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Bobette-Three Weeks After Surgery

I have to admit I didn't feel very hopeful about Bobette's future. In fact I had a lot of doubt that she'd end up being able to keep her leg. Although the sutures are gone, there are no more antibiotics to take, and her fur has started to grow back; she walks with a pronounced limp.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Ho-hum. Bobette doesn't know I'm about to put her in a cat carrier. Hee hee!

I finally got brave enough to touch Bobette's leg. I carefully ran my fingers along the velvety surface where I thought her kneecap should be and I felt a small, sharp object under the skin. I flashed back to the surgery, watching Dr. Mixon digging into her leg. He used some sort of uber-nail-clippers to clip back some of Bobette's bones and I think he said he was making her a new knee cap. Was this what I was feeling, under the surface? Considering her limp, it made sense.

I began to doubt my judgement and curse myself for not spending the $2500.00 to have Bobette's surgery done by an Orthopedic surgeon. What was I thinking trying to save money and hope I could get away with it. Dr. Mixon is a General Practitioner, not a specialist.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Watch this lady zip around and…oops…rip into my HAND! Hilarity ensues…

Today I brought Bobette in for her re-check. Dr. Mixon asked me how she was doing and I glumly replied; “Well, not so good, her kneecap popped out and she is limping a lot.” Bobette was nervous and I had her under a towel as I updated the Vet. Dr. Mixon uncovered Bobette and looked at her leg, then a curious look crossed his face.

He had me hold her on her side so he could manipulate her leg. I told him about the thing I felt when I checked her leg and he shook his head.

“It's not her kneecap, it's the PIN I put into her leg to hold things in place. Her knee is just fine. In fact it's exactly where it should be.”

Dr. Mixon showed me how Bobette's leg is straight. It flexes normally, instead of being crooked. The knee is in place. As he admired the result, he added; “I'm a better surgeon than I thought!”

I just stood there in awe.

 

Bobette has function she's probably never had or only had for a short time in her life. She has to learn that she can bear weight on her leg and she needs more time to gain strength in the muscles. All in all, we couldn't have had a better result!

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Pondering her future.

Dr. Mixon removed the few remaining staples from her incision and I made an appointment for a month from now to have the pin removed from her leg. Until then the game plan is to get her moving more and playing. I'll be taking down the big dog crate that was once her home, throwing away the e-collar she wore for what seemed like an eternity, and getting a few new toys for her to chase.

The next thing we have to work on is to find out why Bobette doesn't seem to like her boys or any other cats, for that matter. After all this-to find out she has to be an only cat, is going to make her adoption very difficult, indeed.

King's Amazing Journey Continues on Four Paws

Over the years, I've fostered many cats and I believe, that for those of us who take this on, we get to a place where we specialize in the type of fostering we do. I know people who take neonatal, orphan kittens and with a very serious commitment to a schedule of feeding, cleaning and nurturing, help the kittens survive those delicate early days. There are others who focus on Feline Leukemia positive cats, giving them a chance to live a full life, for as long as it may be.

For myself, I seem to take on mama-cats and their offspring. I don't know if I have the chops for bottle feeding kittens or the nerve to remain calm during the most trying of times, so I have the mamas there to take on the feedings and care and I step in when they're about four weeks old and help them make the transition to being socialized and ready for adoption.

I've never rescued a cat with a disability. I don't even know what the politically correct term for a cat who's missing his feet is called. Is he handicapped? Special? I don't know. I'm naive, but learning. I'm a bit uncomfortable and somewhat freaked out by seeing a cat without hind paws. It hurt my heart when I saw him take his first, stiff-legged steps. I wanted to turn away, but my desire to help him outweighed my own feelings.

I have other concerns, as well. Without a shelter, where adoptions of adults are easier to pull off, I'm wondering if having a disabled adult cat will be an even more long-term foster. Maize was here for 14 months and she had no physical issues. How long will this cat be with me? Am I crazy for rescuing him?

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©2012 Maria S. After a day in foster care, a bath and good food, King is looking much better already!

King has been in foster care for six days. In that short time he's surprising us at every turn. If we have a concern, he proves us wrong. If we have a worry, he gives us a lovey-dovey look and “makes muffins” on the bolster of his cat bed. It's easy to forget there are any challenges with this cat.

King is NOT feral or semi-feral or skittish. He must have gotten a lot of attention from the workers at the Palette factory because this cat has no wild beast lurking in his heart. King is all about LOVE.

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©2012 Maria S. Yes! King does his business just where we hoped he would.

King is NOT incontinent as we first feared. After passing the first day living indoors, Maria found King urinated all over his bed and the floor. He'd used his litter pan for moving his bowels but not urinating. We discussed it and thought we'd make sure the Vet would check him for neurological issues related to his back legs-which may have effected his ability to control his output. Another day passed and Maria found that King was using his litter pan properly, though with a bit of difficulty getting in and out of it so she made some adjustments.

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©2012 Maria S. At the Vet, is King stressed out? No way!

The second Vet we took King to did an exam, but only after all the staff held, petted and cooed over King who was more than happy to get the attention! King's legs were x-rayed. The Vet felt it was likely his legs were deformed and this was not abuse. I think Maria and I were both relieved to hear that, but were also at a loss-NOW WHAT DO WE DO FOR KING?

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©2012 Maria S. Little tux cat on a little green bed.

The Vet was going to reach out to her peers to see if there was a specialist we could meet with-someone whose focus is on orthopedic issues. I also spoke with a woman in Texas who works with handicapped cats and she told me to forget trying a cart because cat's just don't like those. Dogs can use them, but cats, with their independent nature, need to feel free (and how does the cat use the litter pan in a cart?). I asked her about orthopedic devices and the answer, again, was the same. If you can get the cat to wear something, they get rubbed raw, they have to be adjusted all the time and frankly we'd be better off looking into a padded bootie to keep King's paws protected…AND to keep him on a carpeted surface.

Maria tried a soft dog bed under King and he took a few steps. He didn't get up much and after just a day of being alone while Maria was a work, King took a turn for the worse. Maria called me, worried that King was getting sick. He was eating ok, but was very “flat;” a sure sign something is brewing.

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©2012 Maria S. Alone for the first time, King begins to sink into depression.

That night Maria's cat, Kahlua, scratched at the door to the foster room. Though I warned her not to allow King to meet her other cats so soon, Maria went with her instincts and opened the door slightly. She said that once King looked up and saw her cat it was like a light was turned on in King's eyes. When he saw Kahlua, he stood up and tried to walk over to her.

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©2012 Maria S. King begins to enjoy his life living indoors.

Maria allowed Kahlua into the room. What happened next blew us both away. Thankfully, Maria got some video of the meeting. I won't spoil it by saying more. Just watch and see…


©2012 Maria S. Prepare to be amazed…

It was obvious that King needed a friend. Sadly, Kahlua couldn't stay in the foster room with King all day. She just wouldn't like being away from Maria's other cats. The solution was very simple, IF it worked…have Miss Fluffy Pants join King!

Miss Fluffy Pants still lives outdoors at the Palette factory. Bobby made sure she had food over the weekend, but he told me that she would rather be petted than eat. Each day she lives at the plant, is another day we risk losing her to an accident or predation. We realize time is ticking, but we also have to factor in that Miss FP could be sick or carrying fleas, ticks, ear mites, etc. We must get her vetted FIRST before she can be in Maria's house-even if the cat is kept away from Maria's own cats. We can't risk sickening everyone.

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©2012 Maria S. This is the third setup Maria tried with King. It seems to work well for him as long as he has carpeting under his paws.

Then there's the other question-one I have to tread lightly talking about. Bobby thinks Miss FP might be pregnant. Of course that's likely to be the case considering King wasn't neutered, why would Miss FP be spayed? It's very difficult to tell if a cat is pregnant until they are quite far along and the Vet could feel their heads.

This is where I get stuck like a deer caught in headlights. What do we do for Miss FP?

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©2012 Bobby Stanford. The only photo I have of Miss FP-and I just found out she's BLACK, not gray!

Something I didn't know about until just a few years ago that most rescues spay-abort pregnant females. Cat overpopulation is a very serious matter that effects all 50 states and each additional kitten being born takes away a family who might have adopted another cat who is already on death row at a kill shelter or digging for scraps on the street. I'm a very passionate advocate for spay/neuter laws and legislation and, in fact, it's part of my rescue group's mission statement to support this issue.

That said…I foster kittens all the time. If they're already in the “oven” and I can provide care for them and find them homes, I have a very very hard time taking those unborn lives. I realize this is a very hot topic, especially if I were talking about humans, but humans can make choices for themselves and I'm not going to take a stand about those choices one way or another. This is about cats. Cats don't have a choice. I was also told that spay-aborting really messes up the mom-cat's hormones…but if this were done for Miss FP, then we could place her with King and IF they recognize each other and are friends it's a win-win for them, but that's a lot of IF's.

If we allow Miss FP to have her kittens, then what happens to her? Where do we foster her and can Maria take that on? I doubt the kittens can be near King, though he is so friendly, perhaps they could be in the same room. I talked to a rescue friend of mine about this and she blurted out; “What if Miss Fluff is King's mom and she has more disabled kittens?” THANKS KATHERINE!

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©2012 Maria S. No more starving, dirty cat, now a proper gentle cat who'll one day have a forever family.

The short answer is-Bobby needs to verify that MISS FP IS A FEMALE, first. On Tuesday he'll take her to the Clinic to get snap tested. If she tests negative/negative they'll do an exam and determine what's going on. Then she'll either be spayed or she won't. If I take a big step back and try not to be emotional about it then I don't feel I should interfere in Miss FP's motherhood. It's not as if I'm breeding her and I've spayed or neutered every single cat I've ever rescued, so maybe that offset letting one cat have a litter or maybe I'm just fooling myself?

I can try to rationalize it all I want, but in the end it's going to be very difficult to find the right answer.

In the meantime, I'll start hoping that Miss FP is a boy.

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THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO JUMPED AT THE CHANCE TO DONATE TO KING'S CARE & TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT HIS STORY. BECAUSE OF YOU WE COULD BUY KING A HEATED CAT BED, A RUG, FOOD & LITTER AND PAY FOR HIS BLOOD WORK AND X-RAYS AND WE WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE COSTS TO PAY FOR A CONSULT WITH A SPECIALIST BECAUSE THAT'S COVERED, TOO.

As soon as I have a better idea of what King will need, in total, I will adjust down our ChipIn goal. If you still want to help with King's care, because he may need more tests, perhaps orthopedic booties and transport to CT, just use the ChipIn widget in the right column, near the top of the page. Yes, that donation IS tax deductible!

 

Bob's Pumpkin Patch: A Fond Farewell & Surprising Return

While Bobette recovers from surgery, her boys have had some interesting adventures. Sadly, I had to separate them from her because she was very agitated with them in the same room. Since she arrived in Connecticut a few months ago, she hasn't been all that thrilled with them being around so it's better they're in their own space.

As you may recall, Teddy Boo was adopted at the very end of last year. He went to a newlywed couple who had a giant, 2 year old Great Dane named, Roxy, who “forgot her training” when she saw little Teddy running around (meaning, Teddy was in danger of to becoming a snack). They felt, and I strongly agreed, that Teddy should be returned to us to be re-homed. You can read more about Teddy's return HERE.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mikey on the eve of his departure.

Teddy's return ended up being perfect timing for Jakey. You see, Jakey was all alone, miserable and not eating after the suprising and sudden adoption of his brother, Mikey!

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Last year I got an application for Mikey from a woman in Massachusetts. It was an amazing application, followed by an amazing Vet reference. I didn't worry too much that it was an out-of-state adoption partly due to the “wonderfulness” of the application, but also because we've had a very good track record with Tweetie and Chester, who also live with equally awesome families in neighboring towns. Maybe there's something in the water in MA that grows great cat parents?

Sadly, a few days later she changed her mind. She and her husband had just gone through a very bad adoption where the rescue group had lied about the cat's age, saying it was a kitten when it was a few years old. The cat's health was also in question. The couple ended up spending a great deal of money to provide care for the cat from the day she arrived. In the end, the cat, now healthy, was returned to the rescue, because she was not what they had very clearly asked for-and even if that had been the only reason, she was not a good fit for their family. They didn't care about the money they spent. They wanted the cat to have the care she needed. If the rescue had been honest, they would have chosen another cat right off the bat. Now the husband was pushing back saying he was too distressed over what happened-of course-he had a bond with the cat, then had to give her up. He did not want to trust another rescue group. I didn't blame them at all and felt responsible for proving to them that all rescues were not like that and assured them that I run a very transparent operation. Lying never works. It always comes back to bite you in the ass. I was very disappointed that the adoption fell through. This would have been a great home.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey asks; “Would you please adopt me?”

I got other applications on the Pumpkin patch boys, but none were a good fit. I kept hoping we'd get something in that just seemed right to me, had good Vet references and weren't going to be gone all day. These boys wouldn't do well if left alone for 8 or 10 hours a day. It was a lot to ask, but I decided to wait it out and hope for the best. It's always a risk to wait because the kittens grow so quickly and were already growing out of their super-cute-kittenhood-size.

Just after Bobette had her surgery, I got an email. I recognized the name, but couldn't quite recall who it was. Her note was short. “We're ready to adopt. By any chance, is Mikey still available? Please say YES!” It was Tereza. The woman who had written me over a month before-my dream adopter!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mr. Handsome-Jakey posing for the camera.

I said yes, he was here, but with Teddy gone that I really wanted Jakey to go with Mikey if possible. Tereza and her husband already have two other ginger cats and only wanted a third. I almost let the adoption fall through, but I realized that Mikey would not be alone, he'd have other kitty buddies and he's have a great home where he'd have everything he needed. As I considered letting Mikey go on his own, Tereza started to email me photos of her home and her cats-reassuring me Mikey needed to be with her family-that she felt it was “meant to be.” Perhaps this is something that might sound odd to most people, but I had a tickle in my gut that agreed with her assessment. Maybe it WAS meant to be?

I'd have to work out how to manage Jakey being alone. After thinking about it for a few hours, I wrote back and said YES, they could adopt Mikey.

It took a few days to get Mikey back to Dr. Mixon for yet another health certificate (his third), but by that evening, Tereza and her husband, Larry had driven down to meet Mikey. It was clear from Tereza's emails that she couldn't wait to get here.

Tereza works for an International Non-Profit Organization. Their mission is to “engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education in order to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment.” Between driving a few hours to my home after a long day at work, she still had to make a call to China at 8pm to talk to them about how they're handling their baby panda program! WHAT?! Oh yes, and she'd probably be traveling to China to, you know…MEET THE BABY PANDAS! (Please stuff me in your suitcase!). Suddenly, I wished I'd combed my hair or put on makeup or even shoes.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Pumpkin Patch Boyz. Teddy (left), Mikey (Center) and Jakey (right).

Tereza's had the sort of life you read about in books. Since I don't know what's okay to talk to you about and what's not, let's just say that she's been to 193 countries-are there that many? And she's seen the worst in humanity, but somehow still smiles and has a love for helping others—especially animals. Yeah, I have a crush on her! Who wouldn't?

Then out of left field, comes Larry. Larry is Tereza's husband. Larry called me from the car to let me know they were about 30 minutes away. I remembered that the street sign was stolen (again) and when I warned him about it, he replied; “Well, there's no way we did it.”

I was so focused on preparing for their arrival, I didn't even realize he was joking with me. I'd find out a few minutes later that Larry was not at all what I expected.

The couple arrived carrying a HUGE soft sided cat carrier. Inside it was a plush cat bed and a toy. I think if I cut my legs off I would have fit inside there pretty easily and been more than comfortable, if you don't count the gorey part about my legs not being included.

They we're both dressed very nicely. It made me want to hide under a sheet. One of them smelled very good. I'm guessing it was Tereza. She also had a very blingy-sparkly wedding/engagement band set that was dripping with diamonds, but of course I didn't notice.

I showed them around and they met a few of my cats, but I realized they were in a hurry so I brought them upstairs to the foster room. Before they arrived I moved Bobette out. Sam was holding her in our bedroom. Jakey was in the bathroom by himself so they'd only see Mikey when they entered the foster room. We walked into the room and Mikey meowed and I picked him up. I put him into Tereza's arms and he started to purr. I said “here's your cat” and that was pretty much it. Larry said the room smelled like monkey butt, which made me sad that he knows what a monkey's butt smells like. Tereza chastised him, understanding that a closed up, small room with a litter pan in it-even if I scoop it out a few times a day, may not smell the best. Larry had a twinkle in his eye-even if he was telling the truth, he clearly was enjoying himself.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tereza, Mikey & Larry. And this is what I look for in every adopter's face when they look at their kitten-that GLOW that says; “YES, You're the one for me!”

Normally I don't push ANY cat on an adopter, but this time I didn't even worry about it. We left the monkey-butt room and went downstairs to fill out the paperwork. Jakey started to cry and Tereza started to feel badly. Part of me wished they'd have a change of heart, but this was one thing I would never do-if they want one cat, they get one cat. Once in awhile adopters change their mind, but this time was not one of those times. I reminded Tereza that although it might be difficult on Jakey, that I would get him a great home, too and not to feel badly.

Meanwhile, Larry is telling me he used to write jokes for J.J. Walker, the guy on Good Times, remember that show? But wait…Larry has a PHd in something fancy and important and he worked for Pfizer-where my parents met and fell in love and because of that company, I'm here before you today. Later I found out that Tereza's Mother and my Mother have the exact same birthday. I told her not to tell me anything else because I'm wondering if we are related somewhere, somehow. I really clicked with these awesome people and was very sad they had to leave not long after they arrived.

I packed up Mikey, giving him a kiss before he left and bid the couple a fond farewell. Tereza and Larry will be renaming him, Churchill, or Churchy, since Tereza is veddy British, tut, tut!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey (left) reunited with his brother, Teddy (right)

That night I got an email from Teddy's family stating they wanted to return him. It would mean that Jakey would only have to spend 24 hours alone, then he'd be reunited with his other brother. This was all going to work out just fine. Maybe Tereza was right? It was meant to be all along.

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 3 of 3

Only warning here is a “Frakenstein” suture in one photo. You should be OK to look?!

While I had my complete-black-out-nap, my phone rang. It was on the table in my office. I didn't hear it ring. If I had, I would have answered the call. It was none other than “Cat Daddy,” Jackson Galaxy. I awoke to discover a voice mail from him, which of course made me swoon with glee. Through the fog of the nap, I tried to activate my over-stressed brain so I could call him back.

My words got caught up in my mouth, but somehow I managed to have a somewhat logical conversation with “the man.” Initially I called to discuss a secret thing with him, but we veered off topic and started to talk about cats. Even though I spend 99% of my day doing something with, to or for cats, talking with Jackson was pure delight. He told me how thrilled he was for all the support he got for the Premiere of “My Cat From Hell” and that the ratings SHOCKED the folks at Animal Planet. Not only did MCFH do well, it BEAT OUT ALL THE OTHER SHOWS for the entire 4th Quarter of last year!

Now we just have to help Jackson keep it up…her hee..so to speak.

As we spoke, Jackson, graciously offered up an idea that will be a surprise I'll be sharing with you in a week.

 

There's a lot going on behind-the-scenes here and I'm excited to start sharing some of the big news!

 

But what about Bobette?!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Drugged up. Not happy and wanting OUT!

Bobette got out of her e-collar and ripped out her IV at the Vet. She was a “bad” patient. I was supposed to pick her up in the morning, but I ended up not getting her until well into the afternoon. Before she left I had to help hold her down so her leg could be bandaged up again. Dr. Mixon had to use many layers to wrap her leg so it would stay in one position for the next 12 days (or years as it's been feeling like). She complained and growled during the bandaging, clearly she did NOT care to be touched and who could blame her?

Also, Bobette was being given Buprenex, which made her pupils dilate and act very lovey-dovey, but was too weak to stand. I got her home and awkwardly positioned her into her crate. Of course she started to cry and roll around. I begged her to sit still and rest. She was very agitated and, I'm sure in a lot of pain. I felt about one inch tall.

I covered her crate and let her rest, but the second I got downstairs to my office, I heard her banging around on the floor above. I went up and checked on her. She'd made a big mess of her cage. I straightened everything out and left her to rest. Again she started banging around. This went on for a good hour. I was to the point of losing my mind. I already felt bad even looking at her, but I quickly realized she couldn't even use her litter pan. She was just too weak and I was irritated that I had to keep running up to check on her every few minutes. How was I ever going to get any work done? I know that's selfish but I have to make a living!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. First night-bandage is coming off already. Now what to do?

I helped her get into the pan, realizing the sides were way too high. I held her, hoping she would do her thing, but she just wriggled away and I freaked out thinking she was going to break her leg again. I tried to carefully put her down, but she fought me and fell over. She just rolled around, not able to get into any position that would quiet her down. I felt completely overwhelmed, not having a clue as to how to properly care for a cat in such a sad state. This was nothing like caring for a cat with an upper respiratory infection.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette is such a good girl as we assess what to do about fixing the bandage on her leg.

Then I noticed her bandage. It was slipping down her leg. She was going to be able to bend her knee, if she didn't do so already. I called out to Sam, asking him to help me with her. I ran into the bathroom, looking frantically for some first aid tape. We had about an inch left in the container. I gently tried to pull Bobette's bandage up, but she screamed in pain. I started to cry and shake. I didn't know what to do. Dr. Mixon's office was closed.

I asked Sam to go the store and get more tape and anything else that would work. It's just a bandage. We can deal with this. I held Bobette in my lap, careful that her injured leg would fall over my knee. She calmed down some, but the adhesive on her e-collar was coming off. Oh boy, what luck.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette in her tiny recovery “suite.”

We tried in vain to repair the bandage, but nothing stuck to her fur. I was beyond worried and in truth, I flipped out. Looking back on it, I realize I had PMS. Oh joy. That always helps me be calm, damn it!

It was nearly midnight the first night Bobette was home. Sam and I decided to take her to the Emergency Vet to re-do the bandage. They told me the cost for an exam was $90.00 IF we got there BEFORE midnight and $145.00 if we got there AFTER midnight. Are you kidding me? I asked for a rescue discount and they did not provide one. Nice. It was going to cost almost as much to re-do her bandage as it did to do the SURGERY!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally, some rest after a long few days.

We got to the ER at 12:02am. The woman who met us at the door, looked at her watch and said with a mischievous smile; “Just midnight now. Good timing.”

An HOUR later, Bobette finally had her bandage adjusted. We decided to just get it so it would stay on during the night because the other option was to sedate her and re-do the bandage completely, which odds were, she would just shake it off anyway; plus it was going to put the total damage to $400.00!

The Vet replaced just the top portion of the bandage and Bobette relaxed in her crate. We drove home in silence. I imagined this was the beginning of a complete nightmare of trying to keep her from undoing the bandaging and ruining any chance she had for the repair to heal.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is how you fall in love with your foster cat.

I also realized that her crate was too big. She needed to be confined to a smaller space that forced her to either sit on a cat bed or use the litter pan and that was it…and the litter pan's sides were far too high. I needed something with barely an edge on it. Fortunately we had a large baking sheet that fit the bill. And no, I am not going to re-use it after Bobette heals up! Really? Do you really think I would do that?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This is your cat on drugs.

I got everything set up in a new crate. Bobette flopped over. We left. It was about 2am and I was going to get up in a few hours, but I passed out cold and slept until 8am. I was afraid to look in on Bobette.

She was sitting in her crate, looking at me. She cried. She hadn't made to much of a mess. She was still goofy from being drugged up. Her bandage was still on and so was her e-collar. She has to be held in someone's lap to be fed, so Sam volunteered. We took off her e-collar so she could reach her food. She didn't eat very well for a few days, but she did eat.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. No more drugs on board!

Sam kept her company while I tended to clean up and providing for whatever Sam needed. I brought him his glasses, his book. I made coffee for him-anything to keep him in the room. Bobette relaxed and later that night she slept during my turn to care for her. She passed out on the bed, the last of her drugs wearing off. I did me a lot of good to see her like that.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Stretching out on Sam.

The next few days were difficult, but not as bad. We developed a new routine. Sam and I both had to provide care for Bobette because one person had to hold her while the other cleaned up the many messes. Bobette's aim wasn't the best and I went through a box of “wee-wee” pads and had to do a lot of laundry. As Bobette began to feel better, I offered her a scratching pad which she eagerly dug into. It was very endearing to see her do something normal, only have to sit like a human to do it. I secured a small scratcher to her cage in case she would use it there, as well, but mostly we just give her “scratchy-time” during each break from her cage.

 


©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Scratchy time!

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. How to sit in a lap when your leg is bandaged.

What's really nice about this experience is that I've finally gotten to know Bobette. She's a doll. She has no problem sitting in my lap for hours. She purrs, eats well and her nasty contusions around the upper part of her bandage have healed. She loves Sam and I think the feeling is mutual. She also is a bit of a Houdini because she managed to get out of her e-collar for a few hours. Thankfully she picked at her bandage but didn't do much to it. It's still in place a week after it was re-worked. We only have three and a half MORE days to go until the bandage comes off. I cannot WAIT.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Watching crappy TV.

It's a lot of work and takes a lot of time to care for Bobette. I'm glad the worst days may be past us and I hope good days are to come. I had to remove Mikey and Jakey from the room early on. She just couldn't tolerate them any more and they were afraid of her. I don't often see a Mother react so angrily towards her offspring, but we must keep the peace, so the boys are in the bathroom for now…well..the boy…one of our Pumpkin Patch babies got adopted last night and one is coming back to us. It's all a bit of a mess, but it will be worked out.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Feelin' pretty good now!

It's late Friday and Bobette seems a little better every day and a little more accepting of having to wear the cone of shame and a clunky bandage on her leg. Dr. Mixon said there's no way to know if her leg is dying under that bandage. If it's too tight from re-bandaging, she will lose blood flow and lose the leg. The only way to know is to take off the bandage! So now, of course, I'm very worried. We can't take off the bandage, Bobette seems fine, but what is going on under that dressing? It was bad enough I had to worry that the surgery was a failure, but now what if her leg is useless? I don't believe I signed up for this. Nope.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette this morning.

 

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A week since the surgery-doing just fine.

I'm going to decide that her leg is all right. Walking may not be easy, but if her leg was necrotic, I really hope she'd show some signs of feeling lousy or crabby or something. For now she is sweet as can be and so easy to love. I want to provide the best for her and I hope I've made good choices to help that happen. Sam and I have a crush on this girl and we can't let her down.

It's like anything else. I just have to give it time. Bandages come off in two and a half more days..tick tock!

Bobette's Surgery & Post Op Life. Part 1 of 3

 

WARNING: THERE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF BOBETTE'S SURGERY IN PART TWO OF THIS POST. WHILE THEY ARE NOT CLOSE UP OR VERY GORY, PLEASE VIEW WITH DISCRETION.

 

THIS IS PART ONE SO YOU'RE SAFE.

It's rather ironic that there's so much going on in my life to write about, yet I don't have time to write any of it down. Meanwhile the days slip by and the details become a bit fuzzy around the edges.

Last week marked the first time I'd ever witnessed anything more than a spay surgery. It was time for Bobette to have surgery to (hopefully) correct her luxated patella. The poor girl couldn't walk without limping. Her kneecap was so far out of place it was a wonder she could run or jump at all. She mostly used her other legs for jumping and if she got really inspired to go after a toy, her back end would slip out from under her when she ran. Clearly, she needed help, but there was no guarantee she would ever walk normally again. Getting a kneecap back in place is one thing, but to get it to STAY in place is another.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's future home while she recovers with commentary from her boys, Jakey & Mikey.

There was much to do to prep for Bobette's life after surgery. Dr. Mixon, her Vet, wanted her to have cage rest for three weeks, so I got out my biggest dog crate and set it up, not realizing I was making a big mistake. I'd never had a cat with an invasive surgery on a limb to recover from-of course I'd cared for Bob after 1/2 of his liver was removed just a year ago, but all I had to do for him was make sure he was eating and staying quiet on his heated bed. With Bobette, I'd have to keep her from moving at all costs. I hated to lock her up in a cage, and force her to wear the “cone of shame,” but she had to rest.

In the first week, should Bobette be able to bend her leg at all, she would ruin the surgery and her kneecap would pop back out. We had to give it time to set in it's new position and that meant a lot of sitting around. For a year old cat, who wants to play, that was a lot to ask for.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The welcome committee at Dr. Mixon's practice. Look familiar?

The morning of the surgery I was feeling hopeful, but scared. I thought I'd be sitting in the waiting room until they finished up, but Dr. Mixon came out and asked me, or was it told me?, I should come back and see the surgery. My heart dropped into my pants. ME? Watch? Even though I watch all those ER “reality” shows on TV, I ALWAYS look away when they get into the gory surgery scenes. There was no looking away from this, but could I handle it without throwing up or fainting?

I didn't realize I'd have to help out, which is not a problem at all, especially considering Dr. Mixon was doing the surgery for about $2000.00 less than an Orthopedic surgeon would have charged. Dr. Mixon is a General Practitioner, not a specialist, but he admittedly enjoys doing orthopedic procedures and another friend said her dog did well after Dr. M. did a similar surgery on him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Last pets before surgery.

Bobette was sitting in her cat carrier, her pupils dilated. She hadn't had breakfast-of course-because anesthesia can cause the cat to vomit and you don't want her to aspirate anything into her lungs and get pneumonia. It's better not to have a full tummy (but you tell that to the cat!). Two days before we'd been in this same waiting room together, but only to get Bobette's pre-operative blood work done so we could make sure she'd be healthy enough for surgery. With three people holding her down, there was no way to get her blood, so we had to hope that being so young she'd be fine under anesthesia-this is not something I'm happy to report. I'm sure as we sat together, Bobette was getting very tense, probably reliving what happened those few days prior and I wondered if she'd become so fractious that we'd be able to do the surgery at all.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being given something to relax her a bit, Bobette and I share a few moments before her surgery prep begins.

I brought her into the back of the Practice and sat her on an exam table. The Vet tech was getting supplies ready and I asked her to walk me through what was going to happen next and what she'd want me to do. Mostly I had to just hold Bobette down and not lose any fingers in the process but I kept thinking' “I'm a Graphic Designer! I'm a Graphic Designer. I'm NOT A VET TECH! WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!”.

I took the lead and spoke very calmly to Bobette. I didn't restrain her very tightly. We were very quiet as we worked on her. It wasn't difficult at all to give Bobette a few shots. One was to relax her so we could insert the IV, which would be in place during surgery and provide her with fluids. The other was the dreaded Metacam, which I challenged Dr. M. on giving her because it's known to cause renal failure. He quickly pushed back and said it was safe if she was kept hydrated. I was really tweaked that he gave it to her after all I'd heard about it killing cats more than helping them, but what could I do? Now I'm thinking we'll have to do a post op-blood test to see if she's ok.

I held Bobette down so the Tech could insert an IV into her leg. I was really feeling like a traitor. Here is this sweet cat. I don't know her very well, but I still care about her. She's scared, drugged up and only at the beginning of what is going to be a very awful day. I couldn't blame Bobette as she pitched a fit and shrieked as the Tech tried to shave her front leg. Try as we might, we couldn't get her to settle down so it was decided she needed to be gassed so she would just konk out.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I will never look at another storage tub the same way again, ever. I was not a happy camper seeing this.

The Tech grabbed a plastic storage tub with holes cut into either end. One end was taped up and the other was open. She attached a hose to the open end, then had me place Bobette inside the bin. She barely fit. I started to realize maybe this is what they do to kill cats at shelters? I wanted to grab the box, get Bobette out and RUN for it. This just seemed inhumane, but what do I know about this---nothing other than it really bothered me to see this happening.

The Tech snapped down the lid and turned a dial allowing the gas to enter the box. Bobette didn't fuss at all and in a few minutes was slumped down, oblivious to the world around her. It's VERY UNNERVING to see an unconscious cat. They might as well be dead, because it's not much different. I kept wondering how anyone could do this to animals every day and not have nightmares each night.The Tech told me she was going to remove the lid FAST. I had to get Bobette out of the box, then run with the box into a back room and NOT BREATHE ANYTHING IN OR I WOULD PASS OUT, TOO.

YIKES!

I told her to do a countdown and on…“1” we jumped into action. I couldn't be distracted by Bobette being so limp. I put her down, grabbed the box and ran off, making sure the lid didn't come back off. I was weirdly tempted to open the lid and take a big sniff so I had a reason not to see the surgery, but I figured I would hit my head when I passed out, too. Probably not the best idea.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After being intubated, the IV is set. Bobette is completely out of it, thankfully.

Then began a very long process of preparing Bobette's leg for surgery. I kept wondering how long she could be unconscious without it doing her harm. The Tech asked me to adjust a light or hold something or get this or that. She began to shave Bobette and we discovered she has very odd fur. It grows in different directions and was difficult to trim down close to her skin. I noticed that Bobette has a tuft of fur on her neck that reminds me of Alfalfa from the Our Gang show (It's probably before your time, so here's a link )

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette gets a furcut.

Poor Bobette. I just wanted to take her home, but the surgery hadn't even begun. She looked so helpless laying on the table. I whispered to her that it was going to be okay. I hoped it wasn't a lie. A monitor nearby beeped every time her heart beat. As long as we heard the beep, she was okay.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Aww..Bobette!

Bobette's leg was wiped down a few times. Dr. Mixon saw what the Tech was doing and stopped her. She missed a spot on Bobett's leg right under the tape that held her leg in place. She had to shave it down and re-do all the antiseptic wipes, which again, Dr. Mixon corrected, making certain that the area where the sugary was being done was NOT getting wiped over twice. Even though it took a lot of time, I was glad he was a stickler for keeping things clean.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. iping down her leg. Make it nice and clean.

So far, so good. I was on my feet. I hadn't passed out. Okay, no blood yet, either. Sheesh! I got this far, I need some credit.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All set. What's next?

Bobette was fine so far. I was fine, too, but was glad I wasn't attached to a heart monitor because everyone would know just how scared I was. Bobette's monitor kept beeping along…beep…beep…beep.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Mixon begins his part of the prep work.

Then Dr. Mixon began draping Bobette with layers of cloth that would allow him to focus only on her leg and also to keep the surgical area cleaner. I kept thinking that surely he was done, but he'd add another layer. Then he slipped a small sock over Bobette's leg and cut a hole into it which was over the area where he'd be making the incision. After he created the opening, he quickly sutured around the edges of the opening so the fabric would stay in place. This was the final task he had before he could get started.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Paging Dr. Robin! Does this mask make my face look fat?

He was very focused and there was little talking. The only sound was the beeping of the monitor. Dr. Mixon looked up for a moment and said; “Now you know why these surgeries cost so much money.” And even before he made one cut, I understood. The prep work took at least an hour if not more. When he was done, Bobette the cat was gone and in her place was an alien leg sprouting from a field of pale green sterile sheets.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Where's Bobette?

…stay tuned for Part Two: SURGERY…next.

EMERGENCY FUNDRAISER FOR the DOOD!

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.

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©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.

 

I am terrified on a few fronts:

 

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.

Just use the Chipin above or to the right side bar if you can help. Thank you so much!!

Emergency Surgery for Jackson Galaxy (the cat)!

WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS, BELOW.

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.

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©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.

Jackson needed surgery right NOW.

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©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.

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©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.

Mazie's Amazing Journey.

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.”

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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?

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. MPolly doesn't want to share!

But what about Mazie? Where is her forever family?

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©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).

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©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.

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©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.

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©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!

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©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.

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©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.

Our Holiday Card, Bloodshed be Damned!

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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!

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©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!

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©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?

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©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!

Foster Cat Math Part Two: The Pumpkin Patch Arrives

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©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).

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©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?

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.”

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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?

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©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!

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