I looked over at Barney. He was playing with a toy held by a little girl who was taking part in our Kitties for Kids program. Barney was oblivious to the fact that the fur on his side looked like it had been wiped away. He wasn’t completely bald and with his white and orange coat, it was tough to see how much he was missing at a glance.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney's naked patch.
I’d noticed the foster cats have been itchy for a few weeks or more, but not so much that it caused alarms to go off. They’ve been checked a few times for fleas, but we find nothing, not even flea dirt. Last year was a VERY bad year for fleas so it wouldn’t be surprising that there were some in the foster room.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Larry takes a look.
What to do?
I’ve had a lot of experience with Miliary Dermatitis. My cat Gracie suffers from it. M.D. is basically “I don’t know that the heck it is” but it’s some sort of skin issue. Many times it’s related to a stress reaction, food or a mite or flea bite. In Gracie’s case, after YEARS of doing tests, seeing specialists, trial and error, only homeopathy worked to reduce the problem and steroids resolved it for a few weeks. The problem with steroids is-it will end up killing Gracie over time so for me, giving her more wasn’t acceptable.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred seems fine.
Gracie is covered with scabs. She stopped “barbering” (chewing) her coat and no longer has bloody lesions, but her fur is not plush and her skin feels terrible. I’m looking into acupuncture, but other than that I feel as though I’ve tried it all.
I look at Barney and think about the MANY things that could be causing him to lick off his fur. I knew a trip to see Dr. Larry would probably be a waste of time, but I had to start there.
Dr. Larry agreed with me that it was most likely M.D. and made some suggestions. One startled me, but also inspired me. He said to let Barney be an indoor/outdoor cat. That the stimulation of being outside reduced the need to over-groom because the cat was having so much FUN!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Caught in the act.
Then I realized I have NOT been spending enough time with the kittens. Playtime is for five minutes here and five minutes there. I’ve been too busy to do more than that. I figured since I hear them running around they must be playing. There are five cats in the foster room after all.
I also thought about the Kitties for Kids program. Was the stress of meeting all these strangers getting to Barney? Thing is, he is the FIRST cat to go over to a new person and say hi! He’s very social. If he was upset by the visitors wouldn’t he be hiding instead of playing?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What the?!!!…the kittens are nursing on Willow!
What about diet?
Yes, that could be a factor. Since ALL the foster cats are scratching, something is making them itchy. The donations of food we’ve gotten lately is a mixed bag of canned, grain-free food. They get fed what I have on hand, not something consistent AND I’ve fed them a tuna based food recently for the first time. Did that set them off? Gracie seems to react to having fish.
It reduces stress, stretches the muscles and the mind, it helps them have an outlet for their prey drive. If we simply shake a toy at them once in awhile, it’s just NOT enough. Their mind needs to be engaged if they stay indoors. I’ve seen Jackson get very nasty with the other cats when he’s clearly bored.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Liftoff during one of our Kitties for Kids visits.
Normally, what you do is change ONE thing and see if it works. If that doesn't work, then go on to the next thing. Because Barney is so young and should NOT be having this issue, I’m going to do a few things and hope that one of them is the answer.
I’ll start with an application of Revolution®. I like it better than some other flea treatments and it does affect mites and internal parasites, too. I realize it could make things worse, but Barney’s skin is fine. There are no open lesions. He does NOT have ringworm.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Coco shows how it's done.
I’ve already started ramping up playtime. I got a new Da Bird donated to us. It REALLY tires the cats out as long as I don’t let the cats catch the toy. If so, they destroy it in about 2 seconds. What I do is basically make them go nuts for at least 15 minutes. After the cats slow down or start to lay down instead of chase the toy, I start up with ANOTHER toy. I use a Cat Dancer and Rainbow CatCharmer or a laser pointer or both. I throw balls around, mouse toys, Kong® Cat Kickaroos. I want to see the cats get to the point of just about falling over they’re so tired. I’ll even open up my old iPad and play Game for Cats for them to further stimulate their minds. If I see Barney lick at himself I distract him with more playtime.
Lastly I’ve simplified their diet. Ideally I would feed them raw but that’s not in the budget. I’m cutting out fish and only giving them chicken/turkey. It’s very high quality grain-free canned food and I’m feeding them more often so they’re less stressed when they get their food. I noticed they were gulping at their meal the other day so clearly they need more to eat and more often.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Entertained by his Kong Cat Kickaroo.
The hope is that one or more of these things will work and Barney will stop licking off his fur. The fear is that he won’t and this will be a chronic problem for him. I’m also thinking about letting him run the whole house instead of just the foster room. The extra space might do him good.
Last night I let him out for a few minutes and he was terrified, so for now I’ll go more slowly and only open up smaller areas at a time.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor sweetie.
What is ailing Barney and making the others itchy? Is it dry skin or is Kitties for Kids going to have to be shelved? I can’t say right now. All I know is that I need to find an answer fast before Barney makes this into an OCD-like reaction that will require heavy-duty meds for years to come.
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.
It's been a long. lousy week. Time to kick back and enjoy the antics of Fred and friends as they fly through the air or walk like a zombie. Either way it's what the doctor ordered-no bad news, no rush to rescue, just plain fun.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jet Propulsion engaged!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte leaps.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney makes a mad dash.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred tries it on tippy-toes.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred & Tater's first ballroom dance class.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Holding on for dear life.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred weird, Tater nuts.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beware of Zombies! (check out Barney in the background!)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I stand on your head!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie-Latte, beware! (could be a Halloween beverage at Starbucks?)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Look at Tater's expression! He's like that in a number of photos. (rear left)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte liftoff.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Please don't fart.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My Precious!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. OMG!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. And stretch, 1, 2, 3…
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying' Fred!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zero gravity.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater in disbelief.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeeee!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater attempts liftoff but is foiled by big belly.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Flying's fun, but now it's time to nap.
Sweet dreams fearless flyers!
I’m compelled to move forward, as a Buddhist might say, as a pebble in the stream. The water pushes me and I am unable to resist the force. I may get caught up against larger rocks or deeper pools along the way, but the water continues to flow around me, urging me onward, freeing me for a time until I get caught up again.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney growing up fast.
After Kissy’s passing a few days ago, I felt stuck, unwilling to go on. I’ve felt the same way after other cats have died and even more so when I lost my parents. It seemed cruel to me that the sun still rose in the sky and that everyone else went about their business. I wanted the world to stop spinning and mourn, as I did; to pay respect by simply standing still. Moving on meant the pain would soften; the memories begin to fade. I never want to forget, but it’s inevitable that I can’t stay in this place forever.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte, no longer a skittish kitten, but a stunning lady.
Earlier this week, before the tragic news, I realized I needed to update the photos of my foster kittens for Petfinder. Although I’ve gotten plenty of applications, most are for just one of the kittens and many are not a good match. I risk the kittens growing into young cats. The bigger they get, the longer it will take for me to find them forever homes. A few of them are already six months old. Time is running out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater's big eyes are now his trademark. He never seems to blink and he always makes me laugh with his silly antics and constant chattering.
Tater Tot & Latte
Tater and Latte, along with Willow and Coco were all getting sick or not resolving their upper respiratory tract infection. I had a DNA test called a PCR done on a swab taken from Tater’s mouth. As you may recall, the test came back positive for Mycoplasma, which explained a lot of his issues and made the course of treatment more clear.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Lovely Latte.
For the past month I’ve been doling out antibiotics to each of the six foster kittens since they share the same room. Each day, twice a day they get their pill, then get their meal. They’re to the point where they know to come to me to get their pill so it’s gone a lot easier than I feared. Having to pill cats 360 times over the course of the month went from a nightmare to routine. Perhaps I'm finally learning something?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater looks on as Fred reaches for the stars.
Tater is doing much better. His sinuses have dried up. I don’t hear him sneeze. He isn’t breathing as loud.
Latte was never as sick as her brother Tater and is doing just fine. Her once dark coat is getting lighter and her true Tortie colors are beginning to glow. She’s overcoming her shyness and focuses on having fun, instead of hiding.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Willow is getting fluffier every day!
Willow, too, was deeply affected by the same health issues and she seems to be resolving them, but she’s still having sneezing attacks. I believe she’ll be on the antibiotics much longer than the others. Overall she’s doing very well. She’s charming and dainty and loves to play fetch. I can’t figure out why I don’t have a list of adopters for her. She’s very lovely and sweet.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred in a somber moment between chasing after toys.
Fred & Barney
The boys are growing up fast. They’re rough and tumble and enjoying each day. Fred was sick for a short while but the antibiotics cleared up his issues, too. These days Fred loves to jump high into the air after his Cat Dancer toy (which keep needing to be replaced he’s so hard on them!)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney and the lavender ball.
Barney is more of a mellow fellow and a dash sweeter. They were both sick with roundworms, but that’s been treated and they’re doing great.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Librarian-Coco.
The older Coco gets, the prettier her coloring. Her eyes are blue and peach. Her points are getting a bit darker orange. She was once fairly skittish and now she’s more outgoing and friendly. She’s right there with Fred, enjoying leaping high after toys. She initially had some symptoms, runny eyes and nose, but that seems to be resolved, too.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bored by the string toy, Coco would rather jump after her “prey.”
I’m glad they’re all doing well, but they need to move on to their forever homes. With Hurricane Sandy shutting us down for a week, followed by the big snowstorm; add the economic woes to the mix and it doesn’t look good for anyone getting adopted soon.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Super Stretch!
In the meantime, we’re doing okay. I’ll write a separate update on Jackson and Winnie’s crew later. I’m grateful there aren’t (knock wood) any crises with the cats, but I know things will change. Hopefully I’ll have time to gather my strength before it does.
I'm pushing back against the tide. I want to stay put in my grief for a little while longer, but I know the water will always urge me along.
(Farewells in Part 2.)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie kitten wants to eat your brains!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie Patootie's showing her secret white belly button.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sabrina mugs for the camera.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hi Five..or is that six?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Attack of the 50ft Kitten!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is how we do it.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie kitten searches for the next victim.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cute break with Cutie!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay one more cute break with Black Beauty.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible hang glider.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. One-eyed flying machine.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Engaging telekinesis in 3…2…1.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello Mousey with Hello Dahlia.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sabrina in a tangle.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Belly Holiday firing super-cute rays into your heart.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Anatomy of flight.
The kittens are having a grand time and didn't want to stop having fun, but their joy was tempered with some sadness. In part two I'll fill you in on what happened after play time was over.
There's nothing better than to start the New Year off with a few cute photos of our sweet foster kitties; “Bob's Pumpkin Patch.” As you may know, one of our babies, little Teddy, was adopted just two days ago. These are the last photos of him before he went to his new home.
Instead of a long blog post, I hope you'll enjoy this photographic peek into my life with foster kitties.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The boys with mama-Bobette (on far left), who often is confused for being a kitten, herself.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Thanks to the generosity of one of our readers, last night Bobette's surgery was PAID FOR IN FULL! Thank you so very much! I can't wait for Bobette to be out of pain and walking normally.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy. What a sweetheart. I miss him very much!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The ever-gorgeous, Jakey! Pose for the camera!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mikey is always meowing. Wah! Wah! Wah!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay, not always whining. Here he is again, looking a bit more somber.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Fly high! Weeeee! (nice belly)
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I love all the stripey tails!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama and Teddy.
©2011 Maria S. You've come a long way, babies!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Growing up to be big boys Teddy (left), Mikey (center) and Jakey (right).
©2011 Maria S. Bobette and family etting ready to leave for Connecticut.
I can't believe it's been over a week since the Pumpkin Patch family arrived from Maria's home in Georgia. This time of year, it's always more hectic and I had much to do before this family arrived. Even after picking the family up off the transport, the boys only had an hour break before I packed them up and brought them to my rescue group's Home for the Holidays Adoption Event! (I left mama, Bobette home to rest. She was very cranky with the boys and I thought some alone time would do her good).
©2011 Maria S. The transport awaits.
The planning and setup for Adoption Events always leaves me knackered. Someday I hope to have volunteers able to help me get these things done. My car isn't very big, but it seems as though there's an endless supply of “stuff” that has to be crammed into it. Things need to be packed, washed, organized, then I have to figure out how many cats there are plus how many crates needed, plus where is this all going to go and how is it going to get to Choice Pet Supply where the event is being held?
©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Would you adopt me?
Irene is my right hand woman. She shows up. She helps. She fills up her car with whatever I ask. She jumps in and chats people up and tries to get us a few sales or donations. Sam will load up his car, too and help us get the tough things set up, then he scampers off to work on his own projects. I end up having to design flyers, send out notices to the newspapers-the online ones, the printed ones. Then the flyers have to be hung up around town, if I can get away long enough to do that. There's just an amazing amount of work to be done. Meanwhile, there are cats to care for and all their paperwork to fill out, what vaccination they need, getting them to the vet, vetting potential adopters. No wonder I always seem to be stressed out and feeling like I don't have enough time in the day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie!
We got some applications and I met with folks who had emailed me about stopping by to visit the kittens. It was all going well when all of a sudden, I heard one of the Angel Babies furiously meowing and scratching at the plastic tray bottom of their crate. As I lifted the cover off the back of their cage, my nostrils were violated by a powerfully nauseating smell. Then, I saw it-diarrhea! Ugh.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bananas are good fun.
Irene and I quickly started to clean up the mess. Thankfully the poop wasn't on the bedding in the cage so the cleaning wasn't difficult. The smell, however, was not going away. I had a small litter pan ready to go. It was too soon into the event to offer it to the kittens, or so I thought. If one of the kittens had the runs, I figured I'd better give them the litter pan. Seconds after I placed the pan in the cage, two of the kittens started digging around in the litter. At first I thought they were just bored and playing with it, but after a few minutes it was clear that another kitten had to let it rip-and so he did.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey the sneak-attack biter!
I truly believe that the U.S. Government should use mooshie cat poop smell as chemical warfare. There is no way troops wouldn't be quickly offended by the stank and run for the hills! Did we manage to clear the store? YES! It was great at keeping the crowds down. Just what we needed.
The orange boys did fine. They were bouncing around, having fun. They laid on each other and the three of them started grooming each other. It was so cute that it made everyone forget the lingering stench, as they crowded around the cage, “ooo-ing and ahh-ing.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello! This is Teddy or Mikey. I think it's Teddy.
People would ask me questions about the boys, but like the white kitties, I couldn't tell the orange kitties apart (I am starting to a week later, though).
Meanwhile, poor Mazie sat forlornly in her cage. She growled a bit so we covered her up. I bravely stuck my hand into her cage and she started to purr. She forgave me from locking her in a cage by giving me her belly to rub. I felt very guilty about having her at the event, but she's GOT to find a forever home! She's been with us for a YEAR already and she's such an awesome cat!
I was grateful when 4pm came so we could pack up and get home. I wanted to lay down and go to sleep right then and there, but I knew that once we got back I'd have to feed the foster cats, make sure they were all right, then unload the cars and put things away.
I got the cats fed, but after that my body complained to the point where I just had to sit down for awhile. Unloading the cars could wait.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette a few moments after arriving.
I also wanted to spend some time with Bobette and the boys. I didn't have a chance to get to know them that morning, so now was the time.
I let the boys out of their carrier and Bobette looked at them and hissed. She's barely bigger than they are and at certain times I can't tell which one is the kitten and which is the mother. A few of kittens foolishly went over to their mom and she attacked them. I don't think she had her claws out, but the sound she made was one of pure rage. I made sure the boys were fine. They were scared, but ok. I got them all fed. I kept Bobette away from the kittens. I worried that she might attack me, as well, but she seemed relaxed around me or was it because I was feeding her?
What happened on the transport? Bobette was fine with the boys when she left Georgia, but now she was clearly not interested in having them near her at all.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette (far right) screams at her boys to get away.
The boys picked at their food, so did Bobette. They'd been eating dry food, softened with water, and I knew I'd have to break them of the habit; better now than never.
After they ate, the boys ran around. I called Bobette over to me. I was sitting on the bed. She came over and let me pet her. She climbed into my lap and got comfortable. I cautiously petted her. She relaxed until a kitten would come near her. As that happened, she'd alert, then growl. She'd lash out if the kitten dared to ignore her warning. I didn't want to lay there with an angry cat in my lap, but she went right back to relaxing and enjoyed my company. She even rolled over with her belly up in the air. I took a long look at her. She's very much got an Oriental Shorthair body with a classic orange tabby coat. She's long and lean with a wedge shaped head, dainty long legs and a long, delicate tail. I didn't see her limping, that would come later. Right now she was content-if I could just keep the boys away from her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeee!
I'd seen this behavior before, but never so severe. I wondered if I should crate Bobette, but with her painful leg issue, I realized that maybe it was her pain that was making her lash out? I asked Dr. Mixon, one of our Vets, about this and he said it might be typical behavior of the mother pushing the males out of the colony to keep the colony from having inbreeding issues or...well he wasn't sure. Even after almost a week, she's still aggressive towards them.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Da boyz.
The boys are doing well according to Dr. M. Mikey has a broken tail tip. We don't know when or how it happened, but it's already healed. Teddy was all right and Jakey was a nightmare getting his vaccines; what a screamer!
Bobette is another story. I see her jumping with some difficulty. She wants to play, but the boys get in her way and she gets angry. Some times she'll run around the room, clearly having fun, but after a few moments, she starts to limp very badly. Her drive to do more is hampered by what happened to her leg. She was in an accident of some kind and it's badly dislocated her kneecap. Dr. M rated it a 4 out of 4; 4 being the most severe. He feels he can correct the problem with surgery and that the patella (kneecap) shouldn't pop back out. I remembered when we first rescued Bobette that the folks at Henry County said they couldn't get her to eat for four days. Perhaps she'd just been hit by a car? Perhaps that had something to do with her inability to provide for her six kittens? I can't seem to let go that we lost three babies. I want to know why they died so we can prevent that from happening again. I know I'll never know why they're gone, but maybe the trauma their Mother suffered had something to do with it?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lanky, lean and lovely-Bobette.
The surgery would cost $2500.00. I'm NOT going to ask for donations. What I really need is FOOD, LITTER and some NEW TOYS for this family and for the Angel Babies. I'll be setting up a ChipIn to ask for donations for our Food & Fun Fund soon. I have to wrap my head around what Dr Mixon told me the rescue price would be for the surgery, first.
Anyone want to guess?
He's going to charge us $100.00. That's not a typo. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! When he first told me, I thought I was going to cry. I knew we have no where NEAR $2500.00 in our bank account and I was guessing he'd charge us around $1500.00. When he said, $100.00 I asked him to make sure that's what he wanted and he said to just put the word out about his Practice and help folks get to know him. After the surgery is done early next year, I'll be writing more about Dr. Mixon and his practice. For now, I'm very grateful we have his services to depend on and that when we do have money, it will last us much longer. Dr. Mixon also doesn't charge us an exam fee for rescue cats as long as we don't take advantage of his time. We just keep it to a few hours a month. So far, it's worked great.
Without the burden of a huge Vet bill, I can focus on helping Bobette recover. She'll have to have three weeks of cage rest and three weeks of low activity. Instead of going to AID, which was the original plan, Bobette will have to stay here for awhile, until she's better.
This poor girl; she's barely a year old and what hell she's been through in such a short time. You know me, I'll do whatever I can to help her go from “Meh to MEOW!”
In the meantime, I have about 12 other kitties I need to find forever homes for!
I had a blast kittensitting for my friends at Animals in Distress last week. Their five frisky felines were very friendly and joyful. It was pure delight to be around them-until, of course, they decided it would be fun to climb up my legs! Yes, they all need a CLAW TRIM! Aunt Connie came to get them on Sunday. I was sad to see them go, but it just makes me look forward to getting The Angel Babies and Bob's Pumpkin Patch kittens in the coming weeks.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Uh oh...the zombie kittens are back!
I have a bit of an exciting and surprising update to share. After scratching my head for months, trying to figure out how to approach local Vets to help my rescue, Kitten Associates, a Vet sort of fell (figuratively) into my lap.
It seems that someone who runs a rescue where I used to volunteer is mis-behaving rather badly by having an affair with the husband of one of her current volunteers! The news was quickly spread all over town by the jilted wife/volunteer with such passion that I felt like I needed to duck and hide once I heard the news. Without going into details (there are lots of other issues going on that I can't speak about that make this situation a bit more touchy) or pointing fingers, let's just say that one of the repercussions of these events was that one of the local vets said he didn't want to work with this person's rescue group any longer.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
When I heard this news I thought either the Vet would NEVER want to work with another rescue group again, or that perhaps he just didn't want the emotional issues to deal with, but would need time to want to help out again. Feeling rather desperate to find a low-cost Vet, I thought the worst thing he could do was say NO if I asked for his help.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. How not to weigh the kittens..or maybe just divide by two?
What surprised me was that before I could even try to pitch why he should work with us, he said, YES! He just wants to help cats. He's willing to donate some time to K.A. every month. During that time he won't charge me an office visit and will help reduce costs across the board for vaccinations, spay surgeries and anything else. I wanted to cry, but he didn't even want thanks. I offered to help him by doing design work for him at a reduced rate and he didn't need it. He just wants to help a rescue, so he's going to help us.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
Do I feel a bit creepy about asking this Vet to help us? Yes, but the future of K.A. depends on us being able to make the most of the donations we get. Because of this Vet's help, I was able to rescue two more local kittens. I have to remind myself, to paraphrase the words of this Vet, it's all about the animals and their well being. The politics and B.S. we can both do without.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Intercepted!
The interesting/challenging aspect of our arrangement is that if I ask him to spay/neuter a cat, that I HAVE TO ACT AS HIS VET TECHNICIAN. This means, shaving the girl's belly, holding them while they get their anesthesia shot, helping with them after they are out of surgery and whatever else is needed. I was told I don't have to watch the surgery-thank GOODNESS! There are things I can do and things I can learn, but there are some things I just can't do. When I have a loving connection to my foster kittens, the last thing I want to see is them knocked out and being sliced open.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible kitty motorcycle rider takes a wicked turn.
Tomorrow is my first time helping neuter the three boys in this litter of black or black and white kittens! Max, Ruby (mis-named!) and Spot are ready to go. Because these are A.I.D. kittens, and I'm sharing resources with them, their Aunt Connie is going to be a Vet Tech, too. We're both going to learn about what's needed. I have to be ready for next month when the two little girls I rescued will need to be spayed. Scared? Yes, a bit. I'm Hoping I don't mess up or irritate the Vet. He's doing so much for us. I wish there was something I could do to thank him!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Stuck to the cat toy?
I guess my thanks will be to show up on time, do a good job and not cry like a baby when I see the kittens come out of surgery!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Ooo! Smells like roses!
I can't help but feel weird about all of this, but in time it will sort itself out. Just so you know, the group that lost their Vet has at least two others they work with, maybe three, so this doesn't hurt them as much at it might appear on the surface.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Off with her head!
By the way, ALL THE KITTENS FEATURED HERE ARE AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION! They're located in southern Fairfield County, Connecticut. Visit AID's web site for adoption information.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeeeee!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie kitten wants your brainz!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Shy flyer.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Super stretch!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Riding an invisible rocket.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. On no! Zombie kitten on the warpath!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Umm...detachable legs?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Excuse me, but would you please pet me?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Woah!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie kitten tries to use the force to move the cat toy closer.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie kitten don't give a squat! Just walks over victim on to next plate full of brainz.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombiezzzzzzzzz!
I think it's almost a given, that when something bad happens, we try to make sense of it. Give it a reason for being, so we can learn to accept it. Then there are times when it's just so bad, there is no sense to be made.
Yesterday afternoon, I called my Vet to see if Doodlebug was ready to be picked up. I had dropped him off that morning and he just needed some tests, a shot and a wellness exam. If you're going to do cat rescue, you must NEVER bring a cat into your home without it going to the Vet, FIRST. Considering all the creeping crud out there, you can't be too careful.
Doodle looked great, perky, nice weight. I didn't worry that anything was wrong with him, but when it took 6 minutes of being on hold to just find out a pickup time, I knew something was up. Instead of one of the Vet techs picking up the phone, it was Dr. Larry. His voice had a serious tone. Normally we would joke around, but not this time.
He didn't mince words.
Doodlebug tested POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia.
WHAT??!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
I felt lightheaded, like I was going to faint. I tried to muster up the courage to ask him what this means. When I was a kid, two of our family's cats died from it. Dr. Larry said what I had heard from other folks who do rescue, that although it is a “strong positive,” that there is a CHANCE that in time, Doodle's immune system may kick in and he will re-test, negative. This result means he was EXPOSED to the virus, not necessarily that he HAS it. It's called, Primary Viremia. You can read more about it on Cornell's excellent resource guide for Feline Leukemia If so, there are no more concerns for this cat's future. If he re-tests positive, you have to wait and re-test again. All in all, I may have to wait for up to SIX MONTHS to really be sure one way or the other.
But Feline Leukemia is very contagious and fatal and I have an FIV+ cat with cancer and eight other cats in my house. What am I supposed to do now?
Do I have to EUTHANIZE Doodlebug? I could barely ask the question. I had to sit down. My legs went wobbly. I was in shock. I didn't want to know the answer.
I can barely even type that word: euthanize. The thought of me KILLING a KITTEN, when my life is devoted to SAVING their lives,? It's absurd! I would NEVER do that! How could I do such a thing? But what about my own cats? Does bringing Doodle into my home, mean a DEATH SENTENCE FOR MY OWN CATS?
We talked about isolation. Re-testing. Doodle does NOT have to be euthanized today, but it may have to happen at some point. IF he was at a shelter, guess what, he would be dead. I get it. This is not something you want around a lot of other cats.
But I was VERY WORRIED about bringing him into my home. I wished I had a separate building to bring my fosters now, more than ever, but I was stuck. At least I HAD a room to put him in that was isolated from the rest of the house.
I had figured Doodle would be in the blue bathroom (as we call it), for a few weeks, then I'd let him meet my cats and he could run around and have a good time until he got adopted. Now I may have lost that space for fosters until 2012!
I could make SURE Doodle was locked up, change clothes after I handle him and wash my hands well after each visit, too. If I could keep my own cats away, the Feline Leukemia virus does not live for more than a few hours in the environment, so as long as there are no shared dishes, litterpans or contact, it increases the odds my cats will be all right.
He will be ALONE in that bathroom for a very long time.
I hung up the phone and called out to Sam. I told him the news and I could see his shoulders slump as he processed the information. He had a crush on this little kitten, too. I could see it broke his heart. We spoke about our options, about what this might mean for our own cats and for Doodlebug. I started to cry, but I was late for a meeting and I had to figure out how to not be sad, be businesslike and deal with this later. I asked Sam what we should do. We had few options. Sam said; "We don't give up on him. That's what we do. I will go get him and bring him home.”
So now what I thought was going to be an easy rescue, has become much more complex. What I thought I could afford has become a challenge. The bathroom where Doodle will live is small and has a small window. I would like to buy Doodle a cat tree so he can sit up high and look out the window, as well as have a place to climb and a way to de-stress because it will have nice, tall sisal legs to scratch.
I contacted Doodle's former owner and told him he must contact the person he got the kitten from and let them know the news and to get that cat tested for Feline Leukemia. I also told him that if he had Doodle around other cats, that those cats needed to be tested, too. I would have LIKED to tell him that I also would have appreciated it if he warned me that Doodle was trained to use a human's hand as a TOY and that he will haul off and bite and grab your arm or leg-a behavior I will be working to correct.
I didn't hear back from him. I'm not surprised. Doodle was on the road to becoming a very unpleasant cat to live with. You wouldn't be able to pet him without him getting excited and biting. When he weighs four pounds, it's one thing, but when he grows up, it won't be a lot of fun to have him around. I would bet money that this was the real reason they got rid of him-not that their kid was allergic, but that the kitten was growing too aggressive from how they mis-handled him.
All in all, I'd have to say that my first CT cat rescue under the Kitten Associates moniker was about as bad as it could be. I have to think that in trying to make sense of this, I had to save Doodle, so I can help him be a good kitty-citizen, learn to be gentle and give him all the tools to have every chance at being healthy and living a good life.
For the record, if there is one someone's keeping out there, I will never put Doodle down.
Amberly's kittens are SIX WEEKS OLD! Time flies! Can you believe they were found in a nest under a tree? If you missed their AMAZING RESCUE, you can read about it HERE. Are these the SAME kittens? Is it possible they are NOT SICK? I don't even know what it's like to not have a kitten with upper respiratory to battle or something worse:::KNOCK WOOD::: anti-jinx!!!
I'm SO grateful that the kittens are doing so well and to make it even better, I swear EACH of them is more lovely than the last. Amberly made some very special kittens, that's for certain!
Today, instead of blathering on and on, let's just enjoy a multitude of images from a few weeks ago and more I just got yesterday-including some adorable videos! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit back and smile. It's a good day to smile!
Here are the babies! (make sure you scroll ALL the way to the end for the funniest photo, ever!)