Robin Olson's blog

Foster Cat Journal: Difficulty Breathing

A week ago I brought the four rescue kittens from SC to the Vet. A few had the sniffles and some eye discharge, so they were all put on Clavamox for the next 10 days. None of them were in bad shape, but I wanted to make sure they stayed that way.

For the next few days, the cats seemed basically all right. They played, ate well, sneezed. I did my best to keep my hands clean and began changing my clothes after I had any exposure to the kittens. I was very uncomfortable and uptight. I did not want my cats to get sick, too.

Then on Saturday, Monte started sneezing. Prior to that he'd been doing great, with no signs of trouble. On Sunday, his brother Dylan and sister, Delilah got adopted, but they had to stay behind because I can't let them go to their new home until everyone is feeling better.

Sunday night Monte really started to sound terrible. His sinuses were clogged, he blew a bubble out of his nose. He snorted like a stuffed up Daffy Duck. It was terrible. I know that URI's are viral, so only the secondary infections can be treated. Rest, fluids, running a humidifier, that's about it. I called the 24 hr ER Vet and asked if I should bring him in, but they told me if he was eating, had pink gums and didn't have a fever, he was OK to wait until morning. So, I tried to stick a thermometer up Monte's little butt hole. Yeah, that was fun. Temp was 100.5° F. Then I looked at his gums and they were pink and he did eat for me, he just sounded horrific.

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Next morning, I went to check in on Monte and he sounded so bad that I just left the room, got the phone and called the Vet for an appointment. They were able to squeeze us in if I could get there before 10AM. It was just 8:30, but I was still bleary, having hardly slept and fighting off a cold or something myself for the past few days.

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I got dressed quickly and Monte and I were on the road in a few minutes. We hit terrible rush hour (why do they call it RUSH? no one can go fast enough to RUSH!) traffic and it took about a million years to get to the Clinic, all while Monte was snorting and crying the entire trip. I was terrified he would crash on me on the way there.

George, the cute tech got Monte weighed and temped. He was at 101, which is still normal. The Vet did her exam and had George get an x-ray of Monte's lungs to rule out pneumonia!!! His lungs looked basically all right, but she felt he did have Bronchitis and a sore throat, not to mention an eye infection. She loaded me up with meds. Monte is on 6 different medications, to be given three times a day until they run out. I need to bring him back in a week for a re-check, if he doesn't get worse, first.

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I asked about ways to reduce transmission to my cats and she told me this stuff is airborne, so basically I'm screwed. I'm taking my clothes off before I enter the foster room, then changing into clothes I have that are contaminated, that are in the room. When I leave, I just strip and run down the hall into the shower and put on fresh clothes. This is a huge pain in the ass. I hope it works. I have gone from being concerned to being outright terrified that my cats are going to get this stuff. Monte is so ill that if Bob catches what Monte has, it could kill Bob or Spencer (who has chronic breathing problems already).

Last year all my cats got sick. Each one had to be medicated daily for two weeks, twice a day. Bob and Spencer had to be locked in our bedroom with a humidifier and isolated. It was touch and go for a few days. I was horrified I'd lose them. Here I am once again, facing the same fear, about ten times more intensely.

I can't focus and am having a tough time doing anything. I just want to sit with Monte and hold him until he's all better. His siblings are all sick now, but none of them are in as bad shape-thank goodness. Trying to get them all healthy is a nightmare. I'm not sure if I'm giving them the URI by not sterilizing their eyedroppers each time. I'm definitely overwhelmed and angry at myself and wishing it was all done and over. I have to find a way to just ride this difficult time and do my best for the cats. I feel like I should know more and that I'm messing it up. Monte is 12 weeks old. I hope he's old enough to kick this. So far, I've never lost a kitten and I don't want to start now.

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Not on My Watch: A Cry for Help at Henry County, GA

From Betsy at Henry Co., GA.

The kittens are adorable and perfect! Very curious fat little butterballs. 3 Torties and 2 black tabbies. (note by robin: Mom is also friendly)

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I am not going to write some sappy story, here is the bottom line. The kittens that make it to weaning without getting sick might get a chance to go up for adoption in the kitten room and mom will be put down. The sad reality of what our community forces the shelter to deal with. Overpopulation plain and simple.

Every life in here deserves a chance. Every life is precious and a creation of something greater than us. Please exhaust all resources and see if you can come up with something for this family. I know Mommy wants to be loved, she is just needs to learn its safe to trust.

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If you choose to send this post to out of state contacts please be prepared to use your local license to pull the family and help your out of state contact arrange transport.

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**Please Note; When forwarding, crossposting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**

Betsy Merchant~

Contact:

mystiblu@bellsouth.net

Henry County Animal Care and Control

527 Hampton Street

McDonough, Georgia 30253

(770) 288-PETS

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/GA67.html

Our Hours:

Monday-Friday:  9 am-4:30 pm

Saturday:  9 am-1 pm

Sunday:  Closed

County Observed Holidays:  Closed

The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.

For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org

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Not on My Watch: More about the Dilute Kitty

The transport left, stuffed full of dogs and our two little kittens. The dilute kitty was also supposed to be on the transport, but was held back. The "rescue" group I complained about here in CT behaved completely unprofessionally and, seemingly irrationally.

I don't have both sides of this story, but from what I've heard from the person I deal with, her dealings with them are so nasty, I don't want to get involved. Apparently, the "rescue" group claims our Jenna contacted them too often-was "harrassing" them, which I find unbelievable. Perhaps they were contacted too often because they did NOT return emails or phone calls to confirm they WERE going to be taking the dilute off the transport and into foster care. They demanded to speak only to the OWNER of the transport company-so they were given the info. They did not want to get pick up info from Jenna. Fine, be flakey. They never called the transport company to confirm. They did nothing.

The only time they actually said anything was to bitch at Jenna on Friday, once she contacted them, again, to say the cat was NOT on the transport since she never heard from them. They let loose on her and said she was "unprofessional" and "didn't know anything" about running a rescue. Well, Jenna is responsible for saving hundreds of dogs lives. She has been great to work with and I've gotten six kittens from her. She knows what she's doing and bends over backwards to help. I think this is a simple case of the "pot calling the kettle black." I'm really irritated at these people for their nasty behavior. They played games about whether or not they would pay for the transport-about $75. Jenna ended up having to pay out of her own pocket, as I did for my guys transports. They did nothing but complain and demand and accuse. This is not my idea of a group I'd want to deal with.

As fate would have it, my last post about the dilute did not go unnoticed. A "re-tweet" of this article fell into the hands of someone who doesn't know me or my website. This person, a big time cat lover, who already has four cats, contacted me and asked where the dilute was. I said; "Greenville, SC." They said..."hey! We live in Greenville, SC, too!"

They really liked the dilute, but could they give her a home? Well, nothing is for certain just yet. The dilute is with a foster mom, an angry tom cat and a dog. She's hanging in there. I'm told she is super sweet! Will these wonderful folks adopt our baby? I dunno! It remains to be seen, though I can't help but wonder if this was all "meant to be?"

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Not on My Watch: Berry Babies Arrrive!

Every good cat rescue must begin with a hearty breakfast! This morning we met at O'Rourke's at...cough...8:30AM (which meant leaving the house at 7:30AM) to enjoy their amazing concoctions! I had "Oscar Benedict," with steamed shrimp, black bread, poached eggs, provalone and hollandaise. Mmmmm!

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After breakfast, we put the pedal to the metal to get to the drop off location of the transport. The arrival of the "Berry Babies" (Blackberry & Blueberry) was quite surprising! Instead of a van, pulling up to the Park & Ride, we were met with the sight of a huge trailer, already set up before we got there, not only with us in attendance, but about 50 other people! What were they all doing here? Adopting DOGS from the South!

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And where were we on this line? AT THE END! Yes, the only people who wanted cats were at the end. Fitting, I suppose.

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What I didn't figure on was how wonderful it was to be at the end of the line! As we waited, every few seconds, we'd hear a number of people gasp, clap, "ooh and ahh" as the puppies and adult dogs were brought out to meet their new owners-who had adopted these dogs never having met them before!

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Some of the dogs were scared. They came out of the van looking a bit limp, with their tails tucked underneath them. Then, then new owners came up to get their new family member and within a few minutes, the dogs were wagging their tails, jumping up and down, giving kisses-all with the relief that their journey from the Kill shelters down south was over. They were saved! Today was the first day of their life with their new family begins. We got to witness this transition over and over again. I wished the line was longer!

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Within a flash, it was our turn. They asked me which dog I wanted and I replied; I'm the one here for the only cats you've got! For which I was told that some times there are up to four whole cats on the transport! Wow...yeah...compared to a buttload of dogs!

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A moment passed, then out comes the carrier with the tiny kittens on board. I welcomed them to Connecticut and took a peak inside their cage. They are so small, sweet, a bit dirty from stray food in their fur, but alive and well. I can't imagine how scary it was for them to be with so many barking dogs, even if they were up by the front of the transport. I faced their carrier at Jennifer and Sam so they could see the new arrivals and share the warm glow of knowing we saved another two lives!

It was a very brisk morning, around 38°F, so we rushed the kittens to Jennifer's car after a few minutes of playing "where is the paperwork" with the folks from the transport (they gave it to someone else, who figured it out before they left the parking lot, thank goodness!).

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I sat in the back seat and removed Blackberry from the carrier. I could feel his ribs. He was perky alert and very curious as to what the heck was going on. I got some quick photos of him, handed him to Jennifer to make their "hellos" then put him back and did the same thing with Blueberry.

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We didn't spend a lot of time together. I wanted the kittens to get to their new foster home so they could get cleaned up, fed and have some quiet time to relax. Tomorrow they're going to have some company! A little girl is doing community service for her school and she and her mom are going to visit the kittens and help start socializing them. This is a crucial age and the sooner we start, the better.

All in all, it was a nice morning (other than having a fight with Sam on the way home, because I was rude when we got to the Park & Ride and after driving around the lot for longer than I could take it, I finally blurted out "park already!" because I was so anxious to get out of the car, oops) and a joy to see so many families adopting dogs.

Maybe next time we can load them up with cats?

Maybe next time, I should drive?

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Not on My Watch: Turds

Okay, this might not be completely fair, BUT, no word from the CT "rescue" group who were supposed to take the Dilute Calico. Due to them not contacting either the Transport company OR the person in SC overseeing her rescue, the rescuer decided it was in the cat's best interest to NOT be added to this week's transport. She'll stay behind, at least another week or permanently.

I'm miffed, to say the least. This behavior not only makes this group look bad, but it makes us ALL look bad. Chock one up to just "another nut job" not being good a dealing with people, but trying, badly, to rescue cats. OR...is it something else? Maybe these people have a very good reason for falling through at the LAST MINUTE?? Maybe? Maybe they had a serious toe-stubbing incident or they "just didn't feel like it after all." I realize I'm being mean without knowing all the facts, but the facts I do know are this wonderful cat is not going to be in a home of her own any time soon.

That said, I found out the dilute was moved to another foster with just one other cat. Of course the resident cat is peeing up a storm-most likely due to an inappropriate introduction. The woman's nephew sneezes-so we'll get them some Simple Solutions Allergy Relief to see if that makes a difference? I've offered to share re-introduction techniques, too, to help stop the male kitty from peeing.

Perhaps, with any luck, this cat is already in her forever home and we just don't know that yet?

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Not on My Watch: Dilute Cali Caught in the Middle

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This stunning, dilute calico has long hair and bright green eyes. She's just about a year old, vetted, FIV/FeLuk negative, spayed and DECLAWED. Abandoned and left to fend for herself in the pouring rain, she suffered terribly. She was found under a car, her coat in tatters. Even though she was poorly treated, she remains a friendly girl.

Right now this kitty is in an overcrowded foster home in South Carolina (we're talking 70 cats and some pit bulls-yes, that DO get the cats once in awhile). She needs to be busted out and transferred into safe hands.

Due to her age, even at a year, I'm not supposed to take her in. I might have a foster home for her, but I might also get a lot of grief that I don't need right now for even asking if we can help her out.

She is supposed to go to a small group in Durham, CT. This may still happen, but it may not. Apparently there have been some communication issues and if they are not resolved, it's possible that when I travel to Glastonbury on Saturday to pick up our two kittens, this cat may have NO ONE to take her. Would someone be THAT cruel? To say "Yes" to saving a cat, then not show up when the transport arrives? I like to think that maybe it's just a mixup. That people really aren't so terrible. That it will all work out and this kitty will get her foster home in CT.

If she doesn't. Then what? Will she go BACK to SC? Do I take her? Where do I put her? In addition to this sweet kitty, there's an EIGHT year old SH tux whose owner died a few weeks ago and if she isn't moved out of the owner's apartment by the end of the month, the cat will be euthanized. I need to find a foster home for this kitty, too...or a shelter placement at a NO-KILL.

I stuck my neck out and I'm trying to face all this, but I hate it. It's one thing if you mess up and fail a test, but if I fail these cats, they DIE. I hope I can find the help I need for them.

The tux is located in Bridgeport, CT (I'm also trying to get pix of her)...so....if you know ANYONE in that area who could help, please contact me ASAP. If you want to ADOPT the gorgeous dilute, let me know, too! We can transport her to you.

No wonder I have a hard time sleeping!

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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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