The kittens were born under the hot southern sun to two mothers who were barely out of kittenhood themselves. The mamas had a human family who fed them, but that’s about all they did. They never bothered to spay their cats or neuter the males for whatever excuse made it seem as though it’s all right to not provide care because that’s what people do…or rather don’t do in this part of the country.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. I can't believe this kitten was so depressed he was lying on the thorns of a rose bush!
We’ve seen this story played out so many times, in so many places. Intact cats left to breed out-of-control, leaving their offspring to meet a terrible fate. These cats are often reduced to being part of the food chain, instead of becoming beloved family members, which is a terrible truth that most rescuers fight with all they’ve got.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. You can see it in the photo but this kitten, like all the others, is very thin.
One white kitten doesn’t make it past a few days, while the others are mercilessly spared, or is it a good thing they survived? Their fate was to immediately become tempting morsels for anything that could catch them, bite them, slowly drain the life out of them. While somehow the roaming foxes didn’t get to them, the parasites had a field day.
It’s likely their mama passed roundworms and probably tapeworms into them during nursing. Being outdoors, of course the fleas were next to enjoy their bounty. Add to that the only food the kittens had after they were done nursing was cheap greasy kibble that was rotting under the blazing sun, covered with hungry flies.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. A mama already. We need to help her stop having more kittens.
Slowly but surely whatever vitality they might have had was slowly being eroded away. In time, if no one intervened, Mother Nature’s clean up crew would take care of them (but I don’t dare describe this any further as any kind-hearted cat lover would be devastated by reading about it).
I’m so angry and sick and tired of this story. It’s unfair, “fixable” (pardon the pun), but for some reason the people who mindlessly leave their animals intact have no concern about what happens after their cats have kittens. What drives me INSANE is not only do these people IGNORE their cats basic needs, but when it’s CLEAR that the littlest kittens are COVERED in FLEAS. Don’t they notice? Don’t they see their eyes running? Don’t they feel that they’re basically skin and bones when they reach down to pet them?
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. How do you NOT notice this kitten is sick?
Of the eight kittens in this person’s yard, two already “ran away.” The six that were left didn’t have much time left before it was their turn to magically disappear into a horrific ending.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Worst shape of all the kittens. If he went much longer with the amount of fleas he had on him he'd be dead.
When our foster mom, Moe was driving home from work and she saw kittens running around in this person’s yard. She stopped and quickly realized these kittens needed help ASAP.
Moe had just finished fostering Mia and her kittens and was taking a much needed break. I had taken Mia and family, plus I have Celeste and her 4 kittens plus Wallace, our Fire Dept rescue kitten AND Junebug and MaggieMae. To say that I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. I did not want to take on any more cats for the next few months, but when I heard about what was going on, then saw the photos, I couldn’t turn my back on this situation.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Can I give you my fleas?
Moe reported that there are 6 kittens and 5 adults (very young) who need at least vetting if not more. I have a great fear that as a small rescue this puts us over our limit for what we can care for, but I don’t know what else I can do other than take it one day at a time and hope this all works out. I’m glad she wants to take on this responsibility and I’ve assured her that anything she needs-I’ve got her back.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Lovely lady. We hope she's not pregnant. Can any rescues in GA lend a hand?
But now I need someone to have my back, too. Taking on six more mouths to feed, plus vetting the adults is going to be expensive. We’ve already done the initial vetting and all the kittens have very bad flea infestation, worms, ear mites and more. Thankfully they tested negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia, but they have a long road ahead. I can’t even use the word: recovery because they have never known good health. Perhaps this long journey will lead to a rebirth of sorts into the beautiful animals they were meant to be from the day they were born.
Here’s the plan:
Our goal is to get everyone healthy. If we can find a local rescue to take them after they’re vetted, great. If we are fortunate to get a new foster home here in Newtown OR if we start doing some adoptions (very slow this time of year), then I’ll bring the kittens here (which I would prefer doing).
We’re also going to work with the family to get their adult cats vetted as soon as possible. There are low cost clinics we can work with. We know if we ask these folks to pay for this service they will find a reason to say no, so we want to get the cats taken care of on our dime. Moe has a tough task balancing her own desire to rip these folks a “new one,” with the need to focus on caring for the cats. She can’t upset these people so she’ll be respectful and get the cats vetted as soon as she can using funds my rescue, Kitten Associates will provide for her.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. No more fleas on meet! By the way, this is a VERY SWEET kitten.
I estimate it will cost at least $140/cat to be vetted (if they have bartonella). This doesn’t include food, litter and toys, which adds a lot since they eat 8, 5 oz cans of food every day. We’re at roughly 1600.00 for all the kittens AND the adults to get vetted. I just spent $400.00 on food, toys and initial vetting.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. This is no existence for a kitten.
smile.amazon.com – use it to shop and we’ll get a small donation that’s banked to our account every time you shop for anyone or any thing on amazon.com
KA amazon wishlist: our wishlist shipping address helps our Connecticut based fosters, but we can't add our Georgia location to our list. The BEST way you can help is by purchasing a Gift Card for amazon.com so we can buy what the kittens need and ship it directly to foster mom, Moe. If you’d like to direct how the gift card is used, just leave a note when you purchase the gift card in the gift note area and we’ll take care of it. WE REALLY NEED GIFT CARDS TO BUY FOOD!!!
Donate through our Facebook App that’s on the left side our KA Facebook page
Visit our PetCaring Fundraiser Page where we’ll share photos and updates
If you'd like to mail us a check, checks can be made out to: Kitten Associates and mailed to: P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354. Please add a note on your check: “Neglected Kittens”.
We realize there are zillions of cats whose stories are online who need help and we’d all be broke if we made a donation to each one of them. The other way you can make a difference that doesn’t cost a dime is to simply SHARE this post socially with your cat-loving friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Your donation is tax deductible in the U.S.A., but see your tax advisor for how to claim a deduction and how it applies to your tax situation. Our Tax ID EIN is 27-3597692.
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. First car ride, of course, is to the Vet.
Next is to get the buff kitty’s blood work done and test them for bartonella and get their first vaccinations done. We need to do this ASAP! Stay tuned to Covered in Cat Hair on Facebook for updates.
Thank you for being part of our life saving efforts!
©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. It's going to get better from this moment forward. Welcome to our rescue little ones. We've got your back.
(Catch up on this story by reading this post first.)
Mia. What to do? Do I transport her to my home in Connecticut or leave her with her foster mom, Moe in Georgia. That has been the question plaguing me for the past few weeks.
I asked all of you to offer your thoughts on this matter and I appreciate that so many of you took time to share your experiences with me. It confirms my own confusion, simply by reading all your comments. Your vote is almost evenly split between leaving Mia behind and keeping her with her kittens.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Transport heading north. Have a safe trip!
I decided what to do well before I wrote my post. I decided it would be better for Mia to stay behind, but as the days passed and Moe sent me photos of the kittens with their mom, my opinion began to waffle. I knew that whatever I did there would be at least a facet of the decision that ends up being a “bad” choice. Whatever comes to pass it will be a learning experience. We hope for the good outcome and fear the bad.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia and Greta.
I also realized that although Mia would be alone, it would be different if she was alone here. Sam and I are home all day and can spend time with her. Moe is not. I was concerned that Mia would regress out of being along for so many hours per day. Coming here Mia will not be alone, but in a few weeks IF things go well, we may have enough kittens adopted out to where we CAN begin the one on one work…but that's a big IF. I'll be working with her every day while her kittens have fun in their new, much bigger space, but I may not get too far until she's alone.
Early next week we're getting a second HD Dropcam. This one will be in Mia & Family's room. I'll be posting a link to view it on our Facebook Page, but for now you'll be able to see them via SqueeTV Ch 1 starting late tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 6/28, EST). The camera will be off until the kitties arrive.
Thank you all for your help and for sharing this journey with me. I've got my fingers crossed that I made the right choice and no matter what happens, I'll be sharing the story of what happens next right here.
The weeks have flown by since we first accepted Mia, a rough and tumble pregnant stray cat, into the Kitten Associates rescue program. We didn’t know much about her other than she was living off scraps at an apartment complex where cats were not welcome-not welcome to the point where the management was about to put down poison to rid the complex of them. We couldn’t allow that to happen, so our foster mom Moe opened up her home to this deserving cat. A few days later Mia gave birth to five healthy kittens.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. From left to right Mia's kittens: Ivy, Greta, Fernando, Snickers, Woody (front).
Ivy, Greta, Woody Jackson, Lil’ Snickers and Fernando have done well and grown into perfectly adoptable kittens. They’ve had their vaccinations and been spayed/neutered. The next step of their journey is to come to my home in Connecticut where we’ll find them their forever homes. Although you might assume that every mom cat travels with their kittens on some rare occasions that's not the case. We have to assess each mom as to whether or not they will come to Connecticut. That process starts from before we accept them into our program and during the time they are in foster care in Georgia.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Almost full family portrait, but who is missing?
Our goal is to keep the families together until they begin getting adopted. We don’t “cherry pick” kittens, then not really care what becomes of the mom. Sadly though, in some cases we’ve had to place a cat into a sanctuary because she was not adoptable (too fractious) and in one case we even had to place the cat with a Vet who needed a barn cat (the cat was feral). Finding the perfect home for EVERY cat is my ultimate goal and passion, but with Mia, knowing what to do for her has stumped me for weeks.
You see Mia isn’t all that friendly with humans, but she’s not so unfriendly that she can’t be adopted. She just can’t be adopted right now. She’s not ready.
So what should I do?
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Ivy is too mature to bother with nursing on her poor mama.
Here’s what I know:
• Mia has been a great mom and even after she’s been spayed she is still very close to her kittens. They nurse on her for comfort and she doesn’t seem to mind (even though she has no more milk). They still cuddle with her and play alongside her. As the kittens get adopted we know she will be separated from them, but doing it slowly instead of all at once seems kinder to her.
• Mia bit Moe. Badly. In all fairness Moe felt that she possibly “asked for it” by scratching the base of Mia’s tail on her back too roughly. That said, Moe KNOWS cats so was it her fault or does Mia react on a hair trigger? Does that mean Mia can’t be adopted into a home with young kids? Any kids? I can find a home for her without kids but it does make it harder.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Like mother like son.
• In the few months Mia’s been with Moe, she hasn’t really “blossomed” or become more friendly. She is not aggressive. I’m told she's fearful. She seems to like one of Moe’s other cats and we think perhaps Mia likes cats more than she likes humans (which again is OK, but not great for getting her adopted).
• It’s possible that if we separate Mia from her kittens and transport the kittens without her that being alone in Moe’s foster space will force her to trust and love Moe. I call it “tough love.” Because Moe will be the only contact Mia will have, the hope is that Mia will soften in her attitude about humans. We can transport Mia up here in another month or two if she’s doing better, but if there are any kittens here, she may have forgotten them and might not be friendly to them any more (as we saw years ago when we had Bobette here and she went nuts on her kittens after arriving on transport with them).
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia and Ivy.
• Or…being alone all day without any contact until Moe gets home from work would make Mia worse and maybe she would be happier here since Sam and I are home all day and can spend time with her.
• Mia could come off transport and hate her kittens. I have no place to put her away from them, but I could get a BIG 3-tiered cage for her and could cage her unless I’m in the room if the kittens are in danger. Of course that’s a shitty option for Mia, one I am not a big fan of.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mama Mia.
• If I can’t turn Mia into an adoptable cat, then what do I do? I can’t have her jam up my ability to take on more cats and I CANNOT just add her to my cat family (even if she’s fluffy and pretty-prerequisites for living here). If Moe had the same difficulty, at least I know of a sanctuary in Georgia that might be able to help us. I suppose if push comes to shove I could find something around here, but I’ve never heard of a place that takes cats like Mia. There is a place that takes unadoptable cats that have terminal illness or disability, but Mia is not like that.
• MIA IS ADORABLE! Who cares if she's friendly?
Want to know more? Mia's backstory is here.
[While I try to stay clear of all the juicy details there IS a spoiler alert in this post so be forewarned if you haven't seen My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!]
I cried during the fledgling episode of My Cat From Hell. It was the first time I ever saw a cat behaviorist work with a cat on television and get seemingly magical results. I’ve worked with cats on an informal basis for years, but the show’s star and self-proclaimed “Cat Daddy,” Jackson Galaxy helped a whole new audience learn to see the world through a cat’s eyes. I knew his work was going to save countless lives of cats who had previously been misunderstood. For that, I am forever in his debt.
Over the past 5 seasons, MCFH has become, I dread to say, a bit formulaic. As we watch each show unfold with the threat of the cat losing its home if it “doesn’t behave” or if “Jackson can’t fix the cat,” we find ourselves feeling a bit like the boy who cried wolf. We know that in the end, the cat will be okay and the family will learn a valuable lesson. The cat always stays in his or her home. What's becomes clear over the years is that often the cat guardians need the training more than the cat does.
In My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!, Jackson moves us over our “challenge line” into a new realm that feels unsafe. I wasn’t sure I wanted to cross into this uncharted territory. Would the show have a happy conclusion? I watched because I trust Jackson's instincts and unlike some naysayers online, I never thought for a second that Jackson's motives were anything other than sincere. He's not out to grab onto Lux's media magnetism. He convinced Animal Planet to go back into production after the fifth season shooting had wrapped, hoping that documenting his time with Lux would mean a better life for the cat and his guardians and allow the public to see beyond the media firestorm. There was no turning away with such sincere motives.
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson meets Lux.
The goals of this hour-long episode focusing on Lux the cat, were many, with the main objective being to end the vilification of Lux’s family by the media (not me!) and of Lux, himself. In my interview with Jackson Galaxy, we discussed this episode and went into the details of why 911 was called by Lee Palmer after Lux went berserk after his 7-month old baby pulled Lux’s tail.
Without giving away all the details, I can say that how the show unfolded left me breathless. The story of Lux, his family and how they're coping with being vilified in the media, how they're trying to right their ship, is what I want to see. The editing in of the 911 call clips repeatedly played over and over as the show evolved, were a distraction to the gut-wrenching truth being revealed. I don’t get a buzz from seeing the attempt to re-sensationalize the story by the production company. We KNOW why Jackson is with Lux, let’s focus on moving forward after we get the gist of the past problems.
How Jackson handled this cat’s problems and managed his family’s expectations once he realized he could be over his head were what made this show great. He gave Lee Palmer and Teresa Barker a fair shake, while I remained suspicious about their motives after hearing their description of Lux going on the attack. By the show’s conclusion I realized like so many others, that indeed the family had been terrorized, but now they knew most likely why.
In my interview with Jackson, before the airing of this groundbreaking episode, I asked him if Lux being a bottle baby affected his current condition, to which he agreed. But what didn’t come into play was something that dawned on by watching the show. Lux was REJECTED by his mother, which is different than finding him as an orphan. If you’ve ever fostered a mama cat and kittens, it’s very likely one or more of them don’t make it. It’s Mother Nature. Mama-cats KNOW there is something wrong with their offspring. They won’t feed them and they won’t clean them. They basically ignore them and let them die. Unless humans intervene, these kittens have no chance to live and even if they do try to help, as I learned a few weeks ago, the kittens still often die.
Does that mean Lux should be euthanized? Hell, no!
Regardless of how Lux acquired the issues he has, seeing Jackson go the distance for this cat is a shout out, loud and clear, about how imperative it is to GET YOUR CAT TO A VET whenever they display behaviors that are outside the norm. While I don’t know if this is the case, I was shocked that Palmer and Barker didn’t get this cat checked out FIRST. Perhaps they did, but not thoroughly. It’s too late to throw stones, but again it underscores why, especially in cases like Lux’s, that you can’t just do a physical exam and call it a day. You have to dig as deep as you need to go to get to the answer. Anything less than that is not humane because the cat will end up needlessly suffering, possibly for a lifetime.
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. No longer a villain, Lux has the world rooting for him.
I hope that in future episodes of MCFH, Jackson takes on more difficult cases as we've seen with Lux. We’ve grown in our understanding of cats with Jackson's guidance and have learned so much, but if I’m like most viewers I’m hungry to know more even if that means no guarantee of a happy ending.
A special shout out to the Oregon Humane Society for helping Lux and for a 98% save rate. Well done!
That said, I also saw something in Sam’s expression that told me that Wally had already captured his heart. Sam was so tender with this little kitten it was clear he was smitten. I, too, felt not only great fondness for this baby but utter devotion to getting him stablized. I shocked myself at feeling anger with Celeste for not accepting a new ward. This kitten, who could have died a few hours ago, needed all the loving care we could give him and she should have joined us in our efforts. I also knew that wasn’t fair. I had to get over my own disappointment in her behavior and in truth, maybe it was for the best for now.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. This fragile life.
At 5AM I got up to prepare Wallace’s next meal. He was konked out in his carrier, but quickly woke up when I opened the carrier door. He wobbled over wanting to get out. Crying his little mute cry..just open mouth, no sound. I hoped he'd be squeaking after he had something to eat and got recharged. I felt bad waking Sam up too, but it seemed to work much better if he held Wally while I carefully syringed the formula into him. I’d weighed him earlier and he was only 8oz while my other foster kittens were at 15oz or more and they were the same age. We’d calculated how much to feed him so we began counting syringefuls of formula.
Wally was eager to eat, one, two, three…ten, eleven, twelve..finally thirteen ccs of formula. He was voided and gave us a big surprise. I barely touched his bottom when a very large stool slid right out into my hand (which had a paper towel over it, thankfully). I can’t believe how happy I was to see that, but it was proof that his bodily functions were working properly. The stool looked okay-not the runs-no blood. Another good sign.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Wallace survived the night and already had us under his spell.
We went back upstairs to get a few hours rest. Wally was too fussy to sleep, so I sat up in bed, holding him. His sharp claws raked against my skin as he frantically searched up and down my chest for his mother, for her nourishing nipples. He would bury his face into the soft flesh of my upper arm, but would as quickly move away, not finding his prize. I had to keep turning him or lifting and moving him so he didn't fall. My eyelids were growing heavy, but I didn’t care. He was alive. He was doing well. I didn’t screw it up. Maybe in some small way, I helped right the wrong of losing Fiorello.
After an hour, Wally got tired so I put him back with his stuffed friend. He fell asleep and so did I.
©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. First night with Christine.
Christine called a few hours later and told me she could come get Wallace in the afternoon. As glad as I was to have help, I found myself feeling quite sad that he was leaving. As always, I knew I’d done my part, now Christine would care for him for a few weeks and when he was bigger and stronger, he would come back and I’d figure out a way to put him with one of our two litters. He needed socialization with kittens as much as he needed loving care from us. I am determined to provide that for him and will do so when the time is right.
©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Christine scores, getting Wallace to take the bottle.
Sam and I fed Wallace a few more times before Christine arrived. He ate well, we even burped him (yes, you SHOULD do that after feeding the little guys---VERY GENTLY) and he continued to charm us to no end. When it was time for us to part, I can say without reservation that we both were reluctant to let him go. Even with feedings every few hours, we didn’t care about being tired. In such a short amount of time, Sam and I were both in love with this little kitten.
What I also realized was that I’d just had a glimpse of what it might have been like if Sam and I had ever had children of our own. We’d been very good “parents” to Wally and that sense of teamwork made me feel proud that we could do this again and maybe next time with more confidence.
©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Full belly & sweet dreams.
We went over Wally’s care with Christine. She impressed me to no end. It was clear she knew what to do and when so I gave her all the supplies she’d need. She even has heated seats in her car so she said she’d turn them on so the warmth would keep the cat carrier toasty as she drove Wally to her home. I barely knew this woman, but from our short meeting and few interactions at her work, I felt completely at ease. There's just something about certain people who you know you can count on without having to worry they will back out on you. Also, Christine is so upbeat and cheerful, you just have to adore her.
©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Sleeping with his SnuggleKittie.™
Tired, achy, but happy, after we said our goodbyes to Wallace and Christine, I walked into the living room and noticed that one of the cats, had peed on the sofa, right where Sam had just been sitting cuddling with Wally. It was a huge mess, but just goes to show that my own cats were not as happy with the newcomer as we were, and helped remind me that for now I should just love Wallace from afar if I value having a clean place to sit.
Update: In the week since Wallace was rescued, Christine has given us one great update after another. Wallace has DOUBLED his weight, which is unheard of, but also lets us know how much of a crisis he was in when we first brought him home.
Although Christine's home is full of cats, dogs, fish, and a few other tiny creatures, until recently Wallace has been separated from all of them. He'll continue to be separated from the cats, but there's one lady who demanded to be part of Wallace's caretakers. She's a Great Dane named Nina and she LOVES Wallace as if he were her own puppy. Wallace gets daily cleaning from his doggie foster mom and he gets to snuggle with her (under supervision of course) and enjoy having the warmth and love of another creature. I'm sure between Christine, her loving family and Nina, it's keeping Wallace not only alive, but happy and for an orphan, being depressed is something we want to avoid. We're VERY lucky and so is Wallace. His rescue just fell into place, as simple as that.
©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Nina gets "attacked" by tiny Wallace.
Cat behaviors are often misunderstood, but rarely, if ever, do they make national headlines as it did with a cat named Lux last March.
For Lux, the 4-year old, 11 lb (not 22 lb as reported elsewhere) black and white domestic medium haired cat, the question everyone wants answered is who's at fault for the cat going berserk after his tail was pulled by a 7-month old baby? The incident started an escalating chain reaction. Lux clawed the baby and the baby's father, Lee Palmer kicked Lux in the rear end, then grabbed his kid, his girlfriend Teresa Barker, and their dog as they fled into a back room, terrified at Lux's violent reaction after being struck. Instead of running away from Palmer, he flew sky-high into the red zone, screaming and charging at his family who were cowering on the other side of a locked door.
The result was a call to the Portland, Oregon 911 where they dispatched the Police to rescue the family from the now crazed cat.
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson Galaxy.
Once the news hit everyone had an opinion about Lux. Some said to put him down for striking a baby. Others said to put the family down for kicking the cat. In stories like this I like to believe that somewhere in the middle lies the truth, but there's only one person uniquely qualified to shed light on this situation.
From ABCNEWS the 911 audio tapes are heard.
I had the pleasure of speaking the Jackson about his experiences with Lux. What surprised me when I chatted with Jackson about this episode was that Jackson, who says it often takes him about 5 minutes to sort out a behavior problem, had a different experience with Lux. Jackson has never worked a case like this. It surprised him, stumped him, frustrated him to no end, but also Jackson discovered he had a great deal of love for this cat—the kind of love he has reserved for his own cats (which he hinted at offhandedly that perhaps Lux might be one day…or at least be a part of Lux's life going forward).
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson Galaxy meets Lux.
What is unprecedented about the episode: “911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!” is that since it was after season five had finished shooting it took the combined efforts of Animal Planet, the MCFH production staff, local Vets, the Multnomah County Animal Shelter (where Lux had briefly been surrendered) and Jackson to work together to get this story on the air. It's important because “this episode will challenge everyone.” Which was why a full hour was dedicated to Lux. It may very well be My Cat From Hell's coming of age show, something Jackson is very proud of.
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson making a new friend in Lux.
When asked, Jackson couldn't say what the odds are that Lux will keep his home, even knowing that his family did their homework over the few weeks Jackson worked with them.
©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Aww..really? Does this look like a cat who would cause trouble? Okay…a lot of trouble? Sweet Lux.
Lux's story doesn't have a resolution yet, but his journey is what makes this episode of My Cat From Hell so groundbreaking because it unfolds in ways other shows have never been able to. We discover Lux as Jackson does.
Jackson reminds us that Lux was a bottle baby. Although there haven't been any studies about how the unbreakable bond with the human who cares for orphan kittens effects them as adults, many in rescue already know there's something different about them. Those cats tend to be cats, but “not quite cats.” Without other cats to learn from, these bottle babies have a confused perception of their world. Are they cats? Are they humans? Are they something in between? In Lux's case he has that bond with Teresa, but he also struggles with many behavior issues that Jackson is determined to get to the bottom of.
My final question stumped Jackson and gave our interview a moment of levity. I asked: “Where did the name Lux come from?” Jackson, who had been so focused and passionate about helping the cat overcome his behavior issues never thought to ask. He promised that if the show goes into a sixth season he'd be sure to find out.
My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage! airs Saturday, June 14th at 8pm EST on Animal Planet.
If you're like me, you spend a lot of time trying to sort out what to feed your cat. Do you believe marketing hype? Do you do research about what ingredients to stay clear of? Do you find yourself going crazy with all the options out there only to come home, thinking you did the right thing, then find out after all your time, effort, and money wasted, YOUR CAT WON'T EAT IT!
This is why, for years, one of my "go to" choices is Weruva. Their tagline shouldn't be "Because Weluvya." It should be, "Because they Luv to Eat It."
I believe good nutrition is the cornerstone for every cat’s health and that includes feeding them a variety of proteins, too. It’s clear that the folks at Weruva, makers of “People food for Pets,” understand that since they've created four lines of canned or pouched cat food, all with a different focus on proteins. Their lines are: B.F.F. (Best Feline Friend), Weruva Cans, Cats in the Kitchen & their new line, Weruva TruLuxe.
What to feed your cat becomes a much more important question to ask when you discover that your cat is sick. Forgetting your cat is an obligate carnivore, and not feeding him or her based on that fact, can causes a worsening of their symptoms. Feeding delicious high-protein food, however, can make a big difference. Case in point, my friend and fellow cat rescuer, Warren Royal's foster cat, Big Daddy.
Big Daddy lived behind a DIY store in northern Georgia. He'd been dumped, was injured and starving. He literally was so hungry, that when Warren set the trap to capture him, Big Daddy pushed Warren away so he could get at the food! This was NO feral cat and sure enough, Warren discovered Big Daddy was a Big Love Bug.
Over the past 4 months, Big Daddy's had quite an adventure and sadly some of it wasn't what we'd ever want to see happen to a cat. Big Daddy, who is FIV+, became so ill he went blind temporarily and almost died. After many tests it was determined that Big Daddy has Large T-Cell Lymphoma. He's just 4 years old.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. A clip from a video of Big Daddy lapping up some Funk in the Trunk.
I asked Warren about his experience with Weruva's Cats in the Kitchen and TruLuxe lines.
CiCH: You've mentioned your frustration in trying to find a cat food that Big Daddy will eat since his sense of smell is effected by being sick. How many other brands/types of foods did you try before finding something he would enjoy that YOU also felt was good for him?
Warren: I wasn't keeping great records in the beginning (I am now), but I think I had tried 10-12 other brands and types of food for him, and he turned his nose up on all of them but 2 - and those two were not healthy for him, so I continued searching for something else.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy with rescuer, Warren.
CiCH: What role does diet play in Big Daddy's life, now that he's been diagnosed with lymphoma?
Warren: Having a proper diet is extremely important to him - he has to maintain his health and his immune system, through all the tests and treatments, so we are very careful to make sure he eats the best diet possible. His FIV status makes it even more important that we give him every nutritional benefit that we can. We can't have him eating junk. But because he needs to maintain his weight and strength, it also has to be something that he LIKES, to encourage him to eat. So finding a good, healthy food that he really likes is wonderful.
CiCH: With so many other brands of cat food available, how do you feel the Weruva, Cats in the Kitchen line compares?
Warren: So far, the "Cats in the Kitchen" line has been very successful with him. He loves the flavors, and it's nutritious, so it's the best of both worlds for us. A great and healthy food is no good to us if he won't eat it! This line, for him, was a godsend. I'm so happy that we found it (through a recommendation by a dear friend!)
To be clear, there's no cat food out there that will cure Big Daddy's cancer, but feeding him grain-free canned food, with 80% water (a MUST to keep cats hydrated) and in some lines with NO GMO, Novel Proteins, NO MSG, CARRAGEENAN FREE, is a great way to keep him in the best health possible as he begins chemotherapy.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy just ate almost 2, 3-oz cans of Funk in the Trunk. I find it hilarious that he always leaves one bite of food-maybe to eat later?
If you’d like to learn more about Weruva, Cats in the Kitchen or their other lines of cat and dog food, please visit their web site or LIKE them on Facebook and Twitter. Let them know Covered in Cat Hair sent you!
If you'd like to follow Big Daddy's adventure, he has his own Facebook page.
This post is sponsored by Weruva. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Weruva as a part of the BlogPaws Blogger Network, but CoveredinCatHair.com only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Weruva is not responsible for the content of this article.
We're well into what my fellow pet-bloggers and I like to refer to as “Petties Season.” It begins each June as Dogtime Media announces that nominations are being accepted for the 2014 Dogtime Pettie Awards. These awards, which started a few years ago, have garnered them the nickname of the “Oscars of Pet Blogging.”
The nominations last the month of June. In early July, if you're loved by your friends and have enough votes, you get one of four slots to be a Finalist. After yet another long voting period of about a month, winning blogs are announced in early September. Winners receive an awesome lucite trophy and $1000.00 donation they can give to their favorite non-profit animal shelter or rescue. In the past few years, some of my friends have graciously donated their award money to my rescue, Kitten Associates and I've even won twice, to add to the pot.
For me, winning means a great deal. Last year, winning Best Blog Post for my letter to my dying foster kitten Fred, helped the world know what a special kitten he was and in some way it gave added meaning to his short life. This is a prestigious award and frankly, since I don't get paid to write my blog, winning is a big THANK YOU from all the people who are kind enough to believe in me, who enjoy my stories and who want me to continue my efforts rescuing cats and telling their tale.
And in truth, the first years Kitten Associates was in operation, we would have had to close our doors if it had not been for the Petties donations from our friends. We're a small rescue and we operate with less funds than I'd like, but we never cut costs on quality care for every cat and kitten. These donations CAN mean a BIG difference when you're a small rescue.
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia's kittens, just some of the many kittens we've rescued over the years.
This year there are three cat-bloggers, who are also dear friends of mine and who sadly, I am also in competition with to win a Pettie in certain categories. In a perfect world we would ALL win, but the reality is we can't.
The Conscious Cat-Best Overall Pet Blog
Texts from Mittens-Funniest Blog or Blogger
We've got about 2 more weeks SO PLEASE KEEP VOTING! Don't forget you can vote every day so make sure you bookmark the page so you can return to it when needed. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE for seeing a value in what we pet bloggers do and THANK YOU ALL for your friendship and support. I deeply appreciate it!
Continued from Chapter 1.
Instead of freaking out, I sat for a moment and thought about it. What did I need to bring with me? Maybe there was someone who could also help and advise me. I called our vet at the Cat Clinic and asked if there was anyone on staff who could possibly bottle-feed a kitten if my mama-cat rejected him. They put me on hold for a few minutes then told me to call Christine. She would be glad to help. GLAD TO HELP? Really? I didn’t have to make 100 phone calls? I didn’t have to beg for favors? All I had to do was keep the kitten alive for 24 hours and she could pick him up the following day. Even though I was woefully stiff, I got up and started to put together a kit of things for the kitten, energized by knowing that a Vet tech, no less, had my back. This was going to work!
Sam drove us to the Fire Station, while I went over in my head what I’d do once I saw the kitten. First, see if it was warm enough then give it a small amount of warmed goat milk. I had some in a baby bottle and in a syringe, covered by a portable heating pad so it would stay warm. I had a cat carrier with a warm blanket. I brought a flea comb but then realized he would be too young to treat with any flea products so he’d have to get a bath-which I still fear doing to little guys.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Our first look at Wallace.
Once we arrived at the Station we were greeted by the Dispatcher who called for Lt. K. to bring us the kitten. She arrived moments later carrying an old blue milk crate with a towel inside it. I couldn’t see anything more than that at first, but as she placed the crate down, I saw a little kitten's head covered by a towel. The kitten started to cry. I saw stripes. It was a little silver tabby.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. After giving Wallace some goat milk he was so hungry he licked some of the drops off Sam's hand.
I lifted the kitten from the towel. I could feel dirt on his coat from being inside the wall. He was crying, very thin, but definitely about 3 weeks old-the same age as the kittens I was fostering, but half the weight. I checked him quickly for fleas while Sam held him. I didn’t even realize it but four other firemen had joined us and were watching my every move. As I continued to examine the kitten, one of them asked if it was a boy or girl. I took a look and I was certain it was a boy. They were delighted by that and amazed how I could tell the difference. Sexing kittens is not too difficult at that age, but they had never done it before. I realized how odd it was to be rescuing a kitten from people who spend their life doing rescue. We were giving back to our community and were honoring what they did every day by assisting them when they needed us. I felt really proud at that moment.
Wallace had a runny eye and continued to cry. I fumbled around and got a syringe of milk ready. Not even caring that I was the center of attention, I focused on being gentle, carefully urging the kitten to drink. I’d failed completely with Fio. He never took any nourishment no matter how much we tried. Wallace was quite different. He greedily slurped at the formula to everyone’s amazement. I quickly got two cc’s into him, which is not nearly enough, but I didn’t want to drop his body temperature and put him into shock since I didn’t know when he’d last had food. Clearly it had been a long time. I wanted to get him home, warmed up and fed again, but then I remembered…had he been voided?
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mabel heard Wally's cries and ran over to be near him. How I wish I could have put them together, but I couldn't risk anyone getting sick or harmed.
I asked if they had helped void the kitten and they hadn’t, not clear on what I was asking. Panicked I asked for warm, wet paper towels ASAP. Of course they responded like lightning, and moments later I was gently stimulating Wallace’s genitals and rear end to get him to void. Sure enough we got some pale yellow urine out of him. The color was a good sign. Darker urine would have indicated dehydration or possible other problems. With at least some urine out of him and some food in him, he was stable enough for us to get him home.
The firemen thanked us and I promised to give them updates. It was such a strange situation. There I was, possibly seen as a true cat rescuer for maybe the first time in my life. I knew what to do. I got the job done. I asked, in parting, if I provided them with a kit of information and supplies on how to care for kittens would they make use of if and they eagerly agreed. They’d even share it with their other stations so in the future perhaps any kittens discovered would get better care until a rescue could be called upon. I felt like the seed of an idea was born at that moment that would allow Kitten Associates to be more involved with our community and would help save more lives. I’d even make up a kit for our Newtown Fire Dept, too, but first we had to get Wallace home.
As Sam was reaching the car, I realized I forgot my purse and turned to get it. Lt. Katherine was there holding it in her outstretched hand. I thanked her and smiled awkwardly, then turned back to the car. I almost ran into who I assumed was the Captain as I turned. He asked me a few questions about the kitten and if I thought he would be all right. The Captain was clean cut, muscular, with richly toned skin. His uniform was pressed and spotless. Seeing him made me realize I rarely ever see men doing rescue, let alone one who was so handsome. I'd been so wrapped up in Wallace, it never occurred to me to take a moment to enjoy the thrill of being near so much testosterone (excluding Lt. K, of course!).
I told the Captain I'd keep them updated and he thanked me for helping them. I looked up and one of the fire trucks was pulling out of the bay. Some of the folks who had been with us moments earlier were on the rig. I raised my hand to wave, feeling a tickle of delight when they waved back. For those few seconds, I was part of the team.
Wallace cried as Sam drove along the highway. I took the tiny kitten out of his carrier and held him. He squirmed and wriggled, then got very quiet. I flashed back to Fio, how he would be so vibrant, then nearly dead after he was fed. I knew Wallace had a very big day and had just been fed so I tried not to be upset when he seemed to pass out in my arms. He was just tired. Let him be.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. The little guy purred for us right away.
We got home and checked Wallace for fleas. I didn’t find any or any flea dirt. His ears looked good. I opened his mouth. He had a few baby teeth and no visible sores. Another good sign that he might be fairly healthy, other than very thin.
Sam and I discussed putting him with Celeste. I was still very fearful of being the sole caregiver for this kitten after just losing Fio, so we decided to try. We brought Wally to Celeste. He was crying. She saw him, sniffed then backed off, growling. I tried to pet her and pet Wally but she was far too angry to give it a chance. Even if with a scent swap she accepted him, I’d have to stay up all night out of fear she could turn on him and kill him. We decided to not risk it, but instead pull an all-nighter to make sure he was fed when he needed it.
One of our Facebook friends shared a link with me to Kitten-Rescue (thank you JodiAnn!). This web site is not fancy but wow they have great, simply prepared info on kitten care. I’d read other books about it and frankly they fell very short. This one gave me the info that I couldn’t find elsewhere-a clear cut amount of formula to give the kitten and WHEN. It’s 8cc per ounce of kitten. Since we could only guess at Wally’s age, it looked like some time around every 4 to 5 hours we should feed him. Void him first, then feed, then wait 15 minutes then void again, then a warm place to sleep.
Thanks to one of our donors we had a big case of evaporated goat milk. Another donor sent us special nipples for the baby bottle and our friend Joanne McGonagle sent us a SnuggleKittie,™ a plush cat toy that comes with a battery operated heart beat. I’d had it on hand for months and now I could put it to use.
Sam held Wallace while I tried to bottle feed him. It just didn’t work well at all. I used the syringe and that was a bit messy but it got the job done. I gave him 7cc of milk and he seemed full. He was so thin I didn’t want to push it. I’d give him a few hours before feeding him more, but for now it was time to pee and get some sleep.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. I honestly believe that without his SnuggleKittie™ Wallace never would have had any sort of comfortable time sleeping. He got as close as he could to the artificial heartbeat and fell fast asleep.
After we got Wallace cleaned up we put him back into the small cat carrier with his new plush buddy. I slipped a heated pad under the blanket in the carrier, but placed it so only half the space was warm in case he wanted to get off it. He didn’t want to have anything to do with it. He wanted OUT of the carrier and weakly stood up, crying with all his might. Sometimes he only opened his mouth, but no sound came out. I found it unnerving. Maybe he was getting weaker? I hoped to God I hadn’t messed it up and that he was too cold to be fed and was going to die.
Mabel ran over, jumped on the garbage can next to the counter where we had placed the cat carrier. She pawed at the cat carrier door, wanting to get at Wallace. Her mothering instincts were in high gear. Wallace saw her and tried to get at her, too. I so wanted to let her soothe little Wallace, but I had also just discovered that Mabel has ear mites so I couldn’t risk it-also if Wallace was sick, then Mabel would get sick or vice versa and all our other cats could get sick, too. I felt terrible so Sam and I took turns holding little Wallace and soothing him the best we could.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Feeding time was a bit messier than I imagined, but together Sam and I got the job done.
It was almost 10pm. Sam and I talked about what we’d do for the rest of the night. We worked out a plan then grabbed a quick bite to eat. I kept checking on Wallace. I had to make sure he was breathing-he was.
I slept fitfully between feedings and had bad dreams about Sam’s clients chasing us down and forcing us to hide in the bathroom to get away from them. I was holding Wally in my dream and we were hiding in the shower stall. When would these people leave us alone? In truth, Sam has been so busy with work it was a small miracle that he was willing to help with Wally. I hated to ask for more but between my back problems and this kitten in crisis I had no options.
Chapter 3 is next…where we find out how Wallace fared after his first night and what lies ahead for our latest foster kitten.
I’ve come to the understanding that doing cat rescue is more often based on gut instinct than rational thought. Is one better than the other; one more appropriate to doing rescue? I suppose being rational would leave less to chance, but I also think that something gets lost in being so very careful. Mistakes are made, but lessons follow. Perhaps that’s how I make sense of this next story about a fearless little kitten whose accidental separation from his mother may have also been his saving grace.
My back has been killing me over the past week. So much so that the pain flares up to the point where I have to catch my breath and to sit down after standing for a short time. I blame it on no exercise, sitting here at the computer for hours without getting up, and having too small of a bed with too many cats vying for the same small space. Waking up with pretzeled limbs is okay some days, but after chronic repetition, my body had to revolt.
After lots of ice, heat, ice came some small relief. I had a bad health scare two weeks ago, heading to Urgent Care, certain I was having a heart attack. Fortunately, it was a confluence of issues, one being a possible ulcer from taking too much naproxen to counteract constant headaches-again from sitting down at the computer, eye strain, poor position at the keys. The other was from lifting too many heavy objects (aka taking cats to the vet) which pulled on the joints on either side of my sternum. The resulting double-whammy caused severe chest pain.
Something had to give.
I made big sweeping changes. I quit gluten and sugar. I don’t sit at the keyboard for long periods of time. I had to stop pain killers, for now, to let my gut heal. When my back started to go out, I decided to treat it with ice and heat, no meds…some rest…go easy…hope for the best.
With all that I did start to feel quite a bit better, other than missing having cake or a big fat croissant.
My back was improving. I figured another day or two and I’d be okay. That’s when the phone rang. It was after 6pm and usually I don’t pick up calls on the Kitten Associates line that late in the day. I need to have time for myself and I have to make boundaries, but I did look at the Google Voice transcript of the call. Even though the transcription leaves a lot to be desired (e.g.,“police station” is transcribed to “please state one”), I did see three words that caught my eye: Kitten and Fire Department.
There were two messages one right after the other. I listened to them both. One was from an associate who does wildlife rehabilitation. She told me that I’d be getting a call from the local 24/7 Vet hospital about a kitten that had been trapped in a wall and needed help.
I’ve had a problem with this Vet hospital for a long time. They’ve taken advantage of us before, having people call us when they can’t afford care, putting the burden of the life or death of that animal on whether or not we can pay the bill. I’ve had words with them about this. We’re a small rescue. We paid $1200.00 for one cat that did not even belong to us AND they called us at 10 PM the night of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting to put that life or death burden on us! What would we say-especially on THAT night? It wiped us out.
Here they are calling yet again, but this time for a tiny kitten they easily could have helped. At least they could have shown the Firemen how to feed and void the kitten. What would that have cost? The Fireman didn’t have to save the kitten. They did what they felt was the right thing to do. They pitched in. They didn’t charge anyone for their efforts. Why couldn’t this Vet give this kitten some support? No. They sent it away. Now it was on my rescue, with few resources, to take care of this fragile creature. Who know how many hours had passed since the kitten had been found? When did it eat last? Little ones need to be fed every few hours or even more often if they are neonatal. Every second wasted put the kitten at higher risk of dying.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Star looks on as her mom, Celeste feeds the rest of the family. Would Celeste accept a fifth kitten?
Did I really want to try bottle-feeding again so close to just losing and failing another? What if this one died, too? Could I stand the heartbreak; the shame of failure?
I called Lieutenant Katherine and spoke to her about the kitten. My heart was racing. What was I getting myself into? Time was of the essence. I couldn’t back out. My instincts told me to hurry along and not worry about the consequences.
Lt. K. told me the shift before hers had been on a call to a property where there were people living illegally. They reported hearing cries coming out of the inside of a wall. Since calling for help also meant they would be kicked out of their illegal squat, they weren’t particularly happy about calling the Fire Department. I’m not sure why they called. They could have opened up the wall on their own, but then what would they do? They might not have realized it was a tiny kitten crying. Perhaps they thought it was something wilder?
What I know is that the mother and siblings were nowhere to be seen. The firemen looked for them but were told she had probably left the crawl space she’d been hiding the kittens. One kitten was left behind-the one that was in the wall. He was very thin and crying for his mother. They discussed leaving him there to be found by his mother, but they felt the people living at the location could possibly harm the kitten. It was decided to remove the kitten and find him some help. They had no idea what to do for the kitten, other than keep it warm. They weren’t sure they should give it cow’s milk, which was all they had, so they opted not to give him anything.
I asked Lt. K. to tell me how big the kitten was. Was it’s umbilical cord still attached? From what I was told, that’s what I expected. Her reply surprised me. She said, no, that he was walking a little bit, that his eyes were open, but were blue. I asked if his ears were straight up and down and she replied no. From what she told me I figured we had a 2 to 3 week old kitten. Okay. I can do this. Bottle-feeding an older kitten isn’t so tough. I thought I could manage his care.
Chapter 2 is up next, where we finally meet the little kitten and try not to drool on the sexy firefighters.