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Not On My Watch: The Fate of the #SweetSuperheroes

I haven’t wanted to rescue any cats for a long time. In fact, I haven't been all that keen on rescuing cats ever again. Over the past 7 years, it’s taken too much of a toll on me in too many ways. Taking on Waverly, a filthy, pregnant cat and her two kittens into Kitten Associates was not in the plan. But after witnessing and working on the Waterbury Feral colony this past winter, I had to do something right to offset how difficult it was to see sick, pitiful looking cats racing through snow banks to get something to eat. I knew that vetting the ferals and providing food and shelter was the best we could provide. I got a handful of them off the property and into either a loving home or an open shelter where they had a chance to blossom, but there were another 40 cats left behind. Most were TNR’d (Trap, Neuter, Released), but it just never feels like it’s enough.

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©2017 Robin AF Olson. February blizzard and the little calico who was so trap-savvy we could never get her trapped.

What’s odd is that this spring I’ve only gotten calls from people looking to adopt kittens, not any calls to help rescue them. March into April begins a usually very busy time rescuers refer to as “Kitten Season” here in the northeast. Due to a very warm January, followed by blizzards in February, it probably prevented any significant increase in the kitten population, which may be why my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook.

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©2017 Robin AF Olson. Waverly lived in a warehouse on the same property as the Waterbury Ferals. They manufacture pipes in the building and Waverly was covered with grime and she smelled so bad you could smell her across the room. Our Vet warned us she could not give birth because it would be too dangerous to the kittens. Thankfully, foster mom Linda, got her cleaned up enough right before the kittens arrived.

I’ve been busy working on other projects (and with the Kellogg's on Holly's case) and trying to get some things sorted out for Kitten Associates. Waverly is going to be spayed soon and soon we’ll be able to get to the bottom of her mysterious and distressing cough. She’ll get the dental cleaning and tooth extractions she’s in dire need of, along with her vaccinations and spay. After 14 weeks with us she’ll finally be ready to go to her forever home, along with, I hope, her daughters Willoughby and Weatherby (who are getting spayed today).

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©2017 Robin AF Olson. What a difference good food and love make. Waverly shines and her kittens are getting ready to be put up for adoption. Waverly should be ready soon after her kittens.

 

It’s been rather calm here, which I cherish. My day-to-day routine with cat care is manageable. So why, when I got a text from a rescue partner in the south, begging for help, did I feel I needed to make my life crazy again?

 

Perhaps I’ve gotten used to the cycle of summers being busy and winters being more peaceful. Perhaps the big foster room needs to hold new life, new possibility, now that it’s not needed for much.

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©2017 Robin AF Olson. The goofy twosome, Andy and sister, Annie.

Annie and Andy have been living among my cats during the day, leaving poor Mia by herself. Mia has always done great with kittens so maybe she’s ready for new youngsters to teach how to be big kitties? It’s not ideal to have her share the room, but I’ll make sure any kittens are vaccinated and tested first. I can’t let Mia roam the house. She might vanish into the basement and we’ll never see her again. It’s too dangerous for her and she has everything she could want where she is, it’s just in a 130 sq feet space instead of 2000.

So Joan contacted me about kittens in Henry County, Georgia. I used to help them, along with my very trusted (and missed) foster mom, Moe, who lives in the area. Moe has “retired” from fostering, but we're still good friends. Without Moe, I can’t do much to help save lives in Georgia, so I haven’t even tried. In fact, it was Moe who alerted me to Huggy Mama and her kittens, who later became the inspiration to start my own non-profit rescue where I could help more southern cats.

But Joan reached out to me with a sickening, heartbreaking fact:

 

There are 60 kittens that need placement. It’s Sunday afternoon. They will be euthanized Monday morning (today).

 

 

That’s it. No more time. All other rescues or shelters in the area are loaded to the gills. They're seeing one of the worst summers ever in the south and no hope in sight. That’s why they’re reaching out to rescues in the northeast, praying someone can help.

 

 

Kittens are going to DIE.

 

Kittens who are friendly, healthy, adoptable. Kittens who have no idea they have less than 24-hours left to live. I can’t take 60 kittens into my rescue, but maybe if I take a few, someone else will take a few and it will add up to enough kittens being helped that they don’t put any of them down.

It means sticking my neck out. It means hoping that we’ll get enough donations to cover their care. It means hoping they don’t arrive full of parasites or disease that harms my own cats. It means all the things I face every time I say, “Yes” to a rescue.

I told Joan she needed to find me a foster home for the two-week quarantine period and she'd have to find a way to get the kittens to Connecticut. If she could do that, I'd consider helping, so she got to work.

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I also always ask Sam what he thinks about taking on more kittens because it effects him, too. I’m grateful he’s always of the same mindset: help anyone we can, however we can. He doesn’t look for “what’s in it for me.” He has a huge, compassionate heart and I’m lucky for that because if we take on a litter of kittens and one is sick, odds are I’ll have to medicate and/or vet each one and that can turn into a nightmare if he doesn’t help me.

Joan asked me what kind of kittens I wanted since there were so many to choose from (thank God she didn't send me photos of all of them). I said to please choose colorful cats since if I can get the most adoptable, friendly kittens, I can move them out fast and help take on more. I said please no black or gray (very sorry if that’s your favorite cat color), because they are the harder ones to place. I said I could take 6 kittens.

 

But then I thought about it more. I could really take 8. It would be a bit much to handle, but I could do it. It would literally save their lives, so I wrote her back and said I changed my mind and to get me 8 kittens.

 

She sent me photos…

…of the gray, black, gray and white, black and white kittens. Really?

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They are friendly and healthy (so far). So what if they’re not the easiest color to place? I believe there IS a home for every cat. Some just take longer to adopt out. These little ones are going to die.

If I say yes, they will live.

 

 

Can you imagine what that feels like? It’s both heartbreaking and thrilling twisted together into a big painful knot in my gut.

 

What could I say?

 

I said, “YES.” Of course I said YES!

 

So we’re rescuing 8 kittens.

 

So everything is going to cost times 8.

 

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And we are going to have to find probably 4 to 8 families to adopt them some day. That’s a lot for a little rescue, but I couldn’t turn them away.

But as most stories go, things change in ways we can’t predict.

As I was adjusting to the idea of 8 kittens coming here in a few weeks, Joan contacted me again. There was an error.

Error?

 

I immediately feared the kittens had been euthanized before she could let her contact know to put a “rescue hold” on them. Thankfully, that was not the case with the kittens I agreed to take, but I did learn that they hadn’t waited regarding some of the others. The sick and feral kittens had already lost their lives, being put down ahead of schedule.

 

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I was completely heartbroken by this news and afraid of what Joan needed. Joan said she was sorry there was a mix-up. Apparently, of the 8 kittens (one litter of 3 and one litter of 5), there was an additional kitten that was missed because she’s a twin to her sister.

 

There was a 9th kitten—a little female tuxedo with medium length fur. “Could I please take just one more?”

 

It was bad enough that I knew this little one could be left behind to die based on my decision, but that she was a twin, too? You know what I said.

“Of course. We’ll take her.”

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So now we are 9. I’ve said yes to 9 kittens.

It will be our single, biggest kitten rescue (though 3 years ago when we rescued Laney, we ended up taking on 18 cats and kittens over a longer period of time).

 

I saved these little lives because I believe that you guys will have my back. It’s no joke that their care will be quite costly between vaccinations, spay and neuter, parasite treatment, FIV and FeLV testing, food, litter, vet exams and whatever else they may need times 9.

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I can’t do this rescue without you, so I’m asking you to become part of our rescue team by giving a life-saving gift. It will help us provide everything these kittens need until they find their forever families.

 

The #SweetSuperheroes basic care will cost at least $1500-$2000, as well as provide for Waverly, who has a very painful mouth in need of tooth extractions and testing to find out what is causing her horrible coughing. Between her care ($1100 -$1500) and the kittens, we need to raise a total of $3500, with at least half of it needed ASAP.

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Things to know before you give:

• We’re a 501c3 non-profit cat rescue. Your donation is tax-deductible.

• Our EIN (tax number) is 27-3597692

 

• We’re a 100% volunteer rescue organization so your donation goes directly to the cats and kittens, not a fundraiser or any paid staff members.

 

 

• Give a gift (of any size-every dollar matters) by going to our PayPal Account HERE.

 

 

• OR USE THE DONATE TODAY BUTTON WITHOUT A PAYPAL ACCOUNT (can use your debit or credit card)

 

• You can mail a gift to: Kitten Associates, 5 Commerce Road #354, Newtown, CT 06470. Make checks out to: Kitten Associates

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NOTE: We are NOT going to use any fundraising web sites because they take between WEEKS and MONTHS to give the donation to our rescue AND they can take a portion of the donations, or they ask you to pay a percentage. If we don’t use fundraising web sites, more of your donation goes to the kittens right NOW.

We’ll be posting updates on our fundraiser, along with updates on the kittens, on our Facebook page. As always, if you have any questions for us about the kittens or the fundraiser, please contact me (Robin) at info@kittenassociates.org

 

How does it feel to save a life? Become part of our team and find out! We can't save them WITHOUT YOU!

 

Meet our #SweetSuperheroes!

 

Oh and...they're arriving in two weeks, on Sam's birthday.

 

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UPDATE 6/14/17: We've only raised about $500 of the $3500 we desparately need to save these lives. But the exciting news is, we were able to contact a rescue partner to save an extra THREE KITTENS, which raises our comittment to ONE DOZEN kittens lives saved! What does that do? IT PUT A STOP TO EUTHANIZING ANY FURTHER KITTENS for now! Please consider making a gift of even $2 or $3 per kitten. It all adds up and makes it possible for these kittens to have a chance to live a full, loved life. Thank you!

The Squee Diaries Ch 11. The Blue Room Part 2

The email was from a young man in a neighboring town. He’d been evicted from his home and needed to place his two, 5-month old kittens. They’d been bottle fed, which meant they were bonded well to humans. All I could see from the photo he included was that they were tabbies. One was medium haired and one short haired. I had the space to take them on, but if I didn’t adopt them out quickly, it would cause a jam with Mochachino’s kittens coming up here in a few weeks from Georgia. Going with my gut, I decided to help them out.

A zillion photos of George, and oh yeah the other foster cats arrive, too

I'm in deep doo-doo. It's not even that I have SEVENTEEN CATS in my house right now, it's that I've met foster kitty, George!

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I decided it was time to move foster kitties George, Bongo and Bunny-Boo Boo from Maria's house in Georgia to my house in Connecticut so we could get going on finding the cats forever homes. We rescued them FIVE MONTHS AGO and in that time I had hoped my other foster cats would have been adopted. With Kitten Season upon us, I have to crank things up a notch and hope we adopt out at least some of these foster cats before there are loads of kittens competing for adopters.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Meet George.

Most of the time I use a professional transport service to move our cats north. I really like PETS, LLC because they have been very trustworthy and prompt and their rates are reasonable. The only bad thing is the transports are usually filled with dogs. None of us love that the cats are with dogs, but the cat's discomfort only lasts for about a day's time (and they ARE in separate crates and some times even a separate walled off space from the dogs). The cats adjust and after they arrive here, within a very short amount of time, they are playing, eating and enjoying their new home.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How many gorgeous cats are in this photo? Answer: All of them!

But…Maria didn't want to put these cats on the transport. I understood her reservations and certainly didn't blame her one bit. In five months of fostering, the close bond Maria had with the cats made it even harder for her to let them go on a truck full of dogs. Our only other option was to ask our friends Izzy and Mark if they were going on any road trips to Florida any time soon.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Keep that pretty face clean, George.

Izzy and Mark LOVE cats. If you've read my blog before, you know they will do anything to help any animal and their home in Pennsylvania reflects their passion. They've shared photos of their bed-it's covered with cats. I've seen a photo of Izzy on her sofa, working, flanked by the couple's two dogs, with cats at her feet. When Izzy and Mark go on a vacation, the always offer to bring rescue cats back north with them and many rescues are very grateful for their generosity.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Helloooooo Bongo!

Though they had no plans to travel, Izzy and Mark offered to drive down to Georgia, then drive back to PA and meet us with the cats! Yes, that's something crazy people do (lucky for us)! Before I knew it, in the space of a day, a plan was hatched. Izzy and Mark would leave Wednesday morning and drive to just north of Maria's in Georgia. They would get a good night's sleep, then pick the cats up very early on Thursday. By Thursday night (last night) they'd get the cats to the Perkins near the state line of NY and PA where we would meet them and take the cats the rest of the way home.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bongo is the spitting image of our former foster kitty, Charly!

Tuesday night, Coco fell ill. She had a fever and wasn't eating. I took her to see Dr. Mary the next morning. They ran some blood tests and re-ran her snap test to see if she had Feline Leukemia or FIV. Great.

Now what do I do? Do I tell Izzy and Mark to turn around and go home? What if Coco had something terrible? What if she was contagious? Sure, she wouldn't be in the same room as our new arrivals, but it's pretty much impossible for me to prevent transmitting disease as I go from one foster room to the next-even if I wash my hands and change clothes.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Portrait of cuteness.

If I cancel the trip, it will be TWO MORE weeks before the PETS transport runs and then we're in mid-March.

I just had to hope that Coco would not be sick for long while visions of not only her, but the other four fosters getting sick...then the disease spreading throughout the house to ALL the cats swirled through my mind.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. LOOK AT THAT TAIL!

I spoke with Maria and we realized we needed to just do this transport. It would be better for the cats and after having nine deathly ill foster cats here two years ago, I figured with any luck, I would be able to manage what was yet to come. Ha ha ha. I think it's funny, too…funny or foolish.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. White Lion or domestic house cat?

I spoke with Dr. Mary the next morning. Coco's blood work indicated her white blood count was very high, which was her body's response to a virus or bacterial issue. She wanted to put her on antibiotics. Normally, I would just do that, but now I'm much more conservative about using antibiotics and more prone to allow the body to defend itself. Coco had begun to eat and perk back up after we'd given her subcutaneous fluids the day before. The blood test results were from the day before, too. Just because her white blood count was high then, did not mean it was STILL elevated now. I decided to let Coco heal on her own and, of course, if she showed ANY signs of feeling poorly I would get her on the medication right away. She was still negative for Feline Leukemia and FIV, too.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Goofhead.

Now I just had to get ready for the new arrivals so I got to work cleaning the foster room. After that I made myself a sandwich for lunch. I'm including this boring detail because not long after that I got SICK. Needless to say, driving 100 miles each way to pick up three cats at 9:00 PM in the middle of the boonies of mid-state New York is NOT something you want to do with a stomach ache and little, if any, access to a bathroom.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Bunny. She'll feel better soon.

Izzy and Mark were running ahead of schedule AND the weather was about to take a turn from just cold to rain, sleet and snow mixed together. There was no way to back out of the pickup trip. I decided to take a nap and see if that would help any. Sam took a nap, too, since he was really tired and we were both going to do the run together (and hopefully not both GET the RUNS together since I made HIM a sandwich, too).

When I got up I felt just as awful as before, but now I also felt really groggy. I woke Sam up and had a difficult conversation with him. He had to do the run on his own. I just couldn't do it. I'd print out the directions, get him everyone's phone number and stay up in case he needed me for anything while on the road. I felt so terrible asking him to go alone, but he took it with a grain of salt while I stewed in my guilt.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh so delicate.

As it turns out, the trip was a quick one. Izzy and Mark were very tired and just wanted to get the cats to Sam and head home. They had been on the road for nearly fourteen hours by that point and still had three and a half more to go. Sam texted me saying he was turning right back around and would be home soon. By 11pm Sam called saying he was down the street. I thought; “Here goes nothing.” Then started praying this wasn't the stupidest idea I've ever had.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bongo wants to start the day with a belly rub.

We got the cats into the foster room. I had my first look at each one. George was calm, cool and collected. He let me hold him right away. I took one look at him and knew I was in trouble, suddenly realizing that to avoid “foster fail” I should rescue cats I'm NOT going to LIKE, yet here in my arms was my dear cat, Spencer's little twin brother. George has the same mostly white Norwegian Forest Cat body, the crazy spots of tabby, the biggest, fluffiest tail I have EVER SEEN, a plush coat and ruff AND he's a NICE CAT to boot.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The CRAZIEST tail I have ever seen!

Bongo hid behind the litter pan. Poor Bunny didn't even come out of the cat carrier. I knew to keep the room dark and quiet. I put out some food and left them to rest from their long trip. I set up an electric blanket for them in case they wanted to snuggle and I whispered goodnight to them and headed to bed…but first another trip to the bathroom. Ugh.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh Bunny, it's going to be OKAY!

This morning George and Bongo came over to say hello. I saw Bongo's nerve-damaged leg curled tightly against his body as he walked towards me. He walks with a wobble, but he doesn't let that stop him. He came over and laid down on the floor next to me. He rolled over and showed me his belly. He got up and laid against my lap and purred deeply. Oh crap, another cat to fall in love with!

Bunny is still scared, but I know she'll come around. It hasn't even been 24-hours yet and we all need time to get used to all the changes.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Doomed. I'm doomed!

I need to MOVE fast and get these cats adopted. I'm going to have to walk a fine line between being friendly and emotionally distant or I'm going to have nine cats again…or ten…oh crap! I'm doomed.

The Unbearable Cuteness of (little) Beings

I can't take it.

Two of Winnie's kittens are here. The others are with their foster mom in a neighboring town, waiting to be spayed/neutered in two weeks. Because Charly and Buttons had their procedures last week, they're ready to find their forever homes.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Buttons (left) and Charly (right).

The problem is they're so cute I can't stand the idea of them leaving.

To make matters worse they're great kittens. I don't know what foster mom Donna does, but whatever it is, these kittens are warm, loving, gentle and sweet.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

The first night they were here their little bodies shook with fear. They were scared in their new environment without their mama, Winnie, to look after them. I stayed with them for a long while, petting them, giving them treats, comforting them. They responded by purring and leaning into my hands.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I always feel guilty about separating the kittens from their mama, but it must be done. Winnie was spayed. She has a home with Donna. She's had at least three litters of kittens-three litters too many. She's done her time. It's time for her to recover and enjoy life without the burden of pregnancy in a home that will treat her with compassion and respect (and lots of love, too).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Charly thinking so hard his tongue came out.

Charly and Buttons have only been here for a few days, but if I could I'd spend day and night with them. I'm a sucker for long haired cats and it's rare that I ever get any to foster. In a way that's probably a good thing or I fear I'd have a zillion more “foster fail” cats and many fewer adoptions.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I keep torturing myself. Who would be good enough to adopt these kittens?

Within an hour of posting the kittens on Petfinder, I had 4 offers to adopt them. As with all our foster kittens, I'll be careful to review each application and hopefully will find someone amazing. All I know is, whoever adopts these cats is going to be VERY LUCKY.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

My fear is that they won't get enough attention, that they will lose their sweetness if handled roughly. Am I saying our adopters do that? Certainly not, but once out of Donna's loving care, then mine, what will become of them?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I always have to push aside my fears when doing adoptions. There has to be a point where I let go. It's unbearable to look into their eyes and feel myself getting lost in their adorable faces. I struggle to turn away. I make myself think about my cats-the cats I made a commitment to who depend on me and need my love. I want to make excuses as to why these kittens can't be adopted just yet so I can have more time with them, but that's foolish, too. That's not how you run a cat rescue.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I savor their sweetness, their silly antics, their awkward movements not yet refined into that of a graceful adult. Their adult coats haven't come in yet and they have spiky hairs along their backs that indicate just how long their coats will be one day.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beautiful Buttons.

One day that I will not witness…

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What IS this?

In some ways it feels like I have a secret lover. I look at Charly and Buttons and I forget my troubles for awhile. It's an escape from tension in the house, the cats misbehaving, the bills growing. All I have to do is have fun and love them, guide them with a gentle hand and make sure their tummies are full. They don't have behavioral issues or diseases to treat (knock wood). They don't irritate me as my own cats sometimes do. It's the first blush of love and I'm certainly hooked. I feel reluctant to leave them to tend to the other cats. It's like going back to my husband after a whirlwind affair.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cat toy photobomb.

Reality kicks in and I move on to other things. I know they're upstairs playing or napping or looking out the window as the dried autumn leaves flicker past the window on a gust of wind.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Little hunter.

I find myself longing for our next meeting and trying to think of an excuse to go check on them. I know our time is running out. Soon they'll be adopted and all I'll have are these photos and my memories.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Is my butt too heavy for this cat cube?

Once in awhile the door to my heart opens. Each time the hinges grow more stiff and it's harder to open the door. I know the pain of letting them in, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I get to be around little beings at the best time of their life. I get to enjoy all the good stuff for awhile and it will revive me until the next time it happens.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello!

These are the ones who remind me that my capacity for love is infinite. It doesn't run out when I feel heartbreak. It always comes back full, complete and profound.

From the Ashes. Fire at Animlkind.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What remains after the fire and flood at Animalkind on May 1, 2012..

[If you missed it you can read Part One HERE and Part Two HERE]

We continued on to the fourth floor. It suffered the least amount of damage. The sheet rock was still intact. There were cats living here, too. Some of them had been kittens who had tested positive for Feline Leukemia. A few of the kittens died and the others couldn’t be near other cats until they had time to re-test negative. The surviving kittens had to sacrifice those first few months when they would have been the most adoptable. It would mean if they weren’t sick, they’d be adults who'd have a much tougher time getting adopted. It wasn’t fair, but it was the best that could be done for them.

There were many cats walking around the large sun-soaked space. It was too warm and the cats were lying stretched out on scant blankets that were scattered around the rooms. A few cats came over to me. Clearly they were sick. I didn’t judge Katrin. I would have done the same thing. She could have put them all down to save her the headache of trying to see them through this, but she didn’t.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet kitty finds comfort in a simple box.

Katrin had a difficult time walking through the building that had come to mean so much to her. This place was her life and her life was in shambles at her feet. I told her to imagine the day when she walked up the stairs and she could smell freshly painted walls; to imagine the cats running freely around the rooms, enjoying their release from captivity. My mother often said; “This too shall pass.” I knew it was true for Animalkind, the problem was—WHEN. When would it pass?

 

The insurance company has been slow to provide the funds to get the re-building started. The agent had a heart attack. There were other delays. Each day revealed another frustration for Katrin and her staff.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Lovely architectural bones, but not so comfortable for the kitties.

We returned to Animalkind’s temporary headquarters at the Warren Inn. The phone rang. Katrin was called over to speak to the person making the call. At last there was some good news–the power in the building was hooked up! All they needed was a final inspection, which could happen very soon. Katrin spoke to the caller at a rapid pace and as soon as she hung up the phone, she lifted the receiver and made more calls. She was on the phone as a volunteer brought in an injured snowshoe kitten AK had agreed to rescue from the notorious Animal Care & Control in NYC (notorious for euthanizing zillions of cats and dogs every day). The kitten was stunning, but supposedly suffered from a broken hip. She sat in the cardboard carrier and meowed. A cat carrier was also brought into the room with two young kittens, also from ACC&C. Just because their building was gone, didn't mean Katrin was going to stop rescuing cats.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Quarantine kitty.

I overheard Katrin speaking with a volunteer to ask them to go buy as many fans as she could. She also wanted screens for those windows-ASAP. She was going to make certain the cats in quarantine were more comfortable now that they had their power restored.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sick ward patient enjoying one of the few comfortable places in the building.

With all the activity of volunteers and calls, I decided I should head back home. A foster mom entered the room with her kitten, Tatanka (which means Buffalo in Indian). Tatanka’s eyes were like orange saucers as he looked around the room. He couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 weeks old. Something happened to him, but so far their Vet couldn’t determine whether it was a neurological problem like Cerebeluar Hypoplasia or an injury. Initially, the kitten couldn’t walk at all, but with his foster mom's care he was starting to use his back legs and could stand up for short bursts.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tatanka with his Stretch & Scratch.

She jangled a toy in front of him and he looked at it oddly. There was something not working right in his mind, you could tell by his expression. I found myself wanting to take him home with me. His cuteness factor was set really high and the fact that he was a bit wobbly and needed extra help made him even more adorable.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet ginger boy.

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I’d brought with me the donation of Stretch and Scratch scratchers, which Katrin LOVED. She and I hung them in most of the cages and right away the kittens started to use them. Some of the adults were too scared to try them out, no doubt stressed from their months of captivity (they DO give each cat a break outside of their cage as often as possible).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tuxedo kitty in the sick ward.

It was time to head out. I said my farewells and wished good luck to Tatanka. As I walked to my car, I felt heavier. The struggles and the suffering of these good people and sweet cats effected me deeply. It’s one thing to read a story about a disaster, but it’s another thing to stand up and get involved even if you’re not confident you can do anything to make it better.

 

The one thing I am confident about is that even though I have my own struggles, failures and fears that I only truly feel happy when I help someone else.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Oz is a super sweet kitty looking for his forever home.

Katrin called me a few days ago to give me another update, but before she told me the latest news, she had to tell me something else. She said that what I’ve done, getting donations for them, coming up to do a story about Animalkind, meant a lot to her.

This stoic, lioness choked up as she spoke. I suddenly understood why what I did effected her so deeply. I understood what she was going through on so many levels—everyone wants something from her when she’s at the lowest point in her life and here was a stranger showing up to help, without asking for anything in return and not making her life more difficult, but better.

She told me she regretted that I didn’t live closer so we could get to know each other better and I felt the same way, too.

 

 

It reminds me that we need to look out for each other, whether we’re strangers or best friends. That one person with only a few bucks to her name can make a difference in someone else’s life that maybe helps them get through another day. Each and every one of us has that power and frankly, that duty. Without even considering “what about me” I got a great gift. It’s so much more meaningful when it comes without feeling like it’s even needed.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tatanka sits up on his own!

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© 2010 Mark Westscott Studios. Animalkind before the tragic loss of their shelter.

Update: After all these months, MAYBE just MAYBE construction is going to begin in two weeks. They have an expert coming in to review the spaces in their building and help them set it up so that it will be the best environment for the cats AND the safest from a health standpoint so they can keep their cat population from spreading illnesses.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the many kittens at Animalkind.

THEY’RE LOOKING FOR HELP RIGHT NOW FOR THOSE OF YOU WITH THE FOLLOWING SKILLS. (Animalkind is located in HUDSON, NEW YORK-about 2 hours north of New York City)

• an Architect who can help with designing the new spaces

• Solo Construction workers OR someone who owns a construction company to help them rebuild

• Stone Masons who can help with their garden

• Carpenters who can help them build out their new rooms

Of course, like any rescue, they need financial donations or donations of goods. You can visit their Network for Good donation page to donate OR you can contact AnimalKind at 518-822-8643 or email: katrin@animalkind.info to arrange for a donation of goods or services.

Donate

 

Don't forget: If you'd like to gift AnimalKind more scratchers (they LOVE THEM), please go HERE to get their shipping information. You can get a SPECIAL DISCOUNT of 10% off on any size case of Stretch and Scratch scratchers, plus you get reduced shipping. Use CODE: CATS to get the discount!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tatanka casts his cute-spell on us.

The final update is that Tatanka is ready to be adopted! I’m not clear on the status of his current medical condition, but I believe he'll still need some Vet visits and possibly physical therapy to be well. If you’re interested in adopting Tatanka or finding out more about him contact Animalkind at the same numbers above or fill out an adoption application.

Adoption Update: Bluebelle & Periwinkle

Two days ago I got food poisoning, for which I'm still recovering from and today I have my “lady cramps from Hell.” I just want to curl up in a ball and die…that is until I read this e-mail from our adopter Stacy and her lovely family about our former fosters, Bluebelle & Periwinkle.

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©2011 Maria S. Amberly with her six lovely babies last summer.

I LOVE getting updates from our adopters. It makes my heart soar! This update, is especially wonderful in its' detail and description of how well loved these kittens are and how well they're doing. It makes me think back and realize I'm so very happy that when Maria called me about a lactating cat she found on the road early one summer morning, I didn't hesitate to tell her we'd do whatever it takes to help this kitty-not knowing there were five kittens whose lives were at stake, too. I couldn't have done that without ALL the folks who donated towards the care of this family as well as to Bobby Stanford and Maria for working so hard to get them whatever they needed until I could take them into foster care in Conntecticut.

Blue and Peri were this friendly stray's (who Maria named, Amberly) kittens…yes, the same Amberly who recently went missing for a few days in April (and who my friend Katherine found!) and the same Amberly who was part of the most amazing rescue, ever! You can read more about it HERE and HERE, along with some really AWESOME photos of their rescue, too!

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©2011 Maria S. Bluebelle rescued by Maria!

You must also read the CRAZY STORY about how we ended up meeting Bobby and Maria at BlogPaws 2011 and taking the kittens just before Hurricane Irene hit!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bluebelle (left), Jack LiLac (center) and Periwinkle (right) just before Jack and mama-Amberly were adopted together.

This family was unforgettable. Here's the update on Blue and Peri!

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Dear Robin,

As we close in on the girl’s first birthday, I thought I’d write again to let you know how they’ve grown- both physically and in our hearts.

Recently I saw you updated your background picture and our beloved Bluebelle was one of the beauties featured. It struck me how much her face has changed yet her eyes are still as beautiful as when she captured our heart as a kitten. I call her my opera kitty because not only is she still as dramatic as ever but the right side coloring of her face has gotten much whiter, like the phantom mask. If you heard her meow you’d swear she was still very much a kitten. Walk into the room and she’s on her back begging for you to brush her or rub her tummy. She has grown much closer with my soon-to-be 13 year old daughter which is quite a feat since as some 13 year old girls are wont to do, she would much rather read, draw or surf the net than interact with anyone. When Alexandra is near ready for school each morning, Blue will meow to her until my daughter says, “okay, let’s go!” and the two of them will run upstairs for cuddle and play time before the bus comes. Alexandra left for a two day field trip to Boston just yesterday and when I expressed surprise over her parting tears, she answered, “I’m going to miss Bluebelle SO MUCH!”

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©2012 Stacy Nunes-Ranchy. Bluebelle, whose first birthday is in a few days.

As for our sweet Periwinkle, she’s known as “Momma’s cat”. As you had warned me, I’ve had to watch the way I walk because often there is a cat in between each step. You’ll get no complaints from me though, she’s excellent company. Much more dog than cat some days, she loves to fetch and follows my ‘up, up’ command when I can steal some cuddles-on-the-bed time with her. If there’s a moment that she knows I’m home but isn’t sure where I am, any time I answer her cry (which sounds remarkably like ‘hello?’) she’ll come meet me, usually with a toy to share. Her favorite toy isn’t even a cat toy but a bath poof shaped like a rose that she’ll take in her mouth and walk around the house, announcing to all through muffled meow that she hopes someone will toss it for her. Peri’s look hasn’t changed as much as Blue’s, at least not in her face, although both girls are showing more peach than they did as kittens. Their coat is still super soft and when anyone remarks on it, I happily inform them that it is because of the kitties’ grain-free diet.

A few months ago while my husband was on one of his many overseas business trips, we had a field mouse in the house and while it survived its first encounter with the kitties, it never got a third chance to play. They were playful with it at first, taking turns with capture and release, but when I had had enough and tried to get it from them, Blue put it out of its misery. There were lots of cuddles, treats and expressions of gratitude that day!

Much like my human children, these kitty sisters have such different personalities. Bluebelle is very content to lie around, soak in the sun and be fussed over. Periwinkle enjoys a cuddle but loves to play with such gusto. Their kitty spats, are very brief and usually end in mutual grooming, it’s quite funny to see them go from wrestling right into cuddles.

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©2012 Stacy Nunes-Ranchy. Happy Birthday, Periwinkle!

If it isn’t already apparent by this (longer than I usually spend writing about anything else) email, let me say that these girls are truly a part of this family. We’re forever grateful that we came across Kitten Associate’s website when we did. I’ve included two pictures of the girls (I hope they’re not too large) so you can see how they’ve grown. Although we certainly wish it could be much more, we will be making a donation to your organization for Peri and Blue’s 1st birthday as thanks for bringing these lovely girls into our life.

With much appreciation for all you do,

Stacey, Bruno, Alexandra, Amélie, Perriwinkle and Bluebelle

It's Good Mews for Miss Fluffy Pants Part 1 of 2

Just before Valentine's Day we took in a friendly stray kitty who was living outdoors at a Palette Factory in McDonough, GA. Our volunteer, Bobby, who alerted us to this kitty's plight, asked me to name her so the Vet could get her spayed and create her medical records. I called her Miss Fluffy Pants, thinking I'd change the name later, but the name stuck.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. MissFP at her former "home" at the Palette Factory.

You can read more MissFP's back story HERE, but the short version is, MissFP has FIV+ which basically turned this sweet kitty into a rescue-roadblock for us. My rescue, Kitten Associates, doesn't have a lot of resources and space in my one foster home in Georgia is at a minimum. If I couldn't find MissFP a home, she'd take the only space we had and prevent us from helping any more cats until we helped her. That meant saying no to the requests I got to help kittens who are being born in the thousands in the south.

I asked around and got a lot of “sorry, no's” then East Coast Maine Coon Rescue was willing to do a courtesy post about her, but we didn't get any applications. I asked other big shelters in Georgia and didn't even get a reply. FIV+ cats, though the virus is not easily spread from cat to cat (only through a deep, penetrating bite wound), makes them tough to adopt. Add to that MissFP is black-which especially in the south makes it even harder to find her a home.

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©2012 Maria S. Miss Fluffy Pants.

The goal, as it is with ALL our foster cats, was to figure out a way to get her to my home and hopefully find her a placement in Connecticut, but I was getting requests to help local kittens and I had to say yes. MissFP would have to wait and so would our other adult cat, King. Because King so easy going Maria allowed him to share space in her home with her resident cats and it wasn't a problem for him to remain there for longer than usual. MissFP spent her days in a bathroom behind a closed door while Maria was at work. It wasn't a great life for MissFP and I felt terrible about it.

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©2012 Maria S. A good sign ahead...

I kept looking for help or a home for MissFP. I did NOT want her to go to a sanctuary, never to have a forever home. MissFP loves people and is okay with other cats, but prefers humans. For a short time I thought we found a forever home right in Atlanta for MissFP, but the person backed out at the last minute-just hours before MissFP was going to be taken to her new home. We were all devastated. MissFP went back to her cat tree in the bathroom and I went back to scratching my head, feeling torn between resentment and anger at myself. I loved MissFP even if it was only from afar and I didn't care that she had FIV+, I just wanted her to have a loving home, but it just wasn't happening.

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©2012 Maria S. The interior at Good Mews.

I was resigned to the fact that MissFP was ours for a long time to come and many little kittens were never going to see the light of day because our foster space was full. That's just how it was. It wasn't MissFP's fault. Even if she wasn't in our Program, we'd still only be able to help one litter of kittens at a time.

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©2012 Maria S. How true.

I got an email from Michelle, one of the Board of Directors at Good Mews. She wondered if I could help her find a rescue or sanctuary to help a cat named Clover who was testing positive for Feline Leukemia. I did what I could and gave her some suggestions. For the heck of it I asked her if there was any way she could help me with MissFP. Her answer shocked me. She had to check with some of the staff, but she was pretty sure they COULD HELP US! She'd write me back to confirm. All I had to do was WAIT and hold my breath. Was this the answer we'd been searching for for so long?

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©2012 Maria S. I think they understand what Jackson Galaxy refers to when he talks about the importance of building a “cat superhighway.”

At the time I didn't know much about Good Mews, other than that they were one of the biggest cat rescues in Georgia and that they help rescues out of state, too. They have the manpower and sometimes they have the space to take on another cat to the 100 or so currently in residence.

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©2012 Maria S. The view from within.

After hearing rumors that another huge cat shelter in Georgia shut down intake due to having 150 kittens, I was flat out stunned that Good Mews would even consider taking on MissFP. Not only that, but they were just as careful about placing their cats as I was.

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©2012 Maria S. One of the cat's at Good Mews who's looking for a great home. This is HoneyBee on Petfinder!

I felt like I let MissFP down. It's a failure for us to not be able to find Miss FP a forever home, but it's always been difficult for us to place adults. Take Mazie for example. She was here for 14 months before she got her forever home. I know I shouldn't beat myself up, but I still feed badly. I'll never get to meet MissFP nor have the joy of meeting her new family. I will, however, be glad knowing that we have space in Maria's home for the 3 kittens she rescued last month. They'll no longer have to live in a ferret cage, but will have decent space to run and play.

Now if Good Mews would just call and tell me their answer is YES!

To be continued…

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 2 of 3

 

WARNING: THERE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF BOBETTE'S SURGERY IN PART TWO OF THIS POST. WHILE THEY ARE NOT CLOSE UP OR VERY GORY, PLEASE VIEW WITH DISCRETION. THIS IS PART TWO-YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

 

The monitor attached to Bobette continued to beep in a steady rhythm as Dr. Mixon prepared to make the first incision into her left rear leg. I held my breath as he pressed the scalpel blade into her flesh. For some reason I expected a lot of blood to shoot out all over the room. I guess I've watched one too many horror movies.

The skin gave way, with little blood escaping from the opening. Right away I felt sick to my stomach. It was partly due to having only had some apple juice for breakfast; I first thought, but as the Dr. kept working the blade, it dawned on me that this thing he was cutting into looked a lot like a raw chicken leg. It was deeply disturbing to me to be hit with the mixed emotions of my brain recognizing “food” versus my conscious mind being completely DISGUSTED with myself for even thinking that. I wanted to throw up. It was clear to me why Dr. Mixon is a vegan. I started to seriously think about giving up meat, myself, but never thought I had the fortitude to stick with it. Maybe now I did.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The first incision.

Dr. Mixon was very focused on what he was doing. I focused on staying out of the way. The Tech was at attention, ready to hand him something or adjust the lamps. I learned that once the patient was draped, the area that was blue was NOT to be TOUCHED or even LEANED over. Being a chubby monkey, who is far from a limber ballerina, I was even more worried that any second now I'd crash into something and take the contents of a shelf down with me. The room just had enough space for all of us and the equipment. I also didn't want to distract Dr. Mixon so I just stood still and tried not to want to sit down. We'd already been on our feet for a few hours and had a long while yet to go, but my back complained. The Tech stretched her legs and arms. I guess I wasn't the only one who was already getting tired.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm not sure what Dr Mixon is doing here. Eww!

An alarm sounded on the monitor. Bobette's blood pressure was too low. This is the part in the TV show when someone yells; “Code Blue! Get the paddles!”

I asked what was going on. If Bobette was OK. Dr. Mixon looked at the monitor and said casually; “the monitor isn't always accurate…maybe Bobette's lines are kinked.”

Or maybe Bobette was going to DIE ANY SECOND! OHMYGOD!!!! I wanted to jump out of my skin while the Tech peeked under the layers of blue fabric to check on Bobette. She acknowledged that things looked all right, but Dr. Mixon quickly had her adjust the settings on the amount of fluid that was going into her IV as the monitor alarm kept going off. I bit my tongue, but I wanted to yell; “DO SOMETHING YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE HER!”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Code orange! Watch that blood pressure!

But again, this was not new to them as it was to me. Bobette's pressure went up very slightly. Dr. Mixon told me not to worry, but I worried anyway. Bobette wasn't his cat. (Of course this is where I start wondering what the heck I'm doing in an operating room in the first place.)

Eventually her pressure went up to with an acceptable range. I thought about how fragile Bobette was at this moment. The twist of a dial, a kink in a tiny plastic line into her front leg, could mean her death. Thinking about this put me on edge even more.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Suturing up the leg.

As Dr. Mixon teased some of the muscle out of the way, looking for Bobette's kneecap, he made some familiar sounds. I was transported back in time to my childhood, when my dad was trying to fix the faucet. I was to hold the tools and hand them to him when he asked. He must have realized he forgot a part or encountered something he didn't expect because he unleashed a torrent of profanity. While Dr. Mixon is far more reserved, I could tell from his sighs and grunts that he was having difficulty. As he worked, he began to describe what he saw.

Bobette was in far worse shape than we anticipated. Her patella, may never have been in place or was not in place for very long. There was no groove in the joint for her kneecap to float into. He had to use a small saw to shape a space for the kneecap to go. He also said her leg had twisted outward as she grew, so the muscles that wrapped around the leg were very out of place. Ideally, what should happen is her femur should be cut through and turned into the correct position-this was NOT something we could do in a few hours time and with only one tech. I imagined the recovery time from doing that would be very difficult, as well.

What he could do was after creating the groove for the kneecap, he would re-work how the muscles attached, pinning them down in places with nylon sutures, which would never dissolve and would permanently keep the muscles from popping back out and into their old position.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All sutured up. Whew.

He used a chisel, then some sort of uber-nail clippers to trim away some bone. Each sound made me shiver. To me it looked like he was just carving up her leg and I couldn't imagine that what he was doing would help her at all. How would she ever walk on that leg after what he did? I also thought about Bobette. She was going to be in immense pain when she woke up. He kept teasing the muscles to release them in some areas. I didn't look too closely and just tried to take photos to get my mind off what he was doing.

It was nearly 2pm and we had started around 10:30am. Dr. Mixon had to pick his son up from school to take him to the Doctor. I offered to go get him, but of course, I can't due to security issues. Dr. Mixon said (thank goodness) that he did not want to rush the surgery so I left the operating room and got his phone. He had the Tech dial a number and put the phone on “speaker.” I guess he called his ex-wife who was not too happy to hear from him. I felt really guilty, but I also didn't want him to rush. He had done as much as he could, but needed time to suture Bobette's leg. As with everything else, it took a lot longer than I expected it would, but Dr. Mixon was very careful about making sure everything was done properly.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wait…STAPLES, too? EEK!

The monitor kept on beeping. I glanced over and saw that all Bobette's vitals were within safe limits. As Dr. Mixon finished suturing he swore. The kneecap had already moved out of place. He was able to get it back by pushing it in place, which he hadn't been able to do before the surgery. I asked him what her prognosis was and he wasn't very optimistic.

He thought it was likely her patella would pop back out. Perhaps it would not pop out too far and would pop back into place; he wasn't sure. I asked if she was going to lose her leg-soemthing I had feared all along. He said yes, probably, but not right now. My heart sank. After all this work to have it fail before she even got off the operating table was very disappointing. That said, we really had to wait and see.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor baby!

The biggest hurdle now was to keep Bobette from bending her leg-at any cost. Bend the leg and the surgery was going to fail. She had to keep that leg straight for a week, at least.

But first things first-Bobette had to wake up from surgery. She'd been out for hours. We were all really tired from being on our feet for so long. Dr. Mixon left us to clean up the room. The Tech did most of the cleaning and I stayed with Bobette. We had to furiously rub her to get her to wake up after all the life support was removed. She was left her intubated until she swallowed for the first time. I don't know why that is, but I do know it took a long time for her to be ready for the tube to come out. I worried she wasn't going to wake up.

Once she was awake, she was very crabby and started moaning. It was difficult and frightening to hold her down. She started to thrash violently in her cage and I called out for help. I was so worried she would break her leg she was writhing around so hard. We wrapped her in a towel like a kitty-burrito. She quieted down, but moaned a great deal more earnestly. I held her paw and told her it was going to be all right. I could only imagine how terrible she had to be feeling at that moment. I wondered if it was all in vain. I prayed it would work out in time.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waking up after surgery. Poor sweetie.

We gave Bobette another pain killer and she quieted down. The Tech said it was okay for me to go home-which I did gladly.

I got home around 4pm and finally had something to eat. As I started to unwind, my eyelids grew heavy. I dragged myself upstairs, took off some of my clothes and fell, exhausted into bed. I slept until 7pm-the beep…beep…beep of the monitor still ringing in my ears.

…up next…part three, Bobette's Post Op Life…stay tuned…

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 1 of 3

 

WARNING: THERE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF BOBETTE'S SURGERY IN PART TWO OF THIS POST. WHILE THEY ARE NOT CLOSE UP OR VERY GORY, PLEASE VIEW WITH DISCRETION.

 

THIS IS PART ONE SO YOU'RE SAFE.

It's rather ironic that there's so much going on in my life to write about, yet I don't have time to write any of it down. Meanwhile the days slip by and the details become a bit fuzzy around the edges.

Last week marked the first time I'd ever witnessed anything more than a spay surgery. It was time for Bobette to have surgery to (hopefully) correct her luxated patella. The poor girl couldn't walk without limping. Her kneecap was so far out of place it was a wonder she could run or jump at all. She mostly used her other legs for jumping and if she got really inspired to go after a toy, her back end would slip out from under her when she ran. Clearly, she needed help, but there was no guarantee she would ever walk normally again. Getting a kneecap back in place is one thing, but to get it to STAY in place is another.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's future home while she recovers with commentary from her boys, Jakey & Mikey.

There was much to do to prep for Bobette's life after surgery. Dr. Mixon, her Vet, wanted her to have cage rest for three weeks, so I got out my biggest dog crate and set it up, not realizing I was making a big mistake. I'd never had a cat with an invasive surgery on a limb to recover from-of course I'd cared for Bob after 1/2 of his liver was removed just a year ago, but all I had to do for him was make sure he was eating and staying quiet on his heated bed. With Bobette, I'd have to keep her from moving at all costs. I hated to lock her up in a cage, and force her to wear the “cone of shame,” but she had to rest.

In the first week, should Bobette be able to bend her leg at all, she would ruin the surgery and her kneecap would pop back out. We had to give it time to set in it's new position and that meant a lot of sitting around. For a year old cat, who wants to play, that was a lot to ask for.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The welcome committee at Dr. Mixon's practice. Look familiar?

The morning of the surgery I was feeling hopeful, but scared. I thought I'd be sitting in the waiting room until they finished up, but Dr. Mixon came out and asked me, or was it told me?, I should come back and see the surgery. My heart dropped into my pants. ME? Watch? Even though I watch all those ER “reality” shows on TV, I ALWAYS look away when they get into the gory surgery scenes. There was no looking away from this, but could I handle it without throwing up or fainting?

I didn't realize I'd have to help out, which is not a problem at all, especially considering Dr. Mixon was doing the surgery for about $2000.00 less than an Orthopedic surgeon would have charged. Dr. Mixon is a General Practitioner, not a specialist, but he admittedly enjoys doing orthopedic procedures and another friend said her dog did well after Dr. M. did a similar surgery on him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Last pets before surgery.

Bobette was sitting in her cat carrier, her pupils dilated. She hadn't had breakfast-of course-because anesthesia can cause the cat to vomit and you don't want her to aspirate anything into her lungs and get pneumonia. It's better not to have a full tummy (but you tell that to the cat!). Two days before we'd been in this same waiting room together, but only to get Bobette's pre-operative blood work done so we could make sure she'd be healthy enough for surgery. With three people holding her down, there was no way to get her blood, so we had to hope that being so young she'd be fine under anesthesia-this is not something I'm happy to report. I'm sure as we sat together, Bobette was getting very tense, probably reliving what happened those few days prior and I wondered if she'd become so fractious that we'd be able to do the surgery at all.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being given something to relax her a bit, Bobette and I share a few moments before her surgery prep begins.

I brought her into the back of the Practice and sat her on an exam table. The Vet tech was getting supplies ready and I asked her to walk me through what was going to happen next and what she'd want me to do. Mostly I had to just hold Bobette down and not lose any fingers in the process but I kept thinking' “I'm a Graphic Designer! I'm a Graphic Designer. I'm NOT A VET TECH! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!”.

I took the lead and spoke very calmly to Bobette. I didn't restrain her very tightly. We were very quiet as we worked on her. It wasn't difficult at all to give Bobette a few shots. One was to relax her so we could insert the IV, which would be in place during surgery and provide her with fluids. The other was the dreaded Metacam, which I challenged Dr. M. on giving her because it's known to cause renal failure. He quickly pushed back and said it was safe if she was kept hydrated. I was really tweaked that he gave it to her after all I'd heard about it killing cats more than helping them, but what could I do? Now I'm thinking we'll have to do a post op-blood test to see if she's ok.

I held Bobette down so the Tech could insert an IV into her leg. I was really feeling like a traitor. Here is this sweet cat. I don't know her very well, but I still care about her. She's scared, drugged up and only at the beginning of what is going to be a very awful day. I couldn't blame Bobette as she pitched a fit and shrieked as the Tech tried to shave her front leg. Try as we might, we couldn't get her to settle down so it was decided she needed to be gassed so she would just konk out.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I will never look at another storage tub the same way again, ever. I was not a happy camper seeing this.

The Tech grabbed a plastic storage tub with holes cut into either end. One end was taped up and the other was open. She attached a hose to the open end, then had me place Bobette inside the bin. She barely fit. I started to realize maybe this is what they do to kill cats at shelters? I wanted to grab the box, get Bobette out and RUN for it. This just seemed inhumane, but what do I know about this---nothing other than it really bothered me to see this happening.

The Tech snapped down the lid and turned a dial allowing the gas to enter the box. Bobette didn't fuss at all and in a few minutes was slumped down, oblivious to the world around her. It's VERY UNNERVING to see an unconscious cat. They might as well be dead, because it's not much different. I kept wondering how anyone could do this to animals every day and not have nightmares each night.The Tech told me she was going to remove the lid FAST. I had to get Bobette out of the box, then run with the box into a back room and NOT BREATHE ANYTHING IN OR I WOULD PASS OUT, TOO.

YIKES!

I told her to do a countdown and on…“1” we jumped into action. I couldn't be distracted by Bobette being so limp. I put her down, grabbed the box and ran off, making sure the lid didn't come back off. I was weirdly tempted to open the lid and take a big sniff so I had a reason not to see the surgery, but I figured I would hit my head when I passed out, too. Probably not the best idea.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being intubated, the IV is set. Bobette is completely out of it, thankfully.

Then began a very long process of preparing Bobette's leg for surgery. I kept wondering how long she could be unconscious without it doing her harm. The Tech asked me to adjust a light or hold something or get this or that. She began to shave Bobette and we discovered she has very odd fur. It grows in different directions and was difficult to trim down close to her skin. I noticed that Bobette has a tuft of fur on her neck that reminds me of Alfalfa from the Our Gang show (It's probably before your time, so here's a link )

Shave.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette gets a furcut.

Poor Bobette. I just wanted to take her home, but the surgery hadn't even begun. She looked so helpless laying on the table. I whispered to her that it was going to be okay. I hoped it wasn't a lie. A monitor nearby beeped every time her heart beat. As long as we heard the beep, she was okay.

Bobette intubated.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Aww..Bobette!

Bobette's leg was wiped down a few times. Dr. Mixon saw what the Tech was doing and stopped her. She missed a spot on Bobett's leg right under the tape that held her leg in place. She had to shave it down and re-do all the antiseptic wipes, which again, Dr. Mixon corrected, making certain that the area where the sugary was being done was NOT getting wiped over twice. Even though it took a lot of time, I was glad he was a stickler for keeping things clean.

Cleaning her leg.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. iping down her leg. Make it nice and clean.

So far, so good. I was on my feet. I hadn't passed out. Okay, no blood yet, either. Sheesh! I got this far, I need some credit.

Leg Prepared.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All set. What's next?

Bobette was fine so far. I was fine, too, but was glad I wasn't attached to a heart monitor because everyone would know just how scared I was. Bobette's monitor kept beeping along…beep…beep…beep.

Dr Mixon Enters.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Mixon begins his part of the prep work.

Then Dr. Mixon began draping Bobette with layers of cloth that would allow him to focus only on her leg and also to keep the surgical area cleaner. I kept thinking that surely he was done, but he'd add another layer. Then he slipped a small sock over Bobette's leg and cut a hole into it which was over the area where he'd be making the incision. After he created the opening, he quickly sutured around the edges of the opening so the fabric would stay in place. This was the final task he had before he could get started.

Robin Scrubbed In.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Paging Dr. Robin! Does this mask make my face look fat?

He was very focused and there was little talking. The only sound was the beeping of the monitor. Dr. Mixon looked up for a moment and said; “Now you know why these surgeries cost so much money.” And even before he made one cut, I understood. The prep work took at least an hour if not more. When he was done, Bobette the cat was gone and in her place was an alien leg sprouting from a field of pale green sterile sheets.

Ready for Surgery.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Where's Bobette?

…stay tuned for Part Two: SURGERY…next.

Happy (Orange) New Year!

There's nothing better than to start the New Year off with a few cute photos of our sweet foster kitties; “Bob's Pumpkin Patch.” As you may know, one of our babies, little Teddy, was adopted just two days ago. These are the last photos of him before he went to his new home.

Instead of a long blog post, I hope you'll enjoy this photographic peek into my life with foster kitties.

Bobette and the Boys.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The boys with mama-Bobette (on far left), who often is confused for being a kitten, herself.

Bobettes Intense Stare.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Thanks to the generosity of one of our readers, last night Bobette's surgery was PAID FOR IN FULL! Thank you so very much! I can't wait for Bobette to be out of pain and walking normally.

Teddy Wonders about Being Adopted.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy. What a sweetheart. I miss him very much!

Mr Jakey.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The ever-gorgeous, Jakey! Pose for the camera!

Whiney Mikey.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mikey is always meowing. Wah! Wah! Wah!

Mikey boy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay, not always whining. Here he is again, looking a bit more somber.

Weeeeee copy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Fly high! Weeeee! (nice belly)

Tails.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I love all the stripey tails!

Bobette and Teddy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama and Teddy.

Da Boyz extra cool.jpg
©2011 Maria S. You've come a long way, babies!

Growing UP Orange.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Growing up to be big boys Teddy (left), Mikey (center) and Jakey (right).

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