the DOOD started coughing three days ago. At first I thought it was a hairball, but quickly realized it was something far worse. This sort of cough is not a "hairball" cough. I got the DOOD to visit with Dr. Mixon yesterday morning, a few minutes before he began the surgery on Bobette. Because it was a last minute appointment there wasn't time to run any tests. He suggested we put DOOD on clavamox and see how he did, but something didn't sit right with me because he said it might be an obstruction, not illness.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. the DOOD, not feeling well at all…
Last night DOOD continued to have coughing fits, but he ate well and seemed quiet, but not completely out of touch with the other cats. I made an appointment for him to see Dr Larry at 9:30am. The morning couldn't come fast enough-even though I knew it was going to cost a lot more money for this Vet visit. I couldn't let DOOD suffer or possibly get a lot worse and need hospitalization.
DOOD was great at the Vet. He let everyone handle him without complaint. Dr. Larry thought the DOOD was adorable, but was concerned after he heard DOOD cough-which thankfully he did so Larry could get a better read on what was going on. I know the look on Larry's face when something isn't right and clearly DOOD didn't have a minor issue.
They did chest X-rays and blood work. The blood work didn't give them any additional information, but the x-rays showed an interstitial pattern in the top of his lungs. It might be pneumonia or something else. It's too soon to know. Right now DOOD has antibiotics on board via a shot but tomorrow I'm to start him on 2 weeks of clavamox and hopefully that will help him feel better.
1. I'm worried about the DOOD, of course. I love that boy to bits and I worry we will lose him if he gets worse (which he was doing this afternoon so they gave him a shot instead of wait for me to start giving him meds when we got home)
2. I'm terrified that this is contagious. A few of the cats have a very mild URI. What if they ALL get this? It will bankrupt me, in addition to completely causing me to fall apart. I'm so close already and with Bobette's care-which has to be 24/7 right now, I'm just whipped, broken and beaten.
3. And what will happen to the cats…Spencer has breathing issues already. Gracie is going to the Vet tomorrow to begin the process of having a big cyst removed from her abdomen that might be cancer.
4. Bobette's kittens, who have had the runs for weeks-who we started on a de-wormer and flagyl have WORSE stool now…worse than ever!!! So I had to run to the vet for the 4th time today to drop off a stool sample for them to be tested.
There's just too much going on all at once with no one to help. I really need a volunteer foster home for Kitten Associates so maybe some one can foster the two kittens while I focus on their mom-who can't walk at all and who is whacked out on buprenex and falls over and can't get up-so I have to be with her all the time.
I have so much to catch you up on, but this is all I have time for. I need to raise some funds to help offset the costs for the DOOD. I hope to GOD he doesn't need to see a specialist and I know we just did a fundraiser for Bobette. If you can't help out, that's completely fine, don't feel bad. Every little bit helps right now and I appreciate whatever anyone can do.
Last night foster mama-Maria, called me, worried about Jackson Galaxy, the cat we rescued last week who was named after the uber-cat-listener-of the same name. We'd already discussed that Jackson has been aggressive, biting Maria's hands and clawing her legs. Because he was just neutered a week ago, we thought we'd give it time and Maria was going to adjust how she approached him. Jackson had almost 2 years of being an intact male and probably had plenty of hormones still working through his body. We needed to give him time to adjust and get rid of all that testosterone.
Because Jackson's in a small bathroom I also asked Maria to be observant about where she is in relationship to the cat. Did he feel cornered? Was he attacking out of fear?
Very slowly Maria saw some improvements. Jackson could be petted and he did purr, but last night something was not right with Jackson-not right at all. Jackson was lying in the bathtub, pale smears of pink-BLOOD-were on the porcelain. Jackson was licking at his scrotum and when she looked at it, it was red, slightly inflamed and she saw some blood. She called “Doc” Thomas, who runs the Spay/Neuter clinic at Noah's Ark and asked her what to do. Doc said to bring him in in the morning.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson, last night.
Jackson wouldn't eat. Maria had to force feed him after trying many different tempting options. I asked if she could take his temp, but she said he didn't feel hot. She tested his blood sugar and it was normal. I thought he was getting an infection or brewing the dread shelter-virus, but his eyes were not watery, only his coat looked unkempt.
Maria took the day off so she could rush Jackson to Noah's Ark, where Jackson was neutered. Jackson's temp. had risen to 104.4°F-high normal is 101°F. Jackson's scrotum was enlarged-an obvious infection was brewing. In four years of doing neuters, Doc had only seen this happen ONE other time.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson getting prepped for surgery.
Jackson was sedated and Doc opened up his scrotum. She said it was good to see blood, that it meant the tissue was not dead. She could drain it, then give him a course of strong antibiotics and he should recover. I asked Maria if he'd have to wear “the cone of shame” (an Elizabethan collar), but she said no.
©2012 Maria. S. It's tough to look at, but now his painful, swollen scrotum will be healing up and feeling better very soon..
Jackson's waking up from the procedure as I write this. He's already gotten antibiotics. Hopefully this was just a bump in the road and from here out he'll not only be feeling better, but perhaps acting more calm with Maria, too. It's possible he's been in pain, first from the surgery and then from the infection—and what guy wouldn't lash out if his scrotum hurt?!
Another reminder to all of us that if your cat's behavior changes you should get him or her to the Vet, first. You never know what may be going on and it's important to rule out illness when you discover a behavioral problem.
As for Jackson, I see a lot of treats in his future!
Tomorrow is Bobette's orthopedic surgery. I'm thinking the theme for this weeks' blog may be "graphic photo warning-week." I hope it will also be, “cats who were feeling lousy but are on the road to recovery week”, too.
Over a year ago, I rescued a family from Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. They were like any other family I'd rescued before-a young mama cat and her kittens, who were dumped by their former family to await death in a steel cage. They were a problem to be gotten rid of and forgotten about. The folks at Henry County prayed for help. They never want to end the life of any animal, yet their hand is forced when space runs out or a cat gets sick. Easily treatable conditions, mean an untimely death. They kill to prevent transmission of illness to the others, but it's so unfair that a simple sniffle can mean “the end.”
©2010 Betsy Merchant. Another family who needs rescue waits for a miracle.
This little family was getting sick. The kitten's eyes were getting watery looking, a sure sign an upper respiratory was brewing. They had to get out of the shelter ASAP so we decided to cross our fingers and hope we got them out before the virus could take hold. We got them out in time, but we were too late to stop the illness from ravaging their tiny bodies.
To date, this family was the sickest family I've ever rescued. The kittens, Polly Picklepuss, Chester Cheesetoes and little CaraMelle suffered terribly and for months. Their mama, who I named, Mazie, watched protectively over them, trying desperately to help them get better, but she, too, got the URI. At least she had an intact immune system and was able to fight off the worst of it, while her offspring battled one wave after another of waxing and waning illness.
©2010 Maria S. Mazie and family off to the Vet, yet again.
The kittens were taken to the Vet, the Emergency Vet, we consulted with our homeopathic Vet, Dr. Ann Hermas. We did everything we could. Poor Mama-Maria, their awesome foster mom, was providing their care, but at the cost of her own well being. What stress she suffered having to go to work, leaving sick kittens at home, wondering if she'd find them living when she returned. She did so many vet runs, it almost became a joke, but we were both too stressed to laugh about it.
©2010 Maria S. Keeping a watchful eye on her family.
After a few months, the kittens were stable enough to move north. They came up on a private transport so they'd have the best care possible. When they arrived, they seemed to be in fairly good condition, but I expected things to go downhill and they did rather quickly.
©2010 Maria S. Comforting a very sick, Polly.
While Mazie did all right, her kittens did not fare as well. Cara, in particular was very ill, vomiting frequently. Polly's eyes were awful. Chester seemed less effected. We guessed it was because he was born first and bigger than his sisters.
It was a very LONG, difficult struggle. I was taking the kittens to the vet, wondering what to do for poor Cara, whose vomiting was stunting her growth. You may recall that Cara had to see specialists and ended up having three endoscopies over four months. Chester and Polly had to see an eye specialist. They had scar tissue in their tear ducts that resulted in chronic weepy eyes.
©2010 Maria S. Our most loving and caring Mama, ever, Mazie.
As the kittens finally got better, Mazie took a sudden, frightening turn for the worse. This was no URI, but we didn't know what was causing her soaring temperature, projectile vomiting and lethargy. In May, Mazie was hospitalized and put on an IV for a few days. We did blood work, x-rays and a lot of head-scratching. If Mazie didn't turn around she was going to die. It was so shocking to even consider-after all this, now I'm going to lose not a kitten, but their Mother?
©2010 Maria S. Mazie taking a break from motherhood.
Mazie recovered. She was weak and on antibiotics for awhile. We never figured out what happened to her, only that she seemed well. Her appetite came back and she got that sparkle back in her big owly eyes. I was reluctant to relax. This family had been sick for EIGHT MONTHS. You can read more about the kittens HERE, Mazie getting sick: HERE, and more about them HERE.
©2010 Maria S. Mazie with Polly (left), Cara (right) and silly Chester (below).
Then Chester got adopted and is now named, Boris. He lives with a lovely family and two dogs and two older cats. Recently, Boris got a new buddy. The older cats didn't want to play with him so his family adopted another young cat so Boris would have a pal. I'm told they were instant best friends.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie with Polly and Cara.
Polly was well enough to be adopted, though her eyes will always be a bit runny. She went with MacGruber, who was one of our favorite orangey-goodness babies. They're doing GREAT and having blast in their new home. Their parents dote on them and can't wait to spend their first Christmas together.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie feeling better after her spay.
Little Cara had a benefactor during her protracted illness. My dear friend Connie fell in love with her from the start and was always there to help pay for Cara's Vet bill when our pockets were empty. Without Connie, I don't know what would have become of Cara.
When Cara was well enough, she began to spend time with Connie and her many cats. First, as a foster, then as the little Princess who now runs the household. Cara has blossomed into a lovely young lady. We thought we'd lose her so many times, but now she's doing well, thriving and enjoying her life with Connie and her other kitties. Cara looks more and more like her mama, Mazie, every day.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. MPolly doesn't want to share!
But what about Mazie? Where is her forever family?
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Visiting Dr Larry.
Mazie was supposed to go to Animals in Distress, but with so many issues coming up and her being around sick kittens, I felt it was not fair to expose a shelter full of cats to who-knows-what (we think, in the end, it was a very nasty herpes virus that sickened this family).
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The worst is over for Chester, but Cara, still sick and tiny and mama-Mazie is brewing something that may kill her.
After Mazie fell ill, we certainly could not move her. By the time her offspring were adopted, Mazie had full run of the house and had met my other cats. It freed up the foster room so I could help more cats and she had space to stretch out and new friends (or not!) to make.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. A very sick kitty.
Mazie integrated beautifully into my home. She is always on the lookout for something. It's as though without her kittens to protect, she's watching out for us.
She loves to climb the tallest cat tree and survey her territory or slap Blitzen and the DOOD in the face if they challenge her from below. It's comical, not violent. Mazie loves to visit me in my office and is often “chatting” with me about thins or that. Mostly she wants to be picked up or be close to me. I know she doesn't get enough one on one attention and she so deserves it.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Boucing back, Mazie is ready for play time! I love her kooky face!
She knows if she's doing something, like get into the pantry, that she's not supposed to do. If I scold her she meows at me, then gives me a sassy HISS as she passes next to me!
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. With her kittens now adopted, Mazie takes a break on a cat bed next to my desk. This is one happy cat.
God forbid a mouse enters the house because Mazie will find it. Normally we get one sullen, suicidal mouse in our house each autumn, but in the past two months, Mazie has taken out EIGHT of them! Yes, we need to check out our basement and find out where they are coming in. I pity any mouse who is foolish enough to enter our home. Mazie doesn't make a mess with them, she just kills them, then the DOOD will run off with the body, growling away, until we can get it from him. Mazie, proud of her work, doesn't need to protect her kill. The fun part for her is over and she simply sits on the floor looking proud of herself.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. After six months of being on a raw diet, Mazie's coat is like satin. She's gained a bit of weight and her face filled out a bit. She's nine pounds, up from about five pounds since she started this journey with us. This is her favorite spot in the house, this goofy hanging basket from one of our cat trees.
Mazie reminds me of my cat, Squeegee, who passed away many years ago. Squeegee had white mittens, stripes and patches, big green eyes. Mazie always looks like she's wondering what's going on. I think it's her big eyes that make her look so curious, and her constant chattering that makes me laugh.
I've come to love Mazie as my own and I've truly enjoyed seeing her blossom into a fine young lady.
But it's time. Time for her to move on. Time for me to make room for more. This will be the toughest adoption I have ever done. I feel like I'm not doing an adoption, but rehoming my own cat. 14 months is a very long journey and Mazie got under my skin. If she never left, I wouldn't be upset about it, but in fairness to her, she deserves a better home where she can get lots of attention and not have to struggle to find a place on the bed to sleep that isn't already taken by another cat.
I can rationalize this all I want, but in the end, this will be painful and I have to stand by my conviction that it's not good for her to not have everything she needs. If I can find that with another family, then she will enjoy her life with them.
That's IF I can let her go.
I need to prepare myself that Maize won't always be with me. I need to prepare myself because that moment is coming soon. In fact, that moment is now.
Mazie's adopters are here.
Nothing says the Holiday season better than hysterically trying to wrangle four kittens into a faux Holiday scene so you can get a photo for your Holiday Card. Bloodshed be damned! We were going to get this done!
Chris Clark, from Greengirlz Pet Photography, was so gracious to let us do a VERY LAST MINUTE photo shoot for our Holiday Card. Sam and I “wrangled” the kittens into "position" while Chris Clark snapped away at her camera. She taught us that you can actually get the cats to pose by being very relaxed with them and by constantly re-positioning them where you want them---one hand on the chest, one hand on the back at the base of the tail. Just keep reminding them how you want them to sit. After awhile, they began to stay in the sleigh. One of the kittens got cranky so we put him in a crate for a few minutes, thinking we'd be lucky to get a photo with the three kittens. It ended up that the time out was a good thing. We grabbed Snowball after his time out and placed him back with the group. Chris got to work and she got some really great shots..and no blood was shed!
I did some photoshop magic taking one great photo, then changing out one cat for another. I still made certain we had one of EACH of the kittens represented-even though Sam thought I was nuts. Yes, I am nuts, I know that. I grabbed a line from the song; “White Christmas” and added it to the image and the rest is history!
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Okay, guys look at the camera, not at Robin!
I have a mad crush on each six month old kittens. They're each so very friendly and sweet with loads of charm. I love to handle them and hold them. They impress everyone they meet.
I'm surprised they all didn't get adopted in a second, but sadly applications are slow to come in on them. The good news is that yesterday, little Princess, DID get adopted by a lovely family. They had a very tough choice between Princess and Snowball. Secretly I hoped they'd take Princess, because I love the fact that Snowball will jump into my arms on command (and some times when I'm not ready, too!). He never uses his claws on me! Amazing!
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Ooo! If only we had all four kittens!
The kittens are getting big and their room is small. I'm working hard to find them great homes and I hope I can do that soon. I've had to turn away a lot of people who wanted to "surprise" someone with a kitten as a gift. Most people don't get why that's a terrible idea, so I have to play the bad cop and say no.
The number one reason for animals to be surrendered to shelters is because they were given as a gift and that person didn't want them, they grew out of being cute and the lifetime of commitment was something they didn't want to have to deal with that-plus the Holidays are busy enough. Do you really want to have to spend time caring for a new animal in your home then, too?
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Love these guys but they look fake it's so good!
Until we find those perfect homes, I'm going to enjoy having a different kind of White Christmas!
©2011 Maria S. Bobette and family etting ready to leave for Connecticut.
I can't believe it's been over a week since the Pumpkin Patch family arrived from Maria's home in Georgia. This time of year, it's always more hectic and I had much to do before this family arrived. Even after picking the family up off the transport, the boys only had an hour break before I packed them up and brought them to my rescue group's Home for the Holidays Adoption Event! (I left mama, Bobette home to rest. She was very cranky with the boys and I thought some alone time would do her good).
©2011 Maria S. The transport awaits.
The planning and setup for Adoption Events always leaves me knackered. Someday I hope to have volunteers able to help me get these things done. My car isn't very big, but it seems as though there's an endless supply of “stuff” that has to be crammed into it. Things need to be packed, washed, organized, then I have to figure out how many cats there are plus how many crates needed, plus where is this all going to go and how is it going to get to Choice Pet Supply where the event is being held?
©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Would you adopt me?
Irene is my right hand woman. She shows up. She helps. She fills up her car with whatever I ask. She jumps in and chats people up and tries to get us a few sales or donations. Sam will load up his car, too and help us get the tough things set up, then he scampers off to work on his own projects. I end up having to design flyers, send out notices to the newspapers-the online ones, the printed ones. Then the flyers have to be hung up around town, if I can get away long enough to do that. There's just an amazing amount of work to be done. Meanwhile, there are cats to care for and all their paperwork to fill out, what vaccination they need, getting them to the vet, vetting potential adopters. No wonder I always seem to be stressed out and feeling like I don't have enough time in the day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie!
We got some applications and I met with folks who had emailed me about stopping by to visit the kittens. It was all going well when all of a sudden, I heard one of the Angel Babies furiously meowing and scratching at the plastic tray bottom of their crate. As I lifted the cover off the back of their cage, my nostrils were violated by a powerfully nauseating smell. Then, I saw it-diarrhea! Ugh.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bananas are good fun.
Irene and I quickly started to clean up the mess. Thankfully the poop wasn't on the bedding in the cage so the cleaning wasn't difficult. The smell, however, was not going away. I had a small litter pan ready to go. It was too soon into the event to offer it to the kittens, or so I thought. If one of the kittens had the runs, I figured I'd better give them the litter pan. Seconds after I placed the pan in the cage, two of the kittens started digging around in the litter. At first I thought they were just bored and playing with it, but after a few minutes it was clear that another kitten had to let it rip-and so he did.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey the sneak-attack biter!
I truly believe that the U.S. Government should use mooshie cat poop smell as chemical warfare. There is no way troops wouldn't be quickly offended by the stank and run for the hills! Did we manage to clear the store? YES! It was great at keeping the crowds down. Just what we needed.
The orange boys did fine. They were bouncing around, having fun. They laid on each other and the three of them started grooming each other. It was so cute that it made everyone forget the lingering stench, as they crowded around the cage, “ooo-ing and ahh-ing.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello! This is Teddy or Mikey. I think it's Teddy.
People would ask me questions about the boys, but like the white kitties, I couldn't tell the orange kitties apart (I am starting to a week later, though).
Meanwhile, poor Mazie sat forlornly in her cage. She growled a bit so we covered her up. I bravely stuck my hand into her cage and she started to purr. She forgave me from locking her in a cage by giving me her belly to rub. I felt very guilty about having her at the event, but she's GOT to find a forever home! She's been with us for a YEAR already and she's such an awesome cat!
I was grateful when 4pm came so we could pack up and get home. I wanted to lay down and go to sleep right then and there, but I knew that once we got back I'd have to feed the foster cats, make sure they were all right, then unload the cars and put things away.
I got the cats fed, but after that my body complained to the point where I just had to sit down for awhile. Unloading the cars could wait.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette a few moments after arriving.
I also wanted to spend some time with Bobette and the boys. I didn't have a chance to get to know them that morning, so now was the time.
I let the boys out of their carrier and Bobette looked at them and hissed. She's barely bigger than they are and at certain times I can't tell which one is the kitten and which is the mother. A few of kittens foolishly went over to their mom and she attacked them. I don't think she had her claws out, but the sound she made was one of pure rage. I made sure the boys were fine. They were scared, but ok. I got them all fed. I kept Bobette away from the kittens. I worried that she might attack me, as well, but she seemed relaxed around me or was it because I was feeding her?
What happened on the transport? Bobette was fine with the boys when she left Georgia, but now she was clearly not interested in having them near her at all.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette (far right) screams at her boys to get away.
The boys picked at their food, so did Bobette. They'd been eating dry food, softened with water, and I knew I'd have to break them of the habit; better now than never.
After they ate, the boys ran around. I called Bobette over to me. I was sitting on the bed. She came over and let me pet her. She climbed into my lap and got comfortable. I cautiously petted her. She relaxed until a kitten would come near her. As that happened, she'd alert, then growl. She'd lash out if the kitten dared to ignore her warning. I didn't want to lay there with an angry cat in my lap, but she went right back to relaxing and enjoyed my company. She even rolled over with her belly up in the air. I took a long look at her. She's very much got an Oriental Shorthair body with a classic orange tabby coat. She's long and lean with a wedge shaped head, dainty long legs and a long, delicate tail. I didn't see her limping, that would come later. Right now she was content-if I could just keep the boys away from her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeee!
I'd seen this behavior before, but never so severe. I wondered if I should crate Bobette, but with her painful leg issue, I realized that maybe it was her pain that was making her lash out? I asked Dr. Mixon, one of our Vets, about this and he said it might be typical behavior of the mother pushing the males out of the colony to keep the colony from having inbreeding issues or...well he wasn't sure. Even after almost a week, she's still aggressive towards them.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Da boyz.
The boys are doing well according to Dr. M. Mikey has a broken tail tip. We don't know when or how it happened, but it's already healed. Teddy was all right and Jakey was a nightmare getting his vaccines; what a screamer!
Bobette is another story. I see her jumping with some difficulty. She wants to play, but the boys get in her way and she gets angry. Some times she'll run around the room, clearly having fun, but after a few moments, she starts to limp very badly. Her drive to do more is hampered by what happened to her leg. She was in an accident of some kind and it's badly dislocated her kneecap. Dr. M rated it a 4 out of 4; 4 being the most severe. He feels he can correct the problem with surgery and that the patella (kneecap) shouldn't pop back out. I remembered when we first rescued Bobette that the folks at Henry County said they couldn't get her to eat for four days. Perhaps she'd just been hit by a car? Perhaps that had something to do with her inability to provide for her six kittens? I can't seem to let go that we lost three babies. I want to know why they died so we can prevent that from happening again. I know I'll never know why they're gone, but maybe the trauma their Mother suffered had something to do with it?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lanky, lean and lovely-Bobette.
The surgery would cost $2500.00. I'm NOT going to ask for donations. What I really need is FOOD, LITTER and some NEW TOYS for this family and for the Angel Babies. I'll be setting up a ChipIn to ask for donations for our Food & Fun Fund soon. I have to wrap my head around what Dr Mixon told me the rescue price would be for the surgery, first.
Anyone want to guess?
He's going to charge us $100.00. That's not a typo. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! When he first told me, I thought I was going to cry. I knew we have no where NEAR $2500.00 in our bank account and I was guessing he'd charge us around $1500.00. When he said, $100.00 I asked him to make sure that's what he wanted and he said to just put the word out about his Practice and help folks get to know him. After the surgery is done early next year, I'll be writing more about Dr. Mixon and his practice. For now, I'm very grateful we have his services to depend on and that when we do have money, it will last us much longer. Dr. Mixon also doesn't charge us an exam fee for rescue cats as long as we don't take advantage of his time. We just keep it to a few hours a month. So far, it's worked great.
Without the burden of a huge Vet bill, I can focus on helping Bobette recover. She'll have to have three weeks of cage rest and three weeks of low activity. Instead of going to AID, which was the original plan, Bobette will have to stay here for awhile, until she's better.
This poor girl; she's barely a year old and what hell she's been through in such a short time. You know me, I'll do whatever I can to help her go from “Meh to MEOW!”
In the meantime, I have about 12 other kitties I need to find forever homes for!
Part One of Two.
It seems as though regardless of when I chose to rescue a cat, when it goes into foster care, what day it's transported or when I pick it up, that everything comes together at the same time, even if the rescues happened weeks apart! It's very tough to figure out when to rescue more cats, with the hope that the foster cats you currently have will be long gone by the time the new fosters arrive.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Goodbye Sweet Truffles! You're such a sweetie pie!
After almost three months of foster care here, Amberly's remaining two kittens, Blaze and Truffles were adopted together! They went with a divorced dad and his three kids. What a GREAT family! I really liked them a lot. Dad is into feeding the kitties a raw diet, so I was extra thrilled! The kids were terrific-sweet, nice, cute. I knew they'd all have fun together, but I didn't know if the girls would even be getting adopted until Friday at 5pm when I knew full well that on Saturday at 9am a transport was arriving with Bob's Pumpkin Patch on board! Talk about cutting it CLOSE! If Truffles and Blaze didn't get adopted, I'd be in BIG TROUBLE! I'd have no room for the new arrivals! What would I do?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blazey, you left a big pawprint on my heart, even if you DO have the loudest MEOW ever!
I really lucked out. Blaze and Truffles showed well. Being alone in the room for two weeks helped them blossom. Once the kids started to play with them the kittens forgot to be shy and began ripping around the room, clearly enjoying all the attention. Dad looked on, impressed.
Their new family brought their old dog crate. It was enormous and barely fit up the staircase. I gave each of the girls a kiss, realizing this was “it,” time for another good bye. My heart felt very heavy, but it was mixed with great relief. I only had a few hours to clean up the room. I was already thinking about what I needed to do to get it ready for Bobette and crew. In a way, it made the pain of closing this chapter a lot easier. Another story was about to begin and I needed to get ready. I'd have to cry later.
For the record, Amberly's family was one of my favorites. I loved their story, their crazy coloring, their stunning copper eyes, their big, loving hearts. I'm jealous of their adopters. Each one of these kittens and their mama were superb. Seeing them every day was a great joy and I will always have a place in my heart that belongs to them.
Just before this post went live, I got a note from their adopter. He wrote: “I just wanted to let you know that Blaze and Truffles are doing great...we are all enjoying their company...they are 2 of the sweetest kittens I've ever met. Both are very affectionate but have no problem showing their true colors when they want to play or are letting you know that they are hungry...the poster of Blaze's face must have been taken when she was hungry...she's hilarious. They are acclimating to all areas of the house.”
And all this came to pass because Maria went to a tag sale early one summer morning and found a skinny cat laying in the road in desperate need of help. It's been quite the amazing journey.
The Angel Babies are here!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Loaded up and headed for Connecticut.
Sure, I adopted out two kittens, but I'd already taken on the four Angel Babies; Vash, Jazz, Justin and Princess. It's been so hectic around here that I didn't even get to let you all know how that's been going.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jazz (now named, Blizzard).
Sam and I drove to Pennsylvania to meet up with Izzy and her husband, Mark. They rescued six white orphaned kittens when they were just a few days old. I have to hand it to this couple. Somehow they managed to bottle feed six kittens without any of them dying. Amazing! You can read more about their background before the came to my home, HERE.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess de Winter relaxes on her new cat tree.
Of the six kittens, two were spoken for, so I agreed to take the remaining four; three are boys and one is a girl. They all have a smudge of gray on their heads. One has a big swash, one has two smaller ones, one has three and the girl has hardly a gray hair. Can I tell them apart after a week? NO!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Justin (now named Snowball) is quite the love bug.
What I can tell about them is the bottle feeding helped them become VERY affectionate and easy to handle. These cats will reach up to me to be held, jump on my back or shoulders, call to me to pick them up. They like to be held like a baby. They love to play. If you ever watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, they're like the BORG. They seem to have one brain and four bodies. The react the same way, at the same time, when I call them to eat or jiggle a toy at them. It's as though their thoughts are controlled by a Mothership somewhere circling overhead.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bizzard is watching for a chance to jump on me.
It's very easy to love these cats. They're simply adorable. I'm shocked to no end that they don't have 20 or 30 adoption applications each, but I barely have any for them and it's been a few weeks since they've been on Petfinder.
I did a test and decided to change their names to something snowy/wintery to see if that would help get the interest up. So far no change, but it's only been a few days. Of course, I couldn't tell the cats apart before and with the name change, so I might as well confuse myself even further. I'm toying with the idea of dying them different colors (hee hee) or perhaps it would be wiser and I'd get fewer nasty comments if I just put a collar on two of them? I need to print out a cheat sheet to hang in their room. I've never had this problem before!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Stretch Princess!
I have a lot of guilt about these kittens. My only place for them is my guest bathroom. The laundry room is attached to the bathroom and I can open the door and give them a very little bit of extra room. The problem is that they can get behind the washer and dryer and next thing I know, they've unhooked the dryer hose from the vent in the wall. This is a problem and very annoying to have to fix.
I did my best to block off their access to that area, but the little turds can get back there no matter what I did. Sam had to re-hook up the dryer. Lucky for me he wasn't too chapped about having to do it and it was a good excuse to attach the new clamp for the dryer hose. It should hold more tightly and be less easy for the cats to disconnect-famous last words.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The DOOD's old cat tree is really coming in handy!
Again, I thought I blocked their access to the dark space behind the washer and dryer. I left the room so they could run around. I was in my bedroom putting laundry away. I heard a funny sound. I heard it again. I heard a small cry. Oh great. I knew what it was.
I went back into the laundry room. I counted heads. One, two, three...three...where is four? I looked between the washer and dryer. There was a big metal divider from a dog crate folded into the space. I pushed it back towards the far wall, thinking the cats could not get behind it. There, hanging by his paws on the divider was Snowball. I looked at him. He looked at me and meowed. I gave him a dirty look, bent down and lifted him up by his shoulders and whispered into his ears; “You dumbass.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Um, excuse me?
He didn't seem to mind my name-calling. I put him down and tried yet again to block off the area. If I couldn't manage it, I'd have to keep them in the bathroom, but at six months of age, these are far from tiny kittens and they need room to stretch out. I hated myself for not having a bigger space for them. I really wanted to just let them out, into the rest of the house, but I knew it would start World War III with the rest of my cats.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blizzard and Princess.
I kept trying and failing, but at least the dryer hose stayed attached. Every time I opened the door to their space, a new pile of stuff they'd gotten into was all over the floor. I store some of the extra towels and bedding I use for foster cats on a high shelf. They would climb onto the shelf and pull everything off it onto the floor. After a while I just gave up. They have a nest on the floor made up of an old comforter and a few throw rugs and it's far from their litter pan. I mention this because one morning I went into their room and somehow they'd taken a towel from the floor and threw it into their litter pan. One of them had explosive diarrhea in the pan, but somehow it was tossed about 3 feet up the wall and all over the wall! Another cat had vomited while up on the countertop. The pile landed on the floor and they all must have run through it, then all over the room!
And no, I did not harm any kitten in any way, though I did re-think what I was doing fostering these nut-jobs!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. They look so innocent...ha ha ha ha ha!
If they weren't so darn CUTE and lovey-dovey, it would have been a lot harder to scrub the walls down at 7:30AM or not be tweaked to realized the bits of paper on the floor were actually cardboard that once belonged to the top of the box the baby scale is stored in. I could see tiny tooth impressions all over the box. One of them must have sat on the box and just gone to town, chomping and chewing the edges of the box. Really, just how bored are these guys?
Tonight I dropped way too much money on an automatic laser pointer thing. You turn it on and it wiggles a laster painter beam all over the place for about 15 minutes, then it shuts off. At least if I couldn't spend hours with the kittens, it would be something I could do for them a few times a day between feeding visits and lovey-dovey visits.
More than anything, I'd like to see these cats get adopted, even if secretly (okay not so secretly now) I would love it if they stayed here (but don't I always say that?). They're so marvelous I know anyone who meets them would love them right away. Wednesday I'm taking them to a photo studio to meet Chris from Greengirlz and to star in a photo shoot! I thought our Holiday Card should have something to do with having a White Christmas, but after what I've seen these cats do, I just wonder how wise it is to take them somewhere with a backdrop they can climb and props they can chew. I'm glad Chris is a Professional Pet Photographer. Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too. They're cats. Professional or not, cats are going to be cats. Good luck with wrangling them, Chris! I'm going to just stand back and watch you work!
I wonder if we should just be happy if we can get a photo of them after they're exhausted from ripping apart the studio? Gee, I sure wish I had a video camera all of a sudden.
Tomorrow...part two...Bobette and Family arrive and with them more questions about Bobette's limping and what we can do to help her. Oh yeah, and I didn't even tell you about MY FIRST SPAY, the companion to MY FIRST NEUTER. That is a fun story. Oh yeah...yikes!
The more I work and live with cats, the more I realize how little I know. After years of fostering and having a house full of cats, you'd think I'd be an expert, but today I learned yet another valuable lesson.
At the beginning of my rescue career, I volunteered with a rescue group in southern Connecticut. I did some design work for their events and eventually began to naively foster cats, as well. After all these years, I have no interest in bashing how they do what they do, but I can say that it was very tough to get my foster cats adopted once they came to my home. Now that I have to approve applications for my group, Kitten Associates, I realize how difficult it is to find just the right adopter...but I also don't let my cats languish in foster care for YEARS, which was a common occurrence back in those days.
©2003 Robin A.F Olson. Gracie with Annabelle, Scooter Pie and Petunia.
My first foster cat was Spencer and he's our CiCH Mascot . When he joined the family, I only had two cats and one had just passed away. On Christmas of 2003 Spencer's adoption was formalized. It was a meaningful adoption because not only did I help rescue this cat, but now he would be mine for the rest of his life.
The next cats I fostered were an abused mama cat and her three newborn kittens. Two of the kittens were confident, playful, easy to love. They got adopted together, but their sister, didn't show well and would run off and hide. I didn't understand at the time that I should have shown her in a small room where she couldn't hide. She was perfectly friendly with me, but in a big room with loud people talking away, no wonder she ran off.
Since applications weren't coming in and I was still quite the sucker for taking in cats, I said I'd just keep her. What the heck. Her Mother wasn't getting any interest because she was an adult already, so I kept her, too. I felt like I didn't have any other options at the time. Their adoption wasn't very meaningful.
Those cats are Gracie and Petunia.
I don't often write about Petunia. She's 8 1/2 years old now and I'm reluctant to admit, is not my favorite cat. She pees around the house some times. She's neurotic. She gets attacked by Spencer, Blitzen and now, even the DOOD. I've taken her to the Vet MANY times; dealt with any health issues as they come up. I spoke with a cat behaviorist. I tried homeopathy. I changed things around in the house so Petunia would have a place where she could feel safe, but I was always bitter about all the fuss I had to make over her when all she did was flip out over the littlest thing, drool on me if I petted her and sneak attack some of the cats while they slept (because they attacked her when she was awake).
Over the years I've come to resent her being here. She just causes trouble. I HATE that I have to admit this and I feel very guilty. I never should have kept her. I didn't have that bond I had with her siblings or her mother. I felt like I got stuck with her and I've been trying to make the best of it ever since.
Even though it was right in front of me, I couldn't see the good things about her; the way she would “talk” to me if I talked to her. she could do some tricks, she loved to play if she could be on her own to do so, she really loved me, but I was indifferent. How cruel I have been.
I considered re-homing her. She wasn't happy here. We weren't happy she was here, but her mother, Gracie, has to be with her. They are far too bonded for me to separate them now. Gracie is skittish and has health issues. Who would want these two cats?
So Sam and I made an concerted effort to be kinder to Petunia and she did respond, but the same group of male cats kept going after her! We would yell, try to break it up, but every night this would go on and the stress on ALL of us was not good.
©2008 Robin A.F Olson. The girls.
Then I met up with a friend of mine who is also a cat writer. Her name is Wendy Christensen and she's the author of MANY books about cats. She's also an artist and jewelry designer. Her ETSY page is HERE and HERE are illustrations and some of her books.
Wendy told me that she had a similar problem-male cats going after her female. She took her cats to the vet. The vet couldn't find anything wrong. He kept thinking about this seemingly mysterious problem, some might call it Pariah cat, where one cat seemingly for no reason gets picked on by the other cats in the home. After all I've read on the subject, my short comment about that is I'm not sure it's a fair description or even that it exists at all (more on why another time).
He called Wendy and asked her to bring her female cat in to have its' anal glands expressed. He had a theory that if the glands were very full that the cat might give off an offensive odor that made the male cats react to.
Sure enough-the cats glands were full up. He expressed them and the cat stopped getting attacked!
Once I heard that, I knew I had to try it. Now, remember, Petunia is NOT easy to handle. She overreacts to getting her claws trimmed. It would not be easy to get her to the Vet, but it had to be done.
This morning I took 'Tunie to see Dr. Larry. Because I know that a small, dark place helps cats feel safe, I kept Petunia in a covered cat carrier and tried to keep her very quiet until it was exam time.
Dr. Larry and I discussed what was going on. He agreed that anal glands could give off scent that the males went after. He also confirmed something else I'd heard-that cats with urinary tract infections/issues can also emit an odor that other cats can smell. Petunia has had UTI issues, but was currently clear of them. I had to hope, which sounds weird, that her anal glands were full up.
I asked Dr. Larry if we could turn off the overhead lights, then keep Petunia covered during his exam. By the dim light from under the cabinets, Vet tech Amber held Petunia's scruff and Dr. Larry went to work at the other end.
We all kept quiet or just told Petunia it was “okay” and that she was a “good girl.” 'She was fairly relaxed until Dr Larry hit the right anal gland. Petunia started to writhe and screech. I asked Dr. Larry if he could take a break and he replied that once you start, you have to finish. He worked quickly. I couldn't see if he was expressing anything or not. If it did smell badly-which it should, I wouldn't have known. The day before a dog had come into the clinic. He was bitten by a SKUNK and BLASTED by the same! The whole clinic smelled like skunk a day later.
In a few minutes, the procedure was done. Petunia relaxed and Amber and I both petted her and told her she was such a good girl! She reacted so well. Normally she would have been climbing the wals, but this time she was calm. I realized that how I treat her definitely affected how she responded at the Vet. Keeping the lights low; keeping things quiet-that really did wonders.
I couldn't wait to hear the results. Did she or didn't she?
Dr. Larry described that normally expressing the anal glands results in a watery brownish discharge. Petunia's was black, thick and tarry-and very difficult to express. It's VERY LIKELY that Petunia has been in quite a bit of pain for a VERY LONG TIME.
On one hand I was thrilled at the news, but on the other hand I felt very guilty and ashamed. My poor cat-all this time I've been thinking she's a royal nuisance and I wished I could just re-home her. I was tired of all the fights and her screaming in the middle of the night. Maybe a lot of what was going on had to do with the fact that she was in PAIN and that she smelled bad to the male cats.
I took the back road home, driving slowly along the river. The sun was brightly shining and I pulled the cover off Petunia's cat carrier and glanced over at her. She didn't make a sound. She rubbed against my finger when I pushed it through an opening on the side of the cat carrier. I told her again what a good girl she was and for the first time in a long time, I believed what I was saying. I felt real affection for her and real hope, too, that maybe, just maybe she was on the road to a better life.
When we got home, instead of running off in a frenzy, she jumped on the sofa and laid down in the sun. I checked on her a few hours later. She was still there. Normally, if she saw me, she'd sit up on alert, ready to run off. This time I could see contentment in her eyes. She was relaxed and happy. I reached out to pet her and she rubbed her head on my hand, again, instead of running off.
©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Petunia this afternoon.
I sat on the loveseat a few feet away from her. I saw Blitzen come over to her. Normally he'd sniff at her, then do this strange sort of dance where he'd rub his head against the leg of the table, then in a few moments, charge Petunia and corner her somewhere. This time he just sniffed at the air, then seemed to change his mind. He walked away.
I don't know if we've solved the problem. It's way too early to tell and I don't know if the cats are so used to going after Petunia that they'll still do it or if she has other issues we haven't yet discovered.
What I do know is I love my cat and I'm so very sorry. I'm sorry for her pain and her unhappiness. I've always felt she deserved a better home and maybe now she'll have one here.
So many people say to me that they wish they could do cat rescue, but just don't have the space or time or funds or the secret power-of-letting-go when the foster cat gets adopted to be able to do it. But you DID just take part in a cat rescue! How does it feel?
Two days ago I posted about Barney & his sister Bella. Barney is a smart cat and somehow figured out he could flush the toilet. In fact, he seems fascinated by the sound, the swirling water, the sheer power of cause and effect. My post could have simply been to point out this cat's quirky talent and leave it at that, but sadly Barney and Bella were facing a trip to the Kill shelter because their mama, who's in the Coast Guard, got transferred to New Orleans and at the last minute, the family member who offered to take the cats, backed out, leaving her in quite the jam.
Bella and Barney, two VERY LUCKY CATS.
With no resources to help her cats, and a looming deadline to meet, she was faced with the only other option-to relinquish the cats to the local Kill shelter. Thankfully, before she did that she turned to our own Maria's, mama, who lives in Virginia and knows Barney & Bella's owner. Mama-Bobby told her friend that her daughter, Maria did cat rescue and she would ask her for help.
I get calls and emails every day about cats needing help. I wish I could promote each one. Many, you never hear about, but behind-the-scenes I try to help them, as well. When Maria asked if I could post about Barney & Bella I admit that her request gets my attention. She's caring for our Pumpkin Patch family. How can I say no? Toilet-flushing-guru-cat or not, I had to help.
This is what I LOVE about the internet. I did “my part” to help save these cats. I just wrote up a blog post. It took a few hours, getting details right, posting the video, asking all of you to just help me get let everyone in Virginia know, that these cats sure could use some help.
Of all the posts I've written, this one was re-tweeted and shared on Facebook with wild abandon. As I tapped my few connections in Virginia, others tapped their friends and rescue contacts, too. SO MANY PEOPLE shared this information, that what we hoped would happen, DID.
The RIGHT people saw the posts; the people who can do their part of a cat rescue. One woman offered to donate money to cover the costs of Barney & Bella's vetting. She couldn't foster them or adopt, but she did her part. Both kittens are in dire need of being spayed/neutered. They were snap tested for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia. They are negative for both! Maria's mama is going to make sure they get their surgery done on Friday and will keep them at her house to recover for the night. She is doing her part!
Then Kim Harkin posted a plea for help on the Facebook Page for King Street Cats, in Alexandria, VA. They are Alexandria VA's only free-roaming no-kill cat orphanage! 100% volunteer-run and Kim is one of their foster moms. She got the OK to take them into the King's program on Saturday! How did Kim find out about these cats? She said she thought she found the info on the No Kill Ohio Facebook page (I looked but didn't see a post there so we aren't sure who to thank for the post that caught Kim's attention)!
According to Petfinder, KSC already has 47 cats in their program. Asking them to take on two more is a lot to ask. As a THANK YOU to them, I'm going to share a few photos of their Adoptable cats. Make sure you visit their pages to see more if you live in the Alexandria, VA area and want to add to your kitty-family.
Meet Harper Lee. What a cutie-patootie!
This is Midnight. She and her brother, Scamp, a tuxedo, are hoping to find a home together!
Lenore has been waiting for 8 months to find a home. She's 10 years old, tiny and though initially too stressed to be sweet, her foster home says she's starting to snuggle up. Lenore needs a place where she can blossom. Let's find her that special home.
King Street looks like a great refuge for Barney & Bella until they find their forever home. Since they're be in foster care to start, Barney will have a new toilet to flush!
Well done, everyone! Well done!
LOCATION WASHINGTON, D.C./VA Area
Bella, left and brother Barney, right.
Barney and his sister, Bella, are bright, friendly and sweet cats. They are 10 months old and NOT spayed/neutered yet. The woman they live with is in the Coast Guard and has been transferred to New Orleans. She had a place for the cats to go, locally, but it fell through. We have TWO DAYS to find a rescue to take them or a family to offer to adopt them.
Barney with a cute smudge of color near his right eye.
Barney is VERY smart. He figured out how to flush the toilet! If you wanted to take a step forward and toilet train him, he's be a great candidate! Sadly, Barney is not smart enough to be able to help get himself out of this terrible predicament---and he faces a sad fate if we can't help him.
I don't have a great deal of information, but what I did get is from a trusted source.
Barney, looking for a miracle.
• The kittens have a $100.00 sponsorship towards their vet care.
• Transport CAN be arranged. There are folks in the area who will drive the cats to you or your NO-KILL Shelter---even out of state!
• SHELTER FOLKS-REALLY... TAKE THESE TWO CATS! THE VIDEO, ALONE, OF BARNEY SHOULD BE ENOUGH TO GET YOU ADOPTERS QUICKLY!!
If you're with a licensed no-kill shelter or are a kind-hearted soul who is looking to adopt, here's the contact information:
PLEASE SHARE, TWEET & CROSS-POST. TIME IS RUNNING OUT! THANK YOU!!!
In this morning's email was a familiar plea for help from Henry County Care & Control: “Please save even just one.” I knew we were full up, responsible for almost 20 cats, with me being the sole foster home. My heart ached as it always does, looking at the photos of each cat who is desperate to be rescued. I looked at the photos and saw that each of the cats in need were easily adoptable. I tried to think of what I could do to help. I could get the word out and beg for some rescue groups to step up, but it may only help one or two cats when it's all said and done. I'm so frustrated. I hate feeling like there's nothing I can do to help.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Just one of the kitties who needs to be rescued!
I wish they could all get rescued.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, perhaps it's reasonable to wish for a miracle, then not be surprised when one happens. It's a time to reach out to others with open arms, not looking for anything in return. A simple act of generosity, can go a long way to heal hearts and give hope for better days to come.
What I didn't expect was that a miracle would happen today and the size and scope of the miracle, knocked me off my feet.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. ALL THESE KITTIES ARE SAFE!
THANK YOU, SAM!!!!!!!!
What Sam was able to do is a DREAM of mine. One day I hope I can do the same thing-clean out a shelter and rest for a moment, knowing so many lives don't have to come to a premature and cruel end. I think about Betsy Merchant and Gerri Yoder, and the rest of the staff at HCC&C who work so tirelessly to help save the lives of cats and dogs. They must be jumping for joy right now!
Not only did Sam SAVE the lives of these cats, but she just gave the ones yet to arrive, more time to find a home. If the shelter isn't packed full of cats, then there's hope more will find homes, too. I know that as soon as these cats leave, more will take their places. It's a never ending cycle, but at least, for these cats Thanksgiving came a few days early, but really, just in time.
Oh and please tell them that Robin from Covered in Cat Hair sent you!