Who Knew?

WHAT THE...?!!!!

Dear Vet-Whoever-You-Are,

You are the lowest form of money-grubbing slug there ever was-what you did for a buck not only sickens me, it makes me FURIOUS! YOU SHOULD LOSE YOUR LICENSE!!!!! AND IF I KNEW WHO YOU WERE I WOULD SEND EVERYONE I KNOW AFTER YOUR BLOATED ASS TO TAKE A BIG CHUNK OUT OF IT!

Why am I so angry?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobbi at Connie's house a few weeks ago.

Bobbi got returned to AID last week. That's really tragic and I'm VERY disappointed in her temporary adopter. They assured us they would GO SLOWY introducing Bobbi to their other cat, but they just couldn't manage it. They couldn't deal with Bobbi hissing-which is normal or the fact that Bobbi went after their other cat. Bobbi has only been in FIVE other temporary homes-each with many cats-over the past MONTH. Do you THINK that MAYBE she needed a few WEEKS to just get her bearings and TRUST in her surroundings? NO. You didn't wait or give her a chance. Like her family before, you gave up on her, too. Not great, but not the end of the world.

This is it. Sit DOWN in your CHAIR. Stop driving or whatever you are doing...

I got an email from Connie tonight. Bobbi has been doing great back at the shelter. Not fighting with the other cats. Getting along fine...then tonight...

BOBBI WENT INTO HEAT!

This cat is 2-3 YEARS OLD. Apparently she was OLD ENOUGH TO BE DECLAWED ON ALL FOUR PAWS, BUT FOR SOME REASON THIS “VET” DECIDED SHE WAS'T OLD ENOUGH TO BE SPAYED!!!!

WHAT THE...?!!!!!!!

I WANT TO HIT SOMETHING! NO. I WWANT TO HIT SOMEONE! NO! I WANT TO HIT THAT VET! I WANT TO PUNCH OUT WHOEVER TOSSED BOBBI TO THE CURB AND LET HER STARVE!!! I AM SO ANGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! All I can do is type exclamation marks!!!!!

Did I go to sleep, then wake up in a parallel universe full of asshats? I mean, really? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD WHERE THIS MADE SENSE TO SOMEONE? Did the moron who owned Bobbi hold a GUN to the VET'S head and MAKE him declaw the cat? That is the ONLY explanation that makes any sense to me!

I think my head is going to explode.

Meanwhile, Miss Bobbi is going to be SPAYED very very soon-on our dime. No problem. Worth every penny.

As for the Vet...all I have to say is Karma is a BITCH.

The Trouble with Buddy

Three years ago I trapped three feral cats. I thought I was trapping only one, but to my surprise, I ended up catching three! I thought they must all be related, and maybe in some ways they were. Clearly one female was older than a second female. They were always seen together- they had to be Mother and Daughter. I named them, Bronte and Madison. A third cat, I named Buddy, was a big, gray Tom who'd been in plenty of fights in his day. He was ragged and rough, with devilish golden eyes, yet he was far from fractious, just as the other two. I think they'd known human contact at some point in their lives, but over time those memories had been replaced with their primal, wilder urges.

I detailed the story of my first trapping experience, capturing Buddy, Bronte and Madison HERE.

Fast forward a few years...

You know that Buddy showed up injured a few weeks ago and since then we've tried a few different methods to trap him. Thankfully, Karlyn is a super-trapper and builds her own traps. This was what eventually did the trick, not only trapping Buddy, but Bronte, as well. Since neither of them had been to the Vet for years, I decided they could both get their shots updated and have a checkup and we'd finally be able to help Buddy with his leg injury.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Bronte and Buddy (rear) in Super-Karlyn's trap.

There was a bit of a problem.

It wasn't Buddy.

Recently, when I saw this cat, he was a big gray Tom with lovely golden eyes, but his ears weren't ragged and he had a sweet look to his face. He looked more like a lover and less like a fighter. I started to wonder if Buddy had long since left us and been replaced by a Buddyganger; a feral cat-double!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Who are you, mystery cat?

Even after we trapped him, it just didn't look like the same tough guy I once knew. That left me feeling both sad and curious. When had Buddy left us and who was this cat? Where did he belong? He couldn't be a neighbors cat, could he? It would be a lousy neighbor if they ignored their injured cat for weeks on end—also, this boy really WAS a LOVER. He was still INTACT!

So our dear friend, Buddy is gone. What his fate was, we will never know. I don't even want to guess as my home abuts a State Forest. My neighbors are wild animals. 'nuff said.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Our new feral, Austen. What a face! Look at that BIG TOM head!

And who is this new cat? He's in need of a name. Since we have Bronte, already, how about Austen-in honor of Jane Austen, author of our perennial favorite 5-hour-mini-series-version-only, the one staring Colin “Hottie Pants” Firth, “Pride & Prejudice!”

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Poor Bronte! She was so scared she cried. I wanted to pet her and tell her it was going to be okay, but I realized that would only make her feel worse. Poor baby!

Luckily for Austen, upon exam there was no sign of injury. Austen must have had soft tissue damage or a thorn that he worked out of his paw. Whatever it was, there was no old or new break and he had full function of his limb. His shots were updated and he was tested for FIV/FeLuk (neg/neg). Sadly for Austen, he is not a LOVER any more. I had him neutered-even if he IS someone's cat. Tough! (I really doubt he's someone's cat, though!). So no more yeowling in the yard, no more stench of cat spray, just a nice de-balled kitty with a very forlorn look on his face. At least he won't be fighting any longer or making little Austen's.

Bronte, poor dear, cried in her trap. I felt so bad for her. She just needed her shots. She got scared and peed in the car on the way back from the Vet. I can't get the smell out of my nose. Hope I didn't pee up there, too, in some freak accident I didn't notice. Whew...yikes!

While the cats were gone, I cleaned out their room in the screen porch. I set out a fresh bowl of water and lots of food. When we put the traps down, I got two photos-one of each of them. Austen, shot out of his cage like a rocket after I moved out of his way. Bronte was much more cautious. She went to the opening of the trap and reached out one paw towards the floor, but did not touch it. It was if she was testing to see if the trap would close on her if she tried to get out. She held her paw an inch over the floor for a long, few seconds. Then, carefully touched the floor. Nothing happened. And then she was gone, like a ghost, without a trace.

I hope they return as soon as they find a way to forgive me or their bellies get empty, whichever comes first.

Foster Cat Journal: Beautiful Bobbi Needs a...?!!

This was Bobbi a month ago. Stuck in a cage on death row, covered with fleas and being declawed, had no way to even scratch herself. Because she was such a sweet baby, the Kennel Master, Robin, urged our friend Betsy to get the word out on this kitty before it was too late. Fortunately, Animals in Distress in Wilton, CT offered to take her once I could arrange for her vetting and quarantine in Georgia and once our friends, Izzy & Mark could transport her north.

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control.

Bobbi arrived two weeks ago and has been enjoying the quiet life in our friend, Connie's home. Soon, Bobbi will be moved over to the Shelter, where she will live until she's adopted. There's never a risk of her being euthanized due to space issues, but...adoptions are down— the lowest point anyone can remember. We simply MUST get together to get the word out for Bobbi, once again.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobbi, safe and sound and doing just great in foster care!

This gorgeous creature is safe, but she STILL needs a forever home—ideally somewhere in Connecticut, but if we found a great home, I know we could arrange transport.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

Bobbi's only 1-2 years old. She's very mellow and sweet. She has impeccable litter box manners and loves to sleep right next to you or even on your pillow, if you don't mind! She is declawed-ALL FOUR PAWS, is NEGATIVE for FIV/Feline Leukemia, is up to date on her shots.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

Bobbi would be a great companion to pretty much any one or any family. We think she gets along with other cats, but won't know for certain until she's at the shelter.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

Because she was badly infested with fleas, she still is a bit itchy and has some scabs which we feel should resolve. In the meantime, please give her a scratch if you meet her! She really likes that.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

And don't forget, Bobbi is a true Manx! With a very cute butt, if I do say so, myself! She also has adorable black spots on her back foot, just like my boy, Spencer!

If you'd like to know more about how to adopt Bobbi, just contact Animals in Distress or visit Bobbi's Petfinder page OR, you can always email me: info@coveredincathair.com

Animals in Distress also has 12 OTHER kitties who have been waiting months and months to find a Forever Home. They have some very lovely cats at their shelter, even a Siamese! If you can adopt one of these babies, you'd really be helping them to help MORE kitties! Spread the word!

We got this girl rescued. Now let's find her a GREAT HOME!

Wasn't that a nice blog post? Oh well...nevermind...just as this was about to go to press...

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BOBBI JUST GOT ADOPTED!!!!!!

The Tweetie Chronicles: Happy Adoption Day!

Last year I fostered four kittens. One of them was fractious. He bit the Director, then when I got him he ended up biting me, twice. I wrote about this kitten's journey, being in foster care and the tug of war over whether or not I would be able to socialize him before he was neutered, ear-tipped and released to the woods. While his brother and sisters played, I got into an argument with the Director about this cat's future. While I won the battle, I lost the war. We never truly got along after that. For this one cat, named Tweetie, I took a big chance. I was either going to be stuck with him forever as an unadoptable cat or I was going to have to find a way to reach his heart and help him learn that humans are ok.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Arrival day. Tweetie (top left), Angel (center), Twitter (right), Fluffy (front left).

I wrote about this crazy journey in “The Tweetie Chronicles.” Little did I know that this little cat would make such a huge impact on my life. As I was working with him and he began to trust me. One day I noticed he looked just like “The Internet's Most Famous Cat, Sockington!” and decided to Tweet about it. If you read the Chronicles, you'll see in detail how Socks' Fans, “Socks Army” rallied around Tweetie and urged Sockington to do the right thing and acknowledge that Tweetie was his secret son. It was all fun and games, until I was contacted by Socks' Mom, “Food Lady” and his dad, “Fatty,” who I call, Mr. Scott.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Tweetie while still in “Feral Rehab,” but bearing a shocking resemblance to Sockington.

Food Lady came to visit Tweetie. Her tender heart urged her to help. Since her other cats, PennyCat and Sockington were also rescued from dire situations, it just felt right to help another cat in need. The visit went better than I could have dreamed. Tweetie went right up to Food Lady and sat on her lap, purring. He looked up at her and perhaps, in that moment, his future was locked into place.

A few days later, Sam and I drove Tweetie to Boston for a “trial” adoption. That was ONE YEAR ago TODAY.

Tweetie's trial is long over. He's now a cherished member of the family. A few days ago I got an email from Food Lady, updating me on how Tweetie's been doing. Here's some of what she had to say:

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©2010 Food Lady. Tweetie (right), plots his next bum attack on Sockington (left).

“He's still a real snugglebug. He tends to follow me around the house (although having said that, I'm not sure where he is at the moment). He can't jump as well or as elegantly as Socks (those long legs, you know) so Socks will hop atop the bookcase or dresser, causing Tweetie to get very vocally upset. :)

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©2010 Food Lady. “His newest discovery is that he can be *under* the blanket as well as on top of it. So he'll quite often root around until he can get his head under the blanket. So one of the shots is of that. In one of them, he's got half a shakymouse toy in his mouth. He adores boxes of all kinds - I think they remind him of the crate at your house.”

He's got a thing for brushes - I now have to hide away my makeup brushes and the big poofy wool duster, because he runs off with them in his mouth. :)”

Food Lady also told me that Tweetie eats everyone's food so he has to be fed in a separate room! Oops! He also likes to sneak up on Socks and bite him in the bum! Tweetie and Socks are quite close, even if Tweetie is a pain in the butt-literally.

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©2010 Food Lady. Tweetie with Baron Von Shakeymouse

What lies ahead for our former foster? We really don't know anything more than Tweetie has grown up into a big, sweet, playful kitty. Will he ever be as famous as his dad? Probably not. Does it matter? Not to him, surely.

So without further adieu, put on your party hat and get out the nose makers! Not only can we celebrate the adoption of a cat who beat the odds, but we can take delight in the fact that Tweetie's life in the glow of the nearby limelight suits him just fine.

In fact, it was meant to be.

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©2010 Food Lady (goofy type by Robin).

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©2010Food Lady. Tweetie all grown up. The spitting image of his Pop, Socks.

Another chapter in the Tweetie Chronicles draws to a close. Along with the big smile on my face and the proud feeling I have about Tweetie's success, I'm enjoying the new nickname “Tweetie” gave me in honor of this special day. You may now call me, “Nice Robin Lady.”

And then it hit me...

I have NO idea how I got enough votes in the Best Cause Related Blog category since I didn't vote for myself, nor did I ask anyone to vote for me in this category! So it brings a question to mind...who is out there who believes so much in what I do that they would put me alongside other folks who focus on a Cause?

What's even more curious to me...you guys are right! I'm glad you know me better than I know myself. Heck, YEAH, I'm all about the CAUSE. This isn't a blog just about my cats or fun cat products or the latest cat news, though I DO include those things here on Covered in Cat Hair. Where my heart has led me, is to reaching out and helping as many cats as I can, regardless of where they are located or how old or young they might be.

When I started this blog over four years ago, it was supposed to be a vehicle for my book project, entitled: Covered in Cat Hair: Mostly True Stories of a Life Spent with Cats. I imagined an Editor at a major publishing house would “discover” me and offer me a book contract since I have lots of great stories written. I'd sit in my office, surrounded by annoying cats and write, write, write, then look forward to going to the local bookstore to see the finished product on the shelf.

Yet here I sit, surrounded by annoying cats, writing, not published, other than a few little things here and there, but making connections to many people across the Country, who, like me, want to make a difference in saving cats (and dogs!) lives, but maybe aren't so perfect at how they go about it. They just want to do something, anything, but more than donating to a charity, then not seeing the results of that donation. They are willing to take a risk, get their hands dirty, be willing to not know the outcome will be a happy ending, but do it anyway.

Slowly, but surely, you all have found me, as I have found you. Many of us have worked together creating some amazing rescues-whether it was with our $5 donation or by offering to foster cats for weeks at a time. Whatever you did, you were wiling to dive in and trust that we could do it-then all of a sudden we DID. We DID IT and we keep doing it.

For every life we save, we can turn to each other and say “THANK YOU for taking part in this wonderful and bittersweet challenge to save every cat and kitten we can and rejoice in the human bond we are making with each other.”

So, whoever voted for my Blog, in a category I did not expect, I thank you most sincerely for seeing in me, what I did not see in myself and for encouraging my efforts and making them seem so very worthwhile at the moment I'm about to embark on a bigger journey and form my own Non-Profit Organization!

You guys are the BEST! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

And the Winner Might Be...

We're doing the Happy Dance here at CiCH HQ!

I'm pleased to announce that we've been Nominated for a Pettie 2010 Award for Best Cause Related Blog! Thank you to EVERYONE who voted for us!

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If you like what we're doing and believe in helping all animals find safe harbor, loving homes and be freed from Kill Shelters, then please vote for us!

As many of you know, we're about to embark on a big, new program that will be part of our new non-profit rescue organization called Kitten Associates. We're going to be able to not only rescue some kittens-as many as our foster network allows and we can afford, but we're also going to be helping the small shelters and rescue groups, who can't afford to build a website or don't have the savvy to benefit from using online marketing. How we help, will be announced soon, but it's going to be great and will allow us to impact the lives of SO MANY dogs and cats in need. We're really excited about our plans and can't wait to share them with you in detail.

In the meantime,

please visit HERE to vote for us!

Also, two of our good friends, Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat and Janiss Garza of Sparkle the Designer Cat were nominated for Best Cat Blog. I can't say which one to vote for because they are both terrific, but vote for one of those two!

Voting ends on August 20th, so vote soon! Thank you!

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

Animals in Distress-in More Ways Than One.

I visited with Carole and Connie last night at Animals in Distress, a small, local no-kill cat shelter. They have 3 rooms that are open so the cats there can freely walk around. There are cat trees aplenty and big windows to look out of. There are cages for the newcomers and for poor Gizmo, a big red tabby sweetheart. He has to be locked up at night-for his own safety. Poor Gizmo gets picked on by another cat and the staff make sure he is safe by keeping him in a very large cage overnight. This kitty is a big love monster with a sweet temperament. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He's on his own, now that his brother got adopted. This boy needs a good home, where he doesn't have to worry about being attacked.

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Here's Gizmo's Petfinder Page

One of the cats at A.I.D. will not be getting adopted. Her name is Samantha, a big white kitty with tabby patches on her back and face. She sits serenely in a cat bed overlooking the room. She has a brain tumor and has to be medicated every other day. Her life may not be long, but she is not considered adoptable and the staff love her too much to let her go.

There are other kitties there who are too feral or too old to be placed in a home. They're the lucky ones. No harm will come to them. They are safe for as long as they live. I met other cats like Blondie and Norman and Norman's best buddy, Gatsby. You can see them all HERE.

But there was one cat who stole my heart. His name? Marshmellow.

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©2010 Robin AF Olson. How cute is this tuxy boy?!

Marshy is a love bug, too. He loves to be HELD. He has a soft purr. His green eyes are stunning. His silly markings make you smile. I held him for a long time, even though his claws were, a bit long and the fabric of my shirt was a bit too thin. He likes to just sit quietly and hang out with the other cats. He doesn't seem to be a trouble maker, but has an impish quality about him. I am completely smitten with him.

Marshmellow has been waiting for a home for two months. I would so love to bring him home with me!

If you love this big, sweet boy, too, here's his Petfinder Page so you can read more about him.

It was getting late, almost 9pm. Carole and Connie have generously offered to help me with some “things” I will tell you about soon. In return, I will be helping them with a few “things” as well. It's curious. I just met Connie after she contacted me when she read the article about Chester being found. She was very kind and gracious to me and was so happy that Chester was safe and sound. We began chatting once in awhile. Connie asked me if I could help A.I.D. get the word out about their cats needing homes. They're facing very tough times and have had no adopters for awhile now.

Two shelters have moved in to the area. While that is good for the animals, it's bad for this little rescue. They have gotten lost in the shuffle. Volunteers are hard to come by and so are donations. They've been around since 1960-a rare thing in these hard times. They're not sure how much longer they can go on without more help. I promised I would lend a hand, as I can.

We fed the cats, each one getting their own bowl of food. Carole knew just what each cat liked and made sure they got what they wanted. After cleaning up and turning off the lights, it was our time to get going. I said goodnight to the kitties and walked out the front door. There was a loud humming sound coming from an air conditioning unit, but I thought I heard something else.

A cat was crying in the darkness. At first I wasn't sure, but then, yes, it was a cat, indeed. I said something to Connie and Carole, who were busy talking. They stopped, listened, then I saw the cat in the shadow of the Police Department building that was about 20 feet away. Connie let out a shriek and Carole ran to her car, grabbed a can of food and chased after the cat.

Connie was visibly upset. She asked me if the cat was gray and I said yes! She told me that the cat was theirs and his name was Gray. He had gone missing a few weeks ago! He normally NEVER meowed and they had not seen him since the night he escaped! Connie told Carole about Chester. She remarked that Connie should bring me down to the shelter so I could find Gray, too. Guess that worked out well!

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Gray, just moments after being rescued.

Carole disappeared for a few minutes while we waited and hoped she would find the cat. I was told he was very friendly, so that was a good sign. Carole came running back, yelling to us to get the building open so she could get more food and a cat carrier! What cat would just go back into a cat carrier after being gone for weeks?

We rushed into the building. Carole grabbed what she needed and ran off. We followed her, but not too closely as we were worried we would scare Gray away. We could hear Carole calling to him. Meanwhile I saw a movement in the parking lot not far from us. It was a big skunk, headed our way. I motioned to Connie. Her eyes grew wide as she realized what was going on. If we made a run for it we might scare off the cat, but if we didn't run, the skunk might get scared and blast us!

Suddenly, it took a sharp turn and went another direction just as we heard the door of a cat carrier slam shut. Gray began vocalizing LOUDLY as Carole came out from behind a building, carrying him in a half run.

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Gray gets brushed and fussed over, which he enjoyed between taking bites of food.

Gray's brother sat in the window at the shelter. The screen was open. He could hear his brother yeowl. We couldn't get Gray into the building fast enough. Carole feared he was COVERED with ticks. She wrapped him in a towel and brought him into the kitchen. Connie jumped in and began to pick tiny burrs off his coat. Carole checked him for fleas while they both continued to pick and brush his coat. He was in good shape, other than being far too thin. No sign of ticks or fleas! He nibbled at some kibble and enjoyed all the attention. At one point he laid down on his side and allowed belly rubs. This boy was home and he knew it.

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Gray says hello to Marshmellow.

Once Gray was settled in his cage with lots of food and water, we, once again, turned off the lights to let the cats rest until morning. There was a bright yellow sign that said "LOST CAT" with a description and the shelter's number on it. It was hanging on a cork board near the front door. I told Carole she needed to scratch out the word “LOST” and write, “Found.” Tired as she was, she grabbed a pen and edited the poster, a smile forming on her lips.

This kitty is safe once again and in a place where he will be loved and cared for until his new family finds him. Not so different a journey than our dear friend, Chester made, who disappeared on the exact same date as Gray did so many weeks before.

Not on My Watch: When Fate Steps In...and WTF?! Part 2 of 2

I checked my email late last night. There were lots and lots of pleas for cats in dire need. Cats of all ages. Some were local, some were from good old Henry Co. There was an urgent notice put out that three kittens had been there too long and that by 7am they were slated to be euthanized if a rescue didn't come forward to save their lives.

I looked at the photos and descriptions. Any one of these cats would make a great addition to any family. I asked myself what I could do to help? I don't have any more space in my own home to foster these cats. My dear foster mama in Georgia is also full up. I don't know where I could board the cats and even if I did, I still could not take them here. I looked at the photo, below. It's an “odd-eyed” (one green and one blue) white kitten. She's sitting on a little bed. The pattern on the fabric is whimsical with cute little candy corns on it. For some reason this got to me. I started to cry. This poor little kitty has no idea her life is about to end in a few more hours.

I talked to Sam. I asked him; “Should I tell my readers about this even though there is no time to put in place a rescue or adoption? Or should I just not say anything? There are SO MANY that need help, I can't list them all. No one likes to know about these cats dying when they can't do much to help them. It's so frustrating and painful! And the cccccandy corn bed!!”..then I started crying again.

It's one thing for me to cry, but for this situation, I felt it was better to hope that someone could step in and help them, knowing that help was probably too late to arrive.

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Odd-Eyed White kitty with a blue and a green eye.

I could not sleep. Not a wink. I was very tired from the stress of seeing my client fall ill and be whisked off in the ambulance a few hours earlier. I kept thinking about the kittens. I just felt sick and angry. I want to go to Georgia and make them pass a law that forces everyone to Spay & Neuter their pets! No, not realistic, but I'm entitled to my wishes, right?

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Little Flame Point with lovely blue eyes.

I got up at 1AM. I sat on the sofa with one of the cats and had a cup of mint tea to settle my tummy. I tried to feel sleepy, but it didn't work. I didn't want to go near my computer, but I didn't want to wake Sam up by turning on the TV. I got up and walked to my office and turned the computer back on. I poked around and looked at my email, went on Facebook, then...it dawned on me. I knew it was stupid but what the heck?

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Little Lynxy Point with lovely blue eyes, too. What a charmer!

A few days prior, we had a new visitor on the Covered in Cat Hair Facebook page. She, too, did fostering and rescue right in Georgia! She has a Blog about her foster cats that was really cute. I don't know what prompted me, but I sent her an email entitled; “Silly Question.” It was 2AM. I told her about the kittens and asked if she might know anyone that could help. Realizing it was the 11th hour...

A few MINUTES later, she wrote me back. She just happened to be awake, medicating one of her cats. She wrote me a sweet note and said to send her the info, so I did. I sent her listings on 6 or 7 cats. I waited...

She wrote me back. She cc:d Betsy, our contact at Henry Co. She said to go ahead and pull ID#'s...1, 2, 3...KITTENS! My stomach flipped. My heart skipped a beat...did she just say YES to taking the kittens? Did that mean I was going to foster them here? I HAVE NO SPACE!!!

I quickly wrote her back and told her my concerns. Her kind reply was that, no, she didn't need me to find homes. She could do that locally. She just needed me to get the kittens busted out and have our SUPER BEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD, BOBBY, pick them up and get them to the Vet. She would do the rest!

And so...at 3AM, just FOUR HOURS before these kittens took their last breath, the paperwork for them would be updated to read; “RESCUE HOLD,” but in the language of the shelter means;

BUSTED OUT! SAVED! RESCUED! GETS TO GROW UP AND HAVE A LIFE WITH A LOVING FAMILY AND NEVER BE INSIDE A METAL CAGE AGAIN!

I sent out some emails and did what I needed to do to get things in order. I was feeling pretty wobbly I needed to try to sleep. I set my alarm for 6:45AM to make sure Betsy got my message. I crawled into bed next to Sam. I woke him up. I whispered that I was sorry, but I couldn't wait to tell him something. I tried to keep calm, but I couldn't hold back the tears any more. I started to cry again, as I told him the kittens were saved and he said a sleepy “Oh that's so wonderful!” as he held me tight. I thought about the little kitten and the silly candy corn print cat bed, but this time, as the tears fell down my cheeks, they were not tears of grief-they were tears of joy.

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control

Please thank Kate for stepping up and helping us out. As a "Thank You" to her, I paid her Vet bill. I felt like it was the least I could do. Please also thank, Bobby, for picking up the kitties this afternoon and sitting with them at the Vet's office and for making sure they are safe and loved until they go to foster care.

Not on My Watch: When Fate Steps In...and WTF?!

All right. Someone needs to make sense of what's been happening in my life and explain it to me. I've been lucky to be part of some amazing cat rescues the past few weeks---First there was our Black Adult Mama Cat, now named Freya, who had no chance at Henry Co. Care & Control, but who, after I posted a plea for her, through the help of a lot of great folks, was able to get busted out and off to new, loving home. Then I found Chester, the 21 yr old kitty, who got away from his family and was lost for 5 days. I found him-saved his life. As of just yesterday, Chester is still doing well and more and more like his “old” self every day.

Then there was the Calico Mama, so friendly and loving, but who had no hope to be free from Death Row. Fate stepped in for her and I was able to help be part of the team of folks who got her out of the shelter and into loving foster care. She was adopted before she even made it out of the shelter and will be in her new home in another week or so.

It wasn't enough. Her two cowbaby kittens needed a rescue as well. This one I handled on my own and these babies are coming to me. Within hours of their rescue, I found out about four more kittens who had just arrived at the shelter and who face the same odds of getting out alive. I rescued them, too, but now I'm “full up” and can't take any more to foster.

That's a lot of saves for ONE person with no shelter and just a few bucks in her pocket. But...

Yesterday I saved my first HUMAN and things got even crazier after that happened!

Sam and I had a client meeting at a local coffee shop at noon. We were starving for something to eat and to finally get paid for our web design project we had just finished. Our client walked in the door, but looked strange. He had a bruise under his left eye and on the bridge of his nose. I made a joke as he sat down and asked him what happened.

He said; “You know...” and could not finish the sentence. He kept saying the same thing and gesturing in frustration. Then it hit me, the injury was NEW and he was either having a stroke or something else was going on!!!

Thankfully, my Mother was an Emergency Medical Technician Crew Chief, and I learned a few things from her. I asked my client to smile. He did. Nice and symmetrical-but it was a grimace of frustration. Okay, no drooping facial things going on, so maybe not a stroke, but he cannot speak any more! He gestured for paper so we grabbed a note pad, we couldn't read his writing. I looked around and noticed a bicycle cop-who, I'm sorry but I can't take them seriously, and told him something was wrong and we needed an ambulance.

This is crazy. I don't know my client that well and I didn't want to overreact when maybe he was diabetic and needed sugar or gosh, I knew he had a clear airway, was breathing basically ok, was agitated (if I couldn't talk I would be, too), but what was wrong with him? I hoped he would not be mad at me for jumping to get him on an ambulance when maybe he just needed a cookie?...I managed to get his phone. I apologized for going through his private stuff, but he wrote his wife's name down and I found it as a "favorite" on his iPhone. Another cop showed up as I reached his wife.

The Cop wanted to talk to me, but I had to talk to her first. I didn't have time to rehearse what to say, so it came out weird. First, I was calling on her husband's phone and she didn't know this woman using her husband's phone! In a shaky voice I told her what my Mother said to me when my father had a stroke. She said he had “an event”...then I told her he could not speak and she started to cry. She was an hour away, but thankfully had a friend who could drive her to the local hospital. I got off the phone and talked to the Officer.

We were all trying to figure out our Client's address-Sam had that since he had the invoice in his hand that we were not going to get paid for that day (hey, these are desperate times!) and it had the info on it. Finally an EMT showed up and started to assess things. About 10 minutes later, a huge mob of folks showed up. More cops, some official looking woman in a suit with a badge attached to her belt, 3 or 4 more EMTs. Meanwhile the folks in the cafe are wondering what is going on and the staff is worried that he fell on their property!

My poor client. I rubbed his back and told him it was going to be okay and to not worry. That we caught it soon and he would be in good hands. He is friends with surgeons at the same hospital so I knew he would get extra good attention. I just wanted him OUT of the cafe so he could get the help he needed, fast!

I asked one of the Officers if I should go with my client or follow in the car, but he reminded me that not being a family member, they would pretty much ignore me. Since they had everything worked out and knew how to reach me and Sam, we decided it was best to just let them take our Client and leave it at that.

After they left, a few of the staff came over and asked us if we wanted anything. Sam and I just sat there with our eyes full of tears and said “no thank you.”

Then Sam turned to me and said; “That was the WORST client meeting I've ever had!”

Yah think?

I didn't want to leave him, but I had another meeting to get to. I went to dish big time dirt on the shhhh...Director of the group I used to be with and the person I was meeting didn't have a cell phone so I couldn't call to cancel. Suddenly, I didn't want to dish dirt or get into my car and drive off. Life just felt so fragile. He was our client, a few years older than we are. He seems in good health, has a wicked sharp mind and loving family. How quickly all that can change. It's very sobering.

I ended up having a good chat with this top secret person. I heard some interesting things and realized that my leaving that group was what I needed to do. Now I have the freedom to really make a difference and find my own way in the world...

But that was before I got the call asking me if I was maybe interested in taking over a shelter and running it as my own. It is staffed with volunteers. Has been around for a long time. They don't even do fundraising. They have plenty of money! And no, I was not sleeping and having a nice dream. The offer, though not a serious one at this point, is a sincere one. I can just step in and do my thing...or maybe I can't, but it's a SHELTER with only cages for new arrivals and they really are NO KILL. They don't put down for space reasons or healthy animals. What the heck?! This can't be!

It's kinda like the OTHER thing that happened yesterday between the tornado warnings and violent thunderstorms...I could not sleep. I went to bed crying, knowing a few more sweet babies were going to be euthanized at 7am. I didn't want to tell you guys about it. It's bad enough that I knew. It was late at night when I got the message. There was no time to find a rescue, so I laid there and wept for them.

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control

But it's okay. Don't you cry for them, too. Good old Fate was keeping me awake, I guess. 'Cause something miraculous happened. I pulled off the one thing I was sure I could not...

The End is Here. A New Beginning is Near.

I've been trying to write this post for a week. I'm torn between writing a virtual rant vs. just moving forward with my life. The temptation is to light these words on fire and to really let off a years' worth of steam, but reason states that those of us in the rescue community all know each other and burn one bridge now means making trouble for yourself later.

So with that in mind, I will write this:

I QUIT.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer says it all.

I left The Animal Center for good. No turning back. Done. Whatever reasons I have for this, for now, will be my own. I gave it my all for 5 years, but there was a price to pay that I wasn't willing to pay any longer. I leave angry and hurt, but I know in time those feelings will fade away and for now, I can use that energy to do something positive.

I've been grappling with what to do next. The answer has been right in front of me for a long time, but I was afraid to give it a shot. I'll continue to use my tiny networking skills to help rescue cats from southern death row shelters. I'll also keep doing everything I did before, but...

I'm going to make a go of it on my own. I'm going to start my own Non-Profit Cat Rescue Group. Stupid idea or perfect timing, I have no idea. There are lots of hurdles ahead, but I'm going to try. This is the dawning of my new journey. The road I've travelled on has led me to this place. I stand here before you and take a deep breath. I'm ready to stick my neck out, kick some ass and save lots more cats.

You're welcome to come along for the ride and see how this pans out. Maybe you'll say “I knew her back when she first started that group...it was just her, but now look at it!” but hopefully not; “Oh yes, that was before she got stuck with all those cats she couldn't adopt out and went crazy and they found her body...the cats got to it first...

I'm truly scared. I had all these plans to start super small, go slowly, only take those two cute cow kittens in to foster and see how it goes...

But so many need help! I can't just sit here with two foster kittens when I have room for more! Oh boy...what have I done?

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Details of my craziness coming soon...

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