July was even more difficult on us than June. Maria had taken in two more kittens from her neighbor who were very sick. A buff tabby named Tater Tot was the most ill. The Vet told us it was the “wet” form of FIP which is fatal. His sister, Latte was struggling with a terrible upper respiratory infection. Maria took time off from work to care for the cats around the clock. Neither of us slept much. I researched alternative treatments, testing, anything I could think of while we expected that Tater wouldn't be with us for much longer.
©2012 Maria S. (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our amazing survivor-Tater Tot.
Because Maria is so good at what she does, she noticed that Tater had tapeworms. We ran more tests. His belly was big and round from the tapeworms, giardia and what was almost pneumonia. Once we started treatment he began to show improvement. It took a few weeks but we were very happy to take FIP off the table as we saw Tater eat on his own and gain weight.
King arrived in my home for a few days. He was quite the charmer, but he wasn't meant to be here for very long. Sam and I drove King to New Hampshire, to his new home where his mom, Judy was waiting to adopt him. I loved this home for him and this good woman and her sister. I never thought King had a chance and here he was 1400 miles from the palette factory in a safe, loving environment.
Two of my dear friends adopted Sabrina and Cutie Pie. Their mom, April, found a home in Brooklyn, NY and their sister Bon Bon was adopted in June.
We took on another pregnant mama named Winnie and got a new foster home here in CT. Donna and her husband, Paul are great foster parents. Winnie had five amazing kittens on 8.10.12 named Buttons, Bandit, Honeydew, Charly and Pinkie.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama, Winnie (inset) waiting to see Dr. Chris. Buttons flying high while Honeydew and sister, Bandit look on.
I took another fistful of Xanax and flew to Topeka, Kansas to tour the Hill's Global Pet Nutrition Center. I tiptoed through the “dark side,” but made some good friends and learned a lot more about pet food ingredients.
Something horrible happened to my cat Spencer. He stopped eating and hid. X-rays showed a strange mass in his sinus. I tried to prepare myself for the worst. It turned out to be a false alarm which added many more gray hairs to my head.
I was honored to be chosen as one of five members of the Animal Control Advisory Panel, overseeing the operations of our brand new town's Animal Control facility here in Newtown, CT. We had our first meeting and I was delighted to be nominated as Co-Chair of the committee.
Just as I was about to get inundated with kitties from Maria and Cyndie, I found a foster home for two of the remaining black kitties and the final one, Hello Dahlia, was adopted. We got the word that Miss Fluffy Pants found a GREAT forever home and Coco, Chichi, Choco, Tater Tot, Latte, Fred & Barney, and Willow arrived!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. (inset) the DOOD resting in his cage while his mysterious back injury slowly healed and a few months later enjoying the new cat tree in my office.
Chichi and Choco got adopted right away into a great home.
One morning, the DOOD couldn't get up and walk and was in terrible pain, growling or crying if we touched him. We did x-rays that showed nothing and began talking about taking DOOD to a neurologist or starting him on steroids. It took six long weeks, most of it forced cage rest, before he was well enough to walk again without pain. I think he fell down the spiral staircase to get into the basement where we store food for our feral cat, but we'll never really know what happened.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson getting oxygen before we raced him to the Emergency Vet and Intensive Care (inset). Jackson at home feeling better.
With Maria having space in her home open, we took on a kitty named Bongo who has nerve damage to his front leg. It had been a Hell of a month, but we kept on.
Opal went to a sanctuary and is doing well. She is becoming more friendly each day and she may one day be put up for adoption.
There was troubling news about King. He'd been struggling with chronic, severe and frankly bizarre ear infections. He had to have surgery, loads of daily cleanings, antibiotics. The other cats in the home weren't too sure about him. King faced losing his ears and his home, but his mom never gave up on him.
©2012 Maria S. Bunny Boo Boo (inset) with Bongo (left) and George (right)-who are all ready to be adopted! Email email@example.com for more info.
I rescued a knockout silver tabby Maine coon mix named Nico from a kill shelter in Georgia because I knew I could find him a home and I wasn't going to let him die.
Maria found a kitten in a parking lot she named, Bunny Boo Boo that she rescued on her own and we took on another cat whose former mom was going to lose her home if the landlord found out she rescued a cat from the parking lot nearby. We named him George and he and Bongo and Bunny Boo Boo are great friends.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hurricane Sandy, no power for almost a week-just a bad flashback to the year before when we got nailed at almost the same time by “Snowmageddon.”
Hurricane Sandy killed the power and made life HELL for a week making a mess of my home in Sandy Hook, CT.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You are deeply missed, sweet girl.
Nico arrived and was adopted a few weeks later. The rest of Winnie's family found their forever homes. There were lots of inquiries about adopting kittens since the Holidays were approaching. Tater Tot, in a surprising twist, got adopted instead of Willow, who the family had come to meet. Willow, Fred & Barney and Latte were still with us waiting for their forever homes.
I got good news that King overcame his severe ear issues and was finally settling in with his new family. The other kitties were slowly accepting him and King was finding his place. His mom is the sort of adopter I always wish for-after a very rocky start, loads of vet bills and difficulties, she kept on. She never complained. She was completely devoted. My only hope is that her reward is enjoying the love of a very dear cat and hopefully a much easier future.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our mascot of Covered in Cat Hair and my baby, Spencer before and after surgery.
Spencer had a very challenging dental cleaning where he lost two more teeth and surgery to remove a mass from one ear and another from inside the other. I prepared myself for bad news, but the shock came as the test results indicated it was an apocrin gland cyst with “no content”-meaning NO CANCER.
Sam and I cleared out the garage of recycling one bright sunny morning. After we were done we went to Panera Bread to have a late breakfast. While we were sitting there we saw police cars racing past. I knew something bad had happened and a few minutes later I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which you can read more about HERE and HERE.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My home town will never be the same again. The school is a few miles from my home.
Wanting to reach out and help heal the broken hearts in our town, I created “Kitties for Kids” a kitten-therapy for the children, first responders and residents of Newtown, CT. We were featured on national television news and major news outlets online. We got loads of donations of plush toys and the first children and parents began to arrive to visit our kitties.
Although we had no Christmas and sent out no card (for the first time in my adult life), the joy of knowing I was helping people and the overwhelming honor of so many people reaching out to us was my gift.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We will never forget and find a way to heal our hearts.
It's been quite a challenging and painful year. I realize that 2013 may be no easier. All I can do is hope that I'll be better able to handle what is yet to come and that for the cats out there who need me, that I'll have the resources to help them when the time comes.
Please take time during this rushed season of family gatherings and social events, to hold each other close, to really look at each other and experience this Holiday, to really see what gifts have been right under your nose the whole time-not the ones that come from a store, but the friends and family you may take for granted.
Cherish each other and be of good cheer.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
An email came in on the local rescue list asking for help for a pregnant cat. The woman who found the stray was willing to do what it took to help this cat survive, but she really needed a good rescue group to step up and make certain any kittens were placed in good homes. It was one of those situations where I got a feeling I needed to reach out to this person. She wasn't looking to dump a problem on a rescue, leaving them to pay for all the vet care and related costs. She was willing to partner with a rescue so this cat and her kittens had a chance to live a good life-she even offered to adopt the mom after the kittens were weaned.
©2012 Donna Masi. Winnie, a friendly stray who was rescued by Donna and taken on into the foster care program of Kitten Associates.
I exchanged a few emails with this lady, her name is Donna. I immediately knew this woman was going to be great to work with, instead of a drain on my financial and emotional resources. Donna was easy going, well-versed in cat care…REALLY knowledgeable but she hadn't been around a mama cat or kittens for a very long time. I promised to give her support as long as she could give this mama a place to live indoors for the next eight weeks, at least.
©2012 Donna Masi. Five kittens. None died. All healthy, happy and thriving-a true blessing for all of us.
We had to overcome a few hurdles, like what to do about fleas without endangering the newborns. What to do about getting the kittens letterbox trained? What to wean them with? There were many questions, but for the first time in a long time I (for the most part) knew what to tell her.
©2012 Donna Masi. Bandit, just two weeks old.
Winnie, the mom-cat, gave birth on August 10, 2012 to five healthy kittens. Donna and her husband, Paul had the job of carefully handling each kitten, monitoring their weights and giving them loads of love. What I couldn't know then was just how GOOD they were at their jobs.
©2012 Donna Masi. Honeydew at two weeks.
Both Donna and her husband, Paul were so easy to work with it was a dream come true. They never pushed back about anything I asked. They never challenged me, but they did offer some opinions, which were all very sound. They fussed and fretted over the kittens and because they were home most days, they could spend plenty of time with them.
©2012 Donna Masi. Almost a month old already and look at that face!
By the time the first few kittens were ready to came here, they were all very social and friendly. Each one was sweet, adorable and charming. One by one they got adopted. Charly, first, then Buttons. Pinky was going to stay behind with Donna, she just couldn't let her go. Bandit and Honeydew were the last two of the litter and they've been living with Sam and me for a few weeks.
©2012 Donna Masi. And a few weeks later the face we know and love.
The second I put the kittens on Petfinder, my inbox was full of inquiries about Bandit. Honeydew had no interest at all. The focus was on Bandit-and truthfully, I was not surprised. Bandit is tiny for her age, adorable, friendly, playful, affectionate. For a cat who's only 16 weeks old, she WANTS to sleep ON ME. Will come running to me if I call her. She'll climb into my arms while I'm sitting at my desk, oblivious to the fact that I have to work, she just wants to purr and be loved.
©2012 Donna Masi. Honeydew already looking long-legged.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Bandit arrives at my house and I worry I won't be able to let this kitten leave!
I don't care about the pain. It will pass. In time Bandit will awaken and want to play. Both her energy and that of her brother, Honeydew, fill the house. They had no problem adjusting to living with my nine cats. They thread themselves between the others as they race through the living room. They climb up the eight foot tall cat tree and peer over the top. They wrestle and writhe over each other. They get up and race up the stairs. Some of my own cats react by getting energized, too. I've seen Spencer actually PLAYING for the first time in years.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. With her clean squirrel (private joke).
There's something intoxicating about them, their exuberance, their joy. I can't frown when they're nearby. I can't be upset when they climb my pant leg, hungry for their next meal.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Back with her squirrel a week later.
I knew our days were numbered when I got an application for not just Bandit, but for Honeydew, as well. I did the Vet check and they describe the person as "perfect in every way." I talked to her on the phone. She was very nice, very excited, clearly already in love with both kittens.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Once out of the confines of my bathroom, these two took over the house, claiming the big old cat tree in the living room for naps and frolicking.
Being the protective foster mom, I challenged her about her two dogs and her very young son. I said I'd be willing to go to the next step-the home visit, but I couldn't promise anything just yet. She was cheerful and friendly and looking forward to the visit.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Zzz.
On Sunday morning Sam and I visited her home and met her dogs and their 21 year old cat, Bubba, who is deaf, but in very good condition. The dogs were well behaved and friendly. Neither were bothered by the cat or vice versa. We discussed that the kittens would benefit from a cat tree and certain other things. They showed me what they already purchased and were open-minded enough to listen to my comments and suggestions. In a way, I wanted to find something wrong so I didn't have to give up the kittens just yet, but that's not fair to them, so I told them the next thing would be for them to meet the kittens and possibly do the adoption.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Look at those legs. He's going to be a big kitty one day.
That night I got home and checked my email. They wrote saying they were going to build a cat tree, but changed their mind and found one on sale and what did I think about it? They sent a photo and I laughed. The cat tree was HUGE, dwarfing a good part of their sliding glass door. That they did this AND took up such valuable real estate impressed me a lot. Now all I had to do was meet the little boy and hope he was not a terror with the kittens.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Afternoon chillax.
They arrived last night. The son was all excited, his cheeks pink from anticipation. The woman, her boyfriend and son entered the house and smiled, looking around at the odd decor, then quickly spotting Bandit, they entered my office and began to pet her. She'd just woken up from a nap and wanted to play. The lithe boy walked around the living room wide-eyed seeing all the cats. He went over to Petunia to pet her, but he went slowly and seeing her tense up, he told her it was okay and he wouldn't hurt her. His mom warned him to be careful, but he didn't need any warnings. He slowly touched Petunia. At first she stiffened, then quickly softened against his hand. When I saw that, I was done for. Petunia rarely ever lets strangers, let alone a child touch her. She's very anxious, even though friendly, she usually runs off when she sees someone unfamiliar.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. With Gizmo (who is keeping Honeydew from nursing on his sister!).
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Furry paperweight being spied on by the DOOD.
I went upstairs and pried Honeydew out of my bed. He was fast asleep so I whispered to him it was time to meet his family and to do a good job.
He raced down the stairs and started to play with the young boy and his family. Bandit joined in and the giggles and gasps of joy began.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Honeydew growing up fast.
With every leap or silly step, the boy laughed and the mom followed suit. Her boyfriend was engaged with the cats and kept a close eye on the boy making sure he didn't step on a cat or misbehave (he was a really good boy!).
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Sleeping with Gizmo.
The kittens showed very well and everyone seemed to like each other. I knew it was a done deal and asked them what they thought. They all agreed they would love to adopt Bandit and Honeydew.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. I've never known a kitten who was so great at posing for the camera. I love her little gray toe spot!
We walked over to the table to go over the paperwork and sign the contract. Everything went smoothly. I took a few photos and kissed the kittens goodbye. I didn't cry when they left because I really liked this family and thought it was a good match. It's vital for me to move cats OUT of my house due to the behavior issues my own cats have. I MUST take a break, too. It's been YEARS since I had one. I can be rational and logical, but I also know if I DO think about Bandit being gone, it WILL HURT a lot. When I walk through my bedroom and see all the toys scattered on the floor it makes me sad. I pick each one up and put it away. I know there are no cats who will want to play with them since they only seemed to be enjoyed by the kittens.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Squirrel!
As I pick up each toy, I imagine the kittens playing, racing around. The sight of Bandit's back end when she runs, the spot on each of her back leg bouncing up and down. Everything about this litter of kittens makes me laugh when I think about them. They each gave me so much joy.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Why I can't get my work done today.
But it was Bandit who really got to me, Bandit who seemed to love me, running up to me with her tail held high. Looking into my eyes with her soulful face. It was all I could do to not look away and try not to be seduced…to come up with a reason why she needed to stay. There were so many reasons, but I told myself I needed to just enjoy this time. Enjoy it, cherish it, treasure it, then let it go. It would be okay. All the love that Donna and Paul, then Sam and I put into these cats were coming right back tenfold and would keep coming back to their new family now.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Just another day looking cuter than ever.
This is how love works. You just give it away with all that you have and stay confident that it will return to you.
©2012 Robin A.F Olson. The kittens with their new family-together always. Congratulations and best wishes to all!
With all the shopping madness ramping up and the rush to get ready for the Holidays, it's lovely that organizations who really need the help, have their chance today with Giving Tuesday.
My Non-profit rescue group, Kitten Associates, has been blessed with an early number of donations of food, treats and toys that came in after we broke the news about our Amazon Wishlist two weeks ago.
What I love about our Wishlist is it allows YOU to choose what we get and there are items at just about every price point. We'd love your help and you'll see, below, how our kittens feel about your donations, too!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Woah! This is WAY bigger than what we even asked for! Yipee!
There are few feelings that are as precious as giving help to someone who needs it. Thank you for helping us be part of Giving Tuesday. I hope you'll enjoy the special video I created to honor today.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Not even the DOOD is sure how to put it together, though.
This is a riot!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The energy in the room increased tenfold after the cat tree was in place. The kittens LOVE IT! Thank you Tereza & Larry for donating it to us!
I don't know what day it is. Let me think about it. Yes. Ok. It's Thursday. I've been on the run for four days. Four days since the end of the world as I knew it. Four days since the wicked winds of Hurricane Sandy arrived and destroyed the power grid.
Now my life has shifted into solving the “how do I” of mundane tasks. How do I get something to eat when all the food in my refrigerator has spoiled? How do I keep myself clean if I don't have running water? Where do I go to the bathroom if I cannot flush the toilet?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Before the storm.
It boils down to that due to Hurricane Sandy, I live in a winterized cabin with no plumbing. The home I knew is gone for now-until Connecticut Light & Power has time to come to my middle class neighborhood and reconnect the line that is currently laying across the road, snaking its' way across the open woods.
The first few days weren't too bad, it was an uncomfortable flashback to last year's outage, but the nights have gotten cold. The temperature in the bedroom was in the 50's, which is not as bad as I've experienced, but it's very uncomfortable if you have to get out from under the covers. To make matters worse, the simple act of getting up to pee turns into having to get mostly undressed (at least the bottom part of any pajamas), then hover over a watering can. Yes...that's what I rigged up for myself. Its' shape is more like a pitcher so the top is open and the handle is at one end. Hovering over it with my bare feet on the cold tile, I tell myself to go ahead and pee, but my middle aged body says NO WAY. You do not just squat and pee here, you just don't do that! That's gross! But if you have not other options, what do you do? Run outside? It takes a tremendous amount of water to flush a toilet, which I was saving for “other purposes.”
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Only two ways out of my neighborhood. Both were blocked by fallen wires. One road was opened after less than a day, thankfully.
Eventually the task is completed. The vessel is sprayed with bleach. The contents carefully poured down the sink. Yes, gross! I hate it. I bleach out the sink and rinse it with water I saved in a large bucket before the storm hit. I'm trying very hard to keep things clean while feeling like I'm turning into a savage. I'm also worried that if I see a watering can months from now I will wet my pants…okay, maybe not.
I only worry about having my bladder suddenly behaving like Pavlov's dog is that because in the 1940's my grandmother got constipated. Her doctor prescribed something but it took a long time to work. He told her to get a copy of the New York Times and sit on the throne and wait. So she did. It worked, but after that my mother told me that every time my grandmother read the Times she had to go to the bathroom.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A common sight-many grand pine trees fell onto power lines, their root systems not deep enough to hold them in place.
Today I was able to wash 16 dishes at Animal Care & Control since I'm buddies with the ACO and they have a brand new generator so things are working there. I warmed up the raw cat food (which has not gone bad due to my pre-loading the freezer with ziplock bags of water to make big ice cubes). I got something to eat. I helped Sam do two runs to the dump to get rid of ALL the recycling that had been sitting around in the garage for months. I went on a fool's errand to Loews to try to find more portable lights, mirrored tiles (to put candles on to magnify their light and a wick for my mostly burned out hurricane lamp), but they had none of those things. I overheard one of the salespeople say you couldn't buy a gas can in the entire state since folks needed to haul gas to keep their portable generators going.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Coating the doxycycline pills by flashlight.
I finished some paperwork for the Town that was due today. I got a cup of tea at the local grocery store that just opened back up. I read SOME email, but it's too difficult to reply so I gave up on that. I posted a few things here and there. Somehow that took me 11 hours. Normally I'd get all these things done in a flash.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The one thing that worked-ziplock bags filled with water before the storm kept the precious cat food cold.
We've learned that we MUST be home BEFORE dark to feed all the cats or we just can't see what we're doing. The kittens want to bust out of their room and they still have to be medicated twice day. Trying pilling a cat with the light from a flashlight as your only source of illumination or scooping the litter pan in the dark.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I knew that already!
I told Sam I feel like we're running from Zombies. We can only be out during the day. At night we race home not only for our cats, but to take shelter. To try to get some heat out of our lousy fireplace to warm the cats, to try to put on more clothes to keep the chill away, to try to think of something to do for the rest of the night, sitting in the dark by candlelight.
At least we don't have to worry about boarding up the doors and cowering in the corner in fear of having our brains eaten. The only thing that's truly horrible outside is our neighbors generator, which makes so much noise we can hear it through the walls of our house when we're trying to go to sleep. Maybe the generator is protecting us from the zombies by distracting them to go to the neighbor and kill him and crush that noisy-ass thing?
I can dream, can't I?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The second biggest oak tree in the state of CT is down the road from my house. Once I saw it still standing I had hope in my heart that everything would be okay.
I finished writing this post Thursday night, a few moments before Sam and I got kicked out of the Town Hall. They close at 8pm and we'd already run back home, fed the cats, then came back for some work time. I wanted to stay longer, but there was no place else to get internet access so we headed home.
There's a traffic light about a mile from my house. It's been off since the Hurricane hit. I said to Sam that our power would be back on when that light was on—which was wishful thinking on my part.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Empty fridge again, but this time we didn't load up on food before the storm. The loss still stung, but not as bad as in 2011.
As we approached the traffic light, Sam noticed it was on. As we drove closer to home, we saw lights in other homes, but they were located before the break in the line. Certainly our power was not back on yet?
I didn't want to get too hopeful. Most of our neighborhood had power, just our street was out. As we passed over the downed line there were signs someone had been working on it. There was an orange highway cone and some official looking tape on the line. I looked to my right and the lights were on in the house nearest the break. As we continued down the street, every house had a few lights on.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. the DOOD minds the bags of spoiled food.
Could it be true? Were our lights on FOUR DAYS SOONER THAN EXPECTED?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My food is bratty, but not that spoiled.
I immediately felt badly, too. I started texting any of my friends who were nearby and who didn't have power yet and told them to come over right away. I thought about all the other people who don't have power yet, who are cold and in the same lousy state as we had been. My joy was short-lived, but my appreciation for having a chance to get back to normal will stay with me for a very long time.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. It's al over at last. Exhausted from the craziness of the past week we simply spent the day in bed with a good book, cats and a cup of tea---and loved every second of it.
What of the DOOD? If you missed my short status update on Facebook, the DOOD has RECOVERED from his bad fall! It took SIX WEEKS and was very touch and go. I was hours away from starting DOOD on a course of steroids, because he just wasn’t getting over the hump, when I noticed him walking normally. I waited a day to be sure, but by then he was starting to play with Blitzen, run a little bit and he stopped staying in one place for an entire day. His crate is still in the living room. I’m worried about taking it down, in case I’m wrong and DOOD needs more time. Some of the other cats are using it as a getaway to chill out so no rush there.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Feelin' fine.
I’m just so happy to have my boy back. I missed him terribly when we couldn’t have snuggle time together and I couldn’t bear hearing him cry when he walked. Two days ago he was back to his old self and even showed up for breakfast, which he hasn't done since early September.
This afternoon, when I wasn't paying attention, DOOD snuck into the pantry and found two sample bags of dry cat food I'd hidden in a plastic grocery bag. He managed to wrap the bag handles around his neck and left front leg. I heard the commotion and saw him lumbering away as fast as he could. I was able to grab him and free him from the bag, all the while worrying that he just re-injured himself!
DOOD! What will I do with you?!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Together again, DOOD with buddy, Blitzen.
Jackson Galaxy (the cat)
Jacks seems to be comfortable, is yeowling much less and still loves to give those headbutts. Sadly, Jackson also has been doing some marking and continues to attack some of the cats (I believe he’s bored and/or jealous so I have to make certain he gets play time and attention).
Jackson's due for a repeat echocardiogram. I spoke with Dr. Larry and we both agreed to do the test might kill Jackson. We both tried to find if there’s such a thing as a mobile Vet who can perform an echo but could not find one.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson enjoying some egg-time.
Clinically Jackson is quite well. Next month Dr. Larry and Super-Deb will come over and check Jackson’s vitals and do an exam. Perhaps it’s because he seems fine to me that I don’t worry too much. Dr. Larry keeps telling me that one day I might find that Jackson passed away. He said it will probably be sudden and based on how Jackson’s heart appeared on x-ray, he doesn’t feel it will be a very long time.
Of course as Dr. Larry says, he could be wrong and maybe we’ll have years together? I’m just trying to be prepared for what may happen. I pray Jackson doesn’t throw a clot because I read that is very painful. I hope if he has to pass that Jackson will do so in peace. I know for sure it will be in a place where “warts and all”, Jackson will be loved.
Right now Jackson is doing well.
Hurricane Sandy, Frankenstorm, whatever you want to call it, is approaching. As the winds pick up and skies darken, I'm trying to make thoughtful preparations about the coming days. With all that's going on the last thing I need is more trouble. In tomorrow's post and maybe my last for awhile, I'll divulge the sad secret I've been reluctant to share.
Part four tomorrow..stay tuned.
It's been a long three weeks since the DOOD injured his back. I don't know how it happened, but it must have been pretty bad because he hasn't been able to walk comfortably since. You can read more about the injury HERE.
DOOD's been under strict cage rest since Thursday. He's also been on an opiate-based painkiller called Buprenex. It makes DOOD loopy and very friendly. It keeps him quiet, though I'm not sure he's getting very good rest. DOOD also gets a baby aspirin, which is normally a big no-no, but he's only had it a few times.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. the DOOD's temporary home-featuring a heated bed.
During the past few days DOOD has barely moved. If he does move, he appears very weak and I feared he was getting worse. If cage rest didn't help, the next step would be to see a specialist, do a CT scan and probably have to do surgery to take the pressure off what we fear is a pinched nerve.
I know the danger of having all these thoughts-of thinking too much and creating awful scenarios in my head. I have to face only what is wrong now and do my best to help DOOD until that information changes. To upset myself with “what ifs” is a waste of time.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson often sleeps in the cat carrier next to DOODs crate-which is odd since DOOD often hisses at Jax.
Of course, being rational is never easy when you add stress and fear to the mix so last night I had an impressive melt down.
I function day to day knowing that I'm walking a tightrope. Bills get paid, but there isn't much leftover. If something bad happened to any of the cats or my car, my house, etc., it could just toss me over an edge I can't recover from. My rational mind says things have been tough for a long time, but I'll find a way. My fearful mind pushes me to flip out over not being able to open a bottle or that I can't nicely encourage Spencer to get out of my office so I can shut the door-so the cats won't go in there and pee while I'm sleeping upstairs. I have to yell at him to get him out of the room. This is not me, I love Spencer. I don't want to yell at him, but after years on end of stress, of cats peeing all over, of Jackson and his issues and now he's been attacking my own cats…the vice grip on my poor head gets tighter and tighter. The headaches are worse and worse and I can't find an escape from all of this. There is too much to do, to tend to, other people to help, cats in need.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen visits DOOD every day.
I can usually take it on in fairly good humor or make a joke about it, but last night I could not. I just raged and sobbed while Sam sat there, not sure if he'd lose his hand if he reached out to me. There was a time he would talk to me, help comfort me, but even with our relationship, there is another tightening of the strap around my head. We don't talk much. We don't do much. We both focus on caring for our cats and we both do our little chores and that's about it. I feel pretty empty inside.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. At Dr. Larry's this morning as lovely as ever.
After my nice fit, I went to sleep. I dragged myself out of bed this morning and started the usual boring routine of caring for the cats, cleaning up vomit or pee, scooping the pans, feeding the foster kittens. Before too long it was time to pack DOOD up and take him to see Dr. Larry. Today was the day. Would DOOD finally be able to walk again? From what I'd seen the answer would be no, but I hadn't encouraged DOOD to move this week so perhaps I'd be surprised.
DOOD was great at the Vet. His temperature was back to normal for the first time. He lost a few ounces, which in his case is a good thing. Dr. Larry examined him and DOOD didn't fuss. He didn't seem to be in much pain, but I wondered if the last of the Buprenex was still in his system.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is what I miss seeing.
Dr. Larry gingerly placed DOOD on the floor. I walked to the other side of the room and called to him. With tail held high, DOOD took his first few steps. I expected his back legs to wobble as they had this past month, but they did not.
My Mother had a bizarre saying that popped into my head; “I didn't know whether to shit or go blind.” I couldn't believe DOOD looked so much better. It's as if one cat was lying injured in my home while this doppleganger was healthy in Dr. Larry's office.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Dreams.
Of course my fearful mind didn't want to get too excited. Dr. Larry said DOOD should have one more week of cage rest and two more aspirin but no more buprenex. We would continue to be conservative about DOOD's care and hope that another week would give him the recovery time he needed before he joined the rest of the family.
Some good news at last and some hopeful news, as well. DOOD must have been wiped out from the little bit of walking he did because when we got home I let him out of the cat carrier and he walked quickly into his cage and laid down on his cat bed. A few minutes later he was sleeping soundly. If that cage had been any bigger, I would have joined him.
On to the next thing…Bobby called with news about Bongo and it wasn't good.
It started around Saturday. the DOOD wasn't eating well. I didn't notice because Sam usually feeds the cats (while I feed the foster cats). With everything going on with Jackson, we didn't notice the DOOD wasn't moving around much, either-until we looked back on it.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting to see Dr. Larry.
By Monday, I did notice that DOOD was staying put in one place for most of the day. He won't get up to eat, but would eat if I brought him his food. He wasn't running around, jumping on Blitzen or bulldozing his way to get a piece of chicken before the others could reach it. DOOD wasn't even climbing into my lap to lick my face as he does just about every evening.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I cooked broccoli. Yes, that's how I cure disease. Okay, maybe not, but I knew DOOD would get up if he smelled the vegetable cooking. He didn't get up. I brought him the bowl filled with his favorite thing in the world. He was very interested in it and got up. I encouraged him to climb down from the cat tree onto the floor. He did so, but he did it slowly. I knew something was wrong, but not sure what it was.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I saw DOOD take a few steps. I shot a quick video to document the problem. DOOD was limping very badly. He cried a little when he reached me. I tried to examine him after he had some broccoli, but he hissed, then nipped at my hand. He even growled.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Being a good boy with Dr. Larry and Super-Deb.
I felt the urge to panic, but fought it back. He's a very clumsy cat. When he runs, his back feet get out from under him all the time. When he wants to push the others out of the way to get a treat, he might overshoot where he's trying to jump and miss.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Yes, DOOD is high.
I gave it a few days. DOOD seemed to act a bit brighter each day. Then yesterday morning the DOOD jumped onto the chair next to me. He began trembling from pain. I knew I was pushing my luck and called Dr. Larry. We had to wait until the afternoon, but we brought him in for an examination, blood work and x-rays.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Poor DOOD. He was very good with Dr. Larry and Super-Deb. He didn't make much of a fuss until Dr Larry touched the center of his spine-then he hissed and growled. I was very worried DOOD had a spinal cord injury, but then he wouldn't be able to walk, right? I also worried about an abscess that I missed finding. Something happened with Jackson because DOOD hissed at him and hid when Jackson was near him. Maybe there was a bite wound in DOOD's back?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Dr. Larry took a long time reviewing the x-rays. I got more worried as each minute ticked by. He came back into the exam room and motioned for Sam and I to follow him to the back where we could see the x-rays. Dr. Larry sighed. I started to imagine very bad news.
“I just can't find anything wrong.”
Next, Dr. Larry went over the x-rays, pointing out how he'd look for signs of an abscess-little wisps or lines passing through the skin where gas/air pockets were forming around the wound. None were found. Vertebrae looked good-intact. We looked at DOOD's right front paw and it was fine. Then we saw DOOD's heart and I almost fainted. I realized Dr. Larry brought up Jackson's X-ray on the screen! Right???!! RIGHT!..whew…
The blood work was normal. DOOD's temp was a bit high, but that could have been caused by stress. Bottom line-this was probably a fairly bad soft tissue injury. Rest and pain meds-which are tough to come by for cats-was prescribed. The choice, buprenex and aspirin-yes aspirin, but only twice over the next 4 days, but I'm not sure I can give that to him.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waitin' to feel better. (with Nicky in the background)
DOOD is home, laying on the bed. He doesn't move much and his eyes seem glued open. I'm sure he's tripping out on the buprenex. I'll give him the aspirin tonight. He's not eating unless I put extra treats on his food and he growls when he has to walk. DOOD must have really twisted his back, but good. I wish he could talk to me and tell me where it hurts.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zonked.
It's wait and see, like so many other health related problems with our cats. At least nothing is broken and DOOD does not require surgery. I hope that with some TLC and rest he'll be back to running around like a maniac.
Plus, my face needs a DOOD-special-bath.
the DOOD weighed four pounds when I rescued him last year, but he was a kitten back then. Over the past year the DOOD's been growing. About six months ago I noticed he was getting BIG and I mean BIG, not exactly chubby but large in size. I referred to him as a “ham hock” when people remarked on his girth. He's young and should increase in size, to a point but when is he going to STOP growing?
I just weighed him.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My “Baby.”
the DOOD still runs around but can't quite get “hang time” when he jumps after a toy. His back legs are a bit bowed. He wipes out if he runs too fast. If he decides it's time for lap time with me, I KNOW he's on my lap because I feel like I just got pinned to the sofa.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally, a low-calorie food he can eat!
Before you start guessing he weighs 30 pounds, he doesn't. He's nowhere near a record breaking size, but…I will tell you he weighed 14 lbs, 4 oz in April. He doesn't get overfed. He doesn't get kibble. He DOES get broccoli, which he loves, but is pretty much not something that would ever make him fat.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
The “WINNER” who guesses closest to the DOOD's weight gets a copy of the “5th Edition: Small Animal Clinical Nutrition.” (brought to you by Hill's) It is supposedly THE most comprehensive guide to small animal nutrition. This tome includes nutrition for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other small mammals. It has contributions by over 125 authors. Do I agree with what it says? I don't know yet, but I'm guessing it will be steering readers away from raw food so I would say I might find fault. Thing is, this guide covers nutrition guidelines YOUR VET REFERS TO, so good to know what they are going to tell you about nutrition IF they read the gazillion pages of this book.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Leave a COMMENT guessing the DOOD's weight. COMMENTS are MODERATED so your guess may NOT appear right away. I will check a few times a day and publish all guesses. You have until SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th at 8:08PM (Eastern Standard Time-USA) to guess. Though I would LOVE to open this giveaway up to everyone, I can ONLY SHIP TO ADDRESSES in the United States of America. This book is VERY HEAVY. I doubt I can afford shipping overseas.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
It's time to celebrate, kick back, steam some broccoli and enjoy the fact that the DOOD is part of our lives. He's come a long way-from being an abused four month old kitten who only knew how to attack or chase humans, instead of love them (and who could blame him after being kicked and taunted by the kid in the home he was living in?).
Even before I realized any of his social issues, I had a bad scare last July, right after I rescued Doodlebug. He tested positive for Feline Leukemia. The next two months ticked by so slowly. DOOD had to be confined to the bathroom until he could be re-tested and two tests confirmed he did NOT HAVE FELINE LEUKEMIA! During those months I worked with him, teaching him that hands were not toys or weapons and that he could have fun and feel safe around me. It took many months to get him to overcome his tendency to attack, but eventually he began to relax and not be so aggressive.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My Broccoli: Happy Birthday. Starring me singing (eek)!
Today, the DOOD only jumps in my lap, instead of attacking me. He gives me microdermabrasion treatments to my face with his enthusiastic licking, and likes to lie upside down in the crook of my arm when it's time to go to sleep. He often reaches out his front paws and rests them on my cheek. Some times he does it when I'm asleep. It always makes me laugh. He's never extended his claws-ever. He seems to like to touch his paws to my skin. In fact, I checked to make sure I didn't miss that he was declawed he's so careful with me.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. the DOOD this morning
the DOOD has blossomed in more ways than one. He weighs 14 pounds, 3 ounces! He runs like a drunk rabbit. He “hog piles” onto Blitzen, then attack-licks him. He climbs into the kitchen sink and he chases after the other cats for pure sport. He's not perfect in every way, but my he's my perfect little brat.