I didn’t plan on writing more about life here after the shooting in Sandy Hook. My blog is focused on cat rescue and the challenges of living within a multiple-cat household, but something happened today that must write about.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
This post is regarding people who call themselves “truthers” or conspiracy theorists. They play detective, purportedly sniffing tiny “details” out of a tragedy that when taken out of context or when twisted about to suit their agenda and strung together with bits of dried up tape and spit, turn into their version of “the truth.” They supposedly get their data from credible news outlets or mysterious unnamed “sources.” They make things up. They see something in a photo that only their twisted perception can reveal.
The case in point is what happened here in Sandy Hook.
They say the shooting was faked, portrayed by “crisis actors,” not “real people” (these actors DO exist, but they are used for Emergency Training seminars, etc. These folks concur-they had no role in what happened—DUH!). They are determined to prove that the situation was used to push tougher gun control laws. Really?
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Wow. If the U.S. Government was that creative do you think the economy would be in such dire straits? No way! They’d open a movie studio to rival Paramount Pictures. They’d be profitable, save the economy and we'd all have jobs being hired out to be actors in the next, as-yet-to-happen faux-tragedy to befall our Country!
To be behind an event like this would be a logistical nightmare. Who has time for such tomfoolery with everything else going on in this Country? They’d have to hire a shitload of actors, who would have to be made up of PEOPLE I KNOW. One such person is someone I’ve known for over 30 YEARS. I find it impossible to believe that my dear friend, who is the Lieutenant in a local police department, who was one of the First Responders, was an actor. Bullshit. That what he saw was phony. Bullshit. The fact that he will probably need to go on a paid leave of absence after what he saw-NOT bullshit.
The other thing that makes my blood boil are the attacks on another person I know here in town named Eugene “Gene” Rosen. You may recall that Gene was the gentleman who lived down the street from Sandy Hook Elementary. Victoria Soto’s surviving students took refuge in his driveway after the massacre. Gene just happened to be home feeding his cats. When he discovered the children, he opened up his home and his heart to these kids until they could be reunited with their parents. What a good deed. How could such kindness be seen as merely staged dramatics? Disgusting!
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Gene is a Pet Sitter and I’ve known him for years. Gene is a sweet, gentle person who loves animals. We serve together on the newly formed Advisory Council for the Newtown Animal Care & Control Center. I just saw him a few days ago at our last meeting. He was very quiet, clearly distressed by what has befallen him and this was BEFORE the “truthers” started attacking him.
What these “truthers” are saying is that Gene is an actor; that Gene did despicable things to the children that I will not repeat. They make outrageous claims stating they can do so because they have proof. Oh really? Do they KNOW Gene? NO. Do they live here in town? NO! Are they being “mean boys and girls,” picking on an innocent senior citizen? YES!
As always happens, those good intentions begin to fall to the wayside and people go on with their lives as the days pass. That's not a problem. It's appropriate, but the invasion of “truthers” reminds us that the flip side of compassion is stained with cruelty.
We’re still here. We’re still hurting, but we’re taking time to heal, surrounded by people we know, love and trust—our community.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
There are people out there who have too much time on their hands, who probably never got picked to be part of any team, who are paranoid, maybe a few French fries short of a Happy Meal™? They sit around looking to make trouble, to get attention, to stir things up, to make people who are in obvious pain, feel like they have to defend themselves about a situation that does not require defending.
“But it could all be Photoshopped®,” they’d say next.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
They will always come up with some reason for why they can’t believe it. A mountain of photos or miles of video will never satisfy them. Hopefully NO ONE will feel like they need to feed this ugly beast. There is nothing to prove. We don’t need to see photos of little corpses lined up in rows waiting to be taken to the morgue. I’m okay with NEVER seeing that. Why aren’t they?
Are there some “facts” that seem odd? Did someone believe they saw more than one shooter run away from the building after the massacre on a video? Can’t all that be faked, too? DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHAT THE DETAILS ARE? DOES IT CHANGE THE FACT THAT DOZENS OF PEOPLE WERE MURDERED A MONTH AGO?
I say to you “truthers” to rename yourselves-“the kids that didn’t get enough attention from their parents, who have nothing better to do than stand cowering behind Freedom of Speech, then shout out whatever hateful, disturbing, UNTRUE things just to get a rise out of us.”
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
Yes, you got a rise out of me, but here’s one for you.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
But that would be too much to ask for, just plain decent behavior between fellow human beings. No, some of us have to piss in the pot and make life suck for everyone and make someone like Gene end up getting threats. He and his poor wife are afraid for their lives! Is that right? Pick on an innocent person?
This is APPALLING and it needs to stop. Some of us need to GROW UP and find a new way to get attention, if that’s such a precious commodity, and they need to LEAVE THE PEOPLE OF NEWTOWN ALONE. Leave decent brokenhearted people alone to grieve one of the worst tragedies to befall us in recent times.
Go find another tragedy to pick apart because the truth of what really happened here got my fellow Newtowners international media attention that NONE OF US WANTED. Are you so desperate to attach yourself to this story that you'd say or do anything to get some press? That's just depraved.
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.
I have better things to do with my time. I suggest you do the same.
NOTE FROM ROBIN: just before I was going to upload this post, I got a number of urgent texts from Maria about a kitten who was in dire need of rescue. As you may know, we rushed this kitten to the Vet last night and after getting him on fluids and an injection of B12 and some antibiotics to help soothe his upper respiratory infection, he was sent to Maria's to begin recovering. He is seriously underweight, but he's eating and doing all right so far. What's ironic is that he'll need a name, so I better make sure I take my own advice about what name to choose.
Running a Cat Rescue often requires that I name incoming cats and kittens. I love the challenge of coming up with something unique, that speaks to the personality of each foster cat, but after naming a few hundred cats it becomes a bit daunting.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. MacGruber.
The right name can make or break an adoption. If I have a somewhat shy foster cat, who does not rank very high on the must adopt list, meaning it's a black kitten or not a known fancy cat breed, the better the name, the better the odds are that I can get that cat adopted.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly Picklepuss.
Do adopters keep the name I give their cat? Often times they do, but it surprises me when I believe I chose a great name and they change it. I'm sure if you asked the cat, they wouldn't care. As the saying goes; “I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late for dinner.”
Keeping in mind that this is ALL IN GOOD FUN, if you named your cat something on this list, PLEASE do not be offended! You could simply consider changing your cat's name to something more clever and appealing to avoid feeling badly. (I'm joking about the name change unless your cat is named, Kitty!)
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob Dole-best cat name, ever.
1. Kitty. Really? You can't come up with something better than that? Look around your home. Name the cat, “Maple,” “Cinnamon,” “Corian.” Anything is more creative than, KITTY! We KNOW it's a kitty. It's like calling a baby, “human” or “male.”
2. Max. If I had a $1 for every kid, dog or cat named Max, I'd be loaded.
3. Tiger/Tigger/Stripes. Firstly, it's not a tiger, it's a cat. Yes, it may have a striped pattern, but don't call it Stripes! Why not fancy it up? Give it pizzaz? How about LeTigre? Blaze? Some tabbies patterning looks more like herringbone. See? Herringbone is a much cooler name.
4. Boots/Mittens What's next? Naming your cat, “Underwear?” “Ear Muffs?”
5. Fluffy, Puffy, Fluff I named one of our foster cats Miss FluffyPants, which is a great example of how to use a hackneyed name and give it a memorable twist.
6. Lucky That name always connotates an animal with 3 legs or 1 eye (or both) and in my book, that's not particularly lucky.
7. Puss I wouldn't even say that name out loud these days.
8.Tabby. Good thing you don't have a black or gray cat. What would you name that one, Blackie? Gray-ie?
9. Harley This was a cool name at one time, but it's 15 minutes of cool are over.
10. Sooty, Inky, Midnight Only okay to use if the cat is NOT black. If the cat is black, how about choosing one our friend in the Philipines, who does cat rescue, called her black foster kitten: Skittles.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Periwinkle.
Then there are those out there who ignore social convention, common sense or good taste. They have no regard for how the cat might feel being called by the name they chose or the fact that their Vet will one day have to say this name out loud when talking about a serious health issue the cat is battling. “Mr. Jones, I'm very sorry to tell you that we found cancer in Douchebag.”
3. Lil' Hitler
6. Al Qaeda
9. Tabby Turdstockings
I love to think up names that are unique or have a play on words. I have to wonder if a well-named cat gets slightly better Vet care. Every time I went to a new Vet with my cat, Bob Dole, EVERYONE who heard his name laughed, smiled and REMEMBERED him any time we needed to have a return visit. Maybe a cat's name is not such a big deal, but I believe it's worth taking time to come up with a name that's special to you and your family.
1. Count Chocula
3. Kevin Scent or Kevin
4. Sultan of Swagger or Sammy Swagger
5. Sir Chunksalot
6. Roger That
7. Phil Opian
8. Richard Widmark (you would always have to refer to him by his full name, no nicknames or else it falls under number 5 of Stupid Cat Names)
10. Dammit. My Mother always wanted to name a cat Dammit so she could let it outside during the day, then have the pleasure of calling it to come back inside each night. “Dammit, get in the house!”
11.(bonus!) Rocky Road
I could go on and on about cat names and perhaps one day I'll share some insight into what inspires my curious name choices. For now, please promise to still be my friend if your cat is named Mittens or Max or anything else on these lists. I want to inspire you to consider coloring outside the lines when you name your next cat. Give that cat a special name that makes you smile every time you have to scold that cat and say its' name out loud: “Richard Widmark! Get off the counter!”
©2012 Maria. S. Now that we've discussed what not to name the cat, stupid names and cool names I've come up with; I've chosen to name our newest foster kitten, Tater Tot.
After my father killed himself in 1999 I figured nothing bad would happen for awhile, as if I deserved a “pass” from any more pain. Of course I was wrong. I got divorced four months later and lost my biggest client.
I realize that most things that happen during my life are not about me. My father took his own life. I didn't cause that to happen, but certainly it effected me deeply, and still does. The thing is I can't help but feel a bit, well pissed when one thing after another seems to go down the drain. I asked Sam if we were being foolish to think that things were going to get better “some day.” Maybe we should just realize that life pretty much sucks, is difficult, frustrating, heartbreaking and has moments, just moments of good stuff to keep us from offing ourselves, too.
Last month after Bob died, I thought that maybe we were done with long trips to Vet Oncologists, done with digging the deep financial hole to provide Bob with the care he needed, done with heartbreak over our cats. Bob was an old cat with FIV+, two kinds of cancer and half a liver. Our next youngest cat is eleven, so certainly they would be fine for many years to come. I really wanted to take a deep breath and relax, focus on the working out some behavioral issues with the cats and get the foster cats adopted.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky, this morning, getting ready to roll over and show me his belly.
I nagged at Sam to take Nicky to the Vet. I was fed up watching the cat urinate on the floor, right in front of his litter pan, often not caring if we were watching him do it. We knew it might be due to the stress in the house and the cats jockeying for position in the cat hierarchy with Bob being gone, but due diligence dictated that Nicky should be seen by Dr. Larry.
I honestly thought Nicky had a urinary tract infection or might be in the early stages of hypothyroid because he drank a lot of water (and I knew his blood sugar was normal so it wasn't diabetes).
The blood work came back and it indicated that Nicky might be in early stages of renal (kidney) failure. The next morning, Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat just posted an article by Dr. Darren Hawks about Kidney Failure that helped me understand what was possibly going on. It was devastating news, but since we caught it early, Nicky had a chance to live many more good years. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all?
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. He always gives us "lovey-dovey" looks.
But Dr. Larry wanted to do a sonogram to look at Nicky's kidneys. Sam agreed and the procedure was done yesterday afternoon. I wasn't worried. I thought we had that pass to not get bad news-Nicky is just eleven, right? He gets a raw diet and fresh spring water not our yucky well water. Sure he had some kidney issue, but maybe he just needed some antibiotics?
I was sitting at my computer, working on a project. I'd had a lousy day. An acquaintance of mine died. He was only 52 years old. He had a massive stroke last week and died on Monday morning. I had some very interesting times with him and I liked him even though he seemed to bring out the worst in my childhood friend, MaryEllen, who was dating him in those days. Now she's planning his funeral. I couldn't help but feel the weight of the ticking clock of my own life. How much time did I have left? I'm only two years younger than he was and a lot of people don't even get to be my age. I can't take it for granted I have tomorrow. It gave me pause.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rub Mah Belleh.
Sam stood in the doorway to my office. He didn't look so good, but we've both been in fairly bad moods for lots of reasons lately. He started to talk about Nicky. He must have just gotten off the phone with Dr. Larry. They found a growth on one of Nicky's kidneys-which were both showing signs of degeneration. They found lymph nodes that were enlarged, but it wasn't renal disease, it might be CANCER.
When I heard “lymphoma” my head buzzed and my stomach flipped. I felt like I couldn't breathe for a second. No. No. NOT NICKY. NO!
They can't be certain until they do EXPLORATORY SURGERY. Maybe it's something else? Maybe it's some sort of reaction to something else? I don't know what else it COULD BE other than some sort of cancer!!!
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky's view of the world is often upside down.
For the handful of you who've met Nicky, you know he's our BIG 20 pound boy who would rather lay in your arms, belly up, like a baby or get tummy rubs than do just about anything else at all. Nicky is a big sweetheart who LOVES everyone. He and his sister...and then I thought about Nora...are inseparable. She wouldn't survive without her big brother. Oh my GOD..what is happening to my cats?! We found this out just because Nicky was drinking too much water and peeing outside the litter pan. That was all we had for symptoms.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Skritches from mama.
I really thought we had more time. Now we have to scrounge for money. Nicky must have the surgery, but we are tapped out. We gave all that we had, and more, for Bob, thinking we could recover in time for the next cat health issue, but we were wrong.
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. We love you, Nicky!
Later that night, after we picked up Nicky from the Vet and brought him home, I half jokingly said to Sam that I was feeling suicidal and asked him if he was, too, and he said, yes. Then he said, gesturing to the cats, but they would suffer if we died and I answered simply, we'll just take them with us when we go.
I guess we didn't get that pass we were hoping for. We'll do our best for Nicky. I don't know what that means. It's one step at a time. We need to confirm that it's lymphoma. We need to sort out what Nicky's options are and how we can provide for him. These are dark days indeed and this is just the beginning of a very sad journey for one of our beloved cats.
I could end the post right there, but I have to write this down. I don't expect anyone to believe me, but believe me, this is the truth.
Have you ever felt like you were getting a “cosmic” signal NOT to do something? Not to go somewhere?
Here it is---Tuesday. Sam and I are supposed to leave here on THURSDAY to travel to Vienna, VA to attend BlogPaws 2011. Sam and I are Speakers this year and it's vital for us to do networking while we're there, as well. We need to find sponsors for our Kitten Associates web site program, so we can get the funding to build free web sites for animal rescue groups in need. So it's important to be at this event.
©2011 Maria. S. Amberly's kittens take a nappy.
Maria, my fantastic Foster mom and Bobby, my fantastic helper-driver-cat-taker-to-the Vet are driving Amberly and her five kittens (remember them? You can see pix of them HERE) 10 hours north to Vienna, Virginia so I can bring them home with me on Saturday.
1. Hurricane Irene. That beeyatch is going to slither up the coast of the USA and beeyatch-slap millions of people. Maria and Bobby are driving up from Georgia on Friday morning-just about the time the storm will hit. Then they have to drive back home on Saturday. The storm will be in the Carolinas by then, so how do they get home? Sam and I have to drive the I-95 corridor to get to VA. It will be severely impacted by the storm. It looks like we may even get HIT in Connecticut, while it's still a Cat 1 or 2 storm. That means, flooded roads, miserable driving, nightmarish traffic. We have to leave EARLY saturday and miss half of BlogPaws so we can get home in time to watch our house blow away. And my darling Nephew Ryan just started college in South Carolina..right on the coast and all I want to do is go get him and bring him home and all he wants to do is attend his first college weekend party.
2. Our Pet sitter and our backup pet sitter got sick. Hopefully they will be able to get here and help out in a few days. We won't know until we are supposed to LEAVE if everyone is ok to help provide care for Bob while we are gone.
˙2011 Robin A.F. Olson. As always, Bob is surrounded when he gets fed-just in case he doesn't eat it all the clean up crew lurks nearby.
3. Bob. Bob needs a lot of care. He needs to be syringe fed at least 4 times a day and given insulin shots twice a day. All our other cats need feeding and care. We can just scoot off and leave them with a big bowl of food. I can't play “what happens if Bob dies while we're gone,” but how can I not do that?
4.EARTHQUAKE? Holy crap. There was an earthquake about 80 miles south of Vienna, VA a few hours ago. Hopefully, no one was hurt and no infrastructure was damaged. Do we have to worry about an earthquake happening in a few more days? A worse one? I don't think so, but...with my luck, I wouldn't be surprised.
˙2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bye bye car. I hope you didn't just die.
5. My car just died. I was driving home. Got on the on ramp on I-84 and all the engine warning lights came on and the car made a funny sound and I could not accelerate any more. I pulled over as far as I could. I smelled something burning, then saw some smoke slip out from under the hood. I started shaking...grabbed the phone and got out of the car. I called 9-1-1 because I was concerned something might ignite and I was scared to death. I was in the blazing sun and 100's of cars were flying past me. I called AAA-thank God for them. They promised less than an hour. I tried to reach Sam. I called once...voice mail..I called again..voice mail..I started to cry.
Sam couldn't get to me. There was construction problems. The cops never showed up. I just sat there thinking that my car repair is probably going to cost me every dime I have left...hopefully not more...hopefully it CAN be repaired.
©2011 Maria S. Truffles has to wear the “cone of shame” for a few days until her infection clears up. I've NEVER had cats get spayed, come back with infections, ever!
6. Amberly's kittens have INFECTIONS from their spay surgery!!!! Are YOU KIDDING ME?!!! REALLY?? They have to be on clavamox for a few days. Not a big deal, unless their fevers don't go down and they get SICKER!!!!!
...and that isn't everything...just add being sick with a stomach virus, being sleep deprived and still suffering from a headache that started last year after I was in a car accident...and on and on...
I'm honestly terrified of what is going to happen next. Should I NOT go on this trip? I was all ready to write about how I was going to go full speed ahead and bravely drive right into the oncoming Hurricane Irene just to get to BlogPaws. Right after I thought that, my car DIED.
Is it a meatloaf with ears or a cat? It's almost impossible to believe the answer.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. WHAT????
©2011 Betsy Merchant. They ARE kitties after all!
They're both terrified and miserable.
These cats were probably “free fed” a big bowl of dry food by some UNCONSCIOUS person who could NOT HAVE NOTICED their cats were SO FAT that both probably are diabetic and have joint problems, to say the least.
©2011 Betsy Merchant. This poor girl. How long was she sitting in her own urine??? What was done to her??
These poor creatures have little chance of getting out alive. They're full up at HCCAC and they're euthanizing cats daily. I want to get them OUT of there, put them on GOOD food, NOT a DIET. Get them to start the road to wellness and feeling better. I'm looking for a local foster home in the southeast of Atlanta to foster them until the end of September when I hope to be able to bring them up here to find their forever home.
©2011 Betsy Merchant.
This is information (below) from Betsy at Henry County about the location for these cats and contact information. If you want my help with anything or have questions just contact me and I'll do what I can!
**Please Note; When forwarding, cross posting, or re-posting I ask that you leave this message intact exactly as it was written by me. I do not give permission to post my message, part of my message, or my photographs on Craig's List or Facebook. Thank you for your help and support, and for respecting my wishes.**
We are very rescue friendly and are more than happy to work with any rescue group as long as the group has a valid Georgia Department of Agriculture license! Any rescue group, whether in or out of state, that takes pets from Georgia shelters, is required, by Georgia law, to have a rescue license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Animal Protection Division. Having tax exempt status is not the same as a license. For more information on obtaining a license, please call (404) 656-4914.
Henry County Animal Care and Control
527 Hampton Street
McDonough, Georgia 30253
Monday-Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm
Saturday: 9 am-1 pm
County Observed Holidays: Closed
The shelter is located at 527 Hampton Street in McDonough. We are located south of Atlanta off I-75. Take exit 218 and head east on 20/81 toward McDonough. Our address is 527 Hwy 20/81 East.
For all other information regarding ordinances, county codes, and other functions of Henry County Animal Care and Control please visit www.hcacc.org
Motherhood is a sacred institution, but not if you're a cat. Motherhood means that the cat will likely be given to a shelter. Not many people want to deal with a cat's offsprings as well as the mama-cat. What's worse, are those who have cats, never get them spayed, then wonder why they're always pregnant. They pay little attention to kittens being born, they're just animals, after all. Did they see four in the shed and now there are only three? Do they wonder where the other one went or what happened to it? Most likely, it's a passing thought at best, while those animals are struggling to survive.
©2010 Maria Sandoval. Tansy with daughter, Pattycake. Patty and her brother, Moonpie were adopted by a big family who spare no expense on their care. They are so lucky. Tansy is loving life with her Mamas in North Carolina.
Motherhood is the worst thing I could wish on a cat that isn't a purebred show cat (and I won't get into what I think of THAT right now). It pretty much means they're going to die soon if they're in a shelter. Most shelters aren't equipped to deal with pregnant cats, especially because their offspring can so easily and quickly get sick, then spread that virus through the shelter. They treat the newborns like hot potatoes-MUST get them OUT of the shelter BEFORE it's too late! My own foster cats are a very good example of that. They were born in a shelter and by the time they were 3 weeks old, they were so sick, it will effect the rest of their lives. If we hadn't gotten them out the day we did, they all would have been euthanized.
©2009 Henry Co. Care & Control. Cupid with “Santa's Team.” By the way, Cupid, gained 5 pounds after rescue-she was almost killed by over-nursing kittens. She is adopted and with a family who loves her dearly. Her best buddy is her Nanny, yes she has a Nanny and she's pals with the family dog.
There's no heart for a mama cat within the concrete walls of animal control and the people that work their have their hands tied. I KNOW they want those cats (and dogs) out, but the numbers are rising so fast—especially this time of year, how can they keep up? Where's the town budget to add a quarantine room for newborns? Who would happily see their Property Tax go up to make this happen? Where are the guards at the doors that tell people with pregnant cats they shouldn't even step foot inside a shelter!
©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Our own Mazie with Chester, Polly & Cara.
I go back to square one-we all know this: the mamas don't get to BE mama's if they're spayed. There's simply NO excuse not to do it to your cat. There are low cost Spay & Neuter clinics all over the country. Many Humane Societies and Municipal Shelters will offer low cost vouchers. You're doing your cat (or dog) a HUGE disservice leaving it intact. Not only is the cat apt to get mammary cancer and tumors in the uterus and ovaries, but spaying avoids birth complications (DUH!) and no need to find homes for kittens when there aren't enough homes, already! Your cat will greatly reduce its chances of getting FIV+ or FELV! But most importantly, you're preventing MORE cats from being born into a world that cannot handle them-there are TOO MANY CATS and NOT ENOUGH HOMES. That's why SO MANY people who do rescue, end up with more than a handful of cats.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Rose, Poppy and Daisy.
We've got to stop this nonsense. We've got to make sure our neighbors stop this nonsense and take care of their cats, females AND males. We have to tell our neighbor why they MUST do the right thing and make sure it gets done. It takes more than a village, but even if it's just a handful of people who do this, it's a great start.
Maybe someday, not in my lifetime, but someday, we won't have cat overpopulation and allowing cats to have kittens will be thoughtfully controlled. Until then, we need to truly revere Motherhood and respect it and respect the fact that some times NOT being a Mother is the smartest and most appropriate thing we can do.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Last Chance”-Angel with her son, Spyder.
Today, I sit here feeling sick. I already know there are thousands of Mama cats who have already given birth now that spring is here. Personally, my little rescue group can't even take ONE family in unless we get some foster homes. As for the other rescues, they are full up, overloaded, scrambling to help as many as they can, but with thirteen new mamas at ONE shelter in Georgia and half a dozen at another, WHERE are these cats going to go?
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. CallaLily and her babies. Callie is doing great in her new home.
I can tell you. They are not going anywhere. They won't even live to see Mother's Day. Is this the legacy we want to leave, as a society?
Where we're overjoyed if a woman is “expecting,” but if a cat, or dog becomes pregnant, odds are, if those animals aren't in a safe and loving home that will care for them, they'll be given up to a shelter and soon, we'll kill them.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. “Huggy Mama”, Dash & Snuggles. All got adopted TOGETHER! Yes, all three!
Let's make it a better world for our cats and show them how much we really DO respect and care for them by making certain they're ALL spayed and neutered.
This morning I brought Cara in to see Dr. Larry. Thankfully, they were able to fit her into the schedule for today without an appointment, but it meant I had to leave her there and they'd do x-rays and an exam at some point during the day. I got home and sat in the foster room with Mazie, Chester and Polly. They've been in that room for FOUR MONTHS. Only Mazie can be adopted and no one has been interested in her. Polly STILL has a URI and Chester is dealing with that spot of ringworm on his head. I know that being in a small room, even if it does have one huge window that overlooks the yard and another smaller window that gives them a view of the sky and tree tops, is not enough. Since they can't really catch anything from my cats and vice versa, I let them out into my bedroom once in awhile. There's more room to run around, but they really need a huge space to stretch their legs. I suppose if being bored or not having a lot of space was their biggest problem, I'd be lucky.
Dr Larry called me early this afternoon. Cara's x-rays did not show any obvious foreign object, but he wanted to do a blood panel to make sure she didn't also have an infection. I wanted to push back and say, no, not to spend the money since Cara seems fine, but I agreed. He told me to meet him at 4pm and by then he'd have the results and I could take Cara home.
Things were busy at Maple Ridge today, so I grabbed a People magazine and looked at it while I waited for Dr. Larry in exam room number 2. I noticed photos of celebrities in their bathing suit, walking on the beach at some exclusive resort. I didn't even know who half the people were. Then, it dawned on me. Why does it matter that I need to see these photos at all? If there were photos of my neighbors walking on the beach, I would be just as uninterested. They're on vacation? So what! What are they doing that's unusual, interesting, important? Maybe People should be renamed; “Photos of people on the beach with really nice bodies, wearing huge sunglasses, but otherwise not really doing anything.” I swear they use the same photo each week, they just photoshop the latest celebrity A-lister face over the body they used the week before.
I was just about to read about why Catherine Zeta-Jones is disclosing she has Bipolar Disorder II and why there is a “II” and what that means? Is it a sequel to Bipolar Disorder I? Maybe it's fancy movie star version of Bipolar disorder? Dr. Larry entered the exam room before I could sort it all out. He sighed. Then he said something about me having too much on my plate. I had a feeling he was about to add more to it and I was right.
Cara's blood work showed her White Blood Cell Count was VERY HIGH. High-normal is about 20,000. Cara's is 35,000. She's got a raging infection. Her stomach is swollen full of gas. Her intestines are full of stool-almost packed solid. I looked at the x-rays and asked about something I saw in her stomach-some small particulate. Dr. Larry waved it off saying it was the cat food I feed...you know the RAW food with the BONES in it. I balked. Cara does not get raw. She gets canned. So of course it has to be the canned food. It's CANNED FOOD! There aren't BONES in it. Then it hit me. It was the cat litter. It confirmed what I had been suspicious of all along—that Cara has been eating the corn based cat litter. Perhaps the high WBC count is due to her eating out of the litter pan?
It's tough to say what's going on exactly. Dr Larry wanted to have an ultrasound done. The Vet who performs them had a cancellation. It's for tomorrow at 8:30AM. Larry felt we might be able to see if there's still a piece of yarn toy acting as a filter between her stomach and her intestines or if there's any damage to her stomach from eating the toy or ingesting the litter. It would give us some info, but potentially not enough.
Cara may need exploratory surgery or another endoscopy. Dr. Kittral, who's been performing all Cara's endoscopies needs to be included in our decisions. Sadly, she doesn't start her work week until TOMORROW. Dr. Larry wanted to put Cara on antibiotics, which, of course, raised a huge alarm bell in me. We can't give her oral meds or we risk causing her strictures to return. We compromised and Larry gave her an injection that will only last until tomorrow. By then, hopefully we will have more answers and be able to figure out a game plan for Cara.
I tried to be brave, but I felt a bit weak in the knees. Cara could be in a very dangerous situation. With her esophagus compromised already and her stomach lining possibly being damaged, we can't try to clear the stool out of her without risking her rupturing somewhere. Anything invasive that needs to be done, has to be carefully considered. Any medications given must be carefully scrutinized. She's been on too many antibiotics. She's been through so much already. I just don't know how we're going to get her over this next hurdle.
This Vet bill, even with a discount, is going to be bad. It could be the beginning of VERY BAD, I don't know how bad just yet. I'm going to open up yet another fundraiser for Cara. Her last two Vet bills came to $1500.00 and with the loan I got, we were able to pay everything off in full, but now we're back to loose change in our pockets to pay for the next Vet bills. I'm guessing that between today and tomorrow it will be $600.00 and counting. I can't give up on Cara even if the timing is the worst, ever. I thought we were over the hump, but now we've been pushed back down the hill like a feline version of Sisyphus.
I also have a lot of guilt about this situation. The past two weeks I just haven't been home much with frequent trips to NYC to care for Sam's mother. I couldn't feed the cats as regularly as usual and I fear that Cara resorted to eating the litter out of desperation and perhaps now has developed a taste for it. I really LIKE the litter and the other cats are fine with it, but I have to stop using it around Cara.
As for Cara; we've just GOT to get her well; for once and for all.
I realize we've had to ask for help more often than I ever imagined to get Cara well. I'm blessed with having devoted and compassionate friends of this Blog. My hope is that not one person has to donate more than $5. If we can all ChipIn, we'll hit our goal in a heartbeat. If you can share this request with your friends, I would appreciate it very much. Your donation IS tax deductible, as the funds go to a Kitten Associates, Inc. foster kitten (Cara).
Gwendolyn Bounds wrote an article earlier this week in the
Wall Street Journal decrying the epidemic of obesity in cats and dogs in the United States. While it's true this IS an epidemic of obese pets, how we got to this point with out companion animals is way off target.
She notes that pets are like their overweight parents, under-exercised and over fed. That the only solution is to do the same for people as we do for our pets-put them on a diet! Make them exercise! And yes, to solve this problem, some pet food manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and are now offing a "weight watchers" style feeding program for fat pets!
YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!
Considering the pet food industry is at fault for our pets soaring weight problem, the finger needs to be pointed at THEM, not the pet owners; especially in regards to cats.
Let's get a few things straight:
If you look at the history of pet food, when it started to be available at the turn of the last century, it was a way to make a profit off of the leftovers of other processes and most of them were related to the GRAIN industry. What to do with horse meat, rendered animal fat of who-knows-what animals? What to do with all this corn and corn by-products? Let's put them into pet food. Up until that time owners were feeding "table scraps" which was common to do and was actually much better for the pets health. Ads used to show that "including their pet food with table scraps would make a complete diet." They were just using it as a way to get folks to buy their junk, based on NO SCIENCE WHATSOEVER. It was based on making MONEY, pure and simple.
In the 1940's during WWII, the tin for cans had to go to the war effort, so manufacturers came up with dried food in bags. They began a marketing campaign saying that table scraps were BAD, might as well be poison, and the only really good food was their dry food. Again, not based on doing any studies of animal health.
It was simple to feed, easy to use, cheap. Again, always touting that this was the best, balanced food for your pet, made out of junk.
As time passed, families just followed the advertising promising their food was wholesome and showed pretty pictures of healthy looking cuts of meat and vegetables on their packaging-which couldn't be further from the truth. Proving their food isn't all it's cracked up to be, as recently as the 1980's manufacturers didn't even know to add taurine to a cat's diet or they would DIE. I wonder how many cats were fed this junk and died as a result?
Somewhere along the line, the truth of what a cat needs to thrive, got lost in hype. So what could have been based on science and creating a species appropriate diet got lost in making a buck. Who pays for this? We do! Our animals do by sickening and dying. Do some cats thrive on drive food? I doubt it. They will live, but in what condition?
The obesity epidemic is due to inappropriate pet food being sold. It's the same as if we went to McDonald's every day and loaded up on junk. We'd get fat, sick, and die. Put a cat on cheap kibble, full of grain and watch them get fat, sick and die. They won't get obese if we just feed them something based on what cats NEED, not advertising.
Cats are "obligate" carnivores. They NEED meat to survive. They cannot process grains. They have no teeth to crush dry food or crush grain. They bite, rip and swallow, they don't grind food. Their digestion is short, unlike humans. That's why they can't process grain effectively. They also lack the enzyme to digest it. SO WHY FEED IT TO THEM?
©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. My cat Spencer before I switched to grain-free, then a raw diet.
Cats get energy from PROTEIN, NOT CARBS! Cats cannot be put on a DIET! They can get Hepatic Lipidosis so you must be careful changing what they eat. Cats need MEAT, BONES, ORGANS...that's it.
You don't have to buy a treadmill for your dog or your cat or run them around the yard, you need to READ LABELS on what you buy. Don't fall for the seductive ads with pretty pictures.
I suggest the following:
1. Pick up the bowls of kibble and throw them out. NEVER BUY KIBBLE AGAIN. Even premium brands, though much less dreadful, are too processed. Cats lose nutrients they really need in the overcooking of protein. Do you see your cat wolf down their dry food? They're desperately trying to get the nutrition they desire, but aren't getting it. They will eat and eat and drink LOTS of water. Their litter pan will be overflowing with foul smelling bowels. You don't leave a bowl of food out all day. The cats can get two measured meals a day and be totally fine.
2. READ THE LABEL-At least buy canned cat food marked, GRAIN FREE. If you've done that, you've done a great kindness to your cat. The first ingredients should be a known protein source, not a by-product. The more protein, the better. The rest is common sense-get the best quality ingredients you can afford-and YES, it will cost more, but how much do vet trips cost with a sick cat or treating diabetes or cancer?
3. If you want to do the ultimate, feed a raw or (even lightly cooked if you must) diet to your cat. Their ultimate food is a live caught mouse, but I'm not asking you to do that. There are many pre-mixed, ready-to-go, brands of raw food or you can make it up yourself. If you need a recipe, email me and I'll send you one.
Your Vet may pitch a fit. He or she may say "The cat will get Salmonella and you will, too." VETS DO NOT GET MORE THAN A FEW HOURS OF NUTRITIONAL CLASSROOM TIME AT SCHOOL. You need to do the research and read about feline nutrition. While it would make sense that handling raw meat leads to illness, it's NOT the case for cats. Their digestion is too acidic and their digestion process is too fast to "brew" any decent salmonella. Safe handling of meat, hand washing keeps you safe, too. Wipe down the countertops and wash all utensils in hot water. COMMON SENSE. We have never gotten sick or sickened our cats.
So while it's true our cats and dogs are getting fatter by the minute, I hope you'll take a moment to think about what you feed your cat. Is it really appropriate for them or is it just keeping them alive and at the cost of them really THRIVING?
This epidemic is not the fault of the pet owners as much it is the pet food companies and their clever advertising. Please don't fall for it and do what YOU think makes the most sense. Your cats depend on you. Don't let them down.
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer about a year or so after the switch. Nice belly, still, but appropriately sized!
Decide for yourself. Here are some helpful links:
Lastly, if you're feeding dry kibble to your cat, I'm not being critical of your choice. If you feel it's the thing you want to do, then you do that. I'm providing this information to all of you in the hopes you will begin to open your minds and be aware of what is going on in the pet food industry. They make lots of claims about balanced diets and find ways to make the nutrition info on the labels look good, but if you look deeper, you'll realize this stuff is really not appropriate for your cat and when you switch their diet, you will be AMAZED when you see your cat slim down to an appropriate weight, get a refined, silky coat, not load the litter pan with smelly poo and gain a sparkle in their eyes and renewed kitten-like energy. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Here's to your cat's good health!
UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, the misleading information about pet obesity was picked up by CNN. I wish someone would do their homework before announcing such nonsense. I really worry about the welfare of our companion animals.
I'm so angry right now!
Jennifer wrote to me early today. She needed to find a foster home for a cat named, Martini, who was diabetic and whose family was going to put him down, instead of provide him with proper care.
Of course this cat, like so many others, was in a tough spot. Most shelters won't take diabetic cats and most people don't want to adopt them. The worst thing of all is that Martini was only SIX years old. I'm sure his diet was poor and was most likely the reason for him getting diabetes in the first place!
Jennifer spent all day trying to find out what happened to Martini and if they would let her take him and get him in to temporary foster care, while I would drum up someone to take him long term, until we could get him adopted. The folks at the DCIN were going to cover the costs for treatment. It was all good but I wanted to wait to ask for help until we knew the status of the cat.
Jennifer just wrote me again, with bad news. The family chose to euthanize Martini. They didn't even give him a chance. I do not call this “humanely euthanizing” a sick animal.
And I have VERY STRONG WORDS for the VET who did the deed. He or she murdered Martini-he or she did it for a buck. That Vet could have tried to get help for the cat, too, but did nothing. Just put down a SIX YEAR OLD CAT who was NOT terminally ill! It's VERY likely that Martini could have gone into remission and not been diabetic with a simple diet change.
I know the name, address and phone number of the people that did this and I am more than tempted to SHARE that information with all of you. These people are vile, reprehensible, selfish monsters. They do NOT deserve to EVER have another cat. If I didn't know I'd get myself into a world of legal trouble, I'd tell all of you to call them and tell them what you think about what they did.
And this guy is a fire fighter. Aren't they supposed to SAVE lives?
Rest in Peace, dear Martini. I hope you have a noble re-birth and come back as a human so you can KICK THIS FAMILY IN THE ASS for what they did to you.
It's bad enough that Maria had a lousy day yesterday. A long day at work, followed by being caught in a downpour while waiting for the bus. Tired and wet as she was, she kept her commitment to cleaning out cat cages at Petsmart. It was a long day. She finally made her way home around 9pm.
I told her there was a shipment of cat food waiting for her by the garage. UPS verified the delivery. I was anxious for her to get the food since I knew she was running low and this food was for Polly and her family...who are STILL STRUGGLING to beat their URI!
As she walked down her driveway, she saw the shipment, but the box looked funny. Then she realized, it had been ripped open. Her heart sank.
As she lifted the lid, her worst fears were realized.
It was empty-save for the invoice from Pet Food Direct and the air filled plastic cushions to keep the cases of cat food from being damaged.
What sort of heartless moron would STEAL CAT FOOD...and from a CAT RESCUE GROUP??!!! Donations are tough enough to come by and now this?
Maria gave me a call. I missed picking up the phone. I heard her voicemail and she sounded terrible. I thought Polly was dead!!! When we were finally able to talk, she told me what happened. I was stunned that someone would stoop so low as to steal food. Could we have bought a big bag of dry food for a few dollars, instead of shipping cases of canned food? Well, no, we couldn't. We feed a grain-free, canned food diet, which has kept our foster kittens in much better health and at their fragile age is MUCH easier for them to digest and mix with the milk replacer they also eat. We may spend more on food, but in the long run we'll save more on Vet care since our babies will be in better health if we get them off on the “right paw” to begin with.
Maria actually filed a police report. This is the second time someone stole from her yard. The last time it was a nice cat carrier she had left outside to dry after she washed it out. A few hours later-it was gone. She originally thought it was a fluke, but now she realizes either the local kids are thieves or her neighbor who has many cats (and dogs) and no income, may have done the deed. She spoke to the woman who acted surprised that Maria would make a fuss over stolen cat food. I told Maria to check the woman's trash in a few days!There aren't many people that live in Maria's neighborhood to begin with..this is all so messed up.
The shipment cost $90.00 and I had to send out a second shipment last night to replace the one that was lost and it cost more money..the price went up. So there goes another $110.00. I called my credit card company and the purchase insurance does not cover food. I contact Pet Food Direct and they are talking to UPS, but the feeling is nothing can be done since the package was delivered. This may change, but it will be a week to ten days before I get an update.
In the meantime, our babies need to eat. If you'd like to help us recover our loss, we would dearly appreciate it. It really feels like those creeps stole more than just cat food—they stole our faith in humanity.
Maria got two hours of sleep last night. Cara, Polly's sister, is not doing well. Another kitten from another litter had a 104.6°F fever. Maria looked after them until early this morning. Now she's back at work, trying not to face-plant on her desk. I wish I could do more than just order cat food for her, but there are some things that can't be done from 1000 miles distance.
If you know Maria, do send her a note to tell her you're sending good thoughts, good wishes, support. Is this life or death? Heck no, but Maria is our friend, our super-foster mama. We need to rally around her so she can continue to care for quite a few ailing kittens. Maybe our goal is as simple as being a good neighbor—something that Maria does not seem to have.