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Foster Cat Journal: The Princess & the Pig

Last night Connie, Sam and I went to visit Princess Fifi. We knew her temperature had started to climb again and we were very worried about her. Her temp was at 104.7°F. The Vet decided to move her to IV antibiotics as they would help her feel better, faster, if she has some sort of bacterial issue. If it was a virus, there wasn't a whole lot we could do except give her supportive care and wait.

VCA Shoreline VREC is a big, fancy building. You can tell by walking in the door that it's going to cost big bucks to bring your animal inside. Before we even took a step, we saw a big pit bull standing in the center of a circle of bloody paw prints across the floor. The dog's left front paw was a bloody mess. The dog seemed to be relaxed and content, even though he was bleeding. He owner was stuck to a cellphone, talking about something. Of course I assumed the dog was used for fighting, but then stupidly realized why would they bring it to a Vet if it got hurt in a dog fight? Then the dog turned around. He had big, dangly balls. Connie and I both got pissed when we saw this. Why this dog is running around intact? We both wanted to yell at him, but realized we'd be outmatched if we spoke up.

We sidestepped the blood, told the receptionist who we were visiting, than sat down and waited. An exam room door was open and we saw a small, white bichon or poodle sitting on the exam table. Her right leg was bent oddly. Connie gasped and said; "oh no, neurological problem!" Then I started to worry they were going to put the dog down. We both agreed we hated sitting in this waiting room. I whispered under my breath; “close the door.” A Vet Tech walked over and shut the door. Neither of us wanted to see what was going to happen next.


After a few minutes, we were escorted through some doors, into the heart of the building. Princess was being held in isolation.

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The room was small and filled with a huge bin of used sharps, a garbage can, a table with yellow dressing gowns all over it and a small bank of four steel cages. Three were empty. Each one had a card that read: CLEAN. The fourth, held our Princess Fifi.

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When we approached the cage, Princess was sleeping. They set her up on a pretty pink bed. Her food was next to her. There were some signs that she ate a bit of it. We all called out to her, but she did not respond. My heart sank. We were told we could hold her, but just to be careful of the IV line into her front leg. Sam reached into the cage and gently took her out. She was limp.

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As he began to pet her, she started to wake up. I looked at her face. It was a filthy mess. I grabbed a cotton pad from a dispenser on the table, wetted it and began to try to clean the gunk out of her eyes. At first, she didn't protest, but as she felt the cool water, she began to stir. There was a fan blowing on us and she began to shiver.

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I kept trying to get her cleaned up, but the food and discharge was crusted on her pretty well. I was glad to see her react to us holding and cleaning her. I tried to mimic how her mother might have licked her face as I wiped at it with the pad.

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A Vet came in to talk to us. She was about 15 years old. We asked her question after question. She was thinking Princess has a URi. That she is not at death's door, but she is not in great shape, either. That she would eat, but only if someone stayed with her while she ate. That her chest and heart sound fairly normal and her blood work was basically fine. She turned the fan off, realizing it was making Princess feel worse. Princess stopped shaking and just enjoying being held by Sam.

I asked if we could try to feed her, so the Vet got some fresh food and I offered it to her. She turned her head away, refusing my offer. I asked the Vet to warm it up, which she did. It didn't help. I rubbed a small bit on Princess's face. She licked at it, but still refused to eat. I put the food bowl down and focused on petting her. I didn't want to think that this might be the last time I see her alive. If she didn't eat...well...she was already too thin to begin with. I tried to be positive and not “go there.”


Connie and I continued to pet Princess and talk to her. She began to react a little bit more and more, then longer we were with her. I held her for a few minutes, but I was scared I'd hurt her. She was hot in my arms and her coat was not in the best shape. I wanted to just find a comfy chair and hold her for the rest of the night. None of us wanted to leave. We could see our being there was helping her feel better.

A Vet Tech came in to take Princess's temp. Sam helped hold her while Princess fussed. Her temp was down a tiny bit..down to 104.3°F. Her weight was up by 2 ounces in 4 days! We were all cautiously optimistic that maybe Princess would continue to improve.

Then, Connie took a turn holding Princess. By that time, we'd been with her for about 45 minutes. Princess perked up and gave us a “meh.” She began to fuss so I grabbed her food. Connie put her down and showed her the bowl and she started to eat! It always comforts me to see my cats eating, especially the foster kittens. It was even more meaningful to watch Princess lick carefully at her food. Connie put out her hand so Princess wouldn't fall out of the open cage. Every mouthful Princess took, would help her gain the strength she'd need to survive whatever was making her so sick. I wanted to cry. We all urged her to keep eating!


On the way to the hospital, we stopped at Walgreens to buy Princess a little toy. They had a lousy selection, but they did have these big, squeaky toys for dogs. One of them was appropriately pink and Sam and I both thought it might keep her company. She'd have to really squeeze the toy hard, to get it to squeak, so we thought she wouldn't easily be able to set it off. I also found these really cute pet beds. It looks like a grey cat, turned into a cat bed. Very soft and plush. Very cute. I promised myself that Princess would be sleeping in it when she comes back home to us and in the mean time the weird pink pig toy might be a stand in for a playmate.

Sam placed the pig next to Princess. She just stared at it. I thought that maybe she was frightened of it, but then she did the most wonderful thing. The pig has a black cable coming out of the top of it's head that's used to hang it on a display in the store. Princess reached out for the cable and started to PLAY!!!! She tapped at the cable and bit it, then wanted to eat more food. Wow! We were all bowled over when we saw her reach out that paw. It was such a significant sign that she's still fighting and she's still a kitten who wants to play! I wish I'd bought her a box full of toys!

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Princess was clearly getting tired again, so we decided to leave. She snuggled down next to her toy pig. We each told Princess we loved her and that she should fight to get better and that we would see her soon-we promised.

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We were all reluctant to leave. I made some jokes so we wouldn't start to cry. Just as I turned to leave, I noticed something in Princess's cage. Her blanket had her name on it! I had to ask myself, is this a sign she's in the right place? Was this destiny or just a coincidence? I can't help but wonder if all this was meant to be? But if so, what is next? What is to become of Princess? Will her temperature come down and STAY down? Will she begin to perk up, eat better and get back to the business of being a kitten again? I just don't know. I don't know if this WAS our last visit with Princess.

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The night passed without any calls from the Vet. This morning Connie called me and said that Carole had called and found out Princess's temp was “down.” What that meant, I don't know. Was it down a few tenths? Was it down to normal? I have to wait until after 10am to call to get an update. I have a stomach ache. I want to know, but I don't want to know. This has been a rough road and Big O, Little Maria and Pauly have to be picked up in New Jersey today! I need to get ready, but not sure for what. I need to get those new foster cats, but I need to stay home. It will be sorted out. Thankfully, Sam and Connie are going to pitch in and help. I couldn't function without them, but really, I just want to go to sleep, wake up and have everyone be here, happy and healthy.

If you've gotten this far, there's one last thing. I'm going to post a fundraiser here, to help recover some of the money we've spent to get Princess the care she needs. Her Vet bill is over $1000.00 and it won't surprise me if it goes up from there. I've set up at ChipIn widget (above) that will go STRAIGHT to Animals in Distress. If you can help out with a few dollars-whatever you donate is tax deductible. We all know money is tight and I've had to ask more than a few times for help from everyone, so I understand if asking again, so soon, is a problem for many of you. No worries. We're going to try and those that can comfortably help us-even if it's $5, it does make a difference. If you can't donate, maybe you can forward this to your friends and they can't pitch in a dollar or two? Thank you all your prayers and support during this difficult time. It means a lot to all of us-espeically little Princess.

Foster Cat Journal: 1.11

Princess is doing better this morning. She's much perkier. The other kittens are still angry she's invaded their space, but she doesn't seem to care one way or the other. She's ready to get out of her crate and walk around, but I want to wait for Dr. Larry to see her first.

I met a HUGE, gorgeous Flame Point Persian named, Pucker at Dr Larry's. What a great NAME and great cat. The cat WILL NOT go into the cat carrier and has to be held. I offered suggestions, but her owner had done it all. I was glad Pucker didn't like the cage since I got a better look at her. She made Spencer look like a short-haired cat!

Dr. Larry and Awesome-Lauren took care of Princess today. She weighs 1 pound, 11 oz. He thinks she's about 7 weeks old. I wonder about that because physically she has some size but she is VERY thin. She was very friendly to everyone and was interested in playing and exploring her space. She must have known people before she was rescued. How she found her way, alone, into Evan's garage in Litchfield will remain a mystery. In some ways, especially regarding her body condition, she reminds me of a younger version of Chester.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess Fifi is fed by hand...but of course!

Princess got her first FVRCP shot. Dr. Larry felt she could tolerate it and that it would be better to have the protection on board since she's with other cats. She picked at some food as she got the shot, but the injection was COLD and she shook wildly afterwards, then tried to scratch at it. She relaxed, but you could see it took a bit out of her.

No fleas!

She should be crated for a week, then she can mingle with the other girls. Other than that, she should eat as much as she wants and I'll see to it that she gets fed every few hours.

But that wasn't the big news...

After I left Dr. Larry's, I realized I forgot to get some A/D for the kitten so I turned the car around and went back to the Clinic. While I was at the counter, I met a guy who said he had a diabetic cat. I told him I could help (well, my dear friend, Jennifer could) and that I could help him with diet. He told me that DR. LARRY WANTED HIM TO FEED HIS CAT A RAW DIET!!!!!!


For a LONG time now, I've been leading by example. Dr. Larry is always interested to learn new things and he was interested to learn about the benefits of a raw diet. Now, I'm not the only one he knows doing this. I can't take all the credit, BUT he knows how passionate I am about a raw diet for cats. When I heard he told his client about it for his diabetic cat, I was beyond thrilled!!!

Maybe one day I'll see my goal: no more bags of prescription dry food for cats in the lobby of his clinic! Woo!

Foster Cat Journal: “Meh” Little Princess

I get lots of emails and calls about cats and kittens who need help. I wish I could help everyone. I wish I could post stories about every one, too, but I'm getting overwhelmed with requests. I have a backlog of cats I need to write about and it kills me to have to make anyone wait, but I need to make a living-meager as it is, and with trying to get Kitten Associates off the ground and care for my foster cats...I feel the crush of responsibility.

So when I got a call asking me to take one kitten from Litchfield, I said I could not. I have nowhere to put the kitten other than with my other fosters. For some reason, no one understood why this was a problem for me, but I've had so many sick kittens that the last thing I want to do is open ANY of them up to a new illness or vice versa.

Guilt-ridden, I decided to, at least put the word out to see if someone local could take the kitten. Sure enough our friend, Jan jumped up and offered to help. I figured out who would meet where and when, packed up things the kitten might need and went off to Waterbury to meet up with a very nice couple-Evan and his wife. They found a little kitten-they called a tabby? the day before under their car in the garage. It walked over to Evan, making a weird squeaking noise-not at all like a regular kitten meow. She was all alone and very thin. She had ticks and fleas all over her.

They took her to the Vet who gave her sub-q fluids, tested her for feline leukemia (neg) and de-wormed her. She had no fever and was too young to be treated for fleas, but she has FLEAS!...I'm just not an expert on treating tiny kittens, so something should have been done for this cat...but it was not. Now what do I do?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess and her Rescuer say goodbye.

Evan and his wife were clearly sad to let the kitten go. I told them I didn't have to take it. I didn't want them to feel pressured, but they said it was for the best. Their cat was freaking out about the kitten and they realized it wouldn't be a good fit for them and I certainly understood. They did a good thing finding help for this kitten. I asked if there were others and they hadn't seen any, but would keep a look out. I didn't want to rip the kitten out of their hands, but she seemed very lethargic and I wanted to get her fed right away. As bad as she looked to me, apparently she was looking better than she had at the Vet. I'm not sure I would have wanted to see that.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess gets some rest.

I asked them if she had a name and they said no, so I asked Evan to name the cat. He chose, Princess. I got Princess settled in the cat carrier and she laid down in the sun and went to sleep. She barely moved as I drove to Jan's. I could see her ribs. There was nothing to her. I started to think it was a bad idea to have this cat fostered so far from where we can get her help if she needed it. The more I drove, the more I realized I couldn't leave this kitten with Jan. She needed to be near the two rescue groups responsible for her-not further away.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Nom-noms!

I got to Jan's and she came out to greet us. She is just as sunny in person as she is online. She welcomed us to her home and we went into the basement where she was going to foster Princess. All I could think about was trying to get this kitten fed NOW, then maybe get her to Dr. Larry. We gave her some food. She got up and picked at it a tiny bit, then laid down again. I felt like a total ass, going back on the arrangement, but Jan was very understanding. Even though it was going to possibly open a big can of worms at my house, I had to bring Princess home.

We met Jan's husband, Peter and their cat, Cake. They were very sad to see Princess go, but I knew she was too fragile. She needed a Vet visit and some very careful monitoring and if she needed to be taken to the Vet, I could get it done much easier than asking Jan to run an hour down here to do that.

I called Dr. Larry's office. Got an appointment for Thurs 11:20. I asked about flea treatments, they said nothing other than a gentle BATH. Oh great. I'm going to kill this cat by bathing her. Meanwhile my head is about to spin off because I'm thinking about how I have to set up her dog crate, I don't have a litter pan or much litter, how am I going to bath her, feed her, what should I do and when?? ACK!

I got her home, got her fed again with different food. She ate more, then rested in her cat carrier while I got things set up. Then...I had to give her a bath. That was not fun for anyone. I tried to be a gentle as I could, but she got feisty, then she got limp. That scared the you-know-what out of me.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The bath of death...okay not death, but I certainly pushed Princess to the edge doing this. I don't want a house full of fleas, either!

I just went as fast as I could. We used towel after towel to get her dry. Seeing her wet was even worse than seeing her dry. She's a living skeleton.

Sam and I took her into the bathroom. I set up the space heater and Sam held her in a towel on his lap while the space heater blasted him in the face, it also kept Princess warm. She was shaking, while we broiled in our fleece pullovers. As Princess dried off, she perked up. She began to “make muffins”-which was a good sign. She also began to make this weird meow which is more like a “meh.” If you talk to her, she talks back. I asked her if she was feeling better and she replied; “Meh.”

I got her settled into her crate. Cinnie, Sugie, Yodel and Honey B. were not thrilled. They hissed and got VERY cranky when they saw Princess. She just sat in her crate and ate. I gave her almost a full jar of chicken baby food. She ate it ALL. I was very glad to see that, but she has a long way to go. (and no, she is not just getting chicken baby food. I know it doesn't have all the nutrition she needs, but I wanted to get her to EAT and this is a good, easy food to digest)

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Third meal in two hours. Still eating!

I let her rest in the crate while the other kittens frantically tried to touch her through the bars. She ignored them, but every time I spoke to her, she would look at me and “meh.” It reminded me of my dear cat, Squeegee, who died many years ago. Squeegee was named for her weird meow. I realized that calling this kitten Princess, didn't do the trick. She needed a tweak to her name and I had just the idea. I'm going to call her, Princess Fifi, in honor of Squeegee whose nickname was, the Baroness von Fifi. I asked her if she liked the new name. She said; “meh.”

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Cinnamon and Sugar Pie unenthusiastically unwelcome Princess to THEIR room.

It's after midnight. I'm wiped out. Princess had to be washed off 3 more times. She kept getting into her food, then walking into the litter pan. I got so irritated, Sam had to take her the last time. I think I'm at the “it's too much” point and I need to find a way to make some time for what I need to get done. I feel like I've lost the month...where is time going? I get's all stress all day...then I pass out at night. I know it won't always be like this, but sheesh. I need a night out or just some sort of break with this craziness. I can see how people get burned out doing rescue. It's truly exhausting, but of course, it's equally as exhilarating to look down into the eyes of a fragile kitten you just rescued and know that she has a chance because of you.

I got into bed while Sam was tucking Princess Fifi into her crate for the night. Every muscle in my neck was rigid. My head was throbbing. I began to wonder if I'd be able to sleep. Sam asked me if I was okay. I replied; “Meh.”

Foster Cat Journal: The Last of Santa's Team

Little Blitzen is the last of Santa's Team to be in foster care. The rest are off to their forever homes. Blitzen would have been long gone had he not needed treatment for Ringworm. His last dose of meds will be on Saturday. He's had no sign of any ringworm for a few weeks. Other than an occasional sneeze, his health seems good.

I also let him out of his room a few weeks ago, too. Once the others were gone, it was too unkind to leave a little guy alone for so long. I knew it put my cats at risk of getting ringworm, but since the stuff is airborne, I had to figure they've all had a snoot-ful of it by now.

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Blitzen loves the cat mat that Aunt Clare made him!

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I think he's wear it if he could.

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Bob's not too sure he wants to share the cat mat, even though there's one behind him...yes, it IS considerably smaller and Bob wants what Bob wants. Blitz is happy to have someone to roughouse with. Spencer is staying out of it this time.

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Open the door to the deck and all fighting ends. The boys love the fresh air.

Blitz has been trying to find his place among the other cats. Petunia is very angry about him being here and Spencer has ramped up attacking her. It's a complex situation having eight cats. Spencer wants to bully Petunia and so does Bob. I can't understand why, though I do believe that Petunia might want to be the alpha cat OR she is so fearful that she needs a nicer alpha cat, instead of a bossy guy like Bob or Spencer. Having Blitzen here doesn't help her, but it does give the big boys someone to play with and chase around, so maybe they'll leave her alone a bit more often?

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Someone's tail is growing faster than their body. I'm not sayin' who, though.

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And don't think for a minute that Blitzen is in any danger. In fact, the little squirt instigates many of the clashes. He's not aggressive. he just wants to play. I've seen Spencer race up and down the stairs with Blitzen hot on his tail! It's great to see the cats running around more. Even Bob and Nicky, who have been slow to warm to Blitz, have begun to show signs of accepting him.

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Blitzen and Nicky. Looks like the little guy has a long way to go yet before he's as big as Nicky-if that is even possible!

I feel bad for Blitzen. He's doing his best to fit in where there isn't a whole lot of room. He was sleeping between Sam and I most nights, but now he is under the bed. I think ”the girls,” Gracie and Petunia, had a talk with him and asked him to get lost. He won't even hang out on the bed and they rarely leave it. Something is up.

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I know you want to come outside on the deck, but you're too young! Talk about guilt!

I really want Blitzen to be happy here. Sam is ready to adopt him. I see some definite benefit, but I also see the problems. He might not get as much time and attention from us as he would from a family with only one other cat, but he will have other cats to interact with here in addition to his human family. The problem is that this sweet little guy has had a few cats hiss at him, so now he's confused about being friends with other cats. I really hope he can find one or two of my guys to be closer to. I'm sure he misses the closeness he shared with Cupid and his sisters and it's not fair for him to go without cat companionship.

Blitzen has done very well adapting to a much bigger space, lots more cats and challenges. He remains a sweet tempered kitty and he always makes me smile.

I have to ask myself if I can be happy letting him go and knowing he's in a great home, that's not mine; or decide that although we weren't looking for another cat, that one found us.

It's time to adopt him or put Blitz on Petfinder.

Dear Clare

Dear Clare,

Thank you for the homemade cat mats. I know I'm supposed to give them to the foster cats-and I will, but I had to “test drive” one on my cats first.

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Dear Clare,

What did you put in the cat mat? Spencer's sense of smell is poor. Normally he isn't interested in catnip. Is there something you want to tell me? Spencer is bunny-kicking the shit out of this mat. His eyes are glazed over. What is going on?


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Dear Clare,

My cats won't share. They want their own mat. If they don't get one, they'll spat.

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Dear Clare,

There is more square feet of cat, than there is square foot of cat mat. Can you make me a bedspread sized one?

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Dear Clare,

Do you know if there's a catnip rehab facility in Connecticut? I'm thinking Bob might need to go there. He looks like he's had a bit too much and Nicky can't stop rolling around and yeowling incoherently. I'm afraid the neighbors are going to call the cops.

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Dear Clare,

Nora would like to know if you can rub her belly to maximize her user experience (since she can no longer reach her own belly).

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Dear Clare,

Nicky also asked if you could rub something, but I had to edit out what he said. I blame the drugs for his ungentlemanly, he had a surgery a few years ago and that sort of limited his options in that department, anyway.


Dear Clare & All My Dear CiCH Readers,

It's friends like you that are like a big mat of catnip for me. I can wrap myself up in your comforting words and breathe deep, feeling suddenly quite invigorated and alive when only moments before I was too busy licking my wounds to do much else.

With Love,


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