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Not on My Watch: Part Two

UPDATE: there was a miscommunication regarding this kitten. She was put with the Dilute Calico Mama & 2 Kittens ID# 7/20-3032.

The rescue effort continues. I'm on pins and needles wondering if this potential adopter is going to become a committed adopter. To make matters more complicated (not really worse?!), the ACO at the Shelter needed a mama to help nurse a newly stray/rescued kitten, who would have starved otherwise. Mama stepped in to help out!

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Photo by Henry County Care & Control

So now I need either someone to adopt all four cats or, at least someone to adopt Mama and maybe one kitten, then we can move the remaining kittens into foster care. We'll find something for them. Just don't know what yet. It feels like we just dumped the contents of a jigsaw puzzle onto the table. We have all the pieces, we just don't know how they are going to fit together. I can't use a hammer to make them fit, though I'm sorely tempted! I'm reduced to crossing my fingers and hoping for the best until I get further news

I had a chat with our Director last night. I was hoping to keep her out of this since our group is "full up" and I know that, but she was wonderful and supportive and assured me that if we needed to do the rescue, as long as I take them in to foster, that we will get them homes. No problem. I can't tell you how scary it is to put yourself out on the line like this...the mama could be FeLuk or FIV+...the babies, too...then what can of worms have I opened? BUT. If I don't stick my neck out, we know what might happen. Not an option.

Our group grows to four. What the heck. In for a dime. In for a dollar. I gotta get ready 'cause I have a potential adopter coming to meet Malibu. Hope she takes two kittens. I think I'm going to need the room for more soon.

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Truly Humbled

I'm really choked up right now. After three years of writing stories about my life with cats and feeling fine about basically talking to myself, (I think I had about 20 visitors a day if I was lucky) I am humbled and surprised to learn that people not only read my words, but find some inspiration and hope in them.

I want to particularly thank Michelle, Stephanie and Anne for their heartfelt comments regarding the post about my Mother. It's a great gift to read your stories about your life. We share our suffering-how we got there is a different path, but we know the sting of difficult relationships and it binds us together.

To all the good people who have been supportive of my crazy desire to save every single cat from death, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Thank you for following Tweetie's story and for learning that even a troubled feral kitten can one day be a shining star! Thank you for enjoying my stories and goofy photos. I love to share them with all of you and it provides me an outlet for those days when cat rescue or my own cats drive me to the edge of despair.

I do not feel worthy of the virtual hug you've given me, but I'm determined to earn it each and every day. I have many more stories to share, so I better get back to it.

Until then, know, from the bottom of my cold, shriveled heart that I am very grateful to you for visiting Covered in Cat Hair and taking the time to let me know you're rooting for me!

Thank you very much and Good Night.

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No. Not on My Watch. No Way.

Henry County Animal Care & Control, where Zabby was rescued from, is bustin' at the seams. This post by Betsy Merchant tugged at my heartstrings-as so many of them do.

I'm just a little nobody, but I have a few good friends who know a few good friends. It doesn't hurt to ask for help, as long as I'm not being obnoxious to those few good friends, right?

We got a nibble of interest on this kind mama and her babies. A warm hearted woman all the way in NW Indiana took a liking to the kitties. After suffering the loss of two of her cats, she may feel she's willing to give a home to a new family. I don't know IF she'll actually end up adopting Mama & both babies, but that is the hope.

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Photo by Henry County Care & Control

If we can get her to green light this adoption, she'll have little to do. After hours of emails back and forth, we've been able to work it out with the super nice contact we have at Henry to talk to her Director about allowing us to transport the cats, all together, to Indiana and their new home. Normally this is not allowed and I can see why. The cats have to be spayed first and get all their shots and tests. The kittens won't have to be spayed, but all the test and shots and a two week quarantine is necessary before moving them across state lines.

We can work out the transport and we might be able to find a foster situation for them for the two weeks we need them to be quarantined. Sounds fairly simple, but if we don't get this adoption to happen, then, on Monday, time runs out and the cats may all be euthanized.

I feel sick to my stomach about this. I've written about it before and I've talked about my frustrations. I so want to help change the situation in these struggling shelters. I know saving one or two doesn't really help-of course it helps the ones that are saved, but it is said it's like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.

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Photo by Henry County Care & Control

It makes me realize just how LUCKY my own cats are-to have such a loving home, dedicated to their needs and comforts. When I think about all those poor innocents, stuck in a cage-with little chance of ever getting out alive, it just breaks my heart in two.

I'm too close to this story to accept it if they're put down. I'm not going to tell myself it's ok and we'll save the next one. I can't do that. IT IS NOT OKAY FOR THEM TO DIE. IT IS NOT OK! If it means I get them to Connecticut and foster them here in my spare bathroom, then that's what I will do-even if I'm taking in another mama and five kittens in a few days. These cats are going to be the lottery winners at Henry and beat the odds that are against them.

I am not going to let them die.

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Confessions of a Cat Rescuer

The kittens arrived a few hours ago. They're all orangey-buff tabbies. I can barely tell them apart. I got them settled and took a few photos which I'll upload in a bit. I'm distracted. Kittens, yes, great. I hear thudding coming from the foster room above me, but my thoughts are elsewhere.

Three years ago today, my Mother died. Three years ago tomorrow, I found her body. Not a fun confession, but compared to all the others regarding my Mother's life, it not as bad. Like everyone else, my relationship with my Mother was complex. Often it was difficult, but with time softening my memories and the fact that I finally know the truth about some things; I'm to a place where I'm starting to just miss her.

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Circa 2001. Mother at The Last Post in Falls Village, CT

My Mother introduced me to cats. When she was about to give birth to my brother, I was sent to stay with some friends of hers who lived on a farm. In my Mother's journal from those days she writes; "Robin thrives with Mary Ann, cats, horses, dogs etc. Her suggestion for naming the baby: Candy. Shows how her mind works. Like Mama, like daughter."

She also got me my first kitten when I was just four years old. Her name was Sarafina (my little Angel) -a pure white kitten with blue eyes. Sadly, we moved not long after we adopted Sarafina and we were separated during the move. My Mother told me that she was staying at a Vet's in Ohio until we were unpacked. I kept asking about the kitten. Then one day, my Mother told me she got sick and had died! She never even had a chance to grow up. I never knew if that was the truth or not. It was not out of the question for my Mother to lie. Of course, I was devastated.

While I'm in a confessing mood, I can add that the biggest point of contention between us wasn't about my relationships or my career path or my weight; it was about cats. As far back as when I was in my teens, I remember my Mother being against taking the cats to the Vet. She thought it was cruel to make them suffer! When my brother's cat got sick, I took him to the Vet and cared for him. He was very very ill but I never gave up. Eventually Yukio, our big lug of a cat, got better for a few more years before he passed away at just nine years old.

As an adult, our conflicts grew worse. It started out to be charming that my Mother felt she needed to feed every creature that came to her door. She put food out for birds, squirrels, raccoons and any cat who came by. At any given time there were scraps of food or seeds on the deck. Once in awhile I'd see a friendly stray or neighbor's cat munching away a bowl of dry food.

We gave many of these cats nicknames. One was called, OJ. He was a big orange tom. He was always covered in scratches from fighting. He was intact, I'm sure. One day he disappeared and never came back. My Mother was very upset for a long time. She could have taken the cat in, but she felt he deserved his "freedom" whatever the cost.

She continued with this attitude, which I didn't pay much attention to, until she began to feed a new big orange tom cat she named; Bob Dole. Bob got his name from his injuries. He showed up at her door with a serious leg wound. I nagged at her to get him to the Vet. For once she agreed to get me off her back. Bob got the treatment he needed, but that was it. Bob was not neutered. Again, a conflict. My Mother didn't want to take anything away from Bob that would effect his FREEDOM. She was SO BIG on that term. I'm sure it had nothing to do with Bob and everything to do with her. She felt trapped in her life with my Father and probably with her kids, too. Knowing Bob was out there populating the neighborhood was fine with her. He could do as he pleased even if she could not.

I had to tread carefully and pick my battles. It was "too expensive" to get Bob fixed, so I worked out a trade with my Vet. He would do it for free if I trained his wife on how to use the computer. Great! She couldn't argue with me now, even though I knew she was pissed when I figured away around her argument. I got Bob neutered, all his shots, then Dr. Larry said his teeth looked really bad. I knew this was not going to go over with my Mother.

As best I could, I brought up the topic of Bob's teeth with my Mother and she said NO WAY. Too much money. Not going to make the cat suffer-though apparently it was FINE to make him suffer with a painful mouth.

We also had a big fight over another stray, a small gray cat. One day my Mom says the cat's EYE is hanging out of her head. Too bad. "I guess nature will take its' course."

That's it? No taking the cat to the Vet? I bullied my Mother until she promised to let me know when I might be able to get my hands on the cat. The next day she called me and I drove over to get the kitty. If you look back a few posts, you'll see a photo of that kitty-her name was Sasha and she not only needed her eye removed, she was SO FULL of parasites that after she got treated, she was pooping worms like they had never seen before!

The worst was how she treated her own cat, Blue; a chocolate point siamese. Blue got a urinary blockage and my mother let him suffer and die. When I found out, I was so angry I didn't speak to her for many months. In my heart, I could never forgive what she did. I could never understand WHY someone who literally had the IQ of a GENIUS, could not get her mind around the fact that she was responsible for this life and feeding it and cleaning the litter pan wasn't enough. She had the money to help the cat. That wasn't even an issue.

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A rare photo of Me with Mum. 2001.

So this is my private, now public shame. My own Mother, who I did my best to love; who I'm not sure how she felt about me, could have easily been arrested for cruelty to animals. I feel like I have to make up for the suffering she caused and you can bet that every time I look at Bob and see his shiny coat and hear his deep purr, I feel like, at least I could save him. I couldn't save my Mother from her private Hell and I can assure you, it WAS HELL for her in this life, but I can do this one thing. Maybe in some twisted way, I'm doing for my Mother, what she could not find the courage to do for herself-get involved with the suffering of another being and be willing to face the consequences of that, whatever it costs.

I'm left feeling confused and sad, ashamed and distraught. I can't change the past. I can only do what's best for the animals in my life now, and every day from now on, and hope that it's enough.

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Winkles Update

I've had a few folks ask after Winkles and I'm glad to say that
Winkles had his surgery last week and is recovering well.

The biopsy that was done on the eye that was removed did NOT show any signs of juvenile cancer. This means that the injury to his eye was from a strong blow to the head. There is nothing else that would have caused his eye to swell up so large. How Winkles got the head trauma, we will never know. Probably a good thing since if I did know and it was a person that did this and I could get my hands on them-well, it could get ugly.

I received a photo of Winkles, but it's a bit too graphic to post. I hope to visit the little guy soon and take some photos of him now that he's healing.

We're also greatly relieved to know that Winkles is using his litter pan! Prior to his surgery, he was NOT using it and also had diarrhea, so Our Director had a lot of extra work keeping things clean. It would have seriously effected his chance of being adopted if we couldn't get him on track with this. Now that he's feeling better, everything's falling into (the right) place, so to speak! Hee hee!

Winkles may have one more hurdle, but that remains to be seen. Until then, thank you ALL for the good wishes, the DONATIONS and the prayers for this little cutie. Hopefully Winkles next stop will be a loving forever home!

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Little Man Malibu

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A rare moment-Malibu sitting still.

Malibu's been here for a few days. I'm having a tough time warming up to him because once he decides to hang out with me, I get attacked. This guy has a strong drive to nurse, so I'm constantly pushing him away and trying to keep his wet nose off me. Yecch.

I feel guilty. I should be non-judgemental about my fosters and give each and every one of them the same loving care. I like Malibu! He's a good kitty. He's still quite skittish, but even when he hides under the night table, he purrs! I can hear him from a few feet away. It's pretty amusing.

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Malibu enjoys channel surfing now!

He's slowly improving, though I need to spend extra time with him because tomorrow...drum roll...I'm getting three more kittens!

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Who is ready for some company? Hmmm, let me guess?!

Four kittens aren't bad, but four older kittens, well that's like eight little kittens in craziness! In a way, it's been very peaceful with just Malibu here. He's very tidy and doesn't get into anything. It's been a good break, though I better take a nap today, too. I have a feeling I'm going to need to be well rested tomorrow.

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Did Anyone See Spencer?

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I was cleaning the floor in the Foster Cat Room, so I tossed everything onto the bed to get it out of the way. Somehow Spencer navigated between the pile of stuff and settled into the corner, quickly passing out cold. This is how he "helps" me clean. He keeps me company while I work. I guess I could use him as a mop, that would actually help, but I doubt he would like being dipped in floor cleaner.

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BTW, though he does not have the following of Sockington, I will say that Spencer has his own fan club, too. So there! So what if it's only a few people! They count!

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The Tweetie Chronicles: CONGRATULATIONS SOCKINGTON!

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We can't believe a week has passed since Tweetie came to visit you at Socks Army HQ and now we're wondering-is Tweetie ever coming back? Or are you gonna keep him as a body double??

We know you're super busy being a celebukitty, so have some champagne and salmon and we'll talk soon!

We're so happy for your success on Twitter! Reaching ONE MILLION FOLLOWERS (any second now!) is quite the acme of success! Way to go, big boy!

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UPDATE: Zabby

Zabby's been busted out of the Henry County Animal Care & Control! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!I just LOVE saving another kitty. Do you realize it took over 16 people to help this ONE kitty her life back!? If folks had spayed/neutered their cats, this story would never have to happen. Shelters wouldn't be overcrowded and no animals would be needlessly put down. I know-preaching to the choir. We need more ways to get the word out and to get LOW COST S/N for all animals.

Judy, from Kat5 Rescue has Zabby boarded for the next two weeks. Necessary quarantine to make sure she doesn't have anything contagious that could be spread to the generous folks at Catnip Cottage, who'll be giving Zabby a place to live until she finds her forever home.

More good news! Zabby's paw has been treated and is improving. Her combo test results were NEGATIVE! All that remains is for Zabby to get spayed next week, if she remains in good health, then on August 24th Bobby will drive her to South Carolina!

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Photo: Henry County Animal Care & Control

Zabby is NOT FOUR YEARS OLD. Zabby is only 8-9 months. Just a baby. If you can give Zabby a forever home, please contact me until we have Zabby moved to Catnip Cottage.

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