Bobby

Another Orange Family Needs a Helping Hand

I had just barely gotten Minnie and her five kittens settled in the now famous blue-bathtub you may have seen featured on my rescue, Kitten Associate's, 24/7 web cam called Squee-TV when I got an email from a friend of mine who does rescue in the southern USA. She sent me a photo of an orange mama-cat, not unlike my own Minnie, whose time was almost up-the delicate way to say she was going to be euthanized if we didn't get her out.

She also had kittens, older than my little guys, but no less deserving of being freed from their cage and given a chance to live a full life. The kittens had been separated from her because they were old enough to be weaned, but what we didn't know is that someone was putting them back with mama each night, which at first glance might seem touching, when in fact it was dangerous for the mama.

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I was asked if I could help get the mama-cat out of the shelter. I couldn't take her on, but I could help her if we could find a good rescue to take part. I'd offer up what I could, including asking our dear-Bobby to help by picking up the family if, indeed, we had time to make this happen at all. When time is up…time is up.

I hate calling animal control. I always feel like I'm going to throw up because I don't know if they are going to tell me the cat is "not available” (dead) or if for some bizarre reason I can't have the cats. I promised I'd call and ask for time, maybe a few days, to put things together. If I couldn't get the rescue sorted out, then I would let them know. They agreed to give me until the next morning. Oh boy…I had to act fast.

Thankfully, a rescue in the northeast offered to take the cats. They have been fully checked out and we know we can get the cats to them. The problem is money-we need to have the cats fully vetted to sweeten the pot for the rescue to take on the family. That's not a bad thing and some times we do this to help each other out.

What I couldn't have bargained on was the frantic call I got early the next morning. The mama cat was screaming in pain and would not allow anyone to touch her. The staff was going to put her down right then and there. Something was terribly wrong. They remembered I'd asked to put a rescue hold on this cat and one of the staff urged them to NOT put her down and to call me first. When I answered the phone and heard her anxious tone, I knew it was serious.

Without thinking I said “Hell, yes! Get her out of there! I'll have Bobby come over right away, hang on.” Had I just signed myself up for a multi-thousand dollar Vet bill? What was wrong with the mama?

In no time at all Bobby picked up the mama and her six kittens. Mama was taken to the Vet. She had a very bad case of mastitis, an infection of the mammary glands. In her case it caused an ulceration of one of the glands, which is extremely painful. This often happens when kittens are too old to be nursing from their mama and their teeth puncture her skin and push nasty bacteria into the glands or the kittens claws can cause scratches or bacteria can go into the gland during rough nursing. It can be deadly and must be treated right away. Those nights of allowing the kittens on mama probably caused the issue when separating them might have kept her healthy.

Thankfully, we weren't too late. Mama is in a foster home with her kittens, though separated from them so she can heal. She's doing well and the kittens are free to explore the world beyond the size of a cage. They have a hopeful future, we just need to lend them a helping hand so they can be on their way.

This fundraiser doesn't need much to be filled up. I hope we can make that happen. If we all add a little bit to the pot, it will fill up in a jiffy! Just click the “GIVE NOW” button and you're all set.

Cats like Minnie and now, Ginger need our support. One day they will be spayed and chubby and in their forever homes. We're all part of the team that gets them there so they can find their happy ending.

Thank you for being part of our team and helping to save lives!

JULY 5, 2013 UPDATE: We made our fundraising goal AND in even BETTER NEWS, Ginger mama, her six kittens and SEVEN MORE ORPHAN KITTENS are on their way to the northeast to find safe haven in a rescue there! Our Bobby and Izzy and Mark are part of the team driving them over 1000 miles in the next few days so if you see a car full of kitties, give them a wave and let them know how AWESOME THEY ARE..and to Joan Flores who started this mission and was able to put a group together of strangers, all dedicated to saving lives. With the help of all of your donations and sharing this message, we DID IT!

Now We are Seven-Covered in Cat Hair's Blogversary

Who knew the need to vent my frustrations, living with an ever-changing number of cats, would lead to all of this?

It began with this post.

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. Here's my cat, Cricket (center) flanked by his brother, Boo-Boo and sister, Sophie. Back then, Boo-Boo was one of the inspirations to starting my blog (because he was so annoying!)Boo and Sophie were later adopted together.

For those of you interested in the origins of Covered in Cat Hair, you should know that this blog was meant to be a book project entitled: Covered in Cat Hair: the Mostly True Stories of a Life Spent with Cats. James Frey had just been busted for lying about his tome: A Million Little Pieces and I figured I had to add the “mostly true” part just in case I goofed up on some facts.

My brilliant idea was that since I stink at cold-calling Editors and Publishers and writing pitches, that simply the fact I was writing a blog would be enough fodder to lure them into discovering my fresh voice, and shortly thereafter offering me a lucrative book deal (which, to date, I'm still waiting for).

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. A few months after Covered in Cat Hair began, I inherited my Mother's cat, Bob Dole, after she passed away. My Mother never read my blog or any of my work, saying she would wait for it to be published, first.

In the meantime, I began writing my book, not really focusing too much on blog-length posts. I wrote about 90,000 words (yes, that's a lot, but not quite enough for a book). Each chapter is a short story. Some of the stories are poignant and some flights of foolish fancy. I was determined to finish my book, but I realized no one would want to read such long posts online so I had to change course on my blog.

I was fostering for a rescue group and thought I'd write about the cats in my care. There were many stories to share, but my “boss,” the Director of the group, did NOT like me writing about her or anything else we were up to. I also couldn't post photos with my stories, which frustrated me endlessly. I grew up with a camera in my hand and telling stories and sharing photos is natural to me.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Blueberry and her brother, Blackberry were rescued from South Carolina.

So what did I do?

I kept writing. I used aliases. I waited for technology to get to the point where I could share photos and I began to write posts to help other people with their cats, as well as to continue telling stories about my foster cats.

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©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Two of the Pi Day babies, Happy and Jelly Belly.

In 2009, I came face to face with the cruel truth of what happens to cats in the southern part of the USA. It was something I'd already heard about, but I didn't know just how horrific it was. I'd been sheltered, pardon the pun, from knowing about abuse, over-population and mass euthanasias of cats, because I felt I was “too sensitive” to handle the truth. I did my fostering and kept out of the rescue part. Once that curtain was parted, my life changed forever.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson & A. Merritt. The Halloween Express-four kittens in a kill shelter in Georgia didn't have a chance. We rescued them, did quarantine, and placed them in a month-ALL TOGETHER with ONE FAMILY! You can see how well they're doing, laying crammed next to their Mom's lap in this recent photo.

When I found out that about 95-98% of cats don't make it out of southern (and other) municipal shelters, I thought I would die from the news.

I imagined all those cats, many of them newborns and kittens, dead in a pile waiting to be…who knows…taken to the dump? Incinerated? Used in pet food? (I'd heard that was true, but could never prove it).

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. The now infamous, Huggy Mama, the first cat (and her two offspring, one pictured here) I rescued out of a kill shelter in 2009. She and her two boys were adopted TOGETHER.

I could keep turning away or I could look, stone-faced and soberly at this HELL and I could raise my hand and offer to do something about it-even if it only helped a small handful of cats.

I met with a great deal of opposition. It was difficult work, but I had an excellent team in Georgia offering to help me led by Maria and Bobby. It pushed all my boundaries. I was rescuing cats I never had a chance to meet before agreeing to rescue them. I had to hope they would be nice, adoptable cats who didn't have serious illness. I raised money for these rescues and was overwhelmed by how many people cared, to the point of being willing to send me $5 when that money was the WORLD to them.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. 1 in 7 million are the odds that this little calico named Gingerbread would be a male. He surprised us all.

I left the rescue I was with under great duress and with a great deal of anger for how I was treated. I opened Kitten Associates, scared out of my mind that I was taking on more than I could handle. I knew enough to get myself in trouble-and I did just that, but I kept writing, buoyed by the supportive emails and calls I got from so many of you.

If nothing else, I figured I could be a warning to others about what not to do with your life.

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©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. Poppy, about a week old.

Where Covered in Cat Hair has taken me, I could have never imagined. I've been honored with many awards and accolades. I've met wonderful people who share my passion to save cats, enrich their lives, to help their guardians cope with behavior problems and to feed cats a species appropriate diet. I cherish my cat-lady-babes, every one of them.

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Will & Grace.

The biggest surprise to me, and the most humbling, is that no matter what kind of trouble I get myself into, what heartbreak I share, what triumphs I achieve, you are right there with me, cheering me on, offering your shoulder when times get tough and sharing your insight and stories from your life in return.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. CallaLilly & daughter, Sunny.

I am so in love with all of you and so very grateful for your support these past seven years. Thank you for being part of my journey—it's one I hope will continue for a long time to come.

My Secret Shame. Part 1 of 2

I’ve been skulking around, carrying a shameful secret in my heart for almost three years. Only a very few trusted friends knew what was going on. For legal reasons I couldn’t say anything online about what was happening until there was a verdict in the court case. Yes, COURT CASE.

I suffered in silence, but I deserved it. It was part of the penance I had to pay for what I did.

Simply put, I made a terrible judgement error. I trusted a stranger when I should have been more careful. Although I consider myself to be a responsible person, I trust others too easily. When I take something on, I do it to the best of my ability. If I fail, I take the blame. I hold my head up and apologize and do my best to make it right again.

Because of my actions, a cat suffered in a most unfair and despicable way. I know that even now going public with my story may risk serious backlash from the other person involved in this horror. She will rain down on me, make untrue accusations, she will whine and twist her words. She may even do more than that, but I don’t care about her feelings after what she's allowed to happen.

-----------------------------------

In July of 2010, we opened the doors to my Non-Profit rescue group, Kitten Associates. We were still getting things sorted out, building our web site, setting up the foster room, sorting out what cats we rescue and how we would find them good homes. I already had almost a decade of fostering and working with other cat rescues, so this was a natural next step. I was scared. I was excited. I hoped I could help make a positive difference for cats and the people they live with. This was a big test for me.

At that time this blog, Covered in Cat Hair, had been going for over 4 years. I had a growing readership and my stories about rescue life were going very well. I leveraged my readership to help me get the word out on cats at kill shelters in the southern US who needed rescue. It was working to make a difference and continues to be an exciting part of what I do.

I’d already rescued cats from a few Georiga shelters in the past so when I heard about a calico mama and her two, cow-patterned kittens, who needed to get “busted out,” I jumped at the chance to help.

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©2010 Maria S. Cali-Mama our first rescued cat, just after her spay surgery. She is mama to Pattycake and Moonpie.

For years I had it drilled into my head that adopting out adults from a foster home is really tough and keeps one from rescuing more kittens. People don’t make an effort to go to a private home, by appointment only, to see an adult. In other words, don’t rescue mom-cats, just take on orphan kittens.

I was worried about what to do with this cat, who we called Cali-mama, but just after I broke the news that we were taking on our first rescues, one of my readers contacted me saying she wanted to adopt the mom before we'd even gotten Cali OUT of the shelter!

I was over-the-moon happy. It didn’t occur to me to have her fill out an adoption application. We spoke on the phone at great length and shared many emails. I was so relieved she wanted this cat that I didn’t even charge her an adoption fee or ask her to sign an adoption contract! Yes, I was STUPID.

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©2010 Maria S. Cali and her daughter, Pattycake.

Within two weeks, we had the cat fully vetted, since the kittens were already weaned, and our friend, Bobby, drove her to her new home in North Carolina. Cali-mama was our first adoption.

Then everything went to Hell.

Bobby told me he didn’t like the look of the woman. The first warning sign – she wouldn’t let him drop the cat off to her at home. Though he offered many times, she wanted to meet him a few miles away-and this is after he just drove a few hundred miles with the cat - what was a few more? He said there was something about her he didn’t feel comfortable about and he wished he’d kept the cat, instead of let her go. When he told me that I feared we'd made a terrible mistake, but it was too late.

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©2010 HCC&C. From my original post announcing that Cali had been adopted.

I got a few updates telling me that the cat was renamed Tansy. She was doing okay but a bit uncomfortable with the dog. She’d tried to get out of the house a few times, but seemed to be calming down. I didn’t worry about Tansy. It sounded like she was adjusting, so I continued on with rescuing more cats.

In June of 2011, almost a YEAR later, I got a call from the adopter. She was very upset.

I asked her to tell me what happened. She went into a long rant, saying all sorts of things about the Home Owner’s Association saying that there was a stench coming from inside her home that could be smelled outside her home. It that was so bad they eventually called Animal Control. She said she was getting vilified and it was unfair; that there was some sort of pond causing the odor, not her house.

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©2010 Maria S. One of the last photos we'd see of Cali for the next two years.

Pressing for more details, I finally got my answer. When I heard it I felt like throwing up, then passing out, as the blood went out of my head, into my toes. WHAT HAD I DONE?! When I had a second to process her words I wanted to reach through the phone line to let’s just say do something really bad involving causing this person a lot of PAIN, but I said nothing at first. I was too stunned to talk.

She was either a hoarder or really damn close to being one. Unbeknownst to me, she didn’t have two dogs and a cat or two, she had 24 cats and two dogs. If I’d done ANY sort of reference check I probably would have found out there was a problem, but I didn’t do that.

What happened next literally took a piece out of my heart.

Animal Control took ALL OF THE ANIMALS into custody.

This person, who I will call Sue (not her real name), tried to convince me she was a victim and that I should help her get her animals back.

Shaking, I told her that it was my responsibility to provide care to Tansy. That I would do whatever it takes to get her back and that I was sorry, but that I felt I should no longer speak to her any more and I suggested she see a Lawyer. If Animal Control seized the animals, clearly something was missing from her story.

I was able to find out where Tansy had been taken, so I immediately began calling and emailing them to get more information.

I found out the that conditions in the home were terrible. They would not say more than that for legal reasons. They said they would not euthanize any of the animals unless they became seriously ill, so Tansy had a chance to get out alive.

Humiliated, I had to tell the Director of Animal Control about my terrible error adopting out this cat to Sue. I couldn’t even give her a microchip number because we hadn’t started doing chips then. I had a few photos and luckily they matched one of the cats in custody. They took down my information and were a bit terse about dealing with me. I deserved it, but at least they knew I would be there for this cat, with bells on, if I could only get her back.

And then the wait began. The fear left me breathless each time I emailed Animal Control to ask for an update. I didn’t want them to forget me. I feared if I waited too long I’d miss my chance to get this poor cat back, so I just kept contacting them, hoping for good news.

I thought about Tansy’s life—living in a tiny cage with no sunshine or fresh air, most likely living near barking dogs - what torture for her. It would be a few weeks before the case would be heard, but certainly it wasn’t a long enough time for being back in a kill shelter to do any harm to her, right?

But Sue wanted a fight so she got one. The case dragged on. It went to a higher court. There were delays and more delays. MONTHS passed. Each time I had to contact Animal Control for an update, my heart sank when I saw they’d replied. Were they going to tell me I was too late or worse, that she went back to Sue?

In part two, the wait continues, as does the fear that I will never get Tansy back alive.

Crushed Foot Kitty finds a Rescue with Kitten Associates

Not quite a kitten, but not big enough to be a full grown cat, a friendly Norewegian Forest cat mix was dumped off at Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. Like most cats he was placed in a small steel cage to await his fate, but what was different about him was this cat was injured and unable to put weight on his right front leg.

Any cat lover would want to grab that kitten out of the cage and rush him off to the Vet, but without funds to do so, cats in shelters don't always get the help they need. It's not because the staff is evil or because they don't care, it's because of stupid things like money that force their hand. If they help this one, what about the two other badly injured cats with gaping wounds in their necks who just got brought in, too?

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©2012 Betsy Merchant. Poor little fella.

This year I had to turn away from helping cats from Henry County because there were so many others that needed our attention who literally fell out of trees (like Willow). After a long year of helping more abandoned cats than I have ever seen, more stray, homeless, starving, knocked up cats, Maria (our super foster mom in GA) and I decided we both needed to plan to take a break. Neither of us had had more than a week free from fostering for almost three years.

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©2012 Betsy Merchant.

It's just plain crazy to push yourself in a field where there is so much misery and heartache. I want to always love my foster cats and have the stamina and compassion to keep helping them. For my own sanity and out of respect to my own cats, after the 13 cats in my program get to their forever homes, I'm done for a few months.

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©2012 Betsy Merchant. Do you love those wispy ear tufts or what?

I've already had to say no to many requests for help. I hate it, but I have to do this. Of course, last night I got a text from Maria asking me if I'd heard about this “crushed foot” cat at Henry Co. I had seen the plea a few days before, felt bad about it, then closed the email. I hoped someone would help him, but it'd been a week and no one came forward.

We believe the cat is 6-9 months old and his right paw is twisted out at an odd angle. It's not quite fused in place, but there is a deformity. His paw is warm so there is blood flow. Our intrepid volunteer/driver, Bobby felt the paw and the kitten didn't wince, nor did he feel any broken toes.

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©2012 Betsy Merchant. This kitten mostly lays down in his cage. Getting him to stand up is not often easy.

I asked Maria if she wanted to take on another foster and she didn't hesitate to say yes. I contacted Bobby and Henry County and by 2 AM everything was sorted out.

Bobby arrived at Henry County 90 minutes ago and picked up the kitty, who has been purring non-stop since he got out of the cage.

We're going to take on whatever ails this little guy. He may need his leg removed or hopefully surgery can save it somehow. Yes, we'll need to start a ChipIn, but I'm even tired of asking for money. We'll wait to see what the Vet says and take it from there.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. Meet Bongo, our latest rescue!

The cat is at our Vet's office right now being examined. I'm praying his snap test is negative/negative. I'm more worried about that than I'm worried about his leg.

We'll get him his vaccinations and they'll do x-rays. If he needs pain meds, he'll get them. I look at it this way-it's just one cat, right?

Just one more cat to find a home for. One cat to fuss over and worry about until he's feeling well again. Just one more to love (and honestly, just looking at his crazy ear tufts was enough to put me over the edge).

This is Bongo, our latest rescue. Welcome aboard. The story of your rescue starts now.

King of My Heart

It's hard to believe that we rescued King from a palette factory in Georgia six months ago. In that time, King has been transformed from a thin, filthy rag of a cat into a lovely, chubby cuddlebug.

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©2012 Maria S. King getting settled prior to transport.

King is very special to me, even from afar. Knowing he must have had a difficult life living outside, handicapped by a deformity that robbed him of his hind paws, made me imagine the worst. How he must have suffered trying to get around with two stumps for back legs-especially with trucks, cars and fork lifts buzzing around him. How did he manage? How did he not get run over and killed? How is it that he's so darn friendly? I know the folks at the factory fed him scraps when they could and they put a piece of cardboard down under an outdoor staircase so he's have some sort of shelter, but someone handled this cat. That much is clear.

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©2012 Maria S. Not so sure about going for a long ride.

Six months is a long time to be in foster care waiting for a forever home, but Maria and I both knew that finding King the right home wasn't going to be easy. In fact, a small rescue like mine shouldn't even take on anything other than cute little easy-to-adopt-out kittens. We don't have the staff or the foster home space to take on a cat we can't find a home for within a short amount of time. If we had a brick and mortar shelter we COULD take on more adults. If we took on as few as three adults who would be tough to place, it would prevent us from saving MANY more kittens from Kill Shelters. It's a very tough place for us to be in, but I know in time we'll take on more adults when we have the resources. I'll still help the few I can and get the word out on other adults I can find another rescue to take on.

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©2012 Maria S. Maria watches the transport make it's way north.

But King had something about him, from the moment Bobby called me, describing this cat's plight. Bobby had seen him a year ago, then not again for a long while. When he saw him again, he knew he had to ask me, knowing full well that this is not a cat I can usually help. I understood that taking King on would cause some issues for us, but I couldn't say no. I'd never sleep at night thinking about him out there struggling to survive.

I had lots of questions and concerns. What could I do for him? Would he need surgery? Was he semi-feral? What was I getting myself into? I'd cared for a cat who had a limb amputated but not one without back feet who could not walk on a floor unless it was carpeted.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I saw many black dogs come off the transport. Black animals in the south still carry the stigma of being bad luck.

 


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. King arrives, though not very happily.

On Saturday, King's transport arrived. Whatever concerns I had about him would be put to the test. The Vets and Specialist declared there was nothing more to be done for him. What would I do with a cat who couldn't jump or run around-who could only travel as far as I placed rugs or towels on the floor? Would I feel strange touching him…seeing his back legs end prematurely into rounded stumps that showed signs of a paw pad and deformed toes-but which didn't function as such?


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Meet King.

The trip was tough on King. He was crying and upset off the transport because it was filled with barking dogs. I HATE to put him through that, but the trip ends and the damage to his nerves won't last forever. It's a necessary evil if I want to get King here reliably and safely for a reasonable amount of money.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting to know King.

King was clearly confused and upset, but once he was in the car with me, without the sound of the dogs, he got very quiet and just sat towards the back of his carrier. I spoke to him as we drove along, but he didn't move or make a peep.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. He loves to be loved. King has a heart of gold.

I brought him upstairs to the bathroom which would be his temporary home. He hid and cried.

I got him something to eat and sat with him. I wasn't sure I could pet him, but I had to try. The second I touched him, he softened up and pushed his head back into my hand. I scratched his neck and he flopped down on his side, rolling against me. It took a few minutes, but I coaxed him out of his hiding place. Watching him walk made me sad. His little back legs can't get a grip on a smooth surface so he slipped a little bit trying to reach the cat bed I'd put out for him. He climbed into the bed. It was the first time I really got a good look at him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You know what King wants!

King gained FIVE POUNDS since we rescued him and I could feel the weight of him as I stroked his back, then his sides. He quickly turned over, opening himself to me by showing his belly. He had no reservation allowing me to pet him there, too. He wriggled around, keeping eye contact with me. He loved being scratched under the chin and behind his ears. If I hit a certain “right” spot, his back leg would twitch and dig at the air, just as a dog would do.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Chillaxin' on his "throne."

 

My heart sank as I realized King could not scratch himself, EVER. He had no way to do that. Of course he'd LOVE it if someone would scratch him so I spent a long time scratching every part of his head and neck, allowing his twitchy back legs to guide me to the right places.

 

The longer I scratched, the happier King got. He seemed grateful for this small gesture. He couldn't get up and run off or jump on the cat tree and look out the window. He could sit next to me and be my buddy and he seemed fine with that and I did, too.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Such a good boy! (by the way, King is going to the Vet this morning to re-check why his third eyelids are showing)

Although I still feel sad when I see King's back legs, it hit me all of a sudden-of course it really didn't matter that he's handicapped. He's a great cat, paws or no paws. King doesn't know what he's missing. He never had it in the first place. He doesn't let that stop him from living his life to the fullest.

King is here today because Bobby and Maria offered to help him, but the gravity of this rescue hit me. If I hadn't said; “I've got your back-yes I'll take you into my rescue,” this never would have happened. I looked down at King. He flipped over and showed me his belly again. He looked into my eyes and in that moment nothing else mattered. As the tears slid down my cheeks, I fell in love with this cat. This once miserable wreck of a beast, with no hope in his life, laying before me, completely surrendering himself to me, trusted me to do right by him-and I know I did. I felt honored. I felt humbled. I felt hopeful that a cat as sweet and gentle as King would find his forever home soon…

…maybe sooner than I imagined.

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King's Story: Walking on Air

King continues to amaze us. He was once just another hungry stray cat, but with a startling difference. He has no back feet, but somehow this cat survived for the past year on his own. He was dirty, scared and thin. Life at the Palette Factory meant dodging forklifts, trucks and fighting for scraps from the employee's lunch pails. But somehow, through all of that, King made a life for himself.

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©2012 Maria. S. Enjoying the good life by his new cat tree.

When our friend, Bobby told me about King, I knew we had to do something. There were plenty of risks taking on a cat like this. Would there be bank-breaking surgeries needed? Would he be nasty? Fractious? Did he suffer from other issues we were yet to discover? Who would adopt him if we DID rescue him?

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©2012 Maria. S. King gives us that “come hither and rub my belly” stare.

There are times when although you're aware of all those questions, you have to do something no matter what and that's what we did. Bobby got King over to the Vet and had him spayed, got his shots and tests and went on to Mama-Maria's house to be fostered. Shortly thereafter he was taken to another vet to be x-rayed so we could determine what happened to his legs. We needed to do more tests so a final diagnosis would have to wait.

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©2012 Maria. S. Ready for rubbin'!

We had some trying times. King urinated quite a few times on his bedding. When his Palette Factory friend, Miss FP arrived to share the same space with him, he urinated even more outside of the litter pan. Maria thought he might be incontinent, but he was using the pan some times. Over a few weeks, King settled down and he hasn't urinated outside the litter pan after we got him a big cat tree that allows Miss FP to be up high and feel safe and King can stay on the floor on his pillows and feel safe, too.


©2012 Maria S. & Robin Olson. King makes a friend and learns to play.

Bobby took King to see an orthopedic specialist named Dr. Alan Cross. Dr. Cross examined King and reviewed his x-rays. He felt that it was likely that King's issue is due to a deformity and not an accident because if it had been an accident, King would have bled to death. There is either a callus or a bit of a paw pad at the end of each back leg. The legs are almost the same length, but the right one is a bit shorter. King is not a good candidate for a cart or prosthetics. They could do more harm, than good. King might benefit from some soft booties or leggings so we'll look into that. Bottom line-King needs to live in a home with rugs or carpeting because without it only his front legs reach the ground and the others swing freely in the air. On carpet he can plant his back legs and walk somewhat normally.

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©2012 Maria. S. What IS that thing?

While all these tests and vet trips were going on, something amazing happened. King began to blossom.

His filthy coat began to shine. The white patches of fur glowed. King's eyes had a sparkle that wasn't there before. He gained some weight so now he has a fullness that was missing before. King made best friends with Maria's cat, Kahlua. The two of them “head butt” each other and even hold paws. Part of me wishes Maria would keep King so he could stay with Kahlua, but it also means that King cold be happy in a forever home that has another kitty already waiting to be his friend.

Sadly, Miss FP has not been interested in forming a friendship, but keeps to herself or enjoys pets when Maria's friends come over to visit.

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©2012 Maria. S. Ooo! Cardboard scratchy thing!

The best thing about King is his love for everyone. He's an easy going, sweet natured cat. Considering what his life has been like, he has no reason to be affectionate towards humans, yet he loves people. He's a very special cat and I admit to having a crush on him from afar. I can't wait for him to join us here and I can't wait for the day to arrive when he finds his forever home.

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©2012 Maria. S. The day we rescued King. What a wreck, but still regal under all that dirt.

This cat has been through so much, but his future is looking bright. I enjoy the privilege to witness his glorious transformation. It gives me great joy. In fact, I'm walking on air, too.

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©2012 Maria. S. A few weeks later, with a belly full of high protein canned food, a few vet visits, a clean, safe place to live and lots of love, King bears little resemblance to his former self.

NOT ON MY WATCH: A Rescue Fit for a King

There are times when you just have to do something to help rescue a cat. You can't sit idly by and do nothing. Even from 1000 miles away, my heart is breaking for one particular tuxedo cat I just learned about. Even if I don't have a shelter and know I'm going to have trouble finding a home for him, I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING and it can't wait until I can sort out details. I HAVE TO ACT FAST.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. A lonely stray calls out for help. Where white paws should be on his back legs, there are only stumps.

Our wonderful supporter and driver, Bobby, alerted me about a cat that's been living around a palette factory in Georgia. In the daytime it's okay to walk around there, but at night even Bobby does not feel safe. This is not a place where a cat will have a long life expectancy.

He'd seen the cat six months ago, but thought it had died so he never mentioned it to me. A few days ago he was surprised to see it again since the last time he saw the cat, he noticed it's back paws were either deformed or crushed and he was hobbling around the plant on his two front legs. The workers feed him scraps. They didn't provide him with proper food or vet care of any kind.

They simply don't have the funds or the interest to concern themselves about a disabled cat. How this cat survived this long is beyond my comprehension.

 

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. What a life-dragging his legs around in the dirt and living under a building.

I told Bobby to grab the cat next chance he got. Maria, our beloved foster mom, said she would foster him. Her heart melted when she heard about the poor cat hobbling around and she wanted to get him off the streets as badly as I did.

A few days passed, then Tuesday afternoon I got a call from Bobby. He got the kitty! It took a bit of coaxing to get the cat into the carrier. He's lived outdoors his whole life and though he wasn't feral, he was probably going to be very skittish. Bobby was told by one of the workers at the Plant that some of the folks could rub his belly-so why didn't then TAKE HIM TO A VET? Didn't they NOTICE something was WRONG with him? Okay, at least he could be petted-or so we thought.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. Our latest rescue, moments after Bobby got him. Where are his BACK FEET??!!

Bobby told me he was on his way to the clinic to have Doc Thomas take a look at him or her-he wasn't sure which. It's funny we all assumed it was a male cat for some reason, and turns out we were right. Bobby didn't get a good look at the back feet. The cat was too nervous to be approached. Bobby said he heard rumors that someone cut the cat's feet off, but he hoped it was not true. We decided to let Doc do the basics, for now and fill us in more the following morning. It was late in the day and she just had time to run his tests and get him neutered.

As always, I'm on pins and needles until I hear the snap test results-his were NEGATIVE/NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia. Next he got his vaccinations and was neutered, but what about his FEET?!

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©2012 Maria S. King, relaxing on a soft towel, probably the first comfort of his entire life.

Initially I didn't know what would be in store for King. I was told this boy is going to need a lot of socialization. At the clinic he laid in his litter pan and was covered with his own filth. He's never even used a litter pan before and with his short back legs, there's no telling IF he can use a litter pan. Maria would have her work cut out for her, but I knew she could handle it. In the meantime, I've been introduced to someone who works with handicapped cats and hopefully she will share some ideas of how we can help this kitty. I've never rescued such a severely handicapped cat before and though I'm a bit scared, he needs us, so our fears will have to be put aside. No matter what, he is safe now and we'll just take it one day at a time.

There's also a very friendly, fluffy little lady at the palette factory. I offered to, at least get her spayed, but when I heard how nice she was, I realized we needed to take her into foster care, too. Looks like Maria had all of a week-long break from fostering, but am so grateful she could and wanted to help! Bobby is going to go get Miss Fluff as soon as he can and we'll start the vetting process all over again.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. Miss Fluffy Pants, living at the palette factory. If we don't spay her soon, we know what's going to happen!

We went through a long discussion of what to name the kitty. The options ranged from Ahab to Footloose or iHop but I wanted him to have something noble and brave. Maria and I chose, King Arthur. I liked the idea of calling him “King”-of course because of nobility, but also because my Mother's maiden name was King, and two of my good friends are also “Kings” (Ingrid and Marcia).

Late last night, Maria got King back from the Vet. She said she thought the problem was a deformity, but would need an x-ray to confirm it. We'd have to bring King to another Vet to get that done. Meanwhile, Maria prepared herself to foster a semi-feral cat she could not touch, who would probably be very stressed out. She was going to keep him in her bathroom, away from all the other cats. With Maria as his only connection to another living thing, hopefully he would learn to trust her and have less fear of humans. With his leg issues and fear, this was going to be a VERY LONG ROAD.

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©2012 Maria S. Does this look like a skittish cat to you?

But the surprise was on us. King Arthur is more than just a brave kitty. From life on the streets into a stranger's home, this cat did not bat an eye. Instead of showing fear or aggression, he rolled over and showed his belly. Did he run off when Maria tried to pet him for the first time? No! He just wanted some love and she was more than happy to oblige.

 

This cat, who has suffered a painful and difficult life, loves Maria already. He has a soft, CLEAN, SAFE place to sleep-probably the first in his life; fresh wholesome food and clean water to drink. That he is friendly now will make our job of helping him feel better so much easier. I'm happy and hopeful for this kitty's future.

 


©2012 Maria S. Our first look at King in motion. It's sad to watch but so very sweet at the end. You will fall in love with this boy! Beware!

 

Our sweet handicapped friend needs a lot more vet care and x-rays. I don't know if he'll be able to benefit from prosthetics or if he needs surgery, so I'm going to start a fundraiser and leave the total open ended for now. I'll go back and adjust it down as soon as I know what he'll need.

 

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©2012 Maria S. For Good Belleh-Rubbin-Times, Please Dial 1-800-LUV-MAHBELLY

 

I hope you'll consider making a donation to help King. He's been through so much, let's help him get on the road to a long happy life.

 

The donation you provide to King Arthur and his fluffy friend (who needs to be spayed and get her vaccines) is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. The money will go to my 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue: Kitten Associates.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "KING" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Any funds not used for the care of these kitties will go to helping other cats in our program.

 

If you can't make a donation, you can help us by getting the word out. We're going to need a solid base of donations to help King walk again. Every dollar helps and every Re-tweet or FB Share does, too. THANK YOU for caring about this very special kitty!

 

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A special THANK YOU to Bobby Stanford for being willing to take action when he saw a cat in need-not only that, but he got King to the vet and oversaw his initial care without batting an eye or looking for a pat on the back. Without Bobby, King didn't stand a chance. And also another big THANK YOU to Maria for going above and beyond-again, opening up her home and heart to this wonderful kitty.

NOT ON MY WATCH: Rescuing Rawhide

The past 36 hours have been nuts behind the scenes here at Covered in Cat Hair. Initially I was working on rescuing one kitty and within a few hours it turned into three kitties needing help. This is the story of one of those kitties.

Tuesday night I started getting text messages from Maria. Her sister-in-law's friend found an injured cat. They didn't know what to do and weren't going to take it to a Vet. His left front leg was DANGLING and he had a bloody wound under his shoulder. He was acting okay otherwise so they LET HIM BACK OUTSIDE since they didn't want an indoor cat. Fortunately, for him, he came back that night, but they had no intentions of helping him other than rinsing off the wound with saline.

Maria and I started a frantic dialog trying to sort out what our options were. Maria was already taking another cat for me, plus we are going to possibly take in a second cat who needs help, too. Maria started calling and texting everyone she could while I offered her suggestions about how we could get this cat vetted in the morning and what we were going to do next while I was trying to sort out how much money we had and how much it was going to cost to help this cat-without knowing if he needed delicate restoration on his leg or an amputation.

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The kitty after the family found him.You can see his left front leg looks a bit odd and he appears to be uncomfortable.

MaryEllen at Winging Cat Rescue offered to foster him for a few weeks if we got the cat vetted. I wasn't even sure we had any funds to do this, but it can't wait. He needed help NOW. Maria sent me photos and they broke my heart. I won't share the gorey photo with you, but the cat was clearly going to lose his leg, we just needed to get him help before it was too late.

I spent the night worrying about what to do. How would I find homes for two handicapped cats? Well, I just would. It would work out. Worry about it later. The cats needed care right away so we would just focus on that.

Wednesday morning I got an update.The orange tabby needed to have his leg removed, including the shoulder. He had puncture wounds under his arm and was battling a massive infection. A DOG or WILD ANIMAL had been trying to rip his leg off. As someone still recovering from a cat bite to my hand, I understood the severity of the situation. The tabby hadn't had antibiotics for a few days. He didn't have much time left before the infection spread to his heart and killed him. I was told he was a very very sweet cat, which somehow made the news even worse. Even if they put him on antibiotics and let his wounds heal, it would be a week before he could have any surgery done to correct his leg and it was likely the nerves were severed and could not be repaired. I think it was just too far gone for too long.

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Making the very difficult decision…

Winging Cat Rescue offered to take the cat into their program. In a way I was disappointed that we couldn't help him more, but they have much better resources than I do. They've named him Rawhide and once he's had time to recover from his injury he will be put up for adoption. If you'd like to know more about how to give this very sweet and mellow kitty a home, or help with his Vet care, please contact WCR or visit their website.

As for the kitty who is our latest rescue, get your box of tissues out. The next post is going to be tougher to read than this one, but also reveals some amazing surprises.

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Update: The family who took the cat into their home, who said they couldn't afford Vet care for Rawhide and let him basically suffer for a few days, said their child has formed a bond with the cat and they want to adopt him…but they have three dogs and they will let the cat go back outdoors since they don't want an "inside" cat. While I think it's very nice they want to adopt, I hope Rawhide finds a home with a family who can be sensitive to his needs and be able to provide for all aspects of his well being. This is a lovely cat who's been through Hell. He deserves a safe and loving environment and I hope he finds one soon.

It's a Wonderful LIfe: A Letter from Former Foster, Amberly

Every time I get asked; “How can you let your foster cats go? Don't you want to keep them?” I answer that even though I love each and every one of my fosters, that I can't save more if I keep each one. I have to hope that I make good matches and that my babies go to great homes. The joy I feel knowing my foster cats are safe and loved, makes it easier to let them go. Below is a great example. It's a letter from Amberly and Jack's adopter, written as if Amberly, herself wrote it.

Hi Robin;

Every day Jessie (Mom) says, " I have to send Robin an update," but she's been so busy with Christmas stuff that I decided to just write myself.

Well, life with my new family is terrific!!!!
We like the house so much that Jack and I have decided it's really OUR house but since the family is so great we'll let them live here as well.
Jack and I have our own room which used to be called the office but we only stay in there at night or when Mom is out for a bit. I don't quite know why she still puts us in there since I'm completely fine with the dogs and really would prefer hanging out on the window sill in the living room where there's a bird feeder just a few feet away....HEAVEN!!!!!

We also just got an early Christmas present.
It's a tree that's almost as tall as Mom. It's by the window, fuzzy, and has a little hut we can hide in. Terry ( Dad) put it together. There was a bit of cussing involved since the directions were very vague, but he did it just the same and we love it. The sun hits the tree in the afternoon and makes it really cozy and warm. Nala and Honey our dog siblings sleep at the base when we nap but our spot on the top is much nicer.

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Jack and the doggies have become very close. He loves to hide under a big chair in the living room or under the sideboard in the dining room and swat the doggies or well, anyone, as they pass. His tail is up and no claws are out. The doggies will play this game with him for at least 20 minutes at a time. I'm too mature for this and rather spend my time following Mom around. I lay on her when she's reading or working on the computer. She does sometimes worry about stepping on me because I am always under her and feet Jack too. I'm definitely Mommy's girl. I even help with the laundry. Look at the photo of me in the bag. I don't get why my purring in Mommy's face is a distraction but maybe it can be.

As for the food here, we have a personal chef. We only eat Weruva canned food but Thomas (the chef) decides what flavors we should have each day and heats it up. Seafood only twice a week. Jordan changes the water dish and everyone takes turns with the litter box. YUK! Boy are the dogs jealous when it comes to the food since our food tastes and and smells so much better than dog food. Mom makes sure we are fed when Nala and Honey are running around outside in our fenced in yard so they don't bother us. I'm curious to explore the yard but Mom won't let me. Oh well.

Jack and I have Christmas stockings filled with gifts. They smell like lots of food treats but those were put away since we got too close and Mom and Dad thought we would open them. There are jingling sound of bells and toys still there. Any toys that are in there have to wait to be revealed. I'm guessing Christmas morning we will see everything, I can't wait.

Life is good. We are loved and pray the rest of our family is filled with blessings. Jessie and Terry, Jordan and Thomas are keeping you all in our prayers for a blessed New Year.

Thanks to you, Maria and Bobby for rescuing me so I could have this wonderful life. Love, Amberly.

Not on My Watch: Snowshoe Sisters-Saved!

I do not like to pick and choose who I rescue because I know whoever I say yes to, means others don't get a rescue and may not live. It makes me sick that I have to be faced with this choice. If I choose cats I feel are very adoptable, then they get adopted quickly and make room to save more, though sometimes I just have to save ones like Nigel and Basil, who had no hope of survival, but weren't any less deserving.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Clare.

Today I chose ID#9/26-3728 and 3729, two Snowshoe sisters. I thought they were well into adulthood, but it turns out they are just 7-8 months old. They have fleas. Of course, they're not spayed. I don't know where they came from, but they are sweet, so they knew life with a family, at least for awhile. I don't know if there is a little girl, crying somewhere, missing her kitties because her parents couldn't afford their care or if some cruel so-and-so didn't like them any more because they weren't cute little kittens and dumped them at the shelter two days ago. I just know they needed help.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Sally.

Today they got it.

They are named Sally and Clare. They are getting all their vaccines and they already tested negative/negative for FeLV and FIV+. They are getting spayed, too. It will be a BIG day for them, but after that they go to their Aunt Bobbie's house to rest and recover. Bobbie took in Phil, Nigel and Basil, MacGruber and others. She is a great foster mom and I was very glad she could offer her home to help these cats.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Clare is ready to be busted out of her cage now!

My sister-shelter, Animals in Distress, offered them a place to live once they are ready to leave Georgia. I have a feeling they won't be in the shelter for very long-these cats are, I'm told, very sweet and cute. It feels good to know they're safe, but there's a bittersweet quality to this small success.

Right now the girls are being prepped to be spayed thanks to the great work Doc Thomas does at Noahs Ark. Thanks to Bobby, for running to get them with no notice, for paying their bill for now and even for prepping them for surgery. Without these good people, this rescue would not have happened.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Silly siamese sisters!

I hate that I can't do more. I left behind all the others who I posted about this morning. I pray people find it in their heart to step forward and help these other cats. It's just so wrong that so many will die for no good reason.

There has to be a way to do more. I just have to find a way.

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