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Of Flying Felines and Fond Farewells Part 2 of 2

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April.

The weeks have flown by in a heartbeat. The kittens just celebrated their eighth week birthday. All six have survived those precarious first weeks and are now spending their day either napping or running around playing with wild abandon. I moved them into Bobette's old room so they have lots of space to explore and a big sunny window where they can watch the birds or see a stray bee buzz by.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The girls.

It's a happy time for them and relief for me. The kittens have been weaned. It went so easily and perfectly. They've also done great with their litter pan technique. Knock wood, these kittens have been a complete dream to foster. I can't remember the last time I didn't have to worry about loose stools or runny noses.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting ready to meet Dr. Chris.

It is, however, a sad time, too. It's time for April, the kittens mama, to go on to the next chapter of her life—a journey she has to make on her own. She's been a GREAT mama-one of the best ever. April constantly burbles and meows to the kittens, maybe telling them to be careful or “watch out!” She's always on the alert, making sure the kittens are safe. I hate taking her away from them, but I know it must be done. April is shockingly thin and needs time to recover and get strong. She can't do that with the kittens around. I can't risk them nursing on her any longer. She needs to be spayed, then go to Animals in Distress where they will work on finding her a forever home.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie Patootie and Belly Holiday after their Vet visit.

In the time we've spent together, April has blossomed. She no longer hisses at me, but seeks out attention. She enjoys being petted and sitting nearby. I hope she gets a wonderful home, with people who will cherish her. She has a goodness and sweetness that's palpable.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Belly and the ball.

The kittens, too, are just about ready. All that remains is that they need to be spayed. They had their first FVRCP vaccine and first visit with Dr. Mixon. The kittens did amazingly well and didn't give him much trouble at all.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Cutie's big mitt.

Dr. Mixon examined the three polydactyl kitten's paws. He suggested that the extra toes be declawed. I was against it until he explained that those claws, being on such short toes, would never be able to be sharpened. If that couldn't be done, the claw would simply grow and eventually grow INTO the kitten's paw pad and cause a nasty infection. This just happened to my own cat, Gracie and she's not even polydactyl. I would never want that to happen to any other cat-even if the adopter promised to trim the claws every week. With them being so young and Dr. Mixon using a laser it would be the least painful to do it now. Next week it will be done, but I feel more than terrible about it because I believe that in one case the entire toe is going to come off because it is so very tiny, it's more of a claw growing out of the paw, then out of a toe.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Looks like a reference photo for a Picasso painting!

Thanks to my friend, Katherine at AID, one of her foster families offered to take April so she could recover in their home before she gets spayed. I thought it was a good idea since normally I'd have to crate April to keep the kittens off her and that wouldn't be very easy on her. It's best to say our farewells now.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Relaxing without a care in the world.

What I didn't expect was that this foster family offered to adopt one of the kittens, too, even though they are currently fostering some of the cutest kittens I've ever seen! The family is from England and black cats are good luck there. They had a black kitty many years ago and they miss her dearly. When they heard about my kittens they asked if they could give one a home because they understand how difficult it is to place black kittens.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Between a pillow and a hard egg?

What made me appreciate them even more was that they wanted the kitten that would have the toughest time to find a home. They didn't want one of the polydactyl kittens, they wanted a simple, black kitten. That's it.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Black Beauty.

I met with the Mom of the family four weeks ago and she fell in love with a kitten. She said her children wanted to name it, “Bon Bon.” I said we could give the kitten that name, but didn't push her to adopt that particular kitten. It was too soon to take her anyway.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. April's eyes are full of hope that her forever home will find her soon.

On Thursday she returned to take April home and to choose her kitten. She brought her daughter, who was very sweet with all the kittens. She understood the importance of giving the kitten a home who others might overlook. Sure enough Bon Bon came over to them and honestly if I had other kittens that might have been considered more adoptable, they still would have chosen her.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bon Bon with her new mama.

I made special arrangements for them to take Bon Bon before her spay, which will also allow her to be with her mother awhile longer and vice versa. The family reported back to me already that both Bon Bon and April are doing well. April's being shy, but they know she'll come around in time. She's eating very well and eating a lot of food so this is great news. One day I hope to see April again, but this time looking plump and resplendent, the days of difficulty long past.

My heart aches. I've grown to love Bobette and April and Bon Bon, but I must make room for more. There are four kittens in South Carolina who need help. Four more to love. My heart is ready to be re-fueled. This is the life of a cat rescuer, the constant tug of sadness mixed with simple, profound love.

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…

©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!

©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.

©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.

Making Sense of the Senseless

I think it's almost a given, that when something bad happens, we try to make sense of it. Give it a reason for being, so we can learn to accept it. Then there are times when it's just so bad, there is no sense to be made.

Yesterday afternoon, I called my Vet to see if Doodlebug was ready to be picked up. I had dropped him off that morning and he just needed some tests, a shot and a wellness exam. If you're going to do cat rescue, you must NEVER bring a cat into your home without it going to the Vet, FIRST. Considering all the creeping crud out there, you can't be too careful.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. What did you find out about me?

Doodle looked great, perky, nice weight. I didn't worry that anything was wrong with him, but when it took 6 minutes of being on hold to just find out a pickup time, I knew something was up. Instead of one of the Vet techs picking up the phone, it was Dr. Larry. His voice had a serious tone. Normally we would joke around, but not this time.

He didn't mince words.

Doodlebug tested POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia.


I felt lightheaded, like I was going to faint. I tried to muster up the courage to ask him what this means. When I was a kid, two of our family's cats died from it. Dr. Larry said what I had heard from other folks who do rescue, that although it is a “strong positive,” that there is a CHANCE that in time, Doodle's immune system may kick in and he will re-test, negative. This result means he was EXPOSED to the virus, not necessarily that he HAS it. It's called, Primary Viremia. You can read more about it on Cornell's excellent resource guide for Feline Leukemia If so, there are no more concerns for this cat's future. If he re-tests positive, you have to wait and re-test again. All in all, I may have to wait for up to SIX MONTHS to really be sure one way or the other.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle REALLY loves to PLAY!

But Feline Leukemia is very contagious and fatal and I have an FIV+ cat with cancer and eight other cats in my house. What am I supposed to do now?

Do I have to EUTHANIZE Doodlebug? I could barely ask the question. I had to sit down. My legs went wobbly. I was in shock. I didn't want to know the answer.

I can barely even type that word: euthanize. The thought of me KILLING a KITTEN, when my life is devoted to SAVING their lives,? It's absurd! I would NEVER do that! How could I do such a thing? But what about my own cats? Does bringing Doodle into my home, mean a DEATH SENTENCE FOR MY OWN CATS?

©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle has a black band around his belly. Ooo. I want to smoosh-face into it!

We talked about isolation. Re-testing. Doodle does NOT have to be euthanized today, but it may have to happen at some point. IF he was at a shelter, guess what, he would be dead. I get it. This is not something you want around a lot of other cats.

But I was VERY WORRIED about bringing him into my home. I wished I had a separate building to bring my fosters now, more than ever, but I was stuck. At least I HAD a room to put him in that was isolated from the rest of the house.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Stuck on You.

I had figured Doodle would be in the blue bathroom (as we call it), for a few weeks, then I'd let him meet my cats and he could run around and have a good time until he got adopted. Now I may have lost that space for fosters until 2012!

I could make SURE Doodle was locked up, change clothes after I handle him and wash my hands well after each visit, too. If I could keep my own cats away, the Feline Leukemia virus does not live for more than a few hours in the environment, so as long as there are no shared dishes, litterpans or contact, it increases the odds my cats will be all right.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Invisible cat ladder.

But what about this little 4 month old kitten?

He will be ALONE in that bathroom for a very long time.

I hung up the phone and called out to Sam. I told him the news and I could see his shoulders slump as he processed the information. He had a crush on this little kitten, too. I could see it broke his heart. We spoke about our options, about what this might mean for our own cats and for Doodlebug. I started to cry, but I was late for a meeting and I had to figure out how to not be sad, be businesslike and deal with this later. I asked Sam what we should do. We had few options. Sam said; "We don't give up on him. That's what we do. I will go get him and bring him home.”

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. ?

So now what I thought was going to be an easy rescue, has become much more complex. What I thought I could afford has become a challenge. The bathroom where Doodle will live is small and has a small window. I would like to buy Doodle a cat tree so he can sit up high and look out the window, as well as have a place to climb and a way to de-stress because it will have nice, tall sisal legs to scratch.

Doodle will also need more tests, a second, and possibly third ELISA (snap-test/ enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and first and possibly second IFA (indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay). I'm going to start fundraiser for him for his medical needs and to purchase a small cat tree.

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©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Yes, I have a zero-gravity bathroom.

I contacted Doodle's former owner and told him he must contact the person he got the kitten from and let them know the news and to get that cat tested for Feline Leukemia. I also told him that if he had Doodle around other cats, that those cats needed to be tested, too. I would have LIKED to tell him that I also would have appreciated it if he warned me that Doodle was trained to use a human's hand as a TOY and that he will haul off and bite and grab your arm or leg-a behavior I will be working to correct.

I didn't hear back from him. I'm not surprised. Doodle was on the road to becoming a very unpleasant cat to live with. You wouldn't be able to pet him without him getting excited and biting. When he weighs four pounds, it's one thing, but when he grows up, it won't be a lot of fun to have him around. I would bet money that this was the real reason they got rid of him-not that their kid was allergic, but that the kitten was growing too aggressive from how they mis-handled him.

©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. Doodle let's us all know not to take anything too seriously.

All in all, I'd have to say that my first CT cat rescue under the Kitten Associates moniker was about as bad as it could be. I have to think that in trying to make sense of this, I had to save Doodle, so I can help him be a good kitty-citizen, learn to be gentle and give him all the tools to have every chance at being healthy and living a good life.

For the record, if there is one someone's keeping out there, I will never put Doodle down.

If he IS Feline Leukemia positive, then I will search the Earth until I find someone who will adopt him.

Please help us purchase a cat tree for Doodle and be able to continue to re-test him for Feline Leukemia for the next few months! You can use the ChipIn widget below or you can also mail a check to: Kitten Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354. Put “Doodle” on the check so we know where the funds should be spent. Your donation IS tax deductible. Thank you!

©2011 Robin A. F. Olson. DoodleBug: Thief of Hearts.

A Christmas Wish for Shelter Cats

Life behind bars for any shelter cat is usually flat out, miserable. The poor creatures just sit there and wait around, bored, angry, frustrated. Some cats are VERY lucky, their shelter has mandatory enrichment programs for their cats. Studies show that cats who are active in a cage are much more likely to be adopted than cats who sit there glumly passing time.

Enrichment for cats can also help de-stress the animal, keeping it healthy longer. This is a very important thing to keep in mind. If less cats get sick, fewer of them are euthanized. It doesn't take much to make their lives better, but with budgets cut, donations dwindling, how can any shelter afford the "luxury" of enrichment for the cats when they can't afford food or litter?

I'm NOT interested in promoting products on my Blog unless I LOVE them, feel the company is ethical and that me telling you about it would benefit you and your cats or cats in need of help. Today I'm going to talk about such a product. It's called a “Stretch and Scratch.


I first became aware of these miniature cat scratchers at the Cat Writers' Conference a few weeks ago. In my swag bag was a tiny scratcher. At first I couldn't fathom it's use. It's too tiny for any of my adult cats, but then I noticed that the scratcher has twist ties threaded through the back. YES! To HANG them on the inside of a cage!

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Everything made sense. I could use these during times when I have to separate kittens from their mama by caging them and I could use them in the cages when I bring my foster cats to adoption events! They're nice and sturdy and within a second of unpacking the scratcher at home, Blitzen was using it!

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen diggin' the scratcher.

But what about the kitties at all those shelters who can't afford much of anything? I thought about my friends at Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. I thought about all those cats, just sitting in cages hoping for a miracle that all too often does not come.

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©2010 Henry County Care & Control. LOVE the scratcher! Adopt me!

I contacted Joan, Owner and Creator, Designer of Scratch and Stretch and ordered a case of scratchers to be shipped to Henry County as a surprise. I wasn't going to tell you about it. I didn't want to make a big “to do” about what a nice person I am and all that mularky, but this morning I got two thank you emails, one from Gerri Yoder, the Director of HCCAC and one from our friend, Betsy, who helps get the word out on the cats in need at HCCAC. They BOTH sent me photos of their cats using the scratchers and I realized that sharing these photos might inspire you to buy some, too.

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. I LOVE MY SCRATCHER! Oh and Adopt me!

Apparently, they're a BIG HIT with the kitties.

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. Adopt us or rescue us!

I know it doesn't help them get OUT of HCCAC, but, at least it provides the cats with some joy and a way to de-stress. I think it helps the staff, too, seeing the cats playing and having fun.

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. Mmmmeow..scratching fun!

What I'd like YOU to do is to consider buying some scratchers for YOUR LOCAL SHELTER. Joan tells me that they can still ship to arrive BEFORE CHRISTMAS! You don't have to spend oodles of money. Maybe you can ask a few friends to come together and pitch in a few dollars so you can send a 1/2 case or a case! Joan also coordinates a team of folks who make cat beds for shelters, called Kennel Comforters and she does it purely out of love and a desire to help cats in shelters. They are always in need of donations of FABRIC so if you have some fabric to share, just contact her here.

Prices are: $45 for 1/2 case of 25 scratchers and $75 for 1 case of 50 scratchers. Shipping is extra, but I'm told that Joan cuts the shipping way down so you really get a bargain with the shipping-they actually pay some of it. Joan is not out to be a millionaire, she just wants shelter cats to be happy and this is part of her way to make that happen.

I would also like to know about any of you buying scratchers for shelters. All folks who make a purchase will be listed here on a big THANK YOU roster in January! Please be sure to let me know which shelter you bought scratchers for when you write to tell me about you being a GREAT person. Hee hee! Just email me at: info AT


Animals in Distress-in More Ways Than One.

I visited with Carole and Connie last night at Animals in Distress, a small, local no-kill cat shelter. They have 3 rooms that are open so the cats there can freely walk around. There are cat trees aplenty and big windows to look out of. There are cages for the newcomers and for poor Gizmo, a big red tabby sweetheart. He has to be locked up at night-for his own safety. Poor Gizmo gets picked on by another cat and the staff make sure he is safe by keeping him in a very large cage overnight. This kitty is a big love monster with a sweet temperament. He wouldn't hurt a fly. He's on his own, now that his brother got adopted. This boy needs a good home, where he doesn't have to worry about being attacked.


Here's Gizmo's Petfinder Page

One of the cats at A.I.D. will not be getting adopted. Her name is Samantha, a big white kitty with tabby patches on her back and face. She sits serenely in a cat bed overlooking the room. She has a brain tumor and has to be medicated every other day. Her life may not be long, but she is not considered adoptable and the staff love her too much to let her go.

There are other kitties there who are too feral or too old to be placed in a home. They're the lucky ones. No harm will come to them. They are safe for as long as they live. I met other cats like Blondie and Norman and Norman's best buddy, Gatsby. You can see them all HERE.

But there was one cat who stole my heart. His name? Marshmellow.

©2010 Robin AF Olson. How cute is this tuxy boy?!

Marshy is a love bug, too. He loves to be HELD. He has a soft purr. His green eyes are stunning. His silly markings make you smile. I held him for a long time, even though his claws were, a bit long and the fabric of my shirt was a bit too thin. He likes to just sit quietly and hang out with the other cats. He doesn't seem to be a trouble maker, but has an impish quality about him. I am completely smitten with him.

Marshmellow has been waiting for a home for two months. I would so love to bring him home with me!

If you love this big, sweet boy, too, here's his Petfinder Page so you can read more about him.

It was getting late, almost 9pm. Carole and Connie have generously offered to help me with some “things” I will tell you about soon. In return, I will be helping them with a few “things” as well. It's curious. I just met Connie after she contacted me when she read the article about Chester being found. She was very kind and gracious to me and was so happy that Chester was safe and sound. We began chatting once in awhile. Connie asked me if I could help A.I.D. get the word out about their cats needing homes. They're facing very tough times and have had no adopters for awhile now.

Two shelters have moved in to the area. While that is good for the animals, it's bad for this little rescue. They have gotten lost in the shuffle. Volunteers are hard to come by and so are donations. They've been around since 1960-a rare thing in these hard times. They're not sure how much longer they can go on without more help. I promised I would lend a hand, as I can.

We fed the cats, each one getting their own bowl of food. Carole knew just what each cat liked and made sure they got what they wanted. After cleaning up and turning off the lights, it was our time to get going. I said goodnight to the kitties and walked out the front door. There was a loud humming sound coming from an air conditioning unit, but I thought I heard something else.

A cat was crying in the darkness. At first I wasn't sure, but then, yes, it was a cat, indeed. I said something to Connie and Carole, who were busy talking. They stopped, listened, then I saw the cat in the shadow of the Police Department building that was about 20 feet away. Connie let out a shriek and Carole ran to her car, grabbed a can of food and chased after the cat.

Connie was visibly upset. She asked me if the cat was gray and I said yes! She told me that the cat was theirs and his name was Gray. He had gone missing a few weeks ago! He normally NEVER meowed and they had not seen him since the night he escaped! Connie told Carole about Chester. She remarked that Connie should bring me down to the shelter so I could find Gray, too. Guess that worked out well!

Gray, just moments after being rescued.

Carole disappeared for a few minutes while we waited and hoped she would find the cat. I was told he was very friendly, so that was a good sign. Carole came running back, yelling to us to get the building open so she could get more food and a cat carrier! What cat would just go back into a cat carrier after being gone for weeks?

We rushed into the building. Carole grabbed what she needed and ran off. We followed her, but not too closely as we were worried we would scare Gray away. We could hear Carole calling to him. Meanwhile I saw a movement in the parking lot not far from us. It was a big skunk, headed our way. I motioned to Connie. Her eyes grew wide as she realized what was going on. If we made a run for it we might scare off the cat, but if we didn't run, the skunk might get scared and blast us!

Suddenly, it took a sharp turn and went another direction just as we heard the door of a cat carrier slam shut. Gray began vocalizing LOUDLY as Carole came out from behind a building, carrying him in a half run.

Gray gets brushed and fussed over, which he enjoyed between taking bites of food.

Gray's brother sat in the window at the shelter. The screen was open. He could hear his brother yeowl. We couldn't get Gray into the building fast enough. Carole feared he was COVERED with ticks. She wrapped him in a towel and brought him into the kitchen. Connie jumped in and began to pick tiny burrs off his coat. Carole checked him for fleas while they both continued to pick and brush his coat. He was in good shape, other than being far too thin. No sign of ticks or fleas! He nibbled at some kibble and enjoyed all the attention. At one point he laid down on his side and allowed belly rubs. This boy was home and he knew it.

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Gray says hello to Marshmellow.

Once Gray was settled in his cage with lots of food and water, we, once again, turned off the lights to let the cats rest until morning. There was a bright yellow sign that said "LOST CAT" with a description and the shelter's number on it. It was hanging on a cork board near the front door. I told Carole she needed to scratch out the word “LOST” and write, “Found.” Tired as she was, she grabbed a pen and edited the poster, a smile forming on her lips.

This kitty is safe once again and in a place where he will be loved and cared for until his new family finds him. Not so different a journey than our dear friend, Chester made, who disappeared on the exact same date as Gray did so many weeks before.

An Open Letter To My Cats...

To My Cats:

Every day I make sure you get wholesome food to eat, a clean place to “do your business,” fresh water, open windows to watch the birdies from, sunny places to sleep and more beds than any human in this house has.

I ask for little in return; that you get along with each other, you find fulfillment and happiness here, that you show me a moment or two of affection from time to time.


What I really don't care for is when you lose control of your mind and decide to use my feet for traction in your attempt to escape each other's wrath.

Really. Do you need to aim for my feet when there's another 2599 sq ft (pardon the pun) of space to freak out in? Can't you just AVOID ME, ME, your dear “Mother,” when your claws are out?


You know I could do something about those claws. I could. But I'm a nice person, so instead of taking your claws, this afternoon while you're passed out asleep, under my desk, I'm going to get an air horn and “accidently” fire it off.


But first, let me put on my shoes.

File Under: “My Cat is Insane”

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Spencer flailing around in the hopes that the string toy will accidently fall into his waiting arms. Getting up to chase after it seems like just too much work.

Back From the Vet. Stupid Pet Owner or RINGWORM?!

Sam and I have a running joke. Often, we'll be watching mind-numbing tv shows about "real" life murder mysteries. Nine times out of ten, the narrator says; "We'll never really know for sure..." This is after we spent an HOUR of our time watching and wondering how the story will end. To hear it's "we'll never really know" not only defeats the entire purpose of watching the show in the first place, it also pisses me off good!

If I'm going to waste my time in front of the TV, I need RESOLUTION (pardon the pun).

So my dear Spencer and I went to visit Dr. Larry. I was fully prepared for him to give me shit about ripping out my own cat's fur, that I'm a stupid pet owner and it's nothing to worry about-other than being stupid makes me worry. I just wasn't careful enough removing Spencer's mats and "baldness happens."

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Dr Larry didn't let me down. After a few minutes pretending he was calling the "authorities" to report me for abusing my cat, he sat down to take a good look.

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The two, nearly symmetrical bald patches don't have any crusting or oozing. They're both about 2 x 3 inches. The skin is pink. Spencer doesn't seem to be itchy. Dr. Larry turned off the lights. We weren't alone so there was no hope for a makeout session. Dang! Oh, he was just using the Wood's Lamp to check for...oh shit...RINGWORM!

The smile on my face weakened into a razor straight line. I kept thinking; Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! NOT RINGWORM!!!!!!

I looked while Dr. Larry was talking. He saw some slightly reflective scaly areas that were tiny. One of the bald spots had a slight pale white edge to it.

Well? Was it RINGWORM?

"We can't really be sure right now."

SHIT! It's like watching 48 Hrs! Change the channel! Change the channel!

With no better programming available, I was stuck in an answerless void. Dr. Larry removed a few of Spencer's hairs and placed them into a vial with some goop in it (that is a technical term; goop). The test for ringworm takes 2-3 WEEKS. Meanwhile, there is nothing else to be done. We decided to run a full blood panel to rule out hypothyroid (even if it's rare in most cats, I've already had one cat who had it and Dr. Larry knows my cats get weird stuff-it's almost a rule). Plus, Spencer is due for a dental in January AND we can also check his BUN because now that we know he's a purebred Weegie (well, sort of), we're going to watchout for polycystic kidney disease, too. See? I'm smart! I know stuff! I spent $220 on the Vet visit. Wait? Is that smart? Not so sure.

Spencer did not care to have his blood drawn, as usual, but this time Super Deb showed me she still had all her fingers attached to her hand, after the blood draw was finished. The only injury was to the towel they restrained Spencer with. It had to be put down due to it being ripped to shreds.

So am I a stupid pet owner?

We'll never really know for sure...

Foster Cat Journal: Queen of the Lap Cats

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It's official. Huggy Bear would rather sit on my lap and purr than do anything else. Tonight I sat on the floor with a towel on my lap. Huggy saw me, walked over, climbed in my lap and started to "Make Muffins" on my leg. She got settled down and made some more muffins, then out came a nice, sweet purr. She seemed blissfully unaware of her children who were scratching the crap out of my ankles, I mean, playing.

Looks like I need to find a home for Huggy with someone who LOVES having a lap cat because it didn't matter if I moved or even lifted her up to put a cat bed on my lap, Huggy wanted nothing else but to rest and reach out her paw to touch my hand.

Do I question whether or not I should have saved her from Death Row?

Are you f-ing kidding me? You're kidding, right? Huggy Bear is the Queen of the Lap Cats and whoever adopts her is going to be a VERY lucky person!!

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