Maria

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

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

Hi Robin;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster Cat Math Part Two: The Pumpkin Patch Arrives

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©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).

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©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?

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.”

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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?

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©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!

WE DID IT! Barney & Bella are Safe!

So many people say to me that they wish they could do cat rescue, but just don't have the space or time or funds or the secret power-of-letting-go when the foster cat gets adopted to be able to do it. But you DID just take part in a cat rescue! How does it feel?

Two days ago I posted about Barney & his sister Bella. Barney is a smart cat and somehow figured out he could flush the toilet. In fact, he seems fascinated by the sound, the swirling water, the sheer power of cause and effect. My post could have simply been to point out this cat's quirky talent and leave it at that, but sadly Barney and Bella were facing a trip to the Kill shelter because their mama, who's in the Coast Guard, got transferred to New Orleans and at the last minute, the family member who offered to take the cats, backed out, leaving her in quite the jam.

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Bella and Barney, two VERY LUCKY CATS.

With no resources to help her cats, and a looming deadline to meet, she was faced with the only other option-to relinquish the cats to the local Kill shelter. Thankfully, before she did that she turned to our own Maria's, mama, who lives in Virginia and knows Barney & Bella's owner. Mama-Bobby told her friend that her daughter, Maria did cat rescue and she would ask her for help.

I get calls and emails every day about cats needing help. I wish I could promote each one. Many, you never hear about, but behind-the-scenes I try to help them, as well. When Maria asked if I could post about Barney & Bella I admit that her request gets my attention. She's caring for our Pumpkin Patch family. How can I say no? Toilet-flushing-guru-cat or not, I had to help.

This is what I LOVE about the internet. I did “my part” to help save these cats. I just wrote up a blog post. It took a few hours, getting details right, posting the video, asking all of you to just help me get let everyone in Virginia know, that these cats sure could use some help.

Of all the posts I've written, this one was re-tweeted and shared on Facebook with wild abandon. As I tapped my few connections in Virginia, others tapped their friends and rescue contacts, too. SO MANY PEOPLE shared this information, that what we hoped would happen, DID.

The RIGHT people saw the posts; the people who can do their part of a cat rescue. One woman offered to donate money to cover the costs of Barney & Bella's vetting. She couldn't foster them or adopt, but she did her part. Both kittens are in dire need of being spayed/neutered. They were snap tested for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia. They are negative for both! Maria's mama is going to make sure they get their surgery done on Friday and will keep them at her house to recover for the night. She is doing her part!

Then Kim Harkin posted a plea for help on the Facebook Page for King Street Cats, in Alexandria, VA. They are Alexandria VA's only free-roaming no-kill cat orphanage! 100% volunteer-run and Kim is one of their foster moms. She got the OK to take them into the King's program on Saturday! How did Kim find out about these cats? She said she thought she found the info on the No Kill Ohio Facebook page (I looked but didn't see a post there so we aren't sure who to thank for the post that caught Kim's attention)!

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According to Petfinder, KSC already has 47 cats in their program. Asking them to take on two more is a lot to ask. As a THANK YOU to them, I'm going to share a few photos of their Adoptable cats. Make sure you visit their pages to see more if you live in the Alexandria, VA area and want to add to your kitty-family.

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Meet Harper Lee. What a cutie-patootie!

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This is Midnight. She and her brother, Scamp, a tuxedo, are hoping to find a home together!

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Lenore has been waiting for 8 months to find a home. She's 10 years old, tiny and though initially too stressed to be sweet, her foster home says she's starting to snuggle up. Lenore needs a place where she can blossom. Let's find her that special home.

King Street looks like a great refuge for Barney & Bella until they find their forever home. Since they're be in foster care to start, Barney will have a new toilet to flush!

I wish we could ALL do a BIG GROUP HUG right now! I can't (and won't) take all the credit for this rescue. There are SO MANY POINTS WHERE THIS ALL COULD HAVE FAILED. Their current mom could have just abandoned the cats or given them to the Kill shelter, but she wanted them to have a chance and that good intention was the spark that made everything else start to fall in place. So many of you took some time out of your day to spread the word, some as far away as California offered them a home, another offered to sponsor their Vet care. Maybe many of you thought nothing would come of it, that because you couldn't physically save them, it wasn't enough. But it WAS ENOUGH. This puzzle was pieced together quickly by a bunch of cat-loving strangers. We should ALL jump for joy that together we CAN make amazing things happen. We just have to do our part and be willing to get involved in whatever capacity we can.

Well done, everyone! Well done!

If you want to thank King Street, please LIKE them on Facebook. If you're loaded and want to send them a donation, in honor of Barney & Bella, you can find out how to do that HERE.

Update: The Halloween Express-Remember Them?

Last October I pulled 4 kittens from Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, GA. They were going to be euthanized because they had a mild upper respiratory tract infection. We just couldn't let them die.

We nicknamed them, the Halloween Express. Our intrepid foster mama, Maria, took care of them for a few weeks, until they could leave for transport. At that time we also rescued a 10 year old cat named Rocco, who went to our sister shelter, Animals in Distress.

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©2010 Maria S. The boys, Candy Corn, Skittles, Trick & Treat (the only girl)

The kittens came to my home to be fostered until they found their forever home. What I could have have imagined was that ALL FOUR got adopted in A WEEK and not only that, they all went to the SAME HOME!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The Halloween Express was only here for a week. I hardly had a chance to get to know them!

I was a bit concerned about four kittens going together. What if they were too much to handle? One had a flare up of the dreaded URI just as adoption day came, but the new family, Andy & Aimee, weren't bothered a bit. They took the best care of their boys and nursed them back to health instead of turning their backs on all the kittens.

I checked in with them a month or so later and last I heard they were all doing well.

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©2011 Andy Lewis. This is what a great forever home looks like. This is also why if you're going to adopt, adopt siblings!

I contacted them a few days ago regarding a little problem regarding some paperwork (my fault) and Andy got back to me with the most cheerful email and update on the gang:

The cats are AWESOME! They just got their first annual checkup and they are in perfect health. They are big and quite "curious" and as a result the house has taken a little beating but its worth it. No worries on the microchip numbers as you have a lot more important things to take care of like saving all those kittens :-) I hope you are doing well and your adoption is booming. We always talk about your rescue and try to get people to go to you. We also adopted a purebred yellow Lab puppy back in May named Barney. He is a handful to say the least! He is gorgeous and extremely friendly. All of them get along but sometimes Barney gets a little carried away so we have to stop him from chasing them. All in all we have been really fortunate to get such great animals.

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©2011 Andy Lewis. Barney with his new feline friend.

Hours after receiving this email, I'm STILL smiling every time I look at the photos. The boys are HUGE!!!!! They look so happy. This is my ideal placement; a wonderful home where all the animals get along well and all are happy and healthy. I'm absolutely thrilled!

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©2011 Andy Lewis. Neener-Neener! You're stuck in the crate!

The only thing bad about this family adopting four kittens is that I can't even THINK about suggesting they adopt a few more! If only I could clone these wonderful people. I need more families like this one!

Time to meet up with the transport. The four white Angel Babies are due here today! Maybe I can get them all adopted together, too? Hey, I can dream!

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A Much Deserved Home, At Last.

“One, two, three, four, five, six...”

Every time I enter the Foster room there's always a flurry of activity. The kittens are crying, they want to be fed. They're bored and want to make a mad dash out of the room, down the hall and into the unknown of my bedroom. I know that if I'm carrying a tray of food, they usually run out the door, then come right back, hence my need to count heads at every meal time. There should be six cats in the room.

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©2011 Maria. S. Amberly and Periwinkle. You can see how thin Amberly was by looking at her neck and shoulders.

As you may recall, two weeks ago, a wonderful family adopted Amberly and Jack LaLac. They filled out the Adoption Contract and left me their Adoption fee. I was to board the cats until after the Thanksgiving holiday was over, so the cats could start their new life out in a peaceful environment.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. All filled out and looking gorgeous.

Yesterday Jessie and her husband, Terry came to pick up the cats. First they had to drop off a family member at the Islip, NY airport which is a few HOURS in the opposite direction from where I live. They drove a good part of the day, but were determined to get their cats as soon as their relative left the house! By the afternoon, I got an excited phone call from Jessie, saying they were about 40 minutes away.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Little man Jack.

Here comes the tough part. I'd said my “I love you's” and my goodbyes to the cats. I knew this was a great home, but I also knew that I'd seen the bond between Amberly and her kittens continue even after she was spayed. I watched Truffles or Peri walk over to their mama and bow their head for her to sniff, then lick. Some times Amberly would grab the kitten roughly and groom them or play-fight with them. At times it was too rough for me to witness so I broke it up. I was glad that Jack, the biggest kitten, was going with his mama. He could stand up to her roughhousing and could give back as good as he got.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. At six months (yesterday).

I knew the remaining kittens would be all right, but I knew they would be sad and confused and I wondered how Amberly would do. This is the part I hate. I really hate breaking up a family, but I know, in time, everyone will adjust and go on and be happy. This is the transition point and for the sake of all, it must be done. I also think that the girls, BlueBelle, Periwinkle, Blaze and Truffles will have a chance to flower without their big brother hogging the toys or knocking them around.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jack is going to be much larger than Amberly. She's still small in stature, but has fluffed and filled out considerably.

Jessie and Terry just renovated their home and many of their things were still in storage. They'd forgotten their cat carriers were in the storage space, so they brought over two cardboard cat carriers. I immediately worried that both cats would blow right through those boxes in a hearbeat, but I also knew the trip wasn't too long. Hopefully they'd get the cats out of my house and into theirs without any problems. Good thing the cats were microchipped!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Last kiss from Blaze.

The big goodbye was more like yanking off a band-aid. Jessie and Terry had to get home in time to pick up their children from school, so they were only here for a few minutes. As soon as Terry put the cat carrier on the floor, Jack jumped right into it! Amberly jumped into the one next to it, but then figured out what was going on and jumped out. Blaze jumped into her carrier so I had to lift her out and put Amberly back inside. It was a silly little game, cats popping in and out of the cat carriers while I was trying to give some of them a last kiss.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Time to go!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Play time with the feather toy.

It just didn't work out that way, but it was fine if I didn't kiss them again. They were going to be all right. Their family couldn't wait to get them home. We wrapped up the paperwork and I gave them some cans of cat food and tried to remember things they should know so I rattled off a few last minute details as we walked to the car.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mr. Handsome-oh, Jack's new name may be Jack Cadillac!

I wished the cats good luck and a happy life. I turned to walk back to the door and my eyes stung as I fought off tears. I didn't cry. It was time. Amberly had been on an amazing journey-from being rescued by Maria when she found her lying in the street, starving, with just born kittens to tend to, to a plump, luscious, SPAYED cat with a wonderful life ahead of her. Amberly will never have to worry about a thing. Her family's got her back. Jack will have a lifetime of fun. He has two young boys to play with and two dogs to befriend. I hope Amberly doesn't beat up the dogs, but time will tell. For now, this is the point of the story we all hope to reach when we first take on a new foster cat. It's here. Time to rejoice.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Clowning around with Peri.

I told the family I would check in with them in a week to see how things were going. Last night, just a few hours after the cats left, I got an email from Jessie. She wrote to me about her sons Jordan and Thomas. It read: “As I'm typing, Thomas is doing his homework at the desk in my office which is where the cats are, and will be, until they're comfortable to explore the rest of the house. Amberly and Jack are taking turns laying on his papers, trying to nibble on his pencil, and head butting him as he's trying to write. He's giggling, and they're tails are up and they're both purring. They are all in heaven. You'd think they've been here for years.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I'd like a basket full of cat, please.

Jordan has carefully placed their toys around the room and replaced the water dish twice because as he's told me, "cold water tastes much better." ( it's also filtered from the fridge, no tap water for these kitties ) Jordan's now laying on the carpeted floor on his side and Amberly has curled up on his belly and is trying to nap. Jack is jumping over him, not letting her rest, which is making Jordan giggle as well. What a sight it is!
Our dogs have been caged but I have a feeling that in no time at all everyone will coexist beautifully.
Just wanted to say thank you again. You both are remarkable people for all that you do.
These are 2 cats you won't have to worry about. I promise you they will be loved always.
Be well and we'll keep you posted.”

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jack and Jack's shadow.

I couldn't have hoped or wished for better than this for these fine felines. As much as I miss them, I know they were getting bored in that little room. The girls are quieter now that Jack and their mama have left. They're not eating quite as well. They seem a bit lost. I'm spending extra time with them so they won't be too sad over the sudden change in their lives.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. All-star cat wrestling.

Tomorrow two more of the kittens are probably leaving and it will be a bit harder yet to let them go. I have to remind myself that it's very good timing because more cats are arriving. The Angel Babies will finally be here after being sidelined for weeks longer than we expected by a sudden outbreak of fleas and ringworm!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rescued. Rehabilitated. Re-homed. Amberly's journey comes to a happy end.

As Amberly's family becomes part of our history, a new family arrives. It's helps stave off the bittersweet quality of having to say good bye so often and reminds me that more need help, too. There are more stories to tell and more cats to get to know and to fall in love with. Better get to it. Okay, maybe just a few tears first.

“One, two, three, four...”

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Bobette's Secret Pain

Our dear “Bob's Pumpkin Patch” family is growing up. No longer are the boys squirmy and plump orange gourds. Their mama, Bobette, no longer needs to care for them with the intensity she once had. It's been ten weeks since we rescued them from Henry Co. Care & Control, a Kill shelter in McDonough, GA.

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©2011 Maria. S. They baby boyz!

Our little family of four, was once a family of seven. The spirits of the three kittens who passed away still linger in the shadows, watching their brothers thrive, as their own lives were so unfairly cut short. Their foster mom, Maria, still pines for those babies, but it is a testament to her love for them that the others did survive.

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©2011 Maria. S. Growing like weeds.

Jakey, Teddy and Mikey are doing well. Today, along with their mama, they're off to the Vet to be spayed or neutered and get their first vaccinations. The boys were born in a cage at a shelter where horrific upper respiratory infections thrive. That these boys did not break with that illness is a small miracle. At each sign of a sniffle, we gave them homeopathic remedies, which stunned us in their effectiveness. We'll always be on the watch for that dreaded URI to appear, but at least at eleven weeks of age, these kittens have the chance to build up their immune systems-unlike our Polly, Chester and Cara who were sick for many months after we pulled them out of the same shelter.

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©2011 Maria. S. Our little Pumpkin Patch family.

Bobette has not fared as well. Barely a year old, Bobette has had a very difficult life. Not wanted by her family, dumped at a kill shelter, pregnant; hopes were slim that Bobette would survive. At the shelter she refused to eat, while her six newborns struggled to get proper nutrition—and most likely the reason why three of the newborns did not survive.

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©2011 Maria. S. What's out there?

When I heard about Bobette not eating for four days, I grew very concerned. I was fortunate that Maria was willing to take in another family after only having a short break on fostering. We busted Bobette and family out of the Kill shelter and rushed her to the Vet. She was given a thorough exam, but Bobette sat crouched in a corner, frightened of what was going on. It was easy to miss that Bobette's secret pain.

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©2011 Maria. S. Teddy & Jakey.

The family settled in Maria's bathroom. It was small, easy to keep warm and safe from Maria's cats getting too nosy with the newcomers. Bobette spent most of the day feeding her boys. She didn't walk much, nor did she have the room to run around. It didn't trouble her at all. It was time to focus on her offspring and not worry about herself, but what we didn't know was that Bobette wasn't all right.

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©2011 Maria. S.

Bobette ate like a champ. The boys did well under her care. It seemed that after her loss, Bobette paid even more attention to the remaining kittens. She cleaned them and fed them and kept them safe. It didn't matter to her that something was wrong. She had her babies to care for.


©2011 Maria S. Teddy's Cat Nap.

 

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©2011 Maria. S. Mama and Jakey.

Maria recently moved the family into a bigger room, with plenty of sunshine, windows and toys, it's an ideal location for a growing family. The cats could finally RUN, stretch their legs, jump!


©2011 Maria S. Pumpkin Patch Boys Go Wild!

...and that's when Maria realized something was wrong with Bobette. She was limping. Her left rear leg had a hitch to it as she walked. Maria called me and I told her to get Bobette to the Vet. I hate waiting, wondering what was going on. Maria called a few hours later. Bobette seemed sensitive in her back. Perhaps it was an old injury, but the Vet couldn't find anything obviously wrong. He suggested to give it more time. I asked if he ran an X-ray and Maria said he didn't feel it was necessary.

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©2011 Maria. S. Triple threat of cute.

Yesterday, I wrote about Warren and his wife, Terri and how they ignored their Vet's suggestion to wait on having their kitten re-examined when they realized their foster kitten, Dexter wasn't getting better. Maria followed the same line of thinking; she kept looking at Bobette as she walked. Something was wrong. It wasn't something that was OK. Maria called me again and this time we both agreed that no matter what, Bobette must be x-rayed. We did not want her to be in any pain.

Once x-rayed it was clear that something WAS WRONG, Bobette has a rare condition called a Patellar luxation. Basically, Bobette's kneecap is out of position. This is caused by a genetic malformation or trauma. It's a rare condition in cats, but common in small dogs. It wasn't completely clear to Maria or myself, but one of the bones in Bobette's rear leg fused with another or fused improperly. Bobette's left rear leg is shorter than the right, hence Bobette's limp.

Bobette doesn't appear to be in pain and I'm guessing that due to the bone fusion, she had a trauma to her leg. The fact that once she was dumped at the Kill shelter she stopped eating, was perhaps due to the trauma, not to the stress of being confined.

The Vet says to do nothing. Bobette can get around and that returning the kneecap to a normal position may not help, as the kneecap can slip back out of position. Because there is more going on than just the kneecap problem, I've decided we need to look into this matter further. Bobette is barely a year old. I don't want her to face a lifetime of pain or discomfort. Like Warren and Terri, this doesn't sit right with me. We need to do more for Bobette.

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©2011 Maria. S. Bobette gives her son a kiss.

First, we need to get Bobette to Connecticut. I'm setting that up to be in two weeks. The transport costs $300.00 for the family. I'd like to take Bobette to our Vet, first, then to an orthopedic Vet for a second opinion. If they all agree it's not worth doing surgery, that's fine, but if Bobette can live a better life if she has corrective surgery then we'll do a fundraiser for her.

What I need to ask for now, is for help with expenses to get them to CT and to pay for some additional Vet care for Bobette after she arrives. During this time of giving thanks, I hope you'll consider a donation to our efforts. Bobette has been through so much in her short life, let's help her get on the road to a long happy rest-of-her-life.

The donation you provide to Bobette and family is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. The money will go to my Non-Profit Cat Rescue: Kitten Associates.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and mail it to:

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

Thank you for helping Bobette and her family. All our best to you and your family on this Holiday week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Where the Road Takes Us-Amberly's Journey

A friendly stray cat, starving and exhausted lays in the middle of the road one summer morning. Who knew the act of choosing such a dangerous place to rest would change this cat's life forever?

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©2011 Maria S. Moments after the kitty was discovered.

Maria, our super-foster-mama, was going to a tag sale, but got a lot more than she bargained for when she saw this friendly cat in the road. She stopped to offer help, not sure she should get involved, but not being able to stop herself from helping this poor soul. All the questions she may have asked herself, all the worry about if she could handle taking on another foster cat and what that might entail. What if the cat was sick? What if she needed more than Maria could provide?

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©2011 Maria S. Baby Jack LiLac. Just rescued by Maria!

I was very glad that I could help Maria feel confident that she could take this on, by assuring her that my rescue group would cover any expenses and would find a forever home when the time was right. It became even more important that she had our backing after she realized the cat had given birth and that her kittens needed to be found as soon as possible. Many of you may have read about this miraculous search and rescue. It's detailed HERE including some amazing photos.

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©2011 Maria S. A Mother's Love.

The cat was named Amberly, though barely a kitten, herself, was also a good mama. She was laying in the road, hoping it would lead her to the right person who could help her. Her babies, just days old, were saved. I named them after plants and elements since they were found under the base of a tree. One of the kittens I named, Jack LiLac. He had a skunk stripe on his nose, but was as sweet as could be. Jack thrived in Maria's care until he, his mama and his family were old enough to come to my home to be fostered here.

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©2011 Maria S. Baby Jack.

Amberly's journey had taken her off the streets of Georgia, into a loving foster home. Her next stop would take her and her kittens across 1000 miles to my home where I'd be waiting to care for them. Who could have imagined she'd have to travel this all these miles for a chance to find her forever home? Amberly's new family was looking for her. We just had to wait for them to contact us.

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©2011 Maria S. Little Man, Jack.

The family has been with me for a little over two months. They're all remarkable cats with copper penny colored eyes. I got many applications for them, but each one was not good enough. We have strict adoption policies. I realize that makes adoptions slow, but it's important that we know every cat has the best, safest, most appropriate home. I tried not to give up that we'd find a match before the cats were too old, but it was challenging.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jack, today. He outweighs his mama now.

Last week I started to get applications that looked very promising. One of them had interest in just one cat. They wanted AMBERLY! We met, we spoke at length about their home, their life, their past cats. I did a Vet check. I did a home visit.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Congratulations to Amberly & Jack!

The husband and wife came to visit the kitties today to finalize their choice. Although the couple wanted ALL the cats, they knew that Amberly had to be their girl. Amberly is barely recognizable from what she once was. No longer thin, with her coat thick and plush, there are new signs of her having a longer coat than we imagined. She's playful and robust and loves to race around the room, stop and give kisses, then lounge on a soft bed. She never has to worry about where her next meal will come from or having loving companionship.

What I couldn't have predicted was they they fell in love with Jack, too. Jack is sweeter than sugar and loves to wrestle with his Mama. They're more like siblings than mother and son. They'll never have to be parted, as this couple is adopting Jack, too! I'm glad they'll stay together for the rest of their lives.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amberly & Truffles.

The family can't wait to give them the best home and most love they can provide. Amberly and Jack will have two small dogs to be friends with and two young boys to play with. It's a lovely home with plenty of space. The family is planning on getting cat trees and scratchers, feeding the right diet and giving them whatever they need. I couldn't ask for more.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lady Blaze.

Jack and Amberly will be here for another 2 weeks. After that time they'll be going to their forever home. Contracts are signed. Fees are paid. I will really miss them a lot. They're so easy to love.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. BlueBelle is more lovely than ever.

I just can't understand and I suppose I never will-why Amberly was alone in the first place and why she had to give birth under a tree in the woods. I'm sorry she had to suffer. She must have known the love of humans at some point. We'll never know how she got to that road or why she was laying in the middle of it. Amberly's journey is almost to an end. She's on the road again one last time. This time it will take her to a very happy future, side by side with her son.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Periwinkle (left) is one of the nicest cats I've ever met. I have a crush on her.

There are more home visits coming and possibly more of Amberly's family will be finding their forever homes soon, too. Stay tuned!

Movie Monday Staring Bob's Pumpkin Patch

As some of you may have heard, Sam and I found out our boy, Nicky is possibly in the early stages of renal failure. As we process the news and look into further tests and ways we can help him, I thought today's post should be easy on the eyes and something to get the week off to a good start.

Presenting Movie Monday!


©2011 Maria S. Hello cutie!

Bob's Pumpkin Patch kittens are five weeks old! The boys, Jake, Mike and Teddy are doing very well. They're all growing and enjoying play time. Okay, so they have a way to go to figure out what the litter pan is for...oops! At least they're eating well. Teddy is the “wild child” and loves to race around so much that foster mama, Maria has a tough time getting a photo of him.

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©2011 Maria S. Mikey (right) and Teddy (left) who is sitting still long enough for a quick photo.

Bobette's coming out of her shell. The confinement at the shelter and the stress of not eating for 4 days while there is long passed. She's eating well and playing with the kittens. Bobette's just a kitten herself at only 10 months old. She's more like a big sister than a Mama.

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©2011 Maria S. Jakey and Mama-Bobette. It doesn't get any sweeter than this!

At 5 weeks, the kittens are making their milestones of eating more food and depending less on mama. Their weights are good and their muscles are getting stronger. There's less wobble to their walk with more refined movements.

It's been a very sad road, losing three of their littermates right after we rescued them. I look at how well the boys are doing and wish their siblings were with them, too. What they would look like now...how they would be playing and having fun right along with their brothers. I'm grateful some of the kittens survived, but I suppose I'll always feel a haunted by the ones who didn't.


©2011 Maria S. Looks like mama wants to play, too!

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©2011 Maria S. Mikey and Jakey

I love to look at their faces! I wish I could be with them now. I have to wait for them to get bigger before they can come up here. It's great that ever since Maria got a new cellphone, she's been able to capture photos and videos with ease. I can tell from the many emails she sent that she spent a good part of her weekend hanging out with the kittens taking photos and shooting video-and who wouldn't?


©2011 Maria S. Boys just wanna have fun!

Too bad Maria can't get maternity leave from work so she could stay home with the kittens! Try to explain that one to your boss!

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©2011 Maria S. Passed out cold after playtime overload.

I hope you all have a great week. Back to doing research about cat's kidney function for me...oh, and I have 7 more kittens for you to meet starting tomorrow!

A Dose of Cuteness on a Sad Day-Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs

I've been an avid fan of Apple products since my first computer in 1991. As a Graphic Designer, it just made sense to use their products, but along the way, I fell in love. I attended many MacWorld Expos in the mid to late 1990's. Attending Steve Jobs Keynote session was always one of the hot tickets to get and luckily, since some of my clients were software developers, I always got in to see the presentation.

I remember going to MacWorld Boston in 1997. Apple was in the dumps. Many of us feared that we would lose our beloved computers. It was the year they changed the Apple logo from the rainbow colored stripes to the all white version we see today. We were seated in an old Church. There were big screens lit up with the new image. When I saw it, I thought all the joy left the company-this new white logo was a signal to the end. Then, to make it worse, Steve graciously introduced BILL GATES via satellite, to talk to us about how Microsoft was going to BAIL OUT APPLE. We all BOOED. Steve handled it well and told us it was a good thing. We didn't want to believe it, but at that point we'd let even the Devil himself save Apple.

I don't have to tell you what happened next, but it was a rocky road for many years. Some left and gave up on Apple, but those of us in the design community were never going to go to PC's.

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©2000 Robin A.F. Olson. Steve Jobs keynote at MacWorld NYC, 2000.

In 2000, I attended MacWorld NYC. It was a smaller show, nothing compared to the Moscone Center in San Francsico. That MacWorld was enormous-spanning two convention centers, it took a day just to get through one side of the show. It was the mid-1990's and I was lucky enough to attend many after-show parties, hobknob with celebrities and dance the night away. It was an AMAZING time filled with computer-nerdy-geeky friends, many of which I'm still close to today.

A fun fact about my past-I was a Chat Hostess on America Online. My group was called “the Secret SIG” (SIG=Special Interest Group). We met online in a chat room on AOL every Sunday night at midnight for five years. I never missed a chat. I stopped being known as Robin and was called by my screen name; Kitty. We talked about technology, art and design. I had special guests from WIRED Magazine, Apple, Adobe, NBC, Macromedia...and we were feverish about what was going to happen next and it was a great venue to talk about it. We were riding the wave of the latest and greatest technical innovations and some of us were even the brains behind creating that wave. Steve Jobs was a part of most of our discussions and dreams of the future.

Seeing Steve Jobs on stage was like seeing a rock star perform. Steve had a perfect sense of timing. We may have had an idea of what he might be sharing with us, but he always had a few surprises up his sleeve. We'd all sit there fussing in our seats, ready to jump to our feet, as we often did when he'd demo something really cool. He was the perfect pitch-man, but he loved what he did and his passion was contagious. I always felt high as a kite after one of his sessions. I'm very grateful to have had those experiences and been able to share that with my friends.

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©1993 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with Sam at MacWorld Boston 1993. I proudly have my AOL t-shirt on and Exhibitor Badge!

They say we lost a visionary and that's true, but Steve Jobs knew the power of building a team of top notch talent and knew how to get them to get the job done-whatever it takes. That devotion to a leader doesn't come easily or to just anyone. While I'm brokenhearted Mr Jobs is gone, I'm grateful he has an amazing team left to carry on.

Things will never be the same without Steve Jobs. Our lives are better for him being out there, making magic come to life. He will be greatly missed. Now Steve can smile down on us from iHeaven.

So what do little orange kittens have to do with Steve Jobs? Well, I couldn't write this blog without my studly quad-core Mac or edit the video of the kittens without iMovie. Even the mouse I use, was because of Steve's genius. I take photos with my iPhone and sort out details of a cat rescue via text messages. It's so much more than that. I couldn't connect to all of you without his achievements being part of the tools I use.

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©2011 Maria Sandoval.

To soften the great sadness I feel, here are the latest updates on Bob's Pumpkin Patch. Bobette and the kittens are doing great. We've had many worries that they were going to get sick. It could still happen, but so far, so good. No sign of URI, knock wood!

Kittens are fat, wobbly and wonderful.


©2011 Maria Sandoval.

I admit I'm jealous of Maria. She gets to enjoy watching them grow, learn and explore their world. Looking at their endearing faces-knowing that opening her home to foster them, saved their lives.

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©2011 Maria Sandoval. Mikey! (I think)

As the world mourns, somewhere out there is the next Steve Jobs. We may not know of him or her for many years to come, but that person is out there. In the meantime, life goes on. Let's make the most of it.


©2011 Maria Sandoval.

Movie Monday!

Okay, so I'm not so great at uploading videos, but I'm trying! Here we have one hot off the press and the other is a few weeks old! Oops.

Bob's Pumpkin Patch is our first movie. Here Jakey, Mikey and Teddy are, well, having a wiggle festival as they work on getting their muscles stronger. Everyone should work out after a long weekend!


©2011 Maria. S. Used with Permission.

Next up is a longer video of Amberly's kittens when they were still in foster care in Georgia. Her babies are MUCH bigger now-and, we're hoping, that two of them may be getting adopted very soon (at last!). Here they are bouncing around and having a good time. Something we should be seeing Bobette's kittens doing in a few more weeks-with any luck.


©2011 Maria. S. Used with Permission.

Enjoy!

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