Robin Olson's blog

Foster Cat Journal: Here Come the Berries!

Last night I met Jennifer so I could pick up Blueberry & Blackberry from her. Blue is due to be spayed in a few days and the Vet is closer to my house, so both kitties will be staying here for the next week or so. I had a nice week off of fostering, but I like things better when the foster room has guests. These two sure fit the bill.

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They've both grown quite a bit, from the tiny babies we picked up from the P.E.T.S. transport two weeks ago. They're also much more socialized, though Blue needs more work. They eat like little piggies and are enjoying their new digs. This coming weekend, we're having an adoption event. It will be their first public showing and I hope it will get them in front of possible adopters.

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Blue has the cutest little face! Blacberry is really really affectionate! It's just a delight to have them here, if you discount the fact that they poop about ten times more than any kittens I've ever come across! Oops. I mean, really. They're still tiny kittens. Where does all this stuff come from? They don't even eat dry food? Go figure.

Back to bed for me. I've been feeling like I'm getting stomach flu or something. Maybe too much running around and eating too much chocolate from the TON of leftover Halloween candy we have! What to DO with all of this candy? I really should get it OUT of here before I eat an entire bag of KitKats! (see, even my Halloween candy is cat-centric!) I think this is why people work in an office. They can bring the candy to work and look like heros while they're at it. Maybe I should stop working for myself and get a full-time job?

Oh my GOD! That proves it. I haven't had a full-time job since 1986. MUST be sick. Off to bed.

Next up...a NEW Low Cost Spay & Neuter Clinic just opened in Waterbury, CT! Will be posting info and photos soon!

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Happy Halloween!

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From all my kitties to you!

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Foster Cat Journal: Sigh

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I miss my guys!

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Foster Cat Journal: Time for the Good-Byes

My part of the "Cardboard Box" kittens journey has come to an end. As it always does, seeing the kittens go to their new homes stirs up mixed feelings of joy and tender sadness. I began this journey seeing a photo (below) of what was once a litter of eight abandoned kittens, rescued by a kind woman named Jenna. By the time the kittens were old enough to travel, four had found homes. The remaining kittens came to me.

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Dylan (center) and Millie (front right) with two of their siblings.

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Monte (right) with sibling (left)

This litter was both the sweetest and the sickest litter I've dealt with to date. They're also the oldest, at 13-14 weeks-dangerously big to placed quickly with ease. I worried that their size would keep them from finding homes, but their beauty and perky personality won people over effortlessly.

Dylan & Dee were the first to leave. I was reluctant to say good bye and worried about Lucy-the-dog's reaction to their presence. It's been a few days and I haven't heard anything from their new family. Is that a good sign or a bad one? I'm going to call to check in, as I do with every adopter, but I'd be lying if I said this would be just like any other call. I hope the kittens are safe and all right and the dog is taking to them well. I had some mixed feelings about this, but the adopter is smart and assured me about being careful with the kitties. I have to give them a chance. I hope I don't regret it.

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Dylan & Dee. Which one is which? It's always tough to tell!

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Here's super-mouser, Delilah...I think.

So after loading Nancy & Gabe up with paperwork, print outs of research I did on how to introduce a dog to cats, some cans of food and some de-worming medicine, I kissed the kittens and took a deep breath. I would really be missing them a lot-especially Dylan, who loved to sleep on me and irk me by hogging all the food at every meal time. It got so bad I had to feed him in the dog crate, so the others could eat in peace and quiet. That said...the cat still got to me!

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Nancy & Gabe get ready to take the kittens home (photo taken and posted with Permission)

Then there was Millie and Monte.

Millie was doing great. She never got very sick and her irritated eyes healed quickly. She went to her new home in Durham to wait until Monte recovered enough to join her. Her new family had no other pets, but did have a 4 year old girl who was definitely rough with my own cats, pulling on Spencer's fur. She's lucky she left here with both her hands. Would I stop this adoption from going forward because of her? I thought about it, but I also realized that she WOULD, I HOPE, grow out of this and my kittens were so easy going that they could handle being roughed up a bit. I said, a BIT. A LITTLE BIT. Her parents were watching her, but I know they can't watch her with the kittens 24/7. Again, I have to have some faith that things will be all right. I got my first kitten when I was 4, too. But, of course, I was gentle with my kitten and a perfect child. Ha ha ha! Oops.

Monte worried me. He just wasn't getting better. I gave him pills, drops, liquids, pastes, ointments...we visited the Vet again and although he was improved from a week ago, he needed another week of meds, at least, then a re-check. Monte had been sick for most of the two weeks he'd been with me. I felt so bad for him. I spent a lot of time just having him sleep on me.

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My poor baby, Monte. He really was having a tough time with the URI.

I gave Monte a few days more to recover and he started to perk up. He decided it was comforting to "make muffins" in my hair, chew my hair and nibble my neck-which gave me the shivers! I let him do it for as long as I could stand, even though I knew it wasn't a good idea to encourage this behavior. He was finally feeling better. I'm not going to bust his chops right now.

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I tried to take a photo of what Monte was doing to me. This was the best shot I got.

His new family was anxious to get him home since Millie had been crying non-stop since they'd been separated and the mom was sleeping with Millie every night in the guest room so she'd stop crying. After they promised to continue Monte's medication and with the approval of our Vet, Monte went home, along with a bag of his meds, directions and a few toys. I figured I'd have to toss everything out in order to get the URI virus out of the foster room, anyway, so Monte could keep his favorite toys. I also chose ones that were SOFT and could not be used to POKE any kittens eye out...if you get where I'm going with this...

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Monte is helping me watch CNN. He likes to keep current with the events of the day.

Monte's new dad came to pick him up. Dad smelled really good and drove a cute Audi TT convertible. I figured Monte would be in good hands with a classy dad like that. I didn't cry when Monte left. I simply smiled and felt relief. My job was done. The cats were all rescued and living in a really nice home with a loving family.

I was also relieved that in the two weeks they had been here, my own cats did not seem to get sick, too. That was my biggest fear. With "Typhoid"-Monte out of the house, I could finally rest easy. All those showers and changes of clothes had been worth it. The only thing left was to scrub down the room REALLY REALLY well and I'd be ready for the next kittens to arrive.

You know that saying, "Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back?"

Everything changed at 4:10AM on Sunday morning.

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Not on My Watch: TERRY, YOU ROCK THE HOUSE DOWN!

Twelve days ago I did a shout out about a sweet, gorgeous dilute kitty in South Carolina who was abandoned in the rain and found living under a car. Her coat, in tatters, her spirit weak, her resolve to go on-strong!

There were a lot of just plain WEIRD things going on with her health and her future. She was supposed to come to Connecticut to find a new home, but when things with her rescue group fell flat (due to the rude folks at said "rescue" group), we thought this kitty's chances of a happy future were slim.

Our dear friend, Jenna, who I've gotten my latest six fosters from, kicked butt trying to find the dilute some help. She found the kitty a foster home that only had one cat, as opposed to SEVENTY, which was how many cats were at the last foster she stayed with. Jenna asked me to step in and try to help, because the poor cat wasn't able to stay with her foster family for long.

As fate, and it must be fate, would have it, someone on Twitter, saw my Tweet and responded, wondering where in South Carolina this cute kitty lived. Turns out she lived in Greenville. Turns out our new Twitter-friend, Brian lives there, too. (Brian is the King-Cat of Terry Frum. Apparently Brain loves to Tweet! I just can't figure out how this kitty types! ) Anyway, Brian must have had some words with Terry about helping out this poor kitty and Terry could not refuse his cat's orders!

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Photo by Terry Frum

Turns out...today, Dolly, the dilute, met her NEW DAD, Terry and her four new anipals! Are we BEYOND THRILLED?

I would say; You bet your ass!! Do I love the power of social networks. You BET I DO! I'm starting to wonder if I'm a "cat yenta"-a matchmaker who puts homeless cats and adopters together. Regardless of what you call it, I'm just so happy to be part of this story and SO SO HAPPY FOR DOLLY!

I hope Dolly will get along well with all of Terry's other kitties and that the transition goes smoothly. I wish them all the best and lots of happiness!

If you want to check out Terry and his crazy cat life, featuring Brian, Sister Sascha, Sister Gracie & Sister Zoe and more about Dolly, you can visit them here.

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Not on My Watch: Let's Bust Out These Two..Oops...THREE...Opps...FOUR Torties!

Okay, I believe this is all correct. I'm going to post and wait to hear back from Barb that this info is correct. We are looking to help out four kitties. Two are on the "adoptable" side of the shelter and two are in a room, not available for the public to even SEE! They really have little chance of being adopted. The two who are not even out for public viewing are: Sugar Pop and Rutabaga.

Can we find a good home OR a rescue group to take TWO, 1 yr old sisters abandoned at Animal Control at Spaulding Co., Georgia? They're very mellow and at least housed together for comfort. They dont know what they could have done wrong to end up here. Fanny and Fawn wait patiently for the second chance at the rest of their 9 lives.

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This is: fanny and fawn, Spaulding #b09-606 607

The kitties are cared for by Inmates (orange shirt wearers are inmates) who have fallen in love with their sweet and affectionate natures. Each one deserves a chance. If you like Torties this is your chance to load up on cute kitties!

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This is Spaulding Co. #2408 1 yr old, Rutabaga who is very lovely dovey!

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This is Sugar Pop: Spaulding #2384 I'm told she is a small girl and SUPER-SWEET (hence, her name).

Here's Sugar Pop's Petfinder ad, for more info, as well. If you end up helping save these kitties, please let ME know, too, so I can let everyone know you're FANTASTIC!

Contact Barb, at WCR if you can save these kitties. Please DO NOT HESITATE in contacting her. As always, TIME is SHORT! Thank you!

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Not on My Watch: ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd rather feel horrible that I posted something based on a serious communication error, than feel horrible because some animals died. Last week I reported on a mama and her babies getting euthanized at Henry County. Some cats DID get put down, but I'm trying to find out which one's Betsy's e-mail to me was regarding.

I just learned from my friend, Barbara at WCR, is that the Mama and her babies seen below ARE ALIVE AND WELL at a clinic in Norcross, GA.

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I am VERY SORRY for the tears I've caused, though I must add, that some kitties DID die, so to say the tears were wasted, would be wrong. I will ramp up my efforts to double check future announcements so this does not happened again.

My apologies to all...and if you're interested in ADOPTING some cute kitties, let me know!

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Foster Cat Journal: Covered in Cats

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Every day I wonder if Monte will finally be over this URI and every day I think he's getting better, then no, he's worse, then no, no real change. His appetite continues to be good. He goes through phases of wanting to play or rest, while the others just want to run around like maniacs.

Even after 10 days, none of the kittens are perfectly healthy. I think it will be another week before they're all in the clear. This is so frustrating! At least I'm down to just changing clothes and washing my hands and face, instead of showering every time I leave the room. I'm NOT going to say anything about MY CATS NOT GETTING SICK. I'm not saying anything about it. NO.

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I must say these cats are SNUGGLE MONSTERS! If they're not stuffing their faces or flying across the room, then RUN up my chest and nuzzle my neck, purring loudly. Monte's snotty purr bubbles. He "makes muffins" with wild abandon on my neck, then gives me a little nip that sends shivers down my spine. Yikes! He seems to be happy, even if he's a snot bucket. Monday he goes back to the Vet. By then, he'll possibly be my sole foster. With any luck, he won't be alone for long.

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Yes, at the bottom of this photo is ANOTHER cat-so all four are laying on me, plotting something.

I wonder what it would have been like to have ALL EIGHT of the kittens from this litter? I'm sure I'd be broke from trying to keep them fed and I'd probably have some sort of permanent heat rash from them laying on me. Perhaps I wouldn't be strong enough to get up once they jumped on my lap? Maybe they'd smother me, then eat my flesh?! Guess it's a good thing I'll never know. Glad four got adopted before the transport to CT!

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Look at their sweet faces. I wonder what they're thinking? I hope they're not looking up a me to decide if I'm sleepy enough for them to attempt to smother me with their love!

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Not on My Watch: Failure & Heatbreak

I'm very sorry to report that this Mama & her babies were euthanized the afternoon I posted an urgent plea for someone to step up to rescue them. Apparently the Kennel Master at Henry County "Care" & Control did not know that Betsy was trying to get them help. Due to overcrowding, he killed these animals to make room for more (more, to be killed later, no doubt, to make room for countless others to keep that cycle of intake, then killing going).

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Don't want to know sad stories? Then turn away. But doing just that, was the reason why ALL these kittens and their Mama are DEAD now. We need to face this tragedy so we can FIX IT. It hurts. I have tears streaming down my face while I write this, but because I KNOW I want to do more. I hope you'll considering finding your path to help shelter animals all over the world avoid this same fate.

I ask all of you to join me in finding a way to END this horrific MURDER of innocent animals. I'm sick and tired of excuses, of people finding some bullshit reason as to why it's still OKAY for this to go on-because if their answer has to do with MONEY or "that's just how people are," then that's no fucking answer. WE HUMANS CREATED this PROBLEM. WE NEED TO LOOK THIS TRAGEDY IN THE EYE AND SAY; NO MORE!!.

NO MORE!

NO MORE!

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All the Best Intentions May Still Lead Nowhere

It doesn't suprise anyone that I want to do the BEST I can for each of my "resident" cats, as well as my fosters, but it isn't always possible. I realize that having seven cats (plus God knows how many fosters) means that each cat might not get everything they need every day. Sure, they get FED daily, and if I'm not feeling too lazy, I slug their water fountain over to the sink to rinse it out every few days (and they get a small bowl of fresh water every day, too). I try to play with the cats and give them each, at least a few minutes of my time. Some get more than others. Some gravitate to Sam, so that lightens the load a bit, but it has to be tough on the cats-especially Gracie and Petunia.

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Gracie came to me six years ago as an "unwed Mother" with her three offspring. Because I had trouble placing her and her daughter, Petunia, I decided I had room in my home to keep them. I never really had a strong bond with them, but I also didn't want to continue trying to find them homes after almost a year. I was with the wrong rescue group who put my kitten on the back burner, until she was too big to be attractive to many families, and both of the cats were skittish and showed poorly.

Over the years, Petunia has developed territorial aggression and some aggression towards a few of the other cats. She did a lot of inappropriate urination, which drove me mad. Getting a consult with a behaviorist, seeing my Vet, reading about cat behavior, I came to be able to work with Petunia, to a point. Clearly, she feels she is not getting enough attention and does not care to have other cats in "her" space-like my bedroom. I've worked on giving her more attention and playtime, but, again, with the duties of a foster mom and the other cats having their issues, there isn't a lot of time for her. It's my fault.

Meanwhile, it's been a YEAR since Gracie began her odyssey with Miliary Dermatitis, possibly brought on by her own high strung emotional state. Gracie will RUN if anyone comes close to her. Partly it was from all the medications and baths she's gotten over the past year, partly because she is a nervous cat. She's been pulling out her fur, over grooming herself and vomiting it up. I haven't seen her pull her fur, but there are clear signs something is going on. Even with all this, Gracie STILL wants to sleep near me at night and still wants attention, but is fearful if I step closer to pet her.

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Dr. Larry says to re-home the both of them. As I've written before, they are 6 and 9 years old. It would be VERY tough to find them a home I'd feel was good enough to care for them. I'd also miss them. They do have some adorable qualities! I just wish they could relax...

So, after all this time, I've decided to try one last thing-Elavil. Yes, my cats are on anti-anxiety meds. Here I am, studying cat behavior, trying to help other people with their cats, when my own are so messed up I finally decided to medicate them. Surely, there is another way? Surely if there is, I'm not sure what it would be at this point.

I started Gracie on 10mg, once per day. In two days, whatever existed of Gracie's personality was gone. She was lifeless and very depressed. She didn't run off, but she seemed to lose interest in life. She ate like a pig, but stayed by herself, not wanting to be around anyone else. I could not get near her. I took her off the meds for a week, spoke with Super-Deb, the Vet tech, and decided to halve the dose and see if that helped.

Right around this time, I was seeing more and more aggression from Petunia towards Nora-who was doing NOTHING, just minding her own business. Unprovoked attacks on the rise, another call to Super-Deb and we agreed it was time to put Petunia on the other half dose.

Both girls have been on the half dose for a week now. Gracie is perky, eating well, wants to be close to me, but is still nervous. Her skin improved with a shot of vetalog and I'm waiting to see if it STAYS that way now she's not so nervous. So far, so good. Just a tiny outbreak, but not bad. She likes to visit me at night and purrs and like her pets, she's just not quite so stressed out.

Petunia seemed more clingy to her mom, but also seemed to be less high strung. I thought it was going all right, but in the past day she's actually gotten MORE aggressive towards Nora. Is she fighting her "mellow" feelings by overcompensating her attacks? I put her on the full 10mg dose today to see if that makes a difference.

My hope is to give it a month and re-evaluate. If the girls are doing better, I may continue it another month or may wean them off it slowly. I want them to gain confidence and reduce aggression or self-multilation. I WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY, but the price they have to pay to get there is the problem. I hope, in the end, it's worth it. Right now it feels like I'm running out of options. This is my last chance to make it work for them to continue living here.

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