Nikki Moustaki, pet lifestyle expert, writer and fundraiser came up with a fun idea that that's helping feed cats and dogs throughout the country. Her campaign is called The Pet Postcard Project.
At it's heart, the program is very simple. Create a pet postcard and mail it to Nikki before June 30, 2012. For every 2500 postcards she receives, our generous friends at FreeKibble.com will donate 10,000 “meals” of nutritious Halo Spot's Stew cat food to this month's shelter, The Stray Cat Alliance -based in Los Angeles, CA!
This is just one of the thousands of postcards Nikki has received.
This is where it gets a little bit more interesting…
Jackson Galaxy, star of the hit Animal Planet show, “My Cat From Hell” and passionate advocate and “Cat Daddy” for cats everywhere, has offered to sweeten the pot to encourage all of you to send in a postcard or two (or more!).
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Here's one of my post cards memorializing my cat Bob as an Angel in Heaven. Nikki asks that “MAKE SURE THE WORDS YOU WRITE ARE EITHER FUNNY, PROFOUND, OR HEARTWARMING.”
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer, our mascot, with his copy of Cat Daddy.
You can also visit The Pet Postcard Project on Facebook for the latest updates and hopefully news on the winners!
Now go, be creative and help feed cats in need!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April.
The weeks have flown by in a heartbeat. The kittens just celebrated their eighth week birthday. All six have survived those precarious first weeks and are now spending their day either napping or running around playing with wild abandon. I moved them into Bobette's old room so they have lots of space to explore and a big sunny window where they can watch the birds or see a stray bee buzz by.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The girls.
It's a happy time for them and relief for me. The kittens have been weaned. It went so easily and perfectly. They've also done great with their litter pan technique. Knock wood, these kittens have been a complete dream to foster. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to worry about loose stools or runny noses.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting ready to meet Dr. Chris.
It is, however, a sad time, too. It's time for April, the kittens mama, to go on to the next chapter of her life—a journey she has to make on her own. She's been a GREAT mama-one of the best ever. April constantly burbles and meows to the kittens, maybe telling them to be careful or “watch out!” She's always on the alert, making sure the kittens are safe. I hate taking her away from them, but I know it must be done. April is shockingly thin and needs time to recover and get strong. She can't do that with the kittens around. I can't risk them nursing on her any longer. She needs to be spayed, then go to Animals in Distress where they will work on finding her a forever home.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie Patootie and Belly Holiday after their Vet visit.
In the time we've spent together, April has blossomed. She no longer hisses at me, but seeks out attention. She enjoys being petted and sitting nearby. I hope she gets a wonderful home, with people who will cherish her. She has a goodness and sweetness that's palpable.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Belly and the ball.
The kittens, too, are just about ready. All that remains is that they need to be spayed. They had their first FVRCP vaccine and first visit with Dr. Mixon. The kittens did amazingly well and didn't give him much trouble at all.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie's big mitt.
Dr. Mixon examined the three polydactyl kitten's paws. He suggested that the extra toes be declawed. I was against it until he explained that those claws, being on such short toes, would never be able to be sharpened. If that couldn't be done, the claw would simply grow and eventually grow INTO the kitten's paw pad and cause a nasty infection. This just happened to my own cat, Gracie and she's not even polydactyl. I would never want that to happen to any other cat-even if the adopter promised to trim the claws every week. With them being so young and Dr. Mixon using a laser it would be the least painful to do it now. Next week it will be done, but I feel more than terrible about it because I believe that in one case the entire toe is going to come off because it is so very tiny, it's more of a claw growing out of the paw, then out of a toe.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Looks like a reference photo for a Picasso painting!
Thanks to my friend, Katherine at AID, one of her foster families offered to take April so she could recover in their home before she gets spayed. I thought it was a good idea since normally I'd have to crate April to keep the kittens off her and that wouldn't be very easy on her. It's best to say our farewells now.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Relaxing without a care in the world.
What I didn't expect was that this foster family offered to adopt one of the kittens, too, even though they are currently fostering some of the cutest kittens I've ever seen! The family is from England and black cats are good luck there. They had a black kitty many years ago and they miss her dearly. When they heard about my kittens they asked if they could give one a home because they understand how difficult it is to place black kittens.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Between a pillow and a hard egg?
What made me appreciate them even more was that they wanted the kitten that would have the toughest time to find a home. They didn't want one of the polydactyl kittens, they wanted a simple, black kitten. That's it.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Black Beauty.
I met with the Mom of the family four weeks ago and she fell in love with a kitten. She said her children wanted to name it, “Bon Bon.” I said we could give the kitten that name, but didn't push her to adopt that particular kitten. It was too soon to take her anyway.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April's eyes are full of hope that her forever home will find her soon.
On Thursday she returned to take April home and to choose her kitten. She brought her daughter, who was very sweet with all the kittens. She understood the importance of giving the kitten a home who others might overlook. Sure enough Bon Bon came over to them and honestly if I had other kittens that might have been considered more adoptable, they still would have chosen her.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bon Bon with her new mama.
I made special arrangements for them to take Bon Bon before her spay, which will also allow her to be with her mother awhile longer and vice versa. The family reported back to me already that both Bon Bon and April are doing well. April's being shy, but they know she'll come around in time. She's eating very well and eating a lot of food so this is great news. One day I hope to see April again, but this time looking plump and resplendent, the days of difficulty long past.
My heart aches. I've grown to love Bobette and April and Bon Bon, but I must make room for more. There are four kittens in South Carolina who need help. Four more to love. My heart is ready to be re-fueled. This is the life of a cat rescuer, the constant tug of sadness mixed with simple, profound love.
Poor Jackson Galaxy the foster cat. Late last year I rescued this big lug from a Kill Shelter in McDonough, Georgia. He had no hope of rescue since it was so close to Christmas and many rescues couldn't take another adult, but once I saw him I had to save his life. There was something about him, his great size, but sweet vibe that told me this was a kitty who needed to be spared being euthanized.
Fortunately, my friend Katherine from Animals in Distress (AID)said they would take him into their shelter, since I had my hands full. It worked out beautifully and Jackson arrived in January of this year. You can read all about it HERE.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The most tranquil and Buddha-like Jackson.
I also told Jackson Galaxy, the swanky Cat Daddy from Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell,” about this apple-head Tom cat. He felt the same vibe and wanted to lend a helping hand. He offered to provide a FREE 15 minute consultation with whoever adopted the cat. I was delighted!
In less than a few weeks a family stepped forward to adopt Jackson. They had other cats and a dog. There was some concern about how he would get along with everyone, but since Jacks did so well at the shelter, not picking fights or bothering with the other cats, that they gave him a chance.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The image that started this journey. How could you say NO to that cat?
Sadly, I don't know all the details, but the basics are that the other cats picked on and attacked Jackson. Jackson didn't cause any trouble at all. He didn't love the dog, but he didn't fight. He tried to stay clear of the cats, but they were violent with him. Eventually the family gave him to their Mother-in-Law since she had no pets. Jackson did fine with her, but then her husband died.
The Mother-in-Law visited her family often and brought Jackson with her. This constant upheaval caused the other cats to continue to attack Jackson. The woman was between a rock and a hard place-either she stop seeing her family, leave Jackson alone or give Jackson back to AID.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Return of Jackson Galaxy.
I know that the family had a very tough time letting Jackson go and I know they ALL cried about it. They shouldn't be vilified for their choice. Jackson was very dear to them, but with the problems with the other cats, they decided it would be best to let him go.
I think there's a point at which people have made up their minds and you can't tell them to try to re-introduce Jackson or to not travel with him and get him a pet sitter; to work it out differently so Jackson wouldn't lose his home. The point was passed before we had a chance to intervene and on Friday, Jackson was brought back to the shelter.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Investigating his new home.
As fate would have it, AID was beyond full up, but they HAD to take Jackson. I felt responsible and tried to figure out what I was going to do, but Bobette was here taking up the only space I could use for Jackson. It just worked out beautifully that JaneA Kelley adopted Bobette while Jackson waited in a cage at the shelter for space to open up here. He only had to wait a few days.
I brought Jackson home yesterday afternoon and got him settled. My home is the fifth home Jackson's lived in in as many months. He is a bit anxious. He wants OUT of his foster room, but I need to give him and my own cats time to adjust to Bobette being gone and to the new arrival.
Jackson's coat is in terrible condition. It's dry and feels tacky. He must have been fed junk. His eyes are a bit runny and he has feline acne, which I'm already treating homeopathically and with diet. I've been brushing him a lot and trying to soothe his fears. He seems ready to meet my cats and just hang out, but I fear he will break with an upper respiratory infection from all the stress he's been under, so I have to wait a few more days.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Simply, Jackson. Visit his Petfinder Ad HERE
Jackson will be fine here until we get a great home for him. He's very likable and loving and meows like mad when he gets lonely. I hope he and my cats become friends. He deserves to have a good experience with other cats.
Jackson's very lucky. He not only has me and Katherine looking out for him, but Jackson Galaxy, the man himself, is also this cat's Guardian Angel. Mr. Galaxy took a liking to this big Buddha of a cat and is dedicated to helping us find our boy a great forever home.
With so many people on his side, I just know that one day the REAL forever family for Jackson Galaxy the cat will find him. Until then I get to say I'm living with Jackson Galaxy! How cool is that?
If you're interested in adopting Jackson, visit Kitten Associates Adopt Page and fill out a Pre Adoption Application. Though we prefer adopting within the United States and the area in or around Connecticut, for the right adopter, we're open to discussing an adoption that is further out of state.
“Some others I've seen might never be mean
Might never be cross or try to be boss
But they wouldn't do
For nobody else gave me the thrill
With all your faults I love you still
It had to be you”*
What transpired over the past few days has left me a bit tongue tied. Perhaps it's a bit too soon to try to make sense of it all, but the news I have to share is so surprising, I couldn't wait to begin writing.
Barely four days ago, I said to my friend, JaneA Kelley, who's the well known “Mama, Webmaster & Chief Cat Slave” of the blog Paws and Effect: A blog by cats for cats and their people , that she should come to Connecticut to visit my foster kittens. JaneA immediately agreed and suggested she was available that weekend and did I want to get together then? The kittens are old enough to be adopted and since one of them is named after one of JaneA's cats, I thought the timing could work out (if I did a massive “hide the piles of paper” cleaning ASAP). The kitten I really wanted her to meet is named Dahlia. You can read about the cat she's named in honor of by clicking the following link, “Farewell, Sweet Dahlia”.
Although I did have some plans “penciled in” for the weekend it was something JaneA said to me that made me clear the decks so we could get together. She said she'd love to meet the kittens, but she really wanted to meet Bobette!
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Bobette? You mean the cat who's been here in foster care for six months and three months before that in Georgia in foster care? The one who I've never gotten even ONE application to adopt? Bobette who was named after my dearly departed cat, Bob Dole? The same Bobette who has struggled to get along with my eight cats, who suffered through losing three of her six kittens and who had to recover from a very difficult and painful surgery to correct her Patellar lunation?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I didn't want to press the subject of WHY she wanted to meet Bobette. I knew the reason, but couldn't imagine saying the word, ADOPT. Bobette is an amazing cat. She has a great personality, is smart, silly and sweet, but she's had difficulty adjusting to living with my cats and has charged and hissed at them on a daily basis. I know that it's partly due to my own inability to properly introduce Bobette to the crew and, over the past few weeks, Bobette, on her own, has been slowly carving a place for herself and the attacks have reduced in number and intensity. I was resigned to having a very difficult to place adult cat on my hands-one that should probably be an only cat, but…I HATE thinking that ANY cat has to be an only cat. Again, I look to the Cat Guaridan for why multiple cat households have failures. It's not black and white, but there are MANY cats out there who get labeled as having to be “only cats,” but who would probably be just fine with one or two other cats IF they had the time to adjust and be introduced.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA is making some sort of secret code gesture or Vulcan Salute FAIL. Meanwhile I'm trying to look awesome-FAIL.
I warned JaneA that she'd have to sleep in the foster room with the kittens and she was almost giddy about the idea. I forget I'm around kittens all the time, but for many other people it's a special event. We sorted out the details and JaneA arrived Saturday afternoon with her bags and two bottles of wine. Clearly she was prepared to have some fun!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette tries to use the power of her mind to melt the window pane.
I ushered JaneA into my home, introducing her to my cats. I'd left Bobette sitting in the kitchen. She was mesmerized by a weird looking squirrel who was missing half his tail. He was focused on eating bird seed on the deck railing while she sat frozen, her butt wiggling every so often in anticipation. I could tell Bobette was saying a kitty prayer that the glass in the window frame would melt so she could bust through it and bite the rest of the squirrel's tail off.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA and Bobette get to know each other.
I asked JaneA if she wanted to meet Bobette and she perked up and looked around. I brought her over to Bobette. She called to her and Bobette stood up and ran over to her side! In that moment, I witnessed love at first sight; as if two halves, separated for years, had finally come back together.
I didn't say a word. This was the look I hope to see in all my adopters, but it didn't add up. JaneA could provide a home for any cat. She didn't have to drive for five hours just to meet this one, but what I didn't know was that JaneA had been following Bobette's story from the first days we rescued her out of the Henry County kill shelter. From afar, JaneA had a gut feeling that this was her cat, but at the time she couldn't add to her kitty family and then after the tragic loss of Dahlia the timing just wasn't right.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with a squirmy Bobette.
JaneA, Sam and I caught up on recent events. JaneA's blog just got nominated for a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Award for Best Meow Blog! Of course I'd be glad if she won, but only if I don't win, first! Although we're both nominated for the same category, the pressure is off since it's a Juried award and we don't have to beg for votes. This time it feels like we're already both winners since we're Finalists. The rest is gravy…or 5,000 meals of cat food from FreeKibble.com, which is part of the award to the Winner.
JaneA met the kittens and the big moment of her meeting her cat's namesake, was a huge letdown. The kittens were a bit nervous having both myself and JaneA in the room. When I picked up Hello Dahlia to bring her to JaneA, the kitten freaked out and ran off. The heartwarming moment, the tears never came to pass. It was fine by JaneA. She knew that the kittens would have a far easier time being adopted. It appeared that JaneA was thinking about something else—a little spitfire named Bobette.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette has such a sweet face and her eyes are really that bright shade of green.
We went out for some nice FRIED FOOD for dinner, followed by a sickly huge waffle cone full of ice cream. It was fun to have another cat lady to hang out with and the time flew by. Soon it was time to get JaneA settled into the foster room. We made up the bed while the kittens ran around. JaneA laid on the bed, hanging off it so she could get closer to April without scaring her. I wished JaneA good luck trying to sleep in a room full of kittens. I closed the door and said a little prayer hoping it would go all right. The few times I've napped with the kittens I was terrified I'd roll onto one and kill it. I guess I'd have to hope for the best.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beautiful brat.
The next morning, I asked JaneA how she slept as we prepared to make a pot of coffee. “I slept like a baby!” was her surprising reply. Apparently the kittens settled down and went to sleep as she did the same. Being around kittens was truly good for her soul…but…what about Bobette?
I didn't want to push JaneA into doing anything she wasn't ready to do, but as the time drew near for JaneA to return to Maine, I coyly asked her how she felt about Bobette. She said she loved her already. We discussed how it might work and our concerns that Bobette might not be a great fit in her home. I knew that of anyone who could possibly adopt Bobette, this was one person who understood the importance of a proper introduction, knew how to do it and was willing to take the time to do it right. I told JaneA that we could do the adoption on a trial basis and that I would ALWAYS take her back if it didn't work out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A few last pets for my foster sweetheart.
JaneA sat on the floor and called to Bobette. She asked Bobette if she wanted to go home with her. Bobette responded by rubbing against JaneA's knees, her arms and pressed her face against her hand, clearly saying, “yes.” I had to fight back the tears it was such a beautiful sight.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA with her cat, Bobette.
We signed the contract and I pulled together some of Bobette's favorite toys and some cans of food. I didn't have time to take “farewell photos” or even say more than goodbye and kiss her quickly on the head as JaneA placed her into the cat carrier. It all happened in a heartbeat. As we waved goodbye to JaneA and her newest family member, I turned away, hot tears trailing down my cheeks.
I was so very happy, yet so sad to see little Bobette go.
My phone rang. It was Katherine from Animals in Distress. Did I have space to take in another cat? I laughed at the irony of the timing, then asked her what she needed help with. Her words cut into my heart...
“Jackson Galaxy just got returned to the Shelter. His adoption fell through.”
*"It Had to Be You" is a popular song written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn, and was first published in 1924.
Henry County Care & Control is loaded with families of moms and kittens I so very badly want to rescue, but I can't do a thing and those families are being euthanized. Every day I get urgent pleas for help from near and far. My Facebook feed is mostly photos of cats with “urgent“ or “last call” written by their photo. What kills me is I could do more. We could stretch out what funds we have, but we have NO FOSTER HOMES so I'm doing as much as I can with just my small foster space and what Maria can offer down in Georgia.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. ChiChi always looks like she's smiling.
Our little family in Georgia is headed by Cami, a feral torte mama. They live at Maria's home in a big ferret cage. It's all the space we have, but I'm grateful for it. Cami's little kittens, who Maria grabbed from a neighbor's home and who lived in terrible conditions, are finally stable enough to be named. We had hoped to have five kittens, but two went missing the day before Maria went to rescue them and have never been seen since.
Maria named the kittens, Choco, after one of her own cats, ChiChi because she liked the name, and Coco after Ice T's wife, Coco. It was touch and go for a few weeks. The kittens had to recover from a few weeks of poor nutrition and were grossly underweight.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Little Choco enjoying playing with his new toy.
I was very concerned that ChiChi wasn't going to make it. She was only 8 ounces for well over a week while her siblings quickly gained weight bringing them to over a pound. Now that the kittens have been de-wormed and given a great grain free canned diet, our concerns are falling by the wayside. The kittens are growing at a better pace and can focus on what all kittens should-playing and having fun.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Coco let tin' her wild beast roar.
Maria set up a pen for the kittens to play in so they could get out of their cage, but they easily climbed over it within a few minutes. Maria is not phased about them running around and lets them have some freedom from being caged while she supervises. (The kittens are too young to be exposed to other cats so they can only be out of their cage while she's with them.)
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Sweet little Coco.
We've been desperately trying to find a home for Miss Fluffy Pants, to open up space for the kittens. I thought we had an adopter lined up. In fact, I was about to announce it, when the entire adoption fell through. The adopter said she was sick and couldn't meet Miss FP, then won't return either of our emails to confirm our fears that Miss FP may never find a forever home.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. ChiChi and Choco
Roadblocks seem to be a theme this year. I'm locked down with Bobette taking my only other foster space, second to the larger bedroom where my six black foster kittens and their mom are living. If Bobette could find a home it would really open things up for us, but between these two cats AND poor King who has NEVER gotten even ONE application, I am very worried about our ability to help more kittens any time soon.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Our silly, sweet family.
It seems as though it should be easy to find homes for two cats, maybe three, okay plus ALL the kittens, but kittens generally are easy to place. We should be able to help more. It's so frustrating to not have space or extra hands to help but no one will step forward.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Play time ends as nap time begins.
I'm very grateful that Maria is not only flexible but patient. She'll provide a loving and safe home for these cats until I can move them north. In the meantime they have everything they need and from the looks of it, they're thriving. Those who remain are no longer dirty and wasting away, living in dangerous conditions. These little loves have something so many do not-the promise of a bright future and we're very glad to be able to offer that to them.
©2012 Maria S. Used with permission. Coco and her new friend enjoy a nap together.
And now…a little video bonus! Enjoy and make sure you have your sound turned on!
©2012 Maria S. & Robin A.F Olson. ChiChi, Choco and Coco in Playpen FAIL!
If fans of Jackson Galaxy, the punk-abilly “Cat Daddy,” who stars in Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” weren’t already swooning over his “catuitive” techniques; Galaxy’s first book, “Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love and Coming Clean,” would push them into catastic bliss.
His story, which runs a breezy-to-read 300 or so pages, is not your typical tale of how a cat changed a human’s life. It’s a tag team relationship that spans thirteen years—many of which, for Jackson, are overshadowed by his intake of a dizzying array and quantity of illegal drugs, alcohol and prescription medications. And there’s his cat, an owner-surrendered white and gray shorthair with a broken pelvis named Benny who acts as both witness and muse (though more often he plays the part of a Gremlin, flipping off Galaxy’s initially arrogant assessments of his non-human-friendly behaviors).
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. For the first time in his life, Spencer wishes he could read.
I had a chance to speak with Mr. Galaxy a few days before his book hit the store shelves. Ready with my questions, I waited nervously for him to call, wondering if it would matter that due to a snafu, I hadn’t gotten an advance copy of his book to read! As in our previous conversations and sole “4-hours-I’ll-never-forget-dinner,” within 30 seconds of our conversation beginning, I was unable to maintain my professional distance and conduct the 10 minute interview (which somehow went for 30 minutes).
Instead, Jackson clearly wanted to tease me, to charm me and to lay down the law. All fun and games aside, there’s a churning passion in this man’s heart that’s simply electrifying. His book, “Cat Daddy,” serves up his passion on a brilliant platter, but be careful, there’s a Petri dish on top, incubating a lifetime of pain. Galaxy repeatedly falls flat-faced onto the floor from a near overdose of drugs. You wonder how someone so decidedly “over-sensitive” to the world around him, who works so hard to cocoon himself from feeling, is ever going to survive, but somehow he does and then some.
©2005 Dr. Jean Hofve DVM. Used with permission. Benny near the window in Jackson's former Boulder, Colorado apartment.
The cure for what ails Galaxy walks on four, albeit one gimpy, legs. Benny’s a physically and emotionally broken cat who gets under Jackson’s skin and who metaphorically rips him to shreds until he learns how to feel again. Galaxy finds in Benny the key to unlocking both their inner demons though the transformation doesn’t happen overnight. His endless dedication to solving the mystery that is Benny, supercedes any need for a drink, a smoke, a snort.
What’s curious is that Galaxy stated he didn’t experience “Bobby Brady fireworks” when he realized his emotional over-sensitivity was exactly what was needed to help him get into the heads of the cats at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, where Galaxy worked in the early 1990’s. One night, during a violent thunderstorm, the cats began to literally scream in fear. He was a rocker, dammit, and his band Pope of the Circus Gods was going to hit it big some day. What was he doing testing his theories on how to help soothe the cats anxiety during such extreme stress when he could be writing the next hit single?
Yet Galaxy told me that after the storm passed, exhausted, he slumped against the wall of the cat room, soaked to the skin from the leaky ceiling, and realized he was surrounded by cats who were no longer panicked from the storm. Instead of bliss, it’s resignation. He sighed and said; “Shit. You’re a fool not to notice a defining part of your life.”
From “Cat Daddy”:
“Despite the sweaty layer of pharmaceutical shrinkwrap that muted my physical, spiritual and psychological self, I forced myself to read, to study, to observe, to learn. Despite what I didn’t want to be, something was growing.”
Galaxy’s words are unvarnished, sharp-witted and equally sharp-tongued— especially when he talks about being chided for euthanizing animals. After he explains why it’s reprehensible to vilify someone for purposely ending the life of a shelter animal just to ease overcrowding he writes:
“The job had to get done, and I would do it, but I would do everything in my power to change the necessity at its source: I would commit to spreading a strong message about spaying and neutering…”
Can I get a Hallelujah here?
There are other equally important messages in “Cat Daddy.” One such message touches on the importance of feeding a species appropriate diet (and you know how I feel about that-right on Mr. Jackson!), as well as sprinkled throughout the book there are helpful cat behavior tips. My only pet peeve is that I would have loved to see the tips grouped together at the END of the book. Galaxy’s story is one I want to sit down and read without the distraction of a specially formatted callout begging me to read it before I get back to the story. In fact, I read the book a second time, ignoring the tips and the tale landed a stronger punch.
©2005-ish Jackson Galaxy. Sweet Benny.
If you share a passion for cats and are confused about how to co-exist appropriately with them, this book, though not specifically a cat behavior guide, lends a friendly hand. In a way it’s like reading two books in one because you also get to hold tight as you bear witness to Mr. Jackson’s Wild Ride.
When I asked him about his growing celebrity he laughed it off. He has “no patience for what he sees—entitled celebrity B.S.” Sure, he’d like to spoil himself by maybe flying First Class” or buying five pairs of glasses but doing anything beyond that—even buying his first house seems “too big to think about right now.”
I found it ironic that Jackson wrote that his father, grandfather and brother were all salesmen, but he was not. I think Galaxy missed what seemed obvious to me after reading “Cat Daddy.” That he’s the best salesman in his entire family. He’s sold millions of fans who watch his show or read his book on the idea that cats are not little people in cat suits, who think and act just like humans and should be treated accordingly.
After a decade of addiction, once truly clean and sober, ready for a fresh start, Galaxy writes about a turning point with his cat, Benny: “I began to approach him as the cat he was, not as a differently shaped human, and he responded.”
Jackson Galaxy just celebrated his ninth year “sober-versary.” I asked him if the stress of the book tour and 62-day shooting schedule of MCFH Season Three was going to push him into old (bad) habits. He said the all too familiar quote about the idle hands being the Devil’s workshop and that these days the only thing he does other than work is eat, sleep and feed the animals. Staying busy keeps him out of trouble and so far he’s still very thankful and humbled by what’s happened so far, which was clearly evident during our interview when he described just how amazed he feels about this journey.
Wow, indeed, Jackson. You’ve come a long way, Cat Daddy.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cricket, my former feral feline, thinks “Cat Daddy” is worth making his own as he adds his scent to the spine.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes only. The review above is based on my opinion only. Your results may vary. Read with a box of tissues nearby.
With crossed fingers (and toes), it looks like Leo's worst days are behind him. His face is clear of the mossy mucousy funk that covered his face, which prevented him from breathing out of his nose and sealed his eyes closed. He wandered, alone on the streets, blind and starving.
Had it not been for Gina and her husband finding Leo stumbling in the lot near their apartment, this cat would have died very soon. You can read more about Leo's first days HERE.
It's been a week since Leo was stable enough to be transported to Aslan's Cats Sanctuary. I personally drove Leo the last two-thirds of the trip in the middle of the night with Sam riding shotgun. We didn't get home until after 1AM, but I didn't care. I knew Leo had a chance and a safe place to live, but he was in terrible condition and very weak.
©2012 Hilary Harris. Out of confinement, now Leo has a room to relax in until he's ready to meet the other kitties of Aslan's.
I got an update from his caretaker, Hilary:
Today Leo has the possibility of a better tomorrow due to the loving care he's receiving. If he keeps eating well, in time I hope we'll see him fill out into the big boy he once was.
Leo put a pin in my heart. I only had a chance to touch him for a moment when we said our farewells, but in that moment I knew his soul, his struggle, his dreams and I think, somehow, he knew mine.
They were going to die unless a miracle happened. A black and white cat and her four kittens needed a rescue and needed one soon. They were in an overcrowded kill shelter I've often written about called Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, GA. Over the past few years I've been able to help many cats from this facility, but I can never save enough and at the time, almost exactly a year ago, I had too many foster kittens of my own and could not take on this family.
The mama along with three additional mamas and their kittens were going to be euthanized so I went to work writing blog posts about them and asking for help.
I'm not sure what effect my posts had, but three families were rescued, leaving one kitty we called “The Cow Mama” behind. Her time was up, but no one could help. I asked my friend, Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute who LOVES cow kitties as much as I do. We begged, pleaded, wrote emails, made calls. We did not think this family would ever see sunshine again or know a loving home. Instead they would know a lethal injection and a black plastic body bag.
©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Cow Mama hopes for a miracle.
But that didn't happen.
I contacted our friends at Humane Society of Forsyth County in a last ditch plea for help. They agreed to step in and take the entire family! What a relief! We were deliriously happy, but like with any rescue we always wondered what happened next?
Yesterday I got an email from Rachel C. who's given me permission to share it with all of you. Rachel wrote:
Last August we adopted two kittens from a foster mom with the Forsyth County Humane Society. This morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I got a wild hair to do a Google search to find the old postings for their adoptions in honor of the kittens first birthday tomorrow. My search led me right to your blog post “Not on My Watch: Believe in Miracles”. You see, our newest additions are two of the cow kitties rescued last year in the nick of time from Henry County. Thanks to you, the balls were set in motion to rescue these wonderful animals, and in turn, gave us the wonderful gift of these loving felines. The two we adopted were the runt, who is on her back underneath her mama’s arm in the picture, and the one who’s markings resembled that of a domino. I ran into their foster mom a few months back, and heard the other two were also adopted together a couple of weeks later. We were not aware their mother had also found a loving home, and we were excited to hear that. She had walked right up to my husband when we made our first visit to the Humane Society, so she was definitely one to make an impression.
©2011 Henry County Care & Control. Annebelle tucked under her mother's front leg.
These kittens, now named Annabelle and Princeton (somewhat prestigious names for kittens, but fitting for their “rags-to-riches” story), have adapted well in their new home, and get along, for the most part, with our existing 14-year-old cat, Nikki, who looks like the female twin of your Cricket! The kittens are absolutely hilarious! Princeton has grown into a handsome, talkative little man who likes to torment Nikki, pick wrestle matches with his sister, and yet underneath it all, he’s a little timid when it comes to the unknown. Annabelle is just flat out cute! We call her our vegetarian...she likes bananas and apples and carrots, though we try to keep her out of our human food. She also is the most daring, so we have to watch she doesn’t go exploring into unsafe territory when the rare opportunity arises. Both are cuddle bugs who like to curl up on laps and sleep right between our pillows every night.
©2012 Rachel C. Princeton (left) and Annebelle (right).
A big thanks for all you do! Keep up the good work and know that felines and humans alike are all greatly appreciative. If there is anything I can do to help with rescues, let me know. I will donate financially when I am able, but can always help with spreading word of rescues in need.
©2012 Rachel C. Annebell and Princeton with Nikki.
©2012 Rachel C. Happy Birthday Kitties! (nice tail!)
Let's make another Happy Ending come to pass. All it takes is YOU. Just make the call, send the e-mail, ask one person to help. Look what we can do when we TAKE ACTION over just wishing it would get better. We can DO THIS!
This is the FIRST year BlogPaws created these awards and what's great about them is that entries are judged by a panel of Professionals so bloggers who have an enormous following, don't necessarily win since it's NOT a popularity contest! This gives the little guys, like us, a chance to shine!
If you visit this link: http://awards.blogpaws.com/first-annual-blogpaws-nose-to-nose-pet-blogging-and-social-media-awards.html You'll see the following graphic. Just click on the icon to fill out the nomination form online. I crossed out categories CoveredinCatHair.com is not qualified to enter. The rest we ARE qualified to enter, but it's up to you which ones to choose-or ALL..whatever you want to do.
I outlined in blue the top THREE I would LOVE to be nominated for if you think it's fair.
The form is basically the same for each nomination. I filled one out so you could see what you need to include. Of course you add your OWN name to the nomination in the appropriate spaces provided.
The only thing that got clipped off is the FACEBOOK PAGE OF NOMINEE: That info is: https://www.facebook.com/CoveredinCatHair
What the Nomination Form/Ballot looks like:
And if you DON'T NOMINATE COVEREDINCATHAIR.COM, the KITTEN GETS IT! (lots of kisses…well, I'll do that either way)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello-Dahlia wants you to nominate CoveredinCatHair.com, too! How can you say no to that face?
There are times when something happens that stops you cold in your tracks. Whatever pressing engagements you had fall to the wayside without guilt or concern. You're driven by a mixture of shock and adrenaline. You must act immediately, even though you're not sure what to do.
On Saturday, April 28th, a couple noticed a cat wandering outside their apartment. The cat walked oddly and was very thin, but seemed to know they were there and didn't run away. When they got closer to the cat, they saw something so shocking they were stunned into silence.
The ginger tabby's eyes were sealed shut by a crust of some sort. His nose must have been running for a long time which caused it to seal shut, as well.
One of the saddest things I've ever seen. This is what Leo looked like when he was discovered. Click to view the image and click again to hide the image, BUT BE WARNED IT'S GRAPHIC and may upset you.
It's easy for some people to come up with a reason to look away-to not help an animal in need. They may not have money or time or experience in knowing what to do. This couple didn't have a cat, nor could they have one in their apartment, but that didn't stop them from helping a cat they'd only just met. They carefully approached the cat, who turned out to be very friendly, even though he could not see them. It didn't take them long to realize they needed to get this cat to the Vet right away.
Leo after his face was cleaned for the first time. No one even knew if he could see or if he'd gone blind from the horrific upper respiratory infection he was battling.
They named him Leo.
Leo was in sorry shape. The Vet began to carefully clean away the crusts covering his eyes and nose. Leo was too weak to make a fuss. He had probably been unable to eat for long time. They put him on an IV and a combination of antibiotics. The protocol for vetting an unknown cat is to perform a combo test to test for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia, so they did that, too. The test came back positive for Feline Leukemia which is contagious to other cats and ultimately fatal. Leo was also neutered, which meant he had a home at some point, but where was his family now?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Leo under the lights at Home Depot.
As with every positive test, Leo would need to be re-tested at a later date to prove his Leukemia positive status, but the problem was that there was no where for this cat to go-IF he survived treatment. Who would take a Feline Leukemia positive cat who was battling a horrific upper respiratory infection? Maybe Leo would be better off if they euthanized him?
Calls were made, emails sent out. All the rescue groups in Long Island alerted all the rescues in New York and Connecticut. They needed a foster home or an amazing adopter or an amazing rescue to take this cat on, knowing full well he would require expensive Vet care. They chose to try to save his life if they could find a place for him to go. When I saw the photos of Leo, my heart broke. I couldn't do much, but I contacted Gina, who rescued Leo and told her about Aslan's Cats Sanctuary in upstate New York. Their rescue takes only feline leukemia positive cats. Maybe they could help?
I also offered to help transport Leo to Aslan's should it come to pass.
Leo was on an IV for a few days. Gina and her husband got a bill for $1500.00. When I told them we'd do a fundraiser, they said to donate any money to Aslan's because Leo will need much more Vet care and they had secured a placement for him there…and oh, by the way, could I drive two hours north that very night? Leo was stable enough to be moved.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our first real look at this lovely “apple-head Tom.”
So barely twelve hours after I first heard about Leo, I was driving to the Home Depot in Brewster, New York (along with Sam) to meet Gina by 8:30pm. Gina bought a crate for Leo and a blanket that she wanted to donate to Aslan's. She gave me his paperwork and I peeked inside his carrier. His eyes were open just a bit, which was an improvement over the last photo I'd seen, but he looked like he was in rough shape. His right front leg was bandaged. I could see he still had a catheter in his leg. It reminded me of my cat, Bob, which immediately made me feel sad. I started to pray Leo would not die before I got him up to Catskill, New York where Aslan's is located, but I had a two hour drive ahead of me and plenty of time to worry.
I-84 and I-87 have seen better days. There were bumps and potholes aplenty. I kept saying “I'm sorry.” to Leo since I needed to drive “enthusiastically” if I was going to get to Catskill before 11pm, but driving at highway speeds made every bump even more obvious. Leo didn't make a fuss. I always consider that a bad sign when a cat is quiet in the car.
About 30 minutes into the drive I heard an odd sound, then I heard it again. I realized Leo was wheezing, but it was not the sort of wheeze I had ever heard before. Since I was driving I kept asking Sam to check on Leo. Is he sitting up? Is he looking fairly comfortable? Is his nose running? Is he ALIVE?
Leo was uncomfortable but did not appear to be in any danger. I made good time and we arrived at Asland's at a few minutes after 10 pm. Hilary Harris, the Director, met us with open arms. She's the kind of person you can warm up to right away. I brought up some of my Halo Spot's Stew canned food donation to offer her and we started talking about appropriate food for cats. We talked shop. She introduced us to many of the cats-and there are 60 of them. She knew every name and where every cat came from. It felt peaceful there, but I felt very sad, too. Here is a house full of cats who have a terminal illness. Many will never have a home to call their own, but being at Asland's is a very good option for them. [I'm going to go into more detail about Aslan's Sanctuary at another time because they deserve a blog post solely about what they do and about the tragedy that befell them last autumn.]
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Leo, severely underweight and weak, gets a lift from Sam.
I finally got a chance to see Leo for a moment as Sam lifted him out of the carrier and placed him into a nebulizer tank, which is basically a plastic tub with a tight fitting lid. There's a hole in one side for a tube to enter the tub, which is attached to a nebulizer. It's a way to deliver medicine to the sinuses and lungs that will help decongest Leo and ease his breathing. It's also very unnerving for a cat, but it had to be done.
As Leo got his treatment, we got to know each other. Hilary told us she could have lived offsite from Asland's but prefers to live with the cats. She has a small bedroom and tinier office space in Victorian home she shares with the cats. There are few human comforts. It's all about the cats and keeping them happy.
Everywhere we went the cats followed us, reaching out for attention. I was slow to touch them, thinking about how I was going to decontaminate myself and not bring anything into my own home later that night. After awhile I forgot about the URI's or the leukemia. They were all sweet kitties who needed the same love any cat did. I wished it wasn't so late so we could have stayed longer, but Leo needed to get settled and the next morning he was due to go to a new Vet for more supportive therapy and another checkup. We said our farewells and as the rain began to tickle our shoulders, Sam and I got back into my car as I set the GPS for HOME.
More on Leo and his struggle to survive tomorrow…