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Not On My Watch

2 YEARS in a Cage, 12 Kitties Desperately Need a Miracle

UPDATE 4.15.13: DEADLINE FOR THESE CATS-TOPS-IS 4/26/13 (subject to change without notice)

There are 8 CATS WHO STILL NEED & DESERVE RESCUE ASAP. Red Boy has a commitment but it still at the shelter. He's not SAFE until he is OUT.

The following cats were seized from their owner by Animal Control in North Carolina in June 2011. They've spent the majority of the last YEAR and TEN MONTHS in a CAGE. The municipal shelter, where they've been housed, did the best they could with the resources they have. The cats were let out to exercise in groups, but it's never enough when they always had to go back to their tiny cages. You can see from the expression on the faces of the cats in the photos, below, what the long confinement has done to them.

Most cats are sitting in their litter pan, a huge indicator of both lack of space and stress on the cat. From what I've seen with Mabel, once she was here it seems as if any stress she had at the shelter has passed and is forgotten.

I earnestly believe that ALL these cats will BLOSSOM and be much different once in a foster home or with a new forever home. Cats described here may be far friendlier and sweeter once they are out of the shelter. It's an awful lot to ask-to consider rescuing these adults, but I can't sleep at night, thinking they spent ALL THIS TIME CONFINED-ONLY TO BE EUTHANIZED AT THE END OF ALL THIS SUFFERING.

Please, help me, help them.

•••If you live in North Carolina, and volunteer with a rescue group or KNOW SOMEONE who is with a rescue group PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH THEM and ask them to please consider taking even ONE of these cats. THESE CATS CAN ONLY GO TO A RESCUE GROUP because some of the cats have upper respiratory issues.

•••If you're OUTSIDE of North Carolina, with a Rescue Group that has resources and a Non-Profit 501(c)3 number, then you can pull a cat from this shelter. There is a form you have to fill out. It's not a big deal.

IF YOU WANT TO ADOPT ONE OF THESE CATS, you MUST HAVE A SHELTER/RESCUE PULL THE CAT FOR YOU and YOU MUST WORK IT OUT WITH THE RESCUE HOW TO GET THE CAT. Not ideal, but it CAN BE DONE.

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HEALTH & CONTACT INFO

ALL CATS WERE SNAP TESTED for FIV/FeLV 12/15/11 and have not been around other cats during their time in the shelter. They CAN be retested on site for $25.

If the cat is not spayed/neutered, it can be done in-house for $65. They can take a credit card over the phone.

THERE IS NO FEE to pull any of these cats.

ALL CATS ARE CURRENT on their FVRCP & RABIES vaccinations

If you want more photos, more info, PLEASE ASK. They are happy to provide the info to interested rescue groups.

Contact Rachel Johnsen to rescue any of these cats and to get a form to fill out so you can pull from their facility.
email: rachel.johansen@co.iredell.nc.us

Phone: (704) 878-5424

Iredell County Animal Services & Control

430 Bristol Drive

Statesville, North Carolina

Monday-Friday, 10:30 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

http://www.co.iredell.nc.us/Departments/Animal_Control/

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HELPFUL INFORMATION

There ARE weekly transports running in and out of the area. Some are volunteer based, like the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network and some are paid. We use PETS, LLC. NOTE: PETS will require the cat be in quarantine for 2 weeks and be vetted prior to transport.

You can board your cat at TROUTMAN ANIMAL HOSPITAL, among other places in the area. I've used Troutman and they are terrific. They are also very close to Animal Services.

PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK, TWEET on TWITTER, LET YOUR CAT-LOVING FRIENDS, FRIENDS AT RESCUE GROUPS, FRIENDS IN NORTH CAROLINA AND SURROUNDING STATES KNOW ABOUT THESE CATS.

THE MORE WE SHARE, THE BETTER THE ODDS SOME OF THE CATS WILL GET OUT!

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THE CATS WHO NEED US

Brian-A135994

Brian is aNeutered male, short haired white/orange tabby. He's a LARGE cat. Good appetite! Brian is good with other cats, but is a little shy. Not aggressive at all with cats or people, just nervous. Would probably come out of his "shell" once in a calm and quiet home. Does have eye and nose drainage. Has upper resp. issues.

Brian.jpg
Poor Brian! He sits in his cat litter pan because the scent of it is his only comfort. Brain looks depressed or angry, but he's a nice kitty. He's emotionally exhausted from the stress of living in a cage for so long. Can you love this big lug?

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Cougar A135997

Cougar is a short haired female (underbelly indicates possibly spayed). Good temperament. Possible slight upper resp. symptoms.

Cougar copy.jpg
Rarely do black cats have a happy ending once their in a shelter. Cougar is a nice cat who just needs a break.

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Jethro A136013

Intact male, 3-5 years of age. Medium haired Tabby/White. Temperament was very good, but in last few months has been slightly temperamental (they believe once out of "caged" environment temperament will once again improve). Possible slight upper resp. issues, but overall seems healthy!

Jethro copy.jpg
Look at that FACE! Jethro is asking you to bust him out of that cage. He's so handsome and friendly, I'm sure he would make a great addition to any home.

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Max A136007

Intact male, short haired gray/white. Very friendly. Seems ok with other cats. Cat is slim, but not too underweight. Cat has good appetite. Slight upper resp. issues. Owner had as 10 years of age, would not guess that old in age.

Max copy.jpg
What do you think? I think Max wants to play and have fun! What pretty eyes, too!

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Red Boy

Medium haired, neutered male orange tabby. Approx 7 years old. Cat is overweight and has a great appetite! Very friendly with other cats and with people. Have not noticed any eye or nose discharge, but still possible to have slight upper respiratory issues. Teeth are yellowing and are "worn".

Red Boy Rescue.jpg
Red Boy is an older kitty. Those of you who know this blog well, will notice that he looks too much like my guy, Bob Dole. Red Boy is too adorable to stay in a cage any longer.

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Samuel A136002

Neutered/Male, Medium haired Orange Tabby/White. Approx 5 years old. Cat is friendly, but VERY nervous. Not aggressive. I believe once out of a "caged" environment will be an independent calm and happy cat. Weight is good. Possible slight upper resp. issues.

Samuel safe.jpg
Sammy looks so scared, but what a knockout! He's another cat who will blossom once he's safely out of the shelter.

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Suzie A136003

Medium/Long haired, dilute calico/tortie markings. Approx 3 years old. Very friendly with people, but does not like being scruffed. Would do best as an only cat (seems to be agitated by other cats). Cat seems to "talk" instead of meow! Loving girl. Does have issue with hair balls, but I believe once in a home and groomed regularly will improve. Possible slight upper resp. issues. [Note from Robin: I find it tough to agree that the cat needs to be an only cat. She should be evaluated in less stressful environment. She can probably get on with other cats if introduced properly.]

Suzi safe.jpg
I don't have to convince anyone that Suzie needs to be rescued. Look at her!

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Tori A136006

Short haired, black/white cat. Has some dental issues. Very friendly and seems ok with other cats. Good body weight, but poor hair coat (dull coat). Has slight upper respiratory issues.

Tori copy.jpg
Sweet Tori. It's easy to overlook a cat who might have some minor health issues, but none of them are her fault. With good food and some vet care, this kitty could be your best friend.

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A136001 Leroy

Short haired, gray/white cat. Slightly underweight. Very friendly. Has started to defecate outside of litter box in past couple months. I believe once out of a "caged" environment cat will return to using litter box. Fur is dull.

Leroy copy.jpg
This photo arrived distorted so I tried to fix it. Working on getting a replacement image.

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A136011 Journey

Journey is a senior-about 12 years old. She's a short haired, black/white cat. Cat has no teeth and has been on canned food only. Cat has upper respiratory issues. Cat appears to be losing weight and appears to have stopped grooming regularly. Poor fur coat. Cat is friendly and seems ok with other cats, but is "high energy". Possibly spayed.

This is the initial notes from the shelter. I personally had this cat for a week in my office. She was beyond kennel stressed, and just letting her out in my office to stretch was the best thing for her. She is absolutely hilarious! In the mornings she would greet me at the door, and proceed to stand on my desk in front of my computer screen and paw at me until we had our morning “hellos”. She would only then go and lay in her bed. Wonderfully loving and sweet cat!

Journey safe.jpg
She's a SENIOR and a wreck. Of all the cats this one cuts me the deepest. I hope we can find a way to get her OUT. I know she can recover from her difficult time in a cage, but we need help to make it happen.

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A135995 Benson

Benson is an approximately 5 year old, neutered male tabby cat. He has URI issues with an unknown cause despite treatment. [Note from Robin: He may have bartonella which is an easy test to do and 3 week course of antibiotics-not a big deal if that's the case. Just being out of this environment may be all he needs to get better. Cats get SICK if they get STRESSED.] He is friendly to humans and is good around other cats. His left ear slouches, and we suspect that is from an old hematoma.

Benson copy.jpg
This guy is a big, friendly dude. Sure he's a bit rough around the edges, but with a little polishing he'll be a treasure. He just wants to make friends and love his family.

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A136012 Tabitha

Tabitha is an approximately 5 year old female tabby cat. We suspect she is spayed due to her body condition, but we cannot be sure. She is friendly with humans and other cats. She has a chronic URI issue, with an unknown cause, despite medical treatment. [Note from Robin: she may also have bartonella which is an easy test to do and 3 week course of antibiotics-not a big deal if that's the case. Just being out of this environment may be all she needs to get better. Cats get SICK if they get STRESSED.]

Tabitha copy.jpg
She's a sweet tabby who has not only suffered confinement, but illness. She CAN get better and it may take as little as getting out OUT of the shelter and into a loving home. Please don't overlook this little sweetie.

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Help me make some dreams come true for the cats who have suffered far too long and who are so deserving of a truly loving home.

PLEASE SHARE THIS! ALL THESE CATS NEED TO BE RESCUED!

Baby Steps for Chloe

It's been almost two weeks since the grossly overweight and possibly abused kitty, Chloe, was removed from her home and placed under the care of Animals in Distress. For now, Chloe is staying with my friend, Katherine, who oversees intake of all the cats in the AID program and is a very savvy foster mom.

Chloe has had a peaceful few weeks and after only one incident I reported initially, Chloe has not lashed out at Katherine. In fact, Chloe is showing signs of relaxing and learning to trust again.

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©2013 Katherine Reid. Hopefully this is one of the last photo you'll see of Chloe's back mats! Katherine is starting to remove them.

The first few days were the toughest. Chloe would not move, urinated and defecated on herself and barely ate. Katherine tried to clean her off, but was met with so much resistance that we all decided it was best to leave her alone. Katherine focused on offering Chloe a variety of grain-free dry food as her first attempt to get Chloe moving in the right direction.

Chloe took to one of the brands and began to eat. Katherine also offered Chloe some plain chicken baby food from a spoon, which encouraged Chloe to both regard Katherine in a positive way and to help Chloe want to interact, instead of withdraw.

Katherine had to move slowly and not do too much. It was easy to upset Chloe, so she did less, instead of overload her. With the guidance of our friend Wendy Christensen, cat behaviorist and author, she kept the pace to baby steps only.

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©2013 Katherine Reid. Is that a smile I see?

Chloe began using her litter pan and eating more than a mouthful of food. With such an obese cat, we have to be careful NOT to restrict her food intake as much as IMPROVE her food, for now. Once she is stable, she will no longer be free-fed and will begin the process of eating grain-free canned food, in monitored amounts, until she can lose some weight.

Chloe also may have bad teeth and an ear infection-both issues will be dealt with as soon as we feel Chloe can be handled without it putting her into a panic. We're hoping that at least the ear issues may resolve, to some degree, with better food. Her body may be reacting to the grain in the food by making her ears get a build up of material. It's unlikely she has ear mites, but she WILL get the treatment as soon as it's safe to do so.

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©2013 Katherine Reid. Chloe's sweetness may be starting to emerge-and what a cute face she has!

This morning I got a note from Katherine that she had another small breakthrough. Last night she was able to brush Chloe's face, which she liked, and while she was brushing Chloe, Katherine managed to pick out a few of the mats on the cat's back (which she pulled out easily without causing any irritation to Chloe). As you can see in the photos, Chloe looks like she's almost smiling and for that, we are all very pleased and hopeful that Chloe's story will continue to be one filled with promise. I know we're all rooting for this kitty to make it through this difficult time.

Animals in Distress is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. If you'd like to make a donation to help with Chloe's long-term care, you can use this LINK to their PayPal account. Thank you!

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Lucy copy.jpg
©2013 Katherine Reid. Lucy, safe in her new foster home.

UPDATE: Shortly after Chloe was returned from the home, the former guardian called saying that Lucy HAD to go, too. Lucy has been placed with AID and is doing well. I've met this cat and she's VERY friendly and gets on well with other cats, too. If you live in CONNECTICUT and would like to know more about Lucy, please visit her PETFINDER PAGE!.

We Owe it to Chloe

Chloe sits in the center of the living room. I can’t see her back legs from where I’m sitting, a few feet away. Her front legs are comically dwarfed, little white mitts, in comparison to the rest of her body.

Chloe weighs 30 pounds. She’s so fat her shape is reduced to that of a blob with a cat head stuck on one end and a tail at the other.

It’s completely heartbreaking to look at her.

Chloe Stressed out R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Look, but don't touch.

I met Chloe last week after getting a number of calls from my Vet, the Animal Control Officer in town and a woman who is friends with Chloe’s guardian. The story I got was that the guardian, who I will call Dave, was calling our ACO and Vet to find out if he could get someone to come over to euthanize his cat.

Upon further discussion it was disclosed the Chloe had been biting people and that Dave, being basically house-bound and disabled, had to get rid of the cat because his caretaker was making a fuss about her.

First, the caretaker said he was allergic ONLY to Chloe and not Lucy, the other cat in the home. If you find that as bizarre as I do, then join the club.

Obviously there were other reasons why the caretaker wanted to end Chloe’s life, but I couldn’t know the reason until I learned more.

The ACO said she might have to put the cat down if it was a biter. She couldn’t be adopted if she was going to hurt a future adopter. Chloe was at least 10 years old, if not older, and the odds of finding her any home were slim to none, even if she was a Siamese under all that extra weight.

I offered to go to the home to assess the cat. We could hear stories about her, but I needed to see her for myself. I was told the cat was chubby, but I had no idea how grossly obese she was until I met her.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Chole's back fur is quite matted and I'm sure causing her some discomfort.

I visited Dave, along with his friend, Frances (not her real name). She’d met Chloe many times, but was hard pressed to describe her behavior to me, which I found very puzzling. Is the cat friendly or not? What’s the deal here?

I entered the small living room of the 1-bedroom apartment. Chloe was sitting on the top of the sofa. As I walked into the room and sat down on a nearby chair, she came over to say hello.

She looked up at me with big round blue eyes. Her head is so out of proportion with her body that I wanted to laugh, but my mirth was short-lived. She approached me in such a friendly way that I put out my hand, back of my hand first, not with fingers in her face, to offer her a sniff of my hand. The second she sniffed me she backed away, growling and hissing. She made motion as if she was going to strike me so I sat back in my chair and made sure I didn’t give her any threatening eye contact.

I let her settle down. She sat in the center of the room, commanding the space. She growled softly, which turned into a whine, then back to a growl. Her ears were not flat. Her tail didn’t whip up and down in anger. Her pupils were dilated. I made no move to touch her.

Chloes Back Tiny Head R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. There IS a cat under there, somewhere.

I spoke with Dave and got some history on the cat. He’d gotten her a few years ago from a woman in Fairfield. Chloe supposedly slept on his chest and would tap him to get petted. That the day before three Missionaries had come to visit, all men, and she had been fine with them, so why was she so distressed by me?

We talked about food. He said he got really good food (not even close to good-in my opinion) for the cats, some sort of house brand dry and that was it. Clearly this cat was being given a huge bowl of food to snack on day and night. She could barely walk. I imagined that part of her fear was that she was too fat to flee, should I be a threat to her. She might also be in a lot of pain from carrying so much weight on her bones.

I’d worked out a deal with my dear friend, Katherine from Animals in Distress. We would get the cat vetted, then re-assess her behavior at that time. We owed it to Chloe to give her a chance to stabilize her weight and behavior before making any other decisions about her future.

Right or wrong, I believe there is a home for every cat. Some cats need a lot more time in foster care to be ready for that home and clearly Chloe might be the toughest case any of us have ever faced.

It’s one thing to deal with a feral cat, but a fearful cat is a different thing altogether.

Add to that the news that Chloe was DECLAWED made me realize we were faced with an even more difficult task. Not only couldn’t Chloe run away, she couldn’t even scratch her opponent! All she could do was BITE. No WONDER she was biting people!

Our choices were to either put Chloe down or give her a chance. Katherine and I chose to give her some time. The problem is we needed a foster home for Chloe and Katherine had to sacrifice the last precious space she has left in her home that doesn’t already have cats in it. It wasn’t ideal, but for now it’s all we had. No one would step up to take this cat and most of my fosters are sick and I know I’d have her with me forever and I just couldn’t do that to my cats. At least Katherine might be able to put Chloe into their shelter if she was ever well enough to go there.

A few days later, Chloe was taken to the Vet. I don’t know how they managed, but they did get blood work done and there was nothing indicating her thyroid was off, which could have caused her emotional issues, or that she was diabetic, which was surprising. I don’t know if the Vet looked at her teeth, but Chloe probably had some painful gums, at least, from all the junky food.

Chloes Back R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh dear, dear, Chloe.

Katherine brought Chloe home and placed her in a bathroom where she’d be living until we could get her settled. It’s unlikely we’d find her a foster home with her behavior issues, at least for now.

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I got an update on Chloe. She’s doing about as bad as any of us had feared. She is SO FEARFUL that she urinates and defecates on herself if she SEES Katherine or if Katherine tries to clean Chloe off.

Last night, Chloe BIT Katherine through her jeans, into her leg.

All Katherine was doing was trying to help Chloe feel more comfortable and clean. She called me, distressed, but laughing through her irritation. I felt so badly, but I hadn’t told Katherine anything other than the truth-the cat was NOT adoptable right now, but that we should at least try to give her a chance to blossom. These would be the worst days-hopefully better ones would follow.

I contacted my friend, Wendy Christensen, who is an award-winning author and illustrator. Her books include The Humane Society of the United States Complete Guide to Cat Care. She's written for Cat Fancy, Kittens USA, Catnip, CatWatch, Natural Cat, and Natural Pet. Wendy is one of my go-to people when I have a cat behavior issue that stumps me. Because she’s not directly involved with Chloe, I knew she could offer me perspective without any bias one way or the other.

Wendy wrote me back, a very long email. She was very troubled by what she was told about Chloe. She said what I also feared, it’s very likely that Chloe has been abused.

Wendy wrote: “I would concur that she's probably been abused. What she needs more than anything else is peace and quiet and a calm, stable environment. She is just too stressed to deal with any human interaction right now. I know it sounds "cruel," but she needs to be left alone to get some of her confidence back, stabilize and heal for awhile. She needs to be alone so she can start to feel safe again.

Her size has clearly made it very hard for her to move about and escape whatever peril she was placed in. Escapability is primary for cats' mental health. She has felt (and still feels) utterly trapped and at the mercy of others -- possibly the worst thing a cat can experience. She is in a super-super-sensitive frame of mind. She doesn't need a lot of space, but she DOES need safety, peace, quiet, stability, and predictability.”

Wendy said it was if Chloe has PTSD from what happened to her. Wendy’s heart was broken to know this cat was suffering so much and suggested we do not touch her AT ALL, even if she gets a bit soiled. Whatever happened to Chloe had deeply traumatized her.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. With pupils dilated with fear, Chloe readies herself to strike, but I can't help wanting to pet her and soothe her anxiety, regardless.

Of course, my first thought was, that the caretaker who hated this cat and wanted her put to sleep was responsible. What was he doing to her when no one was looking?

There’s no way to know if he ever even lifted a finger to Chloe, but it certainly makes sense. There’s no way to know that Dave wasn’t the one who harmed her either, but clearly something terrible happened to Chloe and now she needs us to understand that and give her the space she needs to heal.

And then there’s the other cat in the home, Lucy; Lucy who is so friendly and outgoing. What will become of her? We need to get her out of this place, too. It’s only a matter of time before she is so big she can’t walk either, or so sick from never being vetted that she dies.

Our first goal is to focus on Chloe and hope her sweet nature will emerge one day. I saw a flicker of that sweetness the first moment I met her. She’s suffering from crippling fear brought on by abuse.

With the gentle guidance of Katherine, and with lots of TLC, I hope that one day I can write about Chloe’s amazing recovery. Right now all we can do is pray for a happy outcome because right now Chloe’s life hangs in the balance.

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I realize this is a long-shot, but if you live in the Wilton, CT area and have lots of experience working with cats, if you can provide a SEPARATE space in your home that’s quiet and safe and you’re willing to basically just keep Chloe fed, but otherwise left alone, please contact me: info@coveredincathair.com

Chloe is going to need long-term care. If you’d like to make a donation to help Chloe, please donate via PayPal HERE. Animals in Distress is a 501(c) 3, non-profit so your donation is tax deductible.

Wendy has recently begun offering fee-based cat behavior consultations. If you're in need of her services, please contact wendy@wendycats.com for details

Outsmarting Cats Cover 225.jpg

Another resources for help with cat behavior issues, is Wendy's latest book: Outsmarting Cats: How to Persuade the Felines in Your Life to do What You Want which was just published earlier this month.

Finding Faith for Sweet Senior Sugar Cats in VIRGINIA

As someone who does rescue, I know that every cat who gets dumped off at a shelter is evaluated for adoptability. At far too many shelters, being over the age of 8 is all it takes to be euthanized immediately if there are space issues in the facility. The health of the cat is a major factor as well. If the cat is diabetic it stands VERY LITTLE chance of getting out alive. The stigma and possible expense associated with providing care to a diabetic cat turns off most adopters. They imagine it's too tough to do-who wants to give their cat a shot every day? Who wants to monitor the cat's blood sugar? Who has time to learn proper treatment for a cat they don't know?

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©2013 Heritage Humane Society. Jibbit is approx. 15 years old, is a male manx and is currently diabetic.

It takes faith, but I believe we can find a home for every cat who needs one.

Jibbit and Sunshine are cats who score very low on the adoptability scale at first glance. They are seniors-Jibbit is about 15 years old and Sunshine is about 11 years old. Both cats are diabetic.

Heritage Humane.png

Their owner died but left instructions in her Will that a specific family member should provide care for the cats. Instead of doing what was requested, the person DUMPED the cats and 4 others at the Heritage Humane Society (HHS) in Williamsburg, VA.

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©2013 Heritage Humane Society. Sunshine is approx. 11 years old, is a female silver tabby and is currently diabetic.

Our friend Amy Sikes, who fosters kitties and who also offers up a portion of the proceeds of her sales of Avon products to my rescue, Kitten Associates, was contacted by her Vet. Her Vet is the same Vet HHS uses. He asked if Amy could foster Jibbit and Sunshine, but Amy said no because she works full-time and is also a Grad student. How could she give the cats insulin every 12 hours on her hectic schedule?

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©2013 Amy Sikes. Sunshine and Jibbit, (the Laser Cat!).

Amy saw photos of the cats and her heart melted. I told her about Diabetic Cats in Need (DCIN) and they quickly offered to assist Amy by providing testing tools and guidance about caring for the cats. Amy had faith it would work out and said YES to taking the cats into foster care.

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©2013 Amy Sikes. Jibbit. Cute little guy!

Amy reports: These two furbabies truly are sweet cats I've ever met! Jibbit is a love-bug who wants to sit next to you and get petted while he purrs his wonderful purr. Sunshine is a little more reserved, but once she gets to know you, she'll come over to give your hand head-butts and cheek-rubs and purr happily for you. She also gives hugs when you pick her up!”

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©2013 Amy Sikes. Jibbit is a love bug.

Amy has a big heart and with all she has on her plate, she graciously opened her home to these two kitties. I asked her if they might go into remission now that they are both on an appropriate diet-which consists of affordable gluten free cat food.

It's too early to tell, but the blood sugar of BOTH CATS IS DROPPING ALREADY! Some cats go into permanent remission once they're on better food, but one would have to have faith that regardless of remission or not, testing is easy to do. Once you realize YOU aren't GETTING the shots, GIVING a shot isn't a big challenge, either.

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©2013 Amy Sikes. Sunshine give hugs.

What Jibbit and Sunshine need is one more person to have faith in them. Faith in the fact that because both these cats are very affectionate, that whatever extra needs to be done for them is worth the effort for all the love they'd give back in return. Cats are living longer lives and Sunshine could still live another ten years. Jibbit could sail along for too, but if he doesn't, even that's okay. Doesn't he deserves his last years knowing love?

Jibbit and Sunshine may be safe from being euthanized, but Amy can't give them a home for very long. It's not fair to her OR to the cats (she has another handful of foster cats to care for, too). These two need a HOME; a place where their new family won't give up on them regardless of what the future holds. It's possible that both cats will only need good food and no more injections one day soon. In the meantime, DCIN can provide guidance and possibly more than that, like testing equipment (contact them for details). I've cared for a diabetic cat in the past and it's not difficult when the cats are good-natured, as are these two kitties.

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©2013 Amy Sikes. Who doesn't need a little Sunshine in their life?

What's wonderful about this story is that these cats have people out there supporting them. DCIN, HHS, HHS's Vet, Amy and myself have their backs. Now we just need ONE MORE PERSON to join our group and make this rescue turn into an adoption.

I have faith in my readers-that they can help do the impossible. We've found other needles in a haystack before, now we need to do it again for sweet Jibbit and Sunshine. Please help me spread the word about these deserving cats.

To learn more about Jibbit & Sunshine, Call Heritage Humane Society directly at 757-221-0150 or email Amy at: matya13@yahoo.com

TRANSPORT OUT OF STATE CAN BE ARRANGED.

Please SHARE this story with your cat loving friends! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

2.26.13 UPDATE: THE CATS ARE OFF INSULIN! It took all of 10 days to turn their diabetes around just with a DIET CHANGE!!!!! They are getting a check up on Saturday to make sure they are still OTJ (Off the "juice"-insulin). This means we only need a home for two sweet cats, not ones with health issues!

Digging Out. Part 2 of 2.

Annette is a lady who lives in Pennsylvania. She saw me on TV when I was interviewed about our “Kitties for Kids” program. Even though there are rescues nearby, she called me for help. She has three cats who are NOT spayed or neutered. Now she has TWO litters of kittens; one of six kittens and one of seven! Can I help?

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©2013 Caitlin S. The mama with her 8-week old kittens.

It would be easy to vilify her, but when the “deed” is done there's no point. I didn’t think I could do anything. I couldn’t take them and assumed, as always, no other rescues would jump in to take them either. Annette doesn’t have a computer, so I looked up local rescues and gave her their information and suggested she contact them. I asked her if the kittens had gotten any vet care. Her answer was, NO, no money, no vet.

I started to worry. The eight-week old litter really needed to get vaccinated and get de-wormed, etc. My head started to spin. I told Annette it was a long shot, but I’d post about her request on Facebook, adding that without a photo of cute kittens it would be tough to get help.

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©2013 Caitlin S. Mama.

Within ONE DAY of asking for help to get the word out that we needed a foster home, my intrepid, beloved, Facebook-friends got to work and found Caitlin. Caitlin lives in Pennsylvania, not too far from Annette and she was eager to help. She and I sorted out the details. I emailed her a list of what to do for the kittens. She contacted all her friends who are with rescues and had vet care lined up at a low cost clinic.

Before I even asked her, Caitlin realized she HAD to get the mama cat spayed, too, so she drove a few hours to Annette’s and took one of the families: a mom and her six kittens. Mama will go back to Annette after she is spayed, but at least this way it’s DONE and we no longer have to worry about more kittens being born.

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©2013 Caitlin S.

The second mama and litter of two-week old kittens will also be taken care of in a few weeks when the kittens are old enough to be weaned. This was too good to be true.

Annette called me, crying, after she worked out the pickup details with Caitlin. She blessed me and said she would pray for me and that she felt like I was sent to her, just like an Angel, for helping her find a safe place for her thirteen kittens.

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©2013 Caitlin S.

My initial reaction was to push away her words. I didn’t do the driving or offer my home. I just stitched together the team who could save more lives. It didn’t seem like it was deserved, but when I thought about it I realized those kittens would have not had a chance at a decent life if I hadn’t made an effort on their behalf—not to mention Annette’s home was going to be overrun with inbred cats VERY SOON if nothing was done.

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©2013 Caitlin S.

Though I don’t get paid for good deeds and my bank doesn’t care about anything other than that I can cover the mortgage payments, it was enough to help me dry my tears and keep going a little bit longer.

The other day, Caitlin sent me photos of the kittens. She said they were all well taken care of and had not been let outdoors. They were all very sweet and cute and she was happy to be able to foster them and would keep me updated to their progress. Caitlin is a dream come true for stepping up to help these kittens and I told her as much.

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©2013 Caitlin S.

I’m slowly getting back on my feet. I found a place here in town that has counselors who can see me for free, if need be. I realize that my dark feelings will wax and wane but I have to be better at not beating myself up if I have to shut down for a few days. I don’t have resources to go away on a vacation, so I have to work out how to take a break and still keep things going on in my home. The cats always get fed, the litter pan always cleaned, but other than that I need to just stop, rest and recover my broken heart.

Knowing that this family is safe will do a lot to help me do that.

The Truth Is…

I didn’t plan on writing more about life here after the shooting in Sandy Hook. My blog is focused on cat rescue and the challenges of living within a multiple-cat household, but something happened today that must write about.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

This post is regarding people who call themselves “truthers” or conspiracy theorists. They play detective, purportedly sniffing tiny “details” out of a tragedy that when taken out of context or when twisted about to suit their agenda and strung together with bits of dried up tape and spit, turn into their version of “the truth.” They supposedly get their data from credible news outlets or mysterious unnamed “sources.” They make things up. They see something in a photo that only their twisted perception can reveal.

Their capacity for self-deception is breathtaking. They crave attention, yet calling them “truthers” is a misnomer since they clearly perpetuate lies and only hurt people who are REALLY involved.

The case in point is what happened here in Sandy Hook.

Suddenly these bullies are appearing out of the woodwork and I will not give them yet MORE publicity by saying who they are. They declare that the shootings didn’t happen at all-that the kids aren’t dead! The 20, 6-year old kids are fine. They’re alive.

They say the shooting was faked, portrayed by “crisis actors,” not “real people” (these actors DO exist, but they are used for Emergency Training seminars, etc. These folks concur-they had no role in what happened—DUH!). They are determined to prove that the situation was used to push tougher gun control laws. Really?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Wow. If the U.S. Government was that creative do you think the economy would be in such dire straits? No way! They’d open a movie studio to rival Paramount Pictures. They’d be profitable, save the economy and we'd all have jobs being hired out to be actors in the next, as-yet-to-happen faux-tragedy to befall our Country!

To be behind an event like this would be a logistical nightmare. Who has time for such tomfoolery with everything else going on in this Country? They’d have to hire a shitload of actors, who would have to be made up of PEOPLE I KNOW. One such person is someone I’ve known for over 30 YEARS. I find it impossible to believe that my dear friend, who is the Lieutenant in a local police department, who was one of the First Responders, was an actor. Bullshit. That what he saw was phony. Bullshit. The fact that he will probably need to go on a paid leave of absence after what he saw-NOT bullshit.

The other thing that makes my blood boil are the attacks on another person I know here in town named Eugene “Gene” Rosen. You may recall that Gene was the gentleman who lived down the street from Sandy Hook Elementary. Victoria Soto’s surviving students took refuge in his driveway after the massacre. Gene just happened to be home feeding his cats. When he discovered the children, he opened up his home and his heart to these kids until they could be reunited with their parents. What a good deed. How could such kindness be seen as merely staged dramatics? Disgusting!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Gene is a Pet Sitter and I’ve known him for years. Gene is a sweet, gentle person who loves animals. We serve together on the newly formed Advisory Council for the Newtown Animal Care & Control Center. I just saw him a few days ago at our last meeting. He was very quiet, clearly distressed by what has befallen him and this was BEFORE the “truthers” started attacking him.

What these “truthers” are saying is that Gene is an actor; that Gene did despicable things to the children that I will not repeat. They make outrageous claims stating they can do so because they have proof. Oh really? Do they KNOW Gene? NO. Do they live here in town? NO! Are they being “mean boys and girls,” picking on an innocent senior citizen? YES!

What I say is this: there is too much heartbreak in Newtown and we're ALL struggling to find a way to move forward. We were blessed by so many people across the world who selflessly gave their love and support, food, toys, gifts, and donations.

As always happens, those good intentions begin to fall to the wayside and people go on with their lives as the days pass. That's not a problem. It's appropriate, but the invasion of “truthers” reminds us that the flip side of compassion is stained with cruelty.

We’re still here. We’re still hurting, but we’re taking time to heal, surrounded by people we know, love and trust—our community.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

There are people out there who have too much time on their hands, who probably never got picked to be part of any team, who are paranoid, maybe a few French fries short of a Happy Meal™? They sit around looking to make trouble, to get attention, to stir things up, to make people who are in obvious pain, feel like they have to defend themselves about a situation that does not require defending.

They say; “we need to see photos of the bodies” because it can’t have really happened if there are no photos of bodies, yet if there WERE photos of those tiny figures under white sheets they’d say; “Oh those are mannequins, that’s not real. Show us the bloody, broken, heaps of flesh. Then we’ll believe it’s real.”

“But it could all be Photoshopped®,” they’d say next.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

They will always come up with some reason for why they can’t believe it. A mountain of photos or miles of video will never satisfy them. Hopefully NO ONE will feel like they need to feed this ugly beast. There is nothing to prove. We don’t need to see photos of little corpses lined up in rows waiting to be taken to the morgue. I’m okay with NEVER seeing that. Why aren’t they?

Are there some “facts” that seem odd? Did someone believe they saw more than one shooter run away from the building after the massacre on a video? Can’t all that be faked, too? DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT THE DETAILS ARE? DOES IT CHANGE THE FACT THAT DOZENS OF PEOPLE WERE MURDERED A MONTH AGO?

I say to you “truthers” to rename yourselves-“the kids that didn’t get enough attention from their parents, who have nothing better to do than stand cowering behind Freedom of Speech, then shout out whatever hateful, disturbing, UNTRUE things just to get a rise out of us.”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Yes, you got a rise out of me, but here’s one for you.

I dare any of you “truthers” to stop your foolishness and apologize to the people of this town. Beg for forgiveness before the rest of the world turns their backs on you, shunning you for the cowards and hateful people you are. Shame, shame, SHAME ON YOU!

What slays me is that all this energy could have been spent finding a way to protect our kids, to protect our people, so they can go see a movie or go to the Mall and not be scared shitless they might DIE going on a simple outing.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

All this energy could have been used to share loving-kindness with each other or ask; “how can we soothe your aching heart?” instead of “show me the photos of the dead people so I can believe it’s true.”

But that would be too much to ask for, just plain decent behavior between fellow human beings. No, some of us have to piss in the pot and make life suck for everyone and make someone like Gene end up getting threats. He and his poor wife are afraid for their lives! Is that right? Pick on an innocent person?

This is APPALLING and it needs to stop. Some of us need to GROW UP and find a new way to get attention, if that’s such a precious commodity, and they need to LEAVE THE PEOPLE OF NEWTOWN ALONE. Leave decent brokenhearted people alone to grieve one of the worst tragedies to befall us in recent times.

Go find another tragedy to pick apart because the truth of what really happened here got my fellow Newtowners international media attention that NONE OF US WANTED. Are you so desperate to attach yourself to this story that you'd say or do anything to get some press? That's just depraved.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

The truth is, you don’t know jack about what “really” happened here and you can ask a million pissant questions, but it doesn’t make you a better person for doing so and it will never amount to anything more than static, irritating noise. We ALL enjoy the power of Freedom of Speech but that doesn't mean we ALL have to say EVERY STUPID THING that comes into our head.

I have better things to do with my time. I suggest you do the same.

2012 The Year of Heartbreak and Hope Part 2

July

July was even more difficult on us than June. Maria had taken in two more kittens from her neighbor who were very sick. A buff tabby named Tater Tot was the most ill. The Vet told us it was the “wet” form of FIP which is fatal. His sister, Latte was struggling with a terrible upper respiratory infection. Maria took time off from work to care for the cats around the clock. Neither of us slept much. I researched alternative treatments, testing, anything I could think of while we expected that Tater wouldn't be with us for much longer.

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©2012 Maria S. (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our amazing survivor-Tater Tot.

Because Maria is so good at what she does, she noticed that Tater had tapeworms. We ran more tests. His belly was big and round from the tapeworms, giardia and what was almost pneumonia. Once we started treatment he began to show improvement. It took a few weeks but we were very happy to take FIP off the table as we saw Tater eat on his own and gain weight.

King arrived in my home for a few days. He was quite the charmer, but he wasn't meant to be here for very long. Sam and I drove King to New Hampshire, to his new home where his mom, Judy was waiting to adopt him. I loved this home for him and this good woman and her sister. I never thought King had a chance and here he was 1400 miles from the palette factory in a safe, loving environment.

Two of my dear friends adopted Sabrina and Cutie Pie. Their mom, April, found a home in Brooklyn, NY and their sister Bon Bon was adopted in June.

August

We took on another pregnant mama named Winnie and got a new foster home here in CT. Donna and her husband, Paul are great foster parents. Winnie had five amazing kittens on 8.10.12 named Buttons, Bandit, Honeydew, Charly and Pinkie.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama, Winnie (inset) waiting to see Dr. Chris. Buttons flying high while Honeydew and sister, Bandit look on.

I took another fistful of Xanax and flew to Topeka, Kansas to tour the Hill's Global Pet Nutrition Center. I tiptoed through the “dark side,” but made some good friends and learned a lot more about pet food ingredients.

Something horrible happened to my cat Spencer. He stopped eating and hid. X-rays showed a strange mass in his sinus. I tried to prepare myself for the worst. It turned out to be a false alarm which added many more gray hairs to my head.

September

I was honored to be chosen as one of five members of the Animal Control Advisory Panel, overseeing the operations of our brand new town's Animal Control facility here in Newtown, CT. We had our first meeting and I was delighted to be nominated as Co-Chair of the committee.

Just as I was about to get inundated with kitties from Maria and Cyndie, I found a foster home for two of the remaining black kitties and the final one, Hello Dahlia, was adopted. We got the word that Miss Fluffy Pants found a GREAT forever home and Coco, Chichi, Choco, Tater Tot, Latte, Fred & Barney, and Willow arrived!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. (inset) the DOOD resting in his cage while his mysterious back injury slowly healed and a few months later enjoying the new cat tree in my office.

Chichi and Choco got adopted right away into a great home.

One morning, the DOOD couldn't get up and walk and was in terrible pain, growling or crying if we touched him. We did x-rays that showed nothing and began talking about taking DOOD to a neurologist or starting him on steroids. It took six long weeks, most of it forced cage rest, before he was well enough to walk again without pain. I think he fell down the spiral staircase to get into the basement where we store food for our feral cat, but we'll never really know what happened.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson getting oxygen before we raced him to the Emergency Vet and Intensive Care (inset). Jackson at home feeling better.

Jackson fell ill with a temp of 105.1°F. We put him on antibiotics and waited two weeks to do a re-check. At his re-check, since Jackson did NOT like to be messed with, we had to sedate him to get a good x-ray. I didn't like the way his chest looked when he breathed. That day Jackson went into heart failure from the effects of sedation and we almost lost him. He had undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and was in poor condition. The next day Jackson was supposed to be adopted. Instead, Jackson fought for his life in intensive care at an emergency Vet. We took Jackson home later that night, unsure of how much longer we'd have with him.

With Maria having space in her home open, we took on a kitty named Bongo who has nerve damage to his front leg. It had been a Hell of a month, but we kept on.

October

Opal went to a sanctuary and is doing well. She is becoming more friendly each day and she may one day be put up for adoption.

There was troubling news about King. He'd been struggling with chronic, severe and frankly bizarre ear infections. He had to have surgery, loads of daily cleanings, antibiotics. The other cats in the home weren't too sure about him. King faced losing his ears and his home, but his mom never gave up on him.

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©2012 Maria S. Bunny Boo Boo (inset) with Bongo (left) and George (right)-who are all ready to be adopted! Email info@kittenassociates.org for more info.

I rescued a knockout silver tabby Maine coon mix named Nico from a kill shelter in Georgia because I knew I could find him a home and I wasn't going to let him die.

Maria found a kitten in a parking lot she named, Bunny Boo Boo that she rescued on her own and we took on another cat whose former mom was going to lose her home if the landlord found out she rescued a cat from the parking lot nearby. We named him George and he and Bongo and Bunny Boo Boo are great friends.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hurricane Sandy, no power for almost a week-just a bad flashback to the year before when we got nailed at almost the same time by “Snowmageddon.”

Hurricane Sandy killed the power and made life HELL for a week making a mess of my home in Sandy Hook, CT.

November

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You are deeply missed, sweet girl.

More vet runs, some of Winnie's kittens found forever homes, but all that didn't matter after learning the shocking news that Bobette, who was now named, Kissy, had passed away shortly after surgery to remove the same leg we'd tried so hard to save. JaneA drove five hours to be with us over Thanksgiving so we could all mourn together. I had a breakdown, sobbing uncontrollably, saying I wished I could make it better or could have done something different. JaneA comforted me when I really wanted to comfort her. I'd rescued Kissy over a year before and suffered when three of her kittens died a few days after rescue from a kill shelter. Here it was just over a year after I'd saved her life. I'd never worked so hard or for such a long time to make a cat's life pain free and happy and now she was lost to us forever.

December

Nico arrived and was adopted a few weeks later. The rest of Winnie's family found their forever homes. There were lots of inquiries about adopting kittens since the Holidays were approaching. Tater Tot, in a surprising twist, got adopted instead of Willow, who the family had come to meet. Willow, Fred & Barney and Latte were still with us waiting for their forever homes.

I got good news that King overcame his severe ear issues and was finally settling in with his new family. The other kitties were slowly accepting him and King was finding his place. His mom is the sort of adopter I always wish for-after a very rocky start, loads of vet bills and difficulties, she kept on. She never complained. She was completely devoted. My only hope is that her reward is enjoying the love of a very dear cat and hopefully a much easier future.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our mascot of Covered in Cat Hair and my baby, Spencer before and after surgery.

Spencer had a very challenging dental cleaning where he lost two more teeth and surgery to remove a mass from one ear and another from inside the other. I prepared myself for bad news, but the shock came as the test results indicated it was an apocrin gland cyst with “no content”-meaning NO CANCER.

Sam and I cleared out the garage of recycling one bright sunny morning. After we were done we went to Panera Bread to have a late breakfast. While we were sitting there we saw police cars racing past. I knew something bad had happened and a few minutes later I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which you can read more about HERE and HERE.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My home town will never be the same again. The school is a few miles from my home.

Wanting to reach out and help heal the broken hearts in our town, I created “Kitties for Kids” a kitten-therapy for the children, first responders and residents of Newtown, CT. We were featured on national television news and major news outlets online. We got loads of donations of plush toys and the first children and parents began to arrive to visit our kitties.

Although we had no Christmas and sent out no card (for the first time in my adult life), the joy of knowing I was helping people and the overwhelming honor of so many people reaching out to us was my gift.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We will never forget and find a way to heal our hearts.

As the year draws to a close, we have saved over 60 lives by networking, rescuing, fostering…and many of those cats were tough to place. I also helped people keep their cats by offering them suggestions on how to work with their cat's behavior and health issues. I even covered the Vet bill of a few cats in dire need so they would keep their homes, too.

It's been quite a challenging and painful year. I realize that 2013 may be no easier. All I can do is hope that I'll be better able to handle what is yet to come and that for the cats out there who need me, that I'll have the resources to help them when the time comes.

Happy 2013 to All!

2012 The Year of Heartbreak and Hope Part 1

January

We began the year with a rescue, going beyond our comfort zone by taking on an adult, instead of an easy-to-place kitten. The cat was a huge, white, “biscuit head” tom-cat from Henry County Care & Control. I saw his photo and saw something about him that made me take action. I named him Jackson Galaxy in honor of the Cat Daddy/Cat Behaviorist on Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell.”

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©2012 Henry Co. Care & Control (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson was a miserable wreck when we first took him into Kitten Associates as our first rescue of 2012.

Jackson had a rough start. He frightened Maria but we realized later it was because he was in great pain. He had a terrible infection from his neutering and he needed emergency surgery to correct the problem and get him back on the road to good health. By the end of the month, Jackson was on the transport headed to Connecticut to find his forever home.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford (inset). ©2012 Leesiateh.com. Miss Fluffy Pants shortly before being adopted.

Our friend and volunteer, Bobby Stanford, told me about two cats living outside a palette factory in McDonough, GA. They were living in poor conditions and in danger of being hit by any one of the numerous fork lifts that raced around the premises. One of the two cats, a dirty, thin tuxedo we named King Arthur, seemed to be missing his back paws. Completely horrified I decided we'd help him and the other cat on the premises, who we named Miss Fluffy Pants, because we worried she was pregnant.

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©2012 Maria S. (inset). King's mama, Judy. King's journey has been quite amazing. I'll be doing a more in-depth update on him in January.

I was fostering a little orange tabby spitfire named Bobette, along with her two boys, the third had just been adopted. Bobette needed surgery to repair her luxated patella, so I sat in on the procedure and helped her in recovery and for the next few weeks while she healed.

February

February was a month of discovery. We learned that King's missing paws were due to a birth defect. He didn't need surgery or prosthetics. He could walk on carpeting, but who would adopt this cat? King began to clean himself and gain some weight. He loved being petted until Miss Fluffy Pants came to join him.

Miss FP was not pregnant. We thought the two cats were friends at the factory, but they were not happy to see each other. With some quick thinking and the donation of a cat tree, Miss FP could sit high up, away from King and both cats relaxed into their new foster home.

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette with one of her kittens while at the kill shelter and after surgery in Sam's loving arms.

We also learned the Miss FP was FIV+ which we knew would put a roadblock in our ability to find her a good forever home. With her taking up valuable foster care space I got to work trying to figure out what to do for her that didn't mean putting her in a sanctuary.

We were heartbroken to learn that after some behavior issues gave us a clue to trouble, Dr. Larry diagnosed Sam's cat, Nicky with Chronic Renal Failure. We began giving him sub Q fluids every few days and began to learn more about this condition and ways we could lengthen his life.

Jackson arrived in Connecticut and was placed with my friends at Animals in Distress, but fell ill after arriving there. They thought it was a mild upper respiratory infection and in time he was feeling better. By the second week of February, Jackson found his forever home with a loving family. We were all delighted.

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©2011 Maria S. (inset) ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Two of Bobette's boys, Jakey & Teddy.

Bobette continued her recovery, but was still limping. I had to separate her from her boys because she hissed and growled every time she saw them. The boys, Jakey & Teddy had a blast hanging out with my cats while I continued to try to find them a great home.

March

The saying is March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but this March was the opposite; quiet for a few weeks, then things started to go crazy.

Bobette had the staples taken out of her leg and due to a problem with the bandage removal she ended up biting my hand so badly I had to see a Doctor.

I found a blueish growth on my cat Gracie's abdomen. She had a dental done and had the cyst removed. It ended up being an Apocrine Gland Carcinoma, but was considered to be completely excised and of no further concern.

Jakey & Teddy were adopted together and Bobette was glad to see them leave.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy.

On March 26th, a few days before my birthday, Jackson Galaxy emailed me and asked me out to lunch (which ended up being dinner). It was one of the best days of my life, but that wasn't all that happened. That night in the frigid cold in nearby Trumbull, CT, six mostly black kittens were born to a gray mama named April. I didn't realize it at the time, but they would be my next foster family.

The next day, still buzzing from my visit with Jackson, I was honored by Freekibble.com with a donation of a full palette of Halo® canned cat food! The press came to document the event and I started to wonder if the foster cats would eat it (they loved it!).

April

The Worst Birthday Ever was followed by picking up April and meeting her mostly all black female kittens for the first time. Three kittens were polydactyl and there was no way I was going to be able to tell most of them apart for the next eight weeks.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April and her kittens.

I rescued a senior cat named Leo who was an adorable long haired tuxedo. The poor cat was forced to live outside on scraps when his owner's wife had a baby. I begged my friend Katherine to take him into Animals in Distress if I paid the Vet bill. We worked something out and Leo was saved. A few months later, Leo and a second cat found an amazing home with a family I found for them here in town. They are doing GREAT.

A missing cat alert showed up in email with a very familiar name, Amberly. One of my former foster cats was MISSING and the family didn't have the nerve to tell me. I leapt into action. Thank GOODNESS Katherine has good instincts and lived nearby the family. By the next DAY Katherine found Amberly and the family promised to work harder to keep her inside.

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©2012 Maria S. (inset) and Robin A.F. Olson. Coco, all grown up with siblings Choco and ChiChi (inset).

Maria contacted me about a tortie mom cat we named Cami and five kittens in her neighbors yard. She was very worried about them so I told her to find a place to put them and we'd take them on. By the time Maria got back to the home, two of the kittens were gone, never to be seen again. We named the surviving kittens Coco, ChiChi and Choco.

May

On May 1st a shelter called AnimalKind in upstate New York suffered the total loss of their facility after a small fire caused the sprinkler system to flood the 3-story building. Through my contacts a pet product companies I was able to provide them with palettes of food and litter. Later in 2012 I visited their facility and met with their Director, Katrin Hecker. You can read about my visit HERE.

I travelled to New Jersey to attend Bottle Baby Bootcamp at Tabby's Place. The timing was great because the black kittens needed help since poor April was having a tough time feeding all the kittens. I worried the littlest one wouldn't make it, but Cutie Pie surprised me and began to do well. I named her sisters Sabrina, Bon Bon, Beauty, Belly Holiday and Hello Dahlia (in honor of my friend, JaneA's cat Dahlia who had recently passed away).

Then a crazy thing happened.

JaneA came to visit us and instead of falling in love with her cat's namesake, she threw me a curveball, clearly falling in love with our little spitfire, Bobette. She adopted her the next morning before she left for her home in Maine. It was a one of the happiest adoptions I'd ever done.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA with her girl, Bobette (who she later named, Kissy)

By the end of the month there was more somber news. Jackson the cat lost his home and was being returned. Since I had space I offered to take him back since AID was full up.

June

June will forever be a tough month for me since it's the anniversary of my Father's passing and of my favorite cat's passing. I hoped that this June would not be under such a dark cloud but it was not meant to be.

Thankfully it wasn't all bad news. After months of searching, begging, dealing, I was able to get Miss Fluffy Pants transferred to Good Mews in Marietta, Georgia.

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©2012 Maria S. (inset) and Robin A.F. Olson. Willow is still looking for her forever home! You can visit her Petfinder page HERE

Maria, our cat-magnet, rescued a cat from a tree. She named her Willow and we added her to our group of rescues in Georgia. Meanwhile, I got a curious email from a lady in New Hampshire inquiring about King. She had a fully carpeted home. She had two cats. Did I think King might be happy with her?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me, Jill Delzer (center) and Ingrid King (far right). Inset: Joanne McGonagle, Me with Gracie the cat.

And for the first time in many years, I took a fistful of Xanax and boarded a plane headed to Salt Lake City where Sam and I were Speakers at BlogPaws 2012. I was up for two awards that I did not win, but I had so much fun and made a great new friend. In those few days I was re-energized enough to keep doing rescue work once I got home.

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©2012 Cyndie Tweedy (inset). ©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred & Barney and Barney at six months. The boys are still looking for their forever home! Visit their Petfinder page HEREand HERE

Maria removed another cat from her neighbor (with his consent)- who NEVER spays or neuters his cats. Maria has tried repeatedly to get the cats taken care of but he just puts it off and his cats get pregnant. A nine month old kitten named Opal, who had become almost feral, was pregnant. Our new foster mom, Cyndie offered to take her in and help her along. Sadly, the stress of being in a home pushed Opal in to premature labor. Four kittens were born, but after extensive attempts to save their lives, only two survived. She named them Fred & Barney. We had their siblings Pebbles and Bam Bam cremated and their little wooden urn is here with me placed next to my cat, Bob's ashes.

Stay Tuned! 2012 has more surprises in store and some so shocking their effects rippled throughout the world in the final part of this post.

How the Sandy Hoook Tragedy Inspired Me

NOTE TO READERS: It's been a week since I wrote this post, but I felt it was still worth sharing. This is a behind-the-scenes look at the birth “Kitties for Kids” and its initial flowering. I hope it inspires all of you that next time you get an idea that rises from your heart, you just go with it. You may change the world, or only a small part of it or just your own soul. Whatever comes of it, do it. The world needs you.

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My Mother used to say to me: “Never wish for anything. You're liable to get it.”

A week ago I wished I could pay my mortgage, find more donations for Kitten Associates and get the kittens adopted so I could finally take a MUCH needed break from fostering. Things were looking up. I had good possible adopters for Coco, Fred & Barney, Nico and Willow. That left me with Latte and George & Bongo (who are still down in Georgia).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The size of the memorial grew every day until the sidewalks were jammed with toys, flowers, candles and messages of love.

Then the world stopped spinning and the tears began to flow after the vicious rampage and mass murder at our local elementary school. The following day, Saturday the 15th of December, an idea blossomed. I'm not one to sit idly by when something bad happens. I need to take action on some level, in some way. Maybe running a cat rescue predisposes me to be the type of person to run TO trouble, instead of AWAY from it?

There are so many times when I believe I have a good idea, but never act on it. There's always a reason to watch more TV or to not bother because it would take too much time and keep me from other things I've made a commitment to already. Between tears I said to Sam that maybe we should open up the foster kitten room and invite the children of Newtown to come here and just pet the cats. We knew the effect playtime would have on the kids. I'd seen it many time before-their eyes lit up, twinkling, giggling like mad, their voices rising in glee. I thought if I could help them, even for a short while it would be worth it.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. So many candles. So many tears.

I knew I couldn't take away their pain-or frankly, anyone's here in Sandy Hook, CT for that matter, but I HAD to try. I feel very protective of the people in this town-which surprises me because often I feel like an outcast. Sam and I don't have any children together so we miss out on a lot of things since Newtown IS very family focused. Some times I resented living in a bedroom community where we didn't drive an SUV or go to soccer games. I found my way to fit in through my love of animals and now I get to do something with that love that might be of some benefit on a grand scale. I've always wanted to make a difference. Maybe with this little idea to help the children I COULD.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The note reads: “Sandy Hook Elementary. With all my love and lots of Hugs. Sandy Hook Class of 1972.

I called the program Kitties for Kids (though looking back on it I wish I called it Kitties for Kiddies, but it's too late now) and put together a mental picture of how it would work. I bounced the idea off Sam and he said; “Go for it.” He didn't find any serious issues with doing it and I was so energized by my need to help that I sat down and started making lists. I went online and added a number of plush cat toys to our Amazon WishList. As I do with every adoption event or promotion I went online and told my Facebook fans, both of Covered in Cat Hair and of Kitten Associates, my non-profit cat rescue organization.

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I thought that after the kids came to visit, I'd give them a plush cat toy because I feared they would either not want to go home after 30 minutes OR not want to go home-EVER. Perhaps getting a parting gift of a plush cat would help soothe them and remind them of the nice time they had.

I got a text message from my foster mom down in Georgia. “Where were the plush cats on the list?” She didn't see anything.

Neither did I.

All the plush I asked for were purchased in less than an hour.

I added more and they, too, were gone in minutes!I began getting emails from folks asking how they could help. One woman, who created K.T. Cat, an adorable plush toy designed to help young children talk about their feelings, offered a donation of her plush.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Every day the UPS driver kept bringing us packages. It was like Christmas for days and days!

She offered 50 K.T. Cats and I gladly accepted. I knew a special therapeutic plush like this could REALLY make a difference.

I was stunned by all the sudden activity and interest in my idea. I started to worry about what-if's: What if I don't have enough space to store all these boxes of plush cats? What if no one shows up? What if TOO MANY people show up and I can't take them all on for fear of stressing my kittens? What if we have to rent a haul and a storage container? What if I RUN OUT OF FOSTER KITTENS?

By Sunday I was in full “WTF-mode”. I didn't care if it doesn't work out, if I flop on my face, if we get robbed or a cat gets dumped by our front door. I was going to make this happen come what may.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sorting out what we have and trying to keep it all away from inquisitive cats.

My dear friend Mary, of The Word Forge LOVED the idea and offered to help write a Press Release. Another friend, Irene, my super-volunteer offered to come over and help me clean out the foster room and go to Target so we could get some things to cheer the space up a bit (even though i really wanted to completely re-do the room there wasn't time). It seemed as though EVERYONE I told about Kitties for Kids LOVED the idea. Their enthusiasm kept me going.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A huge box of plush ready for the children to take them home.

By Wednesday, a few days from the birth of this idea, our story was reaching NATIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS already and the plush cat toy MOUNTAIN was growing bigger every day! I believe that for once my timing was right on and my idea was appropriate and needed which made it an easy thing for the media to want to cover.

I got very little sleep and barely ate. There was a lot of time spent answering calls and emails. Kitten Associates was FINALLY starting to become known in Newtown, something we've been very weak on since being established in 2010 and the word is spreading about us beyond the borders of the USA.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen and his plush counterpart, both offering comfort to those effected by the Shooting in Sandy Hook.

And then the phone started to ring. The people I needed to reach were getting the message and wanted to book an appointment. Kitties for Kids was really happening. Now it was time to found out if my idea was a good one.

Next up-"Media Mayhem," followed by “Terror-tourists GO HOME!”, then we do a wrap up with an update on how the Kitties for Kids program is doing along with some very special photos.

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For more information about Kitties for Kids, or to find out how you can visit our kitties visit Kitten Associates!

Here's the Story of a Lovely Lady

[I wrote this post the night before the shooting rampage in Sandy Hook at our Elementary School and decided to share it now as a way to give us all a break from focusing on such sad news. Later today (I hope) I will be sharing some experiences I've had, living here during this madness, from being surrounded by Press to more about my determination to make things better here-again. Stay tuned.]

Molly sits alone in a small bathroom along with her litter pan, a plastic bowl filled with Meow Mix®, some water and a few old towels to rest upon. This is Molly's life now that her caretaker passed away. Molly, like so many other pets, lived with someone who hadn't made plans about what to do should they no long be able to provide a loving home. It's something any cat guardian would fear imagining, but what if it happened to you? Where would your cats go? What would happen to them?

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©2012 Jessica.

Molly wasn't kicked out of her home to wander the streets. A family member, the granddaughter of Molly's caretaker, took Molly home with her. She was four months pregnant with her boyfriend deployed overseas. Her family thought Molly would keep her company while her boyfriend was away. Jessica knew she was mildly allergic to cats, but went ahead with the adoption.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My first moments with Molly.

Within a short period of time, Jessica's allergies got worse so she tried to find Molly another home or a rescue to take her, but no one would help. She didn't want to be cruel to the cat, but she felt she had no choice other than to put Molly in the bathroom, where's she's been living for months.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Molly is suspicious of the lady who brought a cat carrier with her.

It's very difficult to place an adult cat who isn't a fancy breed. Molly is a pretty white and gray cat with subtle stripes in her tail, but she's not going to compete against Siamese or Maine Coon cats…or kittens…you know how it goes.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Before the meow-a-thon began.

Jessica put an ad on Craigslist which is a BIG NO-NO. Cats fall into harm's way via that publication and I believe they don't allow posting of animals on their site for that reason. We have folks who check CL every day to alert all the local rescue groups to intervene and hopefully help the cats listed there. That's how I came to rescue the DOOD.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. 16.8 pounds-in case you were wondering.

Molly was lucky that someone from Mary's Kitty Korner felt they could find Molly a new forever home, but their problem was getting Molly to their Vet to be boarded until a foster home opened up for her. I saw the email asking for help and I don't live too far from Jessica, though the total trip is about 150 miles. Even though I have too much going on, I had to help Molly, maybe because she reminds me of one of my cats, maybe because I just like to help.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Checking out the Vet's office.

This morning, I met Jessica and picked up Molly. I tried to be respectful, not sure if Jessica would cry over the reality of Molly leaving. I held Molly before placing her into the carrier and asked her if she wanted to say goodbye, but she didn't seem too perturbed that her cat was leaving for good (which is upsetting to me and maybe you, but this lady said she wasn't someone who had cats in the first place so I'm not going to vilify her…just gonna move on to the rescue pat of the story). She was very appreciative of the help and said she did want to visit Molly at the Shelter once she was settled. Whether it was the truth or lip service it didn't matter to me. Molly was safe and that's all I really cared about.

Then I started driving. Molly cried the ENTIRE trip, non-stop, every second or two. Some of her cries sounded like I was trying to murder her, while others sounded like she was gargling and meowing at the same time. She must have broken off most of her claws from trying to get out of the carrier, but thank GOD she didn't blow her bladder or worse.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Once we arrived at New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care (that's a mouthful!) Molly settled down. I brought her into an exam room and found out she weighs 16.8 pounds. I thought she was over 20.

Molly was frantically pacing the room, I'm guessing looking for an escape route, but between her pacing, she came over and said hello, let me pet her and she started to purr. I liked Molly a lot better out of her cat carrier!

Molly would be a great addition to any family. She seems pretty laid back as long as she's not in a car. If you're interested in Molly and live in CONNECTICUT, please contact Mary's Kitty Korner to find out how you can adopt this lovely lady.

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