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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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...
I was sure Nanaimo and Linzer were going to be adopted first out of Mocha’s family because they were almost identical twin tuxedo kittens. They often had a surprised expression, which made them appear to be caught just before they got into mischief. They could be considered “double trouble” just by the way they looked, but after spending a few minutes with them, it was clear they were love bugs, too.
©2013 Maria S. Nanny (left) and Linzy (right) just after rescue.
I admit that their name choice was probably the two worst cat names I’ve ever come up with, but in my defense, naniamo is a chocolate and vanilla baked treat. If my readers were all from Canada, they’d understand that and might even agree it wasn’t such a bad choice.
Okay, it was a bad choice.
Dr. Larry hooked me up with adopters who came to visit Nanny and Linzy, but it didn’t work out. They ended up taking home Marigold, who is now living in the lap of a very loving home.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Flyin' Linzy.
In no time, I got another great application from a family in Wilton, about 30 minutes drive from here. They’d lost their senior kitty after a long illness and were looking forward to adding two kittens into their home. Everything checked out, except for one little detail. I called the vet for a reference and they told me there was a second cat named Hudson listed on their records, but the last they’d seen him was August of 2013.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Tiger Teaser moustache.
Normally I’d jump all over that lack of detail on their application, but instead I decided to talk to the family when I saw them. There are plenty of times when a family takes on a pet when another family member is in trouble or they help out a neighbor and they don’t consider the pet to be part of the application. I made a mental note to ask about this cat once we did the home visit.
The home was lovely. We only met the mom and younger son. The husband was in the house, but was “busy” with something. Too busy to come out and say hello? That seemed odd. The daughter was away in college.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. The Goof Troop.
We talked about where the cats would live. We talked about their cat who passed away. The son, who is 14, talked about the cat and how much he loved her. We talked for about 30 minutes and not ONE WORD about this other cat, Hudson. I finally asked about him and the woman teared up.
I was told that Hudson was a cat they adopted in 2013 who got outside and ran away. They supposedly did everything they could to get him back but he just wanted to get outside from the first day and they had a really hard time keeping him indoors. He’d been gone for 5 months, but the vet was never informed. The kid jumped in to agree with everything his mother was saying. My cat-rescue-senses went on alert. Was this simply crocodile tears or was she sincere? Was the kid told not to talk about the cat? Was that why he, too, acted as if Hudson had never existed until I pressed them about him?
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Linzy?
I asked her for a photo of Hudson since my buddies at Animals in Distress (A.I.D.) are right down the street and I’d planned to go there to visit anyway. Maybe they could help. The woman changed the subject. Before she did that she’d described where she got the cat and I was pretty sure she was describing A.I.D. but I didn’t challenge her on it. I had some detective work to do.
We concluded the visit and left feeling like something was wrong, nice home, nice people, but something was off. My fears were confirmed a few minutes later at A.I.D. I asked the folks if they knew about a cat I’d just heard of. All I said was the name, Hudson, and they all stopped in their tracks and looked at me. Hudson was THEIR cat. He had lived in a basement his whole life until they rescued him and he’d NEVER been outside. There was no way that cat would want to get out. The Vet told ME that the family had vaccinated the cat for Feline Leukemia months after adopting him, which also gave me another clue that they were letting the cat outside on purpose because usually when there are NO OTHER CATS in the home, the vets don't vaccinate for FeLV.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Biscotti showin' off the belly.
After conversations with many of the volunteers, it was clear to me that something was up with this family. First, they lied a lot on their application, and then they lied about letting their cat outside. I’d heard that the husband did not like the litter pan smell and relegated the cat outside. I can’t confirm that, but what I could prove to be true made me very angry. Most rescues won’t adopt to homes where the cats are let outside. Here in Connecticut, it is JUST TOO DANGEROUS. They may have known to lie on their application to get the kittens. I knew for certain there was NO WAY they were going to get our cats. There were known coyotes in the part of Wilton where this person lived and A.I.D said 5 cats in the area had gone missing in the past few months. I didn’t need any more reasons to say no.
I expected to get a reply to my email turning down the application, but I never heard another word. I’m worried these folks will lie to get a cat who will just end up like all the others because they won’t keep the cat inside. I hate to vilify ANYONE. I really do, but I also will not tolerate being lied to to get a kitten.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Linzy?
Mocha and Pizzelle got adopted next and, again, I got another promising application for the twins. This one was from a Police Officer in a nearby town. He had a dog, two teenage sons and a wife. Very stable home life. Very nice family. Great vet reference. They came to visit the kittens and I have to say, for such BIG (I mean TALL) people, they were ALL VERY MELLOW. The kittens had fun with them and vice versa. It was one of the easiest adoptions I’ve ever done, though looking back it took a long time to find the right fit.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Happy family with happy kittens.
Their dog is a golden retriever who is elderly. I’m guessing the kittens are sleeping on him by now. The last update I got mentioned they were all doing great.
©2013 Maria S. Mocha's kittens, Nanny, Linzy and Pizzelle the day of rescue. And to think these kittens would have perished if we didn't have Maria to foster them and all of you to help fund their rescue. Thank you for helping us do our life-saving work. Want to read this family's backstory? Just go HERE and HERE.
The discarded cats family was mostly spoken for now, with the exception of Biscotti. He remained on his own in the big foster room for the first few days after the adoptions. Being alone pushed Biscotti out of his shy zone and he became a lot friendlier without the other kittens around. Sam and I took turns sleeping with him so he wouldn’t cry from loneliness. I knew he needed friends and that the Clementine’s desperately needed the space, but I wasn’t sure how Biscotti would survive against 5 VERY outgoing, rambunctious kittens.
I also feared that although the Clementine's had been getting antibiotics and treatments for their upper respiratory tract infection that Biscotti could get sick. I asked myself what made the most sense: put Biscotti with other kittens to soothe his loneliness, but risk getting him sick? Or, keep him on his own and let him cry throughout the day?
I couldn't stand to see Biscotti be so sad, so I took a chance and put him with the Clementines.
Boy was that ever a stupid idea.
…to be continued.
continued from Chapter 3
I had a code phrase for Sam so he knew to go get Pizzelle. The mom was about to jump out of her skin and almost blew the surprise. Hanna was focused on Mocha we could have screamed there was a second cat coming and she would not have heard us. We finally got her to turn around as Sam uncovered the second cat carrier. Pizzelle jumped out and Hanna just looked at him. No jumping up and down. No screaming. Nothing.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Linzy flies for her fans.
Her mom and dad tried to get Hanna to understand what was going on. Hanna was chasing after Pizzelle as he was racing around the room. Mocha saw him and growled, then slunk off into a corner. The mom got upset and I told them this was normal and explained why, while in my head I was saying a prayer that both Mocha and the mom would calm down.
Hanna finally realized both cats were hers, but I think she was so overwhelmed and distracted it hadn't really sunk in enough for her to react to it. She loved being able to pet the cats and play with them, talking to them and clearly thrilled that the cats liked her as much as she liked them. Pizzelle had her attention and she was playing with him and petting him as he checked out his new home.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Stand up if you're adopted!
We talked about feeding the cats, then Hanna asked when the cats could come out of the basement and sleep with her. Her mom quickly shut her down, saying no, that no way would the cats sleep with her. They were dirty, carried disease, etc. I just about grabbed the cats and took them out of there when I heard her say that. I did my best to let her know that one of the most wonderful things about having cats is sleeping with them and that they would make more noise and keep Hanna awake if she DIDN’T allow them to sleep with her. Hanna was happy to have me on her side, but I had to tread lightly.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Such comedians! I posted this photo on Facebook last week, just for fun. It got over 37,000 views! Who knew our foster kittens would be so famous?
Mom came up with all sorts of reasons why it was bad, but in the end I got her to agree to at least giving it a chance or maybe letting them sleep with her a few nights a week. I couldn’t imagine this little girl having her first cats and not be able to cuddle with them at night. The problem was her mom feared they’d scratch her face or hurt her while she slept. Steven seemed more relaxed about it. I hoped that they would let them some day. I had to have faith that in time it wouldn’t be a problem, especially as Hanna got older.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. No! I'll get the toy. You stay put!
Meanwhile, Mocha was angry and upset. Hanna was playing with Pizzelle, who was completely at ease. I kept close to Mocha, fearing she’d lash out. I suggested that we do the paperwork and let them decompress for a few minutes. The mom stayed behind, which gave me pause. She was already uptight and fearful. I hoped it wouldn’t affect Mocha and amplify her distress.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mocha. I hoped she would stop lashing out and go back to her sweet self soon.
Things began to calm down between the cats, who were busy getting petted or running over to the big sliding glass door to the back yard. A few dried leaves scattered across the grass and the cats were dazzled by the movement. I knew they'd be spending hours looking out the window watching the birds and squirrels. They were calming down and Mocha's tail went back up and she stopped growling.
©2013 Maria S. Looking back to last summer. Mocha not long after rescue. Exhausted from being trapped inside a cat carrier with her 3 kittens, she finally gets some rest in the safety of Maria's home. Read more about their backstory right HERE and HERE.
I guess it goes to prove that black cats can be lucky after all.
It’s been a long dry spell between adoptions. I got to the point last year where I considered opening up our policies just so I could approve an application. It goes against my grain to even consider for a moment that I wouldn’t get every foster cat the best home possible, that I’d just give up and let them go “wherever.”
To understand me, you have to know The Pretzel Story.
When I was 10, my Mother took me and my brother on an outing. The goal was to pack a picnic lunch, then go somewhere scenic. We lived in a small town in Minnesota, so it had to be somewhere local, but new to us. She chose the Elk River Nuclear Power Plant, right next to the Elk River so we could have a view of the river and see the big fancy power plant. Just thinking about it now gives me the chills. It also may explain the funny mole on my thigh.
©1972 J. Feminella. Me, my brother and Mother the same year we did the trip to Elk River. Sadly, I have no access to the 140 photo albums my Mother left after she died. This is one of the few photos I have of my childhood from about that time.
Honestly, you’d think my own mother knew what she was getting herself into by saying that to me. Did she forget that I lived to please her? That I was an obedient child? As the oldest kid I was the responsible one while my brother got away with murder.
I nodded, then replied, okay, in my sullen-relegated-to-the-back-seat voice and off we went.
About 20 minutes later, my mother asked me for a pretzel. I said no. She laughed then said; “Robin, really, it’s okay, give me a pretzel.”
I thought it was a test. Based on her orders, my somewhat scientific mind urged me to deny her request.
“Robin. Ignore what I said before. Open the bag of pretzels.”
I parroted back to her her own words about not doing it, no matter what she said or did, which of course infuriated her.
Meanwhile, my jerky brother jumped in to further ruffle my feathers: “Yeah, MOTHER SAID! Give us the pretzels!”
My brother and I were always at odds with each other so I battled back with: “NO! You told me NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO OR SAY. No pretzels! So NO!”
“Robin. I’m going to stop the car if you don’t give me the pretzels.”
Dizzy with power, I called her on it. She was bluffing. “YOU told me not to. No.”
She was fuming mad, but in the end, no pretzels.
I also NEVER heard the end of it. NEVER. Even years later. Okay, after my mother died, yes, I heard the end of it, but you know what I mean.
This is why I don’t do more adoptions. Pretzels.
Right around Christmas I started to get application after application. Some folks wanted kittens as gifts, which is a big no-no for me, but what I did is come up with something to appease their needs. I offered a plush cat toy and a gift certificate. This won over a few people, but some adopted elsewhere or dropped off the map. I kept at it until I met Steven, who lives here in Sandy Hook.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Pizzelle, Nanny & Mocha want to know WHO will be adopted next.
Steven is an engineer for IBM. This guy is smart, focused, serious. He also loves cats. His daughter Hanna has been begging for a cat for two years. Hanna is 7. Steven provided me with a very detailed application. He said his wife travelled a lot so that we’d have to work partly around her schedule. Steven would oversee the adoption and she would visit the kittens and approve his selection if they passed muster and were approved. Steven included an article celebrating him as the Employee of the Month. I read it.
Then it didn’t matter what else happened because I was going to give him whatever cat or cats he wanted.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Biscotti is amazed at Pizzelle's high-flying chops.
His application was excellent. The home visit was great, but they lacked in having anything for the cats. Since it was a surprise (this one time I agreed it was okay to give a cat as a gift) for Hanna, everything had to be bought and hidden away. I gave Steven loads of links, told him what to buy and he responded by getting everything you can imagine-and the BEST of the BEST for his new cats.
Steven came to visit the kittens. I had a feeling he would like Nanaimo and Linzer, the tuxedo twins. They showed well and he played with them to no end. He was charmed by Pizzelle who had MANY pending applications already. I was reluctant to let him go, but then again, due to the circumstances I agreed he could be adopted, but…who would go with him? Steven was open to having two cats. That left either Biscotti or splitting up the twins, which I was loathe to do.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Linzer, Biscotti and Nanny (right). But really who can tell the twins apart. Good thing Biscotti has white on his face.
What I hadn’t noticed was that Steven was drawn to Mocha. After visiting with the kitties for about 30 minutes I asked him if he felt any bond to the cats. He caught me off guard by choosing the cat I thought would be the last one adopted. He chose Mocha and Pizzelle to go together!
I was shocked, but it was a fine match. Mother and son, together always. How lovely…but…mom had to approve, too.
That’s when I got my hackles up and I wanted to get my bag of pretzels back.
Mom wanted black cats to match her outfits so she wouldn’t have cat hair showing on her clothes or the furniture. Mom is a busy executive and does not want to have anything to do with feeding the cats or cleaning the litter pan. Mom is scared of being scratched.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mocha, a truly adorable, sweet, playful kitty…and her fur matches the furniture?
Normally every red flag I’ve got in my gut would be waving furiously, but Steven was so grand and his daughter so sweet, that I simply had to do this adoption. My hope was that with time and education, mom would come around. She couldn’t believe me that our cats really don’t shed. One of the benefits of the raw diet is that cats don’t get hairballs or shed much at all. The coat length-long or short haired-doesn’t matter. I literally tried to pull some fur off one of the cats and it just doesn’t come out.
The big day arrived. I was honored to be able to bring Pizzelle and Mocha to their new home and witness this little girl’s dream come true. The night before, Steven sent me a photo of Hanna next to the gigantic cat tree they got for her new cats. I was bummed they told her she was getting cats, but found out they only told her she was getting Mocha. She was really happy about that, so much so that she said she HAD to keep Mocha's name and would not change it. The surprise was that Pizzelle would be joining her, so we worked out a plan to bring him out after Mocha had already come into the house.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. 'Zellie poses for the camera.
We got Mocha settled. Hanna was delighted. She was more subdued than I expected but was following Mocha around the room as she sniffed and inspected everything in her new home. At my suggestion, Mocha and Pizzelle would be in a big finished basement for the first week as to not overwhelm them with having free reign of the house.
Mocha did GREAT. She was happy, interested in everyone, tail up, but I was worried. Just after we loaded Mocha into her carrier, before we left our house for Steven's, she started growling. It reminded me of how she behaved shortly after she arrived off the transport. For the first week she was furious with the kittens-hissing, growling, lashing out at them. I was faced with the realization that it could happen again with Pizzelle in their new home. The short drive was enough to make her forget her own offspring and she’d be fighting and angry in front of her new family. I had to diffuse the situation. The mom might not understand and want us to take Mocha back, but first we had to surprise Hanna with her second cat. I hoped Mocha wouldn't charge Pizzelle the second she saw him.
©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Mocha was just as playful as the kittens. She's just a big kitten, herself.
Is this adoption going to stick or is it all going to fall apart if Mocha can't calm down fast? Stay tuned for the conclusion in Chapter 4 airing in a few hours.