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Ocotober Issue of Playcat Magazine-Nicky

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Nicky enjoys shedding, ripping the carpet and long walks in the litter pan. Turn offs: Getting beat up by Spencer, that sound crunching up a plastic bag makes and getting yelled at for ripping the carpet.

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Not on My Watch: Berry Babies

"They were found in a dirt hole." All alone, clinging to life. There may have been a third kitten and certainly there was no mama to be found. Our friend in SC, who just sent us those four lovely kittens, asked for help. Who am I to say no? Okay, I do say no, but I didn't this time. Crossing my fingers that the timing would work out, I agreed to take them on.

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They've been living in a cage at a Vet's office for the past two weeks. With little time for human contact, the kittens are skittish. We hope that once in our Program, they will turn around and become sweet little muffins. Their foster mom, Jennifer named them Blueberry and Blackberry. Blueberry, is a female, seen below. Her brother is mostly black and named Blackberry. I hope he comes with good internet access. Hee hee.

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One of the reasons I took these kittens in was because of Blackberry. Black cats do not find homes in the south. Nor do the black dogs. I'm told it's a superstition thing, but whatever it is, I know Blackberry wouldn't stand a chance at finding a home where he is now. We'll find him a good family as soon as he's ready. Bluebery, too.

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The transport will be here on Saturday morning. Jennifer and I are going to pick them up and maybe force ourselves to grab some breakfast beforehand at the penultimate breakfast place in the state: O'Rourke's

Hey, if we have to go for a long drive to pick up the kittens, why not stuff our faces, first? A girl's gotta keep her black stretchy pants filled!

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WOOHOO! I'm SOOO Thrilled!!!

This email just arrived...

Dear Robin,

The CWA Membership Committee has approved your application for Professional membership. Congratulations, and welcome!

I'm SO EXCITED and DELIGHTED! This means I'm going to have to use spellcheck, think before I write and possibly attempt to...I don't know. I'm too excited to think! I get a membership number and I get to go to the annual conference in November, being held right here in White Plains, New York (the only town in the USA where I always get LOST) (so NO FLYING! Weeeee!). PLUS, I get to attend a dinner, presentation-thing (see? I'm doing better with my writing already!) that Dr. Kevin "Hottie Pants" Fitzgerald (from Emergency Vets and E-Vet Interns on Animal Planet) will be hosting! I'm drooling already!

Yikes! I just did some "research" to get a link for Dr. Cutie when I noticed the poor guy had a STALKER! One who BOUGHT HIM A COFFIN!!! How does she know what size he would take? Do coffins come in sizes? Why buy a coffin? They are so expensive. Cremation is better for the environment, isn't it? You know, I can think of better first gifts to give a cute Vet than a coffin. I know no relationship lasts forever and maybe she was just being prepared for that sad day in the future...but... Wait..what am I saying? I mean that I can't write about Dr. Muffin because I don't want to upset him should he read this. I would never stalk him (or anyone unless they were a fluffy tux cat), but it IS ok to drool a tiny bit when I see him in person? That's okay, right? Yikes.

Once again I completely lost my train of thought all because of some guy! Sheesh! So yes, I'm a Professional Member in good standing of the Cat Writers' Association.

"They LIKE ME! They really LIKE ME!"

Later that same day: Okay, the President of CWA saw my post. Am I mortified? Umm...hee hee...embarrassed, yes! Glad she took it in stride and laughed instead of called the cops on me! She said Dr. Fitzgerald IS really cute in person, too. Whew. Thank goodness it's not all smoke a mirrors. I DO know how to retouch photos in photoshop, so I know what kind of magic can be done! Oh, here's Dr. Cutie. I don't know who shot this photo to give them credit, but you know who you are.

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Look at how cute he is! And he's holding...or...wait...is he CHOKING a tiny, helpless kitten?!!! Someone SAVE the KITTEN!!!

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Foster Cat Journal: Oh My GOD They're HUGE!

The transport was delayed and got in at 1am! Needless to say, we were all a bit bleary from the long day. Chrissy pulled her transport van into the lot, we jumped out of the car with carriers in hand. Chrissy thought she only needed one carrier. Good, I thought. They are still small. I was worried about them being HUGE, after all this rescue started well over a month ago. Sure enough, there were two crates left, all the others were empty. The kittens were meowing hysterically, ready to end their confinement and get some FOOD on board. Chrissy grabbed one out of the carrier while the door to the transport was open. I imagined the other one jumping down and running off into the night, but Chrissy must have an iron grip. She got that kitten into the carrier and went to reach for the next. Then, I realized...SHIT these kittens are HUGE!

They didn't exactly all fit into one carrier, but we only had a five minute drive back to our house, so while they squirmed and cried, Sam put the pedal to the metal.

I had warmed food ready, so I opened the cat carrier, as the kittens exploded out of the carrier. Each was running madly, trying to figure out what to do. I put the food down and within seconds they were inhaling it. I mean, these guys were HUNGRY! One of them started to growl. I tried not to be concerned since they were in a high stress situation and the food was really good, so maybe one would get a bit pissy about having enough.

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Dinner. Growling and the fastest chewing I've ever seen.

They ate two 5.5 oz cans of food between the four of them. Clearly, they wanted more, so I got them another two cans to eat. Finally, they started to calm down, finish eating and make use of having access to a clean litter pan. Right away they were ready to play! As though nothing happened. They were relaxed, happy, a few let me pet them. One even purred, then sneezed...again, and again. Two have runny eyes. They were transported with albon. Hmmm...guess that means their treatment for coccidia needs to be continued? Too late to figure all this out.

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Dinner, part two

I went to bed after 2AM. I hoped they wouldn't have a poop and pee festival all over the guest bed during the night. I slept hard and didn't get up until 10AM. Before I did anything else, I got the kittens fed and checked in on them. They didn't even mess up the litter pan and the room was in great shape. Whew!

I looked at the kittens. They have crazy markings. Two look like Maine Coon mixes, the other are bizarre tabbies. They must be around 11-12 weeks old, which is about 3 weeks older than I would have liked. My goal is to get them on Petfinder ASAP, so we can start finding them homes.

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Here's the gang. We have...

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Delilah, or "Dee"

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Dylan, yes, tough to tell apart from Delilah!

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Millicent McMuffin "Milli"

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Monte McMuffin

NO, I don't know what the deal is with the "McMuffin" last name. It just felt right. Maybe it's their white paws?

So I've got new fosters and a new story to tell. Will I be able to find homes for such BIG kittens? I'd better! There are about 12 more we need to help soon! At least this part of the journey is over. These kittens were saved from being euthanized by a dog-rescue pro, Jenna, Dr. Anderson and a generous foster mom, Trish. They made sacrifices of time and money to get these kittens here. Now I'll do my part until they're ready to go on to their forever homes!

But man, they are HUGE!

Want to adopt? Visit our website for more!

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Not on My Watch: Home for One, but Not for All

Little Pumpkin was adopted this afternoon. Her new adopter referred to her as her new "baby" and her husband, who was supposed to get Pumpkin as a surprise birthday gift, figured out what was going on and said he couldn't WAIT to meet "his girl." I think Pumpkin will get lots and lots of love and attention, though she'll be the sole kitty, at least for now, she'll have new friends to make and the next phase of her life has already begun.

I was really sad that Angel wasn't adopted, too, but I find that these things always seem to work out and the cats end up where they're supposed to be. I just don't know where that is just now.

The "backup" adopters who had offered to take both kitties, opted to go elsewhere to get their new cats. I was glad when I found out they were adopting from Bridgeport, because those cats are at risk. Angel is safe. She has time, the others do not, so it's all good. At least three kitties got adopted today and that's good in my book.

I don't have much time to write. The next rescue has begun. The next fosters are arriving via transport in a few short hours. I need to scrub down the foster room and get things prepared. I'm wiped out from attending our annual fundrasier, the Fur Ball, from running around like a nut making sure the t-shirts for the event got printed, all while trying to cram in some of my own work and even possibly a load of laundry or a bill may have been paid in there, as well.

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Look familiar? Read here to learn more about the Cardboard Box kittens and why I jumped in to help. Thankfully, in the past 4 weeks, half of the kittens found homes. I'm taking the remaining four. One is supposedly-the kitten who is cuter than all kittens (in my book, anyway). Not even sure IF I'm getting him, but if I do, this may be a tough guy to adopt out because I might need to keep him! I can't wait for him and his sibs to get here!!

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Two hours 'til they get here...Yeah, 10:00pm pickup! Great way to end the day. Better scoot. More stories ahead! Stay tuned!

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Not on My Watch: Hopes & Dreams

Angel (aka,"Last Chance") and Pumpkin are here again. They've been shuttled back and forth between my house and Jennifer's since they arrived two months ago. In that time they've been to two adoption events, which didn't result in any Pre-Adoption forms being filled out on them. Their photos have been in the paper and on Petfinder, but so far only Pumpkin's brother, Spyder has been adopted.

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A few opportunities came up for Pumpkin, but none of them were right. Not one person has called about Angel, even though she's a spunky, sweet and a pretty young adult. Of course my dream, hope, wish-that they be adopted togethter. They're more like sisters than Mother and Daughter, but that's asking a lot and Huggy Bear and her two boys got adopted together, so my good luck in that area might be used up for now.

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In a few hours, a potential adopter is coming to visit Pumpkin. She wants to surprise her husband for his birthday. While I'm not sure that's usually a great idea, I know they don't have any pets right now and their Vet check was glowing. I think it would be a great home for one, but PLEASE let it be a great home for TWO!

It's a delicate balance. I can't push. I can only present options and show her how much fun it is to keep the girls together. It will be up to her to decide what to do after that.

Then there's the next adopter interested in Pumpkin. Yes, there's two now...they have two cats, two dogs, two kids and want to adopt Pumpkin AND Angel together! If their application had come in sooner, they would have had "first dibs" on the cats, but now I have to wait and see...what will happen in a few hours? Will she take BOTH as I dream or leave one behind? Will Angel go to a home that already has lots of animals? Will that be a good fit for her? I'm just not sure.

I'll know in a few hours what the girl's fate will be. I hope they get their happy ending together, but it's not up to me. Guess we'll just wait and see...

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BLOOD TEST RESULTS IN ON BOB!

After sweatin' it out for the past two weeks, since Bob took a trip off the deck and fell 16.6 FEET, I got news of his latest blood test results. We were looking to see if this ALT (liver function) had come down since the accident. On the day of, it was over 700 (100 is normal). Two days later, it came down to 536. Yesterday it was down to 172!!!!! For Bob, this is like having normal liver function. He NEVER is under 200 except for ONCE when he was on an IV for a few DAYS!!! This is awesome news!

Some of this is attributed to Bob being lucky, getting rest and mostly, I'm guessing, giving him Denamarin to support his liver function. I think it's one of those drugs just for dogs! I have to check that. Regardless, it really has helped him. He's been acting like a younger boy, too, by climbing the stairs to the second floor, jumping up onto the bed (which is very high for him) and eating well. All great signs!

Also, I was excuse me, but shitting myself with worry about what his BUN (kidney function) would be since I did give him Metacam. Luckily, his BUN was normal. No sign of damage. Even though Bob did not seem to be effected by the Metacam, I am not going to give it to any of my cats again. I just can't risk it.

So, we start the day with good news. Where the day goes from here remains to be seen. I feel refreshed (okay, I need tea) and relieved! As Dr. Larry said, Bob may have burned off a few lives, but looks like, cross fingers, the old boy has a few left in him still!

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Foster Cat Journal: CallaLily Update

In August we took in five flea covered kittens and their sweet mama, Calli. They were quite the delight once they weren't full of fleas, of course!

Calli was a GREAT mama and a sweet, affectionate cat. I worried we would never find her a good home, but oddly enough she was adopted before her kittens! Emily, one of our CiCH members, decided it would be better to adopt an adult, since she understood that they are the toughest to place. She knew that although the kittens are cute, they don't stay "kitten-like" for very long. I wanted to give her a big hug for being so wise, but I just sat there and smiled as she decided, for sure, that Calli was her girl!

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Putting up with "the kids," as I remember her from a few months ago.

Renamed, Merly, and having gained a few pounds, our dear foster is doing well and enjoying her new home, after a few days of getting adjusted.

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Without a care in the world...

I LOVE to get updates on my fosters and this is no exception. Merly looks great and content. I couldn't have asked for more!

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Merly looks so happy and her coat looks GREAT!

As fate would have it, Emily has become a magnet for cats who need a helping hand. Not long after Merly arrived, this little boy showed up at her door. Unwilling to let him fend for himself, Emily jumped in and began feeding and caring for this friendly kitty. She named him Smudge, a fitting name for this curiously marked boy. He's going to be neutered very soon and get all his shots. Right now he lives outside, but soon and with any luck, he'll be introduced to Merly and the other kitties, in hopes that he will find a happy home. If not, we will step in and help Emily find a placement.

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Smudge, relaxed and with a full belly, thanks to Emily!

I think this illustrates how even though we think we find cats to give homes to, they seem to find us, just as often. Although it may have not been planned, I'm grateful that Emily was willing to open her home to "just one more," especially during these tough economic times.

Kudos to you, Emily! Keep up the good work!

What to Feed Fluffy-A Great Feline Nutrition Resource

Thanks to Super-Deb, knower of all things important and good for kitties, I can share with you the url of a great resource for anyone considering changing their cat's diet from crappy dry or questionable canned, to a RAW or better choice of grain-free canned.

The Feline Nutrition Education Society, in their own words: "Promote[s] awareness of the issues involved in feline nutrition and health, with an emphasis on specie-appropriate raw feeding for cats. We will educate people on the techniques, benefits and issues involved in raw feeding for cats, and advocate not feeding grain-based artificial foods to cats."

Provide information on feline nutrition and health.
Provide information on raw feeding for people new to the idea.

• Create awareness of feline nutrition and raw feeding through traditional outreach: ads, adoption booklets, media outreach/releases.

•Create awareness of feline nutrition and raw feeding through new media: internet, video, blogs, mobile, viral marketing.

•Inform and shape the current attitude towards feline nutrition and raw feeding with the general public by promoting the health benefits, safety, and ease of a raw diet.

•Inform and shape the current attitude towards feline nutrition and raw feeding within the veterinary and pet food industry by promoting the common sense health effects of raw feeding.

•Help to change how people (general public, veterinary, pet food industry) think of dry food for cats by providing information about its unhealthy effect on felines and its inappropriate use for obligate carnivores.

•Reward the commercial prepared raw food industry by increasing their customer base.

•Encourage "do it yourselfers" with information on how to make homemade raw food for cats.

•Create a national/international member organization for feline raw feeders and those interested in feline nutrition and health.

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Do I feed Raw? No. Did I? Yes! Did it make a big difference? YES, but...I did experience that "OMG I GAVE MY CAT FOOD POISONING" last year so I stopped, also it was ungodly expensive for me. Am I reconsidering feeding RAW. Hell, YES!

I'd pop over to FNES and check it out. Really looks to be an awesome resource!

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Crazy Day!

I got Gracie and Bob to see Dr. Larry today. Bob was due for his blood test re-check. This will tell me if his ALT is on the way DOWN and his liver function is improving. Also, it will tell me if his kidneys are still OK after the "metacam incident."

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My poor Gracie. She's biting the fur off her hind end and on her back. Every other day, she vomits up the small clumps of fur. Either she is SO stressed that she's self injuring or she is SO uncomfortable she is biting off her fur in frustration from being itchy. I can't tell. What I can tell you is that Gracie will now be on Amitriptyline, an anti-depressant. The hope here is to help her to relax. If the stress goes away, maybe she will not pick at herself and her skin will clear up. Dr. Larry gave her a shot of Vetalog to keep her comfortable. She hasn't had a steroid in 10 months so I thought it would be safe. It's the only thing that clears up the dermatitis. That way she will stop itching and biting herself!

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The worst news is not really news. Dr. Larry said that Gracie, in a home with no other animals, would probably resolve her issues and be fine. I know she's a nervous nelly and I do my best to give her attention, but with 6 other cats, that's tough to do. In my heart, I agree. Gracie (and Petunia) would be happier in a home together with no other pets. Finding a home for a 6 and 9 yr old cat, not so easy to do-certainly not one that would have to be a FANTASTIC owner. I'd HAVE to do a home visit and deeper background check before I'd let them go, but the idea of seeing them leave that really kills me. I also feel like a failure.

It's not over yet. I'm going to keep trying to help Gracie feel better here. We'll try the meds for two months and see how she does. Maybe she just needs help coping for awhile and once she has some success she can go off the meds and stay here!

So with all that swirling around in my head, I'm trying to coordinate another transport of four kittens to CT from down south. It's been nutty and I seem to write an email, just as another arrives. Questions are many. Answers are hard to come by. I will be happy when this is wrapped up.

Then I get home from the Vet. No sooner than I get here, my Intern calls me into the kitchen. There's an injured hawk in a tree outside the house! Oh geez...we have a high wind advisory today, no wonder the hawk is hurt! So, for another few hours I was on the phone with our ACO, Carolee, someone from Wildlife in Crisis, a wildlife "guy" who comes to get the nutty animals out of your attic and such, and a raptor rehabilitator named Darlene, who was super nice and helpful.

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This little Broad Winged Hawk had some sort of eye injury. According to Darlene it looks to be an OLD injury (because it's dry). She said he would learn to adapt and shouldn't just perish from the injury, though I swear I think my intern wanted to climb a tree to get the hawk so we could get it to the Vet! I put some "oops it expired" pork on the deck and some ground beef, hoping he'd come eat, but no luck. After a few hours of hanging around, he left.

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I'm trying not to write that I'll "keep an eye peeled" looking for him, but I will keep an "eye out" for him...okay, I'll look out the window to see if he's in the yard. If I find him on the ground, I know how to capture him and get him some help. Meanwhile, where DID MY DAY GO? I have gotten nothing done. Wait, I'm finishing this...okay I got one thing done. Crap. I need more time, but I need a nap, first.

It was a crazy day! I'm emotionally drained and I didn't even tell you about the 3-day long fight Sam and I had, so I have a good excuse to rest now, and eat a cookie. I need a cookie.

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