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Foster Cat Journal: I See Big Kittens!

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From Left: Dancer, Blitzen, Prancer (back), Donner (yes, it should be Donder, I know!).

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Yes, it's the infamous, Dancer the “Ghost Kitten” flying over/through? Blitzen! Time to call Jason & Grant from Ghost Hunters to come over and investigate!

Foster Cat Journal: Last One Saved

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Cupid has no idea how lucky she is to be alive. Not only did she escape a High Kill Shelter when she had less than 24hrs before she was separated from her offspring and very likely to be put down, but she survived a thousand mile transport, and being nursed on to the point of almost killing her. Cupid got sick, too and has managed to recover enough to be spayed. She relapsed a bit, but nothing serious. She's gained a few POUNDS in just over a month. This lady has won the lottery a million times over.

The time has come to start finding Cupid the perfect home. I've already had to say, “No” to an adopter. It's just not a good fit. Cupid is not going to be an outdoor cat. She's been through too much and her coat is finally sleek and beautiful. To allow her to run around, risk getting parasites, fleas, injured, you know the drill...well I just can't do it. Sure, we do adopt out to folks who let their cats outdoors, but we also have special circumstances and this is one. Cupid will have the best life I can give her and the best home I can find. I would rather say no again and again, until it really feels “right” to me. I don't care how long it takes.

I have lots of time, now. I won't be fostering any more cats until “Kitten Season” kicks in in our town in May.

Cupid is the last mama-cat I can save from Georgia. We will no longer be doing any transports other than with our new partner New Hope, a group affiliated with Animal Care & Control in NYC. It was not my decision to end doing transports and I understand why we have to pull back, but I hope to find a way to help the cats of Georgia. They are in such dire need, we all need to band together and find a solution for the overpopulation problem and the over-euthanasia problems there.

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I am forced to close my doors, but I will never close my heart.

Cupid and her kittens made it. All the others I was lucky enough to get here before her were lucky, too. They were also the prettiest, sweetest cats I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with-all 32 of them.

I feel badly turning my back on the ones in Georgia that need help the most, but I look at it as only temporary, until I can find another way to help. If any of you are interested in helping cats in Georgia, let me know. Maybe we can team up and do something amazing!

Foster Cat Journal: There's No Getting Around It

People ask me all the time; how can I foster? Doesn't it upset me when the kitties get adopted? Don't I cry? Don't I want to keep them all? Sure. Of course I do. I love all my foster cats, even if they're only here for a day. Thing is, usually I have foster cats for just a few weeks. Right at the point where I'm getting attached, it's time for them to move on. I feel sad, some times I'm glad and it doesn't break my heart at all. I know I'm doing a good thing and that can sustain me. I also know I can't save more cats, if I keep them all and realistically, adding to my cat-family would be tough on the others who are already here.

In over four years of fostering, I've never adopted one kitten. There was one I wish I adopted and I still miss her, but I can live with that.

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Each day Cupid gets more and more relaxed and contented with her life in Connecticut. It sure beats living in a cramped cage in a Kill shelter!

This is the group that will test my willpower and ability to say No. I've had Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dancer & Prancer here for almost six weeks. In that time, not only did I feed them and clean up after them, but I medicated them up to 50 times, in total, per day. I washed their snotty faces. Took them on endless Vet runs. I brushed out their rough coats. I held them until they slept, sharing the warmth of my body to help soothe their disease and give them comfort. My heart is connected to each one in ways I haven't with all the others.

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Donner in her usual place, passed out on my shoulder.

I won't keep them all, but breaking them apart will be awful. Cupid is ready to go. Her URI is all but gone. She's spayed. She gained weight. She's tired of being cooped up, so I let her and the kittens run down the hallway and into my bedroom so they can stretch out a bit more. The love to run laps on the rug and chase each other from the master bathroom, then dive bomb under the bed. It's wonderful to watch them, but I know the days are coming to an end when they will all be together. I know it will break Cupid's heart too, but what can I do?

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Donner, Cupid and Blitzen (below, right) enjoy having a new place to hang out.

I knew they would leave one day. I knew it before they ever arrived. As with all my fosters, I ready myself for that. Reminding myself of the goal at hand-save as many as I can. Let them all go to good homes. Send them on their journey without complaint. It's what I have to do. I don't have to like it and I don't like it. I don't know that I can say goodbye to Donner & Blitzen. I'm trying. Really I am. I'm trying to let them go now, but every time I look at them or Blitz gives me his belly to rub, I melt a little bit more and I am one step further down a path I should not tread.

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Sadly thinking about the days ahead and the farewells I will have to make while Donner dreams of her forever home and wonders if she has already found it.

The Thing About Will

I got some new images of Will the other day. Yes, “that Will,” the one who lived in South Carolina, who was hit by a car, rescued, taken to a shelter where they could not care for him, was rescued by me and our CiCH friend, Jenna, then was taken to Dr. Anderson's for care and recovery, then who was adopted by Clare and her nutty British family in Connecticut. Whew! That was a mouthful.

Will is doing just GREAT. He fits in purrfectly with his new family and has taken over the place, if you ask me.

Will likes to play hide and seek. I bet you can't find him in this photo.

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Will also likes to help around the house. Here you can see him “helping.”

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Will also loves his fellow felines. Where they go, he goes. Again, he's just trying to shove, I mean, show his appreciation for being with such a great family by hogging, I mean snuggling with them whenever he can. At least Millie, the dog, can use her dog bed if Will is hogging, I mean resting on the chair.

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Will, you never cease to amaze me. Keep up the good work.

Ring Around the Rudy (and Comet, too)

I made it. I reached the point with all these sick kitties that whatever happens to them, I'll just deal with it. Freaking out doesn't make them get better and is only worse for me. That said, IF they DIED or had something like Feline Leukemia or FIP, I would go right back to freaking out. It's my right as an American citizen! Okay, maybe not, but I'm gonna reserve the right to freak out again. Right now I'm okay.

Saturday, Jennifer drove alllllll the way from Milford with Rudy and Comet, stopped at my house to pick me up and we all went to see Dr. Larry and Super Deb. How could this NOT be a FUN adventure? You've got two crazy-cat-chicks and two cute, sick, contagious cats all together laughing and singing songs (or something like that).

Jennifer drove very “enthusiastically” (YIKES!!), while I calmly suggested she be careful about those small, windy roads (while I clenched the “JC Strap in the car”) that hugged along the River Road. One false move and whoosh...off the comfort of the pavement, down an embankment into the deep, dark and cold depths of Paugussett River.

Good times.

We arrived safely, albeit with a few extra gray hairs on my part. While we waited in the exam room to meet Dr. Larry, you could feel the excitement building. This was the first time I'd ever gone to the Vet with anyone who had only read about my MANY trips to Dr. Larry's office, but never met him. Jennifer mentally reviewed all the concerns she had about Rudy and Comet.

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Rudy's face looked worse. His tail looked worse. Then we looked at Comet, who until that morning had looked fine. Now her face had big red patches between her eyes and ears and more on her ears, too. It really looked like something nasty was erupting and reminded me of Gracie's skin when she has bad Dermatitis flare ups. Comet's chin looked really terrible.

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You can see how pink the skin is under Comet's mouth.

Even feeling badly, Comet is still a sweet kitty. That is for sure. Her body is filling out. She gained a few POUNDS. No more skin and bones. Her coat looks great. No more URI. Now what is going on with her face? We were both dreading what we were about to find out.

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A hush fell in the room as the door opened. There in all his glory was Dr. Larry. I swear I saw a glow around his head! He gave me that look he always gives me. The “okay, Robin...NOW what weird thing is going on?” I smiled weakly and began to tell him what was going on with Rudy. Jennifer added her observations. Dr. Larry took notes while his assistant, Amber held Rudy at arm's length. Whatever Rudy had, she wasn't going to be rubbing it on herself and who could blame her?

Dr. Larry examined Rudy, who behaved himself beautifully. Once Dr. Larry looked at Rudy's tail he knew that it was most likely Ringworm. He got out the Woods Lamp, turned off the lights, the shined the black light on Rudy's tail. It glowed. It glowed GREEN.

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Rudy got a nice “lion cut” tail shave for his troubles, which revealed the extent of the disease. Amber found another lesion on Rudy's side and that was shaved, as well. Dr. Larry put some topical medicine on the areas, which Rudy tolerated all right. He also checked Rudy's ears, which he found ONE ear mite EGG, so Rudy got a treatment of accurex, too. At least it was a one shot treatment and poor Jennifer wouldn't have to give him yet more meds!

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Dr. Larry took some hairs from Rudy to do a DTM culture to confirm that it was Ringworm and he prescribed a nasty med to be administered for the next 30 days that would kick this fungus in the butt. Honestly, there is NO fun in fungus, if you ask me. They should call it: notfungus.

Next up was Comet. Yes, you guessed it. She has ringworm, too. Since she “eats Rudy's brains” and likes to groom his face, it's not surprising that she has ringworm on her head. Since we can't put the meds near her eyes, she's getting treated systemically. She didn't have any ear mite boogies at least.

Dr. Larry stepped out of the room for a few minutes to get the meds ordered from the pharmacy. I confessed that I thought I had a ringworm lesion on my boob, but wasn't sure. Jennifer said we should look at it with the Woods Lamp and I said I wasn't so sure that was a good idea, but Amber agreed and suddenly it was pitch dark in the room, the lamp was turned on, so I whipped out part of my right boob (the G-rated part) and we looked at the small lesion. It did not glow, but that didn't mean it wasn't ringworm. It did mean, however, that I am NUTS for showing my boob at my Vet's office! And no, I do not have a photo of that to show you, but I am keeping an eye on it. Hopefully it's not ringworm, but since we've all be exposed to it, well, what can you do? Just gotta go to CVS and buy some “jock itch” cream which will also kill the ringworm, but makes you wonder about what jock itch really is if it can be killed by ringworm ointment??

I got Jennifer and her hubby a gift certificate to buy medical scrubs to cover their clothes, which will help prevent them from spreading or getting ringworm. They're being beyond gracious in continuing to foster the cats, for which I am eternally grateful.

I was sad that Super-Deb didn't come in to visit Rudy, because I know she's very fond of him, but Super-Deb has other animals who need her help and we can't be greedy. Before we left the Clinic, Jennifer DID get to meet Super-Deb. She even called her Super-Deb, which I think made her blush a tiny bit. I'm not sure if it was the first time Super-Deb got recognized by a reader, but she must have been prepared for such an event. As we made our way back to Jennifer's car, Super-Deb opened the door to the Clinic and shouted out to Jennifer, “Did you want my autograph?”

Jennifer cooly replied that she only wanted a paw print, but from what animal, or where on Super-Deb, I cannot be sure.

All I know is it will be 30 more days for Rudy and Comet to be fostered. Poor Jennifer is going to be heartsick when it's finally time for them to be adopted. God, do I know that feeling. I'm having the same troubles, with my fosters, too.

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Rudy contemplates the rotten hand he was dealt, but knows he's in loving, if not latex glove covered, hands.

In about a week to 10 days we'll have the “final” confirmation when the DTM culture is done culturing. Will it be a surprise that it's a positive result? Awww...just add it to all the other surprises I've had on this insane rescue and wait for the next one to pop up. I shouldn't write that or I'm going to jinx things and something will pop up and one of the cats will get really sick. Okay. I didn't mean it. There. Hopefully that will keep us from further worry.

Yeah, right.

Vet Week 2010

It wasn't enough to take SEVEN foster cats to the Vet on Tuesday. Of course I have my OWN cats who need occasional vet care, too. Right. I DO have my OWN cats. I keep forgetting about them!

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He looks so sweet because his is still DRUGGED in this photo!

Spencer was up first. He wasn't too thrilled about being at the Vet. He was due for a dental cleaning and WAY overdue for a CLAW (talons of DOOM) TRIM. To make things easier, I brought a “to do” list for Dr. Larry and to make SURE he trimmed Spencer's claws (TOD), I wrote: “Please trim the Little Fu@ker's claws...” I figure, humor is a good way to drill in the request to get those claws trimmed. Spencer LOVES to sit on my chest at night and no matter how far I pull the covers up, he has a way of sneaking his claws around the edges and digging those tips right into my shoulder. I will do what it takes to get some relief.

Spencer wheezes. After thousands of dollars spent on tests, it was determined that Spencer has scar tissue in his right sinus from an old URI (from before I adopted him). Because his breathing is effected, I always worry about him going under anesthesia AND he does NOT like to be messed with while at the Vet, too. So he can get himself VERY worked up and out of breath from fighting everyone who has to handle him. He will hiss and spit and make life HELL for everyone at Maple Ridge. He really IS a nice cat, but just not when he's getting a cath removed.

One of the other things on my list was to check Spencer's bald patches to determine if, indeed he has symmetrical alopecia or not. If you recall, Spencer looked like this (see below) a few months ago.

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So, the ”Little Fu@ker” (now his new nickname) got his teeth cleaned, his claws trimmed and his fur combed. His fur is growing back nicely, so Spencer isn't sick. Hurrah! That said, I GAVE SPENCER THE BALD PATCHES FROM RIPPING OUT HIS MATS. MY BAD!. In my own defense, Spencer DOES have very soft, delicate fur. I know. Call the Cops on me! I'm sorry, Spencer!

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Spencer is getting ready to kick some ass. Ears are locked and sphincters are loaded.

I"m not even sure if I should write the next bit 'cause I'm really going to look bad! Spencer also lost 10 oz in a few MONTHS. That's a LOT of weight. So now I'm starving him, too! First abuse, then starving. Great. Actually, I've taken him OFF dry food. No more for him AND I have been transitioning him to a RAW diet. He gets a combo of RAW and canned grain-free. Apparently, I can give him a bit more than I was. Will fix that. His weight is great. He's just under 13 lbs.

This is where I shine as a cat-mom: Spencer's wheezing is almost GONE! We're sure it's due to his diet change and possibly his weight loss, but most likely the dry food was irritating him in some way. So there! I'm not a complete Cat-Mommy Dearest!

I also brought Bob Dole in to see Dr. Larry. Bob's been vomiting a bit and also sneezing. Since he's FIV+, I don't want to risk him getting REALLY sick. Right now Bob has no fever and I needed them to take his temperature (I am NOT going to check that on my own! I would like to keep both my hands, after all). Bob was congested, but not bad. He got some Convenia and we'll wait and see how he does. So far, whatever he has is mild. Thank goodness. Super-Deb combed out Bob's fur which he couldn't decide if he loved or hated her doing. SD even combed off some poop particles. Okay, dingle berries. Anyway, Bob is a bit happier for it. Well, okay, I'M HAPPIER for it. Super Deb was shocked that Bob would “go out looking like that.” SD was right. Bob should start wearing pants.

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Bob lost 8 oz, too! Starving your cats, Robin? Say no!

Spencer (aka, Little Fu@ker) got through his dental, then drove me INSANE once we got home. I wasn't supposed to feed him and he was supposed to be confined to a room for the night. He clawed at the bedroom door, desperate to get out. He would not stop no matter how many times I yelled, cajolled, begged. Around 10pm I gave up and fed him some broth. That wasn't enough, so he returned to trying to claw a hole through the door. I was so happy he was okay and so pissed because he can really be an annoying maniac some times. By 11pm I had enough. There was NO WAY anyone was going to sleep unless loonie-boy got FED and got FED NOW. Who cares if his body temperature lowered from eating? I'll set him on fire so he will be warm after he eats.

I AM JUST JOKING. No need to call the authorities, but he was really being a pain in the ass.

All is well for now. Tomorrow Jennifer will bring Comet and Rudy here, then we'll drive over to visit Dr. Larry and Super Deb. I hope that we can get the ball rolling on ruling out Ringworm and also find some answers regarding why Rudy isn't recovering from the URI.

That will add up to four trips to the Vet in five days. I hope I don't have some sort of Vet-visiting disorder. Granted I DO enjoy chatting with Dr. Larry, Super Deb, Jessica and everyone else at Maple Ridge, but it IS a bit embarrassing to think if I had been going to the gym as often as I go to the Vet I would certainly look like a super model by now.

In Memoriam: KC 1995-2010

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KC giving me his big welcoming smile in 2005.

Although we're cat-centric around these parts, there are times when dogs are allowed to enter into our group. One such dog is KC.

KC was a happy go lucky Golden Retriever, who for 15 short years lived with his beloved family, Doug, Dawn and Chris. KC liked nothing better than to follow his mama-Dawn down the stairs into the basement to sit by her as she worked each day. KC would follow her back upstairs every time she'd go, possibly hoping for a treat, but most likely just to stay by her side.

KC was a very smart dog. I swear he understood whatever anyone said to him. He would walk to the end of the driveway in the morning and pick up the paper and he'd gladly obey any command. He even had a trick of “smiling” on command, though it looked a lot like he was getting ready to bite my hand off.

I can't have a dog due to allergies, so KC was one of three dogs I know who I'd gladly would ply with treats. Sadly, they made KC fart fairly seriously so I had to stop doing that! I had all the fun of watching KC chomp the pig's ear or whatever dried and tasty naughty-bit of some long dead animal. Hey, KC loved it. Who am I to judge?

KC loved to romp in the snow. Even towards the end of his life, he enjoyed the cool crunch of winter's blanket beneath his paws.

A few days ago, as KC's age slowed him down and his days of climbing and descending stairs came to an end, I got a call from Dawn. She was very upset about KC and I suggested she call on Dr. Larry and Super-Deb since they make house calls and her own Vet did not. KC hated being in the car and going to the Vet. The last kindness they could do for him was to let him go in his own home, surrounded by those who love him.

Today my sister-in-law, Anne, called me to tell me how wonderful Dr. Larry and Super-Deb were. That yes, today had been KC's last. That Dr. Larry had been gracious and compassionate and that Super-Deb was loving and attentive to an admitted “Lady's Dog.” KC was all about loving Dawn, but in her grief she could not say farewell to her good friend. Instead, Anne, who was just as close to KC as Dawn, stepped in and along with Doug, comforted KC as he took his last breath. It was a compassionate end for a dog who deserved nothing less.

KC was a very good dog, indeed, and we shall all miss him very much.

Lord of the Ringworm: Ressurrection

When you get woken up in the middle of the night by your boyfriend screaming; BISON!!!!, you know you're in for a weird day. Add to that having to pry your eyelids back open again at 6:15 AM and things are really off to the races.

I had to get not one, two, three, four cats to the Vet by 8:15 AM. I had to bring ALL SEVEN foster cats to the Vet! I created a list of what was needed to be done to which cat so I wouldn't forget. It ranged from: “needs a booster shot, right?” to “Not sure what is going on. Cat is not getting better and now has a weird area of hair loss on the tail.”

Cupid and Prancer were also due to be spayed IF the Vet agreed that they were healthy enough to go through the stress of the surgery. It's hard to know how they'll do and even if they do well, they may relapse either from being around the other kittens who are still sick, or from stress. Either way, it's a risk I have to take. Now if I could just stop feeling guilty for putting them through this. Check out Cupid and Prancer (below). Tell me you don't feel guilty looking at them!

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The Bison Yeller (Sam) helped me load up the car and he drove us over to the Vet. We got there a bit early and they were able to see us right away. We started with Cupid and Prancer. They got the “all clear” to be spayed. Great!

Next up was Blitzen, Donner and Dancer. Blizten is struggling to get well. He is on different antibiotics for the next 30 DAYS!!!!!!!. At least they took him off just about all the other meds and there's only one eye ointment and that's IT. The other two kittens are still sick, but the Vet felt that we should give it some time to resolve. How much time? “WEEKS OR MONTHS” (!!!!!!!!!!!!) She replied. Oh brother. They'll be adults before I can get them well!

Lastly, there was Comet and Rudolph.

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Comet looks good. Got a clean bill of health...sort of. Her eyes are clear and no more sneezing. Her sore nose looks good, too. She gained weight and her coat is sleek and shiny. Except for one thing...

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Rudy. Rudy is the one thing. Rudy has a bald patch on his tail. Jennifer called me about it over the weekend. She mentioned that Rudy and Comet had accidently been locked up with one of her resident cats and that Rudy had hid inside her husband's recliner. I thought that perhaps Rudy's tail had been stuck and that's how the fur came off. of course it wouldn't be anything else, right? What causes funky alopecia? It didn't occur to me since Rudy had been in 2 week quarantine in GA AND he'd been in CT for 4 weeks now, so he couldn't have broken with anything like...like...

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RINGWORM!!!!!

No. That couldn't be it! Not after ALL THIS TIME?!! How could Rudy get ringworm?? We looked at the area with the Woods Lamp. It glowed, of course. “Should we do the test? Results take two weeks.” I said not to bother. We'll just treat it, but WHERE, HOW did he get it?

Here's a hint:

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Doing cat rescue, apparently, is not for the faint of heart. The things I've learned in the past year, and learned the hard way, never stop to amaze me. The Vet felt that Comet MAY be a carrier for ringworm and passed it to Rudy. She may not show any signs of it or might break with it in another week. Wait and see. Also, she COULD give it to other cats after she gets adopted, or she might not. Is there no way to tell if she can do this? Apparently not.

I'm not going to have a nervous breakdown. I did that over Christmas break!!! As one of my client's says daily; “It IS what it IS.” Whatever that means, he's right. What can I do?

I called Jennifer. That was a tough call to make. I felt (feel) so badly about this because ringworm is airborne so of course all her cats and her husband have been exposed to it. By the way, all MY cats and my boyfriend have been exposed to it, too. Not to make it any less bad, but Jennifer is their caretaker. Without her, I will be in a big jam. Rudy's treatment lasts 45 DAYS.

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Not only that, but Rudy STILL has bronchitis. The Vet is concerned he has Feline Leukemia or FIV+. We ran 2 combo tests and both were negative. She said you can't trust the results because Rudy is too young. We are not out of the woods with this boy. Hopefully by MARCH!!! he will be all better, BIGGER, healthy and happy.

I gathered up a new bag full of medications. One had to be ordered. The Vet bill for all these visits and medications is at $1250.00. I'm going to have to put out my paper cup and ask for spare change to help us pay the bill, but right now I need to count my blessings that Jennifer was willing to take Rudy and Comet back and that I've got two kitties that MAY be able to be adopted in another week or so.

Baby steps, right? Baby steps.

Foster Cat Journal: Still Sick!

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Blitzen is still struggling to get better.

Poor little Blitzen. I just can't seem to get him to turn the corner and get better. I'm taking him to the Vet tomorrow, along with Rudy (he's not doing well). I'm also taking everyone else! Ack! Might as well. Mama and Prancer are well enough to be spayed. I'm hoping it won't push them over the edge and make them relapse, which is why I'm only doing those two cats. Am going to take this VERY SLOWLY. If these two do well, then they can be adopted. The rest are still too sick to be messed with and I want to re-evaluate their meds, so off they go to the Vet.

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From left: Dancer, Prancer & Donner

I'm going to pick Rudy and Comet up now. Will have a full house for a few more days. It's a lot more work with them here, but they are such nice kitties, I do enjoy seeing them!

Deep breath. I will get these cats well...I HOPE!

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