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One I Hold in High Regard

Freya 2.0. Dreams Really Do Come True. Part 17

continued from part 16

I didn’t want to take Freya to the Vet. I was sick with worry about it. If Freya was a “normal” cat I wouldn’t be so concerned, but we already know that Freya has lots of deformities so it wouldn’t be surprising that her ovaries or uterus had some issues. I knew she’d be in very good hands because Dr. Chris, our Board Certified surgeon, was going to do the procedure. He’d also be the final word on whether or not Freya still needed to have her right inner ear CT scanned and if she'd also needed surgery on her ear canal to drain any remaining infection.

Freya 1 8 15 R Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Our Freya.

I love Dr. Chris, not like I want to run away and bear his children love, but I really cherish working with him. He’s always smiling even though the poor guy has often had to soothe my fears about Freya. He’s extremely smart and talented and I trust his opinion (okay and he’s really cute, too, but that has nothing to do with it. I’m just dutifully relating information as any good writer would).

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Dr. Chris last December with Freya.

So this morning I sat in the now so very familiar waiting room at NVS with Freya at my side, who was snuggled inside her Robin’s egg blue cat carrier. Dr. Chris came out from the back of the building to escort us into an exam room. Just seeing his radiant smile made me feel more relaxed. I hadn’t seen him for a few months and it was good to see him again. After we said a quick hello, I found myself focusing on the mental laundry list of things he needed to know about Freya. As I spoke I noticed he was looking at Freya as she ran around the room. He was smiling, then remarked how great she looked. After all she’d been through I didn’t see her transformation as clearly as Dr. Chris did.

Box of Monkeypants r Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya's nickname is Monkeypants, so this is a box of monkeypants.

Dr. Chris examined Freya as we spoke about what should be done today. We went over the costs which would range from $1800.00 to $5100.00, the low price being only the spay. Of course many of you who do rescue know we can get spays done for under $100 at a clinic, but Freya couldn’t go to a clinic since we didn’t know what was yet to be discovered inside her.

Freya at the Vet again R Olson
©2015 Robin AF Olson. At the vet yet again. At least Freya's not scared being there.

It was a tough nut to swallow, but I knew we had to do what was right for our kitten. Dr. Chris said that he didn’t feel Freya should have the CT scan yet. Clinically she was doing very well. She was playing, eating, passing stool. She no longer had a head-tilt, though she does have some deafness, which could be something she’s had since birth. Instead of spending that money on the CT now, he thought it was wise to wait and give her more time. If she relapses then we’d have to do the scan, but for now the less we do to her, the better.

All that was left to decide was when to do her spay surgery. Again, I was surprised by the answer. Dr. Chris felt that Dr. Mary or Dr. Larry could do the spay and that as a rescue it would be better for us to bank the savings so we could rescue more cats than spend it on having him do the procedure. I asked if he felt it was safe to have our G.P. Vet do the surgery and he thought they could easily handle it. He also said I could bring her back and he would still perform the procedure if our other vets didn’t feel comfortable taking her on.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya meets the raccoon.

He added that it was very unlikely Freya would ever need the “twist” surgery that Dr. Pavletic pioneered to aid her rectum function. The plan was for it to be her final surgery when she reached her first birthday. Since she never ended up developing megacolon, which would have been corrected during her spay, there’s no need to do that either. So instead of needing three surgeries for her colon/rectum, she was done after just the one we did last year. Wow!

I agreed to call Dr. Larry and to determine whether or not we could have Freya’s spay performed today since she was already fasted and ready to go. Then, what I never expected happened. In my writer’s mind I'd describe a romantic scene about being alone in the exam room with Dr. Chris; about how our eyes locked in an intense gaze across the room, the passion building between us, undeniable, magnetically drawing us ever closer, but also knowing his peers and my friends might read this; I’ll have to keep a more detailed fantasy to myself. In truth, what really happened was very straightforward, COMPLETELY professional and G-rated.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya loves Aunt Nora.

Dr. Chris is leaving NVS. I will never see his smiling face again.

It was a bitter pill to swallow after such a long journey. After discussing the results of a million x-rays of Freya’s colon, after a hundred tears worrying about my kitten, after all this; it was over. Dr. Chris said his residency is wrapping up in Newtown and he’s accepted a position in Miami and will be leaving in July (in that heat?!).

Resigned to this disappointing news, I gave Dr. Chris a hug goodbye and told him I was sorry to see him go (along with my silly schoolgirl crush). He walked us over to the reception desk, smiling politely as he said goodbye, then turned, greeting the next couple waiting to meet with him.

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Two hours later.

Freya and I were in the exam room at Dr. Larry’s office. As he entered the room I could feel the energy shift. I knew that Dr. Larry’s in-law had passed away a few days ago and that he was truly hurting. He looked visibly thinner and tired. Before we could talk about Freya I reached out and gave him a big hug and told him how sorry I was for his loss. Dr. Larry’s my brother from another mother and I hate to see him suffering. I felt badly for even asking him to spay Freya. He should be home with his family.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya's tail obsession goes into overload when she sees Spencer's tail.

I gave Dr. Larry the rundown and explained to him why I felt it was okay to at least try to spay Freya. We had a few rounds of blood work done in the past that were very clean. She’d had a 2-hour long surgery and did well. She was eating and playing normally. She went into “heat” so that meant something was working inside her. We just didn’t know how well it worked or if there were other surprises.

Dr. Larry listed his concerns, which all made sense. He told me she could have part of her reproductive organs fused to other organs or her digestive tract or a whole host of other issues that could kill her.

Freya watches Deadliest Catch
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Yes, Freya watches TV.

In the end I agreed that he should consider this an exploratory surgery and if she was well enough to be spayed, to do so and if not I’d take her to Dr. Chris for a surgery at a later date.

He told me that he’d call me right away if there was a problem and that if she did all right he’d wait until he was done to let me know how things went. Basically if there was no news any time soon, that was good.

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Three hours later.

Dr. Mary, Dr. Larry’s partner, called me. She sounded as cheerful and bubbly as ever. She said; “Well, Miss Freya is all set. We did the spay and she’s recovering now.”

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya vs. Fluff Daddy.

“That’s it?”

Yes, she did fine. Everything was normal. She may act a bit odd for a few days since she her hormones were still elevated, but other than that she’s doing well. You can pick her up later this afternoon.”

After I hung up the phone it hit me. It’s OVER. Freya doesn’t need any more surgeries and hopefully will never need a CT scan. She’s spayed. She’s had her shots. She’s been de-wormed. She’s passed all the milestones our other foster cats have passed. It just took a lot longer and we never were sure we'd make it this far.

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No more worrying about if she’s going to survive her surgeries. She did. No more worrying about her being able to pass stool. She does.
No more wondering if she’ll ever hold her head straight or have both eyes open. It’s all good.

Then I recalled something I wrote in my very first post about Freya:


“In my mind’s eye I can see Freya, sleeping on a soft bed that is bathed in sunlight. She’s comfortable and plump. She looks like she’s smiling as she sleeps away the afternoon. She is healthy and well and these dark days are over for her. She didn’t have to die, she got to live. That is my dream for Freya...”

And for once, my dream came true due in part to so MANY generous donors who offered not only financial support but sent cards and gifts to Freya, who put tires on my old car, who sent us emails and called and told us they cared so very much about our little foster kitten. To our amazing Vets: Dr. Chris, Dr. Larry, Dr. Mary, Dr. Pav, Dr. Deb and Dr. Cory--yes, it took all your expertise to bring us to this fine day and I appreciate it so much. To Chelsea and Randy, who gave up their kitten because it was the right thing to do for her, even though it meant giving her up (and it was Chelsea's birthday that day, too), thank you for your bravery and trust in letting a rescue take over when you weren't able to.

I guess there's only one thing left to do. It’s time to put Freya up for adoption.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Home from being spayed, Freya gets some much needed rest.

Mia's Story. A Very Long Road Part 2

Before I could do a thing I got a call from my friends over at Animals in Distress about a kitten with a serious birth defect and could I just foster her for a weekend?

Continued from Part 1

That was the day I met Freya and you know what happened after that. Freya required round-the-clock care, specialized surgery and lots and lots of vet visits. Freya is still here 8 months later and is now part of the Kitten Associates family. Sadly, once again, Mia would have to wait to be socialized and I felt terrible about that.

Monkeypants
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya.

Mia’s offspring began to find their forever homes and so did a few of Celeste’s. Whichever cats were still waiting were moved over to the big foster room. Mia was nonplussed with newcomers. In fact I began to wonder if she had a vision problem because she didn’t react to anything. Her eyes were often dilated when I thought they shouldn’t be. She didn’t seem to look at toys if they weren’t making sounds, as if she was blind. I did a few tests but I’m not sure if she saw me or only has shadow vision. She’s too fractious to take to the vet and our vet said unless it’s pretty obvious (like cataracts) it’s tough to tell the degree of vision loss a cat has.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. The first group of Laney's kittens arrive. Jules, Jasper, Jasmine and Junipurr (are all adopted now!).

We began transporting Laney’s family north from Georgia earlier this year. The oldest four came up first and were quickly adopted because they were outstanding cats. One of them, Jules, was adopted along with Wallace, the once tiny kitten we’d taken from the Danbury Fire Department after they’d pulled him out of a concrete wall. Fernando and Astro were adopted together and so were Jasper and Jasmine.

That left Mia and Woody, the kitten no one seemed to want. Because Laney and gang were set to arrive I knew I’d have to move Mia and son into the blue bathroom so Laney’s group could have the bigger space. It meant no sunshine for Mia and Woody since the room faces north. It’s one of the reasons I wish I had more foster homes because this really isn’t an ideal room for a cat.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Woody with his mama-Mia.

With Woody vying for my attention, I could only do a little bit with Mia. I’d tempt her with treats and lightly brush her paw with my finger. I was careful to be at ease with her and not tense. I wanted her to be used to me being around but she always hid in a corner if she heard me coming. She never climbed on the cat tree, which added to my suspicion about her vision. It might also make socializing her much harder if she couldn’t see me very well, if at all.

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Laney and the gang have been here for about 2 months and I hopefully have a lead on ONE home for two of the kitties, but that’s it. Poor Woody, Mia’s remaining son, who has been with us over a YEAR, has never had even one application. I don’t know why we can’t find him a home because he’s amazing, but sadly he’s also keeping me from working with his mom.

During these past few months one of our adopters, who has become a good friend, came to visit the kitties. Her name is Kendra and she teaches art to children. She’s a wonderful artist in her own right and has volunteered to create torn paper portraits for many of our donors (she even did a big one for us of our dearly departed kitten, Fred that you can see on her ETSY page). Kendra is adorable and when she’s with our cats she her voice takes on a magical quality. It sounds a bit like a cross between a little girl and an elf. The cats love it. Even my shy boy Cricket will sit in her lap while she tells him how handsome he is.

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©2015 KendyBo. One of Kendra's many awesome portraits. This is of Jayne Dog, who I wrote about HERE.

I spoke with Kendra about my frustrations with Mia while we were in the blue bathroom with her. Without hesitation, Kendra reached out and started petting Mia while we were talking! WHAT????!!!!

Yeah. She was petting Mia. Mia who had been in our program for over a year and in one second Kendra is petting her.

Did Mia like it? Meh; not so much.

Did Mia bite her or swat at her or growl? No.

It was shortly after that when Kendra contacted me and offered to foster Mia, hopefully unlocking the key to help socialize her. I had my hands more than full and she wanted to help. Kendra’s boyfriend, Brian, had been around feral cats all his life. She referred to him as the “feral cat whisperer.” Once we worked out the details we set a date to begin.

Saturday, Kendra came over to pick up Mia, but first I had to get Mia into a cat carrier.

I was lucky that Mia was in the bathroom because removing hiding places is the key to getting a cat into a carrier when you can’t pick them up. The first thing I did was move Woody out of the room, then move the cat tree, litter pan and anything else giving me full access to Mia. I also knew that because fearful cats feel safer in a small dark space that if I controlled where the small dark space was, then she’d go to it sooner or later.

I knew, too, that Mia had already had this happen to her before so even with a plan of action it might prove difficult.

As I moved things out of the way, Mia dashed across the floor and hid behind the toilet, which was the only thing I couldn’t move. I put the open cat carrier to her right. It was covered with a big towel so it was nice and dark inside. Mia wouldn’t budge.

I had to get the broom. I didn’t want to do it, but I couldn’t risk being bitten. I tried to keep Mia calm, but she shot between a small space between the toilet and the cat carrier and jumped into the bathtub. She was very scared but didn’t growl or try to attack me. I kept at it, coming towards her, slowly herding her back to the cat carrier.

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Freya peeks in on Mia.

She was so afraid her bladder let go. I felt so badly when I saw the pale yellow fluid run out from under her tail. I wanted to rinse her off, but it was make or break and she needed to get into the carrier. I used the broom to carefully push her towards the open cat carrier. She wouldn’t move at first, but then suddenly made a run for it, this time into the cat carrier. I closed the door behind her and made sure it was closed properly.

I told her I was very sorry and I truly was. I opened the door to the bathroom and Woody entered. He was distressed, too. He knew his mom was leaving him, but this was her only chance to blossom and to finally enjoy the loving touch of a human. With Woody left in the room it was time for him to leave, too. I’d begin to transition him to meeting my cats since he was so easy-going and it was far less crowded than adding him to the room with Laney and family.

Kendra had a room ready for Mia, with no places to hide. I waited for her to get home and update me on how things were going. Within a few minutes of her arriving, she sent me this video.

©2015 KendyBo.

Later that night I got more images and videos. Brian was working on becoming Mia’s BFF. He “forgot” she was feral and picked her up. She just hissed, confused by the sudden contact. Brian and Kendra are both able to pet Mia, not just on her face, but on her back and even on her paws. Even Kendra's 8-year old son could pet her! Mia is stressed, but has moments where she closes her eyes and relaxes. It seems that it’s just a matter of time before we see even bigger changes. Maybe by tomorrow she’ll be ready to go?

All joking aside, we can’t give up on Mia. Maybe I wasn’t the person who could help her overcome her fear, but I was the person who was ready to take action when an opportunity came up that would give her the chance of a lifetime. Now I have hope that maybe one day Mia will be ready to find her forever family. For now she's got a great team, working hard to help her overcome her fears.

Mia's Story: A Very Long Road

Last June I asked all of you to weigh in on a question that was plaguing me; whether or not to transport our foster mom-cat, Mia from Georgia to my home in Connecticut along with her kittens or just transport the kittens. It wasn’t an easy question to answer because I knew that Mia was not friendly enough to be adopted as she was and I wasn’t sure IF she’d ever be friendly towards humans. It would cause a serious rescue-roadblock if she couldn’t be socialized. I couldn’t take on more rescues because she’d be taking up precious foster space, but I also owed it to her to find her a safe harbor and not just kick her to the curb.

Trapped and confused
©2104 Warren Royal. Pregnant, terrified, but out of danger Mia's story with us begins.

Mia’s first foster mom, Moe, was able to pet her, but they were in tight quarters and Mia had nowhere to hide. Her kittens were newborn so they didn’t get in the way of any of Moe’s attempts to socialize her. Moving Mia north, also meant she’d be in a bigger room and I’d have a tough time working with her, especially with her much bigger kittens sharing the room. Ideally I’d want to sequester her so it would be just one on one, forcing Mia to either become desensitized to humans or I’d eventually realize I couldn’t “turn her around.” The problem was; I didn’t have the space to separate her from the others.

I’d have to wait months for space to open up. The kittens would eventually be adopted but I’d end up with an adult feral cat remaining that I couldn’t allow to be with any new foster families. It was too dangerous. This HAD to work or I’d be forced to consider sending Mia back to Georgia where our good friend Warren would add her to his small feral colony.

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©2104 Aunt Moe. Mia was a great mama. Here she is with baby Woody (left) and Lil' Snickers (right).

Warren originally trapped and rescued Mia when she was still pregnant, getting her away from a terribly dangerous situation. He told me I could count on him to take her back if things didn’t work out. It would be my very last option and I prayed I'd never have to go that route. It wouldn’t be fair to have Mia indoors for months, then chuck her back outside, especially to a place she’s not familiar with. Odds are, she’d run off and get killed or slowly starve to death. This situation weighed very heavily on me. I just couldn't give up on her.

Moe needed a much deserved break and after careful consideration I decided that Mia should head north with her family.

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©2104 Robin AF Olson. Mia arrives and she's not the only one who's scared.

In late June, Mia and family arrived. From the moment she hissed, racing out of the carrier, I knew I was in trouble. I’d only ever worked with feral kittens, who typically socialize fairly quickly depending on their age. My own cat, Cricket was a horror when I began fostering him and he was 6 months old when I started working with him (in many books too old to try to socialize). He would have rather ripped my face off then let me pet him, but these days he’ll seek out attention, even sitting on my lap. It took years for Cricket to blossom. He’s brave now and even solicits attention from new people who visit our home. It required Sam and I had to work with him every day, but it paid off.

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©2104 Robin AF Olson. The first day everyone was scared but it didn't take long for the kittens to seek out attention from me.

The problem was, I didn’t have the bandwidth to work with Mia.

Mia was never aggressive with me. She just hissed. She had no interest in toys or catnip, just food. She’d come to me, on occasion, if I held out a treat to her, but the kittens would usually snatch the morsel of chicken before I could shoo them away. I couldn’t pet Mia at all. It was just too chaotic in the room to try because she’d always back away and hiss.

I knew as soon as Celeste’s kittens were out of the blue bathroom I’d move Mia over and get to work. Then after Mia and family were adopted I would FINALLY take a break, too. It was the closest I’d gotten to thinking I could take some time off and frankly if I didn’t get it I was a bit worried about what would happen to my mental health.

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©2104 Aunt Moe. The first of Laney's older kittens are rescued.

After a month off from fostering, Moe contacted me about her neighbor’s cat. She’d never been spayed and she was 3 years old and was pregnant again. There were kittens of various ages running around this family’s yard. Moe found one dead. The family flippantly told her “some just go off and never come back.” Most of the kittens were sick. There was a bowl of cheap cat food out on the porch. It was filthy and covered with flies. One of the mom-cat’s daughters was pregnant, too. Moe asked told the people if she could get help would the family would allow us to start spaying and neutering the cats or maybe let us take them into our program?

I hadn’t had a break from fostering in 5 years and I didn’t want to take them on, especially because the head count, with soon-to-be-born kittens could be over a dozen cats (in the end it was closer to 16). I didn’t believe I could easily place two adult cats who were part of the group and I didn’t know how we’d afford it or how much longer it would mean for me to be fostering. I told Moe; “First things first. Get a head count and let’s get those mamas. We’ll start spaying and neutering the ones that are old enough.”

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©2104 Aunt Moe. Laney (front left) with her six kittens and daughter Winnie (behind) with her sole surviving kitten (somewhere in the pile of other kittens).

While I couldn’t promise I’d bring all the cats here, I told her that we’d sort it out later. I knew we could raise the funds for their vet care but it would be costly to provide for them for the coming months. Clearly these animals were at high risk of dying and even though Moe and I were tapped out, we had to do something.

That was last August.

It’s been a blur since we took on Laney, Winnie and their 7 kittens, plus 6 other kittens that were from Laney’s previous litters. They were all in lousy shape and it was a lot of work on Moe’s part to care for so many cats and to get them back to health.

Meanwhile I was experiencing one after another calamity with my foster kittens. Twinkle-Twinkle broke her leg, Fernando ripped his eyelid in three places, Greta ate a string and had to have a barium study done all within a month.

Slowly, I started doing some adoptions. I knew I had to get the numbers down because Laney and crew would need the space in a few months. We got a great foster home with Jame and her family so they took on a few of the kittens to give me some relief.

I finally managed to free up space in the blue bathroom so I thought it would be time to move Mia there. It was early September and for the first time since I could remember, the bathroom could be used as a bathroom and I was a bit reluctant to change that.

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©2104 Robin AF Olson. This tiny kitten would end up changing my life forever.

Before I could do a thing I got a call from my friends over at Animals in Distress about a kitten with a serious birth defect and could I just foster her for a weekend?

...to be continued.

Letter from Zoe

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about a lot of things. You see I was just born a few weeks ago. My mom told me we were living in a, well, not-so-nice place before we came here. She said there were a lot of other cats and a lot of other things all over where we used to live. There was so much human stuff she couldn’t move around too well, but I guess that was okay.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Zoe with her Mama and brothers.

With so many cats in this place, my mom was scared to leave her hidey-spot. I know she was scared because she was going to have me and my brothers soon and she didn’t want to give birth in this place like the other cats did. She said that it seemed as though there were more and more cats being born, some of them went to Heaven right away and we should feel lucky that we didn’t go there yet.

She said that she counted how many cats there were and she counted one cat for every one of her toes, then she ran out of toes! So she said there were must be more than 18. I guess her sister had a kitten that went right to Heaven and then another sister got really really sick from being full of babies and she almost went to Heaven, too.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #06, Sweet Peaches, about a year old, who's looking for her forever home or a rescue organization to take her on and help her find one.

I don’t know why there are places like this—full of cats and full of dirty cat droppings and dirty human piles of things, because it doesn’t seem like the place where a little kitten like me would want to grow up.

My mother told me that before I was old enough to tell my own stories, some human-ladies came to our place. They carefully lifted us up and put us into a nice clean box with a handle on the top. Inside it there was a soft bed. It was nice and clean, too. They told us not to worry and that they would take care of us. I think one of the ladies had wet sparkles covering her eyes that she had to wipe away with a soft cloth. She seemed sad when she looked at us, but I think that’s because I look kinda funny.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #07, Terrance, about a year old male, who's looking for his forever home or a rescue organization to take him on and help him find one.

I’m really tiny for my age and I think I have bad things inside me that made me feel not my best.

The ladies that brought us to the new place gave us a huge metal box to live in so we can all stay together. It’s nicer than our old place and clean, too.

My brothers are small, but I am the smallest. The ladies said I am…I dunno. Something about bread, being in-bread? They say I should be more developed by now, but geez, I’m doing the best I can.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #05 & #09, Silly 7-month old siblings looking for their forever home or a rescue organization to take them on and help them find one.

The ladies are feeding me extra milk and they are getting me some medicine. I hope it will help me feel better really soon. I know they are worried about me going to Heaven and I’m a bit worried, too. I don’t know much about anything, like I said before, but I do know these ladies are really good people. They helped us when no one else could help, and they will take care of us so we can get big like my mom someday.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #04, Phillip, a sweet boy barely a year old.

The problem is there are so many other kitty-cats who came from the not-so-nice-place and they need something called a Rescue Group to help them go to a nice place to live. The kitties don’t need much, just somewhere clean and with good food, whatever food is. I only drink milk right now, but I hope you know what I mean.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. #10 Very friendly female tabby, about a year old.

The ladies told me that to keep helping all of us they need donations so they can make sure we’ll get more good food, some of the kitties get special treatments called spay and some get neuter, and they all get vaccinations…and the donation-thing is something they really need help with.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. A Mother's Love can't heal everything, but hopefully we got to this family in time so that none of the kittens will be lost.

Well, I have to rest again. I get tired easily since I’m only 3 weeks old. I hope you can help me and my family and all our other kitty friends somehow. I’d like to have a chance to grow up and see the world, but I just don’t know if that will happen.

I’ll write again if I can.

Thank you for reading my story.

Your friend,


Zoe

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From CiCH/Robin:

This is a true story that began two weeks ago with a phone call from a person asking me for help to get a C-section for his cat. When I explained how dangerous that procedure was to the mom and babies and asked about the mother cat’s condition, he began to reveal what was really going on: He had more than 18 cats and none were spayed or neutered. Far more than I could take on myself, I reached out for help and my fellow rescuers answered the call.

PAWS in Norwalk sent a representative over to the home to begin the process of sorting out what needed to be done. This liaison was terrific, keeping us abreast of what was going on, but the true heroes are the staff at Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic, who offered to not only vet each and every cat, but they would travel an hour to get ALL the cats and have ALL the cats recover from their procedures on site, then stay on in their facility until legitimate rescue organizations could step in to help.

PAWS and our rescue, Kitten Associates granted funds to provide 8 of the cats spay/neuter surgery and vaccines, and the former owner of the cats provided funds to get 7 more cared for.

Considering this is a situation that Nutmeg normally can't get involved with and is so far from their facility, the staff deserves a huge round of applause AND especially, our support. They're still in need of $2,200.00 to provide complete care to all the cats...

...(a couple needed emergency spay surgery and had additional health challenges, plus all the cats were tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia, dewormed, de-fleaed and some needed special grooming). Nutmeg is in dire need of assistance from the local rescue community to help them place each and every one of these cats into a loving home.

Every cat is spayed/neutered, has their rabies and distemper vaccinations and NEGATIVE for feline leukemia and FIV. Many of the cats are very friendly and all are under the age of 3, with most being older kittens.

Please visit NUTMEG CLINIC to share your love for kittens like Zoe. Simply use their PayPal donation widget (DONATE BUTTON on left side of page) or mail a check to: Nutmeg Spay/Neuter Clinic, 25 Charles Street, Stratford, CT 06615 and note on the check “For Zoe & the Kitties.” Any unused portion of donations will go directly to the other cats in Nutmeg’s care. Nutmeg Clinic is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization so your donation is tax deductible as the law allows.

Connecticut and surrounding area rescue organizations, please consider taking just one or two of these deserving cats into your adoption program so the folks at Nutmeg can get back to doing what they do best—keeping the animal population under control with safe, effective sterilization and vaccinations. In the almost three years since they have opened their doors, they’ve already spayed or neutered almost 10,000 cats and dogs.

If you'd like to inquire about any of the cats, please contact Gilda at info@nutmegclinic.org

I’d like to personally thank Nutmeg for stepping up to a difficult situation and for being willing to house such a large number of cats. They aren’t a shelter so this is tough on them.

Lastly, to the kitten I nicknamed Zoe, I hope you make it, Little One! I look forward to reading your next letter.

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©2015 Robin A.F. Olson. Come on, Zoe! You can do it!

Exclusive Interview, Review & Giveaway. Texts From Mittens

Imagine what your life would be like if your cat not only had his own phone, but was able to send you text messages from it. What do you think he might say? Would you enjoy the conversation or realize you've created a monster?

This was the impetus for cat-writer & humorist Angie Bailey's sophomore book, Texts from Mittens.

TFM is a full-color, beautifully bound hardcover with page after page of screen shots of text message conversations between Mittens, a slightly neurotic, cat-liver-treat-obsessed, dog-hating, cat and his human-Mom, named, well, Mom.

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There's an additional cast of characters ranging from under-sexed and over-boozed-up neighbor, Drunk Patty; to Phil, the annoying-dog, to Stumpy, Mitty's BFF (Best Feline Friend) and lastly, Grandma who always serves up the best goodies while Mom is away.

 

I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading TFM, but it was quickly apparent that I was in for a treat. Texts From Mittens is engaging, with a light-hearted tone that made me laugh out loud. Mittens has a big personality and his relationship with Mom feels all too familiar-that is IF I could talk to my own cats.

 

TFM is a quick read, but I discovered I was wishing for more as I came to the last page. Bailey takes us on a journey that is thoroughly enjoying and entertaining and I would heartily recommend this book to readers of any age.

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I had a chance to sit down with Angie Bailey and Mittens to ask them about their book. Here's what they had to say:

 

CICH: What inspired you to write your first Texts From Mittens post?

AB: I've always loved thinking about cats doing human things. In my first book, whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, cats used a craigslist-type site to find dates, sell their stuff and join clubs. My imagination is more than a little vivid, and the idea of kitties sitting at a laptop, wheeling and dealing completely cracked me up. That led into Texts from Mittens. I tested it on Catster.com, and it became a bi-weekly column.

CICH: If someone developed an app so cats could text their guardians would you buy it for your cats?

AB: Yes, but it'd be silenced a lot of the time. I feel like Cosmo would be relentless with the texts.

CICH: How many cats do you currently share your life with? What are their names and tell us a little bit about each one.

AB: I share my life with three cats.

Saffy is nearly 14 years old and is a totally laid-back Daddy lover. She gives him the ol' goo-goo eyes -- it's adorable. Also, she has about three good teeth and floofy gray fur.

Cosmo is my 13-year-old tuxie man. He follows me everywhere and would love nothing more than my carrying him around in a Snugli baby carrier.

Phoebe is nearly 10 years old and is the queen of the castle. She's barely seven pounds, but has more attitude and sass than the other two cats put together.

CICH: Mittens has been a wildly successful character. What’s next for Mitty?

AB: Right now he's focusing on the book launch and making sure I give him enough publicity -- he's so demanding. He's still posting texts every day and hanging out with his girlfriend Fiona and best friend Stumpy. He's like me to produce little stuffed Mittens toys. We probably will, but not right now. He also has a lot of Judge Judy to catch up with on the DVR.

CICH: Are Mom and Drunk Patty ever going on a double date?

AB: Maybe. Drunk Patty dates Rusty, a competitive eater, and Mom just can't seem to find the right guy. Mittens hijacks her dating site and tries to help, but he only pushes prospective dates further away. One day she'll find the perfect guy, and hopefully Mittens will approve.

CICH: How’s Phil doing?

AB: Phil is doing great! He's 13 years old and is enjoying a life of retirement. Mittens wishes he'd retire to Florida.

CICH: Who’s one of your favorite Cat Bloggers? :-D

AB: Um ... there's this weird one named Robin. I think her blog's called Covered in Bat Hair or something. I hear she's kind of a nut, but I'd probably like her.

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———

And our Exclusive Interview with Mittens

CICH: What’s your take on being an indoor-only cat? Do you feel your principals are being violated?

MITTY: Have you seen the evil squirrels and chipmunks that lurk outdoors? My only violation is getting breathed on by Drunk Patty.

CICH: You seem to have a lot of emergencies. Have you considered getting one of those pendants that allow you to get help with the push of a button?

MITTY: Is there such a thing?? Are you offering to send me one? #yesplease

CICH: Do you hope your Mom finds you a new Dad some day?

MITTY: Only if it doesn't take away from Mittens time. I would look past some of his imperfections if he were heir to a liver treat company.

CICH: Where’s the most exotic place you’ve ever barfed?

MITTY: On Mom's World Market receipt. Then she wasn't able to return that Moroccan pillow sham. Too bad because it was ugly.

CICH: How do you feel about Judge Judy’s contract being renewed until 2020?

MITTY: It's just wrong. It should have been extended until 2021. She was ripped off.

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———

 

Texts From Mittens hits bookstores starting March 31, 2015 (but you can order it NOW) for $10.14 (hardcover) and $6.64 (Kindle) via this LINK on Amazon.com

 

If you can't get enough Mitty, you can follow his exploits below.

Texts From Mittens Web Site

TFM on Facebook

TFM on Twitter

 

BOOK GIVEAWAY

 

If you'd like to win your very own copy of Texts From Mittens simply leave a comment below (ONLY ONE COMMENT PER PERSON). Your comment should be a message you think your cat would text you. Funniest entry (as chosen by me) wins! There will be only ONE book given away so make it your most clever and crazy message ever. Winner must be a resident of the United States of America due to insane costs of shipping oversees. DEADLINE: APRIL 3, 2015 (my birthday) 2:22 PM EST.

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Petunia Inside-Out

(continued from Part 1 and 2)

I wondered if I was seeing Petunia for the last time when I dropped her off early yesterday morning at Dr. Larry’s office. It had been barely a week since I’d found out she had a bladder full of stones, causing her incredible pain that resulted in a flood of inappropriate urination all over my house.

Petunia was quiet in the car as I drove along the river, choosing to take the slow route to the Vet. The brilliant sunshine of early morning began to warm us through the windows, keeping the harsh late winter cold at bay. The winds of March were raging outside the car, but inside it was peaceful.

Tunie in cat carrier
©2015 Robin AF Olson.

I thought about Celeste and about how she died; very possibly because she was so stressed from being at the vet her body shut down on her. I knew that I had to do everything I could to keep Petunia from following the same path. Petunia could be just as fearful as Celeste so I drove slowly and carefully, talking in soft tones to Petunia. I told her it would be all right. I tried to make myself believe that, too.

Once we arrived and before I let one of the techs take her, I told her to NOT do the surgery if Petunia was too upset and to give her another day to calm down if needed. Petunia is 12 years old. We have to respect her if she is just not ready.

In the end, Dr. Larry performed the surgery while I waited for news.

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Meanwhile, I’d gotten word that a very special, cat-mama had fallen ill. Her name is Jodi Ziskin and she’s a pet nutritionist. She contacted me, asking if she could help formulate a diet for our foster kitten Freya. She'd been following Freya’s story and was charmed by her and also concerned that without proper nutrition, Freya would have a difficult time passing stool since Freya had just had surgery to create her rectum.

Jodi and I emailed often and spoke a few times on the phone. We discovered we both went to the same high school in Connecticut, but somehow missed meeting each other back then. She told me about her cats and her husband, Zach. She was training for a marathon she was going to run in LA to help raise funds for a cat rescue. She just amazed me by all she could do and by how well she cared for herself as well as her family.

I got news that at some point after she ran the marathon, Jodi collapsed. She missed her flight home and that’s when people started looking for her. She had been unconscious for a day once she was located. She was not in good shape and was taken to the California Hospital in Los Angeles while her husband dropped everything to leave their home in Florida to be with her.

I should have been thinking about Petunia, but all I could do was worry about Jodi. She wasn’t able to remember much about her life. She knew her husband, but not the names of her beloved cats. We started to fear that Jodi would have a very long road to recovery—if she would ever recover at all.

They began doing tests. Apparently from the extreme exertion of the marathon, Jodi may not have hydrated properly afterwards. Her muscle tissue was shredding, going into her kidneys. It made her collapse. In some people it can kill them.

After a few days Jodi began to recover. She was remembering things 25 years ago. Her kidney values were normal. She messed up her teeth very badly from falling. She hadn’t lost all the memories of her 17 year marriage. She remembered Obi and her other cats, but there are still some scary memory issues going on that are mysterious in origin. More tests are being done to find the root cause. It's a very scary time for Jodi's family and friends.

This is a BIG reminder to all of us NOT to take ANYTHING or ANYONE for granted. Jodi, stay strong. We love you!

--------------------------

It was 4 PM. Where was my call telling me to pick up Petunia at 5 PM? I started to wonder if that meant she was dead. Dr. Larry always takes a very long time to tell me bad news. I can’t say I blame him. Maybe he was busy and she was fine? I decided to call and find out.

Petunia did well. She was ready to go home, but I didn’t get any more information than that.

I raced over to Dr. Larry’s and waited to speak with him. It was the end of the day and the clinic was quiet. I wondered what he was going to tell me. Was it really bad? Did he find something else? Would Petunia be all right?

 

He looked tired when he entered the exam room. I readied myself for bad news. He told me that the surgery was a long one. Petunia’s bladder was loaded with approximately 40 stones. Most of them had little spikes on them so it had to have been very painful. He told me her bladder was in good condition even with all the stones. The tissue was soft, as it should be, instead of leathery as it would become if her situation was more dire. He spent a long time flushing the bladder out to make sure any tiny grains of stone were cleaned away.

 

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Clean, plump bladder with little white dashes below. Those are surgical staples.

We looked at a new set of x-rays. He was clearly pleased with what he was showing me. Her bladder had a plump look to it, indicating it was already filling with urine. I could see a carefully placed line of surgical staples along the underside of her belly, glowing on the screen. Her incision was rather serious in size, which meant there would be at least a week or two of recovery time.

I’d asked Dr. Larry to take photos of the stones before he sent them out to be tested. When I saw them my jaw dropped and I got shivers down my spine. It’s clear she needed that surgery and I’m glad I made the financial sacrifice to provide this for her instead of hoping to dissolve them with a diet change.

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©2015 Dr. Mary O'Donnell. The painful stones.

It was time to bring Petunia home and get her settled into her big dog crate so she’d have a quieter place to recover. I didn’t know what would come of this and if Petunia 2.0 would be better or worse off now that she was feeling well. Would the other cats begin peeing around the house if she stood up for herself? Would there be worse fighting? Would Petunia expand her living space now that she was no longer in pain? Would she still need to be on anti-anxiety medication to keep her from erupting in more bladder stones?

 

Only time will tell as I focus on doing what I do best—being her mom and caring for her, instead of vilifying her unfairly. Pee-tunia is dead, long live Petunia.

 

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©2015 Robin AF Olson. Resting comfortably and on pain medication, now we wait to see Petunia 2.0 emerge.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Ever since I was a little girl when my mother would read me stories each night before I went to bed, I wanted to believe the world was a magical place. I never outgrew the deep longing to feel like I was like a character in a book specially chosen to be unlike anyone else in a world filled with endless possibilities. I would go to the movies and wonder why I couldn’t be like those people who went out and did great things, against all odds, they’d save the world after a remarkable adventure.

But the reality is, I’m just another schmoe, with ups and downs. I don't have a secret world only I have access to that's filled with talking beasts and dancing trees. But that’s ok because I’m not going to be disappointed when those things don't happen. Those things are for fairy stories, not real life.

The thing that makes me sad is that magic isn’t real. I want the trees to come to life and dance around me or for my cats to talk to me, but those are the notions of a child, not an adult. I have to put those thoughts away and simply enjoy being entertained by movies and books by the fantasy of “what if” and not expect anything more. I’m the daughter of two scientists after all.

Robin and Judy 2001 R Olson
©2001 Robin A.F. Olson. My Mother was the first female research scientist hired by Pfizer back in the 1940s. She was part of the team that developed terramycin. She was a genius by any measure. Here we are so many years later by a hidden waterfall in upstate CT.

Eight years ago tonight my mother died. I wasn’t planning on writing about it again, as I have so many other years, but something happened that I wanted to share with all of you. I believe that perhaps I was wrong about magic. It IS real and I have proof.

My mother and I had a tough relationship but we were also very close. We both had the same wicked sense of humor, always had a camera on our hip, were ready to find a new, strange place to visit or take in any cat who needed us. I asked my mother if after she died she would come back to me or send me a sign and she immediately said no. She said “when you die, you die. That’s it. Don’t go looking for me. I’m going to be dead.”

The odd thing was that every year since she died, on the anniversary of her passing, something would happen that truly seemed like a message. One year I received mail addressed to her. It was a coupon from CVS. She was a mad coupon-freak and CVS was the last place she went before she died. I hadn’t gotten mail from them before. It just had to mean something…was it a message from beyond the grave or $2.00 off my next prescription?

Mum on a log
©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. My Mother on our last trip to one of our favorite places- Bulls Bridge.

I was driving along Highway I-84. It was early evening and I was on my way to meet my friend Marcia at the movie theater. We had planned to see the movie the The Hundred-Foot Journey, but I hadn’t been feeling well. I almost cancelled at the last minute, but it was too late so I just sucked it up and made my way to the theater.

It had been a lovely day. Cool, dry, sunny. The clouds were puffy and brushed in amber by the setting sun. I looked at the time. It was almost 7pm. I thought to myself that was about the time she died those many years ago, though I wasn’t with her when it happened so I can’t be positive of the exact time. No one was with her. No one even knew she was so sick from congestive heart failure that her life was so fragile.

I felt the familiar tug of missing her and I thought to myself how I wished she’d send me a sign and almost right after that, my scientist DNA said that could not happen and not to be silly. I exited off the highway, trying to get my mind off my mother by thinking about something else. As my car passed between two rows of tall trees I saw it out of the corner of my eye…a rainbow.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Last night.

I did a double-take because I hadn’t SEEN a rainbow in YEARS. It wasn’t raining. It was lovely weather save for a few clouds. It didn’t make sense. As a lump grew in my throat and my eyes began to fill with tears, the colors in the rainbow became more vivid and part of a second rainbow formed. I flashed back to that silly YouTube sensation video where the guy is crying about the “Double Rainbow!” I did what my mother taught me. I thought about something funny to cover up how I really felt, because my heart felt like it was going to explode from renewed grief.

Seeing that rainbow felt like a kiss from my mother. She was waving at me saying “Hey, I was wrong. Of course I’ll come back to you and I miss you, too! I’m still here, Robin. I’m still here.”

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Right over the movie theater.

As I reached the parking lot at the theater I fought back the tears. I lost sight of the rainbow and thought it had faded away, but when I looked up the rainbow was still there. It looked as if the rainbow’s end was at the movie theater—a big colorful ribbon pointing to where I was headed.

Maybe it was all just a coincidence, but this time I’m telling my genetics to shut up and believe that there really is magic all around us. We just have to open our hearts to see it.

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2016: Last night my sister-in-law Anne came over. The plan was to go to dinner and celebrate my mother's life since it was the 10th anniversary of her passing. My nephew, Ryan, was to join us but after we waited 20 minutes or so it was clear he was late. Turns out Ryan was at the restaurant due to a miscommunication on my part and was waiting for us there. So Sam grabbed his car keys, we hopped into his car and off we went to meet Ryan.

A quick thunderstorm had just passed overhead and the sky was clear. As we pulled out of the driveway I wondered aloud if we'd see a rainbow. Sure enough, a few moments later I saw the delicate ribbons of color in the sky. As Sam drove on I could get a better look as we reached an area where there weren't so many trees blocking the view. There before me was a vivid, full double rainbow.

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©2016 Robin A.F. Olson. Another message from my Mother.

I took photo after photo while Sam continued to drive. When we got to the restaurant it was clear the rainbow had been pointing the way. I'd forgotten until that moment that I'd seen a rainbow, let alone a double rainbow, on the same day two years before. If we'd left on time we wouldn't have seen it. Because we were late, we had perfect timing.

Anne said it was meant to be that we would see the double rainbow...that things happen for a reason. I think she's right. This time I'm not going to brush it off as a coincidence.

I love you, too, Mother.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Ever since I was a little girl when my mother would read me stories each night before I went to bed, I wanted to believe the world was a magical place. I never outgrew the deep longing to feel like I was like a character in a book specially chosen to be unlike anyone else in a world filled with endless possibilities. I would go to the movies and wonder why I couldn’t be like those people who went out and did great things, against all odds, they’d save the world after a remarkable adventure.

Mia's Story. WWYD?

The weeks have flown by since we first accepted Mia, a rough and tumble pregnant stray cat, into the Kitten Associates rescue program. We didn’t know much about her other than she was living off scraps at an apartment complex where cats were not welcome-not welcome to the point where the management was about to put down poison to rid the complex of them. We couldn’t allow that to happen, so our foster mom Moe opened up her home to this deserving cat. A few days later Mia gave birth to five healthy kittens.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. From left to right Mia's kittens: Ivy, Greta, Fernando, Snickers, Woody (front).

Ivy, Greta, Woody Jackson, Lil’ Snickers and Fernando have done well and grown into perfectly adoptable kittens. They’ve had their vaccinations and been spayed/neutered. The next step of their journey is to come to my home in Connecticut where we’ll find them their forever homes. Although you might assume that every mom cat travels with their kittens on some rare occasions that's not the case. We have to assess each mom as to whether or not they will come to Connecticut. That process starts from before we accept them into our program and during the time they are in foster care in Georgia.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Almost full family portrait, but who is missing?

Our goal is to keep the families together until they begin getting adopted. We don’t “cherry pick” kittens, then not really care what becomes of the mom. Sadly though, in some cases we’ve had to place a cat into a sanctuary because she was not adoptable (too fractious) and in one case we even had to place the cat with a Vet who needed a barn cat (the cat was feral). Finding the perfect home for EVERY cat is my ultimate goal and passion, but with Mia, knowing what to do for her has stumped me for weeks.

You see Mia isn’t all that friendly with humans, but she’s not so unfriendly that she can’t be adopted. She just can’t be adopted right now. She’s not ready.

So what should I do?

Unlike my other posts where you go on a journey with me, I’m asking you to help me choose the direction I take. What do YOU think I should do about Mia?

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Ivy is too mature to bother with nursing on her poor mama.

Here’s what I know:

Mia has been a great mom and even after she’s been spayed she is still very close to her kittens. They nurse on her for comfort and she doesn’t seem to mind (even though she has no more milk). They still cuddle with her and play alongside her. As the kittens get adopted we know she will be separated from them, but doing it slowly instead of all at once seems kinder to her.

Mia bit Moe. Badly. In all fairness Moe felt that she possibly “asked for it” by scratching the base of Mia’s tail on her back too roughly. That said, Moe KNOWS cats so was it her fault or does Mia react on a hair trigger? Does that mean Mia can’t be adopted into a home with young kids? Any kids? I can find a home for her without kids but it does make it harder.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Like mother like son.

In the few months Mia’s been with Moe, she hasn’t really “blossomed” or become more friendly. She is not aggressive. I’m told she's fearful. She seems to like one of Moe’s other cats and we think perhaps Mia likes cats more than she likes humans (which again is OK, but not great for getting her adopted).

It’s possible that if we separate Mia from her kittens and transport the kittens without her that being alone in Moe’s foster space will force her to trust and love Moe. I call it “tough love.” Because Moe will be the only contact Mia will have, the hope is that Mia will soften in her attitude about humans. We can transport Mia up here in another month or two if she’s doing better, but if there are any kittens here, she may have forgotten them and might not be friendly to them any more (as we saw years ago when we had Bobette here and she went nuts on her kittens after arriving on transport with them).

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mia and Ivy.

Or…being alone all day without any contact until Moe gets home from work would make Mia worse and maybe she would be happier here since Sam and I are home all day and can spend time with her.

Mia could come off transport and hate her kittens. I have no place to put her away from them, but I could get a BIG 3-tiered cage for her and could cage her unless I’m in the room if the kittens are in danger. Of course that’s a shitty option for Mia, one I am not a big fan of.

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©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Mama Mia.

• If I can’t turn Mia into an adoptable cat, then what do I do? I can’t have her jam up my ability to take on more cats and I CANNOT just add her to my cat family (even if she’s fluffy and pretty-prerequisites for living here). If Moe had the same difficulty, at least I know of a sanctuary in Georgia that might be able to help us. I suppose if push comes to shove I could find something around here, but I’ve never heard of a place that takes cats like Mia. There is a place that takes unadoptable cats that have terminal illness or disability, but Mia is not like that.

MIA IS ADORABLE! Who cares if she's friendly?

The transport leaves on Friday. What should I do?

Want to know more? Mia's backstory is here.

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What the Heart Knows: As Simple as That. Ch 3.

Continued from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

That said, I also saw something in Sam’s expression that told me that Wally had already captured his heart. Sam was so tender with this little kitten it was clear he was smitten. I, too, felt not only great fondness for this baby but utter devotion to getting him stablized. I shocked myself at feeling anger with Celeste for not accepting a new ward. This kitten, who could have died a few hours ago, needed all the loving care we could give him and she should have joined us in our efforts. I also knew that wasn’t fair. I had to get over my own disappointment in her behavior and in truth, maybe it was for the best for now.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. This fragile life.

At 5AM I got up to prepare Wallace’s next meal. He was konked out in his carrier, but quickly woke up when I opened the carrier door. He wobbled over wanting to get out. Crying his little mute cry..just open mouth, no sound. I hoped he'd be squeaking after he had something to eat and got recharged. I felt bad waking Sam up too, but it seemed to work much better if he held Wally while I carefully syringed the formula into him. I’d weighed him earlier and he was only 8oz while my other foster kittens were at 15oz or more and they were the same age. We’d calculated how much to feed him so we began counting syringefuls of formula.

Wally was eager to eat, one, two, three…ten, eleven, twelve..finally thirteen ccs of formula. He was voided and gave us a big surprise. I barely touched his bottom when a very large stool slid right out into my hand (which had a paper towel over it, thankfully). I can’t believe how happy I was to see that, but it was proof that his bodily functions were working properly. The stool looked okay-not the runs-no blood. Another good sign.

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©2014 Robin A.F. Olson. Wallace survived the night and already had us under his spell.

We went back upstairs to get a few hours rest. Wally was too fussy to sleep, so I sat up in bed, holding him. His sharp claws raked against my skin as he frantically searched up and down my chest for his mother, for her nourishing nipples. He would bury his face into the soft flesh of my upper arm, but would as quickly move away, not finding his prize. I had to keep turning him or lifting and moving him so he didn't fall. My eyelids were growing heavy, but I didn’t care. He was alive. He was doing well. I didn’t screw it up. Maybe in some small way, I helped right the wrong of losing Fiorello.

After an hour, Wally got tired so I put him back with his stuffed friend. He fell asleep and so did I.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. First night with Christine.

Christine called a few hours later and told me she could come get Wallace in the afternoon. As glad as I was to have help, I found myself feeling quite sad that he was leaving. As always, I knew I’d done my part, now Christine would care for him for a few weeks and when he was bigger and stronger, he would come back and I’d figure out a way to put him with one of our two litters. He needed socialization with kittens as much as he needed loving care from us. I am determined to provide that for him and will do so when the time is right.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Christine scores, getting Wallace to take the bottle.

Sam and I fed Wallace a few more times before Christine arrived. He ate well, we even burped him (yes, you SHOULD do that after feeding the little guys---VERY GENTLY) and he continued to charm us to no end. When it was time for us to part, I can say without reservation that we both were reluctant to let him go. Even with feedings every few hours, we didn’t care about being tired. In such a short amount of time, Sam and I were both in love with this little kitten.

What I also realized was that I’d just had a glimpse of what it might have been like if Sam and I had ever had children of our own. We’d been very good “parents” to Wally and that sense of teamwork made me feel proud that we could do this again and maybe next time with more confidence.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Full belly & sweet dreams.

We went over Wally’s care with Christine. She impressed me to no end. It was clear she knew what to do and when so I gave her all the supplies she’d need. She even has heated seats in her car so she said she’d turn them on so the warmth would keep the cat carrier toasty as she drove Wally to her home. I barely knew this woman, but from our short meeting and few interactions at her work, I felt completely at ease. There's just something about certain people who you know you can count on without having to worry they will back out on you. Also, Christine is so upbeat and cheerful, you just have to adore her.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Sleeping with his SnuggleKittie.™

Tired, achy, but happy, after we said our goodbyes to Wallace and Christine, I walked into the living room and noticed that one of the cats, had peed on the sofa, right where Sam had just been sitting cuddling with Wally. It was a huge mess, but just goes to show that my own cats were not as happy with the newcomer as we were, and helped remind me that for now I should just love Wallace from afar if I value having a clean place to sit.

Update: In the week since Wallace was rescued, Christine has given us one great update after another. Wallace has DOUBLED his weight, which is unheard of, but also lets us know how much of a crisis he was in when we first brought him home.

Although Christine's home is full of cats, dogs, fish, and a few other tiny creatures, until recently Wallace has been separated from all of them. He'll continue to be separated from the cats, but there's one lady who demanded to be part of Wallace's caretakers. She's a Great Dane named Nina and she LOVES Wallace as if he were her own puppy. Wallace gets daily cleaning from his doggie foster mom and he gets to snuggle with her (under supervision of course) and enjoy having the warmth and love of another creature. I'm sure between Christine, her loving family and Nina, it's keeping Wallace not only alive, but happy and for an orphan, being depressed is something we want to avoid. We're VERY lucky and so is Wallace. His rescue just fell into place, as simple as that.

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©2014 Christine Cassavechia. Used with permission. Nina gets "attacked" by tiny Wallace.

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