You are here

Spay/Neuter

The Feral50. Unimaginable Joy. Ch 2.

continued from Ch.1

It astonishes me how resilient cats like “Waterbury 1” can be, even with a mouth full of slowly dissolving teeth, infected gums and with burning sores on and under her tongue. Somehow through all of this, W1 has made impressive progress since I discovered her in a parking lot barely alive a week ago.

 

Her vet said she’d never seen anything so bad. W1’s teeth were either falling apart or were fused to her jaw from years of untreated stomatitis. If it was a human, the fragile gums would have been packed with gauze, but with the delicate bones of the feline jaw it wasn’t possible. The vet had to gently suction mucous and bloody pus out of the cat’s mouth before she could even intubate the cat and begin the difficult procedure. She had to remove the roots of teeth that were long gone and separate the teeth off the jaw bone. I don’t want to think about how much pain W1 must have been in and for how long.

 

IMG 7674
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Sweet W1 before rescue, waits her turn to eat.

Every single one of W1’s teeth were removed. My guess is the root cause was bartonella gone unchecked for years, but it could also have been from other issues; we’ll never really know.

Her matted fur was completely shaved off. I asked if she got a bath, but they only needed to rinse her paws off because they were filthy.

I can’t help but imagine her wanting to use her front paws to wash her face before she gave up on trying. She had to have been rubbing dirt from her paws into her already infected mouth if she could manage to clean herself at all. I feel sick thinking about it.

 

Oddly enough she had no fleas, but does have ear mites for which she’s been treated. She’s on very heavy duty pain medication and is on an IV because she’s anemic and has an elevated white blood count.

With all her challenges, W1 still ate food barely a day after her procedure was completed. This remarkable girl wants to live. Though she shows no signs of being friendly, she has only been fearful with the staff, no hissing, no aggression so far.

Our new kitty
©2017 Robin AF Olson. W1's sister with a few of the other colony cats.

We’d gotten W1 medical attention, but the “what do we do now” question returned. There was discussion that W1 would come to me. We’d reunite her with her nearly twin sister, who was just trapped yesterday. I’ve read that relocating ferals is more successful if they’re paired. Thankfully, the sister is not sick AND to our surprise she was spayed a long time ago. We discovered she has a very badly done ear tip, so all she needed done was her vaccination updates. After vetting she was ready to be released back to the lot, but because we wanted her with her sister, we’re holding her for a few days. Maybe she’s friendly and we can work with her. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Or maybe we won’t…

Meanwhile…

 

…one of the Vet’s clients had come to the clinic to drop her cat off to have a dental cleaning. She saw W1 in surgery, then heard W1’s story, and was so moved she offered to adopt the cat if she needed a home.

 

Wait. Adopt a FERAL CAT? Would she live outside?

 

No.

 

W1 would live INSIDE her house, even if she was feral. The woman has a lot of experience with both feral cats and cats who have suffered the same dental issues as W1. W1 would want for nothing, ever. She would get the best care possible. It would be a far better situation than I could give W1, but what about her sister?

I try not to be jaded and maybe I’m afraid that telling you now will jinx it from really happening. That this amazing woman came forward at all turns W1's story into a fairytale of epic proportion. She added when we spoke this morning that she would consider adopting W1’s sister, too.

What I’m learning and finding terribly difficult is this is an extremely fluid situation-more fluid than my brain can process. Day and night I get emails, texts, calls about what to do, who I should call, who told me what, trying to track what everyone is doing or needs and sorting out where each trapped cat was going to go (though I am thankfully not in charge of that). One minute I have a feral cat in my garage (as I did last night). The next minute I find myself signing up to take on two feral cats that may not be a good fit to even live as ferals! I’m asking my foster homes if they can take on a cat or two, or maybe even a pregnant feral if we come across another one. Not to be a complete whiner, but I REALLY wanted to take a few months OFF from rescue and just REST. What have I gotten myself into?

 

Between work, the #Feral50 craziness and finding my cat Petunia having focalized seizures last week I am fried. (and very sadly it looks like Petunia may have brain cancer-which I will write more about later)

 

IMG 7709
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Petunia mid-seizure. We lost her mother, Gracie just over a year ago.

There’s a great divide in my head about what I expected and what I’m experiencing. I realized tonight that it’s akin to dealing with a totally different kind of animal rescue. Getting a litter of kittens to foster takes some vetting and fussing and cleaning and de-worming and such, but with the ferals, it’s all about logistics. After trapping: where do they go? where do they get spayed/neutered? where do they spend a day to three days recovering? where do they go after that? Are they dumped-strays who are friendly and need a home? If so, is there a rescue to take them? If not, how can we get a rescue to take them or should they go back to the parking lot where we assumed all would go but may not be the case now. YIKES!

IMG 7797
©2017 Robin AF Olson. A few of these guys have already been trapped.

I’m surprised that of the first eight cats trapped we discovered a few of the cats were either already vetted and may be friendly and not feral at all. The people who have done a lot of trapping and working with ferals seem different, too. Maybe tougher in some ways and better at going with the flow. I can’t quite put the words together yet because it’s so new to me, but they seem okay with the constantly shifting tasks we need to accomplish times 50+.

And further surprises…

The gray cat with the strange fur was in my garage last night. I didn’t try to touch him, thinking he needed peace and quiet after being trapped. When he went into his foster home tonight he was head-butting his foster mom, soliciting pets! He didn’t even come out of his cat carrier the 24 hours he was here. I assumed he was scared and to leave him be, but he really wanted love.

IMG 7799
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Gray kitty needed help, too, so he was high on our list to be trapped.

 

Some of the others are not feral either. I don’t know how common this is that there are more friendlies than true ferals in a colony, but it’s heartbreaking. All these cats getting dumped for whatever selfish, thoughtless, heartless reason. As a cat behavior counselor I know there are many reasons cats lose their homes that are fixable behavior issues, yet here these poor creatures are, fighting for their lives in difficult circumstances.

 

Last night we had an ice storm followed by pounding winds and rain. I kept thinking about the cats, imagining them hiding under the blue tarps near the warehouse, huddled for warmth. It makes me even more anxious to get all of them whatever help they need. I know they were all getting fed and that goes a long way to keep them alive. Some of the team have begun putting out shelters and I hope the cats will start using them soon.

IMG 7801
©2017 Robin AF Olson. They got him and now I've got him!

Tomorrow there will be more trapping. Eight cats have been trapped and maybe eight more will get grabbed. I thought we were going to have a game plan and do a big trapping all at once, but the folks in charge are just going for what they can trap with the traps they have. I don’t know what is the best way or if it matters how it’s done. It’s just amazing that it IS being done so fast when the donations are barely coming in the door for the spays/neuters. They're finding vouchers from other rescues or calling in favors. They’re just getting it done and I need to learn how to move as fast as they do, but I think I need more caffeine first.

IMG 7802
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Temporary lodging, gray kitty is hiding in his cat carrier. He ate 9 oz of food over night. Glad he has a full belly.

Waterbury1 is resting in her cage at the vet. She’s clean and beginning her life anew. Her vet wants her to stay at the hospital for the full week so she can continue to monitor her recovery. We raised almost enough for the high end of the estimate. If a few more donations come in we’ll be all set until we trap the other cats who are sick or injured.

This experience is all about how to face something difficult without having any idea beyond step number one about how you’re going to get to step number two. It’s about finding faith that you’ll get there¬—that it will all shake out just fine. If you don’t have enough faith, you’re going to fantasize about sitting in a darkened room with a big box of chocolate chip cookies on hand and plenty of time to eat every single one. Don’t ask me how I reached this hypothesis, but I just know it to be true.

As I’ve written in the past, a majority of the rescue process is about having faith that everything will be okay one day no matter how bumpy the path might be.

The tough part is believing it.

And lastly, W1’s adopter liked my choice of a proper name for her instead of W1: Hyacinth, but then, after some discussion, she added that perhaps she should name the cat, Robin.

NOTE: If you'd like to make a donation towards W1's care, there's complete info on ways you can help on the previous post. Stay tuned for even more news about the #Feral50.

IMG 7681
©2017 Robin AF Olson. Such beautiful creatures.

This Precious Life: We'll Never Really Know. Conclusion.

(Continued from Part 1)

I asked about the moms and she said yes to me getting them spayed, at least.

 

In the end, she adopted out 8 kittens that were not fixed and I doubt had any vetting of any kind. Who did she sell them to? What really happened with them? I do not know. The few times I asked I got a different answer. One answer was it was good homes to good families then it was to friends and to their own family members. I was livid. I knew if those kittens were alive, all of the rescues in CT just had 8 more intact cats to deal with. God knows how many more kittens they would have before they were vetted, IF they were even alive.

 

Chapstick at 2 weeksish
Chapstick/Miracle beating the odds.

I begged to help the moms get spayed and we finally were able to set up an appointment to get it done. I was so excited that we could get these cats vetted. Everything was going fine. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had found out they were moving to Georgia soon, so it was good this was getting done. An HOUR before the appointment I got a text…“sorry but Jon worries the moms will throw a clot on the trip down to GA because it’s so soon after we have to leave so we have to cancel.”

 

Once again I found myself in utter disbelief. What a crock of shit. Really? Instead of getting these cats vetted for free, they’re going to move them intact into the state that has a horrifically high kill rate in all the municipal shelters. Those cats, if they ever got lost or kept breeding had a very bad future ahead of them. I was at the end of my rope, not to mention I had to be rude and cancel on my Vet which hurts my relationship with him.

 

Photo 2
One of the other mama-cats.

Unwilling to give up, I took yet more time to send them info on low cost clinics in their new home state so they could get all the cats vetted once they got there. They always assured me that the cats would be taken care of and it would be fine, but I just felt placated.

The final straw was this week.[editor's note: this was over a year ago] I thought they were long gone but they were still here, living in a hotel. Now they wanted help getting their two moms (the ones I’d offered to get spayed) a new home, along with the male who I’d had neutered. They were moving in a few DAYS and couldn’t keep all the cats. Could I help?

Belly Happy R Olson
Tiny tummy.

I should have said no, but I wanted to help the cats so I said I would try. I begged a BIG favor from a dear friend who does rescued and she offered to take them, but…she asked after Miracle. What about her? Of course, she needed to be spayed, too. I told her she would have to make the deal with the couple. That I would go get them, I would help vet them, whatever I could do, but in the end if she was taking the cats she would have to make the arrangements.

 

She talked to them a few times each time getting a different story. I didn’t even know they’d kept a male kitten from one of the litters so they had a male and female kitten who were intact. When she told them she’d take ALL the cats and get them vetted, then give them back the kittens they balked. First, they suddenly changed their minds that the fixed male could stay with them and that they only wanted the two females to be re-homed. They wouldn’t answer certain questions. It was Wednesday, they were moving on MONDAY. We had to RUSH to get every cat vetted. Then all of a sudden they wouldn’t answer Katherine’s texts asking them when we could come get the cats.

 

IMG 8316
Miracle with one of her stepmoms.

Clearly they did not want to give up the kittens, but it was okay to give up the young adults that had just had litters of kittens. Why? Was it because the new “adam and eve” kittens were going to be bred next? Had I unearthed a backyard breeder? I can’t say. I can ask questions because things didn’t line up. It’s one thing to change your mind, but it’s another to change your story depending on who you’re talking to. I was furious.

I got up very early Thursday and called my vets. I again begged for an appointment to S/N the kittens. We could do the adults later. No one could help or if they did the costs were outrageous. I knew I had a litter of kittens coming up on a transport the following week. It runs back to Georgia so it would buy us time. All I had to do was get the kittens vetted, then we’d pay to transport them to Georgia and Christal could pick the kittens up when they were in their new place. It was crazy, but it was the best we could offer. My friend would take the adult moms and get them vetted and find them homes.

Opening Eyes
Looking more like a kitten than an alien.

Then yesterday…the final straw. Now they were leaving the next day (today) instead of Monday. And she tells me; “thank you for your help but we’ll just get vouchers” (her patented answer every time we challenged her about really getting her cats S/N. You can only get one per family in CT and she needed at least 4-again more BS. When they get to GA they will take care of it and to forget it but they will just keep all the cats—even the ones they asked us to re-home.

Sure they will.

 

So I blew my top. I went online to Facebook. Christal had unfriended me. All the photos she’d posted on my timeline of Miracle were gone. I did a search on her name and it came up empty. Why do this if they are so innocent? I searched for Jon. Same thing. Gone. I decided to let them have it. This is my final text message to them:

 

"Never in my life have I ever been so manipulated, lied to, used, taken advantage of. You’ve wasted SO MUCH of my time that could have gone to helping cats who really deserved help. Shame on you. I can’t believe you won’t get your cats S/N. Backyard breeders are the lowest of the low. There is no excuse. Let me be clear, I find what you do disgusting and reprehensible. Saying you will get a voucher or find a service is a lie. Everything you’ve said to us is a lie. I have news for you. You can’t make a buck off kittens in Georgia if that is even where you’re really going. All you’ve done is guarantee that poor chapstick will have a hellish life and the others will, too. We offered to help you, no matter what it cost us in time and resources and you just made up another excuse. This didn’t have to happen. All your cats could have been traveling healthy and not been able to reproduce ever again. Thank you for reminding me never to trust anyone or give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m sorry for the rescues in the state where you’re moving to next. All the rescues need to be warned about you as well as the DOA [note: Dept of Agriculture who oversees animal welfare issues] and if I can I WILL get the word out about what you’re doing. That’s not a waste of time in my book as you have been. Have a great move. Thank you for leaving Connecticut and all those intact kittens you sold to “good homes.” I’m sure we’ll be cleaning up that mess for years to come."

With his new mamas c peruzzi
Latched on.

She replied that she was sorry. That she would agree to get the cats spayed some day and they were NOT backyard breeders. That there were things going on she could not talk about-too embarrassing-that caused them to make the choices they did—that they wanted to keep all the kittens the mamas had, not just keep the 2 but it wasn’t feasible.

I didn’t write back. I don’t know what to think. It would be one thing if it was only me who felt uneasy with how this transpired but my friend was distrusting of them from the first moments they began to talk. She was very leery of the answers they gave her and how they kept changing their tune. I wasn’t being paranoid. I could trust my evaluation of the situation.

Because I don’t want to vilify anyone I will leave it up to you to decide what you think is wrong or right with this big mess. Maybe Miracle will be just fine. Maybe she will be vetted one of these days when this family gets back on their feet. Maybe we should be compassionate and help this family through a tough time and understand that this was all a bunch of unfortunate coincidences and because we don’t know the FULL story. We can’t judge.

IMG 8437
Eating on her own.

So. I’m not judging, but I DO feel like I’ve learned a lesson. In my friend Chris’s words this is a cautionary tale. There’s a point at which you have to walk away from a rescue situation. This time the cats are leaving the state and it’s out of my hands. If they were staying here I know I’d still want to find a way to help, but can’t if I can’t trust these people and their intentions.

That poor little kitten barely clinging to life in a cardboard box, then nursed to life truly is a miracle, but what happens next to her…I shudder to think.

As for myself-I’ve learned I have to insist on doing paperwork every time we let someone foster for us, help us, work with us. The logistics and emergency nature of Mira’s rescue made that impossible, but I am going to make sure this never happens again. At least if I’d had the forms signed, I would have had a right to get her back even though I doubt I would have been successful.

IMG 8773
Last photo of Miracle I got.

 

I hate to think that this is yet another situation that will cause my heart to turn against people. I’ve heard it so many times. People who do animal rescue despise humans. They despise the bullshit, the lies, the cruelty. I don’t want to be one of those rescuers, but I have to admit it’s not going to be easy to remain open and caring with the next person who calls.

 

Freya 2.0. Little Girl No More. Part 16

How did five months come and go so quickly? To say it’s been a blur is an understatement. In our last chapter about Freya, it was December 2014 and she’d just had successful surgery to create a rectum so she could finally pass stool. She was barely four months old and was at very high risk of dying if the surgery didn’t work or from complications after the procedure.

Forelorn Freya
©2015 Robin AF Olson. My first days with Freya when she was just a tiny kitten.

Freya beat the odds. The first day I met her last September she weighed a pound and was far too tiny to operate on. They gave her a 10% chance to survive unless I could keep her going until she was bigger. I struggled with her-getting her nutrition, but without bulking her up more with stool. By mid-December, she was near to bursting so I had to rush her to Boston, to MSPCA-Angell Memorial, for the very delicate and rare procedure. (For more on Freya’s backstory, see the end of this post for a list of links).

IMG 2220>
©2015 Robin AF Olson. In January Freya was doing great.

By the New Year it seemed as though everything was going in Freya’s favor, finally. She began passing stool, sadly WHERE she passed it was another hurdle. I celebrated the fact that she was no longer constipated by creating the “The Poop Fairy;” a cheerful elf with a magic wand helping stool to pass (covered in fairy dust, of course) out of kitties who had elimination problems.

The Poop Fairy R Olson copyright
©2015 Robin AF Olson.

Freya's incontinence meant keeping her on a raw diet or very high protein cooked diet because I don’t want to add bulk to her output by giving her carbohydrate laden foods. At least when her stool comes out it’s not (too) smelly and it’s fairly dry. I call my daily routine with her: “Going on a brown Easter egg hunt.” It’s almost amusing where I find her little “eggs,” though on a “bad” day I have woken up to finding smears of stool all over the protective cover on the bed.

IMG 2437
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Cooking Freya's dinner with thanks to Jodi Ziskin, our Pet Nutritionist, for her marvelous recipes and her love for Freya.

But my joy was short-lived. In mid-January Freya was due for her second distemper combination vaccination (FVRCP) booster. I honestly hate giving this vaccination since I’ve had quite a few kittens have a VERY bad reaction resulting in soaring high fevers, lethargy and inappetence. Freya’s first vaccination made her sick, so there was every reason to think the second would effect her badly as well. The problem was, I had no idea just how bad it was about to become.

Disclaimer: this is MY experience with what happened to Freya, but it should in no way prevent you from vaccinating your cat. The FVRCP vaccination prevents Feline Panleukopenia (which can be FATAL), Calicivirus and Feline Rhinotracheitis virus. These are things you NEVER want you cat to have. Always speak with your vet about any concerns you have regarding vaccinations, but…

…barely four days after Freya’s vaccination I came home from a rare trip to the movies with Sam. I looked at Freya and freaked out. The third eyelid on her right eye was covering half of her eye. I had no idea what to think other than it was an injury so I took her over to our 24hr Emergency Vet (NVS) since it was a Sunday (of course) and our regular vet was closed.

Freya bad eye 1 22 15
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya, as always, never lost her cheerful attitude. She just adjusted to not being able to see well.

We were very lucky that their ophthalmologist was available. She was able to tell us that Freya's eye was fine, but she had Horner’s Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder whose root cause could be one of many different origins. There was inflammation of the optic nerve that forced her third eyelid to rise from its otherwise normal position. There was no cure other than to wait and hope that it would resolve on its own. For now Freya was basically blind in one eye. Add that to her ever-growing list of deformities and this cat had one heck of a tough burden to bear.

Though it’s a bit of a misty memory now, we’d followed up by doing some blood tests on Freya. It showed she was positive for Bartonella, the bane of my existence. She probably got it from being born outdoors and being exposed to fleas. We began treating her for that when I started to notice she seemed to be holding her head at a weird angle.

IMG 3075
©2015 Robin AF Olson. My lopsided foster kitten.

 

Freya’s head was tilted over on the same side as her wonky eye. Back to the Vet again and that resulted in finding out she had a very serious ear infection (from what??!!). Did that cause the eye problem/nerve inflammation? Did she have a physical deformity with her inner ear that caused her to retain fluid, which then got infected, causing the head tilt? Had the ear infection begun first, causing the Horner's syndrome, but we only discovered the ear infection when it was serious enough to cause the head-tilt?

 

Was it from the vaccination? The Bartonella? A physical deformity?

All I knew was that after being on antibiotics for 3 weeks for bartonella, we had to put Freya on another, stronger antibiotic to treat the ear infection. This one could BLIND her in a higher dose and I was scared shitless about putting her on it for six WEEKS. I kept pushing back about how long she had to be on the medications. I wondered what this stuff would do to her digestion since antibiotics are notorious for causing diarrhea. We had to put her on Baytril because it can penetrate bone and that’s likely where the infection was; inside the tiny bones of her inner ear.

IMG 3097
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya is still Freya, wonky eye, head tilt and all.

I have no idea how many vet visits we did because now I had waxing and waning numbers of ALL our foster and “owned” cats getting sick, too. (see THIS post for that story).

So I focused on giving Freya Baytril, hoping to see her lovely blue eye again, hoping she could run without her head hanging to the side. It’s ironic that I was okay with her being incontinent, but thinking I’d never see her sparkling blue, silly crossed-eyes again broke my heart.

It took the full six weeks before Freya began to act more like herself. One day I realized I could see her eye again and the next her head seemed straighter. Dr. Mary continued to check her ear and report she was seeing less and less debris and infection. We discussed doing a CT scan and possible surgery on Freya to drain the area so we did a fundraiser to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 

Between the Horner’s syndrome, head-tilt, Bartonella, then being hit by at least two URIs and a stomach virus it was only as recently as FRIDAY of last week when Dr. Mary felt like Freya was almost out of the woods. That was four MONTHS after something set off a firestorm of health woes.

 

IMG 3058
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Life is good.

Freya sneezes and coughs once in awhile so she could still have a polyp in her right ear (based on the sneezing that doesn't seem to be a URI), but her inner ear looks normal now. The coughing could be a heart defect or parasites that I didn’t de-worm her for yet (she’s been de-wormed many times but needs a different de-wormer for the next round). Freya’s still tiny, weighing in at just over 5.5 lbs at almost nine months of age. In comparison, her brother, Pascal is almost 9 lbs. She’s still not 100%, but getting there.

Then when it seemed Freya couldn’t get anything else, she went into “heat.” Yes, Freya was “lookin’ for luv” and it was clear, due to all the yeowling, screaming, rubbing on every one and every thing she could get near that our little girl was becoming an adult. I haven’t been around an intact kitten…ever. I’d had to repeatedly put off Freya’s spay due to her chronic illnesses and I felt terrible she was suffering yet again. Clearly time was up. It HAD to be done.

Today was the day.

Part 17 airs next where we find discover that things are about to change whether we're ready for them to or not.

Here's a lineup of all our stories about Freya in chronological order from the beginning:

For Freya's Sake

Dear Freya

For Freya. Part 1 of 2

For Freya. Part 2 of 2.

For Freya. Bonus Part 3.

Please. For Freya.

The Unexpected Turn. For Freya. Part 6.

Antics of a 12-Week Old Kitten

On the Eve of the Birth of Freya 2.0

Freya 20. Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Gloom of Night.

Freya 2.0. In Search of Peace.

Freya 2.0. 12 Little Words.

Freya 2.0. 12 Little Words. Part 2.

Freya 2.0. The End and the New Beginning.

Freya 2.0. The Price and the Curse of the Pink Underpants.

Letter from Zoe

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about a lot of things. You see I was just born a few weeks ago. My mom told me we were living in a, well, not-so-nice place before we came here. She said there were a lot of other cats and a lot of other things all over where we used to live. There was so much human stuff she couldn’t move around too well, but I guess that was okay.

14 Series Mama and Perky Yoda 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Zoe with her Mama and brothers.

With so many cats in this place, my mom was scared to leave her hidey-spot. I know she was scared because she was going to have me and my brothers soon and she didn’t want to give birth in this place like the other cats did. She said that it seemed as though there were more and more cats being born, some of them went to Heaven right away and we should feel lucky that we didn’t go there yet.

She said that she counted how many cats there were and she counted one cat for every one of her toes, then she ran out of toes! So she said there were must be more than 18. I guess her sister had a kitten that went right to Heaven and then another sister got really really sick from being full of babies and she almost went to Heaven, too.

06 Peaches Portrait 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #06, Sweet Peaches, about a year old, who's looking for her forever home or a rescue organization to take her on and help her find one.

I don’t know why there are places like this—full of cats and full of dirty cat droppings and dirty human piles of things, because it doesn’t seem like the place where a little kitten like me would want to grow up.

My mother told me that before I was old enough to tell my own stories, some human-ladies came to our place. They carefully lifted us up and put us into a nice clean box with a handle on the top. Inside it there was a soft bed. It was nice and clean, too. They told us not to worry and that they would take care of us. I think one of the ladies had wet sparkles covering her eyes that she had to wipe away with a soft cloth. She seemed sad when she looked at us, but I think that’s because I look kinda funny.

07 Terrance 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #07, Terrance, about a year old male, who's looking for his forever home or a rescue organization to take him on and help him find one.

I’m really tiny for my age and I think I have bad things inside me that made me feel not my best.

The ladies that brought us to the new place gave us a huge metal box to live in so we can all stay together. It’s nicer than our old place and clean, too.

My brothers are small, but I am the smallest. The ladies said I am…I dunno. Something about bread, being in-bread? They say I should be more developed by now, but geez, I’m doing the best I can.

05 09 Together DSH Black Kittens 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #05 & #09, Silly 7-month old siblings looking for their forever home or a rescue organization to take them on and help them find one.

The ladies are feeding me extra milk and they are getting me some medicine. I hope it will help me feel better really soon. I know they are worried about me going to Heaven and I’m a bit worried, too. I don’t know much about anything, like I said before, but I do know these ladies are really good people. They helped us when no one else could help, and they will take care of us so we can get big like my mom someday.

04 Phillip DSH Orange and White 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #04, Phillip, a sweet boy barely a year old.

The problem is there are so many other kitty-cats who came from the not-so-nice-place and they need something called a Rescue Group to help them go to a nice place to live. The kitties don’t need much, just somewhere clean and with good food, whatever food is. I only drink milk right now, but I hope you know what I mean.

10 DSH Tabby and White Friendly ALT1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #10 Very friendly female tabby, about a year old.

The ladies told me that to keep helping all of us they need donations so they can make sure we’ll get more good food, some of the kitties get special treatments called spay and some get neuter, and they all get vaccinations…and the donation-thing is something they really need help with.

14 Series Mama and Yoda 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. A Mother's Love can't heal everything, but hopefully we got to this family in time so that none of the kittens will be lost.

Well, I have to rest again. I get tired easily since I’m only 3 weeks old. I hope you can help me and my family and all our other kitty friends somehow. I’d like to have a chance to grow up and see the world, but I just don’t know if that will happen.

I’ll write again if I can.

Thank you for reading my story.

Your friend,


Zoe

--------------------

From CiCH/Robin:

This is a true story that began two weeks ago with a phone call from a person asking me for help to get a C-section for his cat. When I explained how dangerous that procedure was to the mom and babies and asked about the mother cat’s condition, he began to reveal what was really going on: He had more than 18 cats and none were spayed or neutered. Far more than I could take on myself, I reached out for help and my fellow rescuers answered the call.

PAWS in Norwalk sent a representative over to the home to begin the process of sorting out what needed to be done. This liaison was terrific, keeping us abreast of what was going on, but the true heroes are the staff at Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic, who offered to not only vet each and every cat, but they would travel an hour to get ALL the cats and have ALL the cats recover from their procedures on site, then stay on in their facility until legitimate rescue organizations could step in to help.

PAWS and our rescue, Kitten Associates granted funds to provide 8 of the cats spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, and the former owner of the cats provided funds to get 7 more cared for.

Considering this is a situation that Nutmeg normally can't get involved with and is so far from their facility, the staff deserves a huge round of applause AND especially, our support. They're still in need of $2,200.00 to provide complete care to all the cats...

...(a couple needed emergency spay surgery and had additional health challenges, plus all the cats were tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, dewormed, de-fleaed and some needed special grooming). Nutmeg is in dire need of assistance from the local rescue community to help them place each and every one of these cats into a loving home.

Every cat is spayed/neutered, has their rabies and distemper vaccinations and NEGATIVE for feline leukemia and FIV. Many of the cats are very friendly and all are under the age of 3, with most being older kittens.

Please visit NUTMEG CLINIC to share your love for kittens like Zoe. Simply use their PayPal donation widget (DONATE BUTTON on left side of page) or mail a check to: Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic, 25 Charles Street, Stratford, CT 06615 and note on the check “For Zoe & the Kitties.” Any unused portion of donations will go directly to the other cats in Nutmeg’s care. Nutmeg Clinic is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization so your donation is tax deductible as the law allows.

Connecticut and surrounding area rescue organizations, please consider taking just one or two of these deserving cats into your adoption program so the folks at Nutmeg can get back to doing what they do best—keeping the animal population under control with safe, effective sterilization and vaccinations. In the almost three years since they have opened their doors, they’ve already spayed or neutered almost 10,000 cats and dogs.

If you'd like to inquire about any of the cats, please contact Gilda at info@nutmegclinic.org

I’d like to personally thank Nutmeg for stepping up to a difficult situation and for being willing to house such a large number of cats. They aren’t a shelter so this is tough on them.

Lastly, to the kitten I nicknamed Zoe, I hope you make it, Little One! I look forward to reading your next letter.

19 Yoda DSH F 1200
©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. Come on, Zoe! You can do it!

Lil Bub's Lil Book Review

What is it about a cat that would make you drive over 200 miles just so you could be in her company for a few minutes? Yesterday afternoon, I couldn't begin to answer that question. I'd been going through a wave of very deep depression and felt pretty much hopeless. Mentally, I felt impaired from feeling like a failure. While I was surfing around online, I read that the feline-phenom, Lil Bub and her “Dude” Mike Bridavsky were going to be attending a book signing for Bub's first book; Lil Bub's Lil Book. The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet. It meant a long drive to New Jersey later that day. I was tired of feeling lousy, so I decided I had to make the trip. Maybe getting away from home would help soothe my tangled nerves?

Lil Bub Sign R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.

As many of your know, Bub was rescued after she was born outside, the runt of the litter, to a feral mama. Bub had many severe physical deformities including dwarfism (she only weighs four pounds), a shortened lower jaw that leaves her tongue hanging out and her teeth never erupted (which ends up being a blessing since those teeth surely would have caused her a lot of mouth pain). Bub wasn't expected to live beyond a few months, but when her daddy, Mike Bridavsky met her, it was "lub" at first sight and perhaps, in that moment that bond gave Bub the will to survive.

Me and Bub Sign R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Grateful that my tongue doesn't stick out all the time like Bub's does because this is something that maybe should not be seen on the internet. Oops.

Bridavsky was at a low point in his life when he met Bub. Inasmuch as he saved her life, she's now saving his. She's become an internet sensation and media darling, with millions of fans. She stars in an internet talk show called Lil Bub's Big Show. The episodes are set to air every Tuesday on Vice Media and the first episode has already aired. It features Whoopi Goldberg, but the star of the show is the script Bridavsky wrote. It's clear he has a talent for giving Bub a voice that is both endearing and completely charming without being overly saccharine. Bub's interview with Ms. Goldberg will leave you glowing with joy.

Bub and Mike R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bub and “Dude,” Mike Bridavsky.

Bub's been very busy. She has her own movie titled “Lil Bub & Friendz”. It's available to view in four parts on Vice. Part one (all I've seen so far) is a documentary on Bub's life, but also includes an interesting discussion on just why cats are such a huge part of the internet. Some clips include interviews with the likes of Ben Huh, creator of I canhascheezburger, NYAN Cat, Keyboard Cat, Grumpy Cat and more. It's very well done and I admit, the scenes with Bub really tugged at my heartstrings. What IS IT ABOUT THIS CAT that's so appealing beyond the realm of normal?

Bub Full Body R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stubby legs with extra white toes, Bub may be the most curiously constructed cat ever.

My intentions were to buy Bub's book, get it signed, say hello, go home. On a lark, I worked up the nerve to ask for Press access to Bub, hoping that coveredincathair.com would be enough credentials to get me in the door. The owner of Book-Ends, where the signing was held, took my business card and disappeared into a back room. Thirty seconds later he came out and held up his hand, spreading his fingers apart. “Five minutes. You have five minutes.”

Bub with her Book R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Buy a Bunch of Bub's Books.

“Right now?!”

I was ushered into a small office behind the front desk with no time to clear my mind, prepare some questions, focus my camera. It wouldn't have mattered how prepared I was because as I turned the corner, my mind went blank. Before me was Bub sitting on a knitted mat on a folding table, with her “Dude,” Mike by her side. It caught me off guard and I felt a lump of emotion rise in my throat. Was I going to burst into tears? Why did I feel like I was meeting a major rock star or the President? It was a CAT! How many cats have I met in my days? Probably thousands by now. Yet meeting Bub was transformative.

Bub with my Biz Card R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Thank you for giving my blog your paw of approval, Bub.

I said hello to Mike, not wanting to be completely rude, but later I realized I forgot to say my name! I told him I wrote a blog about cats. I gave him my card and he put it right next to Bub, thinking I could take a photo of her with my card. Oh dear…then I realized that of course everyone would want to hitch their trailer to this rising star. Mike was dutifully doing what was expected, except that I didn't have any interest in plugging my own work when I was trying to be respectful of his situation. This was his cat, her success. I was just documenting my visit so I moved the card out of the way.

Bub with Button Back R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. BUB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought about this a lot last night while I was struggling to fall asleep. Bub is providing her Dude with a living. I'm sure advertisers are knocking at the door. Fans are lining up around the block. Everyone wants something from both of them, but it's Bridavsky's job to find a balance between leveraging the spotlight on Bub without it causing her harm. I got the sense that if he could be doing anything it would be to get away from all these crowds and be back home with Bub. I didn't get the sense that Bridavsky's ego was involved, nor did I get the sense he's out to make a buck off his curious cat. There's still an honesty there. He has to make a living, everyone does, and he's surrounded himself with a team of friends, not internet marketing geniuses, to create the Bub dynasty. There aren't handlers and crowds of publicists. It's still Mike and Bub sitting very quietly in an office, having a chat with a strange lady with crazy hair who seems to have forgotten how to use her camera and speak the English language.

The Annointment of the Bub R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My anointment into the Bub clan.

I was cautious about approaching Bub and immediately whispered when I addressed her Dude, Mike. He told me it was okay to speak at a normal volume, but that she didn't like the noise level in crowds. I still kept my tone soft and I got down so I could be at eye level with Bub. I asked if I could touch her and Mike said it was okay. I offered my hand to sniff, which she did, but she didn't react like other cats. I couldn't tell if she was giving me the okay or not so I gave her a gentle pet, then as I do with my own cats, I tipped my head to her so she could sniff me better. As she sniffed me I could hear her raspy breathing. It felt like I was being blessed by a scared creature. I struggled with wanting to pet her, but not bother her, out of respect for her well being. She must be handled so much that I just couldn't treat her like that. I knew there were a lot of people waiting to see her at the signing and I felt my cat-rescuer code calling me to to protect her more than I wanted something for myself.

Sniff of Approval R Olson 2.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lub Bub!

I took as many photos as I could, then forgot my camera in the office. I left Mike and Bub feeling completely transformed, but frustrated that I didn't get to ask half the questions I'd wanted to and wishing it could have lasted a few minutes longer. I was energized, vibrating. Why was I so happy?

I sat down with my friend, Irene to look at Bub's book. It's a colorful, whimsical, wondrous piece of art containing hundreds of color photos of Bub with a tapestry of words that weaves a magical tale of Bub's past. In it she declares that she's actually not from planet Earth, but from another planet far away. Bub crash landed here when she was looking for fishes, but now that she's met “Dude” she's here to stay. Bub is featured in imaginative sets, much like her TV Show and Film, but because this book is something you can hold in your hands and hold dear to your heart, it makes it more precious. Captured on film are the many faces of Bub. In some of the photos she's featured in hokey sets with mutant-sized props. I loved it. It left me wanting more. I couldn't stop thinking about this tiny creature on the glossy pages, with her owly eyes and tongue hanging out. She doesn't do amazing tricks. In fact, walking around is difficult for her, but lately she has gotten a bit stronger. It almost doesn't matter what sets she's in, because Bub is cuter than cute and becomes more irresistible with each turn of the page. She shares her book with some friends like Colonel Meow, but what stands out are the words. There's a tenderness and affection in the story that Bridavsky penned. I'm sure not only would adults love this book, but every kid, too. Bub's magical powers effect us all and I could read this book over and over and always reach the end with a smile on my face and a warm puddle in my heart.

 


©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bub's arrival!

 

Mike with Bub at Signing Tender R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mike is constantly checking on Bub to make sure she's comfortable-a true doting dad.

It would be easy to take a lot of cute photos of Bub and leave it at that, but this book has soul and is filled with love, which is expressed throughout as well as in some of the images of fan art the book also includes.

Mike with Bub at Signing R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm sure there are a lot of ladies looking at this cute gu,y who loves his cat, who are writing marriage proposals as we speak.

 

The title of this book suggests that Bub is the most amazing cat on the planet and even though I think my own cats should give her a run for the money, they can't. Bub is in a class all by herself. She truly does rank as being quite extraordinary and truly amazing. Being in her presence is a gift I will always cherish.

 

Bub and her Dude are a talented team, but they don't flaunt it. There's a great sense of generosity that goes hand in hand with their fame. They use their super-powers for good by reminding their fans to adopt from shelters, and more importantly, to not overlook special needs cats. And as someone who runs a cat rescue, part of whose mission is to encourage spay/neuter legislation, Bub is there, encouraging everyone to make sure their own cats are taken care of, too.

 

In Bridavsky's own words, Good job, Bub. Good job.

 

Bub up Close R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I lub Bub.

 

Lil Bub's Lil Book is available TODAY via her web site or the following resellers: amazon.com barnes&noble, indie bound and more.

 

The Squee Diaries. Ch 9. How Do I Love Thee?

The kittens are eight weeks old. Some of them hit the two pound mark indicating the time has come to get them ready to be adopted. They're big enough to be spayed/neutered and begin getting their appropriate vaccinations. I'll put photos and a description of each one on Petfinder and in the local paper, The Newtown Bee. I'm giving myself an excuse to wait until after 8/6 to do this because on that date my rescue, Kitten Associates is taking part in a National Fundraiser called BarkAid and my brain is already over-taxed. Best not add the stress of getting the kittens ready to go…also it means I just came up with a lame excuse to keep them here a bit longer.

In honor of my beloveds-a love letter to them, which I hope will help you understand why fostering kittens is one of the best jobs anyone could ever have and why I hope everyone will join me in helping save lives by offering to foster kittens in your home town.

Chatty Joe R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh Joey.

I love that you are everything in a big cat's body, but in a tiny, precious package. From your delicate, barely visible whiskers to your niblet-sized toes, all in perfect proportion to what you will be one day become.

I love to witness the blossoming of your shape from a formless furry blob into a refined feline. From watching your ear buds open to hear the first sounds or the shape of your tail change from a stubby triangle to a magical rudder. I never tire seeing your shaky, unsure steps become sure-footed and completely carefree. Every aspect of your day is about exploration, challenges, achievement and endless joy. Because you don't have to worry about where your next meal will come from or fear predators nearby, your life can be what I wish my life was—one that celebrates the wonder of simply being who you are without fear.

Licky Gracey R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil' Gracey ponders her paw.

I love that you reflect back to me the love I give to you. After a time our love becomes a purring resonance without a source. It travels back and forth between us without effort. It just is, pure and complete.

You trust me to care for you as you need to be cared for, with respect to your needs and never-waving concern for your well being. I'm not afraid of the responsibility but I am scared, deep-down, that I will miss something and you will suffer because I didn't notice the signs or symptoms. My goal is to never cause you to suffer even if I can't prevent my own suffering.

Posing Petey R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey gets ready to run for it.

I love your firsts—your first purr, the first time you look into my eyes and recognize me as a friend, the first time you react to my voice by running over to be near me. I love it when you reach up to me, asking to be held. It tells me I did the right thing for you because if you can love me, then you will love your new family, too, one day.

I love giving you challenges, but in measured amounts. I don't push you too far, just a little bit every day, so every day you can be more confident in the world whose boundaries grow further and further away from our little foster room nest. I know I can't contain you, so I don't try. You must grow beyond this little space to claim a new one for your self some day.

Handstand Mel R Olson copy 2.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie turns to jelly.

I love to watch you play. I'm tempted to believe that watching you could cure cancer as you hop backwards with your back arched, practicing your menacing moves. It just comes off as the scatter-brained antics of a clown. I can't stop smiling as you race past me to jump onto your sibling, turning into a furry tumbleweed. Even if I don't know how I will pay my mortgage, you give me space to remember to smile; that life goes on and is still beautiful even in the darkest moments.

Standing on ONE paw R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Look ma, one paw!

Although I don't love when the time comes to say goodbye, I have to love knowing that you're here because I opened up my home to you. You didn't have to lose your life before it had a chance to begin. You didn't have to live a shortened life outside, racing from one fearful moment to the next.

I have to love kissing you goodbye because it means that you've graduated from this phase of your life and with any luck, you're going to have a comfortable, wonderful rest-of-your-life next.

Jellie Mellie R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mad crush on Mel…

Part of loving you means facing my own fears-fear that I will never stop being sad after you leave, but it also means finding faith-faith that I will find others who need me just as you did. Together we will walk the path to those all too familiar moments to be witnessed again and again.

In some ways, you will never leave me. You are forever a kitten and forever my love.

Perfect Petey R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson…and Petey.

Foot Attack R Oson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Attacking the toe monster.

Stanley standing w Cat Dancer R copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley plays the harmonica..I mean toy.

Confetti Joe Posing R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. At eight weeks Joey's eyes are starting to change color from baby blue.

Stanley with Cat Dancer R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Of all the kittens, Stanley LOVES to play more than the others.

Time is almost up! Please don't forget to VOTE so we can win a $1000 donation for our kittens (and so I can keep fostering!)!

Pettie Banner for BLogPosts A.jpg

Joey on da toilet R oLson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey is as sweet as his photo suggests. He's got the most tender heart of the litter and he so reminds me of Fred who we lost on May 9th.

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.”

Jackson before rescue and after.jpg
©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.

Miss FP and Palette Factory copy.jpg
©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.

King before and after rescue.jpg
©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.

Bobette Before and Surgery B.jpg
©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.

Jakey and Teddy Before and after.jpg
©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.

Jackson Dinner with Me R.Olson.jpg
©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.

April and Family before and after.jpg
©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.

Cami and Cs before and after.jpg
©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.

JaneA and Bobette copy.jpg
©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.

Willow before and after copy.jpg
©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?

BlogPaws Fun copy.jpg
©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.

Opal before and after.jpg
©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.

A Mother's Day Wish: No More Mothers, Please.

Note: I felt the message in this post from 2011 was worth sharing again, along with some revisions and updates. I've included helpful reference information at the end of this article you'll want to take note of and hopefully, share.

-------------------------------

Motherhood is a sacred institution, but not if you're a cat. Motherhood can mean an end, instead of a beginning. This year, with a warm winter behind us, cats around the country bred in record numbers. “Kitten Season” which usually starts in April, began earlier. More pregnant cats have been surrendered to shelters. More are struggling to survive on the streets. More will die.

IMAG1075-1.jpg
©2010 Maria Sandoval. Tansy with daughter, Pattycake. Patty and her brother, Moonpie were adopted by a big family who spare no expense on their care. They are so lucky. Update: Tansy is not doing as well. Her adopter is facing allegations of animal hoarding and Tansy has been in a North Carolina shelter, as part of a seizure of the animals in the home, waiting for a judgment since September of 2011. 2013 Update: After 2 years in a cage, Tansy, renamed Mabel is living with me, safe and sound at last!

Motherhood is the worst thing I could wish on a cat that isn't a purebred show cat (and I won't get into what I think of THAT right now). Most shelters aren't equipped to deal with pregnant cats, especially because their offspring can so easily and quickly get sick, then spread that virus through the shelter since most don't have a quarantine room. They treat newborns like hot potatoes-MUST get them OUT of the shelter and into foster homes BEFORE it's too late! Many of my previous foster cats are a very good example of that. They were born in a shelter and by the time they were 3 weeks old, they were so sick, their care cost thousands of dollars and the end result is a lifetime of waxing and waning illness. To make matter worse, if we hadn't gotten them out the day we did, they all would have been euthanized.

f7.jpg
©2009 Henry Co. Care & Control. Cupid with “Santa's Team.” Cupid, the creamsicle-colored mama, gained 5 pounds after rescue. She almost died she was so thin from nursing her kittens. She is adopted and with a family who loves her dearly. Her best buddy is her Nanny, yes she has a Nanny and she's pals with the family dog. If you look closely, the creamy fur-blob at her feet, is my boy, Blitzen.

There's no bouquet of flowers or box of mouse-shaped treats for a mama cat within the concrete walls of animal control and the people that work there have their hands tied. I KNOW they want those cats (and dogs) out, but the numbers are rising so fast—especially this time of year, how can they keep up? Where's the town budget to add a quarantine room for newborns? Who would happily see their Property Tax go up to make this happen? Where are the guards at the doors that tell people with pregnant cats they shouldn't even step foot inside a shelter!

AC 10.20.10 001.jpg
©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Our own Mazie with Chester, Polly and Cara. All were very sick for months after they got out of a shelter and all are in forever homes and doing well.

I go back to square one-we all know this: the mamas don't get to BE mama's if they're spayed. There's simply NO excuse not to spay your cat. There are low cost Spay and Neuter clinics all over the country. Many Humane Societies and Municipal Shelters will offer low cost vouchers. You're doing your cat (or dog) a HUGE disservice leaving it intact. Not only is the cat apt to get mammary cancer and tumors in the uterus and ovaries, but spaying avoids birth complications. Your cat will greatly reduce its chances of getting FIV+ or Feline Leukemia. But most importantly, you're preventing MORE cats from being born into a world that cannot handle them-there are TOO MANY CATS and NOT ENOUGH HOMES.

Cats are still being euthanized in the MILLIONS. When do we put our collective foot down and say NO MORE to this insanity? When do we stop making excuses as to why it's ok for our cat to have just one litter or look the other way when our neighbor doesn't get their cat spayed or their male cat, neutered?

Lunchtime.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Rose, Poppy and Daisy.

We've got to stop this nonsense. We've got to make sure our neighbors stop this nonsense and take care of their cats, females AND males. We have to tell our neighbor why they MUST do the right thing and make sure it gets done and not just wag a finger at them, help them. Offer to pay for their spay. Offer to drive the cat to the clinic and pick it up afterwards. Do whatever it takes. Just ONE LESS MAMA means potentially hundreds of less cats! It takes more than a village, but even if it's just a handful of people who do this, it's a great start.

Maybe someday, not in my lifetime, but someday, we won't have cat overpopulation and allowing cats to have kittens will be thoughtfully controlled. Until then, we need to truly revere Motherhood and respect it and respect the fact that some times NOT being a Mother is the smartest and most appropriate thing we can do.

Mama and Spyder.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Last Chance”-Angel with her son, Spyder.

Today, I sit here feeling sick. I already know there are thousands of Mama cats who have already given birth now that spring is here. Personally, my little rescue group can't even take ONE family in unless we get some foster homes. As for the other rescues, they are full up, overloaded, scrambling to help as many as they can, but with thirteen new mamas at ONE shelter in Georgia and half a dozen at another, WHERE are these cats going to go?

lunch time_b.jpg
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. CallaLily and her babies. Callie is doing great in her new home.

I can tell you. They are not going anywhere. They won't even live to see Mother's Day.

Is this the legacy we want to leave, as a society?

Where we're overjoyed if a woman is “expecting,” but if a cat, or dog becomes pregnant, odds are, if those animals aren't in a safe and loving home that will care for them, they'll be given up to a shelter and soon, we'll kill them.

 

family portrait.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Huggy Mama”, Dash & Snuggles. All got adopted TOGETHER! Yes, all three!

Let's make it a better world for our cats and show them how much we really DO respect and care for them by making certain they're ALL spayed and neutered.

No more Mothers, please.

---------------------------

If you'd like to find a Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic here are some resources. There are MANY MORE OUT THERE. Odds are, check with the biggest Humane Society in your area and they will also either have a program, or know where you can find one. A few minutes of research online will save you hundreds of dollars AND you'll be doing the right thing for your cat.

ASPCA & PetSmart Charities® Database for locations in the USA

North Shore Animal League's SpayUSA

Live in Georgia? Try Spay Georgia.

Here in CT: Nutmeg Clinic is terrific. 

A Mother's Day Wish: No More Mothers, Please.

Note: I felt the message in this post from 2011 was worth sharing again, along with some revisions and updates. I've included helpful reference information at the end of this article you'll want to take note of and hopefully, share.

-------------------------------

Motherhood is a sacred institution, but not if you're a cat. Motherhood can mean an end, instead of a beginning. This year, with a warm winter behind us, cats around the country bred in record numbers. “Kitten Season” which usually starts in April, began earlier. More pregnant cats have been surrendered to shelters. More are struggling to survive on the streets. More will die.

IMAG1075-1.jpg
©2010 Maria Sandoval. Tansy with daughter, Pattycake. Patty and her brother, Moonpie were adopted by a big family who spare no expense on their care. They are so lucky. Update: Tansy is not doing as well. Her adopter is facing allegations of animal hoarding and Tansy has been in a North Carolina shelter, as part of a seizure of the animals in the home, waiting for a judgment since September of 2011. 2013 Update: After 2 years in a cage, Tansy, renamed Mabel is living with me, safe and sound at last!

Motherhood is the worst thing I could wish on a cat that isn't a purebred show cat (and I won't get into what I think of THAT right now). Most shelters aren't equipped to deal with pregnant cats, especially because their offspring can so easily and quickly get sick, then spread that virus through the shelter since most don't have a quarantine room. They treat newborns like hot potatoes-MUST get them OUT of the shelter and into foster homes BEFORE it's too late! Many of my previous foster cats are a very good example of that. They were born in a shelter and by the time they were 3 weeks old, they were so sick, their care cost thousands of dollars and the end result is a lifetime of waxing and waning illness. To make matter worse, if we hadn't gotten them out the day we did, they all would have been euthanized.

f7.jpg
©2009 Henry Co. Care & Control. Cupid with “Santa's Team.” Cupid, the creamsicle-colored mama, gained 5 pounds after rescue. She almost died she was so thin from nursing her kittens. She is adopted and with a family who loves her dearly. Her best buddy is her Nanny, yes she has a Nanny and she's pals with the family dog. If you look closely, the creamy fur-blob at her feet, is my boy, Blitzen.

There's no bouquet of flowers or box of mouse-shaped treats for a mama cat within the concrete walls of animal control and the people that work there have their hands tied. I KNOW they want those cats (and dogs) out, but the numbers are rising so fast—especially this time of year, how can they keep up? Where's the town budget to add a quarantine room for newborns? Who would happily see their Property Tax go up to make this happen? Where are the guards at the doors that tell people with pregnant cats they shouldn't even step foot inside a shelter!

AC 10.20.10 001.jpg
©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Our own Mazie with Chester, Polly and Cara. All were very sick for months after they got out of a shelter and all are in forever homes and doing well.

I go back to square one-we all know this: the mamas don't get to BE mama's if they're spayed. There's simply NO excuse not to spay your cat. There are low cost Spay and Neuter clinics all over the country. Many Humane Societies and Municipal Shelters will offer low cost vouchers. You're doing your cat (or dog) a HUGE disservice leaving it intact. Not only is the cat apt to get mammary cancer and tumors in the uterus and ovaries, but spaying avoids birth complications. Your cat will greatly reduce its chances of getting FIV+ or Feline Leukemia. But most importantly, you're preventing MORE cats from being born into a world that cannot handle them-there are TOO MANY CATS and NOT ENOUGH HOMES.

Cats are still being euthanized in the MILLIONS. When do we put our collective foot down and say NO MORE to this insanity? When do we stop making excuses as to why it's ok for our cat to have just one litter or look the other way when our neighbor doesn't get their cat spayed or their male cat, neutered?

Lunchtime.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Rose, Poppy and Daisy.

We've got to stop this nonsense. We've got to make sure our neighbors stop this nonsense and take care of their cats, females AND males. We have to tell our neighbor why they MUST do the right thing and make sure it gets done and not just wag a finger at them, help them. Offer to pay for their spay. Offer to drive the cat to the clinic and pick it up afterwards. Do whatever it takes. Just ONE LESS MAMA means potentially hundreds of less cats! It takes more than a village, but even if it's just a handful of people who do this, it's a great start.

Maybe someday, not in my lifetime, but someday, we won't have cat overpopulation and allowing cats to have kittens will be thoughtfully controlled. Until then, we need to truly revere Motherhood and respect it and respect the fact that some times NOT being a Mother is the smartest and most appropriate thing we can do.

Mama and Spyder.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Last Chance”-Angel with her son, Spyder.

Today, I sit here feeling sick. I already know there are thousands of Mama cats who have already given birth now that spring is here. Personally, my little rescue group can't even take ONE family in unless we get some foster homes. As for the other rescues, they are full up, overloaded, scrambling to help as many as they can, but with thirteen new mamas at ONE shelter in Georgia and half a dozen at another, WHERE are these cats going to go?

lunch time_b.jpg
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. CallaLily and her babies. Callie is doing great in her new home.

I can tell you. They are not going anywhere. They won't even live to see Mother's Day.

Is this the legacy we want to leave, as a society?

Where we're overjoyed if a woman is “expecting,” but if a cat, or dog becomes pregnant, odds are, if those animals aren't in a safe and loving home that will care for them, they'll be given up to a shelter and soon, we'll kill them.

 

family portrait.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Huggy Mama”, Dash & Snuggles. All got adopted TOGETHER! Yes, all three!

Let's make it a better world for our cats and show them how much we really DO respect and care for them by making certain they're ALL spayed and neutered.

No more Mothers, please.

---------------------------

If you'd like to find a Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic here are some resources. There are MANY MORE OUT THERE. Odds are, check with the biggest Humane Society in your area and they will also either have a program, or know where you can find one. A few minutes of research online will save you hundreds of dollars AND you'll be doing the right thing for your cat.

ASPCA & PetSmart Charities® Database for locations in the USA

North Shore Animal League's SpayUSA

Live in Georgia? Try Spay Georgia.

King's Story: Walking on Air

King continues to amaze us. He was once just another hungry stray cat, but with a startling difference. He has no back feet, but somehow this cat survived for the past year on his own. He was dirty, scared and thin. Life at the Palette Factory meant dodging forklifts, trucks and fighting for scraps from the employee's lunch pails. But somehow, through all of that, King made a life for himself.

King on the pillow copy.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. Enjoying the good life by his new cat tree.

When our friend, Bobby told me about King, I knew we had to do something. There were plenty of risks taking on a cat like this. Would there be bank-breaking surgeries needed? Would he be nasty? Fractious? Did he suffer from other issues we were yet to discover? Who would adopt him if we DID rescue him?

King Sitting Up.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. King gives us that “come hither and rub my belly” stare.

There are times when although you're aware of all those questions, you have to do something no matter what and that's what we did. Bobby got King over to the Vet and had him spayed, got his shots and tests and went on to Mama-Maria's house to be fostered. Shortly thereafter he was taken to another vet to be x-rayed so we could determine what happened to his legs. We needed to do more tests so a final diagnosis would have to wait.

upside down king.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. Ready for rubbin'!

We had some trying times. King urinated quite a few times on his bedding. When his Palette Factory friend, Miss FP arrived to share the same space with him, he urinated even more outside of the litter pan. Maria thought he might be incontinent, but he was using the pan some times. Over a few weeks, King settled down and he hasn't urinated outside the litter pan after we got him a big cat tree that allows Miss FP to be up high and feel safe and King can stay on the floor on his pillows and feel safe, too.


©2012 Maria S. & Robin Olson. King makes a friend and learns to play.

Bobby took King to see an orthopedic specialist named Dr. Alan Cross. Dr. Cross examined King and reviewed his x-rays. He felt that it was likely that King's issue is due to a deformity and not an accident because if it had been an accident, King would have bled to death. There is either a callus or a bit of a paw pad at the end of each back leg. The legs are almost the same length, but the right one is a bit shorter. King is not a good candidate for a cart or prosthetics. They could do more harm, than good. King might benefit from some soft booties or leggings so we'll look into that. Bottom line-King needs to live in a home with rugs or carpeting because without it only his front legs reach the ground and the others swing freely in the air. On carpet he can plant his back legs and walk somewhat normally.

King with straw mouse copy.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. What IS that thing?

While all these tests and vet trips were going on, something amazing happened. King began to blossom.

His filthy coat began to shine. The white patches of fur glowed. King's eyes had a sparkle that wasn't there before. He gained some weight so now he has a fullness that was missing before. King made best friends with Maria's cat, Kahlua. The two of them “head butt” each other and even hold paws. Part of me wishes Maria would keep King so he could stay with Kahlua, but it also means that King cold be happy in a forever home that has another kitty already waiting to be his friend.

Sadly, Miss FP has not been interested in forming a friendship, but keeps to herself or enjoys pets when Maria's friends come over to visit.

King closeup.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. Ooo! Cardboard scratchy thing!

The best thing about King is his love for everyone. He's an easy going, sweet natured cat. Considering what his life has been like, he has no reason to be affectionate towards humans, yet he loves people. He's a very special cat and I admit to having a crush on him from afar. I can't wait for him to join us here and I can't wait for the day to arrive when he finds his forever home.

Meeting King.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. The day we rescued King. What a wreck, but still regal under all that dirt.

This cat has been through so much, but his future is looking bright. I enjoy the privilege to witness his glorious transformation. It gives me great joy. In fact, I'm walking on air, too.

King Portrait.jpg
©2012 Maria. S. A few weeks later, with a belly full of high protein canned food, a few vet visits, a clean, safe place to live and lots of love, King bears little resemblance to his former self.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Spay/Neuter