One I Hold in High Regard

BlogPaws 2011: The Final Hours & Hurricane Irene.

It's a good thing I was at a conference full of pet lovers because sure enough Dorian Wagner, of Your Daily Cute, who had been playing with one of the kittens, jumped up when I said I needed a Vet and said she knew where to find one. She made a quick call and the Vet popped her head up from across the room, waving over the top of a low room divider. We hustled BlueBelle over to her. She was very calm and relaxed, which was the polar opposite to how I was feeling. She was perfectly willing to asses BlueBelle's incision.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Kate Benjamin and BlueBelle.

She gently turned BlueBelle over and looked at her little belly. There was a bright red, open area. We told her about the crappy spay surgery. She said she thought that the glue (the GLUE?) had failed and popped the incision open, but that there should have been stitches inside the kitten that would hold her abdomen closed. She was concerned about infection and the wound opening further. I asked what I could do and she said to find some Crazy Glue!

The clock is ticking. We have to leave for dinner soon. Bobby and Maria are really tired and hungry. I just won a big award, but now I must find Crazy Glue in a hotel that has a tiny gift shop and NO OTHER SHOPS anywhere close by.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Ingrid with Truffles.

The front desk offered me a dried up tube that we couldn't even get the top off of, so I tried the gift shop. They DID have some glue! Okay! Great! I ran over to the Vet and the small gathering of ladies around the kitten. Now the Vet says she really needs some sterile saline solution, some betadine and a syringe with no needle. Yeah. I can get that...WHERE CAN I GET THAT? My mind is spinning! I have to HURRY. Someone figures out there is a drug store a few miles away. It's rush hour in the D.C. area. We have no idea where we are going, but I grab Sam and he says he will drive me over to get the things we need. Meanwhile there are about 20 people wondering what is going on and some of them have grumbling bellies. Thankfully, Ingrid King, said she would call the restaurant and change the reservation! WHEW...okay...time to RUN!

But wait...can I get the first aid kit from the front desk? Sure! I was running back and forth between the front desk, the vet, the gift shop, Bobby & Maria and Ingrid. My head was getting ready to spin off my neck. There was nothing much in the kit. The woman at the front desk said that the night before had been a busy night for injuries in the hotel and that the kit was mostly empty!! Still, I brought it over for the Vet to take a look though..but it was sorely lacking so I returned it.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Snack time in the hotel room!

We got an address for a local pharmacy and just hoped for the best. Sam started driving and the GPS wanted us to go in a different direction than the point by point directions we had from GoogleMaps. Crap! What to do? We just followed the GPS hoping it wouldn't route us into a lake.

The traffic was TERRIBLE. No one was moving. Tick, tick, tick...HURRY! I wanted to JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN! It seemed like the drivers in front of us had cotton shoved in their brain hole because they were driving really slowly and they wouldn't try to cross traffic to turn into the parking lot!

Once we got into the lot, it was packed full of cars. Sam told me to go into the store and he would circle around.

It took me a few minutes to find most everything, but I had to wait for someone to help me with the syringe, so I stood there on line, tapping my leg, wishing they would HURRY already!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Time to head to Connecticut.

I got what I needed...$34 for this? Geez! Not complaining, but really? I jumped into the car and Sam sped off. Traffic back to the hotel wasn't as bad. My cell phone rang “where are you? we have another kitten that needs help!”

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Tree removal trucks getting into position before Hurricane Irene hits.

SHIT!

We got back to the hotel and the Vet said she wanted the First Aid Kit after all...so I ran back to get it...and she needed a place to work on the kittens. Truffles incision looked infected and needed to be cleaned out, too. We agreed to go to my hotel room so she could work on the bathroom counter.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Moments after arriving in their new home.

We loaded up all the cats, which saddened all the cat lady bloggers. They were not deterred. Many of them came upstairs with us! Before anything was done we had to promise not to say who the Vet was because like everyone at the conference, she was licensed in another state-even though she was just going to clean out a wound and put a drop of glue on the skin. I left her to do her thing while a few of the ladies watched the procedure. I needed to SIT DOWN and try to spend some time with Bobby and Maria, who were clearly energized by all that was going on, but I knew they needed to eat and have a chance to relax.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blaze, Peri and Jack, ready to play.

The kittens did great. Their bellies patched up and looking better, the Vet excused herself and I thanked her profusely as she left our room! Where could I get a housecall in a hotel for kittens that needed help-RIGHT HERE! How lucky we were! We had antibiotics with us that the kittens were already getting so we kept them on their meds. We let them out of the cat carrier to run around in the hotel room while we all went out for dinner-at last! Everything was going to be ok now, right?

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. BlueBelle is doing fine now.

And it was...we had dinner with lots of PETTIE-WINNING cat lady bloggers, along with Maria, Bobby & Sam. We had a great time, great food, but sadly some of us had Hurricane Irene on our minds. Sam and I reluctantly decided we needed to leave early in the morning. Time was running out. We'd had our one day at BlogPaws and asking for another would potentially put us in peril...and the kittens, too, so we decided to call it a night.

Instead of going to bed, everyone came back up to our room to play with the kittens some more! Kate was on her belly, shooting videos of the kittens playing. Amberly took a huge stinky poop (we had a litter pan on hand) and we couldn't open the windows! No one cared. They were all cooing and laughing. I'd forgotten that I'm used to being around kittens most of the time and for them, it was more of a rare treat. It was really lovely to sit on the floor and watch the kittens and watch the joy and the delight on everyone's faces.

We bid everyone good night. We had to pack. Bobby & Maria still had 10 more miles to drive before they could get some sleep. For awhile I forgot about all my problems and what was waiting for me back home. It was nice, but far too short of a break. We got packed and set the alarm. Bobby & Maria would return in the morning with the kittens and we'd load up the car and head for home.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amberly, always lovely and ready to chat wtih me.

Sam and I were very tired. The morning came too early, but we got ourselves out of bed. I went down to the car to start loading it up. I set up the dog crates where the cats would be traveling. I realized we didn't have enough room in the car for everything we had, so I made some changes so we could make it all fit.

Bobby & Maria were right on time. We let the kittens out so they could run around while we had breakfast. It was just the four of us eating, while BlogPaws continued on. The sky was slate gray and the winds were starting to pick up. I knew we had to leave soon. Irene was nearby.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. One of the many reasons the power was out. This is across Route 34, a main road in our town.

I was very sad to leave. I gave Bobby & Maria a big hug goodbye. We'd only just met a less than 12 hours before. We loaded the kittens into the car and began our trip home, deciding to take a longer route, away from the coast. It added an hour to the drive, but in the end, it was the right thing to do. We missed some flooding and a few tornadoes. The entire drive home we hit bands of violent rain, but they only lasted a minute or two. I looked the weather radar and we were literally skirting the edge of the storm the entire drive home.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. A common sight around Newtown, CT.

Seven hours later, we pulled into the driveway. I unlocked the door. I just wanted to see if Bob was still with us. I hadn't had an update on him and I was worried. Sure enough, Bob was sitting on his favorite red chair, looking a little more frail, but still with us. Once I knew he was ok, we worked on getting the kittens settled and getting ourselves unpacked.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Housatonic River flooded quickly. If you look carefully, in the center of the image, you can see a home. It's built on stilts because the river often floods, but not as bad as this time around.

Irene swept into town and took with it, many of our lovely trees. 80 percent of the town went dark. Almost a week later, the power is still out in 26 percent of the homes. We were VERY LUCKY our power didn't go out. Many of the roads were impassable, not marked that trees were down, so getting around has been tough. My car is STILL in the SHOP because they lost power and phones. We drove past there and you can see my car on a lift in one of the bays. We haven't gone out much and we offered shelter to all our power-less friends, but they are doing fine without and hopefully things will be getting back to normal again soon.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Pootatuck River was raging in downtown Sandy Hook, CT.

Now that I can look back, I know going to BlogPaws was the right thing for me to do. I'm glad I didn't miss out on the entire conference and I left yearning for more...for more connection to these good folks...for just a break from the troubles in my life. It was exhausting, but worth it. I'm glad I took the risk.

Not on My Watch: Update on the Chubby Siamese Cats

Thanks to Diabetic Cats in Need (DCIN), they've got someone who can work with diabetic cats who lives in McDonough, GA-not far from where the cats are located! She can test the blood sugar of the 29 pound siblings we're trying to help who are stuck at Henry County Care & Control. We're all concerned that in addition to being obese, these babies may be diabetic. Should they be diabetic, DCIN can possibly help us find a foster home or placement for the cats. First-this person has to be allowed to test the cats, which may not be possible. I don't know if there are rules about allowing a non-adopter to help the cats! That sounds sick, but I just don't know if we'll be able to test them.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Poor Babies!

I've been looking up Siamese cat rescues and contacting them to find out if any of them can help us. So far, no luck, but I'll keep looking.

If anyone out there knows any Siamese cat rescues or ANY cat rescue that would take this pair, please contact me RIGHT AWAY at info@coveredincathair.com And yes, transport can be arranged.

We gotta keep trying to help these babies! By the way, they ARE already spayed/neutered and sadly, are declawed, too!

THIS JUST IN: THE CATS ARE NOT DIABETIC. IT'S TWO BOYS, NOT A GIRL AND BOY! AND THEY ARE GOING TO BE EUTHANIZED ON MONDAY AFTERNOON!!! THIS IS AN URGENT SITUATION! CODE RED!

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The Travellin' Wobbleberry's

John Edwards saw three little kittens, stumbling on the streets of Babylon, New York (Long Island). He had no idea what was wrong with them, but he knew he had to do something to help. He brought the kittens home. Something was wrong with the little ones and to make matters worse, his dog wanted to eat them as a snack, so John knew he couldn't do more than give them a temporary home. He worked frantically to get them the help they needed.

John contacted the local shelter in Huntington. Sadly, they couldn't help. They were more than full up and had no fosters. The Director recognized the telltale shake and the difficulty one of the kittens had in walking. The kittens had CH or Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Luckily for the kittens, the Director was also a member of the CH Kitty Club! and had other resources, outside of the shelter, to help.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Josephine wonders what's going on.

Word spread quickly about these little darlings on Facebook. They needed a foster family, quick! They needed vet care! They needed a rescue to take them and folks to get them to the rescue!

Normally, each phase of doing this sort of rescue takes a lot of time and coordination. Lots of folks offered to do their part and within a few days a rough plan was hatched and donations started to come in from all over the country!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Thumper is so cute, but don't get too close to her just yet!

Someone stepped forward to foster the cats and deliver them to Connecticut. Jennifer and I offered to drive them from the Bridgeport Ferry (which travels to and from Long Island most days) and drive the kittens close to the Massachusetts border where a rescue group was going to take them into their program!

While I'll admit there was a lot of back and forth, date changes, time changes, then poor Jennifer got sick a few hours before she was to pick up the kittens-somehow we pulled it off!

Okay, so the foster mom decided to KEEP one of the three kittens at the very last second, which is normally not done once a transport is set up, but a good home is a good home. So we took the remaining two kittens, Josephine and Thumper, to meet their new foster parents, Anne and Joe.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

While I was driving, I told Jennifer to put the cat carrier on her lap so she could take a better look at the kittens. Jennifer unzipped the top of the case and started to talk this cute baby talk voice to the kittens. Now Jennifer loves EVERY cat, but within seconds I heard one of the cats SPIT and hiss. Oops! Jennifer pulled her hand back quickly, then blurted out; “I hate this cat!” She zipped up the case and returned the kittens to the backseat.

One of the kittens was clearly feral. Guess this rescue was going to get a surprise! I started to worry they wouldn't show up at the pickup location. The last thing I need is to have to socialize a kitten right now! Jennifer said out loud what I was thinking about being stuck with the kittens and we both giggled about it. I know she didn't hate that kitten and someday the little girl will like people, just not today and not after a ride on the Ferry and a long drive! Josephine said quietly, unlike her sister, but we knew that was because she can't really walk on her own and maybe it was tough for her to express herself, too?

Anne and Joe arrived to pick up the kittens. What super-awesome folks they are! They actually specialize on rehabilitating CH kittens! Anne told me she had a kitten who could only do backflips. That was the only movement he could make. Her Vet said to put him down, but she said, No. His name is BOB!

She built a carpeted ramp for him, used a sling under his belly and helped him learn to walk. The ramp allowed him to build strength in his back legs and the carpet lets him dig his claws in to get traction. Today he can walk on his own! He does not have the gait of a CH-free cat, but he does well. Anne felt she could help Josie walk and she didn't bat an eye when we told her about Thumper! Both kittens will get what they need for as long as they need it. Then one day, they too will find their forever home with a new family.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jennifer (left) hands off the kittens to Anne.

They say, “it takes a village,” and boy is that true. If John hadn't taken a risk to help those kittens, we know this story would have had a sad ending. He just did what was right and found a solution. It's tough to stick your neck out for stray cats because you don't know how it will go, but we have to try.

There are many more kitties out there who need help. Next time you see one, I hope you'll consider taking a chance to create your own rescue story with a happy ending.

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Elke! Butt-Kicker and Cat Lover Extraordinaire!

Elke is awesome. She really kicks butt.

Last year she jumped at the chance to ADOPT, not foster, an adult cat who was dumped at the door to a Vet in the blistering heat of southern Atlanta. The cat, stuck in a cat carrier, suffered there until the local Vet's office opened a day later. He didn't care for the cat, he turned it over to Animal Control, who brought it to a KILL SHELTER. This kitty had NO CHANCE of surviving. She wasn't a kitten, she wasn't fancy-pants, she was just a tabby with an pleading look in her eyes.

The cat's name was Koko and the notes attached to her cat carrier sent shock waves throughout the cat rescue community. Of all the stories I've written, Koko's got the most passionate and heated reactions-my own, included.

Koko's backstory is HERE.

In nine days, it will be the one year anniversary of KoKo, who is now named, Sophie's freedom and the start of her life 2.0. Elke, opened her home, took a big risk and fell in love with this chubby tabby who only sort-of-kind-of gets along with Elke's other cats. It doesn't matter. There's plenty of room for everyone. The cats co-exist peacefully and Sophie will never have to worry about being dumped again.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. WOO! LOVE IT!

Since I arranged for Sophie's release from the Kill shelter, her vetting and transport, Elke and I have become friends. Elke is a diehard supporter of Kitten Associates and for all cats in need. This woman LOVES animals and it's clear her heart is huge.

The latest proof arrived in the mail today! A surprise! A stunning, fantastic, zebra-striped cat carrier! I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

I'm a Graphic Designer and I LOVE black and white with a hit of hot pink or red and this cat carrier has all the right touches of red! It is a knockout!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't even bother trying!

The second I put it on the floor Blitzen, Mazie and Nicky rushed over to check it out. Blitzen, somehow managed to cram himself into the opening, while Mazie smacked at his face out of jealousy!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.Well I'll be! Look at Blitzen!

This cat carrier isn't really made for a big cat, it's really for the foster kittens. I know “the DOOD” being black & white, will coordinate perfectly with his carrier or, vice versa!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Uh oh. Mazie is not havin' it!

I didn't realize how tired I was of the boring, flesh-tone colored hard plastic boxes I lug back and forth to the Vet. Now I can't wait to bring Doodles for his FVRCP vaccine! We'll be the hit of the waiting room, for sure! If it wasn't so hot, I'd just pack him in it and take him for drives with me.

For now I'll have to contain myself...hee hee...

THANK YOU, ELKE!

and thank you for loving Sophie so much, too!

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Foster Cat Journal: A Farewell to Phil

I rescued Phil from Henry County in early June when it didn't work out that he could live there as a shelter cat. [his rescue story is here] He didn't like the dogs, so he had to go. Over the past few months, Phil's been enjoying life with Bobbie, his foster mama and cat-blogger of Cats-Goats-Quotes.

While Phil was in foster care, I got lots of updates. Every one said what a sweet, pretty cat he was. He was laid back and got on with Bobbie and her other cats. He didn't make a fuss, wouldn't jump on furniture, but would rather just sleep inside his cat carrier.

She noticed scars on his nose and started to wonder if Phil had been abused and maybe shoved off the furniture, never being allowed the sense of comfort most cats enjoy.

Bobbie graciously held Phil longer than I expected because Cara, Polly, Mac and Mazie were still here. After Cara went to another foster home and Mac and Polly were about to be adopted, I let Bobbie know it was time to say her farewell to Phil and to get him on the next PETS transport north. I have never felt worse about asking to take a foster cat from someone, but it was time.

Of course Bobbie was completely gracious about letting go, but I know how much it hurts. Bobbie wrote a lovely post entitled: “Friday without Phillip” about how much she loves Phil and misses him, but she made sure he got onto the transport headed for Connecticut.

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©2011 Bobby Stanford.

What made matters worse was the heat. It was far too hot in the suburbs of Atlanta in late July. The inside of the transport was too hot. Phil, and his traveling companions, Muddles & Cuddles, who were going to my partner-shelter, Animals in Distress, were not too happy. In fact they were panting. They were supposed to be in a part of the trailer that was away from the dogs-they were not. I got frantic calls from Maria, then I called PETS, but could not get through to anyone. Maria wished she had kept the cats off the truck. Bobby, who had delivered Phil to the transport looked at Phil. He had the saddest look on his face. Bobby said it was as if he was saying “what did I do for you to do this to me?”

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©2011 Bobby Stanford.

This was Thursday afternoon. The transport would not arrive until Saturday morning. How were these cats going to survive?

I made calls and sent e-mails. I paced. I fretted. I know Kyle Peterson who owns PETS transport. He's a good guy. He runs a good service. I've never had a problem but I've never done a run in such blazing hot weather.

Friday morning I got an email, assuring me everything was all right and asking me to call them on their private number. When I called, I was told that Phil and the other kitties had overnighted in the office at PETS which had A/C and was away from the dogs. They ate well and were relaxed. I was assured that the A/C on the truck worked and that they were doing everything they could to monitor the transport, the animals and their well being. That they even had a cat lover on the truck to keep extra attention on our three cats-the only cats on the truck (as usual).

The next day passed uncomfortably. I kept envisioning Phil dying or being so messed up from the trip that I could never adopt him out. At 6:30AM PETS called and said the truck was running late, a first. That they would be in about 90 minutes late. 90 more minutes to fret.

It was going to be 90°F in Connecticut the day the transport arrived. All I could think of was to get Phil, get him into the car with the A/C blasting and get him home! I ended up following the trailer into the parking lot! What timing! I didn't have to wait long to get Phil off the truck. When they brought him to me, he started to cry-a big loud siamese-ish ME-OW! I knew what he meant. GET HIM OUT OF HERE!

Connie came to get Muddles & Cuddles. I saw them for about 10 seconds, but made my excuses to get going. As soon as we were in the car, Phil settled down. It was so quiet, I think he finally felt like he could relax. By the time we were home, he was asleep.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Phil. He was completely wiped out after the trip.

I got him into his room. He meowed loudly to be fed. I felt bad taking him off what he was used to and starting him on grain free canned. Better get it over with! I gave him a can of food. He ate the whole 5 ounces. He had a good drink of water. He laid down on the wood floor. I encouraged him to climb on the bed, but he seemed reluctant, so I put him on the bed. I petted him a bit and looked at his blue eyes. I didn't want to do much to him right then and there. He needed rest. I left him on the bed and he passed out cold.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. After sleeping for the better part of a day, Phil starts to perk up.

Phil slept a lot over the first two days. I just kept him fed and spent those days sitting near him on the bed. We, okay I, watched dumb movies on TV. I petted him and talked to him. He was not overly friendly, but not mean. He was just tired. Poor guy.

I'd been getting applications on Phil from before he arrived, so after just three days of being with me, I went on a home inspection of a couple that lives in the neighboring town. Their home was spotless. They're retired and very active. They have no kids, but love cats and all animals. Their home overlooks a waterfall and the woods. There are windows everywhere you look. They are really nice people and they have one kitty named Tiger who misses his friend, Cisco, who passed away just about the same day I rescued Phil from the shelter.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally sitting up and looking well rested at last!

Two days later, they came to meet Phil. They talked about possibly re-naming him, Big Poppy after one of the players on the Red Sox. They liked how big he was, but didn't think he was “that” big! Are you kiding me? He IS a big guy! They were a bit nervous about how Tiger would react to Phil. At least I knew Phil loved other cats, but if Tiger doesn't like him, then Phil has to come back to my house.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

They wanted to give it a try and they filled out the Adoption Contract and I helped them pack up Phil, along with his favorite toy balls, his catnip banana and some feather toys. I gave them some food, too and they gave me their promise that they'd do their best for Phil.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Phil with the infamous Catnip Banana!

Phil leaving was like ripping off a bandage. He wasn't here long enough for me to fall head over heels. He was here long enough for me to see what a special guy he is and how lovely he is. He really perked up and got playful before he left. He would “lumber” instead of run. It was really cute. His legs go for miles. I think he can't get out of his own way some times.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. One last road trip to make it home.

The next part of Phil's story is up to fate and the faith of his new family. Will Phil end up coming back? Maybe. I can't say for sure. I know that he did well after his first day and that his new dad, Joe, enjoys sitting on the bed, with Phil curled up next to him. Joe reads a book and pets Phil. They were buddies after a few hours.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Farewell, Phil! I hope you have the most wonderful rest-of-your-life, ever!

This feels good and right, but time will tell. For now, Phil is safe and in a loving home. With all my heart, I hope that this is “the one” for this gentle giant and if not, I've always got his back.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The words every rescuer hopes to hear!

Update-A-Rama Part Three: CARA!

So how's Cara doing?

What a VERY VERY LONG, difficult journey it's been for Cara. (here's just one of the many posts about her) Starting when she was just 3 weeks old last November, Cara has been sick.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara, a few months ago, during the worst of her illness.

Cara was injured from Doxycycline scalding her esophagus, which led to her needing three endoscopies to repair, which led to her getting helicobater pylori, which led to yet more medications, frustration, blood tests again and again and after the better part of a YEAR...

CARA IS FINALLY GETTING BETTER AFTER NINE MONTHS OF VET CARE!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara's coat is like fine silk and the pattern has really come to life.

Cara's been living in another foster home for about a month. Over that time Cara finished her (we hope) LAST round of medication. Her Vet, Dr. K. claims she should be FINE now. No more vetting, other than getting her SPAYED!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. She may have grown some, but Cara still has big owly eyes!

A few days ago I visited Cara. Seeing her again was startling. I knew it was Cara, but I didn't really recognize her. She looked so much better. Her coat was silky and shiny. She ran around the house and played with the other cats. I could tell she was very happy. No more hunching over in pain. Gone was the weak and fragile kitten I spent so many hours fussing over and medicating. Before me was a thriving young lady, still tiny and with those big owly eyes. It was Cara, only a lot better.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara has plenty of energy now!

Cara is no longer confined to a room by herself. She's free to run around the house and make friends with some of the other kitties. Two of them were also cats we rescued! One is Precious and the other, Little Maria. They'll be featured in the next update! Right now Cara is too busy having fun, finally growing a bit and gaining some weight. She may be about six pounds, four fewer than her brother, (Chestesr) Boris! She also has great energy and no longer shakes her head and licks at her mouth-which tells us she's no longer nauseous.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. What's out there?

We're nearing the end of our journey with Cara. She'll be spayed by surgeon, not just at a clinic. We have to take extra precautions because we don't want to injure Cara's esophagus during the anesthesia. Dr. K will be checking on Cara's spay, too. Only the best for this little girl who's suffered so much, already.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara looks terrified but she's just watching a toy!

Once Cara recovers, we know what comes next. We figure out how to say goodbye to her. I have a feeling it won't be a difficult goodbye, but more like a “until I see you again.” Cara's probably not really going to be out of our lives any time soon, but I'll report on that when the time comes.

I think it's safe to say, that this is the day we've been waiting for for a very long time. This is the day when we can stop worrying about Cara and start focusing on watching her blossom into an adult.

The DOOD Scores a Big Surprise!

DoodleBug is passing the days, waiting to be out of quarantine. He still has seven more weeks to go, living in my blue bathroom until his FeLV test can be re-done and prove for once and for all he does NOT have Feline Leukemia.

Until that time, I've been trying to keep Doodles entertained, but I can't spend enough hours each day to play with him and the bathroom is dark, with only one small north facing window. I fear for Doodles mental health, but I must follow protocol. I can't risk some sort of freak test results where I got a true positive first and an unheard of false negative with the second test!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie & Blitzen inspect the contents of the box.

I'm very lucky that there are many good people out there who care about what I'm doing. One such person is Amy Sikes. I've written about Amy before because she offered to take someone's cat (after reading about him on Covered in Cat Hair) when they had to move out of their home due to tough economic times. Amy ended up fostering the cat (named Cheese) much longer than she bargained for so I ended up helping Amy find a home for Cheese.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Directions with NO words to read! The small parts come in a velveteen bag!

Amy has also been donating proceeds of her Avon sales to my rescue group, Kitten Associates. This month, she's helping our friends at Diabetic Cats in Need! It's clear, Amy is devoted to helping cats everywhere!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen inspects every inch.

When Amy heard about Doodles confinement and my wish for him to have a cat tree, just the right size for the bathroom, she contacted me right away and said she would take care of it!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Trying to get the hang of this new-fangled doohickey.

Sure enough, a few days later, a big box appeared at my front door. In it was a very nice cat tree from Armakat! The bonus for me was that this time I didn't have to build it when I had PMS! (Yes, I wrote about building a cat tree when my hormones were out of whack-see HEREand HERE if you want to laugh your butt off.)

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Locked on target!

This was the easiest cat tree I've ever had to build. Every part was marked. The directions were clear. I built it in a few minutes, though Blitzen could not keep off the thing as it was being constructed. He thoroughly examined and tested every piece. I guess Doodles should have been happy his maybe-some-day-big-brother vetted the cat tree for him.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Showin' off now!

When I was done building, I had to drag the thing into the bathroom. Doodles was shut up in a cat carrier so he wouldn't get under foot, but he was going nuts wondering what the heck I was doing to his room!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The Dood & His Cat Tree.

I got the cat tree in place and let Doodles out. He RAN over to it and began furiously raking his claws up and down the sisal covered supports. He began to PURR very LOUD. I swear he was smiling.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Test driving going well so far...

He went over to just about every sisal covered post and scratched it, hugged it, climbed up, then fell down, then scratched some more.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The claw master!

After a few minutes he jumped into the cat condo and ripped at that for a time. He was very amped up, that's for sure!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Action shot! Look at that white tip on his tail!

Even though Doodles is small, he managed to climb all the way to the top of the cat tree, which is about six and a half feet tall. He looked down at me, smiling, still purring. He batted at the toys I attached to the platforms. He scratched the posts again.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

He just couldn't get enough.

Seeing “The Dood” so happy made me feel a lot less stressed out about having to keep him in such a small space. Though the cat tree takes up a bit of room, Doodles gains vertical space, interesting spaces and plenty of area to rake those claws and help him manage his stress.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Chillaxin'

It meant a lot to me that someone cared about Doodles as much as I do and wanted to make his life better during this tough time.

What was even sweeter was that another good friend, Ingrid King, of The Conscious Cat, contacted me. Her cats Ruby and Allegra also wanted to get Doodles a cat tree, but when they found out he was getting one, they decided they'd like to buy some toys for The Angel Babies and Amberly's family, when they get here in a few weeks.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Flying meatball?

I had to throw out all the toys and bedding to prevent any upper respiratory or ringworm from spreading, so I really need more for the kittens and it's just great to know that when they get here, I'll be able to provide those things for them thanks to Ingrid's generous cats!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. THANK YOU FOR MY CAT TREE!

If The Dood could talk, I know he'd say; “Thank you, Amy! I love my new cat tree!” But I fear he'd also say; “Robin, why are you locking me in the bathroom? You suck!”

I'm glad cats can't talk.

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If you'd like to do some shopping for yourself or your family, visit Amy's Avon Page and the proceeds will go to Diabetic Cats in Need! We thank Amy for her continued support of cats everywhere-especially The DOOD!

Update-a-Rama Part One: SUGAR PIE!

Almost a year ago, our first litter rescued after I opened Kitten Associates, came to my home to be fostered. One of the kittens, I named, Sugar Pie. She was a complete love bug. Healthy. Hearty. Happy. It was very tough to let her go, but geez. I was just starting a rescue. Not a good time for a “foster fail!”

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©2010 Maria. S. Baby Sugar Pie

A couple, with three very big dogs, wanted to adopt Sugar, but I balked, at first. Jennifer and I did a home visit. The couple assured me that Sugar would be safe, that their dogs were very well behaved and they would not DARE harm the kitten. Of course I didn't believe it.

Then they told me about how they used to have a pet CHICKEN that lived with them, too and the dogs didn't bother the walking meat on two legs (Chicken!). They showed me PHOTOS! They said they'd want to get another chicken after their new kitten had time to adjust to the dogs.

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©2011 Jill P. Jasmine with the CHICKEN!

I gave them some challenges, thinking they would give up, but they did what I asked. No problem. The dogs really were well behaved and I had to go with my gut. These were great people and I had to give it a chance. Sugar had the entire second floor to herself. The dogs could not get up there, so she could have time to get used to them and still feel safe.

The family has been great about keeping me updated. After Sugar was adopted, they re-named her, Jasmine. Every time I got an update, I'd see a photo that would leave me speechless. Last time it was of Jas sitting on the arm of a chair. Her mom had food on a plate and she was surrounded by the three huge dogs. They all wanted a treat, but clearly, they were all relaxed and getting along.

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©2011 Jill P. I'd like a bowl of cute kitty, please.

The most recent update included photos of their new CHICKEN! Along with photos of Jasmine, trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I think it's completely nuts, but I have to admit, when I was ten, I had a pet chicken and two cats. Go figure.

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©2011 Jill P. Jasmine with Chelsea.

Jas is doing great. She loves her doggie and CHICKEN! friends and she's grown into a lovely young lady. She's really getting fluffy and I hear she is a treasure and well loved. I'm very glad I took a leap of faith and adopted Sugar to this family. They're simply terrific and I wish I had more adopters as devoted to their furry offspring.

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©2011 Jill P. All grown up!

Our next update, features this TEN POUND former foster boy and his SISTER! Remember them?

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©2011 Kerstin. Guess who?!

Covered in Cat Hair is On the Air!

Robbin and Joe Everett host the #1 Online Pet Show in the World called Pets Teach Us So Much! I'm very excited to let you know they've invited me to be a Special Guest on TONIGHT'S BROADCAST!

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We're going to talk about the ridiculous way Covered in Cat Hair came to be and what plans we have for the future! If you want to hear the show, visit this LINK.

The show begins at 6:30 PM EST (Eastern Standard Time-USA) and my segment will begin around 6:45 PM. THIS IS A LIVE SHOW so if you want to hear me try to do an interview while yelling at the cats to get off me, now's the time!

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AND...Drumroll, Please!...if you'd like to CALL in to ask me a question or just say hello, you can dial (760) 683-2665.

This should be a lot of fun! To top it off, this may be the start of my own bi-monthly show with the Everett's so stay tuned, literally and figuratively!

Talk to you TONIGHT!

Tags Click a link below to find more articles on that topic.

Making Sense of the Senseless

I think it's almost a given, that when something bad happens, we try to make sense of it. Give it a reason for being, so we can learn to accept it. Then there are times when it's just so bad, there is no sense to be made.

Yesterday afternoon, I called my Vet to see if Doodlebug was ready to be picked up. I had dropped him off that morning and he just needed some tests, a shot and a wellness exam. If you're going to do cat rescue, you must NEVER bring a cat into your home without it going to the Vet, FIRST. Considering all the creeping crud out there, you can't be too careful.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. What did you find out about me?

Doodle looked great, perky, nice weight. I didn't worry that anything was wrong with him, but when it took 6 minutes of being on hold to just find out a pickup time, I knew something was up. Instead of one of the Vet techs picking up the phone, it was Dr. Larry. His voice had a serious tone. Normally we would joke around, but not this time.

He didn't mince words.

Doodlebug tested POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia.

WHAT??!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!

I felt lightheaded, like I was going to faint. I tried to muster up the courage to ask him what this means. When I was a kid, two of our family's cats died from it. Dr. Larry said what I had heard from other folks who do rescue, that although it is a “strong positive,” that there is a CHANCE that in time, Doodle's immune system may kick in and he will re-test, negative. This result means he was EXPOSED to the virus, not necessarily that he HAS it. It's called, Primary Viremia. You can read more about it on Cornell's excellent resource guide for Feline Leukemia If so, there are no more concerns for this cat's future. If he re-tests positive, you have to wait and re-test again. All in all, I may have to wait for up to SIX MONTHS to really be sure one way or the other.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle REALLY loves to PLAY!

But Feline Leukemia is very contagious and fatal and I have an FIV+ cat with cancer and eight other cats in my house. What am I supposed to do now?

Do I have to EUTHANIZE Doodlebug? I could barely ask the question. I had to sit down. My legs went wobbly. I was in shock. I didn't want to know the answer.

I can barely even type that word: euthanize. The thought of me KILLING a KITTEN, when my life is devoted to SAVING their lives,? It's absurd! I would NEVER do that! How could I do such a thing? But what about my own cats? Does bringing Doodle into my home, mean a DEATH SENTENCE FOR MY OWN CATS?

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle has a black band around his belly. Ooo. I want to smoosh-face into it!

We talked about isolation. Re-testing. Doodle does NOT have to be euthanized today, but it may have to happen at some point. IF he was at a shelter, guess what, he would be dead. I get it. This is not something you want around a lot of other cats.

But I was VERY WORRIED about bringing him into my home. I wished I had a separate building to bring my fosters now, more than ever, but I was stuck. At least I HAD a room to put him in that was isolated from the rest of the house.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Stuck on You.

I had figured Doodle would be in the blue bathroom (as we call it), for a few weeks, then I'd let him meet my cats and he could run around and have a good time until he got adopted. Now I may have lost that space for fosters until 2012!

I could make SURE Doodle was locked up, change clothes after I handle him and wash my hands well after each visit, too. If I could keep my own cats away, the Feline Leukemia virus does not live for more than a few hours in the environment, so as long as there are no shared dishes, litterpans or contact, it increases the odds my cats will be all right.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Invisible cat ladder.

But what about this little 4 month old kitten?

He will be ALONE in that bathroom for a very long time.

I hung up the phone and called out to Sam. I told him the news and I could see his shoulders slump as he processed the information. He had a crush on this little kitten, too. I could see it broke his heart. We spoke about our options, about what this might mean for our own cats and for Doodlebug. I started to cry, but I was late for a meeting and I had to figure out how to not be sad, be businesslike and deal with this later. I asked Sam what we should do. We had few options. Sam said; "We don't give up on him. That's what we do. I will go get him and bring him home.”

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. ?

So now what I thought was going to be an easy rescue, has become much more complex. What I thought I could afford has become a challenge. The bathroom where Doodle will live is small and has a small window. I would like to buy Doodle a cat tree so he can sit up high and look out the window, as well as have a place to climb and a way to de-stress because it will have nice, tall sisal legs to scratch.

Doodle will also need more tests, a second, and possibly third ELISA (snap-test/ enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and first and possibly second IFA (indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay). I'm going to start fundraiser for him for his medical needs and to purchase a small cat tree.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Yes, I have a zero-gravity bathroom.

I contacted Doodle's former owner and told him he must contact the person he got the kitten from and let them know the news and to get that cat tested for Feline Leukemia. I also told him that if he had Doodle around other cats, that those cats needed to be tested, too. I would have LIKED to tell him that I also would have appreciated it if he warned me that Doodle was trained to use a human's hand as a TOY and that he will haul off and bite and grab your arm or leg-a behavior I will be working to correct.

I didn't hear back from him. I'm not surprised. Doodle was on the road to becoming a very unpleasant cat to live with. You wouldn't be able to pet him without him getting excited and biting. When he weighs four pounds, it's one thing, but when he grows up, it won't be a lot of fun to have him around. I would bet money that this was the real reason they got rid of him-not that their kid was allergic, but that the kitten was growing too aggressive from how they mis-handled him.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle let's us all know not to take anything too seriously.

All in all, I'd have to say that my first CT cat rescue under the Kitten Associates moniker was about as bad as it could be. I have to think that in trying to make sense of this, I had to save Doodle, so I can help him be a good kitty-citizen, learn to be gentle and give him all the tools to have every chance at being healthy and living a good life.

For the record, if there is one someone's keeping out there, I will never put Doodle down.

If he IS Feline Leukemia positive, then I will search the Earth until I find someone who will adopt him.

Please help us purchase a cat tree for Doodle and be able to continue to re-test him for Feline Leukemia for the next few months! You can use the ChipIn widget below or you can also mail a check to: Kitten Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354. Put “Doodle” on the check so we know where the funds should be spent. Your donation IS tax deductible. Thank you!

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. DoodleBug: Thief of Hearts.
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