IBKC is beautifully laid out. As a Graphic Designer, I especially appreciate the lovely typography and design of the book. It’s an easy read for an adult, as would be expected, but I still found myself getting carried away as each story reminded me of many of the cats I've fostered over the years. It's impossible to read this book without having a smile on your face.
There are also special sections highlighting different aspects of kitten care, without going into too much detail for a child to absorb. The photos are real show-stoppers, making it difficult to choose a favorite—probably like picking a favorite kitten from a litter, you just can’t do it.
I shared an advance copy of the book with Hanna, an 8-yr old whose family had just adopted their first cats from my rescue, Kitten Associates. Although she was a bit too young to understand the information completely, she was delighted and giggled at some of the photos. Her father helped her go through the book and was thrilled to have something on hand that he could refer to to help Hanna understand the basics of kitten care. He mentioned he planned on reading the book to Hanna as part of their bedtime ritual and that she would be taking it to “sharing day” at school.
Based on Hanna’s reaction to IBKC it was clear that shelters and rescues could also benefit from selling copies of this book to new adopters with young kids.
CiCH: What was your inspiration to begin fostering kittens and did you foster for more than one place before you found a good fit?
LC: We moved into a new neighborhood and met our neighbors, Kim and Sarah, who were fostering our now permanent resident cat, Charlene Butterbean. Prior to that, I didn’t even know that foster programs for animals existed. We got see a few litters come and go at their house, and eventually we decided to try our hand at it too.
CICH: What do you tell people who ask you: "how you can let those foster kittens go? Doesn't it break your heart? Do you want to keep them all?"
LC: It is hard to say goodbye, but that’s just part of the process. It has gotten a little bit easier over the years, but still, it’s never easy and sometimes there are tears.
We’ve been lucky to find some really amazing families to adopt our kittens, and knowing the kittens are going to be loved and well cared for by these fine folks, makes it all bearable.
There are been a few extra-special ones that we could have easily kept, but we just can’t do that. We need to keep our cat population at a reasonable number if we want to continue to foster.
CICH: I see it says your book is for middle grade readers. Would you also suggest it for younger kids or adults? If so, why? Why did you choose this level of reader? Was that on purpose?
LC: I think it’s appropriate for kitten lovers of all ages! I’ve shared it with adults and young children too, and they all seem to enjoy it. It’s packed with lots of photos of adorable kittens, which works for any age group!
I had many conversations with my editor about what this book could be. We knew it would be for kids – Roaring Brook Press publishes children’s books – but it took some time before the full idea took shape. Once it did, we decided on what the age of the audience should be and tailored the content for that.
CICH: Do you mostly take on whatever fosters your shelter gives you or do you find kittens who need help?
LC: Once our kittens leave our nest, I’ll let the shelter know that we’re ready to receive more, and they let us know who is available. Sometimes we get kittens that need a little more help than others – they have medical issues, or need help transitioning from bottle to solid food. Sometimes they need help with socialization.. Sometimes they just need a little bit of time to get bigger.
We’re happy to take on whatever or whomever they send our way. Each batch is different when they arrive, but all leave happy, healthy, social and trusting.
CICH: Do you often face having to medicate sick or injured cats? Were any of them remarkable in how much care they needed? Perhaps more so than you could include in a book for kids? Can you give an example of one or two of those kitties?
LC: With each litter, there’s usually a medical issue or two to deal with. We’ve seen a lot of diarrhea, vomiting, fleas, ear mites and upper-respiratory infections. We’ve had to give many rounds of antibiotics and lots of sub q fluids over the years.
The transition from wherever they were before, to the shelter, and then to our home can be stressful on their little bodies. We are fortunate to have great vet staff at our shelter to guide us through any issues we have.
The biggest challenge we have ever faced was with the last litter we fostered. One of the kittens, Filbert, came to us with the Panleukopenia virus, which sadly took his life. It’s a highly contagious, so after his passing, we were quite worried it would take his sisters down too. They survived, thank goodness, but later we discovered that his sister Wylla had a condition called Megaesophagus. With this condition, she didn’t have the muscle tone in her esophagus to push food into her stomach, and she regurgitated nearly everything she ate. It took many trips to the vet to diagnose her condition, and a lot of work to learn to manage it.
Eventually, we decided we would keep her. After all we went through with Wylla, we just couldn’t say goodbye.
CICH: How did you get your book idea sold? Did the publishers come to you or did you have an agent?
LC: My editor had been following the blog, and when I mentioned on Twitter that I had dreams of publishing a book, she contacted me.
CICH: What is the one thing you hope results from kids reading your book?
LC: I hope it makes them happy. This parade of kittens that has passed through our home has brought a tremendous amount of joy into our lives. I want others to experience that same joy.
I also hope they’ll take a way some good practical information and become responsible and respectful pet owners.
ONE entry will be CHOSEN AT RANDOM to WIN. You may only leave ONE comment for ONE CHANCE to win per person. This Giveaway ends Wednesday, MARCH 26, 2014 at 11:11 PM EST and is open to residents of the USA, only (sorry guys!). Rules, quantities and whatever else I forgot are subject to change without notice. WINNER will be notified via email. If you do not respond within 48hrs another winner will be chosen.
The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee is available for purchase for $12.99 (list price) for a softcover version or less for Kindle and other e-readers at Amazon and other outlets.
©2014 Warren Royal. Big Daddy doing what he does best.
Within a few days an email arrived from a woman named Chelsea. I could tell from her words she was very upbeat and interested in Big Daddy, not just pie in the sky dreams of wishing she could adopt him. She'd known other cats like Big D and knew she could take him into her shelter. She and her peers love difficult to place cats and they work very hard to find them great homes. They aren't spooked by FIV. They know Big Daddy can be with other cats and people. They can find him a home.
Chelsea's the Foster Coordinator for Angels of Assisi and it's in Roanoke, Virginia, about a 6 hour drive from northern Georgia, where Warren and his wife, Terri are currently fostering Big Daddy. Since I've had a few unfortunate experiences transporting cats to rescue groups I'm not familiar with, I began to ask around to find out more about A of A and make CERTAIN they were legitimate. Why? Here is just one reason.
©2014 Lori D'Angelo. I just realized the origins of Lori's last name most likely described a person who was "angelic." Come on...tell me you don't believe in fate now!
One of our readers named Lori, offered to go to A of A and, just like a spy, took lots of photos covertly so she could report back to us. Okay, she didn't have to do that as I'm sure no one would have minded. She let us know that the place looked good to her and she'd been there years back and found it to be a good place back then, as well. Another friend of Covered in Cat Hair named Tori, told me they had a good reputation and she gave me more info about what good community outreach they have and how she felt it would be a good place for Big Daddy, too.
Angels has the best animal photos I've seen in a long time. Their Blog and Facebook pages are well done and active. I asked Warren to do some checking, too and by total coincidence he discovered a new client of his has a BIG location in Roanoke AND they'd love to meet Warren if he was in the area…then he finds out his client adopted a cat from Angels!
The decision was made. Big Daddy will be leaving Warren and family this weekend. Warren is personally driving him to Angels to make absolutely certain it's a good placement for him.
©2014 Warren Royal. Best friends forever.
Big D has blossomed since he was first trapped. Almost daily Warren has sent me a photo of Big Daddy looking more and more relaxed and content. I almost begged Warren to keep this big boy, but after many long conversations with his wife, he couldn't sort out how to make it happen with the cats he already has. I know Warren's saved so many cats over the years…
I'll cross my fingers that in the coming days we'll get the best news-that Big Daddy has found his forever home, but for now I'll be happy that Big Daddy is with the Angels.
I learned about CritterZone, the air naturalizer about a year ago. I’d heard good things about it and wanted to give it a try. Frankly, I was sure it wouldn’t work. It’s TINY! Who can believe a little doohickey like that could clean the smell out of a small space, let alone a room? With much trepidation I took on the task of testing out two units because baby, I have a lot of foul odor issues in my house and one wouldn’t cover it.
Running my cat rescue, Kitten Associates, and using my home as the main foster location can be a lot of fun. I get to play with the kittens, watch them grow, enjoy their warm purring bodies fall asleep in my lap, but the one thing a lot of folks don’t know is very young kittens, often with parasite-laden bellies, produce a special sort of foul-smelling stool that the U.S. Government should use as a toxic agent in chemical warfare. Yes. It smells THAT BAD and on top of it, the smell isn’t from ONE kitten, it’s usually from FOUR OR MORE. Combine that smell with what their moms unload, (who have eaten God knows what before they come to us and got good food) and it's a nose-hair-melting blast.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Does this happen in your house? If ONLY I had a CritterZone running when I shot this video!
Although I scoop the litter pan MANY times a day and refresh the litter often, it does no good. In the winter, I can’t open the windows and the door to the foster room is kept closed, so smells are pretty much sealed in. I can’t use a candle or plug-in cover up because a) they don’t work and b) I don’t want chemicals in a room with 4-week old kittens who would inhale the fumes. It’s too dangerous.
The added problem is that we have people coming over all the time to meet the kittens and they can’t be grossed out by the smell or we’d lose out on adoptions. I was growing tired of making excuses to adopters about forgiving me for the smelly room, but I was not sure what I could do about it.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Buttercup checks out the CritterZone.
Enter CritterZone. I plugged it in, set it on high, and left the foster room for an hour. I returned to the room and the smell was GONE. I thought I lost my mind or that my sense of smell had been destroyed by smelling one too many cat “bombs.” I asked our visitors (they had kids who have an even more sensitive sense of smell) about the odor in the room and they could not detect anything other than a fresh scent. This is in addition to the fact that I knew one of the kittens had recently used the pan for “evil”.
I could have stopped my test there, but this is not a mamby-pamby review. I told you I have stink-issues, so the test continued.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Our foster kittens can be friends with the CritterZone because it doesn't use harmful chemicals.
I have 9 cats who occasionally urinate beyond the confines of their litter pan in places that break my heart. I’ve had little resource in how to get rid of the smell even though I’ve used a lake full of odor “removers.” Some do an okay job, but when Pee-Tunia peed on the sofa, that was it. It was a first and I wanted it to be a last, but the only way to stop the others from peeing in the same place was to get the smell OUT.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Can you see the crystals? This shows the unit really did the job, but it also means it needs to be cleaned. (photobomb by Fluff Daddy).
I read that I could place the Critterzone face down directly onto the soiled area. It wouldn’t clean the stain, but it would remove the smell. In my case, it would take a long time because there was a large area involved. I’d have to place the unit at one end of the stain, then move it every 45 minutes along the length of the stain. If the area dried, I had to re-wet it with water. I did spray the area and the fabric was stained (my fault), but the smell started to go away. I could even hear the unit sizzle when it was first placed on the soiled area. It took a good day, but by the end of it, I carefully sniffed the cushion and the smell was gone. The unit, however, had grown small white salt-like crystals on it which meant it had done its job and it needed to be cleaned. I found easy directions on how to do that on the CritterZone web site.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm sure the folks at CritterZone are not happy to see this. You're SUPPOSED to clean the unit every two weeks. Oops. I didn't. My bad..but heck, it's STILL WORKING (and now clean).
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Time for a clean up! The cover comes off easily for cleaning.
This winter was so bad, we didn’t have garbage pick up for MONTH, so we had to move our own garbage by car. This was definitely something I did not EVER want to do...be trapped in a car with the stench of rotting food and cat excrement even for a few minutes. It was too cold here in Connecticut to open the car windows during our trip, but I figured that’s what we’d have to do. I feared this sort of smell was going to “stick” in my nose for hours after exposure, too.
I hooked up the CritterZone and placed it between my partner Sam and I as he drove us to the dump. As the heat kicked in and the car warmed, I expected to get knocked over by the smell of the garbage. I heard the unit buzzing away, cleaning the air. I expected to smell something terrible, but in fact there was no bad smell.
The only caveat I will add is that I had mild respiratory irritation, which I discovered when I left the unit on overnight in the foster room. It had cleaned the air, but since I left it running after it had done its job was when it caused the issue. I wanted to sleep with the kittens, but not have the smell of a litter box visit wake me up. Turning off the unit stopped the irritation. Because it works so well I only run it from time to time. You may have a completely different experience with how long or under what circumstances you should turn off the unit. I did a test, leaving a unit running 24/7 in a room that was open to the rest of the house and it worked really well and I had no issues.
CritterZone can also help folks with ALLERGIES, too! I just fret about stinky air, but if you have the sniffles you might want to try a CritterZone for that as well. Here’s more information about their technology and the MANY WAYS it can help make your life better.
CritterZones come as a wall mounted unit for near the litter pan or other locations that need naturalization or a corded unit with an optional adapter (you can purchase separately or it comes with their Travel Pack) for your car for added flexibility.
To purchase a CritterZone, simply visit their web site http://www.critterzoneusa.com/ Products
Best entry as Judged by me, Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair, will win ONE CritterZone. You may only leave ONE comment for ONE CHANCE to win per person. This Giveaway ends Friday, MARCH 14, 2014 at 11:11 PM EST and is open to residents of the USA, only (sorry guys!). Rules, quantities and whatever else I forgot are subject to change without notice.
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.
Northern Georgia’s had a rough winter. With snow, ice and freezing cold temperatures that vastly skew from what’s considered normal, the feral cat population has had an even tougher time surviving.
These cats are not accustomed to the colder temps and may not be as successful as their northern counterparts in finding adequate shelter. Their coats may not be as thick and their struggle to have a full belly leaves them even more vulnerable.
For a lucky few cats there’s Warren and his wife, Terri, who I’ve written about in the past. They get out there and trap, neuter, and some times return the feral cats they trap. They help the pregnant cats and the kittens find homes. They are very passionate about their rescues and have even hoped to open their own sanctuary one day.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy the day after being trapped.
It’s not unusual for Warren to stay up late at night, watching a trap, hoping the cat will enter it so he can get it properly taken care of. Most of the time the process is straightforward. The cats are vetted, spayed or neutered, given some time to recover, then he brings them back to their colony where he and his wife will make sure they get fed.
That’s why when Warren noticed a big tabby, limping, clearly injured, who also looked a heck of a lot like one of the kittens Warren rescued (read about Dexter’s amazing and scary journey HERE), he knew he had to trap him and get him to a vet. The problem was, what could he do for this kitty, AFTER getting vetted? Surely it would be difficult to treat a fractious cat, which could mean Warren could get hurt or the cat might not recover from his injury if he couldn’t get him medicated or change bandages.
First things first…get the cat trapped.
Warren got his supplies ready and opened up the trap. He saw the cat who he called, Big Daddy, not far away, watching him. As soon as Warren opened a can of food, in a flash, there was Big Daddy by his side, pushing Warren away so he could get at the tempting morsels. Shocked, Warren carefully, lured the cat into the trap, fearful he could be harmed at any moment if the cat was separated from his food for too long. Clearly the cat was starving and didn’t care if he was in a cage or not.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Getting fueled up (again!).
Warren quietly closed the trap door and rushed Big Daddy to the Vet. Big Daddy wasn’t thrilled to be in the car but there was something odd about him. For a feral cat, he wasn’t crouched into a tight ball. He wasn’t hissing. He wasn’t struggling to break free from the trap. He was just eating.
The plan was to leave Big Daddy with the Vet for a few days while Warren was here in New York City at a trade show. I was with Warren when the call came in on the cat. He had an abscess from a bite wound, but they felt it would heal. Against Warren’s orders they gave him Convenia, assuming that since the cat was feral it was the best they could do, [even though Convenia is NOT for bite wounds but because it’s injectable and there are no pills, people tend to use it so they don’t have to pill their cat. The problem is-once injected it stays in the body for MONTHS. If there’s an allergic reaction you can’t get it out of the body. It’s really only good for certain bacterial issues regarding the SKIN. Using it after a dental or for some other reason is not safe and contra-indicated.]
They went ahead an ear-tipped him even though Warren said not to because he wasn’t sure the cat might not be feral. When we found that out we were both very angry. If Big Daddy ended up being a cat we could socialize, then ear-tipping him could further reduce his chances for adoption.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. What a face!
They neutered him and vaccinated him. They snap tested him and discovered he was positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV. We weren’t surprised, but it meant that letting him back outside was not an option, but now what would we do with him? Warren feared he might have to euthanize the cat if he couldn’t go back to the colony or if he was too fractious to find a forever home.
Warren came home and discovered his hunch was right. Big Daddy wasn’t feral, but how friendly was he? Did he have behavior problems? If so, how severe were they? When Warren approached Big D’s crate, Big Daddy stepped forward and seemed interested in sniffing Warren’s hand. Worried he would get bitten, Warren cautiously offered the back of his hand. Big Daddy head-butted it.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Waiting for the next part of his journey to begin.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission.
Over the past few weeks, Warren and Terri have been working with Big Daddy, assessing his behavior to see if he’d qualify to be adopted. Big D nipped at Warren a few times, but Terri said he never nipped her. Why? Turns out Warren needed to learn that Big Daddy didn’t care for being petted like he was a dog—oops! (Warren admitted to not realizing that right away since he’d known dogs most of his life). Once Warren made a slight change in how he petted Big D the nipping stopped.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Loves that brush.
Big Daddy’s met a few other cats. He’s interested, but neutral. A further test revealed another surprise-Big Daddy LOVES to be brushed!
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission.
Big D’s leg is healing nicely and he’s relatively content in his big crate in the garage, but yearns to be out of it and in Warren’s house. Sadly, Warren’s other cats won’t welcome a newcomer and ultimately Big Daddy needs a home of his own.
This very sweet, affectionate, gentle giant weighs 15 pounds and is about 4 years old. He's physically he’s a large kitty. Aside from having FIV, his health is good. He does not have issues with his gums, teeth or digestion, which can happen to FIV cats. With a GOOD DIET and I mean NO DRY FOOD, low carb, grain-free canned food or better yet, dehydrated raw or really any raw diet, he will do well.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission.
There are Vets who vilify cats with FIV and say they can’t be with non-FIV cats, but in my own experience with my cat, Bob, he was with not only my 7 cats, but countless kittens and none of them ever got sick. Bob would have had to BITE them so seriously his teeth would have had to sink into flesh to transmit the disease. Yet, there is a vet who just said she felt it was passed through a litter pan, which defies logic.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Meeting Murphy.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. What a cutie pie!
Warren definitely has Big Daddy’s back. Because he cares for him so much Warren will cover transportation costs to an approved home or non-profit, no-kill rescue group or shelter. He will also TAKE BIG DADDY BACK, should the adoption or rescue placement not work out. Ideally this home will be in northern Georgia, but if it’s anywhere along the east coast of the USA, we can get Big Daddy to your door. If you live outside the east coast, let’s talk.
©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy with our Rescuer-Daddy, Warren.
If you’d like to adopt Big Daddy, go to our rescue group, Kitten Associates, and fill out a Pre Adoption Application and I will forward them to Warren.
If you have any questions or are with a rescue and can help Big Daddy find his home, just email me at email@example.com.
There are times I don’t realize something profound just occurred. Looking back on the situation I see what I missed was truly amazing. A milestone was reached, a torch passed, leaving me feeling sad that I didn’t honor that moment the way it deserved, so perhaps these words will serve as a testament.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey (left) with brother, Joey (right) watching the squirrels.
Lil' Gracey and Confetti Joe have been with us since they were 4 days old. Their brothers, Yukon Stan, Jellybean Mel and Precious Pete have long since found their forever homes and as of last week, the final papers were signed as their mom, Minnie, found her place, too (with a couple I truly LOVE..and where Minnie is blossoming by leaps and bounds every day).
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey (inset) just 11 days old and again recently.
The remaining two kittens had been living in my home up until 3 weeks ago when I was fortunate enough to meet with Jame, who offered to foster kittens for our group. Jame and her family don’t currently have any pets which greatly simplifies whether or not I can have them foster. They impressed me by bending over backwards to clean and prepare their entire basement for us to use for our kittens. It’s a large, bright, sunny space with windows along one side of the room. Jame’s daughters, Grace and Frances were sweet-natured and had a very calm energy. When they came over to meet our cats and fosters, they were affectionate and gentle, clearly enamored with all the cats they met. I had no concerns that any cat we placed with them wouldn’t be completely happy in their care.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepy time boy.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey chill in' with the DOOD.
As much as I loved every second with the kittens, they were big enough to be part of the general population, instead of housed in a separate room. With full run of our home it opened up new adventures for them, but our cats were not too thrilled. We had some issues, like inappropriate urinating and a brief spat or two. I knew Joey and Gracey would be better off with Jame’s family, not to mention reducing the stress on my own cats, but I was very sad to see them go.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Time to wrestle in 3…2…
Because we had an unpleasant situation with Minnie’s last foster home, I was more careful about who fosters for us going forward. I wrote up an agreement for fostering and had Jame sign it. The time with the kittens would be limited and monitored. I'd let it go too long with Minnie, only to find out she was getting injured by the other cats in the home and exposed to food that ended up giving her a bad allergic reaction. I was determined to check in on the cats more often to make sure they would continue to be well cared for, but Mother Nature had a different plan.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. In their new foster home, Gracey makes sure the other cat she sees really IS her brother.
The one-week agreement was extended another week and another. The weather was so poor and we got so much snow that I could not get out of my driveway. When I could escape, it was to get cat food or do a vet run. I just didn’t have time to visit the kittens, though I did communicate with Jame often.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey's always had the goofiest tail. He walks around with it over his back like a carrying handle of some sort.
Jame did a great job reporting every little thing, sending photos, updating me on progress. Her daughters were having a great time getting to know the kittens and they were thrilled with each success (“Joey sat on my lap! I made Gracey jump after the toy!”). I realized with a sinking feeling that what happens to all fosters was happening to them. They were getting attached. Too much time had passed. Now I was worried that I would hurt them because I’d found an adopter named Dana and it was very likely that Joey and Gracey would be leaving them soon.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey with heart on his rump.
When I told Jame the news, she emailed me asking me if we could talk. I had a feeling she was going to tell me she wanted to adopt the kittens. I had mixed feelings about it because if they did, I might lose a great foster home. I knew they’d be a great home for the kittens, so I was curious to know what she wanted to talk about. Since she needed more cat food I asked her to meet me at the pet food store so I could get her more, then we ended up walking over to the little café inside our local grocery store to talk.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. With foster mom, Grace.
As Jame spoke, tears welled up in her eyes. It was hard not to cry along with her. She told me that she and her family had fallen in love with the kittens and were miserable at the idea of them leaving and wanted to adopt them, but…there was a problem. She didn’t feel they could afford to provide for them if something happened to them and she knew that wasn’t right. Jame continued to tell me that things would be changing later in the year when she expected to be able to find work, but for now they lived on her husband’s salary. The problem was how could I have her wait months to make Joey and Gracey's adoption formal when the situation was in such flux? Jame was being very responsible by not letting her emotions cause her to make a choice that could end badly. I knew how she felt. I probably shouldn’t have half the cats I have, but we find a way (but I don't have two children to provide for, either). I didn’t want her to be miserable about letting the kittens go. She was doing the right thing. I had to find a way to make this better.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. With foster mom, Frances.
I gave her as many options as I could, but in the end, this is not the time for them to adopt. In a flash of clarity, I blurted out that she hadn't even had the joy of fostering little kittens yet and to focus on knowing that by letting Joey and Gracey go, she was making space to take more kittens on. I talked to her about the pain of letting go and...
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Checking out the view from their new foster room.
I hoped she realized that the sharpness of letting go would soften into sweet memories. She barely knew me and I was asking her to trust me; that all she had to do was let us bring her more cats to foster and the love and happiness that gave them so much joy, would return. She had to have faith, too.
Of course, getting her children to understand and prepare for this was going to be the tricky part and I offered to do whatever I could to help them transition.
©2014 Frances R. Frances is quite the artist and drew his adorable scene featuring her foster kittens.
When the day came for Dana and her young sons to meet Joey & Gracey, I took one look at the girls and at Jame and knew they had all been crying. They were being brave, but their struggle to remain cheerful was percolating just beneath the surface. They were doing what needed to be done. They watched the young boys learn how to play with the kittens, how to pick them up. They gave them pointers on what the kittens liked and which toys were their favorites. We talked with Dana about how beautiful and sweet the kittens were. At one point I asked her if these were her cats. I wasn’t feeling “it” from her—that glimmer I often see of love’s seed taking root in an adopter's heart. I told her about our other kittens, just in case she would prefer them. They had better energy to match that of her little boys. I could see Jame and her daughters holding their breath, hoping the woman would not want Joey and Gracey.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. A hug from Frances.
Her boys looked at photos of the other kittens we have, but they only had eyes for Joey and Gracey. Dana added that Joey and Gracey were even more beautiful than she imagined from their photos and said she would love to give them a good home. I knew Jame and the girls were disappointed but the choice was made. This would be a good home. The kittens would have the boys to play with and a mom and dad to snuggle with inside a lovely home that overlooks a lake.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil' Gracey at 11 days old and again recently.
I gave the kittens a kiss goodbye. I thought about how they used to fit in my hand. They didn't even look like cats, more like hamsters. I'd worried, fussed, and after they were weaned, took great joy in watching them grow and thrive. The familiar pang of heartbreak and reluctance to let go returned. My eyes burned as I held back my tears. Joey and Gracey were two of our brightest stars. They’d grown into magnificent cats. It was a privilege to be part of their journey. Their little family, who so easily could have drowned in a window well during the torrential rains last June, have only happy days ahead thanks to our generous donors and skilled Vets. Now they had their forever homes. My job was done.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey with her mom, Minnie, who is very happy in her new home.
As Dana and her sons placed Joey and Gracey into their car and drove away, I stood in the kitchen with Jame and her daughters. I started to cry, but managed to not burst into tears. They offered me a tissue. Their eyes got watery and their faces pinked up. I gave them each a hug. I was SO PROUD of them-especially Frances and Grace. These girls did something tough for an adult to do and they handled themselves VERY WELL. In that moment something happened between the four of us. I’d passed the baton of fostering over to them. They had survived the first heartbreak and were ready to do it again. They were part of a sisterhood of cat rescuers now and between the tears my heart swelled with joy.
If you'd like to see lots more photos of Gracey, Joey and their family from the first days in foster care, you can read these posts:
The Squee Diaries
P.S. If you've gotten this far, Jame and her family are getting 3 kittens on Saturday that were part of a bigger rescue in Georgia. Their story begins next...
Okay, that's it. I've been trying to come up with a name for our latest foster kitty. None of them are good enough. He's a young adult, flame point, Himalayan. I've never had a cat like this EVER---Not in over 10 years of doing cat rescue and certainly never have we had a purebred cat in Kitten Associates.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
We've come up with a list of names. The one we use now, just to call him SOMETHING is…FLUFF DADDY. I like it as a nickname, but his "forever" name?
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
Here's The List:
Bumble Snow Monster
Bumble Snow Monster
Tibetan: Jampa JAHM-pah - Loving-kindness
Tashi TAH-shee - Auspicious, Fortunate
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
All seriously chosen, thoughtful, imaginative, clever, funny names considered. Thank you for your help!
There are few things in the world that make me feel happy the way cats do, but one of them is so be around art. As a Graphic Designer I get caught up in beautiful typography, bright colors and clever ideas visualized, so when I had the opportunity to attend the 111th American International Toy Fair 2014 in New York City, I was beyond delighted.
Okay, I LOVE toys, too.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Like a moth to a flame, one of the first things I see, before I even enter the show floor is a very GOOD (Bub) sign.
Imagine you’re 7 years old and you get to go to the biggest toy store in the world that carries every kind of toy imaginable, from a mind-blowing array of plush toys (way beyond a bear, we're talking plush MRSA virus and plush Pancreas), kid-sized fantasy outfits, handmade musical instruments to out-of-this-world models of monsters causing mayhem, bobbleheads and more. Now imagine being middle-aged and feeling the same way. That’s what Toy Fair does to you from the moment you set foot in the Javits Center.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Sugar LuLu. Even dogs are welcome here.
So what about cats? This IS a cat blog after all.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh yeah, baby.
That’s where I had a few surprises-seeing some very cute cat-centric items for humans that will be hitting the consumer market in the next few months.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. I loved this banner art from Innovative Kids.
The first thing that got me excited was Chet the Cat & Friends.™ Think, funky 1960’s illustration style combined with a juicy color palette that makes up the world of Chet the cat. Chet has a line of child-sized appliances and other cooking related items emblazoned with delicious artwork that any child would be attracted to. Their line of 3+ up toys inspire creativity and imagination while helping tune fine motor skills. In my book, I’d buy it just because I love the artwork and hey, don’t judge me if I have a tea party with my Chet teapot while I’m at it.
©2014 Robin A.F Olson. Lusting after these gorgeous goodies.
Educational Insights also created a game I’d love to see go into every school. It’s called Kitten Caboodle™ and in their own words:
“The Big Idea: Find your purr…fect match in this game of furry, feline fun! Draw from the stack or “go fish” from another player’s hand to collect cards that match the all of the pet necessities and accessories of the cat you want to adopt. Collect everything that cat needs and adopt it! Adopt the most cats and you win this preschool matching game.”
It’s also clear that celebu-cats are having their day in the sun with the appearance of a line of Grumpy Cat merchandising by the famous manufacturer of plush, Gund. Grumpy Cat, herself, was even at the show, but sadly, due to traffic heading into NYC we missed her by a few minutes.
©2014 Robin A.F Olson. I missed seeing Grumpy Cat again. I hated it.
©2014 Robin A.F Olson. I'm waiting for info from Gund on when the GC merch will be in stores or through the Gund website. Stay tuned.
Gund also has a line based on Venus, the famous Chimera cat.
Here's Venus and her Gund® imitation. Image: Gund.com To learn more about Venus, pop over to her Facebook page.
I saved the best for last. Our dear, Lil’ Bub also has a brand new plush version of herself so everyone can have a Bub of their own. I spoke with Emily from Cuddle Barn who manufactured the Lil’ Bub plush. Cuddle Barn's focus is generally in creating scarily-accurate animated plush, but this first series of Lil’ Bub plush won’t be animated just yet (though stay tuned their may be one in the future).
Holding the Lil’ Bub in my arms, though bigger than the real Bub, captured her Bub-liness perfectly, featuring her bright green owl-like eyes, her white paws and that show stopping bubble gum pink tongue hanging out.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Now that's a BIG Bub.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. I LUB my Bub plush! (They made me stick out my tongue. Honest.)
…like Mid-Hudson Animal Aid, who had a terrible fire last September and got a HUGE donation from Mike to help them recover from their loss. Mike has the sort of compassionate heart I wish all people who find themselves at the helm of a lucrative business would have as well. It’s clearly not about greed, it’s about being grateful and about being an inspiration to others, not about making a buck when he’s just meeting a demand from his doting public.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with BIG Bub.
Cuddle Barn created a one-of-a-kind BIG Bub I immediately lusted after, but they said it was not for sale. I’m guessing we’ll see it with the real Bub some time soon.
Lil’ Bub’s lil’ plush will be available in smaller outlets and Urban Outfitters starting in April. If you want to pre-order one for $24.00, the only way to get it is through Lil’ Bub’s store and be warned..the pre-sales are almost filled!
Lil' Bub and Plush Bub thanks to LilBub.com
Good Job, Bub.
Good Job, Dude.
Good Job, Toy Fair.
It's been a few days since we rescued a purebred flame point Himalayan cat (now we know better because we thought he was a Persian, but turns out Persians with Siamese "Points" are called Himalayan Persians. Confused? Yeah. We were, too.)
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. No name yet, but man, what a big HEAD! If you look at the photos, below, which were taken this morning you can see how much cleaner the area around his eyes has gotten since we put him on much better food.
Adorable doesn't describe him. I'm not sure there IS a word to describe how charming, sweet, affectionate and mellow this cat is. I have more to catch you up on regarding his arrival, but for now, enjoy this little montage of images from this morning. This cat, who we struggle to find the perfect name for, likes to sleep in our arms, belly up, with his front legs stretched out as far as they can go. His paws are "soft," meaning the doesn't stick out his claws when he stretches. He purrs loudly and contentedly and he will literally SLEEP while being held. This is not any sort of cat I've ever been around. It's like he's some other creature, not exactly a cat but something cat-like with a more relaxed attitude about life.
I'd also like to THANK EVERYONE who JUMPED at the chance to donate funds, not only to help provide for this neglected cat, but whose donations will also help the 3 cats in Georgia we rescued two weeks ago and help us get Sherbert, one of our Clementine-kittens, back to the Vet for yet another check of his eyes.
We also DEEPLY APPRECIATE every single can of cat food that was donated to us through our smile.amazon.com WishList! You have no idea how WONDERFUL it is to open the door and find a box with a case of cat food inside it. It means we can keep providing for our cats for another day or week or more. THANK YOU for keeping their bellies full!
Special thanks to Chris C., Tereza G., Shimon B., Goh Eng C., Margaregret L., Colleen B. and Diane J. for providing all that food!
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. The only thing this cat really doesn't like is his new coat. He seemed to be cold, even though we have heated beds in his room, so against all common sense, I got him a jacket. HE HATES IT.
It was time for the Clementines, my foster kittens from Kentucky, to be photographed for their Petfinder listings and I was trying to get a nice photo of Buttercup (foreground of the photo below). As I was reviewing that images I shot, something caught my eye. I'll leave it up to you to sort out what it was. All I can say is it has something to do with a “bomb,” but it might not be a “photoBOMB.”
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. CoveredinCatHair.com
Have a sweet-smelling day!
WARNING: THERE IS A SLIGHTLY GROSS PHOTO BELOW BUT I PUT A SCREEN OVER THE WORST PART.
I couldn't sleep. I got up at 5:30 AM. I kept thinking about the cat I met yesterday afternoon. I kept having flashbacks to what I'd seen done to him and I couldn't stop worrying.
In all my years of rescue I've only saved a blue-eyed cat a handful of times. I've NEVER rescued a purebred nor even been around them. Yesterday I saw a post from a fellow rescuer who had found an ad on Craigslist about a "FREE" Purebred Persian Cat. I didn't give it much thought, knowing the cat would get scooped up. Purebreds always go fast, but something nagged at me about this ad.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. My first look at the Persian's matted coat.
I remembered I'd had an application from someone looking for a cat like this so I sent her an email and told her about him. She jumped at the chance to adopt him sight unseen. Feeling a bit nervous about that I asked her to foster him with the intention of adopting him one day. I didn't know what condition he was in and I was worried that I'd get stuck with a cat, too. The rescuer who initially posted the info told me she was going to go get the cat that afternoon and could bring him to the foster/adopter's home.
It was all happening so fast I didn't have much time to think. It seemed like we had a possible match. All I had to do was some paperwork, right?
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. What lies beneath I'm not sure I want to know.
A few hours later I got a call from the rescuer. She said the cat was severely matted. That the owner said he couldn't be handled, especially touched on his back or tail. If we touched him he would bite. The rescuer was worried about getting the cat cleaned up without someone getting hurt. She also told me that these people paid $1000.00 for the cat but then took it to a mobile spay/neuter van to get it neutered! It's not that they did something to save money, but that cat should have been vetted BEFORE it was SOLD for $1000.00. There was NO paperwork on the cat, nothing. The breeder was not known. All she knew was the cat was a mess.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Just the beginning…
She asked me if I had clippers. I did, but I've rarely ever used them. She didn't want to bring the cat to a groomer. It was already almost 5 PM so most places were closing up. She didn't want to bring the cat to the foster home smelling as bad as he did. His back end was FILTHY and matted. The owner reported she'd had him combed out just a few weeks ago so it shouldn't be that bad, but could I help?
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Honestly, the best boy ever.
You know the saying; “In for a dime, in for a dollar.” So I replied that of course she could bring the cat to me and we'd get him cleaned up.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
So last night my spare foster room turned into Robin's Grooming Palace, staffed by an awkward cat rescuer and a tough cookie rescuer who knew her way around a clipper (and you can guess which one I was).
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
The rescuer let the cat out of the carrier. WOW. He had me at the first look into his sapphire blue eyes. I've never seen such a striking cat, even with his messy coat. He had NO fear of me at all. He came over and wanted to be petted. He purred right away. I touched his back, not remembering to stay away from it and he just arched his back a little bit under my hand. Shit. I was in love with this little Flame Point Persian.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. We almost filled this bag with clippings.
The rescuer and I talked about what to do. She wanted to wrap him like a burrito in a towel, then try to clip the filth off his rear end. I obliged, not knowing what else to do. I held him tight and he struggled a lot. He cried. I asked her to stop. We decided to remove the mats on the rest of his body and leave the sensitive back end for later. We realized his fur was so badly matted that he needed a “Lion Cut.” This is not something easily done especially with a cat you don't know. Half-jokingly I told the rescuer I didn't have health insurance and this cat could not bite me. I tried not to worry about that and focused on being calm.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
The minute we started shaving the mats off the cat, I barely had to scruff him. He didn't fuss once the painful mats starting to come off. It was clear he'd been shaved before and just sat half in and half out of the sink on a blanket. He smelled like someone dumped a gallon of cheap cologne over him to mask the smell of his soiled behind. I angrily assumed that the same cheap scent had an alcohol base that probably was causing this poor little cat even more pain that I first realized.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
The rescuer kept running the clipper carefully up and down the cat's back. I could smell the blades getting hot so we turned it off and gave the cat a break. He was still calm and friendly. I think he understood that we were helping him or the fact that the painful mats that were on his back were now gone. No wonder he didn't like being touched there! His skin was being pulled tight across his back from the matted fur. Who would do such a thing to such a Prince of a cat? I guess his former owners would.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Despicable.
Rescuers often say, “I hate people.” This is one reason why. The thing is we don't hate people because there are just as many, if not more, people who do great things for their animals, but the assholes really make us go crazy. We can't legally do much to these people other than get the cat away from them and put him somewhere safe where this will never happen again. The fact that these people have 2 other pets and a kid is worrisome, as well, but I never met them and do not know who they are. It's probably a good thing because I would be too tempted to cause them more than just a modicum of pain.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Are you my new Mother?
I had to hold the cat in all sorts of odd positions. He barely fussed until we had to clip under his front legs and his rear end. His front legs had lost some mobility because the fur was so badly matted under his legs. It was horrible to realize he couldn't even move around and if it had gone much longer, walking would have been very difficult.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. At last…clean at last.
The back end was the WORST. This part of the grooming was very painful. The rescuer went very very carefully, but the more fur she clipped away, the more she revealed the horrific truth-that the matted fur had caused the cat's urine to absorb into the fur and scald the skin beneath it. The area began to ooze. Clearly, many layers of skin had sloughed off. It had to hurt like bloody Hell, but the cat remained relatively calm.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Taking care of business.
With arms aching, covered in cat hair, we put the cat into the counter and I rinsed his back end with a bottle of sterile saline, fearing anything else would burn him. I was stunned that he let me do it. He seemed to like it. I blotted his back end and THAT hurt so I stopped right away. A few seconds later, he was on the floor walking around, checking things out like nothing had ever happened.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Not a bad job, but can't wait for it to grow back.
I knew he needed to see a Vet, but we both felt it could wait until this morning. I'm not sure if this is something that will require antibiotics or if we'll leave it to heal on its own, now that the area is clean and he can void without hurting himself further. My fear is that he may need surgery because he has such bad damage to his rectum or scrotum or both. I wouldn't even want the vet to take his temperature right now-that's how bad it is.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson.
And yet…this cat was amazing. He was outgoing, friendly, curious. He purred easily. He didn't try to hide. He still smelled from that awful crap that was put on him, but with the mats gone he looked simply adorable with his new hairdo. His fur was soft. I was mesmerized. All I could think of was how I was going to keep this cat, knowing full well I couldn't. I had to let go. He needed to get to his foster home.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. And you wonder why I'm in love with this cat?
We finally got to his foster home around 8 PM. His new mom was thrilled with him. She'd turned up the heat, had a heated bed cover and soft blanket for him so he would be comfortable. She opened the cat carrier and he came out and said hello to her. He was perfectly at ease in this strange home. Finally able to move around he began grooming himself. What was surprising is the way he bent over his tummy, split his back legs wide apart and licked at his back end. His big head and petal-like tongue made him look all the more comical, but it was joy watching him finally be able to clean himself. I'm sure it was driving him crazy to not be able to stay clean and now he finally had that chance.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Cartoon character or cat?
We're working on a name for the cat. We may go with Romeo or Luigi. Right now it doesn't matter what we call him, we need to get him healthy and that's where you join this rescue tale.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mr. Glamour Puss looking cranky but he's VERY SWEET.
To Donate simply visit KITTEN ASSOCIATES DONATE PAGE and click on the DONATE TODAY icon. It takes you to PayPal where you can make your donation. Not using a fundraising web site like PetCaring or YouCaring allows us to get MORE of every dollar donated since those sites ask for YOU to pay a fee to them before you make your donation to us.
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. Our Tax ID number is: 27-3597652. Your donation is tax deductible. See your tax adviser for details.
Any funds not used to help this sweet Persian will go to helping out three kittens in Georgia or the other fosters in our rescue program. THANK YOU!
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Thank you for helping me!
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Off to the vet...