Dogtime Petties Shocker-We're a Finalist After All!

There’s a tight knit community of folks who write cat blogs. Most of them are women and many of them are dear friends of mine. On Monday when the Dogtime Petties Awards finalists were announced I couldn't wait to see how many of my friends made the list. As I scanned the ballot, I was saddened to see that for the first time in all the years since awards have been given out, my blog, Covered in Cat Hair, did not made the cut.

In truth, I felt like the ugly girl who didn’t get invited to the Prom. I understand that I won’t always win things I enter, but I knew in my heart I’d really tried to get enough votes. I’d also been feeling sorry for myself that I wasn’t reaching a big enough audience for all the hard work I put into my blog posts. Many of my friends have well over 50,000 Facebook fans so how could I compete with that? I have just over 12,000 on Facebook. My reach is just too small.

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I realized that I shouldn't compare my work to what anyone else does. Not that I’m so special or awesome, but because if I focus on what others are doing, then it takes away from what I’m doing. I may perceive they have greater success than I do based on their fan base, but that’s their path, not mine and I want to be happy for my friend's success, not be a petty (pardon the pun) whiner. Although I may not have superstar status, I truly believe I have built something a lot better. I get a lot of LOVE from all of you and that is not only VERY HUMBLING, but it’s kept me going these 8 years I’ve been blogging. There have been many dark days and if I didn't have your friendship, I would be lost.

I looked over the finalist list and something struck me. It didn’t look “right.” I know the players and many of their names were absent. Some of the nominees puzzled me. As the next few days passed, I heard from more and more people that some folks got nominations but they NEVER ASKED FOR VOTES. Some got nominated for things they didn’t ASK to be nominated for. A blog post that was two years old, not promoted, won over another blog post from the same blogger that WAS promoted. Something wasn’t right.

I respectfully penned a letter to the folks at Dogtime and asked if something was possibly wrong. The reply shocked me. They indicated they were looking into the voting and would let me know what they found out. They could have said everything was fine as is but they didn’t. I respected them for that.

My partner, Sam told me he’d been able to vote twice in one day (which you should not be able to do). Sam does a lot of coding and he told me that something as minor as a comma in the wrong place in the code could completely destroy how a program functions. I asked him what he would have done if it happened to his website. He said it would be a tough situation to handle and if they didn’t keep good records there might never be a solution.

A few nights ago emails went out to the finalists indicating a complete list of finalists would be announced that night. Everyone held their breath waiting for the news. Would they lose their nomination or get more? In an unheard of move, supposedly due to a computer error, many of the finalists either lost their nomination or were moved to other categories. In some cases, a shocking surprise…

…Covered in Cat Hair DID earn a nomination after all! We received a nomination for Best Blog Post for our Miracle at Bridgeport Animal Control, our story about 75 cats at risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding, followed by the community-wide push to make sure EVERY one of those cats got out ALIVE over the course of two days. I was part of that rescue-an honor I will never forget.

What made me fall over in my chair was that we got a SECOND nomination.

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My non-profit cat rescue, Kitten Associates, got Best Rescue/Cause Blog nomination! That means YOU GUYS made it happen because I didn’t even ask for votes!
I can’t even express how thrilled I was to get this nomination, not only for the honor but for the chance that we will earn a $1000.00 donation if we win our category and $2000.00 if we win BOTH categories!

But then there was the realization that if we had gotten a finalist slot, then someone else lost theirs. I don’t have a record of the first list of finalists, but I know there are many people out there who are very upset. Some of them didn’t ask for votes once, let alone daily, as I did, yet they are still angry.

I get it. It’s humiliating to broadcast you're a finalist for an award, only to have it stripped away later. I would never want to win something by causing anyone else to suffer so this win is a double-edged sword. My rescue NEEDS the donations badly. We have more cats in our program than we’ve ever had before. Earning an award also helps fuel ME to keep writing stories that inspire and entertain. I don’t get a salary for what I do. I make a few dollars once in a blue moon doing a review, but geez, my car is 13 years old and I live month to month most of the time. This award means a lot to me personally.

For the record, I’m truly sorry about how this played out. I hope that going forward we can all try to understand that Dogtime was trying to do the right thing by making this change in Finalists and applaud them for doing that.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Wallace is one of 26 reasons why I really hope we can WIN the Petties!

Karen Nichols summed it up best. I was standing behind her at an awards show a few years ago. She’d just won two awards and I had only reached finalist status. I teased her about winning two awards, acting petulant for not winning and she turned to me and laughed and said, “Hey, it’s an award for CAT BLOGS!”

However it shakes out there will be winners and losers. Does Dogtime need to be hung out to dry? No. They could have made an effort to letting the former finalists down more gently from what I heard and by the way, I NEVER WAS NOTIFIED THAT I WAS A FINALIST. My friends told me.

For someone who was initially robbed of their nomination I'm relieved that I was given a fair chance because of the re-count. Would it be fair that I don’t get the chance I worked for because the others, who didn’t do anything still deserve that slot? It's tough to answer because of all the hurt feelings on both sides.

I don’t have the perfect solution for this kerfuffle, but I'm very grateful to ALL of YOU for voting every day and for believing in what I do…because…

Until August 7th, 2014 I’m going to be bugging you to continue to vote for US AND PLEASE VOTE FOR SOME VERY SPECIAL FRIENDS OF OURS, WHO ARE ALSO ON THE BALLOT.

Each one of these blogs has chosen to donate their $1000.00 award to Kitten Associates. Support them and it could mean we win an additional $3000.00 or more!!


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Vote HERE DAILY! and don't forget to bookmark the page so you can go back and vote again!


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How to Help Stray Cats: a #BlogPawsDIY Special Post

I found a friendly cat! What do I do now?

How many of you have had cats “find” you? You’re minding your own business and a skinny, sad little waif shows up at your patio door looking for something to eat or you’re doing yard work and hear kittens crying. A cat has given birth under your shed.

There are countless ways you might find a cat or vice versa, but what do you do next? You’ve got to help them!

First things First. Is the cat Friendly or Feral?

Do you think the cat is a lost house-cat or a wild child? Sometimes it’s tough to tell the difference. In this insightful article, Alley Cat Allies shares some great tips on how to make the determination The short answer is, if they come over to you and want to be petted, you know it’s a friendly stray. In a future post we’ll talk about what to do if the cat is feral. For now we’ll focus on friendly cats.

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A few weeks ago Sam spotted an unfamiliar cat outside on our deck so we began the process of finding out if he needed our help.

Friendly Cats

First, if the cat is NOT BADLY INJURED OR SERIOUSLY ILL* you MUST find out if this is someone else’s cat. It doesn’t matter if the cat appears to be in poor condition, very thin, dirty or not seriously injured. It may have lost its home a long time ago and it may still have a family looking for it. Call your local animal control and report a FOUND cat. Do not simply call them and ask them to take the cat away. Many municipalities do not take found cats and if they do they might euthanize the animal. What they might be able to do is scan the found cat for a microchip. Ask if they can help you with that. If they can’t do the scan, most vets can at least do that. If you can handle the cat and get it to a vet, finding that it has a chip may allow you to reunite it with its family.

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Poor Boots is lost in New Milford, CT.

Also, put flyers around your neighborhood and post photos and information on social media. In some states there are state-specific lost and found web sites for pets. Take a moment to search for those, too. You might be surprised at what you find. Here's a group dedicated to finding lost pets in northwestern CT.

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Keep your eyes peeled for signs in your town from folks looking for their lost cat. It might be the one you found!

If you can’t find their family, as you’re reaching out to get help from a rescue or shelter, be prepared to at least provide fresh food and water for the cat. Shelter is helpful especially if it’s very cold or hot where you live. A plastic storage bin turned on its side in a safe location without the lid works fine to keep the cat out of the elements. Add bedding but make sure to bag it and sanitize wash it after you’re done using it.

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This is a special area where we feed our feral kitty, Bronte. A few weeks ago we noticed she had a new friend with her.

Next, go on and do a search for shelters and rescues in your area. Call and email each one that handles cats.


• Describe the cat as best you can. Is it a specific breed? Is it Long or short haired? What Color is it? Boy or girl or you can’t tell. Is it injured or pregnant? If it’s a kitten or kittens describe if their eyes are open yet, if they are blue, if their ears are perky or flat, if they can walk on their own or just wobble. The more you can tell the rescue, the better they will know what they’re dealing with and be able to figure out if they can help that animal.

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Less than a day after posting this photo on Facebook a woman contacted me and said it might be the missing kitty, Boots. I contacted his family and they still need better images as they are not sure this is their boy, so I'm working on that right now. If it's not Boots, then this kitty is headed to our vet.

•Provide CLEAR photos of the cat’s face and body. Try to estimate age. Older cats lose muscle mass and have noticeable tooth wear and tear.

• Be willing to foster the found cat in your home for a short period of time. The space can be a spare room or bathroom, but do not let the new cat mix with your existing pets until that cat is completely vetted and treat the cat for fleas before you bring it inside unless they are less than 8 week old kittens. They'll need a bath if that's the case.

• If you can afford it, offer to provide whatever you can to make it easier on the rescue. Rescues often survive from day to day. They get calls all the time from people who need help but only want to dump a problem on them without being part of the rescue. THE MORE YOU CAN DO TO HELP MAKE IT EASY FOR A RESUCE TO SAY YES, DO IT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP YOU GET THE CAT A PLACEMENT.

• Offer a donation towards the care of the cat and you can get the cat its initial vetting. Have it tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, have it de-wormed and de-flea’d and give him or her a Rabies vaccination. If the cat is intact, you can take it to a low cost clinic. You can find them listed by using the Petsmart & ASPCA locator below: The clinic can do the testing and vaccinations while the cat is being fixed usually all for under $100.00.

If you don’t have a low cost clinic in your area, talk to your own vet or call a local vet. Some will give a “good Samaritan” discount for services. Providing vet care for the cat will make most rescues take notice, because it's rarely ever done. You just saved them not only money, but time.

• Offer to transport the cat to their foster home or facility.

Be patient and be persistent. Expect not to get a call back right away, but don’t give up. You know the saying about the squeaky wheel…and GOOD LUCK!

Let’s save some lives!

Keep this post handy because some day you just might need it!



This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about DIY month, but Covered in Cat Hair only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.

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The Neglected Kittens Chapter 1. This Miserable Life.

The kittens were born under the hot southern sun to two mothers who were barely out of kittenhood themselves. The mamas had a human family who fed them, but that’s about all they did. They never bothered to spay their cats or neuter the males for whatever excuse made it seem as though it’s all right to not provide care because that’s what people do…or rather don’t do in this part of the country.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. I can't believe this kitten was so depressed he was lying on the thorns of a rose bush!

We’ve seen this story played out so many times, in so many places. Intact cats left to breed out-of-control, leaving their offspring to meet a terrible fate. These cats are often reduced to being part of the food chain, instead of becoming beloved family members, which is a terrible truth that most rescuers fight with all they’ve got.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. You can see it in the photo but this kitten, like all the others, is very thin.

One white kitten doesn’t make it past a few days, while the others are mercilessly spared, or is it a good thing they survived? Their fate was to immediately become tempting morsels for anything that could catch them, bite them, slowly drain the life out of them. While somehow the roaming foxes didn’t get to them, the parasites had a field day.

It’s likely their mama passed roundworms and probably tapeworms into them during nursing. Being outdoors, of course the fleas were next to enjoy their bounty. Add to that the only food the kittens had after they were done nursing was cheap greasy kibble that was rotting under the blazing sun, covered with hungry flies.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. A mama already. We need to help her stop having more kittens.

Slowly but surely whatever vitality they might have had was slowly being eroded away. In time, if no one intervened, Mother Nature’s clean up crew would take care of them (but I don’t dare describe this any further as any kind-hearted cat lover would be devastated by reading about it).

I’m so angry and sick and tired of this story. It’s unfair, “fixable” (pardon the pun), but for some reason the people who mindlessly leave their animals intact have no concern about what happens after their cats have kittens. What drives me INSANE is not only do these people IGNORE their cats basic needs, but when it’s CLEAR that the littlest kittens are COVERED in FLEAS. Don’t they notice? Don’t they see their eyes running? Don’t they feel that they’re basically skin and bones when they reach down to pet them?

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. How do you NOT notice this kitten is sick?

I ask this over and over again and never get answer: WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE IGNORE DISEASED ANIMALS who they are supposedly in charge of caring for? WHAT DO THEY TELL THEMSELVES SO THEY DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT NEGLECTING THESE CREATURES? Is it because they can’t afford it? Sorry, but they can get vouchers, they can ask for help from shelters or rescues so money isn’t the reason. I’m going to hold my tongue and not go off on a rant, but I’ll admit it’s not easy while my blood is boiling.

Of the eight kittens in this person’s yard, two already “ran away.” The six that were left didn’t have much time left before it was their turn to magically disappear into a horrific ending.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Worst shape of all the kittens. If he went much longer with the amount of fleas he had on him he'd be dead.

When our foster mom, Moe was driving home from work and she saw kittens running around in this person’s yard. She stopped and quickly realized these kittens needed help ASAP.

Moe had just finished fostering Mia and her kittens and was taking a much needed break. I had taken Mia and family, plus I have Celeste and her 4 kittens plus Wallace, our Fire Dept rescue kitten AND Junebug and MaggieMae. To say that I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. I did not want to take on any more cats for the next few months, but when I heard about what was going on, then saw the photos, I couldn’t turn my back on this situation.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Can I give you my fleas?

I am not going to let these kittens die.

Moe reported that there are 6 kittens and 5 adults (very young) who need at least vetting if not more. I have a great fear that as a small rescue this puts us over our limit for what we can care for, but I don’t know what else I can do other than take it one day at a time and hope this all works out. I’m glad she wants to take on this responsibility and I’ve assured her that anything she needs-I’ve got her back.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. Lovely lady. We hope she's not pregnant. Can any rescues in GA lend a hand?

But now I need someone to have my back, too. Taking on six more mouths to feed, plus vetting the adults is going to be expensive. We’ve already done the initial vetting and all the kittens have very bad flea infestation, worms, ear mites and more. Thankfully they tested negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia, but they have a long road ahead. I can’t even use the word: recovery because they have never known good health. Perhaps this long journey will lead to a rebirth of sorts into the beautiful animals they were meant to be from the day they were born.

Here’s the plan:

We’ve got the ball rolling but we need more help. The kittens haven’t had good nutrition so they’re underweight and in one kitten’s case, I’m very worried about him. He was covered with over 100 fleas, which may have made him anemic. We need to test his blood and test the kittens for a flea-born infection called Bartonella, which I bet they have. Treatment (liquid compounded zithromax for 3 weeks) costs $40/bottle and each kitten will need a bottle. Add to that all the other medications, vet visits, tests…yikes…

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Our goal is to get everyone healthy. If we can find a local rescue to take them after they’re vetted, great. If we are fortunate to get a new foster home here in Newtown OR if we start doing some adoptions (very slow this time of year), then I’ll bring the kittens here (which I would prefer doing).

We’re also going to work with the family to get their adult cats vetted as soon as possible. There are low cost clinics we can work with. We know if we ask these folks to pay for this service they will find a reason to say no, so we want to get the cats taken care of on our dime. Moe has a tough task balancing her own desire to rip these folks a “new one,” with the need to focus on caring for the cats. She can’t upset these people so she’ll be respectful and get the cats vetted as soon as she can using funds my rescue, Kitten Associates will provide for her.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. No more fleas on meet! By the way, this is a VERY SWEET kitten.

I estimate it will cost at least $140/cat to be vetted (if they have bartonella). This doesn’t include food, litter and toys, which adds a lot since they eat 8, 5 oz cans of food every day. We’re at roughly 1600.00 for all the kittens AND the adults to get vetted. I just spent $400.00 on food, toys and initial vetting.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. This is no existence for a kitten.

Ways to Share Your Love: – use it to shop and we’ll get a small donation that’s banked to our account every time you shop for anyone or any thing on

KA amazon wishlist: our wishlist shipping address helps our Connecticut based fosters, but we can't add our Georgia location to our list. The BEST way you can help is by purchasing a Gift Card for so we can buy what the kittens need and ship it directly to foster mom, Moe. If you’d like to direct how the gift card is used, just leave a note when you purchase the gift card in the gift note area and we’ll take care of it. WE REALLY NEED GIFT CARDS TO BUY FOOD!!!

Donate through our Facebook App that’s on the left side our KA Facebook page

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Visit our PetCaring Fundraiser Page where we’ll share photos and updates

If you'd like to mail us a check, checks can be made out to: Kitten Associates and mailed to: P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354. Please add a note on your check: “Neglected Kittens”.

We realize there are zillions of cats whose stories are online who need help and we’d all be broke if we made a donation to each one of them. The other way you can make a difference that doesn’t cost a dime is to simply SHARE this post socially with your cat-loving friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Your donation is tax deductible in the U.S.A., but see your tax advisor for how to claim a deduction and how it applies to your tax situation. Our Tax ID EIN is 27-3597692.

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. First car ride, of course, is to the Vet.

UPDATE: In just two days the kittens have eaten A TON of food. THEY LOVE IT! Moe spent the afternoon giving each kitten a bath. No more fleas! They’ve been treated for fleas, mites and worms so they should be feeling better very soon. I think they’re off to a great start.

Next is to get the buff kitty’s blood work done and test them for bartonella and get their first vaccinations done. We need to do this ASAP! Stay tuned to Covered in Cat Hair on Facebook for updates.

Thank you for being part of our life saving efforts!

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©2014 Foster Mom, Moe. It's going to get better from this moment forward. Welcome to our rescue little ones. We've got your back.

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Mia's Story: The Verdict.

(Catch up on this story by reading this post first.)

Mia. What to do? Do I transport her to my home in Connecticut or leave her with her foster mom, Moe in Georgia. That has been the question plaguing me for the past few weeks.

I asked all of you to offer your thoughts on this matter and I appreciate that so many of you took time to share your experiences with me. It confirms my own confusion, simply by reading all your comments. Your vote is almost evenly split between leaving Mia behind and keeping her with her kittens.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Transport heading north. Have a safe trip!

I decided what to do well before I wrote my post. I decided it would be better for Mia to stay behind, but as the days passed and Moe sent me photos of the kittens with their mom, my opinion began to waffle. I knew that whatever I did there would be at least a facet of the decision that ends up being a “bad” choice. Whatever comes to pass it will be a learning experience. We hope for the good outcome and fear the bad.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia and Greta.

I also realized that although Mia would be alone, it would be different if she was alone here. Sam and I are home all day and can spend time with her. Moe is not. I was concerned that Mia would regress out of being along for so many hours per day. Coming here Mia will not be alone, but in a few weeks IF things go well, we may have enough kittens adopted out to where we CAN begin the one on one work…but that's a big IF. I'll be working with her every day while her kittens have fun in their new, much bigger space, but I may not get too far until she's alone.

Lastly, I adore Mia. She may be impossible to get off the transport tomorrow. She may bite the crap out of my hand and send me to the ER. She may be so exhausted she may go easily into my cat carrier and not be a problem at all. Whatever comes to pass, Mia will be with her family and us, tomorrow afternoon. I couldn't leave her behind. I just couldn't.

Early next week we're getting a second HD Dropcam. This one will be in Mia & Family's room. I'll be posting a link to view it on our Facebook Page, but for now you'll be able to see them via SqueeTV Ch 1 starting late tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 6/28, EST). The camera will be off until the kitties arrive.

Thank you all for your help and for sharing this journey with me. I've got my fingers crossed that I made the right choice and no matter what happens, I'll be sharing the story of what happens next right here.


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Mia's Story. WWYD?

The weeks have flown by since we first accepted Mia, a rough and tumble pregnant stray cat, into the Kitten Associates rescue program. We didn’t know much about her other than she was living off scraps at an apartment complex where cats were not welcome-not welcome to the point where the management was about to put down poison to rid the complex of them. We couldn’t allow that to happen, so our foster mom Moe opened up her home to this deserving cat. A few days later Mia gave birth to five healthy kittens.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. From left to right Mia's kittens: Ivy, Greta, Fernando, Snickers, Woody (front).

Ivy, Greta, Woody Jackson, Lil’ Snickers and Fernando have done well and grown into perfectly adoptable kittens. They’ve had their vaccinations and been spayed/neutered. The next step of their journey is to come to my home in Connecticut where we’ll find them their forever homes. Although you might assume that every mom cat travels with their kittens on some rare occasions that's not the case. We have to assess each mom as to whether or not they will come to Connecticut. That process starts from before we accept them into our program and during the time they are in foster care in Georgia.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Almost full family portrait, but who is missing?

Our goal is to keep the families together until they begin getting adopted. We don’t “cherry pick” kittens, then not really care what becomes of the mom. Sadly though, in some cases we’ve had to place a cat into a sanctuary because she was not adoptable (too fractious) and in one case we even had to place the cat with a Vet who needed a barn cat (the cat was feral). Finding the perfect home for EVERY cat is my ultimate goal and passion, but with Mia, knowing what to do for her has stumped me for weeks.

You see Mia isn’t all that friendly with humans, but she’s not so unfriendly that she can’t be adopted. She just can’t be adopted right now. She’s not ready.

So what should I do?

Unlike my other posts where you go on a journey with me, I’m asking you to help me choose the direction I take. What do YOU think I should do about Mia?

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Ivy is too mature to bother with nursing on her poor mama.

Here’s what I know:

Mia has been a great mom and even after she’s been spayed she is still very close to her kittens. They nurse on her for comfort and she doesn’t seem to mind (even though she has no more milk). They still cuddle with her and play alongside her. As the kittens get adopted we know she will be separated from them, but doing it slowly instead of all at once seems kinder to her.

Mia bit Moe. Badly. In all fairness Moe felt that she possibly “asked for it” by scratching the base of Mia’s tail on her back too roughly. That said, Moe KNOWS cats so was it her fault or does Mia react on a hair trigger? Does that mean Mia can’t be adopted into a home with young kids? Any kids? I can find a home for her without kids but it does make it harder.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Like mother like son.

In the few months Mia’s been with Moe, she hasn’t really “blossomed” or become more friendly. She is not aggressive. I’m told she's fearful. She seems to like one of Moe’s other cats and we think perhaps Mia likes cats more than she likes humans (which again is OK, but not great for getting her adopted).

It’s possible that if we separate Mia from her kittens and transport the kittens without her that being alone in Moe’s foster space will force her to trust and love Moe. I call it “tough love.” Because Moe will be the only contact Mia will have, the hope is that Mia will soften in her attitude about humans. We can transport Mia up here in another month or two if she’s doing better, but if there are any kittens here, she may have forgotten them and might not be friendly to them any more (as we saw years ago when we had Bobette here and she went nuts on her kittens after arriving on transport with them).

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia and Ivy.

Or…being alone all day without any contact until Moe gets home from work would make Mia worse and maybe she would be happier here since Sam and I are home all day and can spend time with her.

Mia could come off transport and hate her kittens. I have no place to put her away from them, but I could get a BIG 3-tiered cage for her and could cage her unless I’m in the room if the kittens are in danger. Of course that’s a shitty option for Mia, one I am not a big fan of.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mama Mia.

• If I can’t turn Mia into an adoptable cat, then what do I do? I can’t have her jam up my ability to take on more cats and I CANNOT just add her to my cat family (even if she’s fluffy and pretty-prerequisites for living here). If Moe had the same difficulty, at least I know of a sanctuary in Georgia that might be able to help us. I suppose if push comes to shove I could find something around here, but I’ve never heard of a place that takes cats like Mia. There is a place that takes unadoptable cats that have terminal illness or disability, but Mia is not like that.

MIA IS ADORABLE! Who cares if she's friendly?

The transport leaves on Friday. What should I do?

Want to know more? Mia's backstory is here.


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Jackson Galaxy Hits One Out of the Park with Lux Episode

[While I try to stay clear of all the juicy details there IS a spoiler alert in this post so be forewarned if you haven't seen My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!]

I cried during the fledgling episode of My Cat From Hell. It was the first time I ever saw a cat behaviorist work with a cat on television and get seemingly magical results. I’ve worked with cats on an informal basis for years, but the show’s star and self-proclaimed “Cat Daddy,” Jackson Galaxy helped a whole new audience learn to see the world through a cat’s eyes. I knew his work was going to save countless lives of cats who had previously been misunderstood. For that, I am forever in his debt.

Over the past 5 seasons, MCFH has become, I dread to say, a bit formulaic. As we watch each show unfold with the threat of the cat losing its home if it “doesn’t behave” or if “Jackson can’t fix the cat,” we find ourselves feeling a bit like the boy who cried wolf. We know that in the end, the cat will be okay and the family will learn a valuable lesson. The cat always stays in his or her home. What's becomes clear over the years is that often the cat guardians need the training more than the cat does.

In My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!, Jackson moves us over our “challenge line” into a new realm that feels unsafe. I wasn’t sure I wanted to cross into this uncharted territory. Would the show have a happy conclusion? I watched because I trust Jackson's instincts and unlike some naysayers online, I never thought for a second that Jackson's motives were anything other than sincere. He's not out to grab onto Lux's media magnetism. He convinced Animal Planet to go back into production after the fifth season shooting had wrapped, hoping that documenting his time with Lux would mean a better life for the cat and his guardians and allow the public to see beyond the media firestorm. There was no turning away with such sincere motives.

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©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson meets Lux.

The goals of this hour-long episode focusing on Lux the cat, were many, with the main objective being to end the vilification of Lux’s family by the media (not me!) and of Lux, himself. In my interview with Jackson Galaxy, we discussed this episode and went into the details of why 911 was called by Lee Palmer after Lux went berserk after his 7-month old baby pulled Lux’s tail.

Without giving away all the details, I can say that how the show unfolded left me breathless. The story of Lux, his family and how they're coping with being vilified in the media, how they're trying to right their ship, is what I want to see. The editing in of the 911 call clips repeatedly played over and over as the show evolved, were a distraction to the gut-wrenching truth being revealed. I don’t get a buzz from seeing the attempt to re-sensationalize the story by the production company. We KNOW why Jackson is with Lux, let’s focus on moving forward after we get the gist of the past problems.

How Jackson handled this cat’s problems and managed his family’s expectations once he realized he could be over his head were what made this show great. He gave Lee Palmer and Teresa Barker a fair shake, while I remained suspicious about their motives after hearing their description of Lux going on the attack. By the show’s conclusion I realized like so many others, that indeed the family had been terrorized, but now they knew most likely why.

In my interview with Jackson, before the airing of this groundbreaking episode, I asked him if Lux being a bottle baby affected his current condition, to which he agreed. But what didn’t come into play was something that dawned on by watching the show. Lux was REJECTED by his mother, which is different than finding him as an orphan. If you’ve ever fostered a mama cat and kittens, it’s very likely one or more of them don’t make it. It’s Mother Nature. Mama-cats KNOW there is something wrong with their offspring. They won’t feed them and they won’t clean them. They basically ignore them and let them die. Unless humans intervene, these kittens have no chance to live and even if they do try to help, as I learned a few weeks ago, the kittens still often die.

I have to wonder if Lux’s mother knew there was something wrong with him at birth. With the thousands of dollars of tests done on Lux during the episode that couldn’t find a thing, something that Lux’s mother knew, was something we can’t test for. Perhaps she understood that Lux shouldn’t have lived, while Teresa helped him beat the odds by saving his life.

Does that mean Lux should be euthanized? Hell, no!

Regardless of how Lux acquired the issues he has, seeing Jackson go the distance for this cat is a shout out, loud and clear, about how imperative it is to GET YOUR CAT TO A VET whenever they display behaviors that are outside the norm. While I don’t know if this is the case, I was shocked that Palmer and Barker didn’t get this cat checked out FIRST. Perhaps they did, but not thoroughly. It’s too late to throw stones, but again it underscores why, especially in cases like Lux’s, that you can’t just do a physical exam and call it a day. You have to dig as deep as you need to go to get to the answer. Anything less than that is not humane because the cat will end up needlessly suffering, possibly for a lifetime.

As the episode unfolded, I started to cry. When Jackson told the family what he felt was best, after all these seasons of this very threat hanging over every cat, here it was…this cat can’t stay in his home. It's not safe for the baby. It's not fair to the cat. Instead of a “Hollywood ending” there was real drama here. Gone was the trademark Jackson Galaxy fist pump signaling success yet again. Though there was an appropriate conclusion, it was just as messy as Jackson had hinted at during our chat. Once difficult decisions had been made, Lux was still not out of the woods, but if nothing else, we know the truth now.

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©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. No longer a villain, Lux has the world rooting for him.

In this story there are no villains, only people trying to do the best with what they understand about cats and a cat who was seriously misunderstood. For Lee and Teresa, they can turn the page in this chapter of their life and move forward without fear of reprisal. They didn’t do anything wrong. For Jackson, he had the chutzpah to do the right thing no matter what that meant and to convince these people to trust his evaluation. For Lux, after being rejected at birth, then 4 years of being wrongly accused, he has a chance to live a decent life, maybe not charmed, but certainly one where he is no Cat From Hell. He’s just an adorable cat who got dealt an unfair hand of cards.

I hope that in future episodes of MCFH, Jackson takes on more difficult cases as we've seen with Lux. We’ve grown in our understanding of cats with Jackson's guidance and have learned so much, but if I’m like most viewers I’m hungry to know more even if that means no guarantee of a happy ending.


A special shout out to the Oregon Humane Society for helping Lux and for a 98% save rate. Well done!


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What the Heart Knows: As Simple as That. Ch 3.

Continued from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

That said, I also saw something in Sam’s expression that told me that Wally had already captured his heart. Sam was so tender with this little kitten it was clear he was smitten. I, too, felt not only great fondness for this baby but utter devotion to getting him stablized. I shocked myself at feeling anger with Celeste for not accepting a new ward. This kitten, who could have died a few hours ago, needed all the loving care we could give him and she should have joined us in our efforts. I also knew that wasn’t fair. I had to get over my own disappointment in her behavior and in truth, maybe it was for the best for now.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. This fragile life.

At 5AM I got up to prepare Wallace’s next meal. He was konked out in his carrier, but quickly woke up when I opened the carrier door. He wobbled over wanting to get out. Crying his little mute cry..just open mouth, no sound. I hoped he'd be squeaking after he had something to eat and got recharged. I felt bad waking Sam up too, but it seemed to work much better if he held Wally while I carefully syringed the formula into him. I’d weighed him earlier and he was only 8oz while my other foster kittens were at 15oz or more and they were the same age. We’d calculated how much to feed him so we began counting syringefuls of formula.

Wally was eager to eat, one, two, three…ten, eleven, twelve..finally thirteen ccs of formula. He was voided and gave us a big surprise. I barely touched his bottom when a very large stool slid right out into my hand (which had a paper towel over it, thankfully). I can’t believe how happy I was to see that, but it was proof that his bodily functions were working properly. The stool looked okay-not the runs-no blood. Another good sign.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Wallace survived the night and already had us under his spell.

We went back upstairs to get a few hours rest. Wally was too fussy to sleep, so I sat up in bed, holding him. His sharp claws raked against my skin as he frantically searched up and down my chest for his mother, for her nourishing nipples. He would bury his face into the soft flesh of my upper arm, but would as quickly move away, not finding his prize. I had to keep turning him or lifting and moving him so he didn't fall. My eyelids were growing heavy, but I didn’t care. He was alive. He was doing well. I didn’t screw it up. Maybe in some small way, I helped right the wrong of losing Fiorello.

After an hour, Wally got tired so I put him back with his stuffed friend. He fell asleep and so did I.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. First night with Christine.

Christine called a few hours later and told me she could come get Wallace in the afternoon. As glad as I was to have help, I found myself feeling quite sad that he was leaving. As always, I knew I’d done my part, now Christine would care for him for a few weeks and when he was bigger and stronger, he would come back and I’d figure out a way to put him with one of our two litters. He needed socialization with kittens as much as he needed loving care from us. I am determined to provide that for him and will do so when the time is right.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Christine scores, getting Wallace to take the bottle.

Sam and I fed Wallace a few more times before Christine arrived. He ate well, we even burped him (yes, you SHOULD do that after feeding the little guys---VERY GENTLY) and he continued to charm us to no end. When it was time for us to part, I can say without reservation that we both were reluctant to let him go. Even with feedings every few hours, we didn’t care about being tired. In such a short amount of time, Sam and I were both in love with this little kitten.

What I also realized was that I’d just had a glimpse of what it might have been like if Sam and I had ever had children of our own. We’d been very good “parents” to Wally and that sense of teamwork made me feel proud that we could do this again and maybe next time with more confidence.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Full belly & sweet dreams.

We went over Wally’s care with Christine. She impressed me to no end. It was clear she knew what to do and when so I gave her all the supplies she’d need. She even has heated seats in her car so she said she’d turn them on so the warmth would keep the cat carrier toasty as she drove Wally to her home. I barely knew this woman, but from our short meeting and few interactions at her work, I felt completely at ease. There's just something about certain people who you know you can count on without having to worry they will back out on you. Also, Christine is so upbeat and cheerful, you just have to adore her.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Sleeping with his SnuggleKittie.™

Tired, achy, but happy, after we said our goodbyes to Wallace and Christine, I walked into the living room and noticed that one of the cats, had peed on the sofa, right where Sam had just been sitting cuddling with Wally. It was a huge mess, but just goes to show that my own cats were not as happy with the newcomer as we were, and helped remind me that for now I should just love Wallace from afar if I value having a clean place to sit.

Update: In the week since Wallace was rescued, Christine has given us one great update after another. Wallace has DOUBLED his weight, which is unheard of, but also lets us know how much of a crisis he was in when we first brought him home.

Although Christine's home is full of cats, dogs, fish, and a few other tiny creatures, until recently Wallace has been separated from all of them. He'll continue to be separated from the cats, but there's one lady who demanded to be part of Wallace's caretakers. She's a Great Dane named Nina and she LOVES Wallace as if he were her own puppy. Wallace gets daily cleaning from his doggie foster mom and he gets to snuggle with her (under supervision of course) and enjoy having the warmth and love of another creature. I'm sure between Christine, her loving family and Nina, it's keeping Wallace not only alive, but happy and for an orphan, being depressed is something we want to avoid. We're VERY lucky and so is Wallace. His rescue just fell into place, as simple as that.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Nina gets "attacked" by tiny Wallace.


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Jackson Galaxy's Biggest Challenge Yet. Lux the Cat.

Who hasn't had a bad day with their cat, but how many of you felt like you had to call 911 as a result?

Cat behaviors are often misunderstood, but rarely, if ever, do they make national headlines as it did with a cat named Lux last March.

For Lux, the 4-year old, 11 lb (not 22 lb as reported elsewhere) black and white domestic medium haired cat, the question everyone wants answered is who's at fault for the cat going berserk after his tail was pulled by a 7-month old baby? The incident started an escalating chain reaction. Lux clawed the baby and the baby's father, Lee Palmer kicked Lux in the rear end, then grabbed his kid, his girlfriend Teresa Barker, and their dog as they fled into a back room, terrified at Lux's violent reaction after being struck. Instead of running away from Palmer, he flew sky-high into the red zone, screaming and charging at his family who were cowering on the other side of a locked door.

The result was a call to the Portland, Oregon 911 where they dispatched the Police to rescue the family from the now crazed cat.

©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson Galaxy.

Once the news hit everyone had an opinion about Lux. Some said to put him down for striking a baby. Others said to put the family down for kicking the cat. In stories like this I like to believe that somewhere in the middle lies the truth, but there's only one person uniquely qualified to shed light on this situation.

Cat behaviorist extraordinaire Jackson Galaxy, star of the hit show My Cat From Hell, heard about Lux and even though shooting for his fifth season had just wrapped, Jackson felt it was important not only to offer his services but to capture Lux's story on film so the truth could come out for the world to see.

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From ABCNEWS the 911 audio tapes are heard.

I had the pleasure of speaking the Jackson about his experiences with Lux. What surprised me when I chatted with Jackson about this episode was that Jackson, who says it often takes him about 5 minutes to sort out a behavior problem, had a different experience with Lux. Jackson has never worked a case like this. It surprised him, stumped him, frustrated him to no end, but also Jackson discovered he had a great deal of love for this cat—the kind of love he has reserved for his own cats (which he hinted at offhandedly that perhaps Lux might be one day…or at least be a part of Lux's life going forward).

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©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson Galaxy meets Lux.

What is unprecedented about the episode: “911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage!” is that since it was after season five had finished shooting it took the combined efforts of Animal Planet, the MCFH production staff, local Vets, the Multnomah County Animal Shelter (where Lux had briefly been surrendered) and Jackson to work together to get this story on the air. It's important because “this episode will challenge everyone.” Which was why a full hour was dedicated to Lux. It may very well be My Cat From Hell's coming of age show, something Jackson is very proud of.

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©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Jackson making a new friend in Lux.

When asked, Jackson couldn't say what the odds are that Lux will keep his home, even knowing that his family did their homework over the few weeks Jackson worked with them.

The homework itself evolved in ways we haven't seen in previous episodes. It wasn't "tie it up in a bow" sort of pretty resolution. It's important that viewers understand that not all behavior issues are so simple to decode. “We condense 35 hours of shooting into a 22 minute episode. Life is messy, resolutions are messy.”

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©2014 Animal Planet. Used with permission. Aww..really? Does this look like a cat who would cause trouble? Okay…a lot of trouble? Sweet Lux.

Lux's story doesn't have a resolution yet, but his journey is what makes this episode of My Cat From Hell so groundbreaking because it unfolds in ways other shows have never been able to. We discover Lux as Jackson does.

Jackson reminds us that Lux was a bottle baby. Although there haven't been any studies about how the unbreakable bond with the human who cares for orphan kittens effects them as adults, many in rescue already know there's something different about them. Those cats tend to be cats, but “not quite cats.” Without other cats to learn from, these bottle babies have a confused perception of their world. Are they cats? Are they humans? Are they something in between? In Lux's case he has that bond with Teresa, but he also struggles with many behavior issues that Jackson is determined to get to the bottom of.

When Lux terrified his family it was an isolated incident “in his life,” as Jackson attests, but that didn't mean he hadn't had issues prior to his family's 911 call. Lux suffers from a myriad of problems: overstimulation, redirected aggression, play aggression, you name it. I asked if Lux had been to the Vet and Jackson replied that not only had Lux been to the Vet, he'd been MANY TIMES. “We spent a ton of money on him and looked at every last angle.” There was passion in Jackson's voice as he continued; “There is something in his body that's betraying him.” And if anyone can figure out what it is, Jackson can.

My final question stumped Jackson and gave our interview a moment of levity. I asked: “Where did the name Lux come from?” Jackson, who had been so focused and passionate about helping the cat overcome his behavior issues never thought to ask. He promised that if the show goes into a sixth season he'd be sure to find out.


My Cat From Hell: 911, My Cat’s Holding Me Hostage! airs Saturday, June 14th at 8pm EST on Animal Planet.


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It's Only Good Cat Food if They'll Eat it #WeruvaPets

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time trying to sort out what to feed your cat. Do you believe marketing hype? Do you do research about what ingredients to stay clear of? Do you find yourself going crazy with all the options out there only to come home, thinking you did the right thing, then find out after all your time, effort, and money wasted, YOUR CAT WON'T EAT IT!

This is why, for years, one of my "go to" choices is Weruva. Their tagline shouldn't be "Because Weluvya." It should be, "Because they Luv to Eat It."


I believe good nutrition is the cornerstone for every cat’s health and that includes feeding them a variety of proteins, too. It’s clear that the folks at Weruva, makers of “People food for Pets,” understand that since they've created four lines of canned or pouched cat food, all with a different focus on proteins. Their lines are: B.F.F. (Best Feline Friend), Weruva Cans, Cats in the Kitchen & their new line, Weruva TruLuxe.

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What to feed your cat becomes a much more important question to ask when you discover that your cat is sick. Forgetting your cat is an obligate carnivore, and not feeding him or her based on that fact, can causes a worsening of their symptoms. Feeding delicious high-protein food, however, can make a big difference. Case in point, my friend and fellow cat rescuer, Warren Royal's foster cat, Big Daddy.

Big Daddy lived behind a DIY store in northern Georgia. He'd been dumped, was injured and starving. He literally was so hungry, that when Warren set the trap to capture him, Big Daddy pushed Warren away so he could get at the food! This was NO feral cat and sure enough, Warren discovered Big Daddy was a Big Love Bug.

Over the past 4 months, Big Daddy's had quite an adventure and sadly some of it wasn't what we'd ever want to see happen to a cat. Big Daddy, who is FIV+, became so ill he went blind temporarily and almost died. After many tests it was determined that Big Daddy has Large T-Cell Lymphoma. He's just 4 years old.

Because I'm so passionate about nutrition, Warren asked my advice on what to feed Big Daddy. Since becoming sick, Big D's appetite hadn't been very good. I knew we had to get him to eat SOMETHING and once he was eating we could fine-tune his food choices so he'd also begin to re-gain some of the weight he'd lost being sick.

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©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. A clip from a video of Big Daddy lapping up some Funk in the Trunk.

I asked Warren about his experience with Weruva's Cats in the Kitchen and TruLuxe lines.

CiCH: You've mentioned your frustration in trying to find a cat food that Big Daddy will eat since his sense of smell is effected by being sick. How many other brands/types of foods did you try before finding something he would enjoy that YOU also felt was good for him?

Warren: I wasn't keeping great records in the beginning (I am now), but I think I had tried 10-12 other brands and types of food for him, and he turned his nose up on all of them but 2 - and those two were not healthy for him, so I continued searching for something else.

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©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy with rescuer, Warren.

CiCH: What role does diet play in Big Daddy's life, now that he's been diagnosed with lymphoma?

Warren: Having a proper diet is extremely important to him - he has to maintain his health and his immune system, through all the tests and treatments, so we are very careful to make sure he eats the best diet possible. His FIV status makes it even more important that we give him every nutritional benefit that we can. We can't have him eating junk. But because he needs to maintain his weight and strength, it also has to be something that he LIKES, to encourage him to eat. So finding a good, healthy food that he really likes is wonderful.

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CiCH: With so many other brands of cat food available, how do you feel the Weruva, Cats in the Kitchen line compares?

Warren: So far, the "Cats in the Kitchen" line has been very successful with him. He loves the flavors, and it's nutritious, so it's the best of both worlds for us. A great and healthy food is no good to us if he won't eat it! This line, for him, was a godsend. I'm so happy that we found it (through a recommendation by a dear friend!)

Warren had a final comment about Cats in the Kitchen and TruLuxe that I thought summed things up nicely: “I'm not kidding, every single thing I have offered him from them, he has gobbled down. Almost everything else, meh…”

To be clear, there's no cat food out there that will cure Big Daddy's cancer, but feeding him grain-free canned food, with 80% water (a MUST to keep cats hydrated) and in some lines with NO GMO, Novel Proteins, NO MSG, CARRAGEENAN FREE, is a great way to keep him in the best health possible as he begins chemotherapy.

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©2014 Warren Royal. Used with permission. Big Daddy just ate almost 2, 3-oz cans of Funk in the Trunk. I find it hilarious that he always leaves one bite of food-maybe to eat later?

If you’d like to learn more about Weruva, Cats in the Kitchen or their other lines of cat and dog food, please visit their web site or LIKE them on Facebook and Twitter. Let them know Covered in Cat Hair sent you!

If you'd like to follow Big Daddy's adventure, he has his own Facebook page.


This post is sponsored by Weruva. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Weruva as a part of the BlogPaws Blogger Network, but only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Weruva is not responsible for the content of this article.

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Why it Means so Much

We're well into what my fellow pet-bloggers and I like to refer to as “Petties Season.” It begins each June as Dogtime Media announces that nominations are being accepted for the 2014 Dogtime Pettie Awards. These awards, which started a few years ago, have garnered them the nickname of the “Oscars of Pet Blogging.”

The nominations last the month of June. In early July, if you're loved by your friends and have enough votes, you get one of four slots to be a Finalist. After yet another long voting period of about a month, winning blogs are announced in early September. Winners receive an awesome lucite trophy and $1000.00 donation they can give to their favorite non-profit animal shelter or rescue. In the past few years, some of my friends have graciously donated their award money to my rescue, Kitten Associates and I've even won twice, to add to the pot.

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For me, winning means a great deal. Last year, winning Best Blog Post for my letter to my dying foster kitten Fred, helped the world know what a special kitten he was and in some way it gave added meaning to his short life. This is a prestigious award and frankly, since I don't get paid to write my blog, winning is a big THANK YOU from all the people who are kind enough to believe in me, who enjoy my stories and who want me to continue my efforts rescuing cats and telling their tale.

And in truth, the first years Kitten Associates was in operation, we would have had to close our doors if it had not been for the Petties donations from our friends. We're a small rescue and we operate with less funds than I'd like, but we never cut costs on quality care for every cat and kitten. These donations CAN mean a BIG difference when you're a small rescue.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia's kittens, just some of the many kittens we've rescued over the years.

This year there are three cat-bloggers, who are also dear friends of mine and who sadly, I am also in competition with to win a Pettie in certain categories. In a perfect world we would ALL win, but the reality is we can't.

These friends, listed below, have also offered to donate their $1000.00 donation to Kitten Associates. If they win it could mean up to $3000.00 for us which is a HUGE help for our programs.

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While I hope your first vote will be for Covered in Cat Hair as Best Cat Blog and Best Blog Post for our Miracle at Bridgeport Animal Control or Chole, After, we also hope you will vote for:

The Conscious Cat-Best Overall Pet Blog

The Tiniest Tiger-Best Blog Post for Welcome Maggie

Texts from Mittens-Funniest Blog or Blogger

We've got about 2 more weeks SO PLEASE KEEP VOTING! Don't forget you can vote every day so make sure you bookmark the page so you can return to it when needed. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE for seeing a value in what we pet bloggers do and THANK YOU ALL for your friendship and support. I deeply appreciate it!

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