Robin Olson's blog

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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Foster Cat Journal: Touch & Go

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Monte's been on a handful of meds since Monday. Yesterday he seemed to turn the corner and appeared to be doing better. This morning, he seems more sniffly than before and not as lively. Whatever he has is kicking his ass good. He's been a Prince about taking his meds. He gets eye drops, eye ointment, a pill, two liquid things..ugh..I have no idea what it is. So much for all my research into each medication my cats get! At this point it's "give him everything and hope something works."

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I've been running a humidifier as often as I can. When I forget I've left it on, I usually find the wood floor is soaked and the kittens are freaked out because even their bedding is getting damp. Not sure if it's even helping the kittens at all, but they do seem to enjoy playing in the mist! They find it fascinating-of course it moves. I just wish they'd stop jumping on the big dog crate where the humidifier is placed. It's a precarious spot, but it's the highest off the floor I can put the thing and the kittens seem to know they shouldn't go near it, so that's where they focus their attention.

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Dee & Dylan seem to be basically fine now, so I've given their adopter the OK to bring them home. They don't have other cats, so it's not a risk to move them and I'd rather have them away from Monte, to give him more time to rest without being pounced on by his fluffy siblings. He'll still be with his sister, but she may be leaving soon, too. Can't say why just now, but you can guess!

Although these fosters have been sick, they're all so loving and wonderful that I wish I could spend more time with them (without having to shower afterwards!). Dylan & Delilah are stunners. Their fur feels like silk and they are both quick to jump on my lap for pets. They'll be great in their new home-my only worry is the owner has a dog who has never been with cats. She's a Pit Bull/Hound mix, who is socialized and likes people and other dogs. It remains to be seen how she will do with kittens, hopefully she will not decide they make good eats. The owner assures me she is going to keep the dog on a leash at all times near the kittens and never leave them home alone with the dog. Deep breath...it will be OKAY. Just repeat over and over...

...it will be OKAY. Hopefully, for Monte, too. Hang in there, little guy.

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Excuse Me, But...

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Will someone please tell me WHY it's necessary to INHALE buttock-fumes? Do I go around doing that to MY friends and family? If I did, I certainly would keep that to myself!

Just thought with all the pleas for help and sick cats and traumas, it was time for something ELSE to balance the load a bit. Sure, I could have chosen a CUTE photo of a kitten, and I did, sort of.

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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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