Minnie’s kittens have been with me since they were 4 days old. I knew that our journey together was temporary and I took refuge in knowing that the day was a long way off. I would focus on my job—to help them grow strong and sure and be ready to be adopted one day. It’s a fairly straightforward process and there are always blips (or weeks of diarrhea to contend with), but with any luck it works out fine.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Baby Petey.
Minnie’s were the first kittens I didn’t feed ANY grain to whatsoever. I didn’t give them milk replacer, which is full of sugar and rice. I took a chance on using goat’s milk and chicken baby food to wean them, then quickly started them on a simple grain-free canned food, then on to raw. The kittens took to it well and had great appetites. What stunned me was how BIG they got and how effortless it seemed. They were a pound bigger than Lolly and Clark, who are a month older. They FEEL robust and vibrate with good health. From handling them every day, even if it was only to weigh them in those first precious weeks, they are accustomed to being touched. If I have to clean a face or trim claws, they just sit there limply and wait until I’m done. In some ways I feel like I’m creating a new breed of kitten. Certainly NONE of my own cats are this relaxed or had such a good start in life.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Afternoon nap—something I was honored to witness.
I wasn’t in a hurry to find the kittens homes. I’ll admit it. Every time I was with them, my heart sang. They gave me a great deal of joy. All that I did for them, they gave back to me tenfold. Though I got many adoption applications, especially for Jellybean Mel, I kept finding fault or put off getting back to them and they adopted elsewhere. Honestly, I hate processing adoption applications because I have to talk to people I don’t know and possibly have a confrontation with them because they may not agree with our policies (no going outdoors except on a lead or in a “catio” for example).
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
As the kittens grew into young adults I began to fret I’d waited too long, so I got more serious about the applications and found a great fit for Jellybean Mel. The family had come to adopt him, but he hid while they were in the room and Yukon Stan surprised me by stealing their hearts. It was completely unexpected and only just now am I realizing I never wrote about it. I just posted the news on our Facebook page while I returned to searching for good matches for the other kittens.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan (left), now named Oliver, with his new family-doing great!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel gives himself and Petey a bath while Petey gets ready to push him away with a “bunny kick” to the head!
All within the same week, I got good applications for Barney, Willow, Jellybean Mel, Precious Pete, Lolly, Clark and Mabel. We did a flurry of home visits resulting in many of the cats being adopted with one exception. I put a stop to Mabel’s adoption because my gut instincts said NO. The family was nice. The home was spotless and large. Mabel would have been the only pet in the home, but the wife seemed angry and uninterested. The husband, who I had been dealing with, was nice but I didn’t think anyone would actually PLAY with Mabel and she needs that every day. They have a teenager who is close to being off to college soon. It left me feeling like Mabel would be loved but maybe not get much attention. After what she suffered through, being stuck in a cage for TWO YEARS at a Kill Shelter (READ ABOUT THAT HERE), I owed it to her to give her the best home I could—one where I had no doubts.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mabel has not a care in the world, for which I am very happy.
I wrote the man the nicest, most apologetic email I could. I started second-guessing myself that I was wrong and should go ahead with the adoption. On paper it was all good, but in my heart it wasn’t. The man hadn’t even met Mabel so I thought he would accept me suggesting another cat we have here OR I told him I’d send him to one of our other rescue friends if he didn’t like that option. He took offense and I didn’t hear from him again. It left me feeling badly and worried I’d made a mistake, but I have to do what’s right for the cats.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Must look nice. Adopters are coming!
Next we did a home visit of a young professional couple who hadn’t had cats since they were kids. They’d recently found a friendly stray and had enjoyed his company so much it inspired them to adopt their own cat. They found us through one of our Vets because they just so happened to bring the stray cat to the place where the cat had been vetted before so they knew his owner. They reunited the cat with his family and while they were at my vet’s office they asked where they could adopt two kittens and a match was made with our organization, Kitten Associates.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey looking divine.
The home is HUGE, new and almost empty as the couple just moved in not long ago. They showed me where they would put the kittens and we discussed things like cat trees and scratchers and why these things were important. They wanted to know everything I could tell them because they are determined to provide the best for their new family members.
They showed me a room off their family room. It had lots of windows and was very cozy. They talked about how they were going to get everything set up, order cat trees, toys, everything, so the kittens would have their own room until they were comfortable exploring the rest of the house. Even though they didn’t have a vet reference, it was clear they would do what it takes for whichever cats they adopt. They told me they’d been watching our SqueeTV Ch 1 and had their hearts set on adopting Jellybean Mel and Precious Pete. I wasn't surprised, but I didn't want to show any reaction either. This was getting real and I had to accept the fact that two of my boys might be leaving soon.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Mellie.
I knew if I had to let those two kittens go, that they’d have to have the best and I thought there was a good chance that this was IT. I didn’t want to think about how deeply I loved both kittens or that Mellie had really gotten under my skin a very long time ago. I had to think about their future, what they deserve, not my own feelings.
I don’t care to have “favorites” in each litter of kittens, because that status often changes over time anyway. I have a bond with all of the kittens in this litter, but Mellie loved to sit on me. He’d drape himself over my arm, or lay against my leg, purring loudly and fall asleep. He gave me that lovey-dovey look. You know the one, the one that melts your heart.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel and Petey, not even fully grown, are going to be big boys one day.
I tried to think of ways to keep him, but I already have too many cats. I also wanted to keep Petey because he’s just as amazing as Mel and oh so adorable. Thinking about not seeing them every day made me feel ill. When the day came for the couple to meet the kittens, I literally felt like I was going to faint I dreaded it so much.
I had no doubts about the couple at all, but I didn’t want to see the little family torn apart. Stan was already adopted but now the little clutter would be down two more and I knew things would be a lot different with them gone.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How to hold a cat, oops, or not.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Traci and Paul are getting the hang of it…almost.
Petey came over to us and spread out across my chest. Petey is a charmer and his fur is like silk. I stroked his tiger stripes and tickled his little niblet toes that he spread apart as my finger traced the outline of each one. His purr joined Mel’s, then Joey, Bunny and Gracey came over and all snuggled up together. It doesn’t get any better than this. I wanted to record this moment forever so I could play it back over and over, but there is no device to capture something this wonderful.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What's this?
The hour flew by quickly. There were only a few minutes left. Our time together was over. I had to get ready. I told Mel and Petey to have a wonderful life and that I loved them very much. As I left the room I heard a chorus of purrs, the sound softening as I gently closed the door. My heart was pounding. Could I really do this? Could I let my babies go?
The couple arrived with a huge cat carrier. It made me laugh. They’d lined it with a very soft cat bed. I was impressed. They spent almost three HOURS here in the foster room. They played with the kittens, talked to me about everything from what do they do when they have kids some day to best treats, toys, how to hold the kittens properly. Surprisingly, it was Gracey who charmed them and so did Joey. I started to think I’d get to keep the boys awhile longer. I kept urging Mellie and Petey to go play with their new family. They would run past them or rub their leg and dash back to me while Gracey stretched out with them on the bed and let them rub her tummy.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. As always, Gracey leads the way.
It was after 8 PM. I took a deep breath and asked the couple if they felt ready to make a decision, part of me hoping they’d take them all. They looked at each other and asked each other if they wanted to choose Mel and Petey even though Joey and Gracey had been very sweet, too. They realized that they loved Mel and Petey before they even stepped in the room and they knew, too, that in time both cats would be as affectionate with them as they had been with me so they were ready to choose.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey says goodbye to his brothers.
We did the paperwork and I didn’t feel sick. It felt right. I realized I’d been like a kid with a favorite toy that accidentaly got put in the washing machine and was ruined. I wanted things to be the same as ever, but I knew they never could be again. I loaded Mel and Petey into their new carrier, while Gracey made us laugh by trying to join them, too. The boys found their forever home. It was time to say our goodbyes.
The magic room was no more.