HealthVoices of Hope


Fostering kittens is 'win-win' for Virginia assisted living community

'They just love when I come around with the kittens'
Charles Elan
Posted at 8:37 PM, Jul 21, 2021

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Some of the most special bonds can be between people and animals.

Charles Elan, who has been a resident at Morningside of Bellgrade for the last eight months, loves spending time snuggling with kitties Stormy and Feather.

"It's OK, nobody's gonna hurt you," Elan told to the kitties. "They're happy now, they can feel each other."

Charles Elan
Charles Elan, Stormy and Feather.

Elan said he loves playing with the kittens, who are temporary visitors thanks to a partnership with Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC).

The Midlothian assisted living center home fostered both kittens until they found their forever families this past weekend.

"It's real relaxing," Elan explained. "And I love animals anyway. Some of my best friends have been animals."

While Elan has his own pet cat in his room, for most residents at Morningside, visiting the kitties is their only chance to spend quality time with animals.

Sarah Nelson-Bush

"We all need something cuddly and purry to snuggle up with," Morningside Lifestyle 360 Director Sarah Nelson-Bush said.

She adopted her own cat from RACC and later came up with the idea to have the residents help foster kittens.

If a resident can’t make it out of their room, the kittens will come to them.

"We have a few that are toward the end of life, and they just love when I come around with the kittens." Nelson-Bush said. "It's a win-win situation."

Robin Young

RACC Outreach Coordinator Robin Young said animals are "great stress relievers" for folks who may be lonely.

"This is the second pair of kittens that they've fostered for us," Young said. "Sharing their love with people that may not be able to have pets anymore [and] miss having their pets, it just makes us smile."

Young said that fostering also helps them figure out what kind of home will be best for the kittens.


"You want to take it, yeah, there you go buddy, you're alright," Elan said to another resident as she picked up Feather.

It is a job that never gets tiring for Elan.

"I think it's great for us as residents, but then the people that receive these little bundles of fur will have the opportunity to have pets that have been loved, played with," Elan said.

RACC welcomes new and different ideas for people and groups interested in fostering kittens.

This segment is sponsored by WHOA Behavioral Health.