Images on this website have been digitally watermarked with ownership and usage information. Digimarc and the Digimarc logo are registered trademarks of Digimarc Corporation. The "Digimarc-Enabled" Web Button is a trademark of Digimarc Corporation, used with permission.
Contact the Author
Comments? Questions? Fan Mail? Having Trouble Registering for a Free Account or Posting? Contact Robin Here
On Saturday, Maria brought MissFP to Good Mews Animal Foundation in Marietta, Georgia. Little did I know how VERY lucky we all were that Good Mews offered us a placement. I had no idea that Good Mews has been in operation for over 24 years and is the oldest, cage-free, No-Kill cat shelter in Georgia. Since they opened their doors, Good Mews has placed over 6,500 cats into loving homes!
Not only that, but Good Mews has special programs that help Seniors, called Golden Companions and another helps cats with special needs called HALO (Home at Last), which I found extraordinary. Not only do HALO cats get the extra care they need while at Good Mews, but Good Mews pays for the Vet Care of these cats AFTER they get adopted! On their web site it states:
“HALO cats are typically overlooked for adoption because of age, ongoing medical conditions or behavioral issues - the most common reasons beyond euthanasia at traditional animal shelters. Funds designated to this program help pay for the ongoing medical care of these cats while they wait for AND once they find their perfect home. ”
One very special kitty at Good Mews is named Tricky. She's a plump gray and white shorthair whose life has been far from easy. Tricky lived in a home with other cats and a couple. The man was a very bad person.
When his girlfriend told him to leave he got angry and in a fit of rage, shot and killed almost all the cats in the home with the exception of Tricky. Tricky survived but was paralyzed, losing all control of her hind legs and her bodily functions.
Most shelters would “humanely euthanize” Tricky because her care would be too taxing on the volunteers and who would ever adopt a cat who needs to be helped to evacuate her bowels twice a day?
Good Mews is NOT that kind of shelter. They did right by Tricky and not only gave her a place to live for the rest of her life if need be, but they help her do her thing, then they give her a bath every day, twice a day. She gets around just fine without her back legs-at least that's what she would tell you.
Tricky is so beloved she has her very own page on Facebook. If you're lucky, she'll accept your friend request!
Is she looking for a forever home? I'm not sure about that. Is there someone who would be able to provide for her and give her the special care she'd need every single day? I think there are some very special people out there who could give her what she needs and if that person is reading this blog post and Tricky captures your heart, please DO contact Good Mews and talk to them about her or offer to make a donation towards her care.
Maria visited with many of the cats looking for forever homes at Good Mews until it was time to help MissFP get settled into her new digs. For the first two weeks MissFP would have to reside in a cage, but it's spacious and light filled and rumors are that since MissFP didn't come from a municipal shelter or from the outdoors that her quarantine period might be shortened. In no time at all MissFP would be able to roam freely around the large main area where she'll be able to look out big windows, climb many different cat trees or simply lounge on a cat bed.
I worried that MissFP would react badly to the new environment, but she was unfazed. Maria placed her into a cat bed and MissFP “made muffins”, then settled down. Maria even got her to eat, so it was a good sign that she was going to be okay. Before Maria left, she leaned down to kiss Miss FP good bye and Miss gave her a head butt as her way of saying “thank you for not giving up on me and for giving me a loving home. I'm ready to take the next part of my journey to find a forever home with these good people.”
I'm usually the person who offers to take a cat in and help them find a home. This time I needed the help and I'm VERY GRATEFUL to Michelle and the staff at Good Mews for offering this placement to us.
Help me THANK Good Mews by visiting them on Facebook and let them know we appreciate what they do or, if you can, please consider donating to one of their many life-saving programs. MAKE SURE YOU MENTION COVERED IN CAT HAIR WHEN YOU DONATE. THERE'S A SPACE CALLED "OTHER" IN THE DONATION FORM WHERE YOU CAN ADD THAT INFORMATION. Here's a list of ways you can donate.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP: Good Mews bought a building! It's just a shell right now, but their dream is to get it set up and ready to go by the end of 2013. Wish list items include gift cards for any amount for Lowes or Home Depot, gift cards so they can purchase bird feeders and seed, decorative benches for their new yard. The sooner they can open, the sooner Good Mews will be able to help 150 cats!
You don't need money to help! Do you live in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area? Do you know people there? Are you a landscaper? Do you KNOW one? Do you have gardening skills? Do you like to paint walls? Even if you can't offer a financial donation, they also need people to help do the work to get their facility completed. If your Church group could donate a weekend of time or if your softball team could spend a day helping, it could make all the difference.
Michelle just contacted me and let me know that MissFP is doing well and is still giving headbutts to the volunteers and making muffins on her bed. We wish her good luck and that her forever family finds her very soon!
And…it looks like Clover had her first NEGATIVE test result for Feline Leukemia. It's not a “for sure“ yet, but crossing fingers, this kitty may have very good news soon!
Kitten Season is in full swing and this year is the worst anyone can remember. Everyone is full up, overflowing and desperate to find foster homes. I'm finding myself feeling broken hearted and trying hard to fight off feeling hopeless.
Henry County Care & Control is loaded with families of moms and kittens I so very badly want to rescue, but I can't do a thing and those families are being euthanized. Every day I get urgent pleas for help from near and far. My Facebook feed is mostly photos of cats with “urgent“ or “last call” written by their photo. What kills me is I could do more. We could stretch out what funds we have, but we have NO FOSTER HOMES so I'm doing as much as I can with just my small foster space and what Maria can offer down in Georgia.
Our little family in Georgia is headed by Cami, a feral torte mama. They live at Maria's home in a big ferret cage. It's all the space we have, but I'm grateful for it. Cami's little kittens, who Maria grabbed from a neighbor's home and who lived in terrible conditions, are finally stable enough to be named. We had hoped to have five kittens, but two went missing the day before Maria went to rescue them and have never been seen since.
Maria named the kittens, Choco, after one of her own cats, ChiChi because she liked the name, and Coco after Ice T's wife, Coco. It was touch and go for a few weeks. The kittens had to recover from a few weeks of poor nutrition and were grossly underweight.
I was very concerned that ChiChi wasn't going to make it. She was only 8 ounces for well over a week while her siblings quickly gained weight bringing them to over a pound. Now that the kittens have been de-wormed and given a great grain free canned diet, our concerns are falling by the wayside. The kittens are growing at a better pace and can focus on what all kittens should-playing and having fun.
Maria set up a pen for the kittens to play in so they could get out of their cage, but they easily climbed over it within a few minutes. Maria is not phased about them running around and lets them have some freedom from being caged while she supervises. (The kittens are too young to be exposed to other cats so they can only be out of their cage while she's with them.)
We've been desperately trying to find a home for Miss Fluffy Pants, to open up space for the kittens. I thought we had an adopter lined up. In fact, I was about to announce it, when the entire adoption fell through. The adopter said she was sick and couldn't meet Miss FP, then won't return either of our emails to confirm our fears that Miss FP may never find a forever home.
Roadblocks seem to be a theme this year. I'm locked down with Bobette taking my only other foster space, second to the larger bedroom where my six black foster kittens and their mom are living. If Bobette could find a home it would really open things up for us, but between these two cats AND poor King who has NEVER gotten even ONE application, I am very worried about our ability to help more kittens any time soon.
It seems as though it should be easy to find homes for two cats, maybe three, okay plus ALL the kittens, but kittens generally are easy to place. We should be able to help more. It's so frustrating to not have space or extra hands to help but no one will step forward.
I'm very grateful that Maria is not only flexible but patient. She'll provide a loving and safe home for these cats until I can move them north. In the meantime they have everything they need and from the looks of it, they're thriving. Those who remain are no longer dirty and wasting away, living in dangerous conditions. These little loves have something so many do not-the promise of a bright future and we're very glad to be able to offer that to them.
Last night I reached out to all of you to help us find a home or rescue to take Miss Fluffy Pants so we could open up adequate space to take in a Feral Mama and some of her kittens (two of the five are still missing as of this writing). I'm glad to report that in LESS THAN ONE DAY we have some hope.
A special lady stepped forward to adopt Miss Fluffy Pants!!! She lives in the Atlanta area, but for some reason if that doesn't work out, MissFP has been accepted by the East Coast Maine Coon Rescue as a cat they will include as a courtesy post on their web site. They get a lot of adoptions and it's great exposure for our sweet girl! Thank you to Chris & Vicky at ECMCR! Check out one of the cats they're trying to save-a gorgeous Orange Maine Coon in New Jersey!
As for our Emergency Rescue last night, it's clear we waited too long to step in, but these cats belong to a resident of the same town Maria lives in so we couldn't just jump in without his permission.
I'd like to say some very angry words about the person who "owned" these cats. Things like, “you had a chance to get your cat spayed a year ago for FREE, why didn't you do it?”
Or how about asking why your “cat,” weighs TWO AND A HALF POUNDS!!!!! Are you even FEEDING HER?! Her kittens weigh between 8 and 10 OUNCES. Is it because they're YOUNG or because they're STARVING?
Thankfully Maria was able to get the Mom and the kittens set up in a two story ferret cage without too much trouble. It's not very spacious, but it's what we have until Miss FP finds a home. The Mama allowed Maria to wash the kitten's faces, carefully rinsing away the goop on their eyelids. They fussed as kittens do, but eventually she was able to tease their eyes back open.
Once the kittens were clean, everyone got a huge helping of Halo cat food-thanks to the big donation they sent us! The kittens ate some of their food and wore the rest. Maria was able to tell that we have a Black male kitten, an Orange Tabby FEMALE! kitten and a FLAME POINT (our first!) female kitten. Mama is a Tortie to the max and full of “Tortie-tude.”
This morning, Maria took the day off work so she could take the family to the Vet! It's a good thing she didn't wait. Mama is severely underweight and the kittens are too small. They all have Coccidia, fleas and an eye infection. Had they gone on like this much longer, I have no doubt the kittens and probably the mama would have died. It wasn't so much that they couldn't fend off their infections or parasites, but between the combination of all these things, PLUS poor or no nutrition…they wouldn't have made it. The fleas would have caused anemia, the parasites would prevent them from absorbing nutrition-if they got any and the environment was not safe at all.
Mama went wild in the car on the way to the Vet and while she was at the Vet! She peed, screamed and gave the Vets a big scare when they tried to de-worm her. She did NOT want to be messed with. At least they did get her blood and she tested NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia!
It's going to be awhile before these cats are healthy. Mama is going to need a lot of food. Maria tells me she can see the cat's spine she's so thin. What a horrible life these cats have led-all under the “watchful” eye of a human, who did nothing for them until Maria stepped in and fought to save them and give them the chance at a better life. I'm glad she could keep her cool and just get those cats into safety. I hope we'll be able to find the two kittens who are missing. It's a bitter pill to swallow, knowing we could have taken them in sooner and saved all five kittens, but were too worried about taking up what few resources we have.
We did amazingly well with our fundraiser reaching just about the halfway mark of our goal, but because we had to take the cats to Vet and not the low cost clinic (because they are only open on Wednesdays), we already used up half of our funds to pay the first Vet bill. We urgently need to raise the remaining funds so we'll have that money ready when they need their vaccines, spay & neuter, and my fear-more medications and more emergency visits.
It's been quite the roller coaster over the past 48 hours since I found out that Amberly had bolted out the front door of her family's home and hadn't been seen again. After her family, myself and many of you worked on getting the word out, the call I made to my friend, Katherine, ended up being the one thing that turned this story around. Katherine met with the family and searched for Amberly. Not finding anything, she left to trap another cat who needed to have his tail amputated. She picked up Leo, who we worked together to rescue last week, and got him to the shelter. [If you recall, Leo is 13 years old. His owners dumped him outside when he peed out of the pan. Then they had premie twin babies which made them decide (due to Doctor's orders!) to get rid of the cat for good!]
Leo is better off. Once I saw him, filthy, thin, with bad teeth, I knew he was a diamond in the rough. I got him his initial vetting, then AID covered the cost to have a dental done, some blood work (which was surprisingly perfect!) and an EKG! Leo also got a bath. I can't wait to see him again. I hear he's looking just lovely now.
After Katherine got everything settled, she could have just gone home. It was about 7pm, but something was bothering her. She just HAD to go back and look for Amberly again.
The second time was the charm. She called out to Amberly and heard her meow back! Amberly had somehow got locked in some sort of weird, storage thing, which I still can't understand what it was based on Katherine's description. All I know is Amberly went in, a door got shut behind her and she was trapped. For two days she was across the street from her own home!
Needless to say Amberly's family was thrilled to get her back. I have to admit I considered telling Katherine NOT to let Amberly return home, but to bring her to me. The family had let her get out a few times before and the area they live in is NOT safe for a cat. I was going to think it over overnight, but by the time I reached Katherine to speak with her about it, Amberly was already with her family.
This morning I got an update from the family and a few photos. Once I saw Amberly with her son, Jack, I realized she needed to stay where she was. The family said she was following everyone around, purring, eating like a champ. Clearly she was happy to be home, but I fear she will forget this happiness and try to get out again. I plan on speaking with the family about building her a “catio” or leash train her and take her for a walk. Amberly needs more stimulation, play time, cat grass. All of this can help soothe her desire to get outside.
Bobette has healed from her surgery and Dr. Mixon believes she may always limp, but her leg is now straight when she walks, instead of curved outwards. She seems to get along very well, but after playing for a time, stops wanting to jump. I'm sure she's bored, sitting in her room, alone for most of the day now that Jakey and Teddy are adopted. I only got one application for her so far and it fell through.
There's a lot of pressure to find her a new home. With kitten season here and King and Miss FP waiting in the wings, I need the space. Two days ago I started to leave the foster room door open. Bobette has NOT been thrilled seeing my cats. Though her tail pouffs comically, her growling and hissing is no joke. She hasn't been violent, but she puts on a good show and my cats are giving her space. So far she just stays upstairs. Seeing her outside her room makes me laugh because she's so excited by having room to run. She stops and plays with every toy she sees even though she's nervous about running into my cats. I'm taking it slowly with her, but I hope we can let her mingle my cats so that room can be freed up for the SIX ADDITIONAL kittens I'd like to rescue! (wait 'till you see them!)
I have a lot of guilt about Miss Fluffy Pants. She's in Maria's foster room all by herself. I need to get her out of there, but not sure where to put her. Miss FP's western blot test came back positive for FIV. The only thing we don't know is if she really has FIV or was immunized against FIV, which would show up positive as a test result. Miss FP is in good spirits and Maria tells me she is VERY affectionate. She may be ok with another cat or not, but since King has been moved out of the room, Miss FP has come out of her shell.
I've got to find an additional foster home for her in CT so we can bring her up here and start looking for her forever home. I hate that she's just waiting, but with no room at my home, I'm stuck for now.
King continues to shine bright. He's hanging out with Maria's cats and is loving life. He gets to sleep on a real bed, get good food and is in a loving home. I can't wait to meet King and I hope we can move him north soon. He's already on Petfinder and I've had one or two inquiries, but so far nothing solid.
I'm so glad he's off the streets. King's rescuer, Bobby Stanford, sent me some sobering photos of the palette factory where King and Miss FP were living. The folks who work there asked after the cats and Bobby gave them an update. I think if they could see how gorgeous the cats are they'd be very happy. Though they were kind enough to give the cats what they could. It wasn't ideal for them and they wouldn't have survived much longer in that location-especially King. There was no way he could get around very comfortably or safely.
The good news is there's no need to be sad for King or MissFP. They're in good hands. From the looks of it, King is starting to get a little bit feisty with Maria's cats now that he feels safe. The video below is a hoot! Make sure you watch it to the end!
I forgot how much I worry about kittens! It's been a very long time since I've had kittens this young. Lately I've been fostering them after Maria does all the tough work and the kittens are old enough to be spayed/neutered. Now I get to fret every morning. Will I walk into the bathroom, where the kittens are living, and find one of them gone? Today is day 17 and I still have six kittens. They are all gaining weight. I'm still confused as to which one is which. I believe I have ALL GIRLS, but after using a 8x magnifying lens to look at their private parts, either they ARE all female or I just can't tell one sex from the other.
The kittens all have their eyes open and are starting to look more like cats than hamsters. I think they can sort of see me and I've caught a few looking up at me. It melts my heart. I can't believe in another week or so they will be wobbling about even more and starting to play.
I believe that three of the kittens are polydactyls; one has bizarre shaped paws! The only tuxedo kitten has very cute markings, pink & black toes and likes to squawk when I pick her up. Another kitten has big paws like a bear and always seems to be belly-up. It's about time to name the kittens. I think I may ask for help with that, but first I'm going to get photos of each one to help us with the naming. I've named their mother, April.
Today I noticed that April was dwarfed by her kittens. She's a small cat and with six kittens who are about 11 oz each, it's getting crowded around her belly. She's clearly exhausted and I feel both terrible and worried about her. I feed her many times a day, but some times she just doesn't eat very well for me. I've opted to leave her grain-free dry food so she has something to eat 24/7 even if I'm not a fan of kibble. I hold a plate out to her to eat because most often she's got kittens nursing on her and the poor thing won't get up to feed herself.
Clearly April is devoted to her babies because she still gives me these short little growls when she's not sure about something I'm doing. I don't worry any more that she's going to attack me. She's been nothing but friendly. Some times I rub her neck or scratch her cheeks. She purrs right away and her body relaxes for a moment. I want to take her away from the babies so she can rest, but it's not possible right now. I'm half tempted to start bottle feeding the kittens, but I don't see any of them losing weight or crying. If they are ok and she is just tired, then it will only be another week and a half and I can start weaning them off her. I just hope she can endure this stress. I'm doing everything I can think of to support her.
As Day 17 for the kittens draws to a close, I got the news that our friend Janea from Paws & Effect has to make the difficult decision to put her cat Dahlia to sleep. Dahlia has atypical large t-cell lymphoma that is not responding to treatment and Dahlia has fluid building up around her heart that has to be drained every so often or she will pass away in a lot of pain. It's the most difficult choice any cat-parent has to make. We send Janea all our love and support and ask Dahlia to Fly Free to the Rainbow Bridge when it's time to go, but not a moment sooner.
On Sept. 3rd of last year, my beloved cat Bob Dole passed away. I needed to do something positive with the energy I felt from the pain of heartbreak. I decided to rescue some orange cats in Bob's honor. A few days after Bob died, as fate would have it, I was contacted about a family in need at a Kill Shelter-all orange tabbies. I took one look and knew that this was my rescue.
The mama, barely 9 months old and her six newborns were all struggling. Mama was underweight at only 4 pounds. The kittens were not getting enough nutrition because the mama wouldn't eat for the four long days she was in the shelter. As a result, within a week of rescue, we lost 3 precious souls. It was my rescue's first loss times three, all passing over the course of 12 hours. You can read more about the early days HERE and HERE.
Though we worried we would lose them all, 3 kittens, all boys, did survive so we named them, Jake O'Lantern (Jakey), Teddy Boo (Teddy) and Mikey D. Cider (Mikey). Their mama, was named after Bob. I called her, Bobette.
Bobette limped. She must have been injured at a very young age, because her leg had grown into a twisted position. We arranged for Bobette to have corrective surgery once the family was ready to come to Connecticut and Dr Mixon did a great job on the difficult repair.
The boys did very well. Without the extra competition for food, they great fat and sassy and began their wobbly walks which turned into refined graceful dances. They were energetic, affectionate and confident warriors in the world. I thought they'd all be adopted in a heartbeat, but once they arrived in Connecticut, I was surprised we didn't get many applications on them. The ones we got weren't up to snuff for one reason or another. I'm fiercely overprotective of my foster cats. I work on being open minded about adopters, but I have to balance that with the fact that Maria, our super foster mama in GA and myself put a lot of time into these cats-with careful attention to their socialization and behavior. I wouldn't work so hard to have stable, sweet kittens, then put them into a home where they would be stressed, fearful and not given the love they deserve.
It took many months but finally Teddy was adopted by a young couple with a big Great Dane. We spent a lot of time talking about separating the two until Teddy and their dog would be acclimated to each other. I warned them that although their dog was trained that she could revert to her basic instincts and that Teddy should NEVER be left alone with the dog.
I checked in with the couple periodically and things didn't sound like they were going too well. After two weeks, I wrote them to see how Teddy was. Apparently, they wanted to return him. Their dog "forgot" her training and went after the poor kitten! Without pause we took Teddy back home and out of danger.
The timing was perfect because Mikey had been adopted by a lovely couple from Massachusetts the night before and Jakey was miserable being alone.
Teddy was reunited with Jakey. You can see the video of their meeting HERE. After a few minutes, it was clear the boys not only knew each other but missed each other. After all that had happened to Teddy, I decided that the boys would HAVE to stay together, no matter what. It would mean saying a lot more "no's" to adopters. If they couldn't say yes to both, then the deal was off.
The boys were BIG and no longer cute kittens. Each day that passed I began to worry a bit more. Soon it would be "kitten season" and there would be plenty of competition, making getting the boys a home would be even harder, but every day I'd see how bonded they were, walking side by side, pressed up against each other as if they were siamese twins. I couldn't break that bond.
An older couple offered to adopt the boys. At last! A good home! But the adoption fell through 10 days after the contract was signed. I was still holding the cats here because one of the adopters had had some surgery and wanted to get the kittens after her recovery. She decided it would be too much…too much nuttiness and she worried her 14 yr old cat and golden retriever would be bothered by the new arrivals (which I had challenged her about from the get go-so I suppose she realized that I had a point).
So the boys stayed with me and as they grew, they stressed out my own cats and drove me crazy. Don't get me wrong, I love those boys, but they wanted more play time and attention and had no patience for meal time. They'd get into everything with a smile on their face, while I was constantly policing them and getting irritated that I couldn't have a few quiet moments to concentrate on work.
I wouldn't give up on them. I just waited for "the application" to arrive.
I got a promising application last week. It was from a very sweet lady who loves her cats. She met all my criteria and had a great vet reference. Sam and I did a home visit and the family went out of their way to show me they were going to do whatever they could to make the cats welcome, keep them safe and provide appropriate care for them. I couldn't ask for more-okay they have no doors on any rooms because they're remodeling their home, so introducing the kittens to their 12 year old cat was going to be "interesting" to say the least.
Yesterday morning, after taking my "goodbye photos" of the boys, the family arrived. They barely walked into the house before both boys ran over to them, sniffing their legs and rubbing up against them. They bent down to pet the cats and they were loving every second. I had them sit down on the floor in a circle. We had some toys and their son played with the cats. He started to smile after awhile and clearly was coming out of his shell. The young boy began to giggle as he got the kittens to jump and chase the toys. The sound lit up the feeling in the house. His mother said she hadn't heard him laugh like that in a very long time. He was very careful touching the cats and somewhat shy about it. His parents watched him, making sure he wouldn't harm the cats. I felt like this was a good fit and it was clear that they did, too.
I usually have reservations about adoptions and I worry that I'm missing something that would tell me not to move forward, but this was so simple and natural. Of course the boys should go with this family. These are the people who should have had them all along. After Teddy was adopted two other times, this third time was the charm. Now he and his brother were guaranteed to stay together always. I couldn't be any happier.
The family packed up the boys and I said my farewell. I thought I wouldn't cry, but instead be happy for them. As the family got into the car, it hit me. I had to turn around and wave goodbye. I hustled into the house and broke into tears. I loved those cats as if they were my own and they were just about the last of my homage to Bob, too. In a way it was like losing him again, but this was a great adoption. After my tears dry I know I'll smile again.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was very disappointed when King and Miss Fluffy Pants's (is this her name? It was just a code name, but I think it might stick) reunion was not a happy one. It was clear they were never friends at the Palette factory, where they were both rescued from. Perhaps they even competed for the same scraps of food?
King was nonplused at the first meeting, but Miss FP was pissed. She hissed and growled when Maria let her out of the cat carrier, into the small bathroom that would be her new home. We didn't realize it at the time, but Miss FP had just had a terrible 48 hours. She was sedated, then the Vet realized she'd already been SPAYED! She had her blood drawn and we found out she may be FIV+. She was nose to nose with a big dog at the clinic and she was so distressed when she tried to attack him through the door of the carrier, the momentum of all that energy almost flipped her cat carrier over and onto the floor! With her life turned upside down, from the routine of living on scraps at the Palette factory, to a clinic full of scary smells and a big dog encounter, needless to say, Miss FP was not a happy camper to be yet at another strange place full of different smells.
If Maria had space in her home, she would not have put Miss FP with King, but we had no choice. We had to make it work until we could figure out what to do.
After Maria let Miss into the room, she let it be known that she did not want to be touched or be anyone's friend. She was so fractious that Maria was scared to go near her. Fearing for King's safety and with no other options we decided to put Miss into a crate so at least she couldn't bite King. With a disability to contend with, I didn't want King to be exposed to FIV+, too.
We were all very unhappy with the situation and I started to scramble, thinking of what I could do to make it better. Maria had to be at work. She couldn't stay home and monitor the cats so Miss was stuck in a tiny cage, probably getting angrier by the minute, while poor King started to cry and urinate all over his bedding.
A day passed and Maria let Miss out of her cage to stretch. She hissed at King, but didn't growl. It was progress, but not much. King was still urinating around the room to the point where we worried he had a urinary tract infection. Maria was very stressed and tired-and who wouldn't be from having to do a mountain of laundry and deal with her own cats and work, then come home to a big mess! I was getting stressed out because I couldn't figure out what to do and living 1000 miles away, I couldn't just come over and help-which I desperately wanted to do.
I realized I had to take it in small steps.
Number one: Western Blot test for Miss-ASAP. If she truly IS FIV+ then maybe she has to go to another rescue? I have two rooms in my home for fostering, that's it, and kitten season is almost here and it will be early this year since the weather is so warm. I can't bring an FIV+ cat who is nasty into my house and hope I will ever find her a home. I'll just end up not being able to help countless other cats if that happens. It was a terrible predicament. We even discussed returning her to the Palette factory now that she was vetted. At least we could donate some food for her and a new cat bed, but I knew in my heart that I'd never sleep again if I did that to her.
I had to find out how to reach this supposedly friendly cat. Bobby had told me she was very affectionate, but all Maria had seen was a cat who would swat at her hand or growl at her.
Maria sent me a photo so I could see some progress in the situation. All of a sudden, alarm bells went off in my head. I realized we had completely misunderstood Miss FP from the start.
The photo seems innocent enough. King sits near Miss's small cage. Neither cat is looking at the other. Maria interpreted it as King wanting to be close to Miss to be friends, but because he was ignoring her, I looked at it differently. Was King letting Miss FP know HE was in charge of the room-after all he's free to walk about and that HE could sit right up next to her crate and at any given moment, if he wanted to, he could pounce on top of the cage and get her, attack head on or get at her from any side of the crate. She was completely trapped and completely exposed. No wonder she was freaking out!
Maria also mentioned not being able to go near Miss FP. Then, I noticed the food dishes in the crate. They were full. Another alarm went off in my head-the food had to GO. Miss needed to be fed BY Maria, twice a day and that was it. No free feeding her. Miss needed to bond with Maria and see Maria as something good, not bad. Maria was the food provider, not the Dungeon Master!
Miss needed OUT of the cage ASAP. She needed a place in the bathroom to call her own. The problem is-where would that be in a such a small space? Of course…we needed a cat tree!
A cat tree would add a lot of vertical space to the room. Odds are, King would not be able to climb it, but Miss could. She could have the upper area to herself and feel safe. Perhaps that was what she needed?
In the middle of all this craziness, Maria and I are trying to help a pregnant Tortishell cat who was found by an elderly couple in the area! Maria was running around trying to get the cat some help, run Miss FP to the Vet to get her Western Blot test done AND she had to get to the pet store and find a cat tree ASAP!
I'm very lucky Maria is so devoted to helping cats or this would have been a complete nightmare.
Then, another puzzle piece fell into place. Maria warned the Vet Tech at East Lake Vet Hospital, to be very careful handling Miss FP. That she was nasty and might bite. The Tech said she would do her best and took Miss FP into the back of the building to do the blood draw. Awhile later, the Tech came out. Maria was worried something bad had happened and asked how it went. The answer surprised her and gave me a rush of hopeful excitement:
The Tech remarked that in all her years of working with cats, that Miss FP had been ONE OF THE EASIEST, NICEST and SWEETEST cats she'd ever worked with!
What was the difference? Was there a magic pill that she gave Miss FP? No. First, Miss FP was NOT in a room with another cat. Second, Miss FP didn't have to worry about territory. Third, the Tech probably approached her gently-not that Maria didn't do that, but Maria had grown fearful of the cat. All this adds up to-this cat is NOT fractious-she's ANGRY and SCARED!
Maria got a great cat tree and thanks to the donations we got for King's care, we could afford to get one right away instead of have to shop for one on discount, then wait a week for it to arrive. Maria set up the cat tree. I told her to take the cage out of the room. No more cage for Miss. We had to trust that she would not hurt King. She might take a swipe and him and claw him, but she'd calmed down enough for us to believe she'd not be a risk to give him FIV+. It was a very tough call, but for the sanity of Miss, we had to do it. Unfortunately, King cried with her out of the crate, then urinated on his bed. Was his sick or scared?
I can't explain how I knew what to do, but I can say that within moments of letting Miss investigate the cat tree, it was VERY CLEAR it was what she needed all along.
Miss FP climbed onto the top of the cat tree, nervously licked her mouth for a moment, then laid on her side and started to “make muffins” into the carpeting on the cat tree.
Maria didn't hesitate. She reached out to give Miss FP a pet. Her bravery was rewarded with a head butt into her hand. Maria overcame her reluctance to get close to Miss FP and had the simple joy of getting to know her as she really was all along.
Miss loves to be brushed. She loves to be petted. When her anger and fear washed away; a sweet lady emerged.
King stopped peeing on the floor.
King stopped crying.
King is still lonely and still loves Maria's cat, Kahlua, who comes in to visit for a few minutes once in awhile. King has also perked up now that he has some toys and the cat tree base to play with!
Although Miss and King are not best friends, they both have safe spaces to live in and places they can call their own. I'm sad that King wants a friend, but can't find one in Miss FP, but with all the surprises we've had, perhaps there are more to come?
For now we wait for Miss's blood test results and we hope she is not FIV+.Tomorrow, King goes to meet Dr. Alan Cross, an orthopedic surgeon, who may help us understand what happened to King's back feet and what we can do to help him live a more comfortable life.
We couldn't have done ANY OF THIS if we hadn't gotten the support from so many of you. You honor King with your love and your donations. His success is due to your support, Maria's love and devotion to cats in need and my determination to unlock the mystery of what these cats are thinking and how to provide what they need.
Over the years, I've fostered many cats and I believe, that for those of us who take this on, we get to a place where we specialize in the type of fostering we do. I know people who take neonatal, orphan kittens and with a very serious commitment to a schedule of feeding, cleaning and nurturing, help the kittens survive those delicate early days. There are others who focus on Feline Leukemia positive cats, giving them a chance to live a full life, for as long as it may be.
For myself, I seem to take on mama-cats and their offspring. I don't know if I have the chops for bottle feeding kittens or the nerve to remain calm during the most trying of times, so I have the mamas there to take on the feedings and care and I step in when they're about four weeks old and help them make the transition to being socialized and ready for adoption.
I've never rescued a cat with a disability. I don't even know what the politically correct term for a cat who's missing his feet is called. Is he handicapped? Special? I don't know. I'm naive, but learning. I'm a bit uncomfortable and somewhat freaked out by seeing a cat without hind paws. It hurt my heart when I saw him take his first, stiff-legged steps. I wanted to turn away, but my desire to help him outweighed my own feelings.
I have other concerns, as well. Without a shelter, where adoptions of adults are easier to pull off, I'm wondering if having a disabled adult cat will be an even more long-term foster. Maize was here for 14 months and she had no physical issues. How long will this cat be with me? Am I crazy for rescuing him?
King has been in foster care for six days. In that short time he's surprising us at every turn. If we have a concern, he proves us wrong. If we have a worry, he gives us a lovey-dovey look and “makes muffins” on the bolster of his cat bed. It's easy to forget there are any challenges with this cat.
King is NOT feral or semi-feral or skittish. He must have gotten a lot of attention from the workers at the Palette factory because this cat has no wild beast lurking in his heart. King is all about LOVE.
King is NOT incontinent as we first feared. After passing the first day living indoors, Maria found King urinated all over his bed and the floor. He'd used his litter pan for moving his bowels but not urinating. We discussed it and thought we'd make sure the Vet would check him for neurological issues related to his back legs-which may have effected his ability to control his output. Another day passed and Maria found that King was using his litter pan properly, though with a bit of difficulty getting in and out of it so she made some adjustments.
The second Vet we took King to did an exam, but only after all the staff held, petted and cooed over King who was more than happy to get the attention! King's legs were x-rayed. The Vet felt it was likely his legs were deformed and this was not abuse. I think Maria and I were both relieved to hear that, but were also at a loss-NOW WHAT DO WE DO FOR KING?
The Vet was going to reach out to her peers to see if there was a specialist we could meet with-someone whose focus is on orthopedic issues. I also spoke with a woman in Texas who works with handicapped cats and she told me to forget trying a cart because cat's just don't like those. Dogs can use them, but cats, with their independent nature, need to feel free (and how does the cat use the litter pan in a cart?). I asked her about orthopedic devices and the answer, again, was the same. If you can get the cat to wear something, they get rubbed raw, they have to be adjusted all the time and frankly we'd be better off looking into a padded bootie to keep King's paws protected…AND to keep him on a carpeted surface.
Maria tried a soft dog bed under King and he took a few steps. He didn't get up much and after just a day of being alone while Maria was a work, King took a turn for the worse. Maria called me, worried that King was getting sick. He was eating ok, but was very “flat;” a sure sign something is brewing.
That night Maria's cat, Kahlua, scratched at the door to the foster room. Though I warned her not to allow King to meet her other cats so soon, Maria went with her instincts and opened the door slightly. She said that once King looked up and saw her cat it was like a light was turned on in King's eyes. When he saw Kahlua, he stood up and tried to walk over to her.
It was obvious that King needed a friend. Sadly, Kahlua couldn't stay in the foster room with King all day. She just wouldn't like being away from Maria's other cats. The solution was very simple, IF it worked…have Miss Fluffy Pants join King!
Miss Fluffy Pants still lives outdoors at the Palette factory. Bobby made sure she had food over the weekend, but he told me that she would rather be petted than eat. Each day she lives at the plant, is another day we risk losing her to an accident or predation. We realize time is ticking, but we also have to factor in that Miss FP could be sick or carrying fleas, ticks, ear mites, etc. We must get her vetted FIRST before she can be in Maria's house-even if the cat is kept away from Maria's own cats. We can't risk sickening everyone.
Then there's the other question-one I have to tread lightly talking about. Bobby thinks Miss FP might be pregnant. Of course that's likely to be the case considering King wasn't neutered, why would Miss FP be spayed? It's very difficult to tell if a cat is pregnant until they are quite far along and the Vet could feel their heads.
This is where I get stuck like a deer caught in headlights. What do we do for Miss FP?
Something I didn't know about until just a few years ago that most rescues spay-abort pregnant females. Cat overpopulation is a very serious matter that effects all 50 states and each additional kitten being born takes away a family who might have adopted another cat who is already on death row at a kill shelter or digging for scraps on the street. I'm a very passionate advocate for spay/neuter laws and legislation and, in fact, it's part of my rescue group's mission statement to support this issue.
That said…I foster kittens all the time. If they're already in the “oven” and I can provide care for them and find them homes, I have a very very hard time taking those unborn lives. I realize this is a very hot topic, especially if I were talking about humans, but humans can make choices for themselves and I'm not going to take a stand about those choices one way or another. This is about cats. Cats don't have a choice. I was also told that spay-aborting really messes up the mom-cat's hormones…but if this were done for Miss FP, then we could place her with King and IF they recognize each other and are friends it's a win-win for them, but that's a lot of IF's.
If we allow Miss FP to have her kittens, then what happens to her? Where do we foster her and can Maria take that on? I doubt the kittens can be near King, though he is so friendly, perhaps they could be in the same room. I talked to a rescue friend of mine about this and she blurted out; “What if Miss Fluff is King's mom and she has more disabled kittens?” THANKS KATHERINE!
The short answer is-Bobby needs to verify that MISS FP IS A FEMALE, first. On Tuesday he'll take her to the Clinic to get snap tested. If she tests negative/negative they'll do an exam and determine what's going on. Then she'll either be spayed or she won't. If I take a big step back and try not to be emotional about it then I don't feel I should interfere in Miss FP's motherhood. It's not as if I'm breeding her and I've spayed or neutered every single cat I've ever rescued, so maybe that offset letting one cat have a litter or maybe I'm just fooling myself?
I can try to rationalize it all I want, but in the end it's going to be very difficult to find the right answer.
In the meantime, I'll start hoping that Miss FP is a boy.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO JUMPED AT THE CHANCE TO DONATE TO KING'S CARE & TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT HIS STORY. BECAUSE OF YOU WE COULD BUY KING A HEATED CAT BED, A RUG, FOOD & LITTER AND PAY FOR HIS BLOOD WORK AND X-RAYS AND WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE COSTS TO PAY FOR A CONSULT WITH A SPECIALIST BECAUSE THAT'S COVERED, TOO.
As soon as I have a better idea of what King will need, in total, I will adjust down our ChipIn goal. If you still want to help with King's care, because he may need more tests, perhaps orthopedic booties and transport to CT, just use the ChipIn widget in the right column, near the top of the page. Yes, that donation IS tax deductible!
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.
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.
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.
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?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.