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.
©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!
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.
©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!
©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.
©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.
©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!
©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.
The monitor attached to Bobette continued to beep in a steady rhythm as Dr. Mixon prepared to make the first incision into her left rear leg. I held my breath as he pressed the scalpel blade into her flesh. For some reason I expected a lot of blood to shoot out all over the room. I guess I've watched one too many horror movies.
The skin gave way, with little blood escaping from the opening. Right away I felt sick to my stomach. It was partly due to having only had some apple juice for breakfast; I first thought, but as the Dr. kept working the blade, it dawned on me that this thing he was cutting into looked a lot like a raw chicken leg. It was deeply disturbing to me to be hit with the mixed emotions of my brain recognizing “food” versus my conscious mind being completely DISGUSTED with myself for even thinking that. I wanted to throw up. It was clear to me why Dr. Mixon is a vegan. I started to seriously think about giving up meat, myself, but never thought I had the fortitude to stick with it. Maybe now I did.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The first incision.
Dr. Mixon was very focused on what he was doing. I focused on staying out of the way. The Tech was at attention, ready to hand him something or adjust the lamps. I learned that once the patient was draped, the area that was blue was NOT to be TOUCHED or even LEANED over. Being a chubby monkey, who is far from a limber ballerina, I was even more worried that any second now I'd crash into something and take the contents of a shelf down with me. The room just had enough space for all of us and the equipment. I also didn't want to distract Dr. Mixon so I just stood still and tried not to want to sit down. We'd already been on our feet for a few hours and had a long while yet to go, but my back complained. The Tech stretched her legs and arms. I guess I wasn't the only one who was already getting tired.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm not sure what Dr Mixon is doing here. Eww!
An alarm sounded on the monitor. Bobette's blood pressure was too low. This is the part in the TV show when someone yells; “Code Blue! Get the paddles!”
I asked what was going on. If Bobette was OK. Dr. Mixon looked at the monitor and said casually; “the monitor isn't always accurate…maybe Bobette's lines are kinked.”
Or maybe Bobette was going to DIE ANY SECOND! OHMYGOD!!!! I wanted to jump out of my skin while the Tech peeked under the layers of blue fabric to check on Bobette. She acknowledged that things looked all right, but Dr. Mixon quickly had her adjust the settings on the amount of fluid that was going into her IV as the monitor alarm kept going off. I bit my tongue, but I wanted to yell; “DO SOMETHING YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE HER!”
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Code orange! Watch that blood pressure!
But again, this was not new to them as it was to me. Bobette's pressure went up very slightly. Dr. Mixon told me not to worry, but I worried anyway. Bobette wasn't his cat. (Of course this is where I start wondering what the heck I'm doing in an operating room in the first place.)
Eventually her pressure went up to with an acceptable range. I thought about how fragile Bobette was at this moment. The twist of a dial, a kink in a tiny plastic line into her front leg, could mean her death. Thinking about this put me on edge even more.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Suturing up the leg.
As Dr. Mixon teased some of the muscle out of the way, looking for Bobette's kneecap, he made some familiar sounds. I was transported back in time to my childhood, when my dad was trying to fix the faucet. I was to hold the tools and hand them to him when he asked. He must have realized he forgot a part or encountered something he didn't expect because he unleashed a torrent of profanity. While Dr. Mixon is far more reserved, I could tell from his sighs and grunts that he was having difficulty. As he worked, he began to describe what he saw.
Bobette was in far worse shape than we anticipated. Her patella, may never have been in place or was not in place for very long. There was no groove in the joint for her kneecap to float into. He had to use a small saw to shape a space for the kneecap to go. He also said her leg had twisted outward as she grew, so the muscles that wrapped around the leg were very out of place. Ideally, what should happen is her femur should be cut through and turned into the correct position-this was NOT something we could do in a few hours time and with only one tech. I imagined the recovery time from doing that would be very difficult, as well.
What he could do was after creating the groove for the kneecap, he would re-work how the muscles attached, pinning them down in places with nylon sutures, which would never dissolve and would permanently keep the muscles from popping back out and into their old position.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. All sutured up. Whew.
He used a chisel, then some sort of uber-nail clippers to trim away some bone. Each sound made me shiver. To me it looked like he was just carving up her leg and I couldn't imagine that what he was doing would help her at all. How would she ever walk on that leg after what he did? I also thought about Bobette. She was going to be in immense pain when she woke up. He kept teasing the muscles to release them in some areas. I didn't look too closely and just tried to take photos to get my mind off what he was doing.
It was nearly 2pm and we had started around 10:30am. Dr. Mixon had to pick his son up from school to take him to the Doctor. I offered to go get him, but of course, I can't due to security issues. Dr. Mixon said (thank goodness) that he did not want to rush the surgery so I left the operating room and got his phone. He had the Tech dial a number and put the phone on “speaker.” I guess he called his ex-wife who was not too happy to hear from him. I felt really guilty, but I also didn't want him to rush. He had done as much as he could, but needed time to suture Bobette's leg. As with everything else, it took a lot longer than I expected it would, but Dr. Mixon was very careful about making sure everything was done properly.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wait…STAPLES, too? EEK!
The monitor kept on beeping. I glanced over and saw that all Bobette's vitals were within safe limits. As Dr. Mixon finished suturing he swore. The kneecap had already moved out of place. He was able to get it back by pushing it in place, which he hadn't been able to do before the surgery. I asked him what her prognosis was and he wasn't very optimistic.
He thought it was likely her patella would pop back out. Perhaps it would not pop out too far and would pop back into place; he wasn't sure. I asked if she was going to lose her leg-soemthing I had feared all along. He said yes, probably, but not right now. My heart sank. After all this work to have it fail before she even got off the operating table was very disappointing. That said, we really had to wait and see.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor baby!
The biggest hurdle now was to keep Bobette from bending her leg-at any cost. Bend the leg and the surgery was going to fail. She had to keep that leg straight for a week, at least.
But first things first-Bobette had to wake up from surgery. She'd been out for hours. We were all really tired from being on our feet for so long. Dr. Mixon left us to clean up the room. The Tech did most of the cleaning and I stayed with Bobette. We had to furiously rub her to get her to wake up after all the life support was removed. She was left her intubated until she swallowed for the first time. I don't know why that is, but I do know it took a long time for her to be ready for the tube to come out. I worried she wasn't going to wake up.
Once she was awake, she was very crabby and started moaning. It was difficult and frightening to hold her down. She started to thrash violently in her cage and I called out for help. I was so worried she would break her leg she was writhing around so hard. We wrapped her in a towel like a kitty-burrito. She quieted down, but moaned a great deal more earnestly. I held her paw and told her it was going to be all right. I could only imagine how terrible she had to be feeling at that moment. I wondered if it was all in vain. I prayed it would work out in time.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waking up after surgery. Poor sweetie.
We gave Bobette another pain killer and she quieted down. The Tech said it was okay for me to go home-which I did gladly.
I got home around 4pm and finally had something to eat. As I started to unwind, my eyelids grew heavy. I dragged myself upstairs, took off some of my clothes and fell, exhausted into bed. I slept until 7pm-the beep…beep…beep of the monitor still ringing in my ears.
…up next…part three, Bobette's Post Op Life…stay tuned…
I hate it when senior kitties suddenly need to be re-homed. It's a tough sell to most adopters because many want a kitten. I was just alerted to the plight of Sweetie & Joy and they were just so lovely I had to post about them. The girls are not related, but are very bonded. Sweetie is almost 13 and Joy is 12. They're located in Woodstock, Georgia. Their owner has kept them up to date on shots, they are spayed and Sweetie is declawed.
Their owner contacted another rescuer and I'm sharing her email, below. You can see she wants the best for her cats and with a very sick husband, she has more than she can handle. I'm not here to judge her choices. I just want to help.
We are looking for:
This is Sweetie.
This is Sweetie napping.
This is Joy's belly. How do you do, belly.
This is Joy's cuteness.
-------------- This is from the kitty's current owner--------
I was just referred to you by my vet, where our 2 kitties, Joy and Sweetie have been receiving care, shots, and grooming for the last 5 or 6 years.
The reason I am writing you is that we can no longer take care of them. My husband, age 81, is quite disabled after a fall and pneumonia, and massive bleeds and other infections, and I am his caretaker.
He is allergic to cats and his lungs can't continue to tolerate the cat dander. And one of them likes to sit in his path, and he can't afford to trip on a cat and fall again (he takes coumadin for A-fib.)
They are both female and neutered. They love each other and sleep and play together, even tho I got them at different times.
I am overwhelmed with care of my husband and lack of sleep and can not care for the kitties like they should be taken care of.
Sweetie is the Himalayan, and I got her in fall of 1999 somewhere in Cherokee or Cobb county don't know because I had just moved here from Florida. No papers, but she is supposed to be the "real thing". She has been declawed. Her records are at the all at the vet, and I think I can find my file on them. She loves to sit next to me and will just hang around a person even when the person is napping, like watching guard.
Joy is the "main coon mix", and the two of them sleep wrapped up with each other. Joy was raised for the first 6 weeks by my son and wife and given to me in 2000. She has her toenails.
Both of them sleep most of the day, and watch us closely whenever we do something that is different than our normal schedule. They both like to live in a small room, eat in it and sleep in it and if we would leave their door open they could cry for us to come close it (meaning, at 6pm they are fed and run to their room and in the morning they are fed again and let out of their room).
They have lived in 3 different houses and adapt quite well. I have had kitties all my life and have never had one put down for convenience they all have lived to get old or get cancer or leukemia. Oh, they are indoor only cats.
The grandkids love to pet and brush them and play with them. After too much play tho, Sweetie will take a swipe at you, but will not walk away. They both like ice cubes in their water spoiled?
They do well when we go on vacations with a feeder and water feeder and a family member looking in on them every 4 days.
It would be WONDERFUL if they could go to a no-kill shelter. I know someone would consider them quite adorable and want them.
UPDATE: Jan 25, 2012: THESE GIRLS HAVE A RESCUE!
Last night foster mama-Maria, called me, worried about Jackson Galaxy, the cat we rescued last week who was named after the uber-cat-listener-of the same name. We'd already discussed that Jackson has been aggressive, biting Maria's hands and clawing her legs. Because he was just neutered a week ago, we thought we'd give it time and Maria was going to adjust how she approached him. Jackson had almost 2 years of being an intact male and probably had plenty of hormones still working through his body. We needed to give him time to adjust and get rid of all that testosterone.
Because Jackson's in a small bathroom I also asked Maria to be observant about where she is in relationship to the cat. Did he feel cornered? Was he attacking out of fear?
Very slowly Maria saw some improvements. Jackson could be petted and he did purr, but last night something was not right with Jackson-not right at all. Jackson was lying in the bathtub, pale smears of pink-BLOOD-were on the porcelain. Jackson was licking at his scrotum and when she looked at it, it was red, slightly inflamed and she saw some blood. She called “Doc” Thomas, who runs the Spay/Neuter clinic at Noah's Ark and asked her what to do. Doc said to bring him in in the morning.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson, last night.
Jackson wouldn't eat. Maria had to force feed him after trying many different tempting options. I asked if she could take his temp, but she said he didn't feel hot. She tested his blood sugar and it was normal. I thought he was getting an infection or brewing the dread shelter-virus, but his eyes were not watery, only his coat looked unkempt.
Maria took the day off so she could rush Jackson to Noah's Ark, where Jackson was neutered. Jackson's temp. had risen to 104.4°F-high normal is 101°F. Jackson's scrotum was enlarged-an obvious infection was brewing. In four years of doing neuters, Doc had only seen this happen ONE other time.
©2012 Maria. S. Jackson getting prepped for surgery.
Jackson was sedated and Doc opened up his scrotum. She said it was good to see blood, that it meant the tissue was not dead. She could drain it, then give him a course of strong antibiotics and he should recover. I asked Maria if he'd have to wear “the cone of shame” (an Elizabethan collar), but she said no.
©2012 Maria. S. It's tough to look at, but now his painful, swollen scrotum will be healing up and feeling better very soon..
Jackson's waking up from the procedure as I write this. He's already gotten antibiotics. Hopefully this was just a bump in the road and from here out he'll not only be feeling better, but perhaps acting more calm with Maria, too. It's possible he's been in pain, first from the surgery and then from the infection—and what guy wouldn't lash out if his scrotum hurt?!
Another reminder to all of us that if your cat's behavior changes you should get him or her to the Vet, first. You never know what may be going on and it's important to rule out illness when you discover a behavioral problem.
As for Jackson, I see a lot of treats in his future!
Tomorrow is Bobette's orthopedic surgery. I'm thinking the theme for this weeks' blog may be "graphic photo warning-week." I hope it will also be, “cats who were feeling lousy but are on the road to recovery week”, too.
Last year Animal Planet aired a new show entitled: My Cat From Hell. Initially, I decided to avoid watching it, fearing cats would be shown in a harsh, unfair light as overly dramaticized miscreants to be shunned, unworthy of our compassion.
I decided to watch one episode, not having seen any previews. After the first segment was over, not only were all my fears cast aside, I sat there in awe, realizing that this show had the “legs” to do for cats what folks like Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell do for dogs. Cats finally had an advocate with a sound approach to training guardians to understand how their cats think—which will, in turn, save the lives of countless misunderstood cats.
Set your DVR's for this SATURDAY night at 8pm EST (USA) to catch the Premiere of SEASON TWO!
My Cat From Hell features Jackson Galaxy, a Rockabilly styled, Cat Daddy, who is covered with colorful inked portraits of some of his favorite felines. Galaxy must have been a cat in a past life for he has an understanding about their behavior that borders on uncanny.
We watch Jackson strolling casually down a suburban sidewalk with a guitar case in one hand. Is he going to play tunes to this episode's crazy cat? Heck no. Jackson's guitar is left behind. The case is filled with toys, treats and possibly some magic fairy dust; the tools he uses to work with cats that are misbehaving badly and whose owners are at the end of their rope trying to work it out on their own.
I recently spoke with Jackson about his passion for helping cats.
One of the most often asked about behavioral issues Jackson encounters is litterbox issues and aggression. About 90% of the consultations he does encompass these two big issues-and no surprise-as they are the most difficult to live with.
©2011 Animal Planet. From Season One: Jackson talking to Amanda & Matt about why their cat seems to hate Matt.
How Does He Do It?
Jackson looks for patterns to emerge to help solve the problem. Often times the guardian lacks an understanding of cat behavior and can't spot the patterns that result in the behavior issue. Jackson helps them learn to spot the pattern and make the necessary adjustments.
The solution is not always so obvious. If he's dealing with a guardian who already has a good background understanding cat behavior and can't see the pattern, that's when Jackson's ears perk up. Jackson's been working with cats for over 16 years. When he gets a case that's challenging, those are his favorite ones to work on. It helps keep him grounded, reminding him that cats are individuals and one solution for one cat, may not work with another. It also helps him grow in his understanding of what makes cats tick. His humility about what he knows is clear. He's confident, but humble. He understands there's always more to learn and is a willing and open-minded student with a gentleness that is very endearing.
So He's Like Dr. House on that TV SHOW, House…but for Cats Instead of People?
Some people mistakenly refer to him as the “House” for cats-referring to the fictional character, Dr. Gregory House, on the Fox TV show, HOUSE. House is a genius who loves to solve the puzzle of what's ailing his patients. He's the last stop on the diagnosis train-next stop, death; if Dr. House can't save the day.
©2011 Animal Planet. From Season One: Jackson with Carre and Brian watching surveillance videos of Minibar.
In some ways, Jackson IS like Dr. House, but he's NOT a fictional character. Jackson is brilliant when it comes to his understanding of cats (and probably many other things, too, but we mostly chatted about cats). Though Jackson does admittedly love the “puzzle” of solving a behavior issue, for him, the payoff is not proving how clever he is, the payoff is knowing he gave one cat a happy life and more importantly saved that cat's life.We all know too well what happens to cats who behave badly. Often times they're cast aside, let outdoors to fend for themselves or dumped at a shelter where they will surely be euthanized.
One by one, cat's guardians are left stunned by the quick improvement in their cat's behavior after they follow Jackson's orders. Cat haters are turned into proud kitty-parents. Though Jackson admits he's only on the cat's side, it's clear, the humans benefit just as much.
Bizarre Behavior or a Cat Who Deserves a Medal?
I asked Jackson about weird behavior issues he's encountered, thinking I had him beat on that one. Again, I was wrong. While it won't be aired, Jackson did a consult about a cat who urinated in his guardian's MOUTH while the guy was ASLEEP! Jackson was able to tease out the issues of what was going on because of his own life experience. Jackson had suffered from sleep apnea and knew the resulting snoring could possibly be terrifying the cat. He asked the guardian to do a sleep study at the local hospital and sure enough, the gentleman's doctor told him he needed to be treated for sleep apnea. His cat was waking him up because the cat was afraid something was WRONG and wanted to make sure he was okay. Perhaps the cat witnessed the guardian stop breathing as sleep apnea patient's often do? Once the sleep apnea was treated, the cat stopped peeing on his dad. This cat should never have been scolded, but given an award!
What Role Would You Say that Nutrition Plays in Cat's Behavior Issues?
Anyone who reads this Blog knows I'm a die-hard advocate for species appropriate nutrition for cats and I was very glad to know that Jackson underscored that nutrition plays a BIG ROLE IN EVERY CONSULT he does. “Free feeding is the devil.” That structuring feeding time can stop your cat from howling, yowling and pacing around your home. That instead of thinking their food just is there all the time from no known source and there's no relationship to you, now your cat sees YOU as the provider of good things. This helps form an important bond. A simple thing like keeping to a timetable of feeding can make big changes in your cat's life-and overall health.
Jackson's passion about proper nutrition came around the same time mine did. We both learned about nutrition after losing cats to diabetes. It just didn't make sense that our cats should die so young. Jackson lost his seven year old cat to insulin resistant diabetes. Something didn't add up about how his cat got sick in the first place and Jackson realized it was up to him to find out what to feed his cats when the advice he got from his Vet just didn't make sense.
What Jackson loves about the internet is the plethora of information out there on what to feed your cat, so now it's a lot easier to find out what to do. One thing is clear and just common sense…as Jackson said: “There's no excuse not to feed a great diet…it's so easy to feed the right food…meat, meat, meat!”
Is There Such a Thing as Too Many Cats?
“Tacit approval to limits is absurd.” That said, of course there are limits, but they're different for every person, size of their living space and personality and number of cats. Galaxy spoke about the “tipping point” which can come at any time depending on how many cats you have and their unique personality. You can have three cats doing just fine together, then you add a fourth. The fourth cat is fine with his new friends, but one of the others declares war and a storm of vengeful bladders begins to destroy the home.
Of Country Lanes & Super Highways
Jackson had been to a home where there was no furniture at all and only an air mattress for a bed. The owner was so passionate about her cats she would not give them up, but she had no real home left after they had urinated and destroyed just about everything she had. With thirteen cats, you might expect plenty of problems or that she was clearly nuts, but, as Jackson said if you set your home up to be Mabyberry, (for you young folks, that's a reference to the 1960's TV program, The Andy Griffith Show) a one lane town with a dirt road, you're going to have problems. If you have one cat traveling in one direction and another cat headed towards him, there's no way to get out of each other's way. One of those cats will be like a car on that small dirt road-it will have to go into the ditch, which means fights, peeing and unhappy guardians.
What you want to do is create a “super highway” in your home with plenty of “off ramps and on ramps.” Lots of vertical places for the “tree dwellers” (cats who feel safe up high) as Jackson refers to them and plenty of place for the “bush dwellers,” too. If you do it right, you could have no limits to how many cats you have and we all know what happens if you do it wrong.
If Things Don't Work Out, is Re-Homing a Cat Okay?
I admit I asked this question for myself. I've long grappled with the thought that one of my cats would be a lot happier in a new home. I realize it was the easy answer and I've always felt guilty thinking about it, since I don't feel I've exhausted every option to help her be happy here.
If that means that after observing the situation, there are times when there are no changes that could be made to help that cat be happy in their home. He NEVER would suggest simply giving the cat to a shelter since that's one of the WORST thing you could do. He feels with respect and careful consideration a great home can be found.
Speaking of Shelters…
Jackson is also passionate about helping shelters. He sees so much burnout of the staff, who care for many animals and who put a lot of effort into getting them adopted, only to see more animals coming in the door who need the same love and care. The “conveyor belt” never stops moving and these folks need help. Jackson would love to see a national foster home program, where instead of there being overflowing shelters, people just take foster animals into their homes until a new home can be found. If millions of people took ONE cat or ONE dog, think of how empty we could make those shelters! (and this is of course, taking into account that everyone is also spaying and neutering their pets)
Will Success Spoil Jackson Galaxy?
I channeled my inner Barbra Walters and asked Jackson how he felt about the reports I read about woman wanting him for more than just his cat-savvy mind? As soon as I asked, I could feel my face turning red, then heat up. I was completely embarrassed that I even asked him that question and I could tell from his bright laugh, that I caught him off guard.
Jackson said the attention was completely unexpected, but given that 95% of his clients are WOMEN, it didn't surprise me at all. We all know the perfect guy loves cats, but when he understands them the way Jackson does, it makes him quite the eligible bachelor.
Jackson's goal, at age 12, was to be a rock star. All he knows is performing on stage. It's ironic he finds his fame (until his CD comes out) through his understanding of cats. Plus, it's not about being a celebrity. Galaxy may have an outer space name, but his feet are firmly planted on the ground.
He admits he's NEVER asked a girl out on a date, ever. He's quite shy and really, who wants to risk being turned down? (not that he would be). Even without asking anyone out, he's found love before, but what about now?
As we spoke, I held my breath, wondering if he was going to answer the question about if he was unattached or not because I know many of you want to know. I got my answer, but was asked to keep it “off the record” for now. Since I'm going to be begging Jackson to help me with my cat issues, I better keep my mouth shut.
Perhaps there's a woman who's a man-whisperer out there who can get to the bottom of this?
Need Help with Your Cats?
Though Jackson is busy with his show just about to air and a new book and possible book tour in May (Cat Daddy: My Life with the Original Cat from Hell), he still does consultations as time allows. If you'd like to book his services (for cat behavior problems!), please email him at: email@example.com
Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy tackles the most catastrophic cat cases he’s ever encountered in six all-new, one-hour episodes of MY CAT FROM HELL. Armed with 15 years of experience, a proven training program and his signature guitar case filled with cat toys, Galaxy is on a mission to help cat owners find the source of conflict with their furry friends. In this season, Jackson swoops into solve a gamut of feline-related issues and repair the relationships they’re ruining, including the hair-raising case of a cat terrorizing its owner’s Pilates business by attacking her clients. Whether it’s the cat or the owners behaving badly, leave it to Galaxy to save the day!
You can “LIKE” Jackson on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonGalaxyCatDaddy and on Twitter: @JacksonGalaxy Make sure you tell him I sent you!
Update: The kitty I rescued yesterday from a kill shelter in the south, who was named in honor of Jackson, is doing well in his foster home. He was neutered and vetted and will be coming to CT to my rescue group Kitten Associates, then on to our sister, no-kill shelter, Animals in Distress. If you're interested in adopting Jackson (the CAT), please contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two awesome things happened today. One was interviewing Mr. Jackson Galaxy, of Animal Planet's new hit show: “My Cat From Hell.” My article about our chat will be posting tomorrow (since I had to stop writing it so I could jump onto reason number two). The second thing was the FIRST RESCUE OF THE YEAR IS UNDER WAY!
Look at that FACE! You just want to smooch it!
A few days ago I posted about this BIG HONKIN' LOVERY BOY holed up in the Georgia State Pen…I mean, Henry Co. Care & Control. Sittin' on good old death row waiting for the inevitable…
My buddies at Animals in Distress saw him and even though they are full up, they said they would make room for this charming giant beast of a cat if I would take care of getting him out of Georgia and making the arrangements for him to travel to Connecticut. If all I have to do is make a few phone calls and send out a few emails, I'm going to drop what I'm doing and take care of it.
©2012 Henry Co. Care & Control. Meet Jackson! Freshly rescued and on his way to a much better life! Your story begins now, you big, love-bug!
Our intrepid team: Maria and Bobby, said YES to helping out even though they, too, had to drop what they were doing and bust this big boy out of his cage.
I didn't want to imagine Mr. Galaxy hearing the great news about the rescue, followed by the bad news of what might happen if this cat had Leukemia. I hate this part of rescue the most-the waiting and the worrying. What will the snap test reveal? This is a big “biscuit head”-as they call them down south (apple head up here in Yankee-Land), Tom cat who is still intact. Odds are he has FIV+. If he did, the rescue was still on 100%, if he had Feline Leukemia-I just didn't want to think about that. From 1000 miles away I'd be hard pressed to come up with a solution to board him anywhere until we could retest him in a few months.
So the wait began…and along with it, the worrying.
Maria just texted me. “Neg/Neg” was all the text said. It was more than enough to know that Jackson was safe. Next stop getting him (the CAT, not the person!!) neutered and get his vaccines on board.
In a few weeks, Jackson will be here with us and we'll start the process of finding him a forever home. I can't help but think if Jackson, the man, were here with us, he'd be pleased, maybe even sing us a song as he energetically strums his 1930's ukelele and I'd just have to sit here, glowing, with a big crush on both these guys.
What's not to love?
I started to write a “Year in Review,” thinking I could get through it with some effort. A lot of things happened in 2011, but many of them were just too heartbreaking to look back upon in much detail. Today I write as a brokenhearted, tired rescuer with a very bleak outlook for 2012. I've decided that too many years have passed where I've been near broke and exhausted. 2012 is going to be better, damn it! I'm overdue for a wonderful year and for things to finally get better on the economic front.
That's not too shabby considering we did the hands-on rescues basically with just a small group of people, placed the cats by teaming up with our “sister” shelter Animals in Distress or via KA and we got the word out about many other cats in need by depending on THOUSANDS of folks who read this blog and who jumped in to help spread the word. It made a difference and it WORKED. We did some AMAZING things!
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Cow mama and her babies just before rescue.
There was our “cow mama” from Henry County Care & Control who no one would rescue regardless of our pleas for help. While other mamas and their babies got out, she did not. I didn't have many resources, but at the last minute, in the middle of the night, I got a name of someone named Jennifer H. at Humane Society if Forsyth County in Cumming, GA. We worked out the logistics and the next morning, at the very last second before the family was to be put down, they were busted out. Today they are all doing well and have been adopted into loving homes.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Big boy with hand model, Lauren from Dr Larry's office.
We went to bat for two giant kitties who were dumped off at my Vet's office. Within a few days, they were adopted by someone who had two big kitties just like the two who were dumped. Her cats had passed away and the day she got the call about them was the anniversary of one of the cat's passing away. She knew it was kismet and they were adopted.
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Sweet mama who gave birth to a kitten with a deformed leg.
Another mama had a kitten with a club foot who could barely walk. We loved this family so much we figured waving money around would help get them a rescue. Though it wasn't the sole reason for their rescue (they ARE an adorable family!), we raised $500.00 IN ONE DAY to cover the costs to remove the misshapen leg. This family was placed with a no-kill shelter and some were adopted into good homes, but sadly Prince William needs MORE SURGERY to correct his other damaged leg. If you can help this little guy out, please consider making a donation to his ongoing care! You can read about him and donate HERE. This poor guy has been in foster care for most of this YEAR! Let's get him the help he needs.
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.
Some of the mamas we blogged about who all got rescued.
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.
All these kitties are safe now.
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.
We got the word out on a number of families in crisis. Every single one was rescued by a no-kill shelter or rescue group. We are so grateful that by helping get the word out, the rescues who do have the facility and resources to help, find out about these families and jump in to do their part. Our hat is off to these groups.
©2011 Bobby. Bella and Barney
Who can forget, Bella & Barney, the toilet flushing cat! It was through our massive push to get the word out on these cats that King Street Cats heard about their plight and offered to take them in just 48 hours after the story broke. I've never had a story shared and re-tweeted so many times. This proves that through a simple click of a mouse, we can help save lives. These cats were facing being given up to a kill-shelter and now they are safe and sound waiting for their forever home.
©2011 Warren Royal. Buddy, what a love.
I loved the story about Buddy and his journey as an FIV+ stray into the home of our good friends, Warren & Terri royal, who rescued him and found him safe haven with a no-kill shelter. Buddy found his forever home, along with another FIV+ kitty. They are best friends.
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Basil and Nigel just before being rescued by KA.
Basil & Nigel, just two big lugs, looking' for love. Their bellies were scalded by urine from being confined in a cage for who knows how long. They both tipped the scales at well over 25 pounds. Being somewhat timid on top of that, made their rescue a miracle in the making. Somehow I was able to get enough favors pulled and folks interested in their story to help make a dream come true. Basil and Nigel have slimmed down to just about 20 pounds each and are doing well in foster care. Basil is still very timid, but if he can overcome this his foster family indicated that they would like to adopt the boys one day soon.
©2010 Amy Sikes. CHEESE!
Cheese. A great name for a sweet cat whose owner gave him up, thinking it was temporary, then realizing in a few months it had to be for good. She lost her home and job and couldn't take Cheese back. One of our friends, Amy Sikes, fostered Cheese until another one of our readers offered to adopt him. Cheese was transported from Virginia to New Hampshire where he lives with a few Papillons, who he finds annoying, but he's gracious about it as long as they stay out of his food bowl.
©2011 Maria S. Muddles & Cuddles.
Muddles & Cuddles were rescued by our foster mom-Maria. She took them from a neighbor who wasn't particularly interested in SPAYING her cats or providing them with even basic care. It was a very tough choice for Maria to risk taking on adult cats when she has her own cats to care for, so we jumped in and helped her with them. They made their way to CT and to AID where they both found great homes.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Phil!
Phil was five years old and a huge cat. It took all of FIVE days after he arrived in Connecticut to find him a GREAT forever home with a retired couple who has another cat named Tiger. Phil and Tiger quirky became best friends. His family is thrilled and so are we. Phil has a new name, they call him Big Poppy after a baseball player on the Red Sox.
©2011 Maria S. Amberly and her family. Our most amazing rescue yet.
Amberly and her family's rescue was a miracle. This amazing family had the most beautiful copper eyes I've ever seen. Each kitten was sweet and Amberly was a doll. She was a skinny wreck when she first arrived and a stunning beauty when she left for her forever home. Amberly's journey is like so many others, but the mark this family left on my heart will be there forever. Amberly and her five kittens are ALL in great homes together. Amberly went with her son, Jack. Periwinkle and BlueBelle, the prettiest kittens I've ever had went together and Truffles and Blaze found their home together, too. This was one wonderful family and Maria is amazing for doing what it took to find Amberly's kittens before it was too late. You can read more about them HERE.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Peri & Blue with their new family.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue, Jack and Peri-you are sorely missed.
Amelia and Noelle (a kitten injured when she was discovered under the hood of a car in 2010) came to CT and were placed in a great home, together thanks to our friends at AID!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amelia just moments after arriving in CT.
The highlight of my year was winning the 2011 Dogtime Media Pettie Award for Best Cat Blog. I wish you could have seen my reaction when I won. I was dumbfounded-completely shocked and thrilled. Some times I think I sit here in my jammies and talk to myself, but apparently I was wrong about that (maybe somewhat wrong about that). If I haven't said it enough times, let me say it again-THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR MY BLOG. It really means a lot to me to get some recognition for my efforts. I get so much love and concern from all of you already, this was an amazing bonus and I am deeply grateful for it.
Clare and Sally just had to be rescued! Look at those faces! I thought they were Siamese. Little did I know they were snowshoes-a breed I've never even heard of! I brought them north and AID had no problem finding them a great home-which only lasted a few days. The girls came back to the shelter and found an even BETTER home with a new family just as quickly. Their only failing-they let their child rename the cats. Meet Pillow and Rainbow!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Clare and Sally.
Oh Bob. My dear, Bob.
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob a few years ago, looking magnificent as always. Rest in Peace my Angel.
We had real heartache this year, too. First, we lost our dearest boy, Bob Dole to lymphoma. His death was a long, slow process. He passed at home with both Sam and I petting him and talking to him to ease his journey. Through Bob's life I learned many things about good feline nutrition and learning to let go of being afraid of seeing Bob die and taking some joy that his passing was beautiful. I never wanted Bob to leave us and today I still miss him terribly. My heart is broken.
Not long after Bob died, I rescued an orange mama cat and her six kittens in his honor. Bobette was sick, but it wasn't right away that we understood what was going on. A week after the rescue, three of her six kittens died within hours of each other, before we could even give any of them a proper name. Maria named them Sammy, Rocky and Red. They were cremated. Their ashes are with Maria while I care for the remaining family.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Bobette and her family at the shelter.
Bobette's secret pain was that she was hit by a car or abused to the point of it moving her kneecap far out of position. On a scale of 1 to 4 she's a 4-meaning BAD. I see her limp and stretch out her leg to try to get the kneecap in place, but it won't go unless she has surgery. Thankfully, our generous Vet, Dr. Mixon, has offered to do the procedure for $100.00, instead of $2500.00!!!!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy with his new mom and dad.
Another orange tabby had good news, too. Rocco, who I rescued in 2010, was returned. It just wasn't working out. Through the twists and turns of fate and timing, I ended up finding a wonderful home for Rocco, one I hope and believe will be his FOREVER home. Rocco spent his first Christmas with his new family, just a day after he was adopted.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rocco on his mom's winter coat just before he got adopted.
I love black and white cats, but in 2011 it seemed to be the Year of the Orange kitty. MacGruber, who I rescued in 2010, found his forever home, along with Polly Picklepuss in 2011. They are doing GREAT with their family. Every update is happier than the last. Both cats love life and are happy in their home. I miss Macky-G very much. He was a marvelous kitty and best buddy to my cat, Blitzen.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. MacGruber. One awesome cat.
Mazie, Polly, Cara & Chester-some of the sickest cats I've ever had. Cara was chronically ill to the point where I thought she would die. Mazie got an infection and soaring high temperature that almost took her life, too. For months and months I worried, ran to the Vet, gave them one prescription drug after another. They got better, they got worse, they were with me for almost a year. One by one they slowly got well enough to be adopted and one by one they left for their new homes.
©2010 Betsy Merchant. The last time I hope to ever see Mazie in a cage. She and her family are all doing great in their forever homes.
Chester was renamed, Boris and has a big pet family he adores. Polly is with MacGruber and Cara was adopted by her Guardian Angel, Connie.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie on her rag bed the night before she left us.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Triple trouble!
We had a White Christmas this year after the arrival of four white kitties we nicknamed the Angel Babies. One of the four, Princess, was just adopted a week ago. She is doing fantastic and loves her two other kitty friends. She's even sleeping with them! We're still hoping her brothers find their homes soon. They are awesome, lovey-dovey cats and if you know what I mean when I say, they are like The Borg, you'll understand what kind of crazy cats they are…one mind…three bodies.
©2011 Chris from Greengirlz Pet Photography. Christmas Kitties!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet little Hannah.
Hannah and Macy were rescued off the streets in Bridgeport, CT. Hannah was so tiny and sick we thought she would die. After being bottle-fed by one of our volunteers and a lot of love and care, both Hannah and Macy recovered. They were also the first kittens I observed being spayed!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Macy.
And lastly there's the DOOD. This kitten came from Cheshire, CT. I thought he'd be a quick kitty to find a home for so I took him into my rescue group. the DOOD turned out to test POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia-which shocked me completely. I refused to accept the test result and two days later he tested NEGATIVE. Even with that, he HAD to be quarantined for TWO MONTHS to make certain he did not have the disease. Thankfully, DOOD's test was NEGATIVE and he was allowed to meet our other cats. He and Blitzen are buddies who love to wrestle and groom each other.
After all that time here, I'd been working with him, to calm down his aggression towards people. I found out his former owner's kid kicked him and chased him around the house. I was filled with rage when they admitted the truth. They asked how he was doing and I never replied. They don't deserve to know what happened to their cat. Thank goodness I got him or he would have been put down by now for being aggressive.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Ryan meets the DOOD.
You can see he's a sweet cat (okay, some times) in this video featuring my nephew, Ryan. You can also see he went from a little kitten to an eight month old MONSTER, tipping the scaled (over) at THIRTEEN POUNDS!!!! He is going to be a HUGE CAT one day.
I'd hoped to announce that the DOOD was going to be living here with us, for good, but due to issues with our other cats, that may not be possible. We're going to give it a few more weeks and see how things shake out. I may have to just move away with the DOOD so we can stay together. Considering how my love life was this year, I may not be making much of a joke with that statement.
What about 2012?
• Bobette will get her surgery and hopefully she'll be walking normally by March.
• Somehow I will find a way to pay my bills.
• I'm going to re-design Covered in Cat Hair so it's easier to follow stories and stay in touch. Plus, this web site design is years old. Like anything else, it needs a facelift!
• I'm going to take a few days off. I don't know how. I don't know when, but I am in DIRE need of a holiday. I haven't had a trip away from home, other than for business for years. I think 2012 has to allow some healing time for me, just so I can stay strong and do more rescues.
• I may start rescuing from one of the most notorious and horrible kill shelters-the dreaded AC&C in New York City. Rescuing from here is not for the faint of heart, but they need all the help they can get.
• Take a deep breath and try to prepare for what we will soon find out about our cat, Nicky. Does he have lymphoma and are we on the start of another painful journey?
• And Bob. Well there's news about him, too. We've found a way for Bob to live on and I will be sharing that joyous news with you soon.
As ever-stay tuned…and Happy New Year.
Nothing says the Holiday season better than hysterically trying to wrangle four kittens into a faux Holiday scene so you can get a photo for your Holiday Card. Bloodshed be damned! We were going to get this done!
Chris Clark, from Greengirlz Pet Photography, was so gracious to let us do a VERY LAST MINUTE photo shoot for our Holiday Card. Sam and I “wrangled” the kittens into "position" while Chris Clark snapped away at her camera. She taught us that you can actually get the cats to pose by being very relaxed with them and by constantly re-positioning them where you want them---one hand on the chest, one hand on the back at the base of the tail. Just keep reminding them how you want them to sit. After awhile, they began to stay in the sleigh. One of the kittens got cranky so we put him in a crate for a few minutes, thinking we'd be lucky to get a photo with the three kittens. It ended up that the time out was a good thing. We grabbed Snowball after his time out and placed him back with the group. Chris got to work and she got some really great shots..and no blood was shed!
I did some photoshop magic taking one great photo, then changing out one cat for another. I still made certain we had one of EACH of the kittens represented-even though Sam thought I was nuts. Yes, I am nuts, I know that. I grabbed a line from the song; “White Christmas” and added it to the image and the rest is history!
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Okay, guys look at the camera, not at Robin!
I have a mad crush on each six month old kittens. They're each so very friendly and sweet with loads of charm. I love to handle them and hold them. They impress everyone they meet.
I'm surprised they all didn't get adopted in a second, but sadly applications are slow to come in on them. The good news is that yesterday, little Princess, DID get adopted by a lovely family. They had a very tough choice between Princess and Snowball. Secretly I hoped they'd take Princess, because I love the fact that Snowball will jump into my arms on command (and some times when I'm not ready, too!). He never uses his claws on me! Amazing!
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Ooo! If only we had all four kittens!
The kittens are getting big and their room is small. I'm working hard to find them great homes and I hope I can do that soon. I've had to turn away a lot of people who wanted to "surprise" someone with a kitten as a gift. Most people don't get why that's a terrible idea, so I have to play the bad cop and say no.
The number one reason for animals to be surrendered to shelters is because they were given as a gift and that person didn't want them, they grew out of being cute and the lifetime of commitment was something they didn't want to have to deal with that-plus the Holidays are busy enough. Do you really want to have to spend time caring for a new animal in your home then, too?
©2011 Chris Clark for Greengirlz Pet Photography. Love these guys but they look fake it's so good!
Until we find those perfect homes, I'm going to enjoy having a different kind of White Christmas!
©2011 Maria S. Bobette and family etting ready to leave for Connecticut.
I can't believe it's been over a week since the Pumpkin Patch family arrived from Maria's home in Georgia. This time of year, it's always more hectic and I had much to do before this family arrived. Even after picking the family up off the transport, the boys only had an hour break before I packed them up and brought them to my rescue group's Home for the Holidays Adoption Event! (I left mama, Bobette home to rest. She was very cranky with the boys and I thought some alone time would do her good).
©2011 Maria S. The transport awaits.
The planning and setup for Adoption Events always leaves me knackered. Someday I hope to have volunteers able to help me get these things done. My car isn't very big, but it seems as though there's an endless supply of “stuff” that has to be crammed into it. Things need to be packed, washed, organized, then I have to figure out how many cats there are plus how many crates needed, plus where is this all going to go and how is it going to get to Choice Pet Supply where the event is being held?
©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Would you adopt me?
Irene is my right hand woman. She shows up. She helps. She fills up her car with whatever I ask. She jumps in and chats people up and tries to get us a few sales or donations. Sam will load up his car, too and help us get the tough things set up, then he scampers off to work on his own projects. I end up having to design flyers, send out notices to the newspapers-the online ones, the printed ones. Then the flyers have to be hung up around town, if I can get away long enough to do that. There's just an amazing amount of work to be done. Meanwhile, there are cats to care for and all their paperwork to fill out, what vaccination they need, getting them to the vet, vetting potential adopters. No wonder I always seem to be stressed out and feeling like I don't have enough time in the day.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie!
We got some applications and I met with folks who had emailed me about stopping by to visit the kittens. It was all going well when all of a sudden, I heard one of the Angel Babies furiously meowing and scratching at the plastic tray bottom of their crate. As I lifted the cover off the back of their cage, my nostrils were violated by a powerfully nauseating smell. Then, I saw it-diarrhea! Ugh.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bananas are good fun.
Irene and I quickly started to clean up the mess. Thankfully the poop wasn't on the bedding in the cage so the cleaning wasn't difficult. The smell, however, was not going away. I had a small litter pan ready to go. It was too soon into the event to offer it to the kittens, or so I thought. If one of the kittens had the runs, I figured I'd better give them the litter pan. Seconds after I placed the pan in the cage, two of the kittens started digging around in the litter. At first I thought they were just bored and playing with it, but after a few minutes it was clear that another kitten had to let it rip-and so he did.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey the sneak-attack biter!
I truly believe that the U.S. Government should use mooshie cat poop smell as chemical warfare. There is no way troops wouldn't be quickly offended by the stank and run for the hills! Did we manage to clear the store? YES! It was great at keeping the crowds down. Just what we needed.
The orange boys did fine. They were bouncing around, having fun. They laid on each other and the three of them started grooming each other. It was so cute that it made everyone forget the lingering stench, as they crowded around the cage, “ooo-ing and ahh-ing.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello! This is Teddy or Mikey. I think it's Teddy.
People would ask me questions about the boys, but like the white kitties, I couldn't tell the orange kitties apart (I am starting to a week later, though).
Meanwhile, poor Mazie sat forlornly in her cage. She growled a bit so we covered her up. I bravely stuck my hand into her cage and she started to purr. She forgave me from locking her in a cage by giving me her belly to rub. I felt very guilty about having her at the event, but she's GOT to find a forever home! She's been with us for a YEAR already and she's such an awesome cat!
I was grateful when 4pm came so we could pack up and get home. I wanted to lay down and go to sleep right then and there, but I knew that once we got back I'd have to feed the foster cats, make sure they were all right, then unload the cars and put things away.
I got the cats fed, but after that my body complained to the point where I just had to sit down for awhile. Unloading the cars could wait.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette a few moments after arriving.
I also wanted to spend some time with Bobette and the boys. I didn't have a chance to get to know them that morning, so now was the time.
I let the boys out of their carrier and Bobette looked at them and hissed. She's barely bigger than they are and at certain times I can't tell which one is the kitten and which is the mother. A few of kittens foolishly went over to their mom and she attacked them. I don't think she had her claws out, but the sound she made was one of pure rage. I made sure the boys were fine. They were scared, but ok. I got them all fed. I kept Bobette away from the kittens. I worried that she might attack me, as well, but she seemed relaxed around me or was it because I was feeding her?
What happened on the transport? Bobette was fine with the boys when she left Georgia, but now she was clearly not interested in having them near her at all.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette (far right) screams at her boys to get away.
The boys picked at their food, so did Bobette. They'd been eating dry food, softened with water, and I knew I'd have to break them of the habit; better now than never.
After they ate, the boys ran around. I called Bobette over to me. I was sitting on the bed. She came over and let me pet her. She climbed into my lap and got comfortable. I cautiously petted her. She relaxed until a kitten would come near her. As that happened, she'd alert, then growl. She'd lash out if the kitten dared to ignore her warning. I didn't want to lay there with an angry cat in my lap, but she went right back to relaxing and enjoyed my company. She even rolled over with her belly up in the air. I took a long look at her. She's very much got an Oriental Shorthair body with a classic orange tabby coat. She's long and lean with a wedge shaped head, dainty long legs and a long, delicate tail. I didn't see her limping, that would come later. Right now she was content-if I could just keep the boys away from her.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Weeeee!
I'd seen this behavior before, but never so severe. I wondered if I should crate Bobette, but with her painful leg issue, I realized that maybe it was her pain that was making her lash out? I asked Dr. Mixon, one of our Vets, about this and he said it might be typical behavior of the mother pushing the males out of the colony to keep the colony from having inbreeding issues or...well he wasn't sure. Even after almost a week, she's still aggressive towards them.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Da boyz.
The boys are doing well according to Dr. M. Mikey has a broken tail tip. We don't know when or how it happened, but it's already healed. Teddy was all right and Jakey was a nightmare getting his vaccines; what a screamer!
Bobette is another story. I see her jumping with some difficulty. She wants to play, but the boys get in her way and she gets angry. Some times she'll run around the room, clearly having fun, but after a few moments, she starts to limp very badly. Her drive to do more is hampered by what happened to her leg. She was in an accident of some kind and it's badly dislocated her kneecap. Dr. M rated it a 4 out of 4; 4 being the most severe. He feels he can correct the problem with surgery and that the patella (kneecap) shouldn't pop back out. I remembered when we first rescued Bobette that the folks at Henry County said they couldn't get her to eat for four days. Perhaps she'd just been hit by a car? Perhaps that had something to do with her inability to provide for her six kittens? I can't seem to let go that we lost three babies. I want to know why they died so we can prevent that from happening again. I know I'll never know why they're gone, but maybe the trauma their Mother suffered had something to do with it?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lanky, lean and lovely-Bobette.
The surgery would cost $2500.00. I'm NOT going to ask for donations. What I really need is FOOD, LITTER and some NEW TOYS for this family and for the Angel Babies. I'll be setting up a ChipIn to ask for donations for our Food & Fun Fund soon. I have to wrap my head around what Dr Mixon told me the rescue price would be for the surgery, first.
Anyone want to guess?
He's going to charge us $100.00. That's not a typo. ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! When he first told me, I thought I was going to cry. I knew we have no where NEAR $2500.00 in our bank account and I was guessing he'd charge us around $1500.00. When he said, $100.00 I asked him to make sure that's what he wanted and he said to just put the word out about his Practice and help folks get to know him. After the surgery is done early next year, I'll be writing more about Dr. Mixon and his practice. For now, I'm very grateful we have his services to depend on and that when we do have money, it will last us much longer. Dr. Mixon also doesn't charge us an exam fee for rescue cats as long as we don't take advantage of his time. We just keep it to a few hours a month. So far, it's worked great.
Without the burden of a huge Vet bill, I can focus on helping Bobette recover. She'll have to have three weeks of cage rest and three weeks of low activity. Instead of going to AID, which was the original plan, Bobette will have to stay here for awhile, until she's better.
This poor girl; she's barely a year old and what hell she's been through in such a short time. You know me, I'll do whatever I can to help her go from “Meh to MEOW!”
In the meantime, I have about 12 other kitties I need to find forever homes for!
Part One of Two.
It seems as though regardless of when I chose to rescue a cat, when it goes into foster care, what day it's transported or when I pick it up, that everything comes together at the same time, even if the rescues happened weeks apart! It's very tough to figure out when to rescue more cats, with the hope that the foster cats you currently have will be long gone by the time the new fosters arrive.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Goodbye Sweet Truffles! You're such a sweetie pie!
After almost three months of foster care here, Amberly's remaining two kittens, Blaze and Truffles were adopted together! They went with a divorced dad and his three kids. What a GREAT family! I really liked them a lot. Dad is into feeding the kitties a raw diet, so I was extra thrilled! The kids were terrific-sweet, nice, cute. I knew they'd all have fun together, but I didn't know if the girls would even be getting adopted until Friday at 5pm when I knew full well that on Saturday at 9am a transport was arriving with Bob's Pumpkin Patch on board! Talk about cutting it CLOSE! If Truffles and Blaze didn't get adopted, I'd be in BIG TROUBLE! I'd have no room for the new arrivals! What would I do?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blazey, you left a big pawprint on my heart, even if you DO have the loudest MEOW ever!
I really lucked out. Blaze and Truffles showed well. Being alone in the room for two weeks helped them blossom. Once the kids started to play with them the kittens forgot to be shy and began ripping around the room, clearly enjoying all the attention. Dad looked on, impressed.
Their new family brought their old dog crate. It was enormous and barely fit up the staircase. I gave each of the girls a kiss, realizing this was “it,” time for another good bye. My heart felt very heavy, but it was mixed with great relief. I only had a few hours to clean up the room. I was already thinking about what I needed to do to get it ready for Bobette and crew. In a way, it made the pain of closing this chapter a lot easier. Another story was about to begin and I needed to get ready. I'd have to cry later.
For the record, Amberly's family was one of my favorites. I loved their story, their crazy coloring, their stunning copper eyes, their big, loving hearts. I'm jealous of their adopters. Each one of these kittens and their mama were superb. Seeing them every day was a great joy and I will always have a place in my heart that belongs to them.
Just before this post went live, I got a note from their adopter. He wrote: “I just wanted to let you know that Blaze and Truffles are doing great...we are all enjoying their company...they are 2 of the sweetest kittens I've ever met. Both are very affectionate but have no problem showing their true colors when they want to play or are letting you know that they are hungry...the poster of Blaze's face must have been taken when she was hungry...she's hilarious. They are acclimating to all areas of the house.”
And all this came to pass because Maria went to a tag sale early one summer morning and found a skinny cat laying in the road in desperate need of help. It's been quite the amazing journey.
The Angel Babies are here!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Loaded up and headed for Connecticut.
Sure, I adopted out two kittens, but I'd already taken on the four Angel Babies; Vash, Jazz, Justin and Princess. It's been so hectic around here that I didn't even get to let you all know how that's been going.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Jazz (now named, Blizzard).
Sam and I drove to Pennsylvania to meet up with Izzy and her husband, Mark. They rescued six white orphaned kittens when they were just a few days old. I have to hand it to this couple. Somehow they managed to bottle feed six kittens without any of them dying. Amazing! You can read more about their background before the came to my home, HERE.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess de Winter relaxes on her new cat tree.
Of the six kittens, two were spoken for, so I agreed to take the remaining four; three are boys and one is a girl. They all have a smudge of gray on their heads. One has a big swash, one has two smaller ones, one has three and the girl has hardly a gray hair. Can I tell them apart after a week? NO!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Justin (now named Snowball) is quite the love bug.
What I can tell about them is the bottle feeding helped them become VERY affectionate and easy to handle. These cats will reach up to me to be held, jump on my back or shoulders, call to me to pick them up. They like to be held like a baby. They love to play. If you ever watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, they're like the BORG. They seem to have one brain and four bodies. The react the same way, at the same time, when I call them to eat or jiggle a toy at them. It's as though their thoughts are controlled by a Mothership somewhere circling overhead.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bizzard is watching for a chance to jump on me.
It's very easy to love these cats. They're simply adorable. I'm shocked to no end that they don't have 20 or 30 adoption applications each, but I barely have any for them and it's been a few weeks since they've been on Petfinder.
I did a test and decided to change their names to something snowy/wintery to see if that would help get the interest up. So far no change, but it's only been a few days. Of course, I couldn't tell the cats apart before and with the name change, so I might as well confuse myself even further. I'm toying with the idea of dying them different colors (hee hee) or perhaps it would be wiser and I'd get fewer nasty comments if I just put a collar on two of them? I need to print out a cheat sheet to hang in their room. I've never had this problem before!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Stretch Princess!
I have a lot of guilt about these kittens. My only place for them is my guest bathroom. The laundry room is attached to the bathroom and I can open the door and give them a very little bit of extra room. The problem is that they can get behind the washer and dryer and next thing I know, they've unhooked the dryer hose from the vent in the wall. This is a problem and very annoying to have to fix.
I did my best to block off their access to that area, but the little turds can get back there no matter what I did. Sam had to re-hook up the dryer. Lucky for me he wasn't too chapped about having to do it and it was a good excuse to attach the new clamp for the dryer hose. It should hold more tightly and be less easy for the cats to disconnect-famous last words.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The DOOD's old cat tree is really coming in handy!
Again, I thought I blocked their access to the dark space behind the washer and dryer. I left the room so they could run around. I was in my bedroom putting laundry away. I heard a funny sound. I heard it again. I heard a small cry. Oh great. I knew what it was.
I went back into the laundry room. I counted heads. One, two, three...three...where is four? I looked between the washer and dryer. There was a big metal divider from a dog crate folded into the space. I pushed it back towards the far wall, thinking the cats could not get behind it. There, hanging by his paws on the divider was Snowball. I looked at him. He looked at me and meowed. I gave him a dirty look, bent down and lifted him up by his shoulders and whispered into his ears; “You dumbass.”
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Um, excuse me?
He didn't seem to mind my name-calling. I put him down and tried yet again to block off the area. If I couldn't manage it, I'd have to keep them in the bathroom, but at six months of age, these are far from tiny kittens and they need room to stretch out. I hated myself for not having a bigger space for them. I really wanted to just let them out, into the rest of the house, but I knew it would start World War III with the rest of my cats.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blizzard and Princess.
I kept trying and failing, but at least the dryer hose stayed attached. Every time I opened the door to their space, a new pile of stuff they'd gotten into was all over the floor. I store some of the extra towels and bedding I use for foster cats on a high shelf. They would climb onto the shelf and pull everything off it onto the floor. After a while I just gave up. They have a nest on the floor made up of an old comforter and a few throw rugs and it's far from their litter pan. I mention this because one morning I went into their room and somehow they'd taken a towel from the floor and threw it into their litter pan. One of them had explosive diarrhea in the pan, but somehow it was tossed about 3 feet up the wall and all over the wall! Another cat had vomited while up on the countertop. The pile landed on the floor and they all must have run through it, then all over the room!
And no, I did not harm any kitten in any way, though I did re-think what I was doing fostering these nut-jobs!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. They look so innocent...ha ha ha ha ha!
If they weren't so darn CUTE and lovey-dovey, it would have been a lot harder to scrub the walls down at 7:30AM or not be tweaked to realized the bits of paper on the floor were actually cardboard that once belonged to the top of the box the baby scale is stored in. I could see tiny tooth impressions all over the box. One of them must have sat on the box and just gone to town, chomping and chewing the edges of the box. Really, just how bored are these guys?
Tonight I dropped way too much money on an automatic laser pointer thing. You turn it on and it wiggles a laster painter beam all over the place for about 15 minutes, then it shuts off. At least if I couldn't spend hours with the kittens, it would be something I could do for them a few times a day between feeding visits and lovey-dovey visits.
More than anything, I'd like to see these cats get adopted, even if secretly (okay not so secretly now) I would love it if they stayed here (but don't I always say that?). They're so marvelous I know anyone who meets them would love them right away. Wednesday I'm taking them to a photo studio to meet Chris from Greengirlz and to star in a photo shoot! I thought our Holiday Card should have something to do with having a White Christmas, but after what I've seen these cats do, I just wonder how wise it is to take them somewhere with a backdrop they can climb and props they can chew. I'm glad Chris is a Professional Pet Photographer. Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too. They're cats. Professional or not, cats are going to be cats. Good luck with wrangling them, Chris! I'm going to just stand back and watch you work!
I wonder if we should just be happy if we can get a photo of them after they're exhausted from ripping apart the studio? Gee, I sure wish I had a video camera all of a sudden.
Tomorrow...part two...Bobette and Family arrive and with them more questions about Bobette's limping and what we can do to help her. Oh yeah, and I didn't even tell you about MY FIRST SPAY, the companion to MY FIRST NEUTER. That is a fun story. Oh yeah...yikes!