Rescuing cats doesn’t only mean taking a cat off the street or out of a kill-shelter and giving it a home until you can find a forever home for it. There’s a great deal of behind-the-scenes networking going on, too, that doesn’t often get reported.
For a rescue like mine, that’s held together by a few very precious volunteers and even fewer foster homes, we can’t take on many cats because we don’t want to get into an overcrowded, unhealthy situation. We can’t expand until we get more foster homes so for now, we tap out at about 20 cats or less.
Add to that…adoptions are at an all time low. We’ve had Barney since he was BORN and he just turned a YEAR OLD. Other rescues, loaded up, report one or two adoptions every few weeks, when in past years they were always ready to take on more cats because enough were finding homes. When you do the math, between the rise in abandoned cats or owners who get evicted, the natural rise of the unspayed/neutered cat population and the economy and you have a disaster in the making that has ended up with the cats paying the price with their lives.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. His owner died. Family members promised they would come back for him, but they never did. Leaving him depressed and alone, wondering what he did wrong.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. “Can't Keep.” Why?
Though I can’t speak for every rescuer, I’d bet we’re all very exhausted, particularly this year. Our spirits are broken, too. We used to be able to call an associate at another rescue and beg a favor. After a few calls we’d usually be able to find someone to say they could help and take on a cat we couldn’t help. We’d offer bribes-we’d pay for vetting or we’d drive the cat to their door. We’d make jokes or promise to use our social networking chops to let everyone know that this one cat is at a great rescue to help that rescue get donations…whatever it took.
Today we can make the calls, but often they go unanswered or if they are answered we’re told; “I’m so sorry, but we just can’t take another…did you try such and such rescue?” We all strive to help each other out, but we’re just lost about how we can keep doing this if people don’t start adopting cats again.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How can this cat take the stress of living in this cage? When I approached him, he came over and wanted me to pet his head. Leaving him behind broke my heart.
I made my usual calls asking for help and surprisingly enough a group here in town said they could take on a few kittens if I could go get them. I was told to take five, but then I was faced with having to choose which lives to save.
I’ve done a lot of rescues from Georgia, but I’ve never been to the state. I’ve never gone to animal control and chosen a cat to rescue. I’ve used photos as a guide, but there were plenty of times I didn’t even have that much to go on. This was the first time I would go into a place where I knew if I didn’t help, maybe no one would. As I drove to Bridgeport my task weighed heavily on my heart, but I was also excited to be part of something good happening to these needy animals.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Those are adult cats in those dark cages. They barely can stand. Imagine what it would do to their psychological state after being in there for a long period of time?
I met with Melissa, who runs animal control along with her associate Jimmy. I loved Melissa right away. She was smart, cute with dark curly hair and funky glasses. She was expecting my arrival since I’d promised her help and was finally able to make good on my words. She walked me over to a room that was having some construction done on it and told me to pardon the mess, but mess or no, I was immediately taken aback by what I saw.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I desperately wanted to take these guys, too.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Do I chose this litter? YES!
Then there were the kittens-either all black or black and white. They were together as a litter, each clinging to the other, wide-eyed, looking at me, trying to decide if I was going to harm them or help. There were eleven kittens and I could only take five. One of the kittens, a sole longhaired black male, was sick, with green discharge from his eyes and his nose was runny. I asked to look at him and I checked his mouth for sores, the telltale sign of Calicivirus-which thankfully he did not have.
I had to consider what the rescue would want, not me. They would want the youngest, friendliest kittens. I went back and forth, adding up which combinations I could take. I started off with the sick kitten, but realized he could affect the others so he had to go back into his cage…and trust me on this…it was not a good feeling. I had to push through my emotions and make a choice.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The little sick kitten I thought I had to leave behind (who is now at a Vet getting the care he needs)
I called one of my friends who works with the rescue taking the cats and asked if I could, at least, take a sixth kitten since it would have been left behind when it was part of a litter. She said YES! I wanted to take three older long-haired black and white kittens, but the voice in my head said, no, take the younger ones. I felt the ones I left behind would easily be adopted as they were very pretty and friendly. I had to hope for the best.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. This kitten was so friendly I couldn't believe he came out of such a high-stress environment.
We packed up the kittens. In the end I chose two litters: one of two kittens and one of four. I borrowed a second cat carrier so they wouldn’t be together. I looked at the sick kitten and he reached out a paw, wanting to get out of the cage. I asked Melissa to promise to tell me how he was doing and when he got out, but I felt terrible leaving him behind.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I drove the kittens to our new animal control where they would be quarantined for the day until the rescue could come pick them up.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
While I was at animal control, I mentioned the sick kitten and some of the others. I knew I did what I could, but the image of that little guy stuck with me as I drove home.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. These kittens turned out to be cheerful, friendly and playful once they had a chance to get used to their new temporary home.
A few hours later, I got a call. Our dear animal control officer asked me why I didn’t take the sick kitten, too. I told her I had no place for him to go and she told me to go get him and that she would care for him herself and get him placed! I called Melissa and told her I had to return her cat carrier and that I’d do it the next morning. She jokingly asked if I’d like to fill it back up with more cats and I replied, yes and that I was coming back for the sick kitten.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Twenty-four hours later, this little kitten is no longer depressed and fearful, but happy with a full tummy.
I had to wait to get my sick kitten and I got lost trying to find the room he was in. I walked past empty cages, then would see just one cat by itself. Confused I couldn't figure out what was going on, until one of the caretakers came up to me. I asked him about the empty cages. His eyes teared up and he said to me that in the nine years he'd worked at BPT Animal Control, this was the BEST DAY they'd ever had and that most of the cats were GONE. Gone? As in dead? He replied, no…gone as in rescued or adopted.
If only this story was being repeated across this country at every animal control and shelter…what a wonderful world it would be. Yet, I'm grateful I got to witness the breathtakingly beautiful power of what can happen when people come together to affect great change.
75 cats got to see the sunshine again, breathe fresh air, eat good food and be loved. It doesn't get any better than this.
The kittens are eight weeks old. Some of them hit the two pound mark indicating the time has come to get them ready to be adopted. They're big enough to be spayed/neutered and begin getting their appropriate vaccinations. I'll put photos and a description of each one on Petfinder and in the local paper, The Newtown Bee. I'm giving myself an excuse to wait until after 8/6 to do this because on that date my rescue, Kitten Associates is taking part in a National Fundraiser called BarkAid and my brain is already over-taxed. Best not add the stress of getting the kittens ready to go…also it means I just came up with a lame excuse to keep them here a bit longer.
In honor of my beloveds-a love letter to them, which I hope will help you understand why fostering kittens is one of the best jobs anyone could ever have and why I hope everyone will join me in helping save lives by offering to foster kittens in your home town.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh Joey.
I love that you are everything in a big cat's body, but in a tiny, precious package. From your delicate, barely visible whiskers to your niblet-sized toes, all in perfect proportion to what you will be one day become.
I love to witness the blossoming of your shape from a formless furry blob into a refined feline. From watching your ear buds open to hear the first sounds or the shape of your tail change from a stubby triangle to a magical rudder. I never tire seeing your shaky, unsure steps become sure-footed and completely carefree. Every aspect of your day is about exploration, challenges, achievement and endless joy. Because you don't have to worry about where your next meal will come from or fear predators nearby, your life can be what I wish my life was—one that celebrates the wonder of simply being who you are without fear.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil' Gracey ponders her paw.
I love that you reflect back to me the love I give to you. After a time our love becomes a purring resonance without a source. It travels back and forth between us without effort. It just is, pure and complete.
You trust me to care for you as you need to be cared for, with respect to your needs and never-waving concern for your well being. I'm not afraid of the responsibility but I am scared, deep-down, that I will miss something and you will suffer because I didn't notice the signs or symptoms. My goal is to never cause you to suffer even if I can't prevent my own suffering.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey gets ready to run for it.
I love your firsts—your first purr, the first time you look into my eyes and recognize me as a friend, the first time you react to my voice by running over to be near me. I love it when you reach up to me, asking to be held. It tells me I did the right thing for you because if you can love me, then you will love your new family, too, one day.
I love giving you challenges, but in measured amounts. I don't push you too far, just a little bit every day, so every day you can be more confident in the world whose boundaries grow further and further away from our little foster room nest. I know I can't contain you, so I don't try. You must grow beyond this little space to claim a new one for your self some day.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie turns to jelly.
I love to watch you play. I'm tempted to believe that watching you could cure cancer as you hop backwards with your back arched, practicing your menacing moves. It just comes off as the scatter-brained antics of a clown. I can't stop smiling as you race past me to jump onto your sibling, turning into a furry tumbleweed. Even if I don't know how I will pay my mortgage, you give me space to remember to smile; that life goes on and is still beautiful even in the darkest moments.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Look ma, one paw!
Although I don't love when the time comes to say goodbye, I have to love knowing that you're here because I opened up my home to you. You didn't have to lose your life before it had a chance to begin. You didn't have to live a shortened life outside, racing from one fearful moment to the next.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mad crush on Mel…
In some ways, you will never leave me. You are forever a kitten and forever my love.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson…and Petey.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Attacking the toe monster.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley plays the harmonica..I mean toy.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. At eight weeks Joey's eyes are starting to change color from baby blue.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Of all the kittens, Stanley LOVES to play more than the others.
Time is almost up! Please don't forget to VOTE so we can win a $1000 donation for our kittens (and so I can keep fostering!)!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey is as sweet as his photo suggests. He's got the most tender heart of the litter and he so reminds me of Fred who we lost on May 9th.
The miserable heat wave has vanished, replaced with blessedly cool and drier air. The windows are open for the first time in weeks. It feels more like autumn than the middle of July. I’m grateful for the respite, even if it will just last until morning.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The gang at 7 weeks: Confetti Joe, Yukon Stan, Lil' Gracey, Precious Pete & Jellybean Mel (front).
Minnie’s kittens continue to delight me. Even without their mother’s careful tutelage, they surprise me by being willing to accept me as their surrogate—at least in as many ways as are appropriate. For a little over two weeks the kittens have been mine alone. Minnie has completely turned over her duties to me, without a look back or regret. She moved on before any of us were ready. Her sudden apparent rejection of all her kittens, first brought on by the pain of her illness, then perhaps due to her hormones, urging her to procreate again, was rather shocking. It was as if a switch was flipped and with it her motherhood came to a premature end. The kittens and I were lost for those first few days. Neither of us wanted to give up on her so each day I offered her one kitten. I held the kitten out to her with the door opened to her room. At first she would act out violently, hissing and growling, scaring the poor kitten badly. I’d soothe its fears and put it back with the others. Minnie would go back to her place and lay down, grooming away her anxiety over being presented with an unwelcome guest.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Minnie between vet visits.
I tried each day for a week to get Minnie to accept her kittens again. Minnie didn’t hiss as much, but reacted by retreating further into her room. The kitten would cry to her and she would reply with a tiny almost-chirp. Maybe she was telling the kitten that it’s time to grow up and be on their own and to trust that mama knows best.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey.
What I didn’t expect was how the kittens immediately rallied, focusing their interest on me. When I’d previously entered the room, they would look up, maybe run past me, but now, they run over to me, try to climb up my leg or cry at my feet, hoping to be lifted into my arms for a cuddle. For seven and half week old kittens, they are all very friendly and affectionate. I realize that this will be better for them in the long run. Bonding with a human will serve them well one day when their families come to find them.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Eating raw.
Weaning kittens is always a challenge. They make a horrendous mess by running over their plate and tracking food all over the floor. Their litter pan habits still have a few kinks to be worked out so there’s “that” to be cleaned up as well. The literal dark side of weaning is that the kittens are also getting their digestion working, or not. The result for those tender tummies were piles of mushy brown splats all over the bathroom. At first I blamed it on parasites so I checked a stool sample out and the test came back negative. I still de-wormed the kittens with Strongid, which doesn’t get all the parasites, but it’s gentle enough.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh Stan! Swoon!
That didn’t work so I began adding a probiotic based in dehydrated goat’s milk to their food. The kittens liked it a lot, but it didn’t help, at least for the few days I fed it.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. After a day of raw (inset), canned food moosh-poop.
I kept the kittens clean and I scrubbed the floors a few times a day. I decided to take the kittens off whatever I was feeding and put them on a plain, raw chicken diet that also had proper vitamins and minerals added to it. They attacked it with such vigor that I was taken aback. Within 24 hours their stool showed signs of improvement AND they stopped using the floor for their toilet.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Joey. Straining and crying in the litter pan.
On the second day, I saw less blood, but in a somewhat formed stool. The kittens behinds looked cleaner and the litter pan wasn’t as loaded. I went back to a new de-wormer and started them on that to see if it would help. I knew I might have to use something more powerful if I couldn’t get the blood to stop, but for now the kittens were racing around, gaining weight and having fun. No need to flip out.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My little rock stars.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey with mousey.
While I was trying to sort out what to feed the kittens, Minnie’s health took an odd turn. She went into heat and stopped eating. I haven’t seen a cat in heat since I was 9 and we were told to wait until our kitten was almost a year old before we should spay her. She went into heat and my parents thought it was amusing that she got so very friendly with my dad-especially. What it told me was that now with Minnie on her own, I couldn’t even spay her so she’d have to remain in her room without any cat-companionship for a while longer. Spaying a cat in heat is difficult because the uterus is engorged with blood and can tear easily. Since Minnie had just barely recovered from a terrible infection, I didn't want to put her into any higher risk for her spay.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How many cats are in this photo? Hint: there is MORE than one.
I took Minnie to see Dr. Chris, who thankfully gives us an amazingly generous discount, and he told me that we could end Minnie’s estrous by stimulating her ovaries. I gave Dr. Chris a funny look then said; “You’re not even going to buy her dinner first?”
Then I wondered how this was going to be done. Next I thought…I don’t want to know.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Chris.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan and Mel.
In all the years I’ve done rescue, this is one thing I’ve never had to do. Dr. Chris told me that we had to irritate her, just as a male cat’s barbed penis would and it would end the cycle and we could spay her safely sooner.
Of course, I blurted out that if humans had barbed penises there would be three humans on Earth. He didn’t make a comment and I simply blushed.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mine! Mine! Mine!
We opted to give Minnie her Rabies and FRVCP (distemper combo) vaccinations. I thought she’d be fine, but she had a nasty reaction to the shots. Her right front leg went lame and she didn’t get up for the next 24 hours. Worried, I called two Vets and they said to give her another day. By the second day she was up on her paws, but not eating well. I sat down next to her to give her some reassuring pets when I noticed a big red lesion under her left front leg-nowhere near where her vaccine was given.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie.
Either she was having a nasty allergic reaction or somehow Minnie had gotten the dreaded “RW” (ringworm). Just as I thought Minnie was finally out of the woods, she was back in it again. I raced her over to Dr. Chris and he took a look. He thought it was an Eosinophilic plaque-possibly brought on by the vaccine OR it was “RW.”
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A foreign lesion.
…but he was leaning toward the plaque to which I almost told him I would make out with him I was so happy. Ringworm means lots of fear it will spread to ALL of us..not just the cats but to me and Sam, too. No ringworm means Minnie can be with other cats much sooner and hopefully with some treatment she will feel much better, too. Fortunately for me, I kept my mouth shut and didn’t embarrass myself further. We did a culture of the fur near the lesion and we'll have to wait about 10 days for results.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joe & Gracey.
In the meantime I will keep fumbling along, trying to right this tipping ship and hoping I can prepare myself for the kittens to be ready to go up for adoption soon. I knew I would get attached and now I have to figure out how to still love those babies to pieces without shattering my own heart.
NOTE: there were SO MANY PHOTOS I didn't have room in this post, so the next one will photos-only and please don't forget to VOTE so we can win a $1000 donation for our kittens!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Investigating their very first toy from Auntie Ingrid at The Conscious Cat.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Say “mousey!”.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey's first claw trim.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My first cardboard box.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey sleeping in the box (seen on SqueeTV)
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey and the boys.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley hears a Who.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Pkee-a-Boo!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. All hail Gracey!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. He's lovin' it!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie makes the summit.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. !!!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oops! No kitten was harmed during or after this photo was taken.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The first one to get in and out of the tub-Gracey shows off.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Huh?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Hey!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Assessing the climb.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I think I can!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Hi Stanley!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley makes it to the top of the mountain!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey is camera shy.
I feel like I really understand the phrase, “wrung out,” as I sit here, trying to write about what happened today. My body aches, my head buzzes from an overload of caffeine. I ate stupid junk just to keep myself fueled up with something since I didn't have time to eat until 3pm. I'm not whining, I'm just very very tired.
This morning got off to a terrible start. I walked down stairs, half asleep, I've been staying up far too late then getting up too early. I got to the bottom of the stairs and found a pile of poop. Of course. It was from Nicky. He's been doing this every day for a long while. He drops his "surprise" off in different places, most often the entryway to my office. It's not a big deal, just an irritation, but once I took a few more steps into the kitchen, my heart sank. The cats had urinated into a cardboard cat food tray that was on the floor. It was covered in plastic but the urine seeped under it and RUINED the wooden floor-turning it black. I lifted the try in disgust. As I tipped it onto the garbage can the urine splashed onto my pajamas. When will I learn? The cats like to sit on the tray in this spot, then others pee on it. Then I get mad and clean it up. Stupid me.
I thought that Sam and I had made great strides in working with the cats so they didn't pee all over the house. Yet the tray was nothing compared to the scene around the island in the center of the kitchen. There were puddles of urine all around the base. I've never seen it so bad. I was furious. Great way to start the day.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sorry for the yucky photo..just multiply this by 10..it was all over.
Sam and I cleaned up, but I was in a race to get to Minnie's room so she could get fed. I don't like to let her or the kittens go too long without some food so they're always my first concern. I got their food ready and opened the door to the blue bathroom. What I saw didn't click at first, but when the images slowly made sense, I recoiled in horror.
Everywhere I looked there was vomit. Vomit on the side of the tub, in the tub, near the tub, on the floor, on the bedding, on the cat tree, under the cat tree. It looked like a bomb went off. Some of it was clear or pale colored, some was reddish-food colored. The kittens seemed active and normal, but Minnie was by herself looking a bit forlorn. The day before she'd been a bit quiet, but now she seemed even worse. If she had been the only one vomiting, clearly she was very sick. Much of the vomit was in small puddles. The kittens certainly could have done it but they seemed just fine.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson
It took about 45 minutes to get the room cleaned up. I took Minnie's temp and it was 101.4°F, not a fever but what was making her vomit? I replayed some of the DVR footage from Squee-TV and at 4am I saw her vomiting violently four times. I called Dr Larry's office and made an appointment. They could see us in an hour. I was to bring the kittens, too.
I wasn't certain, but I thought I heard Minnie growling at the kittens. She wouldn't go near them and didn't seem to care about them, either. I showered quickly and got the kittens packed up into a carrier and put Minnie into her own, worried she would be harmed by the kittens. I had pressed on her mammary glands and they felt subtle and warm, not hot and hard. I'm paranoid about her getting mastitis and have been trying to get the kittens weaned fast to prevent Minnie from getting an infection from their claws or teeth. I tried to sort out what it could be, but I had no idea.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson
Dr. Larry examined Minnie. It was clear from his expression that something was wrong. When he said as much I wasn't surprised, but what he said next made me sick to my stomach. He felt that her intestines felt gassy and mushy, as if inflamed. He rattled off a number of tests he wanted to do: X-rays, CBC, repeat her snap test. Minnie's gums were dry and tacky, a sign of dehydration. He wanted to put her on an IV right away so I nodded, hoping we'd be able to raise money for her care. I knew it was going to be expensive, even with our discount.
Then Dr. Larry said it could be FIP. I tried to be strong. I didn't cry, but inside my head I imagined pulling my hair out and screaming, followed by sobbing and curling up in a ball on the floor. I challenged him about it, but he said it's one thing it could be and that it was good that the kittens were 5 1/2 weeks old since they didn't need her any more. I took offense and he quickly offered that he meant that she could be away from them and stay on an IV for the day. “Okay..sure”…that's all I could say back.
Super Deb took Minnie away. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. Dr. Larry looked at the kittens and was quick to say how adorable they were and that whatever was troubling Minnie, was unlikely harming or effecting the kittens. Then he wanted me to take a photo of him with the kittens so he could send it to his daughter. He scooped up 4 of the kittens and smiled as I took the photos. At least, for now, they were safe. I just had to pray they'd start eating for me soon. Mel hasn't eaten cat food yet and the others don't eat much of it.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson
For now it was sit and wait and hope that Minnie would begin to respond to treatment.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson
Later in the day, I got another call. Dr. Larry was worried that Minnie has pancreatitis which is very tough to diagnose. I asked about Minnie's uterus-was it infected? Not even KNOWING about Pyometra! He said, yes, it could be that, too. He didn't bring up FIP and I didn't ask. I asked about doing an emergency spay surgery on her, but he felt she was too sick to risk it.
He asked to run more tests on her urine and a FPL Idexx Test on her pancreas so I said yes, while my mental adding machine went haywire adding more and more figures to the mix. Those tests would take a day to get back, but in the meantime he wanted Minnie to come home (since they don't have overnight hours) with her catheter in place. She would come back in the morning for another day on an IV while we waited on test results.
I just want to save Minnie's life and I feel sure that we need to spay her-which would also allow us to do an exploration of her abdomen and see what the infection is from. It's a careful balance of doing it too soon and not doing it soon enough. We don't want to make the infection worse, but we need to get that uterus out if it's indeed the culprit.
I asked if Minnie could still nurse the kittens after her spay and was surprised to learn that she could. I couldn't imagine her doing that after having her belly laid open, but I'd leave it up to her to choose to do that or not. I loved watching Minnie care for her kittens. She was so loving and watchful and it's heartbreaking to think those days are over so soon.
For now Minnie is alone in the last tiny space I have in the house. The kittens are crammed into one cat bed comforting each other. They won't eat so I will syringe feed them tonight. We had 5 weeks of bliss, Minnie, the kittens and I, and it's tough to see that vanish overnight. I can only hope it won't always be this way.
As for our fundraiser, THANK YOU to everyone who raced to offer us donations. We made our goal and then some in LESS THAN 12 HOURS. Yes, we may STILL need more, but I'm holding off on asking until I have more information. For now, I need to brace myself for what waits for me in the foster room. Will Minnie attack me when I try to medicate her? Will she be stable tonight? Will the kittens start eating? Have they been traumatized after all the weeks of my being so careful with them? I can't say..I just have to hang on and hope for the best.
Thank you for being there with me through this difficult day. I couldn't do this on my own.
The blue bathtub is empty. Once home to our little foster nuggets, it's now devoid of life, still lined with a soft thick blanket, a few motionless toys, and a tiny litter pan with kitten-safe non-clumping litter inside it.
As all kittens do and should do, they have grown quickly, and in their urgent desire to explore a slowly expanding world, the tub could no longer contain their curiosity.
But before that happened, let's take a look back on the last days of the Blue Bathtub.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Minnie's milk bar is still open for lunch.
As the kittens reached 4 weeks of age, the “drunk walk” they did began to become more confident strides. I was glad to see those days pass. Although endearing to see, it also reminded me of Fred's last days of not being able to walk at all. Seeing the kittens sure-steps gave me some relief, too. It meant their muscles and bones were growing stronger and more capable. With each day, another small miracle. Their weight continued to increase as their awareness of the world expanded.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Passed out pile of cuteness.
I placed a few simple toys in the tub with them, but they didn't understand what they were for. They were happy to use each other as a toy or alternatively a pillow when play time was over. They were still focused on mama-Minnie for everything and had no interest in any tempting foods I set out for them.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan washes his face while brother, Joe sleeps.
With Minnie being so painfully thin, my hope is to get the kittens weaned as soon as possible, so she can work on getting her health back. She's a devoted, focused mother who is gentle and friendly, but fierce if threatened. My day-to-day relationship with her is very good and affectionate, but one night I learned Minnie's true colors when out of curiosity, I played a cat meowing sound effect on my iPhone that mimicked Minnie's own cry to her kittens. Minnie heard it an immediately went on alert. She jumped towards the sound, landing on the counter near the bathroom sink. She'd never jumped that high before and quickly began to growl, flicking her tail, anxiously looking for a threat. I played another sound, that of a kitten crying and she really flipped out-racing around the room, frantically searching for the intruder. Her behavior was quite startling.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil Gracey dreams her little kitten dreams.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Shhh..nap in progress.
Minnie's appetite has also been difficult to predict. One day she's ravenous and will eat what I give her, but most often she's picky and reluctant to take a bite. I've used all my tricks, warming the food, sprinkling dehydrated chicken on it, mixing in some raw chicken liver, but it doesn't often help. I'll even put some on my finger and rub it along her teeth to get her to lick some of the food and get a taste for it.
If she eats at all, she can take more than 20 minutes for her to get the idea that it's food and start to eat, some times even longer. I find myself running up and down the stairs to get the food back into the microwave to re-warm it up, thinking the warm food will help her smell it. I can't seem to find the perfect food or combination of food that she will eat each time. I've been adding goat milk to the food or bringing her a small bowl of it and she seems to like that a lot and I do know it's helped keep her hydrated and given her some extra Vitamin D.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Hey! Do not disturb!
The kittens seem to be doing very well. Their weights are all in line if not ahead of what I would expect them to weigh at their age. Petey was the smallest so I worried about him. Stanely and Mellie are the big boys, each hitting a full pound in weight before the others. I was grateful that none of them were so off the mark that I had to intervene with syringe feeding.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel (left) and Petey (right)
The kittens are starting to get their teeth and their eyes are blue, instead of dark orbs. They're starting to sort out what a litter pan is-besides a fun place to play. They seem to be okay with me in the room, but I always wonder if I'm handling them enough or too little. I want to keep them safe and calm until they're another week older. Then I need to get more people to visit so they don't get spooked at newcomers.
I should try not to worry so much about being perfect with them and just enjoy these precious weeks. I can't believe how they've grown and how it seems like overnight they've become little cats racing to see who the first will be to explore the world outside the tub.
And not surprisingly, Gracey seems to be leading the way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey, leader of the pack, begins her attempt to bust out of the blue bathtub.
Stay tuned for Chapter 6.—coming soon.
I had just barely gotten Minnie and her five kittens settled in the now famous blue-bathtub you may have seen featured on my rescue, Kitten Associate's, 24/7 web cam called Squee-TV when I got an email from a friend of mine who does rescue in the southern USA. She sent me a photo of an orange mama-cat, not unlike my own Minnie, whose time was almost up-the delicate way to say she was going to be euthanized if we didn't get her out.
She also had kittens, older than my little guys, but no less deserving of being freed from their cage and given a chance to live a full life. The kittens had been separated from her because they were old enough to be weaned, but what we didn't know is that someone was putting them back with mama each night, which at first glance might seem touching, when in fact it was dangerous for the mama.
I was asked if I could help get the mama-cat out of the shelter. I couldn't take her on, but I could help her if we could find a good rescue to take part. I'd offer up what I could, including asking our dear-Bobby to help by picking up the family if, indeed, we had time to make this happen at all. When time is up…time is up.
Thankfully, a rescue in the northeast offered to take the cats. They have been fully checked out and we know we can get the cats to them. The problem is money-we need to have the cats fully vetted to sweeten the pot for the rescue to take on the family. That's not a bad thing and some times we do this to help each other out.
Without thinking I said “Hell, yes! Get her out of there! I'll have Bobby come over right away, hang on.” Had I just signed myself up for a multi-thousand dollar Vet bill? What was wrong with the mama?
In no time at all Bobby picked up the mama and her six kittens. Mama was taken to the Vet. She had a very bad case of mastitis, an infection of the mammary glands. In her case it caused an ulceration of one of the glands, which is extremely painful. This often happens when kittens are too old to be nursing from their mama and their teeth puncture her skin and push nasty bacteria into the glands or the kittens claws can cause scratches or bacteria can go into the gland during rough nursing. It can be deadly and must be treated right away. Those nights of allowing the kittens on mama probably caused the issue when separating them might have kept her healthy.
Thankfully, we weren't too late. Mama is in a foster home with her kittens, though separated from them so she can heal. She's doing well and the kittens are free to explore the world beyond the size of a cage. They have a hopeful future, we just need to lend them a helping hand so they can be on their way.
Cats like Minnie and now, Ginger need our support. One day they will be spayed and chubby and in their forever homes. We're all part of the team that gets them there so they can find their happy ending.
Thank you for being part of our team and helping to save lives!
JULY 5, 2013 UPDATE: We made our fundraising goal AND in even BETTER NEWS, Ginger mama, her six kittens and SEVEN MORE ORPHAN KITTENS are on their way to the northeast to find safe haven in a rescue there! Our Bobby and Izzy and Mark are part of the team driving them over 1000 miles in the next few days so if you see a car full of kitties, give them a wave and let them know how AWESOME THEY ARE..and to Joan Flores who started this mission and was able to put a group together of strangers, all dedicated to saving lives. With the help of all of your donations and sharing this message, we DID IT!
In October of 2012, we rescued two cats. One cat was on “death row” at a municipal shelter and the other was toughing it out, a dumped stray cat, who chose to seek help at an apartment complex where the owner was considering poisoning the many homeless cats on the property to “deal with” the situation.
©2012 Maria S. (inset) ©2013 Robin A.F. Olson (main). George with a lipstick stain on his forehead and ratty coat right after being rescued and now stunning beauty.
It's not easy for us to take on young adult cats because without a brick and mortar facility, where folks can come and see our cats, it takes a long time to find forever homes. People will make an effort to go through the application process and home visit for a kitten, but for an adult, that's another story.
©2012 Maria S. (inset) ©2013 Robin A.F. Olson (main). I can't get over the transformation of Bongo! He weighed four pounds on intake.
So here we are, eight months later with our cats Bongo and George. They've both blossomed from being underweight, flea-covered, suffering with ear mites and tattered coats, to magnificent, radiant, affectionate beings. Looking at their before and after photos surprised me. I hadn't realized how far they'd come. It makes me proud to see their positive transformation.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh George, I will forever swoon when I think of you.
There were a few bumps in the road, particularly with Bongo. I noticed he'd pant after a short period of playing and at rest his respirations were far faster than the normal, roughly 20-40 per minute. This concerned me greatly because I'd lost a cat to HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and the only sign I had that something was off was his breathing had a “hitch” to it. By the time I knew he was really ill, it was too late and he passed away during attempts to treat him. Ever since that horror, I've been more vigilant.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney and George.
I brought Bongo to visit a new Vet, Dr. J., and he examined Bongo carefully. They did some blood work, a chest x-ray and some tests. One of the test was for Heartworm and the other was for Bartonella, either issue could cause Bongo's problems though it was less likely that Bartonella had anything to do with his respirations, but it might have an issue with his chronic loose stools.
The tests showed that Bongo was negative for heartworm, but a STRONG positive for Bartonella which is transmitted by flea bites and IS contagious to humans. In humans it's nickname is Cat Scratch Fever.
I urge you all to learn about Bartonella (which can also be called, Mycoplasma) because it can mimic MANY other health issues in cats. Look out for upper respiratory issues that just won't clear up, especially eye problems. Look for digestive issues, too, like chronic loose stool. If you run a stool sample on your cat and it keeps coming up negative and you've de-wormed your cats according to your Vet's recommendations, then consider testing for Bartonella. I mention this because more and more Vets are starting to test for this. They're seeing cats with very few symptoms or NO symptoms and have it. I do random tests on my own cats and was shocked that some of them had it and they do NOT go outdoors.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The tail of tails.
We decided to do the treatment for Bartonella, then wait to see if Bongo improved before going to the next step, which would be doing an echocardiogram, the only way to see the thickening in the walls of the heart that is indicative of HCM.
Meanwhile, life in the foster room had improved for Barney, who during the past six months has been over grooming his fur, leaving shocking bald patches on his sides and belly. I'd been running Barney to see Dr. Mary and we did some tests, but nothing helped. I didn't want to put Barney on steroids because they truly harm so many systems in the cat that it's a last-ditch treatment in my book.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bongo-loaf.
Since Bongo, Bunny and George joined Barney and after a few days of hissy behavior, Barney began to enjoy his new companions and his over-grooming began to wane. Looking back I think Barney knew that Fred was sick before we did and his anxiety about it was reflected in him licking off his fur. With new friends who are healthy and can play with him, Barney's coat is filling in and he spends the day rubbing up against his new friends and enjoying games of “chase me around the room” and “Ooo! Chase me some more!”
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Geogre can you stop being so pretty?
The pace of each day fell into a familiar routine. Each night I'd sit with them for a few hours. We'd have play time, snuggle time and a snack. Bongo and George would often lay in my lap and give me those lovey-eyed looks that made me want to keep them here for good.
But I was waiting. I knew I had a home for Bongo, not long after I rescued him. A friend of mine brought over a donation of cat food from a couple whose cat had recently died very unexpectedly. The FIV+ cat had had its' leg amuputated, and not long after, the Vet had over-prescribed medication for it, which ended up killing the cat.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. George and his mama-Beth.
I wrote the couple a very nice thank you note and sympathy card for their loss. A few weeks later, in late December of 2012, I got photos and a heartbreaking letter about their wonderful kitty. Clearly, these people LOVED their cat and even mentioned that “one day” they would want to adopt another 3-legged cat. I knew right then and there that Bongo was going to be theirs-maybe not today, but some day.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bongo and Mama.
Six months later, the couple reached out to us and asked about Bongo. They wanted to make sure they could adopt him, but could I hold onto him for a few weeks while they do some home repairs? The last thing they wanted to do was bring in a new cat and stress him out. I didn't mind the added wait and they graciously brought me cat food to cover his extra time with us AND a PIE (for me and Sam!).
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Newly minted brothers, Bongo and George.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney reaches out for a kiss goodbye, which Bongo graciously gives him-though it doesn't look like it in this photo!
Though having fosters cats here for many months is not ideal and keeps us from helping more cats, knowing that these two will be going to a fantastic home, where their every need will be met, where they will be looked after and cherished, is a thrill. They're both such deserving cats, I can't help but smile thinking about them leaving us.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney still waits for a home. His Petfinder page is HERE.
I love both cats dearly and will miss them very much, but this time there are no tears. I won't be worrying that they won't get what they need as I sometimes do after adoptions.
My focus now is to find a home for Barney, who just had his first birthday and who still has no one interested in adopting him. It makes me so very sad. Barney is the sole survivor of his litter and is the most easy-going, friendly cat you'd ever meet. He makes me laugh with his silly antics. I just wish someone else would see that and want to open their home to him.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny is waiting, too! Here's her Petfinder PAGE.
Barney is also very close to Bunny Boo-Boo, who with her shyness is going to be tough to find a home for. She's sweet and playful and loves other cats, but she tends to hide when new people enter the room. Perhaps with George and Bongo on their way to their forever home, she'll have a chance to flower?
I guess we'll just go back to waiting and hope that one day the family for Barney and Bunny will contact me so they can find their rightful place in the world, just as Bongo and George have.
Caring for my cat Fred, as he slowly weakened and until he died, was emotionally crippling. One of the worst aspects of providing palliative care for a cat is you can’t talk to the cat about what you’re doing and why it has to be done. They can’t understand why they have to bear the discomfort of syringe-feeding, in the hopes that the food will comfort and maintain life. You can’t tell your cat; “This is for the best. This is because I love you so much.” They may understand the loving tone of your voice, but they can’t understand the meaning of the sounds. They can’t forgive you for forcing irritating drops into their eyes. They can’t know that the nasty medicine might cure what ails them.
But what do you do when it’s a human, not a cat, who is nearing the end of their life? What do you do when that person was your ex-husband and you can’t talk to him because his wife would flip out, but you want to say goodbye and offer him some comfort?
©1988 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve ready to bowl. We loved to visit old bowling alleys. Steve was pretty good (though I admit the view from the rear as he was throwing the ball was my favorite).
My brother-in-law called me this morning. I don’t refer to him as my “ex…” because I still have a heart-connection to the Olson clan in Minnesota. We may not speak often, or get invited to a family wedding, but when the need arises, we are there for each other. We still care. We still say, “I love you.”
©1987 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve in his studio holding his cat, Chanel.
He told me that my former husband, Steve, was on his deathbed. Salivary gland cancer first reared its head as jaw pain and maybe a bad toothache that went unchecked last year. Steve didn’t have insurance, so he wouldn’t go to the dentist. When he finally went to the ER, in excruciating pain, they told him he had a suspicious growth in his jaw that needed to be checked out. With no way to pay for expensive care, his second wife urged him to go to her homeland of Bulgaria, thinking they could get the treatment Steve needed for free (it didn’t turn out that way, sadly and still cost over $10,000.00 just to get started).
So Steve found himself in Bulgaria, hoping to find a cure. They diagnosed him as being in Stage IV, which has a very few percent chance of survival over 5 years. Life expectancy is typically much less.
©1988 Robin A.F. Olson. Chanel on the stairs (yes, we let her outside back then).
I was told that a few family members are hoping to make it to Bulgaria to see Steve one last time. His parents are in their late 70's/early 80's. It would be too hard on them to travel so far, where they don’t speak Bulgarian and I’m not sure they have a very comfortable relationship with Steve’s wife. Steve made a choice to remove himself from the people who love him most and who are hurting over their inability to do anything more for him. If only he had stayed in the USA, his brother would have found a way to pay for his care. I was even going to tell him he could live here with us and we could take him to Yale New Haven hospital for care.
For me, the problem is that I can’t even call him or email him to say goodbye. I know his wife would freak out, as she has the handful of times I’ve ever tried to talk to him. I even had to change my phone number because of her angry calls in the middle of the night after I talked with him once. It’s ironic that she was the one who wanted him so badly, to get her precious Green Card. I bet she figured she had a good meal ticket in Steve since he was a workaholic to the extreme. She’d get to live in the USA and have someone pay her way, but she ended up getting the short end of the stick when the job market dried up and Steve was left floundering and scrambling to avoid bill collectors.
But here I go, thinking dark thoughts, when I should let this all go. It’s time to put aside the bullshit and focus on life lessons.
©1988 Robin A.F. Olson. Scenes from our wacky wedding featuring a cake with bowling ball trophy figures on the top.
Steve was a snappy dresser. He loved to preen in front of the mirror. What a narcissist, but I thought it was also charming that he dressed better than I did. He kept me on my toes.
©1988 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve, smoking. Oh how I wish I could have stopped him doing that, perhaps this story would have ended differently.
He often wore a wide-brimmed Fedora, his red, white and blue vintage 1950’s high school letter jacket, tight black jeans, a black shirt with bold geometric patterns on it, and his signature Tony Lama cowboy boots. He always wore glasses, which he needed but made him look even cooler. With dirty blonde hair and clear blue eyes, the glasses gave him a know-it-all-look hence my nickname for him - Mr. Peabody (Of course I was his sidekick, Sherman).
©1988 Robin A.F. Olson. My mother with Chanel.
Steve was gregarious and loved art and design. He had a cat named Chanel; the first guy I ever dated who had a cat. I could talk for hours with him about anything. We got along so well that I did everything I could to get him to fall in love with me. It was stupid and desperate, and though we didn’t have great physical chemistry, we had this amazing ability to be together without any trouble at all. We loved doing the same things, especially going to flea markets and tiny antique stores that dotted the Midwest, where we lived at the time. We would drive 1000 miles in a weekend, before Ebay, before cellphones. All we had were flyers, maps and the lure of the open road. Steve taught me it was okay not to know your destination; that the journey could be better than the goal and he was often right.
A post card from our honeymoon. Paul & Babe the Blue Ox are in the Trees of Mystery in Klamath Falls, CA.
Steve also smoked constantly. My father smoked, so I was used to it, but I didn’t care for it and I often encouraged him to stop. After our first year of marriage he decided to quit. He ended up weeding the entire yard and eating so many carrot sticks I thought he was going to turn orange. There wasn’t a nicotine patch then, so he had to do it cold turkey.
©1990 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve and I dressed up for the Star Trek convention where I ended up sitting on James Doohan's lap.
He managed to quit for almost a year, until a friend came to visit who offered him a cigarette. Steve thought he could have just the one, but not long after that he was smoking again, though not in the house. It was too nasty on all our collectibles and on me. Now I wish he had managed to stop for good, or even stopped after we divorced.
Steve was my peacock and sometimes I really wished it had worked out, but I wanted something from him I could never have-and that was him to stop being a workaholic and be willing to be part of a relationship instead of avoid any confrontation or partnership with me. Steve was perfect about knowing exactly what to say to get me to back off, but do it in a nice way. He always told me he loved me and that his working for days in a row without a break would end and we’d have time together, but it never happened. He’d often fall into a death-like sleep after his work-jags. I could not wake him up.
©1989 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve and Chanel share a cat nap.
He slept through our First Wedding Anniversary and didn’t understand why I was so upset (because you never have another First!). He slept through my birthday and I had to go to a concert at the last minute with a friend. He was either working or asleep and rarely available to me, to us. I knew he wasn’t cheating on me because we often worked together, but what I couldn’t fathom was that I was some times his boss or his co-worker and I could go home at 5 or 6pm and still have a life, whereas he had to stay and work with a coffee in one hand and a cig in the other.
He would clean his desk and organize his files all night long and not do any real work. He never got anything done until the VERY LAST MINUTE when everyone in the office was screaming at him to hurry up to make the client meeting or deadline. He always made it at the last second, coming up with a brilliant concept that always wowed the client. Although his talents were truly special as a Creative Director, how he accomplished his work had ripple effects that gave me such horrific anxiety I went into therapy. After all, I was part of the design team so what he didn't do, I had to get done. I ended up realizing I was “managing” his life and turning into a nagging harpy—something I never imagined or wanted to do.
©1989 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve and I a million years ago.
Our marriage lasted for 11 years, but most of that was spent living apart. Even when it was over and we were with other people, I longed for the way Steve and I could just be together. I think we could have been really great friends and not husband and wife. One of the last times I saw him, I gave him a book that changed my life. It’s about the Tibetan form of Buddhism called Shambhala. After reading the book and beginning my journey to become a less neurotic person, over the years my path focused on becoming a Buddhist. I was finally able to step back and focus on forgiveness and understanding. I also began to live independently, something I protect about my life even now. I'll never live in someone's shadow ever again or foolishly believe I can change someone. I know better now.
Sadly, once Steve’s girlfriend (he hadn’t married her yet) found the book she freaked out and threw it out the window into the street below. I think it would have helped Steve a lot to read that book, but it was not meant to be.
©1998 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the last photos of us together.
I had to forgive myself and him for our failings and move on with my life.
This morning after I hung up the phone, I looked around the room. Most of the décor in the house were things Steve and I bought on our trips. We divided a lot of things up in the divorce, but he left some of it behind.
And now my dear Steve, your last days are here. I look back at photos from our Wedding and know all the sadness that would come after that day-all the people who have passed away, the divorces, the misfortunes. It makes me wish I could have cherished that day, instead of be worried and upset about whatever stupid things I was bothered with at the time.
©1989 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve and his beloved, Morticia. I hope there are gorgeous classic cars in heaven and that Steve can drive a different one every day.
I think I know that he did love me, even if it wasn’t going to be a happy ending for us. He put the bitter days behind him and I did, too. We can rest in knowing there is peace between us that brings stinging tears to my eyes. It is a goodbye to what once was and what will never be and I have to be okay with that and so does Steve.
Steve can no longer speak. The cancer stole his voice, but he understands and communicates by writing or nodding. I’ve been told he’s on pain medication and the doctors are keeping him comfortable. I don’t know if he’s in a hospital or in his own bed, or if he even HAS a bed. I just know if he could hear me, I’d tell him I love him and that I’m so very sorry for everything and that if I could I would take this pain away.
I burned most of the cards Steve gave me because I felt betrayed and angry during the dark days of our divorce. Going through photos, I came across this lone survivor written not long before we called it quits. His words cut me through the heart. Now I can read them and accept them, but then I could not. Did he really mean what he said? I'll never really know because that leads to a road of what could have been that shall never be. In his own words: “I want to put that sadness behind us whatever that takes, whatever that means. I know our relationship is at a crossroad right now. I know that new roads lie ahead, I also know that I would like to travel those roads with you. I truly love you, Robin. I always will.”
When it comes down to it, Steve taught me a lot-a lot about myself, about graphic design, about music and about letting go of expectations. I thank him for that and for the Olson name I've had all these years. Now it's time for me to say my goodbyes and to wish him a very sweet, painless journey to whatever lies beyond.
…a few weeks later…
June 26th 2013, 5 AM, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Steve is gone. He died peacefully in his sleep. It’s too soon to know if there will be a funeral or even what country his body will find it’s final resting place. All I know is my ex-husband is dead. The man who made me an Olson is on his journey to the Great Beyond. My heart is broken, even after all these years of being apart. I can't stop crying. I look around and see all the silly things we bought on our trips. They remind me of him-of what once was and what is now gone forever. There is no putting something off until tomorrow. This chapter, as Steve used to say, is closed and the story is over.
Steven Leon Olson
April 28, 1956—June 26, 2013.
Summer's here; time to kick back, take a break and savor reading a good book. I'm always a fan of quirky summer romance where a crazy-haired, hard-working woman runs into (and sometimes over) the “wrong” guy (who, of course, is the “right guy” by book's end), but this summer I decided to try something different by reading Gwen Cooper's “Love Saves the Day.”
Love Saves…is Ms. Cooper's third novel following “Diary of a South Beach Party Girl” and her New York Times Bestselling book, “Homer’s Odyssey,” the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion.
Love Saves the Day, is a different kind of love story, segregated into chapters, each told in the voice of one of three characters: Sarah, her daughter Laura and Prudence, a cat. Initially, I was reluctant to read a book that included something written in a cat's voice. I've long-ago tired of reading cutesy misspelled words supposedly penned by a cat and I feared this would only end up in a lot of eye-rolling on my part.
From the first page, I was delightfully surprised by the perky and precocious tone of the feline lead. There were no cutesy misspellings. In fact this cat-character was charming, clever and insightful—who, from having had a few conversations with Ms. Cooper reminds me, is not much different than our esteemed author, herself. The world through Prudence's eyes was one I've not imagined before. Ms. Cooper definitely has unique insight into what her cat is thinking and how the world looks from five inches off the ground.
I devoured the story, quickly getting hooked on Prudence's journey because, in part, it reminded me so much of my own. Prudence is a bridge between her cat-guardian Sarah and Sarah's daughter, Laura. The challenging relationship of mother and daughter, the awkward discussions, the misunderstandings, the assumptions that can keep two people who love each other apart. This story is poignant and tender and some times funny, too. Ms. Cooper has a keen sense of what makes relationships tick and why they can so easily take a turn for the worse, even with the best of intentions.
This is a grand tale that had me giggling and in tears, too. It's the kind of book you can read again and discover something new and once you reach the last page, it leaves you wanting more. I hope we'll get to read about Prudence again one day, but for now it's good to know a cat can be entertaining and without being saccharine. Save the sweetness for the iced tea you'll enjoy as you read this fine work.
Thanks to Gwen Cooper being such a generous person, I'm able to offer one reader in the USA or Canada or UK or Australia (I hate leaving out folks outside of the USA so I will pay for the $$$ shipping this one time) an autographed copy of Love Saves the Day. To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below. Say something nice! Or "I want to win" or whatever you like. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON.
LEARN MORE & HOW TO PURCHASE COPIES OF LOVE SAVES THE DAY
If you'd like to learn more about Love Saves the Day or to order your own copy, just visit Gwen Cooper's website.
After you've read Love Saves the Day you can join the Facebook Fan Page and talk about it, as well as find out about Ms. Cooper's numerous book signings across the USA.
You DO NOT HAVE TO COMPLETELY FILL OUT THE NOMINATION FORM TO VOTE! Thank you for your support!
After careful consideration, from time to time I write product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO reimbursement for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ.