One I Hold in High Regard

Kitten Palooza!

Amberly's kittens are SIX WEEKS OLD! Time flies! Can you believe they were found in a nest under a tree? If you missed their AMAZING RESCUE, you can read about it HERE. Are these the SAME kittens? Is it possible they are NOT SICK? I don't even know what it's like to not have a kitten with upper respiratory to battle or something worse:::KNOCK WOOD::: anti-jinx!!!

I'm SO grateful that the kittens are doing so well and to make it even better, I swear EACH of them is more lovely than the last. Amberly made some very special kittens, that's for certain!

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©2011 Maria S. Peri with Mama-Amberly.

Today, instead of blathering on and on, let's just enjoy a multitude of images from a few weeks ago and more I just got yesterday-including some adorable videos! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit back and smile. It's a good day to smile!

Here are the babies! (make sure you scroll ALL the way to the end for the funniest photo, ever!)

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©2011 Maria S. Here's the gang!


©2011 Maria S.

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©2011 Maria S. Lunchtime!

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©2011 Maria S. Bluebelle.

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©2011 Maria S. Blaze and Jack LaLac.


©2011 Maria S.

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©2011 Maria S. Truffles and Bluebelle.

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©2011 Maria S. Periwinkle, the Glamour Puss.

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©2011 Maria S. Jack in Wonderland.

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©2011 Maria S. Girl (Truffles) Gone Wild!


©2011 Maria S.

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©2011 Maria S. Blaze just doesn't get the joke!

Missing You: An Update on Polly & MacGruber

It's too quiet in my home. There are NINE cats here. One of them, the mama to my foster kittens still needs to find a home. You'd think with nine cats there'd be some noise, but it's like we don't have any cats at all now that Polly and MacGruber have been adopted.

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©2011 P. Mulhern. Mac, nervous in the kitchen of his new home.

I knew that saying goodbye to them would be tough. After all, they've been with me for eight months. How can you not get attached over all that time? At first, after they left it was just like they were at the Vet for a day or two, that they would come back. It wasn't so bad to have a break from all the insanity-and trust me there was pretty much non-stop craziness here. They would race up and down the stairs at all hours. They'd explore everywhere and I'd find them on the top of the eight foot tall cat tree, fighting for who had control of the upper level, or they'd be passed out, upside down on the bed after furiously grooming each other. What I miss the most is that they'd often follow me around. Polly loved to sleep next to me in an elevated cat bed I have near my desk. It used to be just for Blitzen, but Polly took turns with him to be close.

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©2011 P. Mulhern. Back in his room, Mac poses for the camera.

Most of the time Polly couldn't even stay that close to me without having to crawl into my lap, walk up my chest to find a spot to sleep. Her coat was like the finest silk. I'd sit back from my work and just hold her and pet her.

It's weird how lonely it is without them. My own cats are mostly, at least six, if not ten years old. Blitzen is barely two and he is lonely as well. He and Mac used to run around and wrestle, then groom each other. I saw Blitzen go over to one of my other cats and give her one lick, she backed off, he turned away, defeated.

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©2011 P. Mulhern. Meanwhile, Polly loves watching the birdies outside the sliding door.

In two weeks I'm taking in Phil, the BIG adult ragdoll/DLH cat I rescued from Henry Co. a month or so ago. I know I'm going to love Phil, but he's not a kitten, either. Maybe he will keep Blitzen on his toes, if he ever even meets my guys. I'll have to keep him quarantined for a few weeks and by then I hope to have him adopted.

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©2011 P. Mulhern. I told Polly's family about these cubes. They didn't hesitate to run out and get them so the kittens would be happy.

I realize I can easily take in some kittens that need help but I have to hold the space for Amberly and her kittens and I've promised to help another friend with her kittens, as well. They'll be here in a month. I just have to be patient. In the meantime, I am going to be sad. Missing my little munchkins, who I hear are doing well.

Mac is having a bit of a tough time adjusting and has become somewhat nervous in his new home, but Polly is ready to go, enjoys watching the birds and is very confident.

I was surprised to hear that Mac was having a tough time. He was nothing but confident here. Perhaps he smells the cat that used to live in the house before he got there? Perhaps his owners let him out of his room far too soon (after just a day). I hope Mac learns to relax and be calm and confident, as he was here. He hasn't eaten very well, which surprises me, too. Maybe we should just bring him back here?

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©2011 P. Mulhern. I miss you, Mac!

Oh how tempted I am to just go get them both. I have to stop this. They're in a very good home and their new family will look after their every need. They even noticed that Mac was afraid of their ceiling fan, so they turned it off and will only run it slowly, until he gets used to it. That tells me they're paying attention to him and trying to help him be comfortable.

It's too early to worry. I feel confident it will work out in time. I just have to get this lump in my throat to dissolve. I miss them so much, but damn it, that's how it goes when you do rescue. I didn't realize how HAPPY having kittens made me. It really takes the blues away. How can you NOT smile when kittens are nearby? No wonder I miss them. And maybe, too, they miss me.

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Update: Remember Cupid from “Santa's Team?”

In December of 2009 I rescued nine cats, not all related, from a kill shelter. I named them after Santa's reindeer and as a group, they picked up the nickname, “Santa's Team.”

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This was the fundraiser poster I created for this rescue. You can see the entire gang!

When I picked them up off the transport, it was clear they were all very sick. I have my reasons as to why this happened, but I can't say why without facing repercussions-other than to say, the transporter was not even looking at the cats for the 36 hours they were on the road or giving them fresh water and probably not any food, either.

Some of the cats had raging high fevers, one had ringworm, which basically gave it to all my cats and my foster home's cats, too. It was a nightmare, to say the least, but all the cats lived and went on to be adopted into good homes. You can read more about them by doing a search for “santa's team.” Here are a few links: The Curious Case of Cupid and The Foster Cat Journal

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©2011 Dave Musen and ©2009 Betsy Merchant. Cupid in her home and Cupid in the kill shelter with her babies.

Part of the rescue included a mama, I named, Cupid and her four offspring, Dancer, Donner, Prancer and Blitzen. Cupid was emaciated from being nursed on for too long. She weighed just five pounds. In a week she gained about a pound, once I gave her better food and got the kittens off her. That was only the beginning of a startling transformation.

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©2011 Dave Musen. Every day is filled with fun surprises!

It took a few months before Cupid got any applications offering to adopt her. At the time, I was with another rescue group. They had a different idea to what makes a good adopter than I did. For this group, I had "special" permission to get what I wanted: NO going outdoors and I was really going to grill the family to make sure these cats were going to the best home. My plan did not work for all the cats. I think I made one adoption of two of Cupid's offspring that I still regret, but the cats are doing fine, it's just not my ideal.

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©2011 Dave Musen. Yes, that is a DOG next to Cupid. Hee hee!

The other thing I am very careful about is adopting to home where there are very young children. It's just not safe for the child or the cat, so if I see on an application there is a toddler, even though I still process the application, I usually don't move forward with it.

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©2011 Dave Musen. Toying with her dad's foot.

We had an adoption event around Valentine's Day. I met a man with his 9 year old son, his wife and their baby. The man had a connection with Cupid, but because of the baby, I wrote them off. He said they were thinking about getting a cat, but not sure. It seemed to be just a radom thing, nothing would come of it.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My boy Blitzen is Cupid's son. Notice any resemblance?

Over a month later, I got an application on Cupid from that same man. His name is Dave and he lives here in town. I went through the motions, but really didn't think it would be a good idea. They had two dogs and a baby. Would Cupid be happy?

I called the family and spoke to Dave and voiced my concerns. He told me that he is often home working and that they had a Nanny to look after their baby and the nanny loved cats, too. That the baby has constant supervision of three adults. Their Vet reference was really great, too. They did everything for their dogs and they were willing and interested to feed Cupid a raw diet (they do for their dogs, too).

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©2011 Dave Musen. Merry Christmas, Cupid! I see you got some gifts, too!

I told him he could come meet Cupid with his son, but I couldn't promise the adoption would go through. They came to visit twice and both times the son was very sweet and loving and Cupid seemed to like both of them. The wife was a harder sell, but she came along. Dave was really the one smitten with Cupid and I could see it in his eyes.

I went through with the adoption. A few months later, I got an update that Cupid was doing great and that they were really impressed with how sweet she was with the children and their dogs. That was almost two years ago and I've since left the group I was with so updates would stop coming, too.

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©2011 Dave Musen. Cupid loves her doggy buddy.

The other day I was at my local pet food shop and who should be there, but Dave, getting food for Cupid and the dogs. We had a great chat about everyone. Cupid is doing fantastic. She has probably gained four more pounds and is up to about ten. Her coat, as you can see, has filled out to the extreme. Although she always seems to have a sad look on her face, she is living large, that is for sure. From what I hear, she is very very happy.

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©2011 Dave Musen. Looking simply divine, Miss Cupid.

She has the BEST life, loves the dogs, loves her people. She will never want for anything. After what she suffered, she deserves this amazing home, with a dedicated, loving family. It doesn't get any better than this.

I'm glad I was able to work through my own hesitation about this adoption because this truly was the perfect family for her. I am very grateful to them for providing for her and for making her life the best, ever. Thank you!

Now can I just find a home this nice for Mazie? For Phil? For Cara? Well...Cara may have found a home, but that's another story for another day.

The Petties™ 2011-Covered in Cat Hair, Double-Nominee!

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I have to admit that I didn't think we stood a chance at winning even ONE nomination for the Petties 2011 awards, let alone TWO! Last year, we were nominated in the category of Best Cause Related Blog, for which I was greatly honored, but this year I'm simply gobsmacked to be in the Best Cat Blog category AND the Best Social Interaction Blog category! Who knew? Obviously YOU guys knew! The field is so much BIGGER this year, than it was last year. I'm still in shock that we got this far.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR MY BLOG! I appreciate it VERY MUCH!

Of course there's a TINY bit more to do to get Covered in Cat Hair all the way to the BIG AWARD. You've got to VOTE again! This time you don't have to sign up for anything or give your email address out.

Click HERE to VOTE. It takes about 5 seconds. If you look at the ballot, below, you can see where the arrows are pointing..that's where OUR categories are located. I heard you can VOTE TWICE A DAY so VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN!

May I also suggest you consider voting for my friend, Ingrid in the Best Overall Pet Blog. She writes the Conscious Cat, and our friends at CatLadyLand, and Paws and Effect need your votes, too!

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If Coveredincathair.com can WIN BOTH categories, it will allow me to take the $1000.00 prize for EACH win and DONATE it to my 501(c)3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue group, Kitten Associates! We REALLY NEED THOSE FUNDS TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE to RESCUE EVEN MORE KITTIES!!! Your vote will help SAVE MORE CATS!!!

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MacGruber is just one of the many cats we've rescued! Help us rescue more with a simple vote!

Please vote today and please DO share this with your cat-loving friends! We need to WIN! We've got two litters of kittens coming in a few weeks! Yes, TWO!

Cara's Journey: In Sickness & In Health

It's been a VERY LONG JOURNEY for Cara Melle-one I wonder will ever come to a happy conclusion. Cara's been sick for SEVEN MONTHS. When we cure one issue, another problem pops up. We've squeezed everyone's pockets to shake loose every last penny. This little kitten has cost my rescue group thousands of dollars in Vet care. This is not about the money, but it is an illustration of how far we've travelled to find a way to get Cara HEALTHY.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara knows she's at the Vet. Been there, done that, one too many times now.

There've been a few times when we thought we had Cara's problems licked. At first, it was a terrible URI that permanently effected her brother and sister. They both have scar tissue in their tear ducts which slows draining of their tears and causes them to have one or both eyes weep. They won't suffer much as a result of this, but it's a reminder to us of what they went through, too.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Those big eyes just cut right through my heart.

Cara, however, was hit the hardest. She had two esophageal strictures from being burned by Doxycycline when she was just a little kitten. It was avoidable had we known the antibiotic was so acidic. It could have been caused by her genetics, too. We'll never really know for sure. Either way, it caused her tremendous suffering, for a very long time. Her growth was stunted and she remains underweight.

We treated her strictures twice and medicated her every six hours for weeks. We gave her “novel protein” diet to make sure she didn't also have a food allergy (turns out she did not). We gave her the best food, the most love and tender care, but it was not enough.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara's resemblance to her mother, Mazie is very clear. Mazie still waits for her forever home, but was very glad to see Cara again.

Cara continued to vomit-PROJECTILE vomit. If you've never seen that before, imagine a hose being turned on inside little Cara. The spigot flies open and a torrent of fluid comes out. It's shocking. Disturbing. Horrifying. It leaves Cara limp. She rarely ever plays. She sits hunched over, uncomfortable, licking at her mouth, her tummy grumbling.

On Friday Cara returned to see Dr. K. Our last three weeks of feeding her a special diet showed us she had no food allergies, but she was still vomiting. A repeat of her blood work revealed her White Blood Count was still shockingly high at 29,500. Dr. K needed to do a third endoscopy to find out what was going on. The results surprised all of us.

While Cara's strictures were healed, her stomach lining, which was once fine and normal, was now “grossly” full of Helicobacter. To understand how common this is, here's a portion of an article by Bob Sherding in 2001

“Various surveys have found a high prevalence of Helicobacter approaching 100% in most shelter and colony cats and 30 to 100% in pet cats. The spiral organisms identified most often in these surveys are the large Helicobacter-like organisms, e.g., H. felis and H. heilmannii. Because of the high prevalence of infection in animals without clinical signs, the clinical significance of gastric Helicobacter-like organisms (GHLO) in cats is uncertain. Helicobacter organisms may be an incidental finding in clinically normal animals, but when they are associated with clinical signs (chronic intermittent vomiting) and gastric mucosal inflammation (lymphocytic gastritis), it is possible that they should be considered potential pathogens and treated.”

The treatment remains the same-even today: Amoxicillin and Biaxin™

But that's not all Cara is dealing with. She also has Leukocytosis-which is a high White Blood Cell Count. Because her Neutrophils are also high, it means she probably has a nasty bacterial infection. Last month, Cara had a high Eosinophil count, which could have meant she was having an allergic reaction to her food or medication. That indicator is back to normal, so it leads us to believe that Cara has a “Mother” of an infection.

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What causes this? Another mystery. Helicobacter is common. It making us or our cats sick, is not so common. What caused Cara to have such an overwhelming infection leaves us all scratching our heads. All we can do is treat her and hope it resolves. She may get better or she may get this on and off for years to come.

The saddest thing to consider is that this infection can be a precursor to Adenocarcinoma or Lymphoma. Adenocarcinoma is always malignant. My cat, Bob, has lymphoma. It can be treated, but there is no cure. To think that Cara, at such a fragile age, could face this one day is unbelievable and completely cruel. I hope it is not so. Today it's too soon to tell.

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Cara's endoscopy. Tough to see here, but her stomach lining is a mess.

And then there was Cara's pancreas to consider. Either it was inflamed and getting worse, or it had been and was resolving. They ran a PLI test to determine how badly her pancreas has been effected. This is in a EIGHT month old KITTEN. To have such problems is disturbing, gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.

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Cara's pancreas shows white highlights. This means it's inflamed and irritated. Is it getting worse or is it getting better?

Who will adopt a kitten with such health history? Who would I even TRUST to give this kitten a home? We have a long way to go before we can even worry about that. Right now there's much to be done, but the fear sits in the back of my head. I don't know that Cara will ever be on Petfinder looking for a forever home.

Sam was able to drive with me down to Norwalk to pick Cara up after her procedure so I could hold her on my lap the entire drive home. She was very weak and withdrawn. Although she had a nice reunion with her Mother, Mazie and sister, Polly, Cara wanted to be alone, to rest. She ate well for me the first night, then the next day, back at her foster home with Aunt Connie, she stopped eating. Her coat was rough. Her left eye was now weeping from the URI. She hid under the sofa where no one could get at her.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. After endoscopy, Cara is wiped out and sick with a URI.

We had to give her antibiotics, so after some coaching, were able to get her to come out so we could treat her. It took two long days, but Cara started to turn the corner just a bit. She began to eat some food and came out from under the sofa. Her eye stopped running, but she was still very worn out.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara looks out the window into the darkness. She didn't want to visit with us. She just wanted to be alone to rest and try to recover from the procedure.

This morning Cara projectile vomited again, so I called Dr. K. to let her know. She said the infection was so bad that she wasn't surprised there was more vomiting. She said to stay the course, keep giving her the meds and give it a week. By Saturday, maybe she'll show signs of feeling better. We can only hope.

I have no idea what is to become of Cara. Once her meds are done in two weeks, we'll re-evaluate the situation. If Cara is responding well, then what? I don't know. Will Cara get something else? We she relapse? Will she even live to be an adult?

Cara looks right into my soul with those big owly eyes. She's so much like her Mother that way. I only wish she was just as healthy and ready to be adopted. For now, all we can do is keep our commitment to her, in sickness and in health, for better or worse.

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If you'd like to read more about Helicobacter, how common it is, how it may be transmitted and its' effect on humans, you can read this article on DVM360, as well as on Wikipedia

Not on My Watch: The Numbers Game

This family was rescued because 1 person posted that this family needed help to rescue groups, 1 person began bugging rescue groups to help and offered to raise $500.00 via her blog (hmmm..who might that be?), 2 people at 1 shelter said YES, 21 people donated money immediately, and 1 person offered to drive the family a very long way to their new home. It took 26 people, most who have never met in person, to step up and offer to help this family in some way. Was the journey effortless? No way. But was the journey worth the effort? I think you know the answer to that.

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©2011 Bobby Stanford. Mama is smiling. She knows she and her family are safe at last.

This family has no idea that after 1 person dumped them, so many would gather round them and offer them sanctuary, safety and love. Most of us will never even meet this family, but it's not about us. We don't care for our own needs. We care that this family will not die today and hopefully not any day soon.

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©2011 Bobby Stanford. “I wonder where we're going? I hope it's nice there.”

They are a symbol of so many families that are just as deserving, who also need to make it out of a kill shelter today. Many of them need a donation or a driver or a foster home for a few weeks. These are things many of us can provide in one form or another. Let this rescue remind us how wonderful it feels to WIN one! Let us take a stand and remember to keep doing more-as much as we can-of course, without straining resources unfairly.

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©2011 Bobby Stanford. Mama sings a song to entertain Bobby as he drives them to their new home.

We can fight this good fight together, but we have a lot more work to do.

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©2011 Bobby Stanford. We don't know what the prognosis is for this little tabby's legs yet. Stay tuned for an update.

Thanks to Bobby, our super-awesome-do-anything-for-cats-friend, the family is with the Humane Society of Forsyth County (Georgia). The little tabby may have TWO deformed legs, not one. We hope the lesser of the two deformities will resolve on its own or with very little intervention. When I have more information, I will let you all know. At least, for now, everyone is well, with full bellies and a safe harbor.

Thank you again to HSFC for their willingness to go the distance for this family when their own shelter is beyond full. If you know anyone interested in adopting a sweet dog or cat, please visit HSFC's Adoption Page! The emptier this shelter gets, the more that can be rescued off death row..I'm just sayin'...Adopt today! It's almost the end of Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month!

Here are some faves:

Hufflepuff, Pure White Kitten

Leona, a Beautiful FIV+ baby Maine Coon mix

Felix-the GORGEOUS declawed Tuxedo (long hair!)

Helena Bonham Carter: a sweet mixed breed puppy.

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When You Save One, You Save Them All.

This family has been waiting two long weeks to be rescued from Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, GA. While it doesn't sound like a long wait, when a cat is in a Kill Shelter, every hour that ticks by is one hour less to live. As they wait, more families are brought in the door, hoping for a rescue, too. Some get lucky and leave alive, some leave in a black plastic bag.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Here's mama and the family waiting for a rescue.

Upon first glance, this family is no different than any other. Their time is almost up. Look closer and you'll see what sets them apart from others. One of the kittens, a little tabby, was born with a deformed leg. That automatically means, the entire family has less of a chance to reach safety because of the added cost to any rescue who would take this family into their program.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. We're not sure if this little guy will need surgery, but we have to assume that will be the case.

While I believe that rescue should not be based on the costs involved, it's a constant factor.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. What a cutie!

After many emails, a bit of pleading and a bit of compromise, I have worked it out with Jennifer, from the Humane Society of Forsyth County, to take the ENTIRE family if we can raise funds for the tabby should he need surgery. I'm glad there's a sponsorship of $275 already on the table, but this little guy will need more than that.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. You can see the kitten isn't able to sit correctly. His leg splays outward.

The deal is-if we can raise $500.00, the family is SAFE. We need to do it FAST. What do you think? Can we do this? If we tell enough people about our fundraiser and we all donate a few dollars, I bet we can raise the money in no time. (at least that's my dream!)

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Sweet sis wants to get out, too!

The ChipIn widget, below, is set to send the donations to MY Non-Profit Rescue Group, Kitten Associates, Inc. I'm doing this because Forsyth does not have a PayPal account I can link to. Once we hit our goal, I will immediately send the funds to Forsyth as a grant for this family. Your donation is tax deductible.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Be still my heart. I will move mountains for you.

It may be clichè, but it's true. It takes a village to make great things happen and together we can be part of giving this family a chance at having a future.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Please help this guy get OUT of HCC&C!

Thank you for your help and devotion to cats in need! You can use the share buttons at the bottom of the post to help spread the word!

Amberly Feeds the Kittens (...but she's gotta play first!)

Amberly is torn between wanting to play and feeding the kittens. Who will win out? Although this is a longer video-about 5 minutes, you get to see most of the kittens up close and finally get to see Amberly, too!

I don't know about you, but I wish I could crawl into that basket and snuggle with the kittens!

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©2011 Maria S. Little BlueBelle.

We're still trying to raise funds for this family, so if you can help them out, we'd LOVE IT. There's a "ChipIn" widget on the LEFT for Amberly's kittens. You can use that to make a donation or you can send a check to: Kitten Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470 and put "Amberly" on the check. Thank you! Your donation is tax deductible as Kitten Associates, my rescue group, is a 501(c)3.

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First They Needed Their Mama-Now They Need You!

There's no question that Maria has a big heart. Her mission to locate and rescue kittens that had been hidden by a lactating mama-cat she found was a great success (that story is HERE).

The first night has passed. This morning Maria was greeted by hungry kittens and mama, alike. Everyone made it. They're all feeding well and they're all painfully adorable!

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©2011 Maria S. Hello. Would you like to love me?

Their story could end here. Maria would ride off into the sunset and the kittens would magically grow healthy and hearty, find perfect homes in a short time and there'd never be any problems-but Maria cannot be completely responsible with providing for this family. She didn't plan on taking on such an expense and she doesn't have access to things like Petfinder, which will make finding this family a good home very difficult. She needs help.

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©2011 Maria S. Little Calico Princess with orange flame.

I, too, didn't plan on taking in a family right now. I wanted to focus on getting little Cara healthy and my remaining foster cats needed to find homes. But doing rescue means you can never plan or even be prepared. You just have to do what is needed and do the best you can.

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©2011 Maria S. Little stripey cutie.

So without proper funding established or even knowing I'll have a foster home in Connecticut for them when they are big enough, I let Maria know I had her back. My rescue group, Kitten Associates, Inc. will be providing care for this family, then finding them forever homes later this summer. We can't turn our back on these fragile lives, nor can we turn our back on Maria, who has been a vital resource for us in Georgia.

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©2011 Maria S. Tender tortie baby.

This rescue is also going to kick off more BIG NEWS. A few days ago, Kitten Associates, Inc. had their Board Meeting. That day we got our 501(c)3 “Letter of Determination” from the IRS stating we ARE a Non-Profit Corporation! And before any of you fret, any donation from as far back as last September is deductible, so no worries! We had YOU covered, too.

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©2011 Maria S. Here's the family!

With any luck, this is the kickoff of something big, something wonderful-and what better way to celebrate our news with the rescue of such a sweet family.

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©2011 Maria S. Lunch is served.

We REALLY need your help. Everything this family needs is multiplied by six. Between their future spay/neuter, shots, wellness exam, de-worming, flea treatment, food, litter and transport to Connecticut, we estimate we'll need at least $1200.00. If any of the kittens get sick, we'll have to do a second fundraiser for that. The last family I brought to CT cost many thousands of dollars due to their repeated illness. The GOOD NEWS is that this family was NEVER in a Kill Shelter and haven't been exposed to a number of diseases. Maybe we'll finally get lucky and this family will stay healthy.

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©2011 Maria S. This is the sight we prayed we'd see happen.

We'll never really know what caused Amberly to suddenly trust Maria and show her where she'd hidden her kittens after more than 24 hours apart from them. It may have been that Amberly finally had a full belly and some rest at Maria's house and through those hours together, a bond began to ripen. Though Amberly is barely a kitten, herself, now that she has good food, she's more than willing to provide care for her kittens. The love she has for them is obvious and the joy we have knowing they are safe is priceless.


Enjoy this video of the kittens having their first meal at Maria's.

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©2011 Maria S. Safe at last.

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One of the kittens is a bit confused, to say the least! This is hysterical!

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Nursing Mama Found, but Where are Her Babies?

Our intrepid foster mama, Maria got up early to hit the local tag sales. It was a hot Saturday just southeast of Atlanta, Georgia. Maria was taking a break from a long work week. Tag sales were an enjoyable adventure since she could save some money and find something fun to bring home while she was at it.

This weekend Maria got far more than she could have expected when she saw a cat LAYING in the middle of the street. Maria stopped her car and got out; worried the cat would be hit by a car. The cat came over to her and rubbed on her leg. She cried to Maria and within a moment, it was obvious that this cat was very thin. Maria, of course, had cat food in her car and offered some to the cat. She gobbled it up right away.

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©2011 Maria. S. A stray cat makes a new friend with Maria.

Maria took a closer look at the cat and saw that the cat's nipples were enlarged, a sure sign the cat was either nursing or pregnant. She sent me a text. It was not even 8AM. She wanted to talk to me, so I got out of bed and went into the foster room so I could talk to her without waking Sam up.

She didn't know what to do and I can't say I blamed her. She didn't know if this was someone's cat, but if it was they weren't taking care of her at all. If the cat had kittens, WHERE WERE THEY?

I encouraged Maria to ask anyone in the neighborhood if they knew the cat. She found one person to tell her he'd seen it before but didn't know where it belonged. I told Maria to get the cat to the Vet. If she did have owners, they didn't deserve this cat, who seemed to have no fear and who kept "talking" at Maria. Too bad she didn't speak cat.

Her tag sale plans disrupted, Maria went to her Vet. They weren't busy and offered to do an ultrasound of the cat FOR FREE. They didn't see anything unusual inside her so either she had already given birth or she was not far along enough for them to see anything. Maria spent her tag sale money to have a "snap test" done to determine if the cat had FIV or Feline Leukemia. She did not. She had some flea dirt on her, as well as two ticks. Her belly fur was bare, possibly from being itchy, they weren't sure. The cat only weighed FIVE POUNDS. They couldn't tell her if the cat had given birth.

Now what?

A few hours had passed since Maria took the cat to the vet. She noticed the cat's mammary glands were more enlarged. I told her to go back to where she got the cat and let her go. See if she would take Maria to where the kittens were located-if there were any. Surely she would need to feed her babies soon.

A severe thunderstorm hit just as Maria arrived at the drop off point. There wasn't much she could do, but wait. She was able to let the mama cat out of the car, but all she did was cry, then run into the street. Maria wasn't going to let this cat get hurt and it was clear the cat wasn't going to feed any kittens-if they even were alive. It was late. Reluctantly, Maria headed for home, the cat crying next to her in the car.

I quickly designed a flyer, hoping against all odds someone would step forward and help us find the kittens and I told Maria to just get the mama to her house and we'd sort it out the next day.

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I don't know much about finding where a mama cat might hide her kittens. I asked all my rescue friends and most of them said that since the mother was only 8-10 months old herself, that odds were she had abandoned the litter and was not going to care for them-IF they were alive. It's hard not to give up hope, but we knew that between the 95°F temperatures, rain, predation and starvation, these kittens might have 24-48 hours left to live.

Maria skipped Father's Day with her stepdad and her day off and got back into her car with the cat she named, Amberly. Amberly had a good night's rest, drank a bowl of water and had some food. She was in much better shape than she was the day before.

Maria let Amberly out of the car and she strutted off into someone's yard. Maria followed and saw the cat go into a storm sewer. Her heart sank. If the kittens were inside it would be very tough to get them out. A mament later, Amerbly returned and decided to look around at another drain. A neighber saw Maria and she told him what was going on. He offered to help her look. Then, Amberly dashed out of sight.

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©2011 Maria. S.

The neighbor called out to Maria. “I see something!”

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©2011 Maria. S.

Maria ran to his side. In the base of a tree, they could barely see Amberly's eyes. Being black let her disappear easily. They walked up to the cat. She didn't move, but something else near her, did.

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©2011 Maria. S. If you look closely, to the left are two kittens.

Maria could see a tiny kitten nursing on her mother, Amberly. It was a miracle. The kitten had been found. Maria let Amberly nurse as the neighbor, who admitted he didn't even like cats, went to get her some gloves so she could dig into the base of the tree to find every kitten that was there. I can't imagine how scared and excited I'd be if I was Maria. I'd be scared to find dead kittens, but excited that some might make it.

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©2011 Maria. S.

Slowly and carefully, she lifted a tiny calico kitten into the sun. The kitten squinted her eyes and let out a small cry. She was alive, not near death, but alive.

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©2011 Maria. S.

Maria looked again and found a second kitten. This one a little gray guy wiht white paws. He wriggled around in her hands, but seems all right, too.

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©2011 Maria. S.

Maria continued to remove kittens from their nest. Another gray and white kitten, then a tortie.

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All said and done, there were FIVE kittens rescued. Each one was alive, but after barely being fed for 24 hours they needed a lot more nourishment.

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©2011 Maria. S.

First things, first-they needed to get to Maria's house, away from all the dangers they faced and into a safe, loving environment. From looking at them, we estimate they're barely 2 weeks old.

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©2011 Maria. S.

There's much to sort out. Names to be given-perhaps something from the Hobbit since they were found under a tree? We'll need to do an emergency fundraiser to provide for their care and get them over to the Vet for a checkup to make sure they're all right. We didn't plan on rescuing any families since funds are tight and foster homes are tough to find, but we'll make it work somehow.

We'll see how the babies do over the next 24 hours. Will Amberly feed them and give them the care they need or were the kittens left alone for too long and Amberly will reject them?

Yesterday we hoped we'd find these precious little ones and thankfully they were found. Maybe, just maybe, the worst of their troubles are over and now the fun can really begin for them all.

And to Maria, who missed going to the tag sales, I'm sorry about that and I know you got more than you bargained for this weekend. I can't express fully how completely over-the-moon-happy I am that you gave up your time and money and kicked ass and rescued those babies. My hat's off to you, Maria. Way to go, baby. Way to go!

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