The Critter Room is an online livestream broadcast out of the Seattle area by semi-retired Air Force veteran John Bartlett (known to viewers as Foster Dad John). Through a local shelter known as Purrfect Pals, he takes in cats (usually expectant mothers that are about to have their litter) and cares for them, raising the kittens on webcam until they're old enough to be fixed and vaccinated (after which they're adopted out to "forever homes").
The stream shows a 24-hour, candid look at the mother cat raising her litter, and the adorable antics of the kittens thereof. If you want a quick and easy way to amuse yourself or blow off steam, look no further than this. The stream could originally be found here. In December of 2016, Foster Dad John was informed that Livestream would begin charging him for services due to having too many viewers, so the stream was moved to YouTube. (Keep in mind, however that there may not be a new family on cam at any given time.)
The official Facebook page can be found here. There's also a Twitter. A similar webcast from across the border in Canada is at TinyKittens.com, run by members of the Langley Animal Protection Society.
Tropes associated with The Critter Room include
- Ascended Fanboy: The kittens are often adopted by viewers of the livestream (many of whom have subsequently become rather well-known in their own right).
- Aside Glance: Occasionally happens when the kittens discover the webcam.
- Foster Dad John also does this from time to time when something especially amusing happens.
- Audience Participation: There are several traditions among the chatters who watch, most notably saying "Hail!" whenever Chickenfish is mentioned.
- Breakout Character: Many times the kittens are given their own Facebook pages by their new owners after being adopted, and end up gaining followings in their own right.
- Chickenfishnote , the oddly-shaped plush toy adored by the kittens, has a fanbase of its own.
- Catchphrase: "Hello, kittens! Hello, viewers!" (spoken by Foster Dad John whenever he enters the room). Sometimes followed by "Hello, (mama cat's name)."
- "Enjoy the kittens! Have a nice day." (Whenever FDJ leaves the room.)
- Cargo Cult: Literally, with the "cult" of Chickenfish. (See above.)
- Cast of Snowflakes: Subverted; some kittens are nearly identical to their siblings. (In this situation, FDJ usually gives the look-alikes differently colored collars to help the audience identify them.)
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: As mentioned above, Foster Dad John sometimes outfits otherwise identical kittens with collars in varying colors to help the audience tell them apart.
- Cool Old Guy: Foster Dad John, naturally.
- The Critter Room Will Ruin Your Life: You may or may not be surprised by how addicting watching kittens grow up is.
- Cuteness Proximity
- Family Theme Naming: Every litter is named after a given theme. So far, there have been scientist kittens, cosmonaut kittens, A.I. kittens, Mythbusters kittens, and kittens named after characters from Alien, Ghostbusters, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Sons of Anarchy (among others).
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: John, of course. In addition to his Fosters, he has at least three permanent cats of his own — including Trillian, a former foster (of the Hitchhikers litter).
- Once an Episode: A couple times a day, John will come into the room and play with the kittens. Also, he weighs the kittens once a day during the first week or so.
- Potty Failure: When you're raising animals from birth, this is a given. It's such a frequent occurrence that most long-time viewers hardly bat an eye when it happens; some even place bets on which kitten they think will master the use of the litter box first.
- Real Men Wear Pink: John Bartlett: Air Force veteran, avid motorcyclist, devotes his life to rescuing and fostering stray cats and their babies. Completely unashamed to kiss, cuddle, and gush over kittens in front of an audience of thousands.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: As FDJ warns newcomers on the Facebook page, the livestream is an uncensored view into the raising of foster kittens. All the unpleasantries that come with raising animals — vomiting, potty failures, fights, sicknesses and injuries — happen in full view of the audience. (However, John does turn off the cameras or take the ailing kitten off screen when he suspects a death is about to happen.)
- "Enjoy the kittens! Have a nice day."