – – – #kittenlady #sipandpurr #meetandgreet #greatful #fosterkittens #spayandneuter #fosteringsaveslives #spayandneuteryourpets #tnr #tnrsaveslives #milwaukee #youthfosterparent #yara @kittenxlady



So for those of you who are now inspired to open your doors and hearts to fosters, congratulations!!! 

Fair warning though, there’s a LOT of cleaning that comes with kittens! LOL

It’s worth every scoop, swipe and wipe though <3 


Related Story : Amazing 6-Year-Old Girl Decides Her Free Time Should Be Best Spent Helping Cats Find Homes

Related Video (With Kitten Lady): Fostering Saves Lives!

Related Video (With Jackson Galaxy!): What If Nobody Spayed or Neutered Their Cats?!

Check out Julia’s story on WGN =) 

Chicago-area 13-year-old girl is foster parent to neonatal kittens for PAWS

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