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Maria to the Rescue

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©2012 Maria S. Chased up a tree by a Pit Bull, this kitty needed help-and FAST!

In the past week Maria, our amazing foster mom in Georgia, has kept running into cats who need a helping hand. My rescue, Kitten Associates, has offered to help take on every cat she's found so far. All but one of these cats came from the SAME property. To date we've rescued 5 kittens and one adult. Though we have few resources, we're making room. Somehow it will all sort out. We can't and won't look away when a cat needs us.

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©2012 Maria S. Maria-super-cat-lady to the rescue!

When Maria contacted me about a cat who was up a tree and needed rescue, I couldn't believe it. It seems this year more than any I can remember, there are cats coming out of the woodwork-and now are they raining down from above? There are so many kittens that are turning up alone on a neighbor's front steps-even my own cousin found one in her yard, lost and sick-so covered with ticks he almost died. Thankfully she was able to get him the care he needed in time and he will be going to a rescue in eastern CT today.


©2012 Maria S. & Robin A.F. Olson. You MUST listen to the voiceover on this cute video of Maria saving little Willow.

We had to act quickly. Maria, with the aid of her neighbor, whose voice over on the video below is quite amusing, managed to get the kitty down without too much trouble. Sadly, it was very clear that this kitty was sick. Flea covered, dirty, with a runny nose and tearing eyes. The cat kept gulping, a reflex from having too much mucus in her sinuses.

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©2012 Maria S. It looks like Willow is telling Maria she's scared.

We couldn't know if this was someone's cat. She was very friendly so she'd known humans, but where was her family? If she had one, why did they let her get so sick? Why was she so thin?

Maria looked at the cat's abdomen. Her nipples were a bit swollen. One expressed a tiny bit of milk. As Maria was relaying this information to me we both realized this could be another “Amberly”-a found friendly stray who had kittens in the area. Finding Amberly's kittens was truly a miracle, but could we do it again?

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©2012 Maria S. Getting some much needed rest.

I had Maria take the cat to the Vet. We'd sort everything out later. The Vet did the exam. The cat, who we named Willow (thanks to a suggestion by our friend Judy), just rolled over and wanted to be loved. She didn't care about being sick, she just wanted to be petted. This kitty was so darling we all fell in love with her on the spot.

The Vet didn't feel she was pregnant and if she had kittens she was mostly dried up to the point that they are probably weaned by now. Sadly, we have no idea where Willow came from, but the following day Maria did put a harness on the little cat and walked her around the area, hoping Willow would lead her to her family. None were found.


©2012 Maria S. Willow loves the Vet!

Maria also asked around the neighborhood, but no one had seen the cat before. Willow was either lost or dumped. Whatever happened to her, we'll keep her safe and hopefully in time she will recover from her illness. She's been too stuffed up to smell her food so Maria has syringe fed her for a few days. This morning she's starting to improve enough to eat some on her own. She's still rolling over to get belly rubs. Whoever had her must have been kind to her at some point.

I hope Maria doesn't find any more cats who need help. We're really full up and funds are low-even with the awesome amount of donations we just got in. We have to be careful so we'll have enough for everyone as their need arises.

 

Then Maria contacted me again…the little kitten she saw at the neighbor's house where we just helped 5 cats, is about nine months old now and is pregnant. Can we help her too? All I could say is; “We'll find a way…”

 

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©2012 Maria S. Another unsprayed female, barely a kitten herself, needs our help, too.

P.S. Maria gave me the OK to show her to all of you in her PJs. She was glad she wore the ones with the kitties on them.

The State of the Union of Kitties

After having to re-schedule three times over the past month, this morning I dragged my weary butt out of bed and took the Kittens in Black to visit the Vet. Sabrina and Black Beauty are getting spayed (as I write this) and the others are getting their Distemper Combo booster vaccination. Normally, I'd be assisting on the spay surgeries, but I admit to feeling grateful they didn't need me today. I've had the kittens since they were a week old. The idea of doing things to them that I know will make them uncomfortable and cause them pain is very difficult to accept. These procedures must be done, but can't I sit in the other room and not watch this time?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sabrina this morning before I took her to her spay appointment.

The kittens are growing rapidly and I need to get them all adopted soon before they lose that super cute kitten quality. The problem is I don't have time to get them adopted!

A week from today I'll be packing for my trip to Salt Lake City, Utah where I'll be a Speaker at BlogPaws. The only problem with this is: 1. I'm terrified of flying. Just thinking of it makes me want to throw up. The last time I flew this far was in 2000. 2. My computer hard drive died and I couldn't work for the past 4 days which puts me way behind schedule for getting things ready for the trip. 3. I got some freakish food poisoning a week ago and haven't been able to shake it (sorry for the almost gross pun). 4. I am so stressed out about traveling, not having enough time or money that I'm sure I'm making myself sicker and I'm not sleeping well (partially due to Jackson the cat's random early morning yowling).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't you want to adopt me?

The good news is that I'm up for TWO BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Awards and the event will be streamed live a week from Saturday! I don't know if you have to be a paid registrant to view the festivities, but once I find out I'll let you all know since it was all of YOU who got me the nominations for Best Meow Blog and Best Blog Writing!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dahlia wants money to buy a catnip tea. She's such a gold digger!

I'm trying to sort through applications and find good adopters. I really need an assistant. Between making calls to the adopters, the vets, doing a background check, then trying to co-ordinate home visits and having the adopters come here, get cats to the Vet and put them on Petfinder, leaves me little time for anything else. I've been trying to get volunteers, but I'm starting to wonder if I don't have a good gene for volunteer-finding. It's been over a year and I have one person I can count on to help with adoption events. I need to find time to get some volunteers..sort of ironic, now that I think about it.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie Patootie wants to know where breakfast is and why it's late (answer, you're going to the Vet, don't back talk your foster mom!).

I got an update on the Kittens in Black's mama, April. She's doing very well and has gained a FEW POUNDS now that she is on her own in foster care. April's been spayed and though her foster family loves her, they're not sure they can adopt her. I hope it works out for April because this family also adopted April's daughter, Bon Bon!

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©2012 Helen T. Bon Bon.

Bon Bon is doing very well and loves that she can spend time with her mother and her new friend, Wolfie (who is not too sure about Bon Bon but he's warming up to her). I'm told that Bon Bon is very confident, playful and affectionate.

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Our family in Georgia, Cami, the feral mama and her kittens Coco, ChiChi and Choco have also experienced a few changes.

Cami is feral. There was no warming up to her, though Maria tried very hard to work with Cami and to socialize her. We realized the best thing for Cami was to find her a guardian, but finding homes for feral cats can be a tall order to fill.

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©2012 Maria S. Cami, off to her new forever home-where she'll get three squares and a warm cot.

Because we recently changed the Vet we use in Georgia, Maria met with a Vet named Dr. Ann. Dr. Ann did the initial exam of Cami (if you want to call watching a cat fly around a room, hissing and spitting an exam) and told Maria that she'd recently had to put one of her barn cats down and was open to the idea of taking in another one.

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©2012 Maria S. We're all sad that Cami couldn't live indoors, but this is the best possible outcome for her. If she only knew how lucky she was!

It was too good to be true, so Maria and I vowed to keep quiet about it until Cami was ready to be spayed. We had her spayed last week and Dr. Ann took her to her home on Saturday. Cami didn't give Maria any trouble and Dr. Ann will keep Cami in a big crate in the barn for a few weeks so she'll get used to her new home. To have a Vet adopt one of our cats-especially one who is feral is simply outstanding! We're very grateful Dr. Ann was willing to take Cami on and now Cami will have a safe place to live and a full belly. She won't be left to fend for herself. It's a great outcome.

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©2012 Maria S. The gang. Coco, Choco and ChiChi (far right).

The kittens are doing well, though ChiChi remains very small and underweight. I'm hoping she'll catch up at some point, but her siblings are almost a pound heavier than she is and that does worry me. Maria tells me they all play and eat well. She de-wormed them (right, Maria?!) and otherwise they seem to be thriving.

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©2012 Maria S. Our little (and first!) flame point, Coco.

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Jackson Galaxy-the cat continues to yowl late at night or early in the morning, but each day it's less and less. He's attacked most of my cats at least once. I rarely ever see things heat up so I don't know who started it or why it's happening. My cats give him a lot of space, but I also see them sitting a foot away from him looking out the same window or sleeping not far apart. I see Jackson wanting to play, but some toys scare him. He loves to chase after a stuffed carrot cat toy or the laser pointer, but he doesn't like feathers or strings waved in his face.

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©2012 Maria S. Goofy Choco.

Jackson slept on the foot of the bed the other night, which was a very surprising sight. A few of my cats didn't come to bed that night, which wasn't very surprising. I realize they have to work out who gets what space and that takes time. Day to day things are better. Jackson's rough coat is getting silky. His feline acne is going away. He loves to give head butts and kisses and even let me pick him up for a few seconds, but he weighs almost 15 pounds so he's not so easy to lift him anyway.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson enjoying the view of the woods.

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And finally, King. King is doing well. We ordered his Leggings for Life to cover his back legs. King's back legs end an inch short and he has no back paws. We want to cover his back legs so the ends of the legs, which end in a callus, don't get scraped or bruised. Personally, I hope these things come in cool colors!

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©2012 Maria S. Belly rub, please!

King has been living with Maria's other cats and gets along great with all of them-even the dog! (you can read King's back story HERE and HERE) I still can't believe this handsome boy came from living outdoors on his own at a palette factory!

I'm hoping that King's forever home is out there and will find him soon. King's been waiting for six months, but until the time for him to go to his family, at least he's safe and happy and getting a requisite number of belly rubs each day.

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

We Need Your Nomination & Help Us Win $10,000 for Kitten Associates!

Do you know what time it is? It's DogTime Media's Pet Blog Award season, featuring the coveted Pettie® Awards—which fall into TEN categories this year!

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Last year, thanks to YOUR votes and devotion, Covered in Cat Hair was honored with a Pettie for Best Cat Blog! I have to admit I was shocked, thrilled and humbled to win. It means a lot to me that what I do makes a difference in your lives-so thank you again!

We don't stand a CHANCE to be considered for a Pettie Award this year unless YOU NOMINATE US RIGHT NOW. Go to http://petties.dogtime.com/ballots/new to enter your nominations. You can vote once per day until June 29, 2012 so keep voting!

We're crossing our paws to be nominated in the following categories:

Best Cat Blog: http://coveredincathair.com/

Best Rescue/Cause Blog: http://coveredincathair.com/

Best Blog Post: Some of our favorites: Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 1. (the first part of a series of the most wacky and wild 4 hours of my life) or choose It Had to be You (an amazing and surprising story of adoption) or choose: Saving Leo (the shocking and uplifting tale of a critically ill, Feline Leukemia positive, stray cat who discovered a team of Guardian Angels were on his side just when he needed them most).

Best Use of Social Media: http://coveredincathair.com/

While we also feel we •might• be worthy-ish of other categories-we actually feel others do it better and make the following suggestions:

Funniest Blog or Blogger: Angie Bailey of http://www.catladyland.net/

Best Designed Blog: We're torn between Kate Benjamin's ModernCat and Deb Barnes' Zee and Zoey Chronicle Connection

Best Overall Pet Blog: We're torn between Ingrid King's The Conscious Cat and JaneA Kelley's Paws & Effect

Best Dog Blog: What? Do you really think we'd know that? You don't have to fill out EVERY category to vote!

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As you vote, you'll notice a field to fill out your nomination for: Shelter Nomination for $10K Pre-Petties Donation Contest. Though we realize most folks support a favorite shelter in their hometown…

…we hope you'll consider including Kitten Associates as your shelter nomination along with your nomination for awards. Winning a donation of $10,000.00 could literally change our ability to help more cats overnight!

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

Not even a day passed and I got the confirmation. Good Mews would take MissFP into their Program and find her a forever home! Could we bring Miss FP to them in two days?

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©2012 Maria S. and Chris Cumpton (inset). Meet Macadamia. She was living at an apartment complex with 8 other cats. People where throwing rocks at them and one hit them with a tennis racket. If that wasn't bad enough, they were being poisoned. Mac was VERY lucky to be rescued from this awful place. Mac is NOT on Petfinder just yet, but if you CALL GOOD MEWS they can give you more info on this young lady. She's spayed and LOVES to be loved and sit on your lap. What more could you want?

On Saturday, Maria brought MissFP to Good Mews Animal Foundation in Marietta, Georgia. Little did I know how VERY lucky we all were that Good Mews offered us a placement. I had no idea that Good Mews has been in operation for over 24 years and is the oldest, cage-free, No-Kill cat shelter in Georgia. Since they opened their doors, Good Mews has placed over 6,500 cats into loving homes!

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©2012 Maria S.

Not only that, but Good Mews has special programs that help Seniors, called Golden Companions and another helps cats with special needs called HALO (Home at Last), which I found extraordinary. Not only do HALO cats get the extra care they need while at Good Mews, but Good Mews pays for the Vet Care of these cats AFTER they get adopted! On their web site it states:

“HALO cats are typically overlooked for adoption because of age, ongoing medical conditions or behavioral issues - the most common reasons beyond euthanasia at traditional animal shelters. Funds designated to this program help pay for the ongoing medical care of these cats while they wait for AND once they find their perfect home. ”

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©2012 Maria S. This is where Miss FP will go after her initial quarantine period is over until she's ready to join the other cats in the main room.

One very special kitty at Good Mews is named Tricky. She's a plump gray and white shorthair whose life has been far from easy. Tricky lived in a home with other cats and a couple. The man was a very bad person.

When his girlfriend told him to leave he got angry and in a fit of rage, shot and killed almost all the cats in the home with the exception of Tricky. Tricky survived but was paralyzed, losing all control of her hind legs and her bodily functions.

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©2012 Maria S. Meeting Tricky.

Most shelters would “humanely euthanize” Tricky because her care would be too taxing on the volunteers and who would ever adopt a cat who needs to be helped to evacuate her bowels twice a day?

Good Mews is NOT that kind of shelter. They did right by Tricky and not only gave her a place to live for the rest of her life if need be, but they help her do her thing, then they give her a bath every day, twice a day. She gets around just fine without her back legs-at least that's what she would tell you.

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©2012 Maria S. She may have been shot and is now paralyzed, but Tricky doesn't let anything get her down.

Tricky is so beloved she has her very own page on Facebook. If you're lucky, she'll accept your friend request!

Is she looking for a forever home? I'm not sure about that. Is there someone who would be able to provide for her and give her the special care she'd need every single day? I think there are some very special people out there who could give her what she needs and if that person is reading this blog post and Tricky captures your heart, please DO contact Good Mews and talk to them about her or offer to make a donation towards her care.

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©2012 Good Mews Animal Foundation. Bud is another cat who is overlooked at the shelter. They say: “Bud and his sister Taylor came to Good Mews when their family lost their home. Bud is one of the most beautiful cats you will ever see. He is a little shy right now, but will easily come around when he knows he has a loving family again. I guess if I lost the only home I had ever known, I would be a little wary too! He gets along great with other cats and is seeking a home with a family that loves him and some kitty friends to pal around with! Will you be the one to brighten Bud’s day?” Bud is a HALO cat! so his Vet care for life is included with his adoption (for qualified adopters). Here's his Petfinder listing.

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©2012 Good Mews Animal Foundation. No one wants Meryl. “Meryl is a very sweet girl that would really benefit from a forever home. Meryl is a bit on the overweight side and being in a home, her new family can help her maintain her weight. At the shelter we have to keep food out at all times so it is hard to keep Meryl on a diet. It is not healthy for cats to be overweight and we worry about Meryl.
Meryl has a playful side to her and enjoys running around the shelter and loves toys and the feather wand. ”

For a list of other available cats, visit Good Mews Petfinder Page

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©2012 Maria S. Maria & MissFP say farewell.

Maria visited with many of the cats looking for forever homes at Good Mews until it was time to help MissFP get settled into her new digs. For the first two weeks MissFP would have to reside in a cage, but it's spacious and light filled and rumors are that since MissFP didn't come from a municipal shelter or from the outdoors that her quarantine period might be shortened. In no time at all MissFP would be able to roam freely around the large main area where she'll be able to look out big windows, climb many different cat trees or simply lounge on a cat bed.

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©2012 Maria S. Getting settled in her new home.

I worried that MissFP would react badly to the new environment, but she was unfazed. Maria placed her into a cat bed and MissFP “made muffins”, then settled down. Maria even got her to eat, so it was a good sign that she was going to be okay. Before Maria left, she leaned down to kiss Miss FP good bye and Miss gave her a head butt as her way of saying “thank you for not giving up on me and for giving me a loving home. I'm ready to take the next part of my journey to find a forever home with these good people.”

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©2012 Maria S. Miss FP in her temporary quarantine space.

I'm usually the person who offers to take a cat in and help them find a home. This time I needed the help and I'm VERY GRATEFUL to Michelle and the staff at Good Mews for offering this placement to us.

Help me THANK Good Mews by visiting them on Facebook and let them know we appreciate what they do or, if you can, please consider donating to one of their many life-saving programs. MAKE SURE YOU MENTION COVERED IN CAT HAIR WHEN YOU DONATE. THERE'S A SPACE CALLED "OTHER" IN THE DONATION FORM WHERE YOU CAN ADD THAT INFORMATION. Here's a list of ways you can donate.

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©2012 Good Mews Animal Foundation. It's not fancy (yet), but one day this building will be Good Mews' new home after it gets refurbished.

OTHER WAYS TO HELP: Good Mews bought a building! It's just a shell right now, but their dream is to get it set up and ready to go by the end of 2013. Wish list items include gift cards for any amount for Lowes or Home Depot, gift cards so they can purchase bird feeders and seed, decorative benches for their new yard. The sooner they can open, the sooner Good Mews will be able to help 150 cats!

You don't need money to help! Do you live in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area? Do you know people there? Are you a landscaper? Do you KNOW one? Do you have gardening skills? Do you like to paint walls? Even if you can't offer a financial donation, they also need people to help do the work to get their facility completed. If your Church group could donate a weekend of time or if your softball team could spend a day helping, it could make all the difference.

Email Robbin if you'd like more information about volunteering. robbiny@fairgreen.com

If you like to go shopping, visit their Good Mews Cafe Press Store. All your purchases go to helping provide for their cats.

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Michelle just contacted me and let me know that MissFP is doing well and is still giving headbutts to the volunteers and making muffins on her bed. We wish her good luck and that her forever family finds her very soon!

And…it looks like Clover had her first NEGATIVE test result for Feline Leukemia. It's not a “for sure“ yet, but crossing fingers, this kitty may have very good news soon!

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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…

Living with Jackson Galaxy (the cat)

I brought Jackson home three weeks ago, on the heels of Bobette, our former foster, being adopted (and who's doing marvelously well with her new mama, JaneA Kelley of Paws & Effect).

Jackson wasn't interested in being confined to “his room” from the get go. He was ready to meet everyone and get himself settled. After just two days to decompress, I followed his lead and let him out of his room. He'd already been vetted, tested, in a home-not a shelter. I thought it would be all right to give it a chance.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My sad foster kitty, Jackson Galaxy, a few days after he arrived.

I had the Feliway diffuser plugged in and all the cats had already been on Spirit Essences for a few weeks. I expected hissing and difficulty and was ready to calmly move Jackson back to his room if problems arose.

But they didn't…at least not right away.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson LOVES raw food.

Jackson began to vocalize, a lot. His powerful meow carried throughout the house. Some of my cats reacted to it, but mostly they just ignored it. After Bobette and her attacks on any cat who came close to her I think they were ready for anything but Jackson just walked around with his tail up in the air, yowling. He didn't bother with any of the cats. A few tried to give him a quick sniff when he passed by, but he gave them a look which told them to back off.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Ever elegant, Jaks points his paw as he has his morning bath.

I took some time to get to know Jackson. He's a tall cat with a big “Biscuit Head” from being neutered late in life. He weighs almost 14 pounds, but he's lean. He's quick to purr or “burble” when I pet him. He loves to give head butts, but he's not big on being held and so far he's not a lap cat. In some ways he's a bit like a dog-he likes to follow me around the house. He likes to be near the action, but I could tell he was looking for a place to call his own within my home. With 8 resident cats that was not an easy thing to do.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mr. Handsome settling in on the cat tree.

I tried to find a balance between allowing Jackson his freedom to roam around and to give my own cats some peace and quiet. I knew that having a new cat in the house would cause problems and it did. Nicky unleashed a torrent of urine all over the house. Even though he had no contact with Jackson, it didn't matter. He was distressed and displeased. Again I had to search for balance while my cats worked out what to make of this stranger in white.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. High four.

Each night I “tucked” Jackson into his room, but after an hour or two he'd start to yowl and bang on the door to get out. I tried to tough it out. If he made a fuss and I got up, I'd be training him to make a fuss so I would get up. Instead, I didn't sleep.

I didn't get much sleep for two weeks.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Feeling blue.

Then I started to wonder if Jackson was sick or that something happened to him in his last home. He didn't care to be touched on his side and would warn me to stop with a nip to my hand. At rest, the rise and fall of his chest looked odd, not smooth and fluid but hitched. Jacks eyes were a bit runny-one stuck closed on and off for a day. He was still eating well, but seemed down. I knew I'd have to run him to see Dr. Larry. My guess-list of what was bothering Jackson was growing. Did he have HCM? Upper Respiratory? Allergy? Heart or lungworms? He's from the south. It's possible.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Kiss-face.

And then the fights began. I didn't see them, but I heard them. One by one, Jackson was asserting himself with my cats, letting them know he was the boss. Each confrontation lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to change the hierarchy of the cats for good.

None of the cats were injured, but there were plenty of clumps of fur on the rugs-none of it was Jackson's. This surprised me because I'd heard that Jackson was picked on, which was why he was surrendered. Perhaps he'd had enough from being picked on before or the family wasn't up front with what really happened. My cats gave him a wide berth, but as each day passes I see him sitting calmly in close proximity to one or more of the cats and the fighting stopped almost as soon as it began.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Life is so tough here in foster care. Don't let me keep you up, Jacks.

It wasn't easy for Jackson to find his place, but he carved something out for himself (and I helped by making some extra comfy spots he could use that the other cats hadn't claimed). He no longer gets shut away at night and his vocalizing is dramatically reduced. He met with Dr. Larry yesterday and they couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. Jackson wasn't the easiest patient and he expressed his anal glands onto Dr. Larry as his way of sharing his displeasure with having his temperature taken.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Burrito-boy.

Jackson's coat feels a lot better and his feline acne is almost gone. He actually enjoys it when I clean his chin. When I'm done cleaning him off, I lean down and he gives me a few head butts, purring loudly. Jackson's had some rough days. There are times when I reach out to pet him that he shrinks back in fear and runs off. I think someone must have hit him, which makes me sad and more protective of him than ever. When I think about all the care that goes into raising kittens so they never react like that to being petted, I wonder what sort of hellish life this cat may have had.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This big guy just wants some love.

Who could treat this big lug with anything other than loving kindness? If I have my way, he'll never be in harm's way again. Now I just have to find him the perfect forever home-one that will truly last.

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If you're interested in adopting Jackson, visit Kitten Associates Adopt Page and fill out a Pre Adoption Application. Also, please read our Adoption Policies regarding diet, declawing and more. Jackson's forever family should live within or in one of the states surrounding Connecticut-United States of America. For the right adopter, we're open to discussing an adoption that's further out of state, but use your good judgement regarding appropriate distance. As an extra treat, Mr. Jackson Galaxy has graciously offered a 15 minute consult to the person or family who adopts this marvelous kitty.

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We're also still looking for a great home for King. We've had NO applications for him and he's been with us for six months. King LOVES people, cats and dogs. He just needs to live with carpeting so he can get around. King was born without his hind paws, but is quite mobile and playful. He just can't “do” hardwood floors.

The Re-Birth of Bob Dole.

It's been almost eight months to the day that my beloved cat Bob Dole passed away. His death came slowly, from lymphoma and the return of a hepatic cancer that I thought had been surgically removed right after Christmas of 2010.

Bob's last year was bittersweet. His once magnificent coat was reduced to tattered ruin since he could not fight off a fungal infection because he also had FIV+ and his immune system was compromised. He grew thinner and weaker. The once boss of the household grew quieter and let others rule the roost. He ate less and less and even after months of chemo and other treatments, I had to syringe feed him. I knew nothing could save him, but I never stopped trying to give him another day…another good day. [You can read about Bob's last days-though it's a TISSUE WARNING multipart post, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE]

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. My most beautiful Bob at 16 pounds of pure pouffy perfection.

When Bob passed away I lost a dear companion and part of my heart, even though we'd only spent five years together. Bob used to be my Mother's cat. After she died in 2006, I took Bob in and his presence was so grand that even now it feels empty in the house without him.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. After a "lion cut" he looked so CUTE!

Bob was the greeter, the peacekeeper, the big love muffin and had the best purr I've ever heard. He had just the right amount of sass that just made everyone love him all the more. Whenever I said his name aloud, people's eyes would light up and they'd laugh. They asked funny questions about if Bob Dole, the cat, referred to himself in the third person as Bob Dole the former Vice President of the United States did (the answer was of course, yes).

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Welcome to mah belleh.

Even now it's very difficult for me to write about Bob, to look at photos of him, without crying. There will never be a new photo of Bob, his dazzling orange coat and lime green eyes sparkling with that “Puss in Boots” expression he gave me when he wanted a treat. Now his ashes lay inside a tin box I have in my living room. It sits next to some framed photos atop a glass shelf. When I can, I have a candle burning, too, in his honor, as if there was a chance I might forget him. He meant more to me than any cat I've known and will probably ever know again.

Shortly after Bob died, my friend and client, Warren Royal, contacted me. I've written about Warren and his wife Terri. These people have the biggest hearts and deepest love for cats. They've saved the lives of countless cats and taken a few of them into their home. They will stop at nothing to help a cat. You can read about them HERE and HERE.

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Warren's company is called Royal Bobbles,™a premium bobblehead manufacturing company specializing in exquisite historic figures. I've designed a few of their outer cartons for Alfred Hitchcock, Mark Twain, Smokey Bear and the cast of American Pickers. They also create custom bobbleheads to celebrate weddings or birthdays or to use as fundraisers.

Can you see where this story is going? I sure didn't-at first.

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©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob the bear?

Warren asked me if I'd like them to create a BOBblehead and of course I accepted right away. The process might take some time, he warned. They'd never done the likeness of a cat and said it would be tough to do, but they wanted to try. I was delighted to have a chance to memorialize my dear cat.

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©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob looking more cat like.

And so, over the past eight months, we've been working to get it right.

There was a sculptor in China who began working on a form. It was sad to realize that cats aren't pets in China and I don't want to write about what they do to them there. Memorializing a cat was certainly out of the norm so it took many trials and refinements, but eventually it got sorted out.

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©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Okay, clearly something is lost in translation. Is that a BOOB next to BOB?

I began to realize how difficult it would be to capture the sad-eyed look of Bob regardless of how many photos I sent for reference. Even though I had to ask for changes, I was impressed with the dedication Warren and his team had in making every detail just right. I didn't want to think about how much all of these revisions were costing him to get done and though I tried to love everything they did, even Warren would often write and say he didn't love it either and wanted to push back for more edits.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Say hello to Bob the Bobblehead.

A few weeks ago after Warren hired another artist to repaint our little BOBblehead, who did an outstanding job. We all agreed that Bob was finally done and a few days ago my BOBblehead arrived. When I opened the box I held my breath as I carefully unwrapped the base, then the bowl, then finally Bob. I held him in my hand and his little head jiggled back and forth. I looked at his face and though it would never be Bob, somehow his “Bobness” had been captured. I smiled as tears ran down my cheeks. If I couldn't have the real Bob, this would be a lovely way to memorialize him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nice pouffy tail there! (Bob is sitting on his flannel blankee)

I rearranged my shrine to Bob to make space for the new addition. I wondered what Bob, the cat would have thought about all this fuss. He probably would have said not to bother and that we're just being silly humans. That may be the case, but it's comforting to have the little guy here.

I know it took a lot of work and patience to get this done and I'm extremely grateful to Warren and his crew for their efforts. I just love my BOBblehead!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The shrine complete, with Bob's ashes in the blue tin to the right and the Maneki Neko candle my friend Irene made for me from her own bee's wax.

The sun just rose on another day. My fingers are cold from typing with the windows open. It's another day without Bob, yet in a way, Bob has returned. I hope this Bob will be with me always as a reminder of one very special cat, gone too soon.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Good night, Bob. Rest in Peace.

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This may be a bit odd, but I know there are some of you who have followed Bob's life story for many years and who have come to love him as I do. Though it was NEVER my intention to profit from this experience, I'd like you to know that if you'd like your own BOBblehead, to contact me at info@coveredincathair.com . Depending on how many orders we get will drive the per unit cost of the piece. The more orders, the lower the price. I will put everyone on a list and let you know in a week or so how much they would be and if you want to order one we'll figure something out.

If you want your very own Bobblehead of your cat, dog, friends, family or one of yourself, please DO visit Royal Bobbles and fill out a contact form and let them know Robin sent you! They do GREAT work and their prices are very reasonable.

Unleash Your Creativity with the Pet Postcard Project (and feed hungry kitties!)

Nikki Moustaki, pet lifestyle expert, writer and fundraiser came up with a fun idea that that's helping feed cats and dogs throughout the country. Her campaign is called The Pet Postcard Project.

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At it's heart, the program is very simple. Create a pet postcard and mail it to Nikki before June 30, 2012. For every 2500 postcards she receives, our generous friends at FreeKibble.com will donate 10,000 “meals” of nutritious Halo Spot's Stew cat food to this month's shelter, The Stray Cat Alliance -based in Los Angeles, CA!

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This is just one of the thousands of postcards Nikki has received.

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This is where it gets a little bit more interesting…

Jackson Galaxy, star of the hit Animal Planet show, “My Cat From Hell” and passionate advocate and “Cat Daddy” for cats everywhere, has offered to sweeten the pot to encourage all of you to send in a postcard or two (or more!).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Here's one of my post cards memorializing my cat Bob as an Angel in Heaven. Nikki asks that “MAKE SURE THE WORDS YOU WRITE ARE EITHER FUNNY, PROFOUND, OR HEARTWARMING.”

The Pet Postcard Project will choose three of their favorite cards and two people will get signed copies of “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean,” and one lucky card sender will get a phone call with Jackson, himself! As someone who has had the honor of speaking with Mr. Galaxy on a few occasions, I have to admit, this is a prize worth entering lots of postcards for so you have a better chance to win!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer, our mascot, with his copy of Cat Daddy.

For complete instructions on how to enter and where to send your postcards go HERE

You can also visit The Pet Postcard Project on Facebook for the latest updates and hopefully news on the winners!

Now go, be creative and help feed cats in need!

Of Flying Felines and Fond Farewells Part 2 of 2

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April.

The weeks have flown by in a heartbeat. The kittens just celebrated their eighth week birthday. All six have survived those precarious first weeks and are now spending their day either napping or running around playing with wild abandon. I moved them into Bobette's old room so they have lots of space to explore and a big sunny window where they can watch the birds or see a stray bee buzz by.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The girls.

It's a happy time for them and relief for me. The kittens have been weaned. It went so easily and perfectly. They've also done great with their litter pan technique. Knock wood, these kittens have been a complete dream to foster. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to worry about loose stools or runny noses.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting ready to meet Dr. Chris.

It is, however, a sad time, too. It's time for April, the kittens mama, to go on to the next chapter of her life—a journey she has to make on her own. She's been a GREAT mama-one of the best ever. April constantly burbles and meows to the kittens, maybe telling them to be careful or “watch out!” She's always on the alert, making sure the kittens are safe. I hate taking her away from them, but I know it must be done. April is shockingly thin and needs time to recover and get strong. She can't do that with the kittens around. I can't risk them nursing on her any longer. She needs to be spayed, then go to Animals in Distress where they will work on finding her a forever home.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie Patootie and Belly Holiday after their Vet visit.

In the time we've spent together, April has blossomed. She no longer hisses at me, but seeks out attention. She enjoys being petted and sitting nearby. I hope she gets a wonderful home, with people who will cherish her. She has a goodness and sweetness that's palpable.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Belly and the ball.

The kittens, too, are just about ready. All that remains is that they need to be spayed. They had their first FVRCP vaccine and first visit with Dr. Mixon. The kittens did amazingly well and didn't give him much trouble at all.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie's big mitt.

Dr. Mixon examined the three polydactyl kitten's paws. He suggested that the extra toes be declawed. I was against it until he explained that those claws, being on such short toes, would never be able to be sharpened. If that couldn't be done, the claw would simply grow and eventually grow INTO the kitten's paw pad and cause a nasty infection. This just happened to my own cat, Gracie and she's not even polydactyl. I would never want that to happen to any other cat-even if the adopter promised to trim the claws every week. With them being so young and Dr. Mixon using a laser it would be the least painful to do it now. Next week it will be done, but I feel more than terrible about it because I believe that in one case the entire toe is going to come off because it is so very tiny, it's more of a claw growing out of the paw, then out of a toe.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Looks like a reference photo for a Picasso painting!

Thanks to my friend, Katherine at AID, one of her foster families offered to take April so she could recover in their home before she gets spayed. I thought it was a good idea since normally I'd have to crate April to keep the kittens off her and that wouldn't be very easy on her. It's best to say our farewells now.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Relaxing without a care in the world.

What I didn't expect was that this foster family offered to adopt one of the kittens, too, even though they are currently fostering some of the cutest kittens I've ever seen! The family is from England and black cats are good luck there. They had a black kitty many years ago and they miss her dearly. When they heard about my kittens they asked if they could give one a home because they understand how difficult it is to place black kittens.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Between a pillow and a hard egg?

What made me appreciate them even more was that they wanted the kitten that would have the toughest time to find a home. They didn't want one of the polydactyl kittens, they wanted a simple, black kitten. That's it.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Black Beauty.

I met with the Mom of the family four weeks ago and she fell in love with a kitten. She said her children wanted to name it, “Bon Bon.” I said we could give the kitten that name, but didn't push her to adopt that particular kitten. It was too soon to take her anyway.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April's eyes are full of hope that her forever home will find her soon.

On Thursday she returned to take April home and to choose her kitten. She brought her daughter, who was very sweet with all the kittens. She understood the importance of giving the kitten a home who others might overlook. Sure enough Bon Bon came over to them and honestly if I had other kittens that might have been considered more adoptable, they still would have chosen her.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bon Bon with her new mama.

I made special arrangements for them to take Bon Bon before her spay, which will also allow her to be with her mother awhile longer and vice versa. The family reported back to me already that both Bon Bon and April are doing well. April's being shy, but they know she'll come around in time. She's eating very well and eating a lot of food so this is great news. One day I hope to see April again, but this time looking plump and resplendent, the days of difficulty long past.

My heart aches. I've grown to love Bobette and April and Bon Bon, but I must make room for more. There are four kittens in South Carolina who need help. Four more to love. My heart is ready to be re-fueled. This is the life of a cat rescuer, the constant tug of sadness mixed with simple, profound love.

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