It's been a long. lousy week. Time to kick back and enjoy the antics of Fred and friends as they fly through the air or walk like a zombie. Either way it's what the doctor ordered-no bad news, no rush to rescue, just plain fun.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jet Propulsion engaged!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte leaps.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney makes a mad dash.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred tries it on tippy-toes.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred & Tater's first ballroom dance class.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Holding on for dear life.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred weird, Tater nuts.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beware of Zombies! (check out Barney in the background!)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I stand on your head!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zombie-Latte, beware! (could be a Halloween beverage at Starbucks?)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Look at Tater's expression! He's like that in a number of photos. (rear left)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte liftoff.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Please don't fart.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My Precious!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. OMG!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. And stretch, 1, 2, 3…
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying' Fred!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Zero gravity.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater in disbelief.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeeee!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater attempts liftoff but is foiled by big belly.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Flying's fun, but now it's time to nap.
Sweet dreams fearless flyers!
I’m compelled to move forward, as a Buddhist might say, as a pebble in the stream. The water pushes me and I am unable to resist the force. I may get caught up against larger rocks or deeper pools along the way, but the water continues to flow around me, urging me onward, freeing me for a time until I get caught up again.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney growing up fast.
After Kissy’s passing a few days ago, I felt stuck, unwilling to go on. I’ve felt the same way after other cats have died and even more so when I lost my parents. It seemed cruel to me that the sun still rose in the sky and that everyone else went about their business. I wanted the world to stop spinning and mourn, as I did; to pay respect by simply standing still. Moving on meant the pain would soften; the memories begin to fade. I never want to forget, but it’s inevitable that I can’t stay in this place forever.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Latte, no longer a skittish kitten, but a stunning lady.
Earlier this week, before the tragic news, I realized I needed to update the photos of my foster kittens for Petfinder. Although I’ve gotten plenty of applications, most are for just one of the kittens and many are not a good match. I risk the kittens growing into young cats. The bigger they get, the longer it will take for me to find them forever homes. A few of them are already six months old. Time is running out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater's big eyes are now his trademark. He never seems to blink and he always makes me laugh with his silly antics and constant chattering.
Tater Tot & Latte
Tater and Latte, along with Willow and Coco were all getting sick or not resolving their upper respiratory tract infection. I had a DNA test called a PCR done on a swab taken from Tater’s mouth. As you may recall, the test came back positive for Mycoplasma, which explained a lot of his issues and made the course of treatment more clear.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Lovely Latte.
For the past month I’ve been doling out antibiotics to each of the six foster kittens since they share the same room. Each day, twice a day they get their pill, then get their meal. They’re to the point where they know to come to me to get their pill so it’s gone a lot easier than I feared. Having to pill cats 360 times over the course of the month went from a nightmare to routine. Perhaps I'm finally learning something?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater looks on as Fred reaches for the stars.
Tater is doing much better. His sinuses have dried up. I don’t hear him sneeze. He isn’t breathing as loud.
Latte was never as sick as her brother Tater and is doing just fine. Her once dark coat is getting lighter and her true Tortie colors are beginning to glow. She’s overcoming her shyness and focuses on having fun, instead of hiding.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Willow is getting fluffier every day!
Willow, too, was deeply affected by the same health issues and she seems to be resolving them, but she’s still having sneezing attacks. I believe she’ll be on the antibiotics much longer than the others. Overall she’s doing very well. She’s charming and dainty and loves to play fetch. I can’t figure out why I don’t have a list of adopters for her. She’s very lovely and sweet.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred in a somber moment between chasing after toys.
Fred & Barney
The boys are growing up fast. They’re rough and tumble and enjoying each day. Fred was sick for a short while but the antibiotics cleared up his issues, too. These days Fred loves to jump high into the air after his Cat Dancer toy (which keep needing to be replaced he’s so hard on them!)
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney and the lavender ball.
Barney is more of a mellow fellow and a dash sweeter. They were both sick with roundworms, but that’s been treated and they’re doing great.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Librarian-Coco.
The older Coco gets, the prettier her coloring. Her eyes are blue and peach. Her points are getting a bit darker orange. She was once fairly skittish and now she’s more outgoing and friendly. She’s right there with Fred, enjoying leaping high after toys. She initially had some symptoms, runny eyes and nose, but that seems to be resolved, too.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bored by the string toy, Coco would rather jump after her “prey.”
I’m glad they’re all doing well, but they need to move on to their forever homes. With Hurricane Sandy shutting us down for a week, followed by the big snowstorm; add the economic woes to the mix and it doesn’t look good for anyone getting adopted soon.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Super Stretch!
In the meantime, we’re doing okay. I’ll write a separate update on Jackson and Winnie’s crew later. I’m grateful there aren’t (knock wood) any crises with the cats, but I know things will change. Hopefully I’ll have time to gather my strength before it does.
I'm pushing back against the tide. I want to stay put in my grief for a little while longer, but I know the water will always urge me along.
Bongo is seven months old. In that time he’s made friends, learned to play and met some very nice people, all while his right front leg didn’t function properly. We rescued him before he was going to be euthanized at a shelter not knowing much about him other than something was wrong with his leg. They noted his paw was crushed, but that turned out not the case.
©2012 Maria S. Bongo.
We did tests and x-rays. Bongo met with noted Orthopedic Vet, Dr. Alan Cross of Georgia Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Cross felt that Bongo, while happy and otherwise healthy, could not feel anything in his right front paw and that he had severe nerve damage that was either not repairable or would be very costly to repair with very little hope for success. He suggested the best course would be to remove the leg since it was only getting in the way and slowing Bongo down.
©2012 Maria S. Favoring his leg.
We work with a great Vet who helps rescue groups. Her nickname is Doc Thomas and she really knows her stuff. During our rescue of Bongo, Doc had taken a few weeks off-a rare vacation for her and certainly well deserved.
©2012 Maria S. Getting some lovin' from foster sister, Bunny Boo Boo (who needs a home, too!)
We knew she could do the surgery for far less than the $2000. Dr. Cross quoted us, but we had to wait a few weeks to talk to Doc T about whether she could do it. Dr. Cross felt it was not a rush to do the surgery because Bongo wasn’t in any pain.
In the meantime, Maria, Bongo’s foster mom noticed Bongo using his leg as a crutch. He couldn’t bear weight on it, but he did push litter around and use it to help him balance. He did this by swinging his leg from his shoulder.
©2012 Maria S. Bongo with his new BFF-George who we rescued from an apartment complex in GA.
When I heard about this I thought the same thing Maria did; “Maybe we should talk to Dr. Cross again? Maybe Bongo is getting feeling back?” The last thing any of us want to do is amputate this cat’s leg unnecessarily.
Maria contacted Dr. Cross. He felt that it would be very unusual for nerves to begin to work again and that Bongo didn’t have to have the surgery–ever, as long as he wasn’t dragging the limb. Dragging the limb meant he’d get infections in it eventually and that’s dangerous especially because he can’t feel if something is wrong.
©2012 Maria S. Bongo with catnip banana.
Maria took Bongo to meet Doc Thomas today who has done plenty of amputations for other rescue groups. She looked at Bongo’s x-rays and examined him and came to the same opinion—Bongo does not need to lose his leg at this time. If it’s not bothering him, then leave it.
We worried that as Bongo ages he would have arthritis in his shoulder or as he grows larger and gains weight, that the constant pull of his “dead” leg would give him back pain.
©2012 Maria S. His leg problem doesn't stop him from climbing.
Both Vets agreed that he should be just fine. If he drags the leg it has to go, but as long as he’s holding it up, running around and having fun, then for now it can stay. It’s really up to us if we feel he would be better without it in the way.
So again, Maria and I are wondering what to do. Neither of us want to take Bongo’s leg, but how will that effect his future? Would he be better off if we amputated his leg now so he could adjust and so we can oversee his care before he gets adopted or is he more adoptable with a leg that doesn’t function? What if he got his leg stuck somewhere because he couldn’t feel it and was home alone and did worse damage to himself?
©2012 Maria S. Brothers from other mothers.
Fortunately, Bongo is adorable and affectionate. Leg or no leg we’ll find him a wonderful home one day. It would be easy to leave the leg alone because we don’t want him to lose it, but what is best for Bongo? He has to be considered first and last…not us…not our ideas of what might not be as appealing to adopters or what might make us feel sad for Bongo’s sake.
Choosing what’s best for Bongo is very difficult. Perhaps we have our answer now and just have to accept it? Perhaps we need to do something more difficult and have the amputation done?
©2012 Maria S. Da boyz.
I don’t know, but I’m grateful we have the luxury of seeing how it goes and waiting on making any firm decisions.
The Cutest Kittens in the World
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Charly & Buttons.
Charly and Buttons are still here giving me a reason to smile. They are such darling creatures. I love spending time with them.
It looks like one of them will be getting adopted. I don’t want to jinx it by saying more, but I promise to update you when the time comes. Until then, I’ll greedily hold onto them and try to enjoy every second.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Clean those dirty toes!
Since writing this a few days ago, a few things have happened. Charly's been adopted by a wonderful couple from Boston! (Read his new mom's blog to keep up with Charly's adventures) Though I miss Charly a lot I know he's got a great home. Buttons is keeping me company and to help him, I asked foster-mama-Donna to let me take Bandit, Button's sister. That way Buttons wouldn't have to be alone.
The problem-Bandit is NOT happy to be here at all! Oops.
About the title: The Winds of Change
There’s a huge hurricane headed our way. They’re calling it Frankenstorm or simply, Hurricane Sandy. I’m having terrible flashbacks of a year ago when we were hit by “Snowmaggedon”—the worst week of my life without electricity or friendship (Sam and I had had a bad fight and spent the week ignoring each other…I broke off our engagement and gave back the ring.) With no heat, frigid temperatures, no water, no nothing I thought I was going to lose my mind. You can read the multi-part series HERE HERE and HERE and see a visual journal of my week from Hell.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Taking five from wrestling.
A year later, the same things seem to be happening again, as if on schedule. Because I know he reads this blog, I’m not going to say much other than a simple moment of irritation on my part turned into a full blown war on his. Sam has declared he is leaving me, we are done. It’s day five when we should be planning on getting through this next storm, but we can’t even recover from the one between us.
There’s a cascading effect once these cruel winds blow. There’s the obvious sign of bags and boxes being packed, but beyond that there’s a joint business being run that saves the life of cats. There are design projects that might have been worked on hand in hand and will now be done by other firms. There is a loss of livelihood and most likely a loss of my own home.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Game for Cats is a hit with these two.
Almost twenty years have ticked past. There have been plenty of storms along the way. The winds always bring us back together and we find a way to rebuild. With all the stress in our lives I can’t see where the resources are to find a place where things are okay again. I’m so beat down by everything else it’s just one more thing. It makes me sad to write that because it should mean so much more, but my bank account is almost empty and so is my heart.
That’s why I haven’t been able to write much this week. It’s hard to write when you’re looking out the window and know something horrible is coming your way. As if in a bad dream you can’t lift your legs and run, run, run. You have to stay there and wait and let the wild winds crash the tree limbs around you, let the rain wash over you, while you pray you don’t drown.
It’s (s)Not All Right
Poor Tater and Willow. They’ve been chronically sick. Willow shoots snots across the room and Tater’s eye is always running and he sounds stuffed up. I decided it was worth the risk of not getting any information (some times these tests don't tell you much) to get an expensive DNA test on Tater’s eye goop called a PCR for URI. With any luck we’d find out what was causing Tater his misery.
It took a week, then the news: Mycoplasma.
My reaction, duh, of course. Tater’s constant runny eye is definitely indicative of mycoplasma (but it's also a symptom of other issues which is why we do the PCR test).
Latte and Fred and Coco started to get sick. They’d all been in the same room for a month. I had the kittens examined. Only Coco was running a mild fever in addition to a runny eye and sneezing. It was bizarre the ALL the cats had an issue in their right eye, except for Tater. We decided that the best course of treatment would be to hit the kittens hard with antibiotics for 30 days because mycoplasma is bacterial, not viral.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Re-check for fleas. None were found. Whew!
I’d heard from a lecture by Dr. Hurley at UC Davis, that they will go to a 60 day protocol to really infiltrate the fine bones of the nose. My Vet hadn't heard of this so I thought we'd start at 30 and see how it goes.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Willow waits while the other cats get examined.
Medicating cats is never fun, BUT with Doxycycline as the medicine of choice, I had a scary task ahead of me. I learned the HARD WAY that…
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Coco.
Having to pill 6 cats X 2/day for a month means 360 chances for me to screw up and cause multiple strictures in the kittens.
I’m determined, as always, to do right by these cats. While some scratched their head at me for not opting to use a liquid version of the antibiotic, I opted for ¼ of a tablet per cat. Each pill is coated in Flavor Doh. I like it much better than Pill Pockets® and the cats do, too. THEN I sprinkle dehydrated chicken over the pea-sized coated pill and feed as a treat, making SURE the cats are HUNGRY and more apt to eat what I put in front of them.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Willow weighs in at just five pounds.
The new problem I made for myself is they will eat anything and charge me at the door when they're really hungry. Entering the room is a comedic farce. I try to balance a plate with six tiny pill-peas on it, the cats push past me and run down the hall, unleashing their snottiness and frustration about being hungry all over the vicinity. In a panic, I put the plate down. With the cats corralled (and my blood pressure soaring), I turn to retrieve the plate only to find Latte had eaten all but the last remaining pill.
The Vet said she would have “GI upset” and not to pill her again that day (DUH!).
Meanwhile I had to go back and prep more pills, make sure they eat just one, then syringe them with 3mLs of water, then feed them. All this to make sure that pill doesn’t sit in their throat. All this while they are racing around the room in a panic because they’re so hungry.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Staying on track with a chart.
Today marks one full week of medicating the cats. It’s amazing that I can even do this when previously this would have freaked me out to the point where I’d just be upset all the time. Now I grab the cats unceremoniously and do what I need to do. I give them love afterwards so they don’t hate me forever and I move on. I think I’m finally getting the hang of (some of) this rescue stuff.
Part three is up next…what about Jackson? What about the DOOD? What about that bigass Hurricane Sandy headed my way?
Part of this post is dedicated to catching up on current events with all the foster kitties. How are they doing? Are they adopted? The other part of my post…well…you’ll find out.
The Kittens in Black
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
April had six kittens on March 26th, the night of my dreamy dinner date with Jackson Galaxy. Some of the kittens were polydactyl and all but one were solid black. It was an honor to watch them grow from just a week old to seeing them blossom into lovely young lady-kitties. You can read more of their story HERE and see loads of photos of those early days, too. It took a long time to find forever homes for them, but with such sparkling personalities, eventually everything worked out.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My little munchkins.
Bon Bon was adopted right away by a marvelous family. Cutie Patootie and Sabrina, were adopted a few months later by my dear friends Lynne & Steve. After six months, a surprise, a local family offered to foster kittens for us and they ended up with the remaining kittens until they got adopted.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The girls.
At the same time I got an application for one of the three, Hello Dahlia. The couple was lovely and have a kitty named Admiral Mittens and a dog named Olive. In a few days after the adoption I got the news that Dahlia jumped the twin baby gates separating her from the dog. Within moments the two were best buddies and are often seen sleeping cuddled up together.
©2012 Dahlia's Family. Dahlia and Olive.
That left us with Black Beauty & Belly Holiday.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Snowy, Ally & Matt-Belly & Beauty's new family.
The family who was fostering the kittens fell in love with them. They asked to make it official after seeing how they'd get along with their other cat, Snowy. The introductions went well and their fate was cast. The girls have been in their own home for a few weeks now and all are doing well.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Belly in her tent.
The Georgia Rescues
Adoptions are picking up, but finding good adopters is still very difficult. I got numerous offers to adopt Coco, our flame point, blue-eyed beauty, but none of them were a good match.
I figured our boy Tater would be gone in a flash, but because I want him to go with his sister Latte, there hasn’t even been one application for them.
The big surprise to me was who of our group of eight would get adopted first. It ended up being our skinny-mini-black-kitten Choco and his orange tabby sister, ChiChi! A lovely couple who had no other pets, saw their photos and fell in love. When they met the kittens they ALL ran off and hid. I thought there was no hope of any kitten getting adopted if they didn’t show well, but as a last ditch attempt to save the situation I left the couple alone in the room. Sure enough, little Choco came over to say hello and his shy but sweet sister followed suit.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Happy Adoption Day!
When Jon and Laura left the room they were smitten. Choco and ChiChi went to their palatial home where I hear they are doing very well and are very content.
©2012 Jon & Laura. Choco and ChiChi now named, Magic & Pumpkin.
Then there’s Willow. I thought I had an adopter for her, but at the home visit I just felt there was something off. The couple must have felt that way, too because I never heard back from them, nor did I reach out after our meeting. I keep hoping Willow will find her happy home. She is so great with the other kitties and so friendly and silly. She should be with a young girl and a nice family. I’m sad I haven’t found that for her yet.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Tater, Barney, Latte (tortie) and Fred (rear).
Little Fred & Barney aren’t so little any more. Barney had a very bad case of roundworms, but once he was de-wormed he began to do much better. I almost had a home for both boys, but it fell through so back to the drawing board.
There's lots more news including an update on the DOOD and Jackson Galaxy (the cat) as well as some “stuff” I'm not sure I want to talk about yet. Part two is up next....
I can't take it.
Two of Winnie's kittens are here. The others are with their foster mom in a neighboring town, waiting to be spayed/neutered in two weeks. Because Charly and Buttons had their procedures last week, they're ready to find their forever homes.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Buttons (left) and Charly (right).
The problem is they're so cute I can't stand the idea of them leaving.
To make matters worse they're great kittens. I don't know what foster mom Donna does, but whatever it is, these kittens are warm, loving, gentle and sweet.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
The first night they were here their little bodies shook with fear. They were scared in their new environment without their mama, Winnie, to look after them. I stayed with them for a long while, petting them, giving them treats, comforting them. They responded by purring and leaning into my hands.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I always feel guilty about separating the kittens from their mama, but it must be done. Winnie was spayed. She has a home with Donna. She's had at least three litters of kittens-three litters too many. She's done her time. It's time for her to recover and enjoy life without the burden of pregnancy in a home that will treat her with compassion and respect (and lots of love, too).
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Charly thinking so hard his tongue came out.
Charly and Buttons have only been here for a few days, but if I could I'd spend day and night with them. I'm a sucker for long haired cats and it's rare that I ever get any to foster. In a way that's probably a good thing or I fear I'd have a zillion more “foster fail” cats and many fewer adoptions.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I keep torturing myself. Who would be good enough to adopt these kittens?
Within an hour of posting the kittens on Petfinder, I had 4 offers to adopt them. As with all our foster kittens, I'll be careful to review each application and hopefully will find someone amazing. All I know is, whoever adopts these cats is going to be VERY LUCKY.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
My fear is that they won't get enough attention, that they will lose their sweetness if handled roughly. Am I saying our adopters do that? Certainly not, but once out of Donna's loving care, then mine, what will become of them?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I always have to push aside my fears when doing adoptions. There has to be a point where I let go. It's unbearable to look into their eyes and feel myself getting lost in their adorable faces. I struggle to turn away. I make myself think about my cats-the cats I made a commitment to who depend on me and need my love. I want to make excuses as to why these kittens can't be adopted just yet so I can have more time with them, but that's foolish, too. That's not how you run a cat rescue.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I savor their sweetness, their silly antics, their awkward movements not yet refined into that of a graceful adult. Their adult coats haven't come in yet and they have spiky hairs along their backs that indicate just how long their coats will be one day.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beautiful Buttons.
One day that I will not witness…
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What IS this?
In some ways it feels like I have a secret lover. I look at Charly and Buttons and I forget my troubles for awhile. It's an escape from tension in the house, the cats misbehaving, the bills growing. All I have to do is have fun and love them, guide them with a gentle hand and make sure their tummies are full. They don't have behavioral issues or diseases to treat (knock wood). They don't irritate me as my own cats sometimes do. It's the first blush of love and I'm certainly hooked. I feel reluctant to leave them to tend to the other cats. It's like going back to my husband after a whirlwind affair.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cat toy photobomb.
Reality kicks in and I move on to other things. I know they're upstairs playing or napping or looking out the window as the dried autumn leaves flicker past the window on a gust of wind.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Little hunter.
I find myself longing for our next meeting and trying to think of an excuse to go check on them. I know our time is running out. Soon they'll be adopted and all I'll have are these photos and my memories.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Is my butt too heavy for this cat cube?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello!
These are the ones who remind me that my capacity for love is infinite. It doesn't run out when I feel heartbreak. It always comes back full, complete and profound.
Featuring Barney and Willow.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Yesterday I shared with you the pain that’s in my heart about all the cats struggling to find help to get out of kill shelters or off the streets into a safe, loving home. I always feel torn about sharing things that are deeply painful. It’s never my goal to make any reader cry, nor even stir up “the pot,” for that matter. But…I also have to write about painful topics to purge my anguish and despair or I just can’t go on.
What surprises me is the reaction I got. I feared reprise or anger, but I got support, love, a few “hurrahs!” Of everything I’ve written, this one post grew legs I didn’t anticipate. I didn’t even consider that my voice reflected the feelings of so many other people who selflessly offer everything they have and do whatever they can to help cats in need.
I’d like to say “Thank you” to everyone who has been in my shoes, is in my shoes and who is contemplating taking on the role of cat rescuer, cat foster home, cat advocate. I say thank you because you don’t get thanked often enough. I’d also like to say this world is off-kilter if people who do what we do can’t make a decent living along the way, too.
Rescue always seems to mean sacrifice for the benefit of others. That’s not a bad thing, but it would be nice if the path was better paved and less difficult to tread.
Today’s letter is about Nico and all the cats like him who found rescue and safe harbor.
My life is filled with “shoulds.” I “should” work on finding a new client or I “should work on updating Kitten Associate’s web site, then do some laundry.” I will get to all these things, I hope, sooner or later, but I’m easily distracted.
I saw your photo in an email. A nice lady was asking for help. She said you were going to be euthanized because her shelter, try as they might, just didn’t have the room to hold you any longer. Other cats were arriving and they deserved a chance, too. You had your time. Now your time is up.
I look at your photo. I don’t know anything about you other than you’re a male. I don’t know if you’re sick, how old you are, if you’ll like being around people.
I look in my bank account. We just got a nice donation. I add up in my head how much I think it will cost to take care of you. I’m guessing it will be about $300.00. I have that much money, but I have 14 other cats who are ahead of you, whose needs must come first.
I add up in my head how much more I will need for the others. Most of them have what they need other than food. I try to figure out if I can afford to help you.
I look at your photo again. You have a quality about you that is appealing. Something in my heart tells me other people would agree and if I like you surely they would like you, too. I bet I can get you adopted.
Two days passed.
I can’t stop thinking about you. There are others who need help, but you really stand out to me. I really don’t have room to take you, but I’m going to give you a chance. I hope I’m not wrong. I hope to God you don’t test positive for Feline Leukemia. If you have FIV+ that’s not great, either.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. A very hungry young kitty who is eating because of donations received to my non-profit rescue, Kitten Associates.
I hope you don’t end up being unfriendly or that you hate other cats. You have to get along with everyone until we find you a forever home where you won’t have many cats to live with.
I sent out a few emails on your behalf. I made bargains with other rescuers. I texted folks who could help me, help you because I live 1000 miles from your cage at the shelter. I stayed up too late again, but I didn’t have time to spare. The puzzle pieces came together creating a map of your rescue, how and when it would take place. Is it too late? Did I wait too long?
The next morning I find out. No. It’s not too late. They told me the cat is waiting for you. He has no belongings to pack up. You can just put him in a cat carrier and have your volunteer sign a few papers. He takes the cat away from that place.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. Nico finally gets some rest and love in his new foster home.
Then I wait again for the call that tells me your test results. You tested negative. You have ear mites. You have fleas. It’s all treatable. It’s not expensive. So far, so good.
You need a name. I ask my friend Ingrid. She chooses Nico. Nico it is. Hello, Nico. That’s all I have to do for now. A nice man drives you to your new foster home where you can rest and get something good to eat. I don’t even get the chance to welcome you to my rescue or finally see you in the light of day, instead of in a photo online.
My job is done. Your life is saved. I will make sure you get a home where they won’t ever give up on you or put you back into a cage in a kill shelter. I won a small victory and I will continue to fight for you by saying no to some adopter-candidates and only yes to the one-the one who will love you forever this time.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. Flame point sister have a rescue pending but their sisters don't. You can see them below.
I look at my email and there is an urgent plea about four kittens; two are flame point Siamese and two are lovely orange tabby girls. They’re at a kill shelter in the south. I should get to work. I should do the laundry and not write more emails or make more calls. It’s getting late. I need some sleep.
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. 5 month old sweet sisters need a rescue from Newton Animal Control in Covington, Georgia.
The laundry can wait.
The work can wait.
They cannot wait.
Every day whether it be via email, a phone call or on Facebook, I get notified of cats and kittens in dire need of rescue. Some are owner-abandoned, some are found on the street wandering, seriously injured. Others are listed on Craigslist because they have behavioral issues or the family is moving and “can’t take them” or mysterious allergies pop up so the cat has to go. If they don’t get any help they will go to the shelter---and we all know what that implies---they may be euthanized.
This is a letter to all those cats.
Dear Cat ID# Unknown,
My heart is very heavy. I took it upon myself to open my home to helping cats like you. Cats who are hunkered down at the back of a stainless steel cage, with dilated pupils, cowering in fear. Cats who are too old to care and just sit, staring in their litter pan, hoping the smell of their own excrement will offer them a sliver of comfort in a place that is not their home. They are confused, lost, scared, hopeless. Some have newborn kittens clinging to them for nourishment and who are trying to protect them from the sounds of the shelter, the barking dogs, the smells of cleaning fluids and untouched cat food.
©2012 Maria S. George's guardian lives in a very bad part of town and had taken him off the streets knowing full well she would get evicted for having a cat. She was also in hiding from an abusive relationship and was risking her own safety if she got evicted. My rescue group, Kitten Associates took him on because his next stop was going to be the kill shelter or being turned back to the streets.
I want to save your life, but I can’t. I’m so very sorry. I see your photo and you look like a perfectly nice kitty. You don’t deserve to sit there, waiting to die. I wish I knew something I could do to help you. There isn’t enough time in the day to send out pleas to everyone I know for every cat I discover who needs help.
I don’t want to be cliché and say, “If I had the space and money, I would save all of you,” because I don’t think that’s even possible to do by just one person. I have to measure what I can do versus what is needed. If I take too many, I am no help to anyone. As it is, my home is ruined from my own cats suffering from stress from a constant flow of incoming and outgoing cats, but it’s just urine-ruined floors. If that’s the price I pay to save lives, then so be it.
©2012 Bobby Stanford. 10 yr old Helmet was brought to the shelter. The owners were warned the cat would be euthanized if they surrendered him. Being over 10 years old he had no chance. I sent out a plea on Facebook and within a day we had three adopters interested. This is a rare WIN. There are so many requests for help on Facebook cats like Helmet get overlooked.
I’m not saying you’re not worth it, because you are. You are SO worth it. You are worth making a fuss over-every single one of you. You’re a sentient being. You forgive and forget. You can move on with little or no remorse. You are so much better than I can ever be, but I don’t have a way to help you so I have to delete this email or ignore this post on Facebook.
Even though I try not to see you, I do. Each time I “pass” on helping another one of you, it puts a little tear in my heart, which is already in tattered shreds.
©2012 Bobby Stanford. Helmet, now named, Grayson, with his new, devoted family. I'm told he is doing really well and is already requesting belly rubs.
I feel so badly I can’t do more, but I aspire to, at least, but it’s getting harder and harder to know about all of you because this year is the worst I can remember in a long time. I know that mamas and their kittens are dying in record numbers this summer and into the autumn and that pains me in a way that nothing can make right again. I can’t stand seeing elderly cats given up by their families who turn a cold shoulder to them at a time when those cats should be cherished even more.
©2012 Bobby Stanford. This lovely pregnant cat was living outside in a very dangerous part of town. The owners of the apartment complex wanted her dumped at the heart stick kill shelter where she would die before her kittens were born.
What ever happened to “when the going gets tough, the tough get going?” No…you are disposable. I will never understand how anyone can think that of you.
©2012 Jennifer N. Another miracle rescue-Anastasia was offered a loving foster home ONE HOUR after I asked for help. This is another rare WIN for a sweet cat who deserves the best we can give her.
No other rescues stepped forward to help you. They’re in the same bind. No one came to adopt you. You’re going to die today. I can’t do a damn thing about it other than cry and hate that we, as a society, decided euthanasia is the answer to overcrowded shelters.
©2012 Jennifer N. Anastasia's due to give birth any time now. Thank goodness she's safe.
I recently learned that in Italy it’s against the law to euthanize a cat. The community has decided to take cat care on as a group. Everyone pitches in to help the cats. There are sanctuaries and adoptions and some cats just live outside without a home, but they are cared for and cared about.
Why can’t we do this, too? Because we’re selfish and don’t want cats ruining our plants or peeing on the front door. Or we don’t want to deal with spending a few extra dollars to put out food for the strays or ferals because then it becomes a bigger problem. We’d rather the cats just die, as long as we don’t see it happening, so we can focus on what WE want and what WE NEED, who cares about them?
©2012 Betsy Merchant. Three days ago I learned about this kitty and MANY others at Henry County Care and Control. I wanted to help him but I didn't have time. Why would a cat like that have to be put down? It never makes sense.
We have to realize that millions of cats will die this year because we’re too lazy to get off our asses and really FIX this problem. It’s not an important issue compared to the economy, people losing their homes, losing their jobs, etc. There will always be another reason that is “more important” to focus on even though we COULD focus on this AND work on those other issues, too.
©2012 Betsy Merchant. I found out that they're putting cats down daily. This photo was haunting me, like so many others. I stopped what I was doing and begged a favor. As of this afternoon, THIS CAT IS BEING RESCUED by Kitten Associates and Animals in Distress, but I couldn't help the other 15 or more who don't have a chance.
©2012 Betsy Merchant. Three days ago I learned about this kitty and MANY others at Henry County Care and Control. I loved this cat's face. What a serene and beautiful cat. This post is dedicated to her and the thousands like her who didn't make it. She was euthanized two days ago because there wasn't enough room in the shelter.
I’m so very sorry, kitty. Rest in Peace. Fly free.