One I Hold in High Regard

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!

Not on My Watch: Mystery Solved!

Last week I posted a photo on our Facebook page of a lovely orange persian/mix kitty. Some folks thought it was Phillip, who I rescued not long ago, but they were wrong. Phil is NOT quite so orange and Phil is not a female!

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This is Tiger. She was rescued by a very nice lady named Deb P. Deb must spend a zillion dollars a year funding the rescue of many cats and kittens in need. Deb helped with the initial funding for Cara and her family, the fosters I STILL have at my home. The other day, Deb contacted me to see if I could take this lovely lady and find her a forever home.

Deb already had Tiger vetted, shaved down because her fur was badly matted AND Deb paid for Tiger to get her teeth cleaned, too! Tiger is a few years old, declawed, spayed and very sweet. How she ended up in a kill shelter is beyond comprehension.

How could I say NO to her?

So I said, YES!

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Tiger will be here in a few weeks. Being that “ginger” females are somewhat unusual-only 1 in 3 ginger cats are female; I think Tiger will find a good home easily.

Tiger will enjoy a diet change, which will help her slim down and allow her coat to grow back in beautifully, too. I think she'll be a knockout and whoever adopts her will be very lucky, indeed

We just gotta come up with a better name for her! What would you name her? Okay, and not Lucky, either, even if that's true!

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Cara's in Trouble Again.

I keep hoping we're getting to the point where all the foster cats are well enough to be adopted. A few weeks ago, Polly FINALLY got spayed. She made it through the surgery and recovery well, but she's still got a lingering issues with recurring upper respiratory tract infections. She gets sick for a few days, then is miraculously over it. Sadly, her left eye, which has been a problem for her since she first became ill when she was three weeks old, has never resolved its cloudy appearance. I fear Polly has lost some vision in that eye.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Polly Picklepuss.

The only way to resolve this for her is to get her to a specialist. Perhaps there's something we haven't done that could help her? Her brother, Chester is doing great, for the most part, but he has a chronic runny eye. He should see the specialist, as well. These kittens have cost a fortune to care for. I'm very grateful they are so very sweet natured and loving. It makes seem even more worthwhile to make sure they get whatever they need.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Chester is a knock out! You can see the stained fur near his right eye.

Polly has been spending more and more of each day with my own cats. She gets along GREAT with them and I'm constantly hearing her making trilling sounds as she races through the house-most often with MacGruber on her tail. She's come a VERY long way from the kitten I thought we were going to lose late last year. You can see a before and after photo of her HERE.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara waiting for Dr. Larry.

Then there's Cara. Cara! What am I going to do with you, girl? Cara has been doing okay-ish, not great. She gained just five ounces over the past month. To me, that is not enough. She's still under five pounds while her siblings are easily over six pounds, each! Cara has episodes of vomiting every two weeks or so. The volume of what she outputs is frightening. It seems as though it must have come out of a much larger animal, there's so much fluid.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

I've been in regular contact with Cara's Internist, Dr. K. and her assistant, Laura. I was hoping that we could get Cara spayed and while the spay was being done, Dr. K. was going to look at Cara's esophagus. Cara's been scoped twice now for strictures in her esophagus. If you're not familiar with her story, you can read more HERE and HERE (or use “Cara” in the Search field on the top, left of this page to read all the stories about Cara and her family)

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Larry listening to Cara's lungs and heart.

Cara's been struggling for a very long time. I thought it was a good idea for her to go to a new foster home so she could have “alone time” and a chance to flower without her big brother and sister there to push her out of the food bowl or away from the toys. Cara has been in another home for about two weeks and was doing fairly well. Then, the vomiting started again and Cara became withdrawn.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

Yesterday I brought Cara to Dr. Larry for blood work. We discussed seeing her shake her head and lick her mouth. She is nauseous, clearly. She's quiet. Not a bouncy, crazy kitten. She's alert. She eats well, but...something is wrong. I brought her home with me so I can keep an eye on her.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

Last night I got the results of the blood work. Cara has a SCREAMING high white blood count-AGAIN. It's 28,000, when a high normal is about 19,000. Dr. Larry is worried Cara has aspirated some of her vomit into her lungs and that is the reason for the high count. Cara's in trouble and needs to go back to the Specialist, Dr. K., as soon as we can work it out. I put Cara on clavamox last night, to start knocking out the infection, but Cara is going to need another endoscopy, no doubt.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Cara.

This morning, Cara was bright and ate well for me. When I look in her eyes, I see a frail little kitty. She's far too thin and struggling to be well. I'm glad she's a fighter, but she can't fix what is wrong and neither can I—not without some help.

Our resources are depleted and we need to do yet another fundraiser for Cara, Polly and Chester. I don't know exactly how much we'll need for Cara, but I do know some of the cost. I'm going to estimate what we need, then adjust it up or down as soon as I have more information. Anything we don't use will go into the General Fund of my Non-Profit Rescue: Kitten Associates, Inc., to provide food and basic Vet care for any of the cats in our Program.

If you have the resources to help out, we are deeply appreciative. Your donation IS Tax Deductible, which is always a good thing!

If you can't help with a donation, if you would kindly help us spread the word, that would be terrific. We need to get the donations put together BEFORE we can go to the Vet, so we gotta make this happen fast if we can.

Thank you to the many folks who have jumped in to help Cara along this difficult journey. I hope you can help again, for Cara and her family.

Not on My Watch: Believe in Miracles

On April 21, 2011 another pregnant feline was brought to Henry County Care & Control, dumped by her owner, no longer their problem or responsibility. This cat's fate, along with that of her unborn kittens, was unknown. Many mamas never make it out of the shelters alive. The shelters are simply too overcrowded and the kittens too fragile to make it. If they pick up a URI, they are all euthanized. If they don't get sick, but they don't find a rescue in time, they will get euthanized. The odds are just not very good for a happy outcome.

This mama gave birth inside a steel cage, on newspaper, next to a litter pan. Not a very dignified way to bring life in to the world, but certainly better than she would have been if left abandoned on her own. The mama had four kittens. She cleaned them and began the task of providing nourishment-nothing unusual or special about this, just as so many other mamas have done before and since. Her babies were all chubby and healthy. One had a charming spot on this chin that looked like a goatee. They all squirmed and writhed, still blind and uncoordinated-reaching for their mama's warmth. The mama did what she could to keep them safe, placing her front leg protectively over them.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. This very young mama hopes for a miracle.

Last month, I posted a plea about this “cow mama” and her “cow babies.” They were among the MANY mamas and kittens that came to Henry County that needed help. Many of the families got a rescue, but many MORE families arrived over the past few weeks needing help. The cow mama and family did not get rescued. The clock was running out, as they ran out of space at Henry County.

This morning, this family was slated to die. They were at the shelter the longest, so they would be first to go. The folks at the shelter did NOT want to put them down, but their hands were tied. There are SEVVEN other families that also need rescue, too and there wasn't any more room left to keep all the cats. It was time.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control.

Keep in mind that over the past month I, along with Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute, have been trying to find a way to rescue this family. Dorian and I both have a fondness for cow kitties, but neither of us were finding a solution. Last night, just before I went to bed, I got an email from Jennifer at the Humane Society of Forsyth County. I'd contacted her a month ago and at the time she couldn't help. She had not forgotten about this family. She said they had an opening and did we still need help?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! YES!!!! I could NOT believe the timing. Here I was about to give up. Jennifer saved the day! I got to work right away-banging out emails since it was too late to call anyone. I contacted Betsy, at Henry County. I pleaded with her NOT to put that family down. I wrote to Gerri, the Director and asked the same thing. I contacted our dear, Bobby and asked if he could transport the cats. My heart was beating so hard I could barely breathe. I contacted Jennifer and said I get the transport set up and get things sorted out and gave her information on who to call at Henry Co. to confirm they were going to take the cats.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Look at the spot on the chin on that baby!

This morning I got up early. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I heard back from Henry Co. They would NOT put the family down. I called Jennifer and she was very sweet. She was completely calm. I'm sure she does this every day. She had just left a voice mail for Gerri and things were getting settled. In another hour of phone calls and emails it was worked out.

As of 12:30 PM EST, Bobby has picked up the Cow Mama and her babies and will be driving them to the Humane Society of Forsyth County. They're a NO-KILL shelter, so this family won't have to worry again about being put down. Now all they have to do is thrive, play and wait to be adopted when they're big enough.

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©2011 Henry County Care & Control. It IS a miracle these babies got out ALIVE!

This could not have happened if it wasn't for Warren Royal, who offered me Jennifer's contact information when I was first trying to find a rescue to take this family. Forsyth is the same shelter that took in Warren's foster cat, Buddy who had FIV+ and who found him a great home.

This could not have happened if Bobby wasn't willing to drive 2 1/2 hours to deliver this family to their new home.

This could not have happened if I didn't stick my nose into this situation. While I didn't rescue this family, I did network my butt off by making phone calls and writing e-mails and blog posts.

Guess what? YOU can do this, too. You can get involved with animals at kill shelters and make a difference in their life. You don't have to foster them or even run a rescue group-you just have to be willing to stick your neck out and find those puzzle pieces until you get the right fit. I'm not saying it's easy and it certainly is stressful, but those times when it works out, it's completely worth it.

There is a lot more work to do. Those other mamas aren't going to rescue themselves. Let's get to it!

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If you're as thrilled as I am about the Humane Society of Forsyth County stepping up to help this family, then please be sure to visit their web site and “Like” their Facebook page, then check out all the animals they have for adoption. If you're not looking for a new companion, then please consider making a small donation in honor of the Cow Mama's Family to help offset the costs related to their care. Saying Thank You to them is great, but during these tough times, saying it with a donation makes a big difference.

Making Friends with Death

Our society has such an aversion to death. We don't want to talk about it, let alone, acknowledge it happens. If we can talk about it, it happens to other people, not us. We're fixated on making ourselves appear younger, shooting our faces full of botulism, getting lip injections, face lifts, hair transplants, in an ever more desperate attempt to cover up that we are, with every moment that ticks by, one step closer to “The Big Sleep.”

In the early 1900's people held funerals in their own home, in the parlour, the fanciest room in the house. It was reserved for only the most special occasions, like the death of a loved one or a wedding. I have to wonder if solemn, it was also dignified and beautiful to have this ceremony in the most uplifted space a family could provide. Nowadays, we run off to a funeral home, they touch “the body,” they prepare it for burial or cremation, they provide the space to have a service for a few hours or days. There is an aseptic quality to death. Someone else deals with the “gorey” details. We bring the checkbook and the tissues while our loved one is hidden away in a refrigerated compartment.

I'm not making a judgment, rather an observation. I ask that we take a moment to think about death, which in turn, asks us to think about life. How do we want to live our life so that when we die, we die with dignity, in a beautiful setting, with peace, instead of being surrounded by hysteria? How do we look death in the eye and make friends? How do we find a way to watch our loved ones with terminal illness, weaken and die, knowing there is no pill to fix this situation. There is no bargain to be made. I think somewhere in that is the key-there is nothing you can do sometimes, but to bear witness, provide loving compassion, then let go. Stop clinging to what you can do nothing about.

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©1990 Judith K Feminella. Daddy with Blue, the cat.

Originally this topic was on my mind because June was approaching. I hate June. I hate it. June is not wedding month for me. It's “death month” in my family. My father took his own life on June 27, 1999. A few years later, two of my cats died in June and over the years there have been other losses during this month. When June arrives, I duck my head under the covers until July.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sammy needs a rescue. Read his back story HERE

The other reason I was thinking about death is because of Big O. Big O was one of Kitten Associates' first rescues from Georgia. Big was kicked outdoors when his owner died. Big was declawed and thin, kicked and teased by the neighborhood kids. Mary Jo, a kind-hearted cat rescuer in Georgia, took him in, then started to look for a home for the cat who was called, Sammy, back then.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Big O just after he arrived in Connie's home.

It was early September 2010. I had just gotten Kitten Associates off the ground. I wrote about Sammy's plight, hoping to find a rescue to help him. I got more than that. I found an adopter. My own friend, Connie, who is passionate about helping every cat she meets. Connie has a few...cough...cats. She read about Sammy and decided to adopt him in honor of Lion King, a cat she had lost a few weeks prior. She didn't care what shape Sammy was in or what he needed. She knew whatever it was, she would take care of the problem.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Only the best for Big O!

When Sammy arrived, we had already been calling him by his nickname, Big O (for Big Orange, not big you-know-what). Big had a big personality. He liked to talk and boss the other cats around. His tail was badly damaged by some sort of abuse so it had to be removed. He had hyperthyroid, so Connie took him to RadioCat to have his thyroid zapped with radiation to cure the problem.

Big O had a benign growth on his foot. She had it surgically removed so he would be comfortable.

Big peed all over her house after a few months, then focused on peeing on some furniture, ruining it. Connie was frustrated, but never gave up. We often tried to joke about our cats peeing issues. Connie tried to find out what was wrong with Big O by taking him to the Vet for more tests. They found nothing. Meanwhile, Big started to lose weight, but no amount of food would bring it back.

Yesterday morning, Connie discovered a huge pool of bloody vomit near Big O's bed. She knew he was in crisis and got him to the Vet. They took an x-ray. His abdomen was filled with fluid, obscuring the tumor they suspected was there. Big O, now just a few pounds in weight, was going to die. Connie wanted him to go home to live out whatever time he had left.

I went to see Big O last night. Connie warned me he wasn't doing well at all. When I first saw him, all I saw was orange fur. His body was mostly obscured by the bright green grass in Connie's back yard. Big O was laying flat, his eyes open, his breathing slow and regular. It was a warm day. I remarked at how all my cats were flat, too, not wanting to be completely hopeless for a few minutes more. Death was nearby. We all knew it. I felt like I was on a roller coaster. The car was traveling up the steep rise on the track. I felt my insides tense up, knowing I was about to go over the edge-not wanting to fall-not wanting to feel that sharp fear of facing something that terrifies me.

Big O got up a few times, clearly using everything he had to try to hide under the bushes or under the deck. I wouldn't let him. Instead, I bent down and gingerly lifted him up. There was nothing to him. He was skin and bones. He didn't resist. He basically fell over when I put him down. I'd been crying a lot since I first saw him, but now I needed to stop. I needed to face this for Big O's sake, if not my own.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Big O rests on my leg last night. He had the softest, nicest fur.

So I sat with him while Connie tended to her other cats. I did a Buddhist practice called Tonglen. It was very hard to do, but the more I did it, the more relaxed I felt. I allowed my feelings to drop away and just focused on Big O. Focused on being there for him, being calm and peaceful. If it was his time to go, then he would die with as much dignity and love as possible. I wanted him to have a good death. He deserved nothing less.

It was too late to go the Vet, anyway, better to let Big O enjoy being outside. In a way, I wish he could have passed then and there, but in my own fear and my own desire to make it better, I suggested we syringe feed him some water and food. Although Big O perked up after that and we both felt a little bit more hopeful, last night things got much worse. Big O vomited a lot more blood and hid behind the toilet. He wanted to die alone, but Connie wanted to be with him, staying close to him until the morning came.

Connie drove Big O to her Vet this morning. He sat quietly in her lap during the drive. Normally he'd make a big fuss. A few minutes after arriving at the Vet, Big O was humanely euthanized. Connie did the right thing. She stayed on the roller coaster, riding the fear and sadness, then did what needed to be done. She wished Big could have passed at home, but he was in too much agony. It wasn't fair to him. Most of his life wasn't fair, but in the end Big O knew great love and care and is at peace. Sadly, we are far from it.

I'd like to say I've made friends with Death. I know the grim reaper lurks out there, lightly touching the next to go on the shoulder. He whispers; “It's time.” They leave sweetly and with love. I wish that was the case, but frankly it doesn't work that way. I can't do it. I still want to kick Death in the ass. He took a great cat to the Rainbow Bridge, one who deserved more time with those of us who loved him.

So Death, you can suck it. The month of June can rot. Big O fly free and go with love.

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Not on My Watch: Together, Always!

We didn't rescue Noelle and Amelia at the same time or ever think they would bond like mother and daughter, but what did we know? We just wanted to save their lives.

As you may recall, Noelle was running wild in the middle of winter in Georgia. She was freezing and starving. She made the mistake of seeking shelter under the hood of a car, it's engine still warm. Noelle didn't get burned, but when an unsuspecting person started the engine, Noelle screamed, her tail caught up in the fan belt.

Fortunately, Noelle was not critically injured, but part of her tail was badly mangled. Her scream, saved her. Though the person who found her could not provide care for her. Out of pain and fear, Noelle bit her rescuer and what could have been “the end” for Noelle, was the beginning of her luck changing. Noelle was brought to Henry County Care & Control, where they could do little for her, but keep her on a ten day bite hold. While her tail began to get necrotic, the one thing they could do was let us know she needed help. We acted quickly. As soon as the holding period was over, I arranged to get her vetted right away. Thanks to many of you, we raised enough money to provide for her care.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Noelle waiting to be adopted.

While in foster care, it became apparent that Noelle was very shy. We worried that her biting her rescuer was a sign she might be feral. Her foster mom worked with her and thankfully, no more biting.A few weeks later, Noelle met Amelia, who we had rescued after she was dumped at the shelter. Noelle didn't want to be away from Amelia and Amelia welcomed her company. She'd even let Noelle eat off her plate. She'd stand protectively next to her until she got her fill, then she would would eat.

It was as if the stars aligned for these two cats. One got the love she needed to blossom into a fearless feline and the other, possibly missing her own offspring, felt needed and loved again.

We transported the girls to Connecticut and our friends at Animals in Distress offered to take them into their shelter. They agreed that they would only adopt out the girls TOGETHER. They were too bonded to be separated without causing them both a lot of stress.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amelia. What a sweet lady!

Weeks passed. Kitten season was in full force. The numbers on Petfinder told us that 100's of people saw their ads, but none wanted BOTH cats. AID stuck to their guns about keeping the girls together and I'm glad they did.

Just a month after arriving, the girls got adopted! They're going to live with a great family who are family members of volunteers at AID, so hopefully that'll mean we'll get updates on the girls from time to time.

Somehow it all worked out even though I had no idea where these cats would be fostered once they got to Connecticut and even though I didn't have funds for Noelle's care, we raised it. I can't say things will always work out for the best, but this time it did. All the best to these sweet ladies. I hope they will be forever happy and loved in their new home!

Not on My Watch: Bustin' Out Blythe

I can't take it any more. Every day I see photos of mama cats and babies, senior cats who are dumped by their owners, all ages of cats, needing rescue from kill shelters. I can't save even ONE of them because my house is full, I have no fosters and I need to build our fundraising base so we have something to draw upon so we CAN help cats. Sitting on my hands is not my idea of how you do rescue!

I NEED to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!!

I got another pile of rescue-pleas from Betsy, my contact at Henry County Care & Control. Most of the pleas were about mama cats and kittens. I know I can't help them right now, but there were two pleas regarding single cats. One is for an injured kitten and the other, for an adult cat with a nasty bite wound to the face. There was some quality about that cat that called to me. I decided that if I helped one cat that maybe for once, I'd luck out and it wouldn't cost me a zillion dollars to help her recover. She wouldn't get sick on me or turn out to have FIV+ or worse. I can't know if there will be problems until I reach out to help and by then it's too late. You're in. You made the commitment. Whatever comes next is on your shoulders. You have to have faith that you can handle whatever comes next. I have to say, it's a lot easier to have faith with such good friends who support my endeavors-even if it only means they send me emails cheering me on.

Betsy wrote:

“Super awesomely cool sweet amazing girl....her body is very Persian looking but I had a hard time getting a body shot as she was wiggly and wanted to just rub all over me.

Her face has 2 punctures, and her ear is involved, it is swollen, the canal is almost shut. I squeezed a lot of pus out of her holes....we started her on antibiotics but she needs to be vetted.

She purrs non stop and is just a lovely lovely girl. PLEASE help save her life!”

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control. Why HELLO, you cute thing! And a GIRL?! ooo!

I started to make calls and write emails. Rescuing a cat from a kill shelter is not a piece of cake. So many details need to be in place to make it happen and when you're about 1000 miles away from that shelter, it's even harder. Each piece of the puzzle comes with an agonizing wait. Can you get a foster home? Do they mind medicating a cat for a few weeks? Can you get someone to GET the cat from the shelter, go to the Vet, be there with the cat until the exam and tests are over and be willing to provide comfort for that cat should something terrible happen and the cat has to be put down for some reason. This is not a simple request to make of ANYONE and it is not made lightly.

I have to bet that by the time the cat can safely travel to Connecticut, that she will be a sweet, social girl, healthy and ready to be adopted. I have to also bet that when she gets here, I'll have room in my house for her or that impossible to find foster home will have been readied. It's a big risk and it gives me a stomach ache, along with some vivid palpitations.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control. Oh dear!

Over the course of the past day, I was able to get a lot of wonderful people to come forward and say “YES!” when I asked for help. Then came the hardest part of all...contacting the shelter to ask if the cat was “still available” (code for “Still Alive”).

I HATE calling. I hate it. I called the Director and left her a voicemail. I was so wired and tired, I could NOT say my OWN PHONE NUMBER after trying three times! How embarrassing!

Now I had to wait...and wait..and wonder if she would call me back since now I'm a lunatic...so I called again to make it worse for myself, knowing that it's Friday and I just found out that 25 cats came into the shelter from a hoarder last night! The Officer who answered the phone, put me through to the voicemail before I could sputter out the words that I wanted to know if the cat was available! All I could think about was that now ALL the cats are at very high risk of being put down because of the new burden on the shelter. I was VERY worried that I was too late, too slow to decide, too much of a sissy to call the shelter a third time!

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control. We'll never know why this poor cat got taken to the shelter. We just know she needs to get back out, and soon!

I admit that I'm shy about making phone calls-which is not a good trait to have when you do rescue. So I opted to email Betsy in case she was near the computer-which she often is not during the day. In a few minutes, I lucked out. I had my answer:

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control. Hello, pretty lady!

YES. SHE WAS AVAILABLE AND YES, WE COULD PICK HER UP TOMORROW MORNING AND BUST HER OUT OF HENRY COUNTY!

Her name came to me immediately. Blythe, meaning joyous. Now my dear Bobby has to pick her up and get her vetted and I can go through all the worrying about if she has contracted something terrible from that bite or that she's very sick. I don't know how old she is. I just know she's sweet and friendly and FLUFFY. That will have to be good enough for me, for now. Tomorrow we'll learn more. Today we can smile for a moment and be glad that, at least, one kitty had a good day today and with any luck more people are taking a chance and rescuing other kitties from shelters today, too.

This is not easy work. It's very draining, but the feeling you get when you WIN ONE...MY GOD THAT'S A GREAT FEELING...okay..knocking wood..we're not out of the woods yet. We have to see how Blythe will do at the Vet. I hope it will all go well and she has a negative Snap test for FIV+ and FELV! Stay tuned!

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control. Welcome Blythe. We hope you like your new name!

Speaking of which, this is another kitty who MAY still need a rescue---

This precious little angel needs her hernia fixed, it can probably be done with her spay, we are concerned about leaving her sit here....and you know we do not have a vet on staff. She purrs non stop and is so loving we hate to put her down.

Please help if you can.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control.

ID# 5/18-1770

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©2011 Betsy Merchant. Henry Co. Care & Control.

**Please Note; When forwarding, crossposting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List or FACEBOOK. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**

Betsy Merchant~

We are very rescue friendly and are more than happy to work with any rescue group as long as the group has a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture license! Any rescue group, whether in or out of state, that takes pets from Georgia shelters, is required, by Georgia law, to have a rescue license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Division. Having tax exempt status is not the same as a license. For more information on obtaining a license, please call (404) 656-4914.

Contact:

mystiblu@bellsouth.net

Henry County Animal Care and Control

527 Hampton Street

McDonough, Georgia 30253

(770) 288-7401

http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/GA67.html

Our Hours:

Monday-Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm

Saturday: 9 am-1 pm

Sunday: Closed

County Observed Holidays: Closed

The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.

For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org

Not on My Watch: Happy Mamas Sing the Rescue Song

I reported a few days ago that 5 mamas at Henry County in McDonough, GA, were in dire need of rescue. The shelter was getting overwhelmed with mama cats giving birth. I hoped that one or two mamas might find a rescue through my efforts, but feared none would make it out alive. Truthfully, it doesn't even matter if my post had anything to do with how the cats got rescued as long as they GOT OUT!

I'm very glad to say that while not all made it---some are FREE! WOOOHOO!!!

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control.

I do not know which group/s rescued these cats. If someone wants to let me know, I'll be glad to post a link to their web site so folks can donate to help with their care while in their foster home.

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control.

I'd love to THANK whichever groups were able to step up. Whoever you are, you ROCK! All I know is I have the news confirmed that THREE mamas found rescue.

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control.

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control.

There's a feisty gray mama and three kittens hoping for a rescue, as well as a “Cow” mama with golden eyes and her four offspring---who are all tiny Moo-babies, so our work is not done. We need to get these two families OUT. Can anyone help? See my POST for more info on how you can help.

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©2011 Henry Co. Care & Control. This mama is hoping for a miracle.

Help spread the word to all Cow-Cat lovers! We gotta get this mama (above) and the gray mama out!

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

UPDATE ON MAZIE

I spoke to Vet. Mazie's temp was 103.7°F, now 102.2°F. Her heart rate was off the chart-due to stress? Liver and Kidney function is NORMAL. She is on IV antibiotics-getting Baytril. They do not think it's FIP but that is not completely off the table. Snap test: NEGATIVE! (for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia)

I can leave her at the Clinic overnight or pick her up. I'm going to bring her home since they don't have staff at night. She has to go back in the morning..and we have to take Bob to New York for his chemotherapy by 10am, so busy-busy. They want her back for another day of IV antibiotics even if she is feeling better/eating. Suggested repeating CBC and I could not argue that point. We do need to see white blood cell count going down. Urinalysis is due in tomorrow.

Cause or culprit? At this point...we just don't know. I can say that due to serious concern of Mazie (and Cara) getting sick from aflatoxins, I have pulled the corn-based cat litter out of the room and done a scrub down of everything I can get my hands on. I am NOT saying the cat litter had anything to do with the cats getting massive infections, but I don't want to risk being wrong. I can do a test with another litter to see if anything dramatic changes over time.

Poor Mazie. She's definitely had a lousy day. I'll keep close watch on her tonight and with any luck she'll feel well enough to start eating again.

I'd also like to take a moment to wish my friend Jennifer J. a big hug and lots of love. She got sad news about her cat, Gett and this is just a few months after losing her beloved cat, Tucker and Mr. Darcy, too. I think there should be a rule that you can't lose more than one cat in any five year period..or ten...yes...ten...that would be better.

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

Not on My Watch: Let's Bust These Babies Out ALIVE!

Henry County Care & Control is getting filled up with pregnant cats giving birth. One just gave birth this morning. I don't even have a photo of her yet. Every one of these cats is at HIGH RISK of losing their life-just due to the fact that kittens can easily pick up all sorts of disease in the shelter. To keep the other cats from getting sick, at the slightest sign of illness, the cats are put down-yes, even little kittens.

Now take the numbers at Henry County and multiply it by the rest of the state of Georgia-where so many other shelters are in crisis. Now add all the other shelters across the COUNTRY. Yes, it's a big number and there's no way we can save them all, but it doesn't mean we just sit here and do nothing but feel sad.

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©2011 HCC&C. Let's save this beautiful baby and her family!

This is a trying time for anyone who does rescue. You know if you can help even ONE family, the others may perish. Right now, I don't even funds or a place to put any of these cats. I wish I did. I don't know if it's more heartbreaking to know that I COULD save some of these cats, if I could get a foster family in GA and one in CT to step up, then find funding to support them until they are big enough to be adopted. I look at the calendar..it's May..I STILL HAVE cats I rescued in November of LAST YEAR and so far their Vet tab is WELL into the thousands, probably close to $6K by now for all their bills. If I pull another family and they get as sick as the last bunch, it will ruin me, but how can I sleep knowing they need help? I know it's a risk to get these cats out, but if we act fast, they won't get sick.

This is what we need:

RESCUE GROUPS-anywhere in the U.S.A. that can be verified as a legitimate rescue organization, can contact Gerri Yoder, the Director of Henry Co. Care & Control, about any or ALL of these Mamas & Kittens. Gerri can be reached at: gdueringer@co.henry.ga.us

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©2011 HCC&C. Here's Mama! She's a doll and a sweetheart.

I have someone (my dear, Bobby) who can pick up the cats and get them out of the shelter for you and we can help arrange initial vetting and transport if you need that done. Just contact me if I can be of help: info@coveredincathair.com

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©2011 HCC&C. What a pretty blue Mama and look at those little ones!

These are the faces of the cats I wrote about in my Mother's Day Wish post. These are the cats who for no other reason than their owners never spayed them, are now facing death.

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©2011 HCC&C. Let's save this Cow-Mama with amazing eyes and her family, too!

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©2011 HCC&C. This girl has already been at the shelter too long. She's STUNNING! Won't someone rescue her?!

Let's do something AMAZING. Let's Tweet, Share, Facebook, whatever you can to help get the word out on ALL THESE kitties. Let's find rescues who can take these cats. Bribe them with donations or offer to foster these cats or BOTH! MAKE THE DIFFERENCE we need to CLEAR THE SHELTER OF THESE FAMILIES BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. When we empty out HENRY COUNTY, let's help another shelter empty its cages, too. Com'on! WE CAN DO THIS! This doesn't have to be a SAD ENDING, but we GOTTA do the work to make it happen! WHAT DO YOU SAY? ARE YOU WITH ME??!!

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