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Who Approved That?

Of Bites, Bandages & Boo-Boos.

WARNING: the video of Bobette walking may make you sad and it shows her injury quite clearly. Also, there is an out-of-focus photo of her injury that may upset the squeamish.

Bobette's been on one Hell of a journey along a very bumpy road. Just when I think we've rounded a corner, something unexpected occurs. I realize I'm getting caught up in this cycle of hope and fear with her situation. I have to hope she WILL regain the use of her leg and will be comfortable, but what if she doesn't? What if I have to make the choice to have her leg amputated? This is something I don't know if I have the courage to do for her and I hope it will not come to pass. In the meantime, let me catch you up on how she's doing.

After the first few days with the bandage, we adjust to a new routine. Every morning I check on Bobette to see what sort of mess I need to clean up. She can't manage getting around and often I discover wet cat litter on the edge of her e-collar, indicating she's fallen face first into the dirty litter. The inside of her crate is in disarray. Some times she pees outside the crate onto the floor. I started putting training pads on the floor around the crate to help offset this problem. I never get mad. It makes me sad. I hate this life for her. I so want it to be over-for her to be free from the crate and feeling well again. I must be patient. She will get there…she will get there…

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning mess.

Sam often spends time holding Bobette as I clean up the mess and get her fed. It's a nice time for her because she can stretch out and relax without her e-collar on. The day before her bandage was to come off, we left off her e-collar as well. She wasn't picking at the bandage and without the e-collar she had some hope of sleeping in an more normal position. It's very clear she's not getting much rest as she often falls asleep while Sam holds her. Between the pain from her surgery, being in an uncomfortable crate and her body working on healing, she must be exhausted.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The morning before the big day. Bobette is non plused.

The big day finally arrived. I couldn't wait to get Bobette to Dr. Mixon's to get the bandage off. I had to borrow Sam's car because we had about six inches of snow, followed by frozen rain and with my car being 2wd, there was no way I was going to get to our appointment on time.

Bobette cried in her carrier just once, then was quiet for the rest of the trip. I kept looking at the clock. I had to drive slowly but the roads weren't too bad. I got there right on time-at 11am. No sooner than I walked in the door, I was told that my appointment was for 9am! But I wouldn't have agreed to that time because that's about when the cats get fed. I didn't have time to worry about it because they said they'd squeeze Bobette in between appointments. Couldn't we just get this over with? I really couldn't wait any longer!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepy Bobette.

A few minutes later, Bobette and I were in one of the exam rooms. Dr. Mixon and his Vet Tech began working on removing the bandage. I was worried that Bobette would become fractious, as she'd done so many 21s before. Initially there were no problems other than a lot of material to cut through.

With just about all the bandaging off, Bobette started to get VERY DISTRESSED. She started screaming as the last piece of tape was coming off. Dr. Mixon stopped and he and the Tech tried to restrain her. I tried to help, but she was thrashing around and shrieking so loudly, there was no calming her down. I foolishly tried to reach out to her and she bit down HARD into the top of my hand. I felt her canine teeth meet under my flesh. Everyone let go of Bobette and she began to urinate all over the exam table, then threw herself off the table and onto the floor. I was crying out to her, worried she had just broken her leg. My hand was throbbing badly and I felt woozy. There was a sink nearby so I washed my hand, pushing the blood out of it as best I could. I knew how filthy cat's mouths are and that I just signed myself up for a trip to the ER if we didn't get my hand clean-fast.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bandage removal time!

It was all a crazy blur. I was trying not to cry. The pain was unbearable, but I was still worried about Bobette. Dr. Mixon got big gloves out and we got the cat into the cat carrier to recover. They'd have to sedate her later and get the rest of the bandage off. No one understood what upset her so severely until much later. In the meantime, Dr. Mixon urged me to go see a Dr. right away.

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I was lucky the Clinic could fit me in if I could get there in 10 minutes. I met with Maureen, the Nurse Practioner. She said I needed to be on antibiotics as soon as possible and that if the infection spread-which it could do even with the oral antibiotics, that I'd have to go to the ER in a few days. Great. I don't have health insurance, or money, for that matter. What an idiot I was.

I was still pretty shaky and my hand hurt badly even though it didn't look like much. I picked up the antibiotics which were $71.00! I needed to kill some time while they were working on Bobette, so I called Gene, a friend and local pet sitter and asked him if he wanted to meet me and have some soup at the local grocery store. I'd seen him there before and figured he might be in the area. Sure enough, he said the timing was good and we had a little visit.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My hand is already turning purply blue and starting to swell just minutes after I was bitten.

Gene is so cheerful, it put me in a good mood. We talked about bad pet parents and his grandson (who he adores like no other), then told me he was just about to pick up his new car. This is big news since Gene's car has 180,000+ miles on it and he's getting a brand new RED VW Bug! Our chat helped me get my mind off my hand. Everything would sort out. It was just another bump in the road.

I ended up going home for about 45 minutes, then left for Dr. Mixon's to pick up Bobette. The shock from being bitten must have been getting to me because suddenly I was so tired I just wanted to sleep. I promised myself as soon as I got home and got Bobette settled, I'd get some rest. I'd already taken an antibiotic so that was hopefully starting to kill the pasteurellosis that was making my hand swell up.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh my goodness!

I got back to Dr. Mixon's in good time. I realized I'd forgotten to even find out if Bobette's patella was still in place or if it had moved out, back to it's old location. I didn't have to wait long for the news. Some of it was very troubling and some, hopeful.

While Bobette was sedated, Dr. Mixon examined her leg. The patella, oddly enough, was STILL in PLACE! Bobette still has at least a month to go before we know if she'll be able to walk normally, but this was promising news. Now I had to keep her from jumping, encourage her to walk and give her time to heal.

The bad news was that the wooden tongue depressor he used as part of the splint in her bandage, had slipped down and been rubbing onto the back of her leg, causing a horrific wound. One of Bobette's toes had a cut on it, which I knew happened just after the surgery. It was not healing due to being in the bandage for so long. Both injuries were going to heal in time, but one had pus in it, which meant more antibiotics for Bobette and and more difficult recovery. When I saw the wound it was clear why she was in so much pain. Looking at her leg makes me hurt, too.

I have a lot of guilt about this. I've tried so hard to do the right thing for her and I failed. It will be even harder for her to walk at all with the added injuries to her leg-which was clear when I got her home.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette's first steps.

I set up the bigger crate for her new home and gave her a real cat litter pan to use-at last. She went to it right away, got in, peed and got out, but her leg was very weak. Sam put her on the floor and we had her walk over to me. She was reluctant to uncurl her paw to even place it on the floor. As she walked, she wobbled. Some times she used her paw and some times not. I tried to put some calendula cream on her wound but she is so sensitive, I had to leave it alone. How is this cat going to recover from all these injuries and walk again?

I just don't know. I know I'll be there for her as we find out. Bobette is young and strong. Now that her bandage is off, she'll have a chance to heal. One day we'll know if this was all worth it or just a waste of time. It's too soon to tell.

For now, we both need some rest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

But what about Bobette?!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Scratchy time!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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

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

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

BREAKING NEWS: TEDDY RETURNS

It's a good thing I check in with adopters after a month or so has passed. This is the point at which issues can come up after an adoption and it eases my mind to make sure all is well.

I couldn't wait a month to find out how Teddy Boo, one of the Pumpkin Patch kittens, was doing because I placed him into a home with a newly married couple who had a gigantic 2 year old Great Dane. I had some concerns and warned the couple that even with the best training and intentions, their dog could see the lively kitten as prey and go after him. We decided to put Teddy in his own room, away from the dog who spent the day on a separate floor of the home while the couple was at work. I couldn't underscore enough how important it was to be extra careful when introducing the kitten to the dog.

I had a gut feeling that I should just check in sooner, rather than later and it was a good thing I did. Apparently the dog “forgot her training” and went after little Teddy, who they had renamed, Peanut. Peanut didn't care for the dog, either. I'm sure he was intimidated by the sheer size of the beast. The dog got the door to Teddy's room open. Thankfully, Teddy could hide out of the way under the bed, but he must have been terrified.

I don't know or want to know how close Teddy came to becoming a snack, but I do know that the couple called the Vet and he said the kitten would never be buddies with the dog because he wasn't raised with dogs-which I found to be completely unfair. Put the blame on a KITTEN? I've seen plenty of them cuddle up with dogs and one even was close to a Great Dane. Let's watch where we point the fingers here.

The couple felt that after less than three weeks, it wasn't a good fit and they felt it would be better to return Teddy. I was relieved. I wanted Teddy back partly for his own safety and partly because poor Jakey, who was now alone with his other brother Mikey being adopted, was crying and not eating. I knew once Teddy returned, Jakey would be happy again---or would he?


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy's first moments back home with Jakey.

At 8:30 this morning, Teddy returned. The adopters donated a cat tree and cat carrier to us. I guess they're not getting ANY cats any time soon. I had her fill out the Surrender Form-the first one in Kitten Associates' history. The woman started to tear up. I told her not to feel bad and that I'd much rather take him back and know he was safe. The whole event took less than 5 minutes. I was anxious to get Teddy back with Jakey, who had been crying since we'd gotten up an hour ago.

As you can see in the video, the reunion went well. There was some growling after the video ended, but what was truly lovely was when I brought them some breakfast. They both ran over to me, tails up in the air. I placed a dish in front of each kitten and side by side they enthusiastically ate their food.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey waiting for Teddy to return.

I thought I'd leave them alone to get reacquainted. An hour has passed since Teddy arrived and I haven't heard a peep out of either cat. I imagine they're sleeping together on their heated blanket; one relieved to be out of danger and away from that DOG and the other, no longer lonely and heartsick.

It's a good way to start the day.

Not on My Watch: Lovely Longhaired Ladies Lookin' for Love

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:

 

Ideally, A NO-KILL rescue in GEORGIA to offer to take the cats, but out-of-state is OK. If out-of-state, we can arrange transport.

 

 

OR an ADOPTER who would LOVE to give these gorgeous girls a loving home.

 

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This is Sweetie.

 

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This is Sweetie napping.

 

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This is Joy's belly. How do you do, belly.

 

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This is Joy's cuteness.

 

 

CONTACT ME at info@coveredincathair.com and I'll put you in touch with the owner. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST! I'd love it if we can pull off another miracle and find these girls a safe place to land.

 

-------------- 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!

2011: The Year of the Orange Tabby

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.

 

It wasn't all bad news, like any year, there were some highlights. I'm very glad to say, that even though I had some very long term fosters here, which cut back my ability to take in more rescues, my group, Kitten Associates (KA) adopted out quite a few kitties and by the power of the inter-web-net and this little blog, in total we helped save the lives of over 70 cats!

 

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!

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.

Some of the mamas we blogged about who all got rescued.

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©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.

All these kitties are safe now.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Peri & Blue with their new family.

 

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©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!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amelia just moments after arriving in CT.

 

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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!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Clare and Sally.

Oh Bob. My dear, Bob.

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©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.

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©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!!!!

 

As we wait for Bobette's surgery date, one of her boys, little Teddy Boo, was adopted last night.

 

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

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©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.

Mazie, who ended up being with us for FOURTEEN MONTHS was adopted A FEW DAYS AGO. We're still adjusting to her being gone. It was a tough farewell.

 

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie on her rag bed the night before she left us.

 

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©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.

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©2011 Chris from Greengirlz Pet Photography. Christmas Kitties!

 

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©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!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Macy.

 

To end the year on a high note, Hannah and Macy were adopted THIS MORNING!

 

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.

Mazie's Amazing Journey.

Over a year ago, I rescued a family from Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. They were like any other family I'd rescued before-a young mama cat and her kittens, who were dumped by their former family to await death in a steel cage. They were a problem to be gotten rid of and forgotten about. The folks at Henry County prayed for help. They never want to end the life of any animal, yet their hand is forced when space runs out or a cat gets sick. Easily treatable conditions, mean an untimely death. They kill to prevent transmission of illness to the others, but it's so unfair that a simple sniffle can mean “the end.”

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. Another family who needs rescue waits for a miracle.

This little family was getting sick. The kitten's eyes were getting watery looking, a sure sign an upper respiratory was brewing. They had to get out of the shelter ASAP so we decided to cross our fingers and hope we got them out before the virus could take hold. We got them out in time, but we were too late to stop the illness from ravaging their tiny bodies.

To date, this family was the sickest family I've ever rescued. The kittens, Polly Picklepuss, Chester Cheesetoes and little CaraMelle suffered terribly and for months. Their mama, who I named, Mazie, watched protectively over them, trying desperately to help them get better, but she, too, got the URI. At least she had an intact immune system and was able to fight off the worst of it, while her offspring battled one wave after another of waxing and waning illness.

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©2010 Maria S. Mazie and family off to the Vet, yet again.

The kittens were taken to the Vet, the Emergency Vet, we consulted with our homeopathic Vet, Dr. Ann Hermas. We did everything we could. Poor Mama-Maria, their awesome foster mom, was providing their care, but at the cost of her own well being. What stress she suffered having to go to work, leaving sick kittens at home, wondering if she'd find them living when she returned. She did so many vet runs, it almost became a joke, but we were both too stressed to laugh about it.

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©2010 Maria S. Keeping a watchful eye on her family.

After a few months, the kittens were stable enough to move north. They came up on a private transport so they'd have the best care possible. When they arrived, they seemed to be in fairly good condition, but I expected things to go downhill and they did rather quickly.

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©2010 Maria S. Comforting a very sick, Polly.

While Mazie did all right, her kittens did not fare as well. Cara, in particular was very ill, vomiting frequently. Polly's eyes were awful. Chester seemed less effected. We guessed it was because he was born first and bigger than his sisters.

It was a very LONG, difficult struggle. I was taking the kittens to the vet, wondering what to do for poor Cara, whose vomiting was stunting her growth. You may recall that Cara had to see specialists and ended up having three endoscopies over four months. Chester and Polly had to see an eye specialist. They had scar tissue in their tear ducts that resulted in chronic weepy eyes.

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©2010 Maria S. Our most loving and caring Mama, ever, Mazie.

As the kittens finally got better, Mazie took a sudden, frightening turn for the worse. This was no URI, but we didn't know what was causing her soaring temperature, projectile vomiting and lethargy. In May, Mazie was hospitalized and put on an IV for a few days. We did blood work, x-rays and a lot of head-scratching. If Mazie didn't turn around she was going to die. It was so shocking to even consider-after all this, now I'm going to lose not a kitten, but their Mother?

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©2010 Maria S. Mazie taking a break from motherhood.

Mazie recovered. She was weak and on antibiotics for awhile. We never figured out what happened to her, only that she seemed well. Her appetite came back and she got that sparkle back in her big owly eyes. I was reluctant to relax. This family had been sick for EIGHT MONTHS. You can read more about the kittens HERE, Mazie getting sick: HERE, and more about them HERE.

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©2010 Maria S. Mazie with Polly (left), Cara (right) and silly Chester (below).

Then Chester got adopted and is now named, Boris. He lives with a lovely family and two dogs and two older cats. Recently, Boris got a new buddy. The older cats didn't want to play with him so his family adopted another young cat so Boris would have a pal. I'm told they were instant best friends.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie with Polly and Cara.

Polly was well enough to be adopted, though her eyes will always be a bit runny. She went with MacGruber, who was one of our favorite orangey-goodness babies. They're doing GREAT and having blast in their new home. Their parents dote on them and can't wait to spend their first Christmas together.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie feeling better after her spay.

Little Cara had a benefactor during her protracted illness. My dear friend Connie fell in love with her from the start and was always there to help pay for Cara's Vet bill when our pockets were empty. Without Connie, I don't know what would have become of Cara.

When Cara was well enough, she began to spend time with Connie and her many cats. First, as a foster, then as the little Princess who now runs the household. Cara has blossomed into a lovely young lady. We thought we'd lose her so many times, but now she's doing well, thriving and enjoying her life with Connie and her other kitties. Cara looks more and more like her mama, Mazie, every day.

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

But what about Mazie? Where is her forever family?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Visiting Dr Larry.

Mazie was supposed to go to Animals in Distress, but with so many issues coming up and her being around sick kittens, I felt it was not fair to expose a shelter full of cats to who-knows-what (we think, in the end, it was a very nasty herpes virus that sickened this family).

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The worst is over for Chester, but Cara, still sick and tiny and mama-Mazie is brewing something that may kill her.

After Mazie fell ill, we certainly could not move her. By the time her offspring were adopted, Mazie had full run of the house and had met my other cats. It freed up the foster room so I could help more cats and she had space to stretch out and new friends (or not!) to make.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. A very sick kitty.

Mazie integrated beautifully into my home. She is always on the lookout for something. It's as though without her kittens to protect, she's watching out for us.

She loves to climb the tallest cat tree and survey her territory or slap Blitzen and the DOOD in the face if they challenge her from below. It's comical, not violent. Mazie loves to visit me in my office and is often “chatting” with me about thins or that. Mostly she wants to be picked up or be close to me. I know she doesn't get enough one on one attention and she so deserves it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Boucing back, Mazie is ready for play time! I love her kooky face!

She knows if she's doing something, like get into the pantry, that she's not supposed to do. If I scold her she meows at me, then gives me a sassy HISS as she passes next to me!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. With her kittens now adopted, Mazie takes a break on a cat bed next to my desk. This is one happy cat.

God forbid a mouse enters the house because Mazie will find it. Normally we get one sullen, suicidal mouse in our house each autumn, but in the past two months, Mazie has taken out EIGHT of them! Yes, we need to check out our basement and find out where they are coming in. I pity any mouse who is foolish enough to enter our home. Mazie doesn't make a mess with them, she just kills them, then the DOOD will run off with the body, growling away, until we can get it from him. Mazie, proud of her work, doesn't need to protect her kill. The fun part for her is over and she simply sits on the floor looking proud of herself.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. After six months of being on a raw diet, Mazie's coat is like satin. She's gained a bit of weight and her face filled out a bit. She's nine pounds, up from about five pounds since she started this journey with us. This is her favorite spot in the house, this goofy hanging basket from one of our cat trees.

Mazie reminds me of my cat, Squeegee, who passed away many years ago. Squeegee had white mittens, stripes and patches, big green eyes. Mazie always looks like she's wondering what's going on. I think it's her big eyes that make her look so curious, and her constant chattering that makes me laugh.

I've come to love Mazie as my own and I've truly enjoyed seeing her blossom into a fine young lady.

But it's time. Time for her to move on. Time for me to make room for more. This will be the toughest adoption I have ever done. I feel like I'm not doing an adoption, but rehoming my own cat. 14 months is a very long journey and Mazie got under my skin. If she never left, I wouldn't be upset about it, but in fairness to her, she deserves a better home where she can get lots of attention and not have to struggle to find a place on the bed to sleep that isn't already taken by another cat.

I can rationalize this all I want, but in the end, this will be painful and I have to stand by my conviction that it's not good for her to not have everything she needs. If I can find that with another family, then she will enjoy her life with them.

That's IF I can let her go.

I need to prepare myself that Maize won't always be with me. I need to prepare myself because that moment is coming soon. In fact, that moment is now.

Mazie's adopters are here.

Foster Cat Math: Plus 4, Minus 2, Plus 4 Equals YIKES!

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.

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©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?

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©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.

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The Angel Babies are here!

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©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.

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©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.

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©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!

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©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.

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©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!

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©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.

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©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.”

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©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.

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©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!

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©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!

Lessons Learned and a Guilty Confession

The more I work and live with cats, the more I realize how little I know. After years of fostering and having a house full of cats, you'd think I'd be an expert, but today I learned yet another valuable lesson.

At the beginning of my rescue career, I volunteered with a rescue group in southern Connecticut. I did some design work for their events and eventually began to naively foster cats, as well. After all these years, I have no interest in bashing how they do what they do, but I can say that it was very tough to get my foster cats adopted once they came to my home. Now that I have to approve applications for my group, Kitten Associates, I realize how difficult it is to find just the right adopter...but I also don't let my cats languish in foster care for YEARS, which was a common occurrence back in those days.

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©2003 Robin A.F Olson. Gracie with Annabelle, Scooter Pie and Petunia.

My first foster cat was Spencer and he's our CiCH Mascot . When he joined the family, I only had two cats and one had just passed away. On Christmas of 2003 Spencer's adoption was formalized. It was a meaningful adoption because not only did I help rescue this cat, but now he would be mine for the rest of his life.

The next cats I fostered were an abused mama cat and her three newborn kittens. Two of the kittens were confident, playful, easy to love. They got adopted together, but their sister, didn't show well and would run off and hide. I didn't understand at the time that I should have shown her in a small room where she couldn't hide. She was perfectly friendly with me, but in a big room with loud people talking away, no wonder she ran off.

Since applications weren't coming in and I was still quite the sucker for taking in cats, I said I'd just keep her. What the heck. Her Mother wasn't getting any interest because she was an adult already, so I kept her, too. I felt like I didn't have any other options at the time. Their adoption wasn't very meaningful.

Those cats are Gracie and Petunia.

I don't often write about Petunia. She's 8 1/2 years old now and I'm reluctant to admit, is not my favorite cat. She pees around the house some times. She's neurotic. She gets attacked by Spencer, Blitzen and now, even the DOOD. I've taken her to the Vet MANY times; dealt with any health issues as they come up. I spoke with a cat behaviorist. I tried homeopathy. I changed things around in the house so Petunia would have a place where she could feel safe, but I was always bitter about all the fuss I had to make over her when all she did was flip out over the littlest thing, drool on me if I petted her and sneak attack some of the cats while they slept (because they attacked her when she was awake).

Over the years I've come to resent her being here. She just causes trouble. I HATE that I have to admit this and I feel very guilty. I never should have kept her. I didn't have that bond I had with her siblings or her mother. I felt like I got stuck with her and I've been trying to make the best of it ever since.

Even though it was right in front of me, I couldn't see the good things about her; the way she would “talk” to me if I talked to her. she could do some tricks, she loved to play if she could be on her own to do so, she really loved me, but I was indifferent. How cruel I have been.

I considered re-homing her. She wasn't happy here. We weren't happy she was here, but her mother, Gracie, has to be with her. They are far too bonded for me to separate them now. Gracie is skittish and has health issues. Who would want these two cats?

So Sam and I made an concerted effort to be kinder to Petunia and she did respond, but the same group of male cats kept going after her! We would yell, try to break it up, but every night this would go on and the stress on ALL of us was not good.

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©2008 Robin A.F Olson. The girls.

Then I met up with a friend of mine who is also a cat writer. Her name is Wendy Christensen and she's the author of MANY books about cats. She's also an artist and jewelry designer. Her ETSY page is HERE and HERE are illustrations and some of her books.

Wendy told me that she had a similar problem-male cats going after her female. She took her cats to the vet. The vet couldn't find anything wrong. He kept thinking about this seemingly mysterious problem, some might call it Pariah cat, where one cat seemingly for no reason gets picked on by the other cats in the home. After all I've read on the subject, my short comment about that is I'm not sure it's a fair description or even that it exists at all (more on why another time).

He called Wendy and asked her to bring her female cat in to have its' anal glands expressed. He had a theory that if the glands were very full that the cat might give off an offensive odor that made the male cats react to.

Sure enough-the cats glands were full up. He expressed them and the cat stopped getting attacked!

Once I heard that, I knew I had to try it. Now, remember, Petunia is NOT easy to handle. She overreacts to getting her claws trimmed. It would not be easy to get her to the Vet, but it had to be done.

This morning I took 'Tunie to see Dr. Larry. Because I know that a small, dark place helps cats feel safe, I kept Petunia in a covered cat carrier and tried to keep her very quiet until it was exam time.

Dr. Larry and I discussed what was going on. He agreed that anal glands could give off scent that the males went after. He also confirmed something else I'd heard-that cats with urinary tract infections/issues can also emit an odor that other cats can smell. Petunia has had UTI issues, but was currently clear of them. I had to hope, which sounds weird, that her anal glands were full up.

I asked Dr. Larry if we could turn off the overhead lights, then keep Petunia covered during his exam. By the dim light from under the cabinets, Vet tech Amber held Petunia's scruff and Dr. Larry went to work at the other end.

We all kept quiet or just told Petunia it was “okay” and that she was a “good girl.” 'She was fairly relaxed until Dr Larry hit the right anal gland. Petunia started to writhe and screech. I asked Dr. Larry if he could take a break and he replied that once you start, you have to finish. He worked quickly. I couldn't see if he was expressing anything or not. If it did smell badly-which it should, I wouldn't have known. The day before a dog had come into the clinic. He was bitten by a SKUNK and BLASTED by the same! The whole clinic smelled like skunk a day later.

In a few minutes, the procedure was done. Petunia relaxed and Amber and I both petted her and told her she was such a good girl! She reacted so well. Normally she would have been climbing the wals, but this time she was calm. I realized that how I treat her definitely affected how she responded at the Vet. Keeping the lights low; keeping things quiet-that really did wonders.

I couldn't wait to hear the results. Did she or didn't she?

One of Petunia's two anal glands was VERY FULL, but the other was “HUGE.”

Dr. Larry described that normally expressing the anal glands results in a watery brownish discharge. Petunia's was black, thick and tarry-and very difficult to express. It's VERY LIKELY that Petunia has been in quite a bit of pain for a VERY LONG TIME.

On one hand I was thrilled at the news, but on the other hand I felt very guilty and ashamed. My poor cat-all this time I've been thinking she's a royal nuisance and I wished I could just re-home her. I was tired of all the fights and her screaming in the middle of the night. Maybe a lot of what was going on had to do with the fact that she was in PAIN and that she smelled bad to the male cats.

I took the back road home, driving slowly along the river. The sun was brightly shining and I pulled the cover off Petunia's cat carrier and glanced over at her. She didn't make a sound. She rubbed against my finger when I pushed it through an opening on the side of the cat carrier. I told her again what a good girl she was and for the first time in a long time, I believed what I was saying. I felt real affection for her and real hope, too, that maybe, just maybe she was on the road to a better life.

When we got home, instead of running off in a frenzy, she jumped on the sofa and laid down in the sun. I checked on her a few hours later. She was still there. Normally, if she saw me, she'd sit up on alert, ready to run off. This time I could see contentment in her eyes. She was relaxed and happy. I reached out to pet her and she rubbed her head on my hand, again, instead of running off.

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©2011 Robin A.F Olson. Petunia this afternoon.

I sat on the loveseat a few feet away from her. I saw Blitzen come over to her. Normally he'd sniff at her, then do this strange sort of dance where he'd rub his head against the leg of the table, then in a few moments, charge Petunia and corner her somewhere. This time he just sniffed at the air, then seemed to change his mind. He walked away.

I don't know if we've solved the problem. It's way too early to tell and I don't know if the cats are so used to going after Petunia that they'll still do it or if she has other issues we haven't yet discovered.

What I do know is I love my cat and I'm so very sorry. I'm sorry for her pain and her unhappiness. I've always felt she deserved a better home and maybe now she'll have one here.

Dexter's Dark Passenger

Note from Robin: CREEPY PHOTO BELOW, BUT NOTHING GORY! You have been warned.

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Terri Royal has a big heart. She loves cats and has been particularly touched by the plight of feral cats in her community of northeastern Georgia. Terri's not one to look the other way when a cat needs help. She and her husband, Warren, always seem to have a foster cat in their home, in addition to their five cats, all of whom were rescues.

Terri is the caretaker for a number of feral cat colonies. She makes sure they get fed and that they're all spayed or neutered. Once in awhile a friendly stray comes along and she helps that cat find a good home, too

A few weeks ago, Terri spotted a tiny kitten when she was putting food out for the feral colony. From her husband, Warren's email to me, he described the situation:

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Dexter, so sick, but what is wrong with you little guy?

He lived in the bushes behind Target and today when she went to feed them, he walked out and was very lethargic- horrible respiratory infection, dripping from nose, mouth, and eyes. He was blowing bubbles from his nose, and sneezing terribly.

He was too weak to eat, or to struggle, so Terri just picked him up and put him in a small box. He's very young- 6-8 weeks, and starving. We think he has 2 more siblings in similar condition.

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Just after surgery.

She [Terri] took him to the emergency vet, who gave him fluids, vitamins, combo test, and antibiotic shot, and some milk replacement. I had to leave to catch a flight (on it now) but he's in great hands with Terri. She took him home, set him up in a bedroom upstairs, with water, a little warm bed, and plenty of food and the milk. (she just told me he LOVES it!). He is resting very comfortably and is purring when she pets him- he seems to love affection.

Terri named the kitten, Dexter. He weighed only 1 lb, 4 oz.

Dexter wasn't doing so well. Although he loved affection and wanted to eat, he had constant, severe breathing problems. He had great difficulty eating. It would take him 30 minutes to eat a small amount of food. Terri gave him milk replacement, which he could eat more comfortably, but the poor little tabby was very ill.

Warren writes: And he would start sneezing - I mean REALLY sneezing - sometimes 20 times in a row, violently. We would find blood spots afterwards. The vets thought that his nose was just really irritated from all the sneezing, maybe a tiny vessel rupture, and that was causing the bleeding. But also he could barely breathe - he was always breathing very loudly, and sometimes mouth-breathing.

The Vet said to let Dexter rest. Give it time. Thank goodness Terri and Warren didn't heed the advice. They'd seen cats with upper respiratory before. After another day passed, they were sure something else going on, so they took Dexter back to the Vet.

One of Dexter's nostrils was bigger than the other. Nothing remarkable about that, but it was odd. What happened next was horrifying. When the Vet looked into Dexter's nose, SOMETHING LOOKED BACK...and was MOVING INSIDE DEXTER'S SINUS!

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. THE WOLF WORM.

Warren wrote:

This little kitten had a 1-inch+ WOLF WORM living in his nose.

It was so big that the hardened vet techs cried when they saw it and what this poor kitten had endured.

They could not believe that something SO BIG had been in this poor kitten's nose. They saved it for me in formaldehyde so I can see it when I get home - but they're saying it's like the size of a large garden grub-worm, they have never seen anything like it. He must have filled up his sinus or partially gone down his throat, his nose was so tiny -

No one expected that Dexter would have to have surgery, especially to remove a Wolf Worm!. Simply tugging it out was NOT an option. Wolf Worms are Bot Fly larvae. Removing just a piece of them results in a horrific anaphylactic (allergic) reaction and terrible infection which could easily go to Dexter's brain.

But would Dexter survive the surgery?

Warren writes: But since we didn't know this, Terri had fed him that morning, before the vet visit. And when they figured out what it was, they had to anesthetize him, which was very risky because he had eaten. (We have lost other ferals during routine spay/neuters under similar circumstances and had been heartbroken). But we felt that it was an emergency, and we had to go ahead and cross our fingers and hope for the best. They waited a few hours to make it a little safer - and while he was down, we went ahead and neutered him.

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Getting some rest.

The Vet carefully removed the Wolf Worm. It was no longer Dexter's Dark Passenger. Now it was safely preserved in a jar while Dexter began the long road to recovery.

Warren writes: He is much better now, his breathing is completely clear - but there may be some residual damage. They say he may always have issues with sneezing, and his nose may be permanently enlarged. But we just don’t know. He is very happy, and playing, and eating like a HORSE.

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Squirrel!

Since he has been with us, even with the worm, he has gone from 1 lb 4 oz to 2 lb 4 oz , mostly on the milk replacement. But I think now the will really start to thrive...

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. Making friends with Abby

Dexter will be ready to find a forever home in a few weeks. Though they struggle with the idea of keeping Dex, Terri and Warren know they can't help more cats in need if they have too many cats of their own. It's not an easy decision to make, but with Dexter's loving personality and winning ways, we feel sure his family will find him soon.

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©2011 Warren Royal. Used with Permission. .

If you're interested in learning more about Dexter or want to adopt him, please contact me directly at info(@)coveredincathair.com and I'll put you in touch with Dexter's family. Transportation can be arranged. Dexter is located in Northeastern Georgia.

The Wolf Worm is not available for adoption.

Dark Days-To the Light

Thursday I met the Neurologist. MRI was fine, but he wanted me to take a drug that might make me suicidal!...As if I wasn’t already! I filled the prescription, but figured now wasn’t the time to try taking it.

I borrowed an air mattress from my friend, Erich. The idea was to put the mattress next to the fireplace. Maybe we could keep warm that way? I went to the warming center, as I had done each day prior. I was getting into a routine, making sure we had water for flushing, finding a way to keep sort of clean, getting the cats fed. We had to stop feeding the raw food. The meat was spoiling, even though I filled the fridge with bags of ice. I was able to find a pet food store that was open, so we were okay there. The latest rumors had the power going back on in two more days. We just had to push through.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. A cozy, bouncy bed by the fire.

It was a tough day. We HAD to clean ALL the food out of the refrigerator and freezer and take it to a special location to get rid of it. Sam and I hated throwing out good food. We decided to throw out certain things, but others we decided to toss over the deck, into the woods. At least the wild animals would get something to eat.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Goodbye food.

I stood on the deck, a deep frown etched across my face, I tossed 10 POUNDS of raw ground meat out into the woods. As Sam and I discarded more food, we both grew more and more upset. Goodbye to the meatloaf leftovers that were going to be used for a second dinner. Goodbye to the big turkey breast we were going to roast and use for a few meals. Goodbye to all that cat food—and all the wonderful frozen goodies we got from Trader Joe’s the day before the storm. We filled up Sam’s car with bags of discarded, spoiling food. What was left; a few bottles of very old champagne I refused to throw away and a container of lemonade. The inside of the fridge looked like someone got murdered inside it. The cat food meat had dripped blood all over the shelves and dripped into the drawers. It was going to be a big chore to get it cleaned ONCE the POWER WAS RESTORED!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Loaded up with spoiled food. Off to the dump.

There was more news about the power restoration. CL&P’s response to the storm damage was slow because they FAILED TO PAY the many utility crews that came up to fix the damage after Hurricane Irene hit! No WONDER repairs were going so slowly! They had to find other utility crews to help out and many were from much further away. Also, the out-of-state crews couldn’t do a THING unless someone from CL&P signed off on what they were going to do, first. They were protecting their ass-big time. I heard of one crew just sitting around for FIVE HOURS while they waited for the CL&P staff to show up—the whole time that crew was getting paid for not working!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

Then, more bad news. The news reported that restoration might take until WEDNESDAY, a full TEN DAYS after the storm. At that point I was so worn down I didn’t care. The snow was just about gone. Tree crews were opening up roads. Downtown Newtown had power. Then some districts got power. Everywhere I went people were asking each other if they had power yet. You could tell the “haves” from the “have-nots” by the gleam in their eye and their not-so-train-wrecked-hair. Our road wasn’t even open yet, so I figured it was going to be Wednesday before we were restored.

By Thursday night we were flat out exhausted from constantly having to drive somewhere to get warm, to get water, to get a meal, to charge a phone, to get something to burn in the fireplace. Anne and her family got dinner early, forgetting we were coming over. It was a blessing in disguise because we just wanted to eat and go to bed.

Although we don’t normally go out for dinner, let alone to an expensive restaurant, I told Sam I was desperate to break our miserable routine of eating lousy chinese food and pizza and have something great for dinner. Juice boxes weren’t cutting it any more. We found a place and served delicious seafood. Although we looked like a homeless couple that hit the lottery, as we sipped Pellegrino in the amber-lit room, we were content. I was surprised at how doing something “normal” helped condition my frayed nerves. Sam and I were getting along all right. We went home and inflated the air mattress. The cats loved it. I warned Sam not to leave it unattended. I knew the cats would pee on it. I couldn’t sleep on the mattress. It was really bouncy and I can’t sleep if the room is brightly lit-like by a FIRE. I opted to drag my butt to bed. Sam got the mattress by the fire. I was numb to the routine of sleeping alone in my hat, gloves and layers, so it was fine with me.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Scallops, risotto and broccoli rabe.

Friday morning. Day seven. We got the cats fed. Sam and I were quiet around each other. I was trying to be calm, not freak out over the way the house was getting dirty and that the rugs needed vacuuming. I looked over at the air mattress and noticed a huge dark spot on the down comforter. Pee. I told Sam to put that mattress away and now it’s been soiled. I tried to hold my tongue, because I usually never say; “I told you so!” But I was worn down so I blurted it out, then added now we'd have to buy a NEW air mattress for Erich! Great! I was so angry. I was not paying for this error! I’d priced air mattresses before we found one to borrow and they were well into the hundreds of dollars! Just what we needed—more headaches.

We drove to the Library since they were open again and had wifi, too. I went online and curtly told Sam I found a replacement mattress and all he had to do was order it. Thankfully it was the exact same one that was ruined and it cost under $100. One problem solved, but the problem of our inability to get along, remained.

I really wanted to write my blog, but I just couldn’t concentrate. It was too awkward to write on my iPad, so I took out pen and paper and scribbled some thoughts down as best I could. I was so wiped out. I really needed to do laundry and get clean again. The local laundromat was going to open soon, so that was great news. My dear friend, Connie called me and she had power restored. She lives a mile from my house, but every time she has power, we lose it and vice versa, so we must be on a different grid. She said we could shower at her house and watch TV. I was happy to imagine I could be clean soon. For someone who watches as much TV as I do, that was something I wasn’t missing.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I love you guys from Ameren, Missouri!

It was another sunny day. I was so grateful for that. The sun felt good on my face. Sam and I packed up to go to Connie’s house. We decided to check to see if our road was open yet. To our surprise we saw three utility trucks from Ameren, a power company based in MISSOURI! I should have asked them when they were going to be done, but I was so shocked and happy to see them that I just smiled and waved as we passed by. I figured we wouldn’t get power for another day, which was well ahead of the Wednesday deadline, yet I’d been so disappointed with everything else that I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

We got to Connie’s and visited with her kitties, a few of them were cats I rescued from the south. It was good to see them again, but weird to be there without Connie around.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

We took showers and were getting the wifi working when my phone rang. It was my neighbor, Dawn. She said she wasn’t home, but that a neighbor called her and said the POWER HAD BEEN RESTORED!

What? You’re kidding?!!

Sam and I stopped what we were doing and got packed up and out of Connie’s house in a flash. I was bouncing in my seat in the car. Sam couldn’t drive fast enough. It was still light out so it was tough to see if any electric lights were on. We’d been crushed days before because we drove home and saw lights on in the homes just a few doors down from ours, but our lights were still out.

As Sam pulled down the driveway, I saw lights on in the house!

As I opened the front door, I felt WARM kiss of heat on my cheeks. The heat was ON! The cats were milling around excitedly. They knew something was going on, too.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Crews picking up tree debris down the road from our house.

We turned off unneeded lights, turned up the heat, then got straight to work cleaning. We each chose chores to do. Sam started on cleaning the fridge. I said I’d join him after I did a few other things. I scrubbed the toilets, started doing a ton of laundry, vacuumed, took down all the candles and cleaned up the fallen bits of wax. I closed the doors to the fireplace, making certain to close the flue. We got the dishwasher started. I put away all the paper plates and cups and warmed up some food for the cats. I was so very happy to be cleaning! Yes me, happy, CLEANING!

It took a few HOURS to scrub down the fridge. Sam and I worked together. While we were cleaning, Sam said he could fix a few things. He asked if I wanted him to take the ice maker out of the inside of the freezer. I never had it hooked up to the water line because I didn’t want to hear the device running all night. It just took up space. I had no idea you could remove it! Sam removed a few screws and the unit popped right out. Without it we added a lot of freezer space. Once we cleaned the inside, we pulled the fridge away from the wall. I vacuumed it out, then mopped the floor. We wiped down the outside of the fridge and restacked cans of cat food on the top of it.

Sam stood with the door open to the refrigerator compartment. Even though the thing was old, it looked like it has a new lease on life. Sam was clearly admiring his work. He remarked he didn’t want to put anything back inside it again. I agreed that I never wanted to overload it again as we had before. I wanted to use what we bought and not buy so much we don’t know or use what we have. We went back to Trader Joe’s and did a modest amount of shopping. We got some milk and butter and juice and eggs. Even with all that the fridge still looked empty. That’s fine by me. We don’t need so much.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Pretty!

The cable was out for another two days. It came back on just in time for the good Sunday night shows on HBO and Showtime. Our wireless wifi was working, but I had no interest in turning on my computer—gone was my addiction to checking Facebook every 10 seconds. I dragged my feet. I didn't want to be hooked on technology's teat any more.

I was shell shocked and still very tired. I had liked the quiet evenings, just reading by the fire. I liked something about not having all these electronic devices to cling to. If we’d had heat and running water it would have been a vacation of sorts, well, I guess as about close to a vacation as I’m going to get any time soon.

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The power’s been on for ten days now. I’m not wearing a hat inside my house, just a sweater over my clothes. The cats just ate some newly prepared raw food for dinner. I had a cup of very fine tea this morning. Sam and I are not getting along very well and my engagement ring is back in its’ box, this time stored in Sam’s underwear drawer. I don’t even know if he realizes it’s there. I didn’t know what to do with it, but I thought we better table the idea of ever getting married. It seems the power went out of our relationship and I don’t know when it will be restored.

It’s difficult to write about my relationship going sour. I try not to color it by my own perspective. I know I’m not easy to live with and have a bad temper. I think I should be a crazy cat lady and not live with other humans. Maybe I’m a feral human? Maybe I was driven to it by the stress I’ve been under for the past few years? I can’t say for sure, but when the power went out, it felt like a final straw. I can’t live the way I lived before. I don’t know what’s next. I was glad to have a break from having to worry about paying the mortgage even though it meant I was freezing cold and dirty and subsisting on fruit cups.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer caught a mild cold, but is doing well today.

I'll never forget that awful week without power thanks to Winter Storm Alfred and CL&Ps flaccid response to repairing the power outage and foolish power grid that has our power lines be ABOVE ground (ridiculous!-the lines in my neighborhood are buried).

I hope, in time, I’ll figure out ways to be better prepared for the next storm; including the one that twists inside my heart. It makes me sad that Sam and I sweat the small stuff and it gets to us as it does. I wish we knew how to laugh in the face of adversity or at least hold each other through the worst of it—but even the mighty oak falls if the winds are just right.

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