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You've Got to be Kidding!

Calling All Angels for Jackson Galaxy (the cat)

Somewhere out there is a very special person who can accept the pain of loss as part of the cycle of life. Someone who doesn’t run away from fear, but can sit with it, feel its vibration run through their veins and not fall apart. They may wince or shudder, but they can stay in place, take a breath and have faith that another breath will follow. That in this moment everything is okay—even if one day there will be moments of great sadness.

They realize that their experience on this mortal coil is not all about them, but about helping others and being present in the moment and cherishing every second of what remains.

This person could look at a situation like the one I’m facing with Jackson and accept that life with him will be bittersweet.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson's ever the scamp with a big personality to match his big heart.

The test results are back. Jackson’s thyroid function is normal. It takes off the table any hope that his heart problems stemmed from something else that we could control or even cure. It also doesn’t resolve why he attacked my cats or why he still howls at night. His kidney function is slightly off—not a concern right now, but may be in the future. Jackson has a worsening bacterial infection, possibly in his gut, but we’re not sure. It will mean a longer course of antibiotics as he only got Baytril for a week. It may be why I caught him peeing outside the box once or twice and explain why he’s been fairly quiet the past few days.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Larry.

 

The report from the cardiologist just came in. Jackson’s heart is in bad shape. Dr. April describes his condition as “Severe, Advanced Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.”

 

The lasix, ACE inhibitors and aspirin (a tiny amount every 3 days) haven’t caused any positive changes to his enlarged heart. It’s only been 10 days, but I was hoping to see more signs showing the medication was helping him—although he does seem to be more comfortable. Dr. Larry feels that Jackson's always had a bad heart and that it didn't stem from a virus or other issue.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

The other thing Dr. Larry mentioned was how difficult it is to handle Jackson. When he’s at the Vet, Jackson gets amped up. They can handle him for a few minutes but to do more than that Jax begins to get nasty with the staff. His heart rate soars and his breathing becomes labored.

It’s possible that just going to the Vet could push Jackson over the edge.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Taking a break at Dr. Larry's, but even with a hands off approach Jackson is still vexed.

That’s why I chose to have extra blood tests done since we had the sample available. I don’t know when we’ll be able to draw more blood. I don’t know how we’ll be able to repeat Jackson’s echocardiogram in a safe way next month.

We can’t sedate Jackson, so how do we expose him to a long car ride AND an exam at the cardiologist?

 

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©2012 Betsy Merchant. Jackson at the Kill Shelter.

I’m tempted to look at this situation and think that Jackson was meant to be with me. I saw his photo in a mass emailing, asking rescue groups to save this cat at a Kill shelter in Georgia. Something about him made me want to save his life. Then cruel thoughts emerge—maybe he would have been better off if they euthanized him at the shelter? Was it worth all this stress, transport to Connecticut, living in a shelter, being moved back and forth in cars because his previous adopters traveled a lot, then losing that home and coming to mine—only to have little time left to live?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Home from the Vet, Jackson still prefers to hang out in the cat carrier.

 

I took a chance on rescuing an adult cat, but I never thought it would mean taking on one with a fatal heart condition.

 

If I hadn’t been so diligent about finding out why his breathing looked odd to me, Jackson would probably be adopted with a ticking time bomb inside him that would destroy his unsuspecting family.

We know what ails Jackson, but we don’t know if there’s anyone who lives close by (we can’t transport him far ever again) who would want to open their home to a cat who probably isn’t going to live a very long time. Dr. Larry said months, years if we’re lucky.

Truly only someone with the heart of a lion would adopt Jackson and I hope very sincerely they’re reading this post. Jackson deserves a home where he doesn’t have to vie for attention as he has to do here. He’d be happy with a cat or two to make friends with, but that’s a quiet place full of love and compassion.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I don't know why Jackson prefers cardboard, even after I bought him a nice new cat bed, but he likes what he likes.

I turn my head and see Jackson curled up in a cardboard canned cat food tray that’s on the floor. It’s not fancy, but he likes it. He’s resting quietly. All is well. I look at him and tears burn my eyes as I struggle not to cry. My life is about rescuing cats, about saving their lives and finding them wonderful families to share their life with. It’s not supposed to be like this.

 

Jackson is supposed to get better. I want his story to have a happy ending, not a tragic one.

 

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I wrote most of this post yesterday before Dr. Larry told me about the severity of Jackson’s heart condition. After a brief discussion…

…it was clear to both Sam and myself that Jackson already found his angels-if I may be so bold to refer to ourselves like that. We’ve decided we’re going to keep Jackson here where he’ll become the face of Kitten Associates.

He shouldn't have to endure the stress of moving to another home and trying to adjust. He has his home here with us. It’s not perfect, but we do love him. We’ll keep him in our program because we honestly can’t afford to provide for another cat and had no plans to add to our family. We’ll set up a special donation page for him and continue to update everyone on how he’s doing since I know so many of you care about him and ask after him.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson holding his catnip heart.

I had no idea that one day I’d say I was living with Jackson Galaxy, cherishing him and protecting him until his last day, but there you go. Life is full of irony and surprises.

I’m just trying to keep my chin up and be brave for Jackson and enjoy every moment we have together until there are no more.

Will the Real Jackson Galaxy Please Stand Up?

The fur is growing back on Jackson's front legs from where he was shaved to insert an IV needle. The fur is growing back on Jackson's chest where he was shaved so the cardiologist could get a better echocardiogram of his malfunctioning heart. In some ways, Jackson appears the same as he did when we rescued him from a kill shelter nine months ago, but in some ways Jackson is being transformed and the results have been surprising and shocking.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beginning to feel better.

It's been about ten days since we discovered Jackson was suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—a thickness of the lining of the walls of Jackson's heart. Twice each day Jackson needs to be medicated with two tiny pills. Every third day, Jackson gets a quarter portion of a baby aspirin to prevent clots from forming.

At first I worried if I'd be able to keep to the schedule of medicating Jackson. I feared he'd be resistant and grow to challenge my attempts. Luckily, Jackson's been surprisingly easy to pill-so far-knock wood. I can hide Jackson's pills in minute amount of Flavor DOH along with a little bit of his favorite canned food.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Is Jackson a good egg?

The only difficult thing about treating Jackson has been keeping his pills organized and making sure each Sunday I prep his pills by cutting them into halves and placing them in a pill box. I went a bit overbid and got his prescriptions compounded into liquid in case I couldn't give Jax a pill. It was expensive and turns out, unnecessary. At least I have more meds should I run out without having a refill on hand.

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Before the “incident” Jackson was either very quiet or cried at night. He mostly kept to himself and slept. Once in awhile he'd play with the laser pointer. Now that he's been on his medication, a new Jackson is emerging. One I'm not sure I like very much.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Petunia, Nicky and Jackson (in egg).

Don't get me wrong, Jackson is a sweet cat, friendly and affectionate, but as soon as his energy level increased, his behavior changed. I caught Jackson spritzing urine near the kitchen, then again in a few other places. I deal with cat pee every day, but adding ANOTHER cat to the “who did the peeing” list is a nightmare.

I do the best I can to clean it up and sort out why they feel the need to do that. Sam and I are always looking for more ways to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. We want them to be happy, but we need some sense of autonomy over our own living conditions, too.

Yesterday something happened that could be the beginning of the end-the one thing I cannot tolerate and I can tolerate a lot. Without provocation Jackson charged after Petunia, scaring her badly. That's not the end of the world, but what he did next shocked me.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Cricket is still stressed after being attacked.

Jackson jumped up to the top of a cat tree where Cricket was sleeping. Cricket is our “former feral” cat. He keeps to himself and he doesn't bother with any of the other cats. He's probably the most submissive cat in the house and one of the sweetest.

Jackson jumped onto Cricket, BIT him on the back of the neck, then grabbed him and literally threw him off the cat tree! Cricket fell to the floor, screaming. Clumps of his fur scattered around the living room. He ran off and hid, terrified at what had just happened.

What the HELL was going on? This is NOT acceptable. My cat-mother-protectivness came out with a vengeance. My cats are not going to fall victim to attacks like this. I don't care what is going on with Jackson. If he's injuring my cats that's it. He's out. It's not fair that my cats are subjected to new cats from time to time or have to suffer upper respiratory because I have sick kittens in another part of the house.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson just wants to be understood and loved for who he is.

But how am I going to talk about this? I'm going to get judged for what I do or think about this situation? Perhaps knowing that gave me pause and kept me from kicking Jackson out of the house.

I sat and thought about it and something clicked. Hyperthyroidism. It would explain his late night howling and eagerness to eat. It would also explain this sudden irrational behavior and it can be the root cause of heart problems/HCM.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Tomorrow Jackson returns to the Vet. This is his first Vet visit since he almost died. He's no longer in pain and feeling better. We're repeating his x-rays to see how his heart is responding to medication. We're running a FreeT4 blood test to look at his thyroid levels and we're checking his kidney function because he can have kidney problems due to the fluids he has to move to keep his heart and lungs clear.

Perhaps we'll find out that all these issues are caused by his thyroid, which can be treated. Perhaps it will make it a lot easier to forgive Jackson for his mis-behaviors. I realize he's not a man in a cat suit and he's behaving as a cat does, but who IS this cat? Is he as sweet as sugar or the devil in disguise? Is he just bored? What am I doing to contribute to the problem or am I the problem?

I can't say today, but fairly soon we'll know more and hopefully be able to get a better understanding of just who Jackson Galaxy really is.

WEIRDEST GIVEAWAY EVER

the DOOD weighed four pounds when I rescued him last year, but he was a kitten back then. Over the past year the DOOD's been growing. About six months ago I noticed he was getting BIG and I mean BIG, not exactly chubby but large in size. I referred to him as a “ham hock” when people remarked on his girth. He's young and should increase in size, to a point but when is he going to STOP growing?

I just weighed him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My “Baby.”

I almost fainted when I saw the results.

the DOOD still runs around but can't quite get “hang time” when he jumps after a toy. His back legs are a bit bowed. He wipes out if he runs too fast. If he decides it's time for lap time with me, I KNOW he's on my lap because I feel like I just got pinned to the sofa.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally, a low-calorie food he can eat!

Before you start guessing he weighs 30 pounds, he doesn't. He's nowhere near a record breaking size, but…I will tell you he weighed 14 lbs, 4 oz in April. He doesn't get overfed. He doesn't get kibble. He DOES get broccoli, which he loves, but is pretty much not something that would ever make him fat.

Today's contest: Guess the DOOD's weight. I have him weighed on my scale here AND I'm getting him weighed at my Vet's office this afternoon. I will take the average of those two weights and use that for my result.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

The “WINNER” who guesses closest to the DOOD's weight gets a copy of the “5th Edition: Small Animal Clinical Nutrition.” (brought to you by Hill's) It is supposedly THE most comprehensive guide to small animal nutrition. This tome includes nutrition for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other small mammals. It has contributions by over 125 authors. Do I agree with what it says? I don't know yet, but I'm guessing it will be steering readers away from raw food so I would say I might find fault. Thing is, this guide covers nutrition guidelines YOUR VET REFERS TO, so good to know what they are going to tell you about nutrition IF they read the gazillion pages of this book.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Leave a COMMENT guessing the DOOD's weight. COMMENTS are MODERATED so your guess may NOT appear right away. I will check a few times a day and publish all guesses. You have until SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th at 8:08PM (Eastern Standard Time-USA) to guess. Though I would LOVE to open this giveaway up to everyone, I can ONLY SHIP TO ADDRESSES in the United States of America. This book is VERY HEAVY. I doubt I can afford shipping overseas.

Good Luck!

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Saving Tater.

We all had a very bad scare a month ago when Tater fell ill. The Vet felt it was the “wet” form of FIP, a fatal disease. We were all heartbroken and scared, but determined that if there was ANY chance Tater could survive, we would make that happen no matter what we had to do.

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©2012 Maria S. Still got that belly, but we're not concerned that it's FIP.

Miraculously, through a twist of fate and our foster mom, Maria's careful observation, we were led down a path to a possible answer. It was NOT FIP, but a double-whammy parasitic infection along with a very nasty upper respiratory infection. We began treatment right away and sure enough, Tater's condition began to improve.

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©2012 Maria S. Mugging for Maria.

Tater began to EAT again, then began to play; two big signs he might survive. The Vet finally took the FIP diagnosis off the table and we all breathed a sigh of relief for the remainder of July. Sadly, a few days ago Tater relapsed or is battling something new.

Tater was carefully examined. His lung sounds were not good. The Vet wanted to take x-rays and do blood work. We had that done and the Vet decided to put Tater on strong antibiotics for the next THREE weeks. This poor kitten can't catch a break. I asked if we had to consider the FIP diagnosis once again-terrified of the answer.

 

The Vet feels it's not FIP, but it IS a very serious upper respiratory infection which could turn into pneumonia.

 


©2012 Maria S. and Robin A.F. Olson. Check in with Tater, ChiChi and Latte, too.

Due to the costs for care and to also provide care for Willow, who is still struggling with a URI,

we're going to ask a tiny favor—for EVERYONE to consider donating the price of a cup of coffee to help us top off the Tater Tot Fund.

 

The ChipIn for the fund is below and is also in the RIGHT sidebar on my blog. PLEASE do not feel badly if you can't donate at this time. That's why we're only asking that everyone chip in a small amount. That way it will add up to a great donation if everyone takes part!

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©2012 Maria S. Tater getting some comfort from his new buddy, Sammy.

Your donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE as my rescue, Kitten Associates is a 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Tater Tot" mail it to:

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

Any funds not used for the care of this family will go into our General Fund.

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©2012 Maria S. Love that little curl in Tater's tail.

 

Thank you for helping us, help Tater. We couldn't do it without your support!

 

The Silver Lining and the Black Clouds part four

Day six has drawn to a close. I can't sleep. My heart is broken. It's not that I even feel the need for it ever to be “repaired-” if such a thing is possible. While I was working on the story of my cats falling ill, another story began to form. Stories that follow along with a real person's life don't transpire in tidy little packages, so here I stop to inject something else before I get back to the mystery ailment.

Two nights ago I found a small, odd looking black growth on the edge of Spencer's right ear. In my foggy memory, I believe I saw it long ago, thought about running Spencer to the Vet, got sidetracked and forgot. There it was, this rubbery, creepy mass, well hidden by the dark fur along the cap of Spencer's head.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Back at the Vet for a second time.

At first I thought it was a tick, then realized there were two masses, one “tick sized” and the other much smaller. I knew this was something that Dr. Larry needed to take a look at so yesterday morning I took Spencer back to the Vet for the second time in less than a week.

Super Deb entered the exam room first. After working with Spencer the other day, she realized that he was calmer if we didn't cover him during procedures. She got to work taking his temperature and he was basically calm. He had no fever.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The growth was easily overlooked. Follow the left edge of Spencer's ear. Where the fur gets dark you'll see a tiny black area where there is no fur. That's the growth. It's just right of center of the photo.

She weighed him and he'd lost 4 ounces in five days. Not surprising, but a reminder to keep him eating as much as he wanted while he recovers from his illness. His fluffy rear end, which had become soiled yellow from having diarrhea, was looking cleaner. Perhaps he was feeling better?

Dr. Larry entered the room and I was relieved to see him now that he's back from his vacation. He's been my Vet for more years than I can remember. Though we may not always agree on things, he's open minded and in return I'm very respectful of him. We've had some difficult discussions about my choice to feed a raw diet to my cats. It's unfortunate that even now I have to be on the “down low” about it, but there is so much fear mongering going on about it that it's just easier not to talk about it.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. She didn't even buy him dinner first! Spencer gets his temperature taken.

On this day we HAD to talk about it. He approached the topic carefully. I felt myself taking a step back, crossing my arms over my chest as he spoke. What is sickening my cats could have been caused by the raw food. Though rare, salmonella could be a culprit, yet we did NOT see any indications in the blood work to show us it was a possibility. It could be e.coli or other bacterial culprits. To really know for certain, Dr. Larry asked if we could get a stool sample on Spencer and run a PCR test on it. Though expensive, running over $200.00, the test would show us what was causing the diarrhea. If we could manage, he wanted a sample from Nicky, as well. Using that information we could get a better picture of what happened and how to NOT let it happen again-IF it's something we can control.

I said yes to the test and I told Dr. Larry that we stopped feeding raw the day the cats got sick. We've discussed how we prep the food and saw some minor things we can and will correct. We're going to throw out the litter pans and start anew. We've been feeding raw for many years and the cats have NEVER gotten sick, but in case we did something to cause this, we will find a way to do right by them.

Before we went too much further down this path we agreed it might still be something else and NOT the food.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. At least he's starting to eat again.

Then Dr. Larry examined Spencer's ear. He measured it and said it measured out larger then he expected. He didn't “like the look of it” and said we should remove it. He looked at Spencer's teeth and mentioned Spencer really needed a dental cleaning. I asked him to look into Spencer's ears because I noticed they appeared a bit dirty.

Spencer fussed and hissed angrily as Dr Larry looked into his ears. The right was dirty and irritated. Dr. Larry told me that some times cats can have an over production of a greasy residue in their ears. The ear gets dirty and very itchy. Certainly Spencer would need drops to get him feeling more comfortable.

Next, Dr. Larry looked at Spencer's left ear. As Spencer fussed, Dr. Larry adjusted the angle of the scope. He stopped for a second and removed the scope.

“There's another mass in Spencer's ear. It's very small, but I think we need to get in there and remove it.”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Measuring the growth.

I felt a lump form in my throat. I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself. I brought my cat to the Vet to look at this weird thing on his ear. Hopefully it was just a funky benign mole or something, but with the discovery of a second growth I knew what that could mean and I didn't know if I could get the words out to ask the question.

“Is this cancer? Does Spencer have CANCER?”

Dr. Larry has this serious expression I've seen too many times before. He had it when he examined Bob's belly and said it didn't feel right. It turned out Bob had a cancerous tumor engulfing half his liver. Dr. Larry never makes light of a diagnosis like this. Being conservative and I'm sure not wanting to upset me, he would only answer; “I don't like the look of this. It could be benign, but…”

He said if it was cancer that the rule of thumb would be to excise enough tissue to get a clean margin. It would mean removing Spencer's ear or ears. It was too much to imagine. I had to keep it together. I said if it was malignant, what was the point of cutting his ears off? His lovely little elfin ears…how could I do that to him? We didn't talk much beyond that. It was too soon to go down that road.

First Spencer had to get well and recover from whatever was causing his gastric issues. We'd schedule a dental and surgery for sometime near the end of the month. He wished me well and left to attend to the next patient. I put Spencer back into his cat carrier and went to the lobby to pay the bill, not sure I could get out of the clinic without bursting into tears.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My little pouff-waiting, wondering and scared.

Although I have no idea how I'm going to pay for this surgery, I will find a way. The overriding thought in my mind as I waited to hand over my credit card was; this can't be cancer. I just lost a cat to cancer 11 months ago. I just watched my dear Bob slowly die over the course of a horrible year. I can't go through that again.

I can't go through that with SPENCER. He's only 11 years old. He's the mascot of Covered in Cat Hair. He's my love, my dear friend.

I thought about what my lawyer said to me on the phone when we were talking about a car accident I was in two years ago. The case is either going to be settled or go to trial. He asked me my age, then told me the insurance company figures that based on my current age I have 29 more years to live which is how they will base my settlement offer. At first it really bothered me that there's a computer program that bets on how long I'll live. After we ended our conversation, I started to think maybe that was too many more years; more years of witnessing the pain and suffering of my dear cats.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After the exam, Spencer sat in the window, trying to regain his composure after being poked and prodded.

Last night Spencer came over to me as I laid in bed. He did his little routine of laying on my arm, with his fluffy ruff in my face, purring loudly next to my ear. I tried to hold back, but I began to sob. I wondered how many more nights we would have together like this-where he is himself, not broken or wasting away. He is my beloved cat and together we have a simple joy that is deeply profound.

Spencer got up and walked to the end of the bed. I gave up trying to sleep, got up and went downstairs to my office and began to write. Between writing and tears I heard a sound. I turned to look and Spencer was there in his cat bed next to me. He was purring away like nothing was wrong.

I hope he's right.

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The PCR test results are due in a day or two. I won't know about Spencer until we biopsy the mass towards the end of the month. The sliver lining has to do with a surprise adoption. Find out who it was and about their forever family in the next installment (unless something ELSE happens first).

The Return of Jackson Galaxy

Poor Jackson Galaxy the foster cat. Late last year I rescued this big lug from a Kill Shelter in McDonough, Georgia. He had no hope of rescue since it was so close to Christmas and many rescues couldn't take another adult, but once I saw him I had to save his life. There was something about him, his great size, but sweet vibe that told me this was a kitty who needed to be spared being euthanized.

Fortunately, my friend Katherine from Animals in Distress (AID)said they would take him into their shelter, since I had my hands full. It worked out beautifully and Jackson arrived in January of this year. You can read all about it HERE.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The most tranquil and Buddha-like Jackson.

I also told Jackson Galaxy, the swanky Cat Daddy from Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell,” about this apple-head Tom cat. He felt the same vibe and wanted to lend a helping hand. He offered to provide a FREE 15 minute consultation with whoever adopted the cat. I was delighted!

In less than a few weeks a family stepped forward to adopt Jackson. They had other cats and a dog. There was some concern about how he would get along with everyone, but since Jacks did so well at the shelter, not picking fights or bothering with the other cats, that they gave him a chance.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The image that started this journey. How could you say NO to that cat?

Sadly, I don't know all the details, but the basics are that the other cats picked on and attacked Jackson. Jackson didn't cause any trouble at all. He didn't love the dog, but he didn't fight. He tried to stay clear of the cats, but they were violent with him. Eventually the family gave him to their Mother-in-Law since she had no pets. Jackson did fine with her, but then her husband died.

The Mother-in-Law visited her family often and brought Jackson with her. This constant upheaval caused the other cats to continue to attack Jackson. The woman was between a rock and a hard place-either she stop seeing her family, leave Jackson alone or give Jackson back to AID.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Return of Jackson Galaxy.

I know that the family had a very tough time letting Jackson go and I know they ALL cried about it. They shouldn't be vilified for their choice. Jackson was very dear to them, but with the problems with the other cats, they decided it would be best to let him go.

I think there's a point at which people have made up their minds and you can't tell them to try to re-introduce Jackson or to not travel with him and get him a pet sitter; to work it out differently so Jackson wouldn't lose his home. The point was passed before we had a chance to intervene and on Friday, Jackson was brought back to the shelter.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Investigating his new home.

As fate would have it, AID was beyond full up, but they HAD to take Jackson. I felt responsible and tried to figure out what I was going to do, but Bobette was here taking up the only space I could use for Jackson. It just worked out beautifully that JaneA Kelley adopted Bobette while Jackson waited in a cage at the shelter for space to open up here. He only had to wait a few days.

I brought Jackson home yesterday afternoon and got him settled. My home is the fifth home Jackson's lived in in as many months. He is a bit anxious. He wants OUT of his foster room, but I need to give him and my own cats time to adjust to Bobette being gone and to the new arrival.

Jackson's coat is in terrible condition. It's dry and feels tacky. He must have been fed junk. His eyes are a bit runny and he has feline acne, which I'm already treating homeopathically and with diet. I've been brushing him a lot and trying to soothe his fears. He seems ready to meet my cats and just hang out, but I fear he will break with an upper respiratory infection from all the stress he's been under, so I have to wait a few more days.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Simply, Jackson. Visit his Petfinder Ad HERE

Jackson will be fine here until we get a great home for him. He's very likable and loving and meows like mad when he gets lonely. I hope he and my cats become friends. He deserves to have a good experience with other cats.

Jackson's very lucky. He not only has me and Katherine looking out for him, but Jackson Galaxy, the man himself, is also this cat's Guardian Angel. Mr. Galaxy took a liking to this big Buddha of a cat and is dedicated to helping us find our boy a great forever home.

With so many people on his side, I just know that one day the REAL forever family for Jackson Galaxy the cat will find him. Until then I get to say I'm living with Jackson Galaxy! How cool is that?

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If you're interested in adopting Jackson, visit Kitten Associates Adopt Page and fill out a Pre Adoption Application. Though we prefer adopting within the United States and the area in or around Connecticut, for the right adopter, we're open to discussing an adoption that is further out of state.

It Had to Be You

“Some others I've seen might never be mean

Might never be cross or try to be boss

But they wouldn't do

For nobody else gave me the thrill

With all your faults I love you still

It had to be you”*

What transpired over the past few days has left me a bit tongue tied. Perhaps it's a bit too soon to try to make sense of it all, but the news I have to share is so surprising, I couldn't wait to begin writing.

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Barely four days ago, I said to my friend, JaneA Kelley, who's the well known “Mama, Webmaster & Chief Cat Slave” of the blog Paws and Effect: A blog by cats for cats and their people , that she should come to Connecticut to visit my foster kittens. JaneA immediately agreed and suggested she was available that weekend and did I want to get together then? The kittens are old enough to be adopted and since one of them is named after one of JaneA's cats, I thought the timing could work out (if I did a massive “hide the piles of paper” cleaning ASAP). The kitten I really wanted her to meet is named Dahlia. You can read about the cat she's named in honor of by clicking the following link, “Farewell, Sweet Dahlia”.

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Although I did have some plans “penciled in” for the weekend it was something JaneA said to me that made me clear the decks so we could get together. She said she'd love to meet the kittens, but she really wanted to meet Bobette!

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Bobette? You mean the cat who's been here in foster care for six months and three months before that in Georgia in foster care? The one who I've never gotten even ONE application to adopt? Bobette who was named after my dearly departed cat, Bob Dole? The same Bobette who has struggled to get along with my eight cats, who suffered through losing three of her six kittens and who had to recover from a very difficult and painful surgery to correct her Patellar lunation?

Yes—“THAT” Bobette!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I didn't want to press the subject of WHY she wanted to meet Bobette. I knew the reason, but couldn't imagine saying the word, ADOPT. Bobette is an amazing cat. She has a great personality, is smart, silly and sweet, but she's had difficulty adjusting to living with my cats and has charged and hissed at them on a daily basis. I know that it's partly due to my own inability to properly introduce Bobette to the crew and, over the past few weeks, Bobette, on her own, has been slowly carving a place for herself and the attacks have reduced in number and intensity. I was resigned to having a very difficult to place adult cat on my hands-one that should probably be an only cat, but…I HATE thinking that ANY cat has to be an only cat. Again, I look to the Cat Guaridan for why multiple cat households have failures. It's not black and white, but there are MANY cats out there who get labeled as having to be “only cats,” but who would probably be just fine with one or two other cats IF they had the time to adjust and be introduced.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA is making some sort of secret code gesture or Vulcan Salute FAIL. Meanwhile I'm trying to look awesome-FAIL.

I warned JaneA that she'd have to sleep in the foster room with the kittens and she was almost giddy about the idea. I forget I'm around kittens all the time, but for many other people it's a special event. We sorted out the details and JaneA arrived Saturday afternoon with her bags and two bottles of wine. Clearly she was prepared to have some fun!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette tries to use the power of her mind to melt the window pane.

I ushered JaneA into my home, introducing her to my cats. I'd left Bobette sitting in the kitchen. She was mesmerized by a weird looking squirrel who was missing half his tail. He was focused on eating bird seed on the deck railing while she sat frozen, her butt wiggling every so often in anticipation. I could tell Bobette was saying a kitty prayer that the glass in the window frame would melt so she could bust through it and bite the rest of the squirrel's tail off.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA and Bobette get to know each other.

I asked JaneA if she wanted to meet Bobette and she perked up and looked around. I brought her over to Bobette. She called to her and Bobette stood up and ran over to her side! In that moment, I witnessed love at first sight; as if two halves, separated for years, had finally come back together.

I didn't say a word. This was the look I hope to see in all my adopters, but it didn't add up. JaneA could provide a home for any cat. She didn't have to drive for five hours just to meet this one, but what I didn't know was that JaneA had been following Bobette's story from the first days we rescued her out of the Henry County kill shelter. From afar, JaneA had a gut feeling that this was her cat, but at the time she couldn't add to her kitty family and then after the tragic loss of Dahlia the timing just wasn't right.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with a squirmy Bobette.

JaneA, Sam and I caught up on recent events. JaneA's blog just got nominated for a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Award for Best Meow Blog! Of course I'd be glad if she won, but only if I don't win, first! Although we're both nominated for the same category, the pressure is off since it's a Juried award and we don't have to beg for votes. This time it feels like we're already both winners since we're Finalists. The rest is gravy…or 5,000 meals of cat food from FreeKibble.com, which is part of the award to the Winner.

JaneA met the kittens and the big moment of her meeting her cat's namesake, was a huge letdown. The kittens were a bit nervous having both myself and JaneA in the room. When I picked up Hello Dahlia to bring her to JaneA, the kitten freaked out and ran off. The heartwarming moment, the tears never came to pass. It was fine by JaneA. She knew that the kittens would have a far easier time being adopted. It appeared that JaneA was thinking about something else—a little spitfire named Bobette.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette has such a sweet face and her eyes are really that bright shade of green.

We went out for some nice FRIED FOOD for dinner, followed by a sickly huge waffle cone full of ice cream. It was fun to have another cat lady to hang out with and the time flew by. Soon it was time to get JaneA settled into the foster room. We made up the bed while the kittens ran around. JaneA laid on the bed, hanging off it so she could get closer to April without scaring her. I wished JaneA good luck trying to sleep in a room full of kittens. I closed the door and said a little prayer hoping it would go all right. The few times I've napped with the kittens I was terrified I'd roll onto one and kill it. I guess I'd have to hope for the best.

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

The next morning, I asked JaneA how she slept as we prepared to make a pot of coffee. “I slept like a baby!” was her surprising reply. Apparently the kittens settled down and went to sleep as she did the same. Being around kittens was truly good for her soul…but…what about Bobette?

I didn't want to push JaneA into doing anything she wasn't ready to do, but as the time drew near for JaneA to return to Maine, I coyly asked her how she felt about Bobette. She said she loved her already. We discussed how it might work and our concerns that Bobette might not be a great fit in her home. I knew that of anyone who could possibly adopt Bobette, this was one person who understood the importance of a proper introduction, knew how to do it and was willing to take the time to do it right. I told JaneA that we could do the adoption on a trial basis and that I would ALWAYS take her back if it didn't work out.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A few last pets for my foster sweetheart.

JaneA sat on the floor and called to Bobette. She asked Bobette if she wanted to go home with her. Bobette responded by rubbing against JaneA's knees, her arms and pressed her face against her hand, clearly saying, “yes.” I had to fight back the tears it was such a beautiful sight.

I never could have guessed that Bobette's forever home would be with a fellow cat-lady-blogger and that the next time I saw her she would be featured as part of the family on Paws and Effect.com. Bobette's five month journey with me comes to an end, but her story with JaneA is just beginning.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA with her cat, Bobette.

We signed the contract and I pulled together some of Bobette's favorite toys and some cans of food. I didn't have time to take “farewell photos” or even say more than goodbye and kiss her quickly on the head as JaneA placed her into the cat carrier. It all happened in a heartbeat. As we waved goodbye to JaneA and her newest family member, I turned away, hot tears trailing down my cheeks.

I was so very happy, yet so sad to see little Bobette go.

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My phone rang. It was Katherine from Animals in Distress. Did I have space to take in another cat? I laughed at the irony of the timing, then asked her what she needed help with. Her words cut into my heart...

“Jackson Galaxy just got returned to the Shelter. His adoption fell through.”

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*"It Had to Be You" is a popular song written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn, and was first published in 1924.

Foster Mama FAIL!

For the kitten's fourth week birthday I decided to be an idiot and scare the crap out of them! Hurrah! I'm learning oh so much about fostering kittens; what to do, not do. Today's lesson is: “DO NOT DO THIS.”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wondering what the heck is going on.

The other day I downloaded some iPhone apps that had to do with cats. Some are educational/ reference material about what is toxic to cats or cat health and others are silly and have to do with painting using photos of cats or adding weird things to existing photos of cats (like laser beam eyes). I also got this app called Cat Sounds. It was FREE. It has all of FOUR (free) cat sounds on it, plus some wild cat sounds. Last night I played a few of the sounds and my cats almost slept through them. One sat up and looked around.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Drama! Intrigue! Hilarity!

This morning, after playing with the kittens and shooting some video, as a MORONIC ACT I decided to (FAIL!) play the sounds. One sound was of a purring cat and another was was titled: “Happy Cat.” April was sitting next to me on the floor. She heard the sounds and looked around, but was basically bored.

I played the Happy sound again. I think it was a cat in heat. The energy in the room shifted. It got quiet. I looked into the bathtub and the kittens had formed a group and were huddled together-TERRIFIED!

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Foster mom's blunder; scaring cats into nice photo op (by accident).

Of course, instead of soothing them, I shot a video. Classy move on my part, I know. Fortunately the kittens don't appear to be adversely effected, but one of them is still giving me a funny look ever time I enter the room to check in on them.

Watch the video! It will explain it in a more entertaining way.

Over and out.

A Tough Day for Nicky

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The intention of this post is to help educate, not sensationalize an event that was personally very disturbing to me. I've given it a lot of thought and I feel it could help others if I share what happened yesterday to our cat, Nicky. The video, below, shows puddles of urine that are very bloody. In fact, it looks more like puddles of blood. If this is disturbing to you, PLEASE do not watch the video. There is also a single photo of a second area of urine, below, as well.

 

It's been very challenging to take care of Nicky since we found out he has renal disease, a mass on his spleen (not cancer), and possibly, lymphoma. Nicky gets sub q (under the skin) fluids every other day. We monitor that he's eating well, but he's losing weight. He frequently urinates a great deal of urine, outside the litter pan. We've studied his habits, made certain the pans were spotlessly clean and had to stand “guard” next to him while he urinates in case he feels stressed. We've worked on keeping the stress down. It wasn't possible with kittens running around, but now that Jakey and Teddy are adopted, things are fairly quiet.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky a few months ago.

Thursday the 12th Nicky peed on one of the rugs. I caught him doing it. As usual, there was a huge puddle to clean up. There was nothing unusual about it. I battle with myself not to get angry, to just clean it up and move on. It's very difficult to watch my belongings and my home get ruined, but I know I'm not alone and that so many other people have far worse situations.

Friday the 13th, I was doing my usual routine of sitting with April and the kittens, getting mama fed, cleaning up the litter pan in her room and so on. Everyone was doing fine. Sam had to step out to run an errand. I said goodbye to him through the closed door of the foster room.

A few minutes later, I heard Bobette get into it with another cat. I've been allowing her the option to come out of her room, hoping she would get acclimated to my cats so I could use her room to foster more kittens. So far the experiment isn't going very well and she screeches at the other cats, then chase them away. So far she is not physical with them. The altercations last a second, tops. I finished up with April and got out of the room to see what had happened.

I went to Bobette's room. She was sitting on the bed. She looked fine. I walked down the hallway into my bedroom. I didn't see any cats. I thought I should take a shower and get ready for the day. I walked to the doorway of the bathroom and something caught my eye. There was a puddle of what I thought was blood on the floor.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The first sign of trouble.

I looked at it closely, then cleaned it up. It didn't smell like urine, but I know Petunia will some times mark near that spot.I thought it was her since she's had crystals in her urine in the past, but how was I going to figure out which of eight cats was doing this? I scanned the floor near the first spot and I saw small drops of bloody urine. There's only one cat who would drop urine and that was Nicky. Nicky had “PU” surgery years ago to remove his penis because he was getting blocked up so often. I didn't know about the importance of removing grain from a cat's diet at the time and if I did, we could have cured him without spending $8,000.00 to have surgery done. After the surgery we were told that Nicky may have some incontinence issues. I've never seen much from him, but seeing these drops made me realize it had to be him.

For some reason, I looked on the bed. We have a PawsOff® cover on it, but it wasn't covering next to my pillow, which was exactly where I found a small puddle of bloody urine. HE PEED ON THE BED!!!!!!

I ripped the sheets off the bed and put them into the laundry, then continued my search for both Nicky and for more puddles.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Warning: more blood, also, you can hear me crying so please be advised.

There were two bloody puddles on the landing between the first and second floors. There were droplets on the floor headed towards the bathroom. There was a puddle next to the dishwasher. I saw Nicky, he was straining on the carpet. I grabbed him and tossed him into the litter pan, blocking his escape. I was freaked out. I was angry. I knew I shouldn't be either, but I couldn't help it. Nicky ran out of the litter pan and started straining again. I grabbed him and tossed him into the downstairs bathroom and shut the door. At least if he peed on the floor it was tile and I could clean it up. I needed a few minutes to calm down and get things clean.

Then I realized my phone must have rung during all the commotion. There was a voicemail. It was Sam. He got a speeding ticket on the way to the Apple Store where he was going to try to get his dead PowerBook sent out for service! Great! I called him back, but only got his voicemail. I told him what was going on with Nicky. I called the Vet and told them I was pretty sure it was Nicky and they gave me an appointment for 12:30pm

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky and Sam waiting for Dr. Larry.

Sam called back and told me Nicky had been vomiting earlier that morning. This not good. Clearly something is terribly wrong. Nicky was furiously scratching at the door to be let out. I opened the door.

What I saw took my breath away. The bathroom looked like a scene out of a horror movie. There were puddles of bloody urine scattered all over the room, on the counter, and the floor.

Nicky ran out of the room and vanished. I made myself shoot some video of it because I wanted Dr Larry to see it later, but I was so upset I could barely get any footage. I was certain that this was a sign that Nicky was going to die and soon. I thought that perhaps something had ruptured inside him or that had had a mass in his bladder on top of everything else.

 

I called Dr. Larry's office and Super-Deb answered the phone. Deb is my comfort, my friend. She always has a way to help me calm down and take a breath, but Super-Deb just lost her most dear cat in the world, Pete Puma, to lymphoma. Pete was a big orange Maine Coon. He lived through so many challenges it was amazing he lived into his teens. Here was Debbie, being her usual calm self and I am bawling my head off. I told her I had an emergency and that we couldn't wait until 12:30 to come it and that I was bringing Nicky in NOW. Deb was great and said to come in and they would fit us in. I reached Sam and told him what was going on. He would meet me at the Vet. I just had to FIND Nicky, pack him up and go…oh and put some clothes on! I was still in my jammies.

Nicky was hiding in the closet. Not a good sign. I managed to pack him up and get us in the car fairly quickly, but once I got on the road, it was another nightmare. I didn't get more than 200 yards out of my driveway when I got stuck behind a driver going 30 mph in a 40 mph zone. I waited for the passing zone to come up and I shot past him, cursing the whole way. I didn't get very far because the traffic came to a dead stop. It was 10:30am! What was going on? A semi-truck got STUCK making a turn onto the state road, so the traffic was limping along. It was really only moving because the cars ahead of me were turning around and going the other direction.

I got onto a back road, then got stuck, again behind a driver crawling at abnormally low speed. If they were doing the speed limit I would have just followed along, but I couldn't tolerate these slow drivers. Nicky was crying. I smelled urine. I thought he could be dying. I passed a few cars and just did what I needed to do. I finally got to the Vet. They told us to wait a few minutes. Sam was there already. We both looked pale and miserable. I started to cry again, the sound of it mingled with Nicky's own cries.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is what a cat in pain looks like. If Nicky was hunched over with his front paws tucked under him it would be called “meatloafing” which is another sign a cat's in pain.

Dr. Larry was in the middle of a difficult case regarding a dog. He had his partner take over so he could see Nicky, who he calls; “my boy.” Dr. Larry loves Nicky and would do anything for us. We're very lucky to have such a caring Vet.

Nicky's back end was bloody. They checked to make sure Bobette hadn't bitten him in the butt-which we were all hoping was the case. He had no visible injury so they took him in the back and did blood work and x-rays. We were sent home to wait.

Around 3pm we got the call to come get Nicky. X-rays did not show any mass. The ultrasound guy-Dr Kearns, was not available to come in, but from looking at Nicky's blood work it was clear something was going on. His white blood count was very high. His kidney function, as expected was not great, but not terrible. Nicky has lost over a pound in a month. With only those few things to go on and that Dr. Larry felt nothing on the physical exam, they decided to get Nick on antibiotics. They also gave him Reglan to keep him from vomiting and Buprenex(now that I look up a link for this medication, I see it should not be given to cats with kidney disease!!!!) to make him more comfortable.

We were to wait and see how he does over the next few days.

It's Saturday the 14th. Nicky didn't eat well and paced a bit. As soon as my head hit the pillow last night, he started to cry. I called to him and he came up to bed and was fairly quiet. This morning I haven't found any urine puddles, but I'm not sure Nicky has peed. He did vomit and he may be having problems with the antibiotics or the buprenex or both. Was this a simple urinary tract infection or is something else going on?

 

Looking back on it, I believe the urinating out of the box may have been a brewing infection. We were so locked onto the fact that his kidneys are losing function that we assumed that was the case. Perhaps we had two issues going on that needed to be handled differently?

 

At this point only time will tell if we're treating Nicky appropriately. We'll keep things quiet and hope Nicky improves or we may find out we missed something (again). For now, Nicky's home and that's what counts.

Update-A-Rama: Of Happy & Sad Endings & Hopeful Beginnings

It's been quite the roller coaster over the past 48 hours since I found out that Amberly had bolted out the front door of her family's home and hadn't been seen again. After her family, myself and many of you worked on getting the word out, the call I made to my friend, Katherine, ended up being the one thing that turned this story around. Katherine met with the family and searched for Amberly. Not finding anything, she left to trap another cat who needed to have his tail amputated. She picked up Leo, who we worked together to rescue last week, and got him to the shelter. [If you recall, Leo is 13 years old. His owners dumped him outside when he peed out of the pan. Then they had premie twin babies which made them decide (due to Doctor's orders!) to get rid of the cat for good!]

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Leo.

Leo is better off. Once I saw him, filthy, thin, with bad teeth, I knew he was a diamond in the rough. I got him his initial vetting, then AID covered the cost to have a dental done, some blood work (which was surprisingly perfect!) and an EKG! Leo also got a bath. I can't wait to see him again. I hear he's looking just lovely now.

After Katherine got everything settled, she could have just gone home. It was about 7pm, but something was bothering her. She just HAD to go back and look for Amberly again.

The second time was the charm. She called out to Amberly and heard her meow back! Amberly had somehow got locked in some sort of weird, storage thing, which I still can't understand what it was based on Katherine's description. All I know is Amberly went in, a door got shut behind her and she was trapped. For two days she was across the street from her own home!

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©2012 McGarty Family. Amberly, Jack and Mama.

Needless to say Amberly's family was thrilled to get her back. I have to admit I considered telling Katherine NOT to let Amberly return home, but to bring her to me. The family had let her get out a few times before and the area they live in is NOT safe for a cat. I was going to think it over overnight, but by the time I reached Katherine to speak with her about it, Amberly was already with her family.

This morning I got an update from the family and a few photos. Once I saw Amberly with her son, Jack, I realized she needed to stay where she was. The family said she was following everyone around, purring, eating like a champ. Clearly she was happy to be home, but I fear she will forget this happiness and try to get out again. I plan on speaking with the family about building her a “catio” or leash train her and take her for a walk. Amberly needs more stimulation, play time, cat grass. All of this can help soothe her desire to get outside.

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©2012 McGarty Family. Amberly is dwarfed by her son, Jack LiLac! They're so happy to be back together.

Bobette

Bobette has healed from her surgery and Dr. Mixon believes she may always limp, but her leg is now straight when she walks, instead of curved outwards. She seems to get along very well, but after playing for a time, stops wanting to jump. I'm sure she's bored, sitting in her room, alone for most of the day now that Jakey and Teddy are adopted. I only got one application for her so far and it fell through.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette has recovered from surgery, but is still waiting for her forever home.

There's a lot of pressure to find her a new home. With kitten season here and King and Miss FP waiting in the wings, I need the space. Two days ago I started to leave the foster room door open. Bobette has NOT been thrilled seeing my cats. Though her tail pouffs comically, her growling and hissing is no joke. She hasn't been violent, but she puts on a good show and my cats are giving her space. So far she just stays upstairs. Seeing her outside her room makes me laugh because she's so excited by having room to run. She stops and plays with every toy she sees even though she's nervous about running into my cats. I'm taking it slowly with her, but I hope we can let her mingle my cats so that room can be freed up for the SIX ADDITIONAL kittens I'd like to rescue! (wait 'till you see them!)

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. She loves getting petted!

Miss FP

I have a lot of guilt about Miss Fluffy Pants. She's in Maria's foster room all by herself. I need to get her out of there, but not sure where to put her. Miss FP's western blot test came back positive for FIV. The only thing we don't know is if she really has FIV or was immunized against FIV, which would show up positive as a test result. Miss FP is in good spirits and Maria tells me she is VERY affectionate. She may be ok with another cat or not, but since King has been moved out of the room, Miss FP has come out of her shell.

I've got to find an additional foster home for her in CT so we can bring her up here and start looking for her forever home. I hate that she's just waiting, but with no room at my home, I'm stuck for now.

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©2012 Maria S. Miss FP. Sweeter than ever.

King

King continues to shine bright. He's hanging out with Maria's cats and is loving life. He gets to sleep on a real bed, get good food and is in a loving home. I can't wait to meet King and I hope we can move him north soon. He's already on Petfinder and I've had one or two inquiries, but so far nothing solid.

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©2012 Maria S. King, relaxing on the first bed he's ever known.

I'm so glad he's off the streets. King's rescuer, Bobby Stanford, sent me some sobering photos of the palette factory where King and Miss FP were living. The folks who work there asked after the cats and Bobby gave them an update. I think if they could see how gorgeous the cats are they'd be very happy. Though they were kind enough to give the cats what they could. It wasn't ideal for them and they wouldn't have survived much longer in that location-especially King. There was no way he could get around very comfortably or safely.

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. King used to sleep under these stairs.

 

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. This was King's former home. I don't know how he walked around on his stunted back legs. To read more about King's amazing journey go HERE.

The good news is there's no need to be sad for King or MissFP. They're in good hands. From the looks of it, King is starting to get a little bit feisty with Maria's cats now that he feels safe. The video below is a hoot! Make sure you watch it to the end!


©2012 Maria S. King, also known as, Mr Mischief!

 

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©2012 Maria S. See the video, above, to find out what happens a few seconds after this photo was taken!

April & Her Six Kittens

I forgot how much I worry about kittens! It's been a very long time since I've had kittens this young. Lately I've been fostering them after Maria does all the tough work and the kittens are old enough to be spayed/neutered. Now I get to fret every morning. Will I walk into the bathroom, where the kittens are living, and find one of them gone? Today is day 17 and I still have six kittens. They are all gaining weight. I'm still confused as to which one is which. I believe I have ALL GIRLS, but after using a 8x magnifying lens to look at their private parts, either they ARE all female or I just can't tell one sex from the other.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor April is exhausted.

The kittens all have their eyes open and are starting to look more like cats than hamsters. I think they can sort of see me and I've caught a few looking up at me. It melts my heart. I can't believe in another week or so they will be wobbling about even more and starting to play.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April and the family.

I believe that three of the kittens are polydactyls; one has bizarre shaped paws! The only tuxedo kitten has very cute markings, pink & black toes and likes to squawk when I pick her up. Another kitten has big paws like a bear and always seems to be belly-up. It's about time to name the kittens. I think I may ask for help with that, but first I'm going to get photos of each one to help us with the naming. I've named their mother, April.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tinkies! (not a typo-that's what I call kittens)

Today I noticed that April was dwarfed by her kittens. She's a small cat and with six kittens who are about 11 oz each, it's getting crowded around her belly. She's clearly exhausted and I feel both terrible and worried about her. I feed her many times a day, but some times she just doesn't eat very well for me. I've opted to leave her grain-free dry food so she has something to eat 24/7 even if I'm not a fan of kibble. I hold a plate out to her to eat because most often she's got kittens nursing on her and the poor thing won't get up to feed herself.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What is that thing?

Clearly April is devoted to her babies because she still gives me these short little growls when she's not sure about something I'm doing. I don't worry any more that she's going to attack me. She's been nothing but friendly. Some times I rub her neck or scratch her cheeks. She purrs right away and her body relaxes for a moment. I want to take her away from the babies so she can rest, but it's not possible right now. I'm half tempted to start bottle feeding the kittens, but I don't see any of them losing weight or crying. If they are ok and she is just tired, then it will only be another week and a half and I can start weaning them off her. I just hope she can endure this stress. I'm doing everything I can think of to support her.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We so cute!

As Day 17 for the kittens draws to a close, I got the news that our friend Janea from Paws & Effect has to make the difficult decision to put her cat Dahlia to sleep. Dahlia has atypical large t-cell lymphoma that is not responding to treatment and Dahlia has fluid building up around her heart that has to be drained every so often or she will pass away in a lot of pain. It's the most difficult choice any cat-parent has to make. We send Janea all our love and support and ask Dahlia to Fly Free to the Rainbow Bridge when it's time to go, but not a moment sooner.

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