updated 06/13/2013 AT 4:30 PM ET
•originally published 06/13/2013 AT 2:30 PM ET
With four kids at home, Dancing with the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet has a full household. But if you ask her, it’s really run by her other two little ones: cats Tazzy and Willow.
“They kind of rule the house,” she tells PEOPLE of her pets, whom she rescued four years ago. “They love to lounge outside in the backyard. They love to eat. They love to hang on the couch with the kids. They kind of do whatever the heck they want to do in the house, to tell you the truth.”
Though she originally intended to only bring home one cat, the star says she was swayed after meeting the pair of felines – to her children’s delight.
“It was a really nice way of bringing a new animal into our family,” Burke-Charvet, 41, says. “I think it’s a great way of teaching responsibility to children. They feed them, they clean up after them, they give them affection. They have a wonderful friendship.”
A Family of Animal Lovers
Caring for daughters Neriah, 13, Sierra, 11, Rain, 6, and son Shaya, 5, as well as her furry friends, is no easy task, the star says, “but it all works. And we’re animal lovers, so it wouldn’t be complete without them.”
That devotion is also why Burke-Charvet partnered with Purina Cat Chow for its 50 Years, 50 Shelters program, which has already raised $75,000 to put toward shelter makeovers at 50 facilities across the country in honor of Purina’s 50th anniversary.
“[By improving these shelters] there’s a better environment so hopeful adopters can go in there, spend some quality time with the animals that they’re considering adopting, and find the right fit and the right personality,” she says. “The choice to adopt an animal that is homeless and that is living at one of these shelters is a really good cause.”