Weird

And then it hit me...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yah think?

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

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

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

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

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control

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

Taylor Swift is Better Than Me

Anyone who visits this web site regularly knows there aren't enough cat photos. There just aren't. Thankfully, Davander Mobile just released the latest version of CatPaint for lucky iPhone and iPod Touch owners. For 99 cents it's great for creating absolutely absurd images using your own photos as a background. Then you simply add their pre-loaded cat images to any "catless" image or add more cats to an existing photo; if you feel badly that you only have 2 cats and want to seem more like a hoarder (like me with 8 cats).

I swiped a few examples off the Cat Paint Gallery so you can see the work of true “artistes.“ It's very simple to pick up on how to create your own Catserpiece, and during the creation, the cat art meows every time you place one! Great for taunting real cats while you do your art.

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As seen on Cat Paint's Gallery Page! Nice job, whoever you are!

Of course if Taylor Swift can enjoy this, well, that just says it all. What it says, I do not know, but heck there's a CAT in the photo. WIN!

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I just did my own Cat Painting. It might not have been Mewseeum quality and of course I would pre-fur an option to add my own cats. Maybe that will happen in a future version, but for now, I feel satisfied that my boring photo of the Tappen Zee Bridge has been transformed into a moving tribute to something. Maybe. Maybe not a tribute, but not a bad effort. Okay. Just look at the photo I made and like me so I can feel good about myself! I don't have Taylor Swift's legs...or anything else that she's got, for that matter.

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©2010 Robin AF Olson. “The Bridge to Tabbybithia”

So go. Create art. Or bug someone with an iPhone to share this app with you. Just don't bug me. I'm busy creating another catsterpiece.

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Brush Your Cat. Save the Gulf!

Get out your brushes, gang, the wildlife of the Gulf Coast region need our help!

Did you know that human hair and pet fur is GREAT at absorbing OIL? There's a non-profit organization, called Matter of Trust. They collect hair from salons, pet hair from shelters, rescues, schools, individuals-anyone who's got HAIR! They create hair filled "booms" using ladies nylon pantyhose, then drop them onto oil spills and the hair does the rest!

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Photo by Matter of Trust

What a simple and wonderful way to help with this tragedy in the Gulf!

Here's the info from their web site:

Everyone can take part!
No matter where you are. No matter if you're with a salon or groomer or if you're a volunteer.

First, please SIGN UP to their Excess Access program. It's FREE and FAST.
It is their mass donation matching database system.

They cannot give out addresses for where to send hair, fur and nylons unless you are signed up, because as the spill moves so do the recipient sites and we don't want any boxes returned to you. And they don't want any boxes coming there after the spill.

START BRUSHING, GANG! LET'S SEE SOME PHOTOS OF THE CLIPPINGS BEFORE YOU SEND THEM OUT! Best pile of fur photo will be featured here and on our Facebook fan page!

I want to see at least 100 times better than this:

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This is a bit of Nicky, Nora, Bob & Spencer, but I know I can do bigger and better (without the cats going bald!)

Get to it and PLEASE pass this info along to your friends! You can also visit Matter of Trust on FACEBOOK.

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Beat It. A Contest!

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Bob Dole (my cat, not the ex-candidate for Vice President) has been coughing for about a week. I admit I didn't give him enough hairball remedy, but thankfully he, somehow, managed to hork this bad boy up.

Okay, it's gross, but you have to admit it's impressive, too! In all the years of discovering hairballs, I've never seen one this big.

So now, my dear readers, I challenge you. Can your cat blast a bigger hair hunk? You've got a week. You can't "make" a fake hairball with your hands or in photoshop. You need to include a ruler next to said hairball so we can see how long it is. It's gotta be the real thing. Also, include a photo of the cat who did the “horking.”

To enter, you must email a photo of the hairball w/ruler and photo of the cat who “made” it to: info@coveredincathair.com by Friday, April 23, 2010.

Prizes? Hey, do I look like I'm sponsored by a major corporation? I might have a Furminator or a box of Catnip Tea I can toss your way. Is it great motivation for you to send in pix? Heck no. Is bragging rights worth something to you? I think, YES! The winning hairball will be posted right here on CiCH, along with a photo of the now somewhat less hairy cat (if the owner provides one).

So stop cleaning up those messy hairballs and get out your camera, first!

Note: open to anyone who has a camera, a cat and a cat who just puked up a hairball. Please DO NOT HARM or otherwise induce your cat to vomit. I mean, really, do I have to put that in writing?

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BlogPaws: Off “We?” Go

There's nothing like the excitement of packing up and going on a road trip with your beloved. The promise of the open road. Leaving your troubles behind you. The enjoyment of discovering more about the world around you, and yourself, while you're at it.

And...there's nothing like the threat of not going on the trip at all, just when you've finished packing and you need to load the car. But wait, first you must have a HUGE, blowout fight over the fact that you're stressed and short-tempered (because you don't want to leave late) and not being very nice. Okay. Let's have a big fight for two hours, so we can be certain to leave as LATE as possible, so the 660 mile drive will end around 12:30AM instead of 7PM! Great.

There's nothing like battling through CT, NY & NJ, followed by an endless drive across Pennsylvania. I swear that state GROWS while you drive it. All the up and down, curvy roads, the rain, the truckers who tailgate and the insane f-cker who almost hit us.

Yet, somehow, with all this, there's nothing like being able to find a way to work it out, to get over your petty/not-so-petty-but-you-don't-want-to-admit-it crap and attend to the task at hand. You make the 660 mile drive. You get to the hotel late. You eat a cold sandwich and pass out cold on the big, cat-less bed. You wake up to a new day, full of possibilities.

You awake to the purr of a garbage truck dumping something outside your window. You might be fearful that the shit storm is going to happen all over again, but you have that hope that today will be different. Today will be different! And if not, the trip was already worth it.

We made one stop yesterday, other than bathroom breaks. I scored a really cool 1950's lamp for my living room at the Atomic Warehouse, so that's good, right?

More from BlogPaws, life in Columbus, Ohio and The Sam & Robin Smackdown Show, soon!

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Foster Cat Journal: And the Award Goes to...

Cupid does not care for me to read while I'm having one of my visits with her. She also likes to make sure she rubs her ringowrmy foot all over my book, my pants and anywhere else her rear left leg can reach.

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In a way, I was grateful to her for interrupting my reading. I took it as a cosmic approval that the book sucked as much as I feared and I really shouldn't bother with it. I'd forced myself to read up to page 100 because the author is a famous, fancy-pants, but I just didn't get it. The story had too many back stories and not enough “forward” story. It just annoyed me. It annoys me to even write about it. I wanted to slap him and declare; “GET ON WITH THE F-ING STORY, will ya?!”

Who is the author, you ask? I can't say. It would be unprofessional of me to reveal HIS name because HE wrote something that was made into a crappy mini-series AND he won a Pulitzer for one of his novels. And he lives in Maine. And his latest book is about Cape Cod. That's all I'm sayin' and NO, I do not think the book was “FUNNY” as I've seen others declare.

He wrote about getting crapped on by a seagull. That is NOT funny. It's especially not funny if you're traveling in Scotland, with a family you just met, and a giant flying rat craps down your arm, in front of two young children, who are suddenly shocked into silence because they have good manners, but whose eyes are about to pop out of their heads because they want to laugh so badly. They wait for a nod of the pooped-upon to let them know it's all right to laugh their asses off, while you try to swab away the shit storm on your sleeve.

See? It's funny when I tell about MY experience of being pooped on, but in this book eh, not so much. Plus, being pooped on is just a few lines of a bigger story. It's not going to win anyone a SECOND Pulitzer, 'cause if there was a Poop Pulitzer, well, stand back because I would surely win it!

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Special Delivery!

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Vintage Kitty Postcards!

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I just received a lot of four vintage postcards illustrated in Germany by Mainzer in the early 1900's. These cats getting into all sorts of mischief, but they're also really bizarre. There's a cat who looks angry that the other cats are in his yard and he's got a DOG with him for protection!

More postcards to come! Wait 'til you see the smoking themed one!

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For the Cat Lover Who Has (Almost) Everything

Control-A-Cat Remote Control

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I love this part of the description: “No batteries required - powered by wishful thinking.”

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If only it really worked. Also, it's missing buttons for: “Don't PEE There!” and “Quit Bugging Me, I'm Not Going to FEED You Right Now! (Not sure that would fit on a button, though.)

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