It’s never easy to care for a cat when they fall ill. Regardless of your resources or skills, managing your own heart is probably the toughest part of seeing your dear companion weaken and eventually die. Perhaps it’s a blessing that cats live the moment. They don’t ponder the “what ifs” about their life or fret over the bad choices they’ve made. If they’re breathing and on the right side of the grass, it’s all good.
Sadly, we often know what lies ahead and that’s why it’s so difficult on us. It’s why I’ve found myself crying when I’m out running errands and I have a few moments to myself. A mournful song plays on the stereo and I think about what is yet to come for a very special cat named Big Daddy and my heart breaks.
©2014 Warren Royal. Our first glimpse of Big Daddy.
I’ve followed Big Daddy’s journey from just after the moment his caretaker and BFF, Warren trapped him, to the long phone calls over the past few days discussing what should be done next for him—relieve his suffering from aggressive nasal cancer or find a way to fight the battle anew.
What began as a near-death scare a few months ago, going temporarily blind and having a lung collapse, was only the beginning of what has been one heartbreak after another for this soulful looking creature. For a young cat like Big Daddy, hearing the word “cancer” was a devastating blow even though Big D has plugged along as best he could whatever came his way. He’s just “that kind” of cat.
Last week's CT Scan. The dark area between Big Daddy's eyes is clear sinus and the gray area that is similar to the black is the mass located.
But Big Daddy didn’t know this. He couldn’t breathe very easily and his sense of smell was so weak he lost his taste for his favorite food. He still played, not as joyfully, but he didn’t let the mass completely stop his love for life. Warren knew that if something wasn’t done, Big Daddy’s time was almost up.
©2014 Warren Royal. Warren & Big Daddy.
Warren and I had a long talk about giving him radiation. The truth is it may only be palliative. It’s not a cure. Big Daddy has terminal cancer. The question we don’t know the answer to is when he will die and how long we can put it off and keep him happy and comfortable in the meantime.
We reached out to professionals. Warren spoke with a radiologist who said that nasal cancer responds very well to radiation and, “knock wood” so far she’s never seen it NOT reduce the size of the mass. Dr. Gerald Post, our oncologist Vet who worked with Fred, also weighed in and agreed that Big Daddy’s treatment should be radiation along with chemo. The chemo would stop the spread of the cancer to his GI tract and the radiation would reduce the mass. It would mean 5 days in a row of radiation for Big Daddy and some discomfort, but the hope would be in a few weeks time, that Big Daddy would no longer be struggling to breathe and his vision would remain intact.
Warren’s only concern is quality of life for Big Daddy. He does not want him to suffer. Warren gave up on going to important business trips to stay home and make sure Big Daddy got to his Vet appointments and so he could continue to provide care. For a professed former dog lover, Warren’s tune has certainly changed. I have rarely ever seen anyone so dedicated to providing the right care, whatever that may mean, for a cat.
©2014 Warren Royal. Taking a break to catch his breath.
We’ve “gone to the well” a few times very recently, asking for donations to help Big Daddy keep going. No one wants to ask for help but the truth is, Vet care is expensive, especially when you’re dealing with cancer.
Warren’s company, Royal Bobbles, produces custom bobbleheads. While he’s been busy researching and caring for Big Daddy, he and his team have been creating a Big Daddy bobblehead. The final design has just been approved and the exciting news is that EVERYONE who donates $50.00 (either as a sole donation OR if you’ve donated a few dollars in our last fundraiser and donate again to reach that $50.00 mark) will get a Big Daddy bobblehead of their own. It’s a special Thank You gift Warren wants as many folks as possible to have. They will start shipping in 90 days.
©2014 Warren Royal. Some special one-on-one time.
Our starting point for the matching funds challenge will be when the YouCaring fundraiser reaches $500.00 total.Thank you SO MUCH, Chris! You’re part of the team making a big difference in Big Daddy’s life.
You can donate via Big Daddy’s fundraiser below OR you can also call in a credit card to Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners at 404-459-0903 OR mail a check to them at: 455 Abernathy Road NE, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. MAKE SURE you put “For Big Daddy/KittenAssociates” on the note section of the check so they know to add your donation to the account.
Because we know what Big Daddy faces we choose to do something about it. Although the day to day struggle to not lose faith remains a big challenge, I’m proud to say that Warren will slay dragons for Big D. That much is clear. What else is clear is that Big Daddy is a Hell of a lucky cat, even with the darkest days yet to come. He could have been lost to us so long ago…alone…dead…behind that Home Depot where Warren first discovered him. Because of that I try to take some comfort in the joy that we all get to know a truly special cat through Warren’s photos and updates, instead.
Let’s try to be like Big Daddy. In this moment, everything is all right. That's what matters.
Wallace has been in foster care for the past few weeks and from all the reports I got it sounded like he was doing well. The next step in his journey were to put him with Celeste and her kittens because as an orphan, Wallace hasn't learned his kitty manners yet and we don't want him to be adversely effected by only being around humans and his Great Dane friend, Nina.
At least that was the plan...
I brought Celeste's four kittens to the Vet for their first vaccination. After they had their exam they would meet Wallace for the first time. If I could mingle the smell of the kittens with Wallace's perhaps Celeste would be more inclined to accept him as one of her own. She wasn't at the Vet so this was a good time for me to be sneaky.
Except there was a problem...
Christine's young adult daughter brought Wallace into the exam room. I took one look at him and knew something was off. She reported that Wallace was being "violent" and that he really needed some help. As she spoke I could see him writhing in her hands, nipping at her fingers. She handed him to me and I realized his belly was enormous. I could feel the anxiety building in my chest. What the heck was I going to DO with this kitten? Did he have FIP? Violent? Last I saw Wallace he was purring, affectionate and now he was thrashing around in my hands. I needed to talk to the Vet about this.
We went over Wallace's condition. His fur was thin. Near the back of his ears he barely has any fur. I imagined Nina over grooming him and him suffering at the end of her big tongue. Was he held captive? Did she groom him too much? Why did he feel so DIRTY? What little coat he had was coarse. I started to worry that maybe he was really sick or had a skin disease at least.
©2014 Robin AF Olson. First look after returning from his foster home.
I knew I couldn't risk putting him with Celeste's kittens, but now what would I do with him? Where would I put him? I had no more spaces for foster kittens left.
My heart sank. This is a critical time for Wallace. If we don't get him to be socialized he won't be adoptable. I decided to put him in our master bathroom. It's a small space but it was all I had left. I put a cat tree and some bedding in the room and Wallace already had his "mobile bachelor pad" (cat carrier with his blanket and stuffed bear friend). I let Wallace out of his carrier so I could observe him and he came at me swiping and hissing. He seemed more furious than scared. I tried to pick him up but he struggled and made odd sounds. I put him down. He was so weak he could barely stand. When he did walk, his belly was so big he wobbled...and this is an eight week old kitten. He should have full use of his limbs by now.
I'm caring for two rooms of kittens, overseeing care of six sick cats in Georgia and now Wallace needs socialization. I'm also trying to work to make a living as a graphic designer, promote Kitten Associates so we can keep the doors open and keep writing my blog (and beg for Petties votes!). I was already staying up until 3AM just to make sure I was spending enough time with the kittens after trying to get some work done during the day. There never seems to be enough space to get anything done with calls, emails and texts always coming in. How the Hell was I going to get Wallace into a good place mentally and what if he had Feline Leukemia or FIV?
I spent hours with him. First coaxing him to come to me with chicken baby food. He came right over and ate while he sat on my lap. We had play time until he was so tired he wanted to nap. Within a day he was not aggressive with me, but he definitely needed help understanding that hands were not for biting. He also began to relax around me and even ran out of his little bachelor pad to greet me on the second morning. There I saw the little guy I'd remembered. There was that little sweetness in him that mixed with how odd he looks adds up to a kitten with the power to melt the coldest heart.
Later that morning we were off to another Vet. This time we visited Dr Mary. I decided if Wallace would test negative for FIV and FeLV, then he could be with Mia, instead of Celeste. Her kittens are much bigger but they have been vetted already so they are at less risk of getting sick or making Wallace sick. I would crate Wallace if I wasn't in the room due to his small size (I want him to be safe from harm) and let him out to be with the kittens for as long as I could every day. Hopefully the interactions would help him learn about not biting and not attacking but it would take some time.
©2014 Robin AF Olson. With Dr. Mary.
It was Friday morning and we were the only clients. Everyone in the office had to come see Wallace, coo over him, tell him they loved him and basically fuss over him. He was hilarious. He'd be sweet, then reach out and slap someone in the face or nip but not bite their hands. They kissed his big belly and talked baby talk to him, while he looked at them with those big owl eyes. We let him run around the exam room. I'd brought a toy with me so he was chasing after it. Dr. Mary did her exam while she chatted away, telling me that basically he was fine just the way he was, though she couldn't sort out what was going on with his strange striped coat. She was mesmerized by him as she tried to listen to his heart. He wriggled around so the intrepid Vet Tech (and friend of mine) Super-Deb helped keep him still so they could finish up. Deb had no problem holding him up by his front legs and talking to him as though he could understand her words. She'd quickly stretch him out so his belly was exposed, then kiss his belly over and over until he wanted to be put down.
©2014 Robin AF Olson.
©2014 Super Deb. In da bachelor pad.
Super-Deb asked me if I like her to foster Wallace for a few days-just over the weekend. He could meet her maine coon kitties and her beloved doggie, Jayne. They'd get his kitten bootcamp started and I could pick him up on Monday. If it had been anyone else I would have said no, but with Deb, I knew he would be in good hands AND it gave me a little time to get his crate set up for when he returns.
The other thing I realized is that it wasn't the foster mom's fault that Wallace was so fractious. He really needs to be with other cats, BUT I also do wonder if they were using their hands as a toy. That's a big no-no especially with kittens who can't understand if a hand is a toy or a hand is for petting. When Wallace grows up we don't want him to be confused about that because a ten pound cat going after your fingers is not my idea of a good time.
I've had a few updates about Wallace already. It seems he's having a blast at Super-Deb's house but hasn't had much interaction with Deb's pets yet. Last night he tucked himself in around 10pm when he got into his bachelor pad to go to sleep for the night. Deb was a bit miffed since she wanted him to hang out with her, but Wallace has to recharge his cuteness so he can continue to melt hearts wherever he goes.
It's Monday now and I was supposed to pick up Wallace, except for the fact that Super-Deb has a mad crush on him and asked to keep him until I get back from a quick out-of-town trip I'm going on for two days. I just hope I can get him back when I return.
And now it's time to enjoy this very special video featuring Wallace!
©2014 Robin AF Olson.
In truth, I felt like the ugly girl who didn’t get invited to the Prom. I understand that I won’t always win things I enter, but I knew in my heart I’d really tried to get enough votes. I’d also been feeling sorry for myself that I wasn’t reaching a big enough audience for all the hard work I put into my blog posts. Many of my friends have well over 50,000 Facebook fans so how could I compete with that? I have just over 12,000 on Facebook. My reach is just too small.
I realized that I shouldn't compare my work to what anyone else does. Not that I’m so special or awesome, but because if I focus on what others are doing, then it takes away from what I’m doing. I may perceive they have greater success than I do based on their fan base, but that’s their path, not mine and I want to be happy for my friend's success, not be a petty (pardon the pun) whiner. Although I may not have superstar status, I truly believe I have built something a lot better. I get a lot of LOVE from all of you and that is not only VERY HUMBLING, but it’s kept me going these 8 years I’ve been blogging. There have been many dark days and if I didn't have your friendship, I would be lost.
I looked over the finalist list and something struck me. It didn’t look “right.” I know the players and many of their names were absent. Some of the nominees puzzled me. As the next few days passed, I heard from more and more people that some folks got nominations but they NEVER ASKED FOR VOTES. Some got nominated for things they didn’t ASK to be nominated for. A blog post that was two years old, not promoted, won over another blog post from the same blogger that WAS promoted. Something wasn’t right.
I respectfully penned a letter to the folks at Dogtime and asked if something was possibly wrong. The reply shocked me. They indicated they were looking into the voting and would let me know what they found out. They could have said everything was fine as is but they didn’t. I respected them for that.
My partner, Sam told me he’d been able to vote twice in one day (which you should not be able to do). Sam does a lot of coding and he told me that something as minor as a comma in the wrong place in the code could completely destroy how a program functions. I asked him what he would have done if it happened to his website. He said it would be a tough situation to handle and if they didn’t keep good records there might never be a solution.
A few nights ago emails went out to the finalists indicating a complete list of finalists would be announced that night. Everyone held their breath waiting for the news. Would they lose their nomination or get more? In an unheard of move, supposedly due to a computer error, many of the finalists either lost their nomination or were moved to other categories. In some cases, a shocking surprise…
What made me fall over in my chair was that we got a SECOND nomination.
But then there was the realization that if we had gotten a finalist slot, then someone else lost theirs. I don’t have a record of the first list of finalists, but I know there are many people out there who are very upset. Some of them didn’t ask for votes once, let alone daily, as I did, yet they are still angry.
I get it. It’s humiliating to broadcast you're a finalist for an award, only to have it stripped away later. I would never want to win something by causing anyone else to suffer so this win is a double-edged sword. My rescue NEEDS the donations badly. We have more cats in our program than we’ve ever had before. Earning an award also helps fuel ME to keep writing stories that inspire and entertain. I don’t get a salary for what I do. I make a few dollars once in a blue moon doing a review, but geez, my car is 13 years old and I live month to month most of the time. This award means a lot to me personally.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Wallace is one of 26 reasons why I really hope we can WIN the Petties!
Karen Nichols summed it up best. I was standing behind her at an awards show a few years ago. She’d just won two awards and I had only reached finalist status. I teased her about winning two awards, acting petulant for not winning and she turned to me and laughed and said, “Hey, it’s an award for CAT BLOGS!”
However it shakes out there will be winners and losers. Does Dogtime need to be hung out to dry? No. They could have made an effort to letting the former finalists down more gently from what I heard and by the way, I NEVER WAS NOTIFIED THAT I WAS A FINALIST. My friends told me.
For someone who was initially robbed of their nomination I'm relieved that I was given a fair chance because of the re-count. Would it be fair that I don’t get the chance I worked for because the others, who didn’t do anything still deserve that slot? It's tough to answer because of all the hurt feelings on both sides.
I don’t have the perfect solution for this kerfuffle, but I'm very grateful to ALL of YOU for voting every day and for believing in what I do…because…
FUNNIEST BLOG OR BLOGGER: Texts From Mittens
BEST CAT BLOG: THE TINIEST TIGER
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THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
How many of you have had cats “find” you? You’re minding your own business and a skinny, sad little waif shows up at your patio door looking for something to eat or you’re doing yard work and hear kittens crying. A cat has given birth under your shed.
There are countless ways you might find a cat or vice versa, but what do you do next? You’ve got to help them!
First things First. Is the cat Friendly or Feral?
Do you think the cat is a lost house-cat or a wild child? Sometimes it’s tough to tell the difference. In this insightful article, Alley Cat Allies shares some great tips on how to make the determination The short answer is, if they come over to you and want to be petted, you know it’s a friendly stray. In a future post we’ll talk about what to do if the cat is feral. For now we’ll focus on friendly cats.
A few weeks ago Sam spotted an unfamiliar cat outside on our deck so we began the process of finding out if he needed our help.
First, if the cat is NOT BADLY INJURED OR SERIOUSLY ILL* you MUST find out if this is someone else’s cat. It doesn’t matter if the cat appears to be in poor condition, very thin, dirty or not seriously injured. It may have lost its home a long time ago and it may still have a family looking for it. Call your local animal control and report a FOUND cat. Do not simply call them and ask them to take the cat away. Many municipalities do not take found cats and if they do they might euthanize the animal. What they might be able to do is scan the found cat for a microchip. Ask if they can help you with that. If they can’t do the scan, most vets can at least do that. If you can handle the cat and get it to a vet, finding that it has a chip may allow you to reunite it with its family.
Poor Boots is lost in New Milford, CT.
Also, put flyers around your neighborhood and post photos and information on social media. In some states there are state-specific lost and found web sites for pets. Take a moment to search for those, too. You might be surprised at what you find. Here's a group dedicated to finding lost pets in northwestern CT.
Keep your eyes peeled for signs in your town from folks looking for their lost cat. It might be the one you found!
If you can’t find their family, as you’re reaching out to get help from a rescue or shelter, be prepared to at least provide fresh food and water for the cat. Shelter is helpful especially if it’s very cold or hot where you live. A plastic storage bin turned on its side in a safe location without the lid works fine to keep the cat out of the elements. Add bedding but make sure to bag it and sanitize wash it after you’re done using it.
This is a special area where we feed our feral kitty, Bronte. A few weeks ago we noticed she had a new friend with her.
Next, go on petfinder.com and do a search for shelters and rescues in your area. Call and email each one that handles cats.
• Describe the cat as best you can. Is it a specific breed? Is it Long or short haired? What Color is it? Boy or girl or you can’t tell. Is it injured or pregnant? If it’s a kitten or kittens describe if their eyes are open yet, if they are blue, if their ears are perky or flat, if they can walk on their own or just wobble. The more you can tell the rescue, the better they will know what they’re dealing with and be able to figure out if they can help that animal.
Less than a day after posting this photo on Facebook a woman contacted me and said it might be the missing kitty, Boots. I contacted his family and they still need better images as they are not sure this is their boy, so I'm working on that right now. If it's not Boots, then this kitty is headed to our vet.
•Provide CLEAR photos of the cat’s face and body. Try to estimate age. Older cats lose muscle mass and have noticeable tooth wear and tear.
• Be willing to foster the found cat in your home for a short period of time. The space can be a spare room or bathroom, but do not let the new cat mix with your existing pets until that cat is completely vetted and treat the cat for fleas before you bring it inside unless they are less than 8 week old kittens. They'll need a bath if that's the case.
• If you can afford it, offer to provide whatever you can to make it easier on the rescue. Rescues often survive from day to day. They get calls all the time from people who need help but only want to dump a problem on them without being part of the rescue. THE MORE YOU CAN DO TO HELP MAKE IT EASY FOR A RESUCE TO SAY YES, DO IT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP YOU GET THE CAT A PLACEMENT.
• Offer a donation towards the care of the cat and you can get the cat its initial vetting. Have it tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, have it de-wormed and de-flea’d and give him or her a Rabies vaccination. If the cat is intact, you can take it to a low cost clinic. You can find them listed by using the Petsmart & ASPCA locator below: The clinic can do the testing and vaccinations while the cat is being fixed usually all for under $100.00.
If you don’t have a low cost clinic in your area, talk to your own vet or call a local vet. Some will give a “good Samaritan” discount for services. Providing vet care for the cat will make most rescues take notice, because it's rarely ever done. You just saved them not only money, but time.
• Offer to transport the cat to their foster home or facility.
Let’s save some lives!
Keep this post handy because some day you just might need it!
*IF THE CAT IS SERIOUSLY ILL OR INJURED TAKE IT TO A VET RIGHT AWAY. THEY OFTEN KNOW LOCAL RESCUES WHO CAN ASSIST YOU WITH PROVIDING CARE IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO. In some towns they DO ALLOW ANIMAL CONTROL TO HELP WITH INJURED CATS, too. It's worth a call to find out.
This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about DIY month, but Covered in Cat Hair only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
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.