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The Goodbye Girls

I don't want to go upstairs into the foster room. I dread opening the door and seeing only two kittens in the room when just an hour ago there were four...just two days ago there were six. This is what I've been waiting for-for the babies to be adopted, but this is the tough part of running a cat rescue; letting go.

Periwinkle & BlueBelle are adopted.

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©2011 Maria S. Little Blue, Rescued!

Periwinkle and BlueBelle got under my skin in a big way. First, I'm a sucker for a fluffy cat; the fluffier, the better. Second, look at their EYES! The color of a new penny, copper, but just around the pupil is a tiny thread of lime. It's amazing. I've never seen eyes this color. I believe it's because the cats were born under a tree and the colors of the earth seeped into their bodies just after they were born. Those eyes put me in a trance.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Lovelier with each passing day, Blue.

They're both incredibly sweet. Blue reaches up to me on her hind legs. She wants to be held. She wants to lay on me and purr her musical purr. It's not a solid purr, rather it's got many off-key tones to it. It reminds me of Bob.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Those eyes!

They're so soft and velvety. It's that diet. Kill the grain and the coat goes insane. It's so soft it doesn't even feel like fur. As Blue lays against my cheek I can smell her. It's a slightly sweet smell. I like the feeling of her fur as it brushes against my nose.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue and Blaze.

More than anything, these two want to be loved and give love and they don't fear what's around the corner. Periwinkle dashed out of the foster room this afternoon and met Nicky and Gracie who were napping on the bed. Peri just purred and went over to each one and say hello. No one hissed. Peri went over to Gracie and sat next to her. Peri could be Gracie's daughter. Damn. It just made me want to keep her all the more.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Yes, Blue likes Harry Potter.

Why can't these cats be bad tempered? Why can't they bite me or hiss? Why do they have to be so pretty and affectionate? And of course, they love me so how do I give them up?

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue and Peri not long before their new family came to adopt them.

I did it for the children. The two girls who have dreamed of Peri and Blue since they met them at my last adoption event. The 12 year old, older sister, did a drawing for me of Peri and Blue. It shows her 9 year old sister dancing in a spotlight, as a ballerina, with BlueBelle at her feet. Off to the side, behind the curtain on the stage, is a self portrait with Peri sitting on a chair holding a sign in her paws that reads, "10." Peri is scoring the performance and felt it was top notch. I thought the drawing was, too.

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©2011 Nunes-Ranchy.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Baby Peri.

Stacey, the girl's mother, told me they were singing a song about Kitten Associates that they made up. When the girls met the kittens, they were enchanted. Peri and Blue would be the first cats they ever had. I couldn't help but think how lucky they were to start their love of cats by having two such great companions and how lucky the kittens were to have two doting young ladies be their new best friends.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. What an amazing transformation!

I thought back about my first cat, a kitten named Sarafina. She was pure white and had blue eyes. We moved out of state shortly after we got her and she was boarded at a Vet until we got unpacked from our move. Something happened to her and I was told she died. She never grew out of kittenshood and I never found out if that was really what happened to her. I was only 5 years old, yet it still haunts me that I never got to grow up with her.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Who wouldn't love that face?

I can come up with all the reasons in the world why this is a good adoption, a good family who really cares about their cats. I know this is the right thing for the kittens, but I lost a little bit of my heart to them and I will certainly never forget them.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

I have to focus on Truffles and Blaze. They need homes, too, and I need to make room. The Angel Babies will be here on Saturday. Four more kittens to fall in love with...four more kittens to find homes for. The familiar cycle begins again. My heart is heavy, but I know they'll help soften the edge of my sadness.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Peek-a-Boo! I see you!

To Blue and Peri, may you live a long life, full of love and joy, with a family who is devoted to your care and well being. I hope the sadness and confusion you feel today will fade into simple joy, looking out a new window onto a fresh, new world.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. I love her peach colored toe.

You survived a very long journey and met a lot of wonderful people whose love sustained you. You're ready to be with a family you can call your own. It's time. Farewell my sweeties.

Not on My Watch: A Broken Leg, but Not a Broken Spirit

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©2010 Henry Co. Care & Control. Little Maria last week after we rescued her off death row.

Imagine you're a little kitten. Life has not been easy for you. Yet, somehow your good nature and willingness to love unlocks good favor-the kind most creatures in your condition never get to know.

Imagine you broke your leg, near the hip socket. How painful that must have been. It would have been nice if someone had helped you, but they did not. Did you become aggressive and angry, when you were forced to limp, every step filled with pain? No. You did not. You purred. You wanted to be held and stroked and told it was going to be all right very soon.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Little Maria in foster care.

But no one did that for you for a long time. No one helped you for a month, so being a kitten your leg began to mend itself, but not correctly. Part of your femur overlapped another part by an inch. The leg began to fuse, but you are still growing. How would you get along like this? You didn't know. You could walk okay, but not great. Mostly, you sat a lot. For awhile you sat in a cage and waited until some nice people helped you out. You thanked them by purring, your special purr and asking for some love.

They took you to many doctors and x-rayed your leg. They asked many questions-how could a 2.82 pound kitten be in such trouble? Then, one Doctor realized you were not a tiny kitten, but just very very very thin. They saw your teeth. It told them another story about you. That you are four months old, not 9 weeks. That no one fed you on top of ignoring your broken leg. Did you get mad? No. You just purred your purr and asked for more love, even if you didn't get any food to eat. That was okay by you, because you just want to be loved.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Little Maria smiles even though she must be in pain.

Because you're a very nice kitten, underweight and overflowing with love, because some people got together to care for you, they found a way to fix your leg, instead of cutting it off as many would do just to save a dollar. They found a way to fix your leg and they paid for some of it themselves because they care so much. They have $500.00 left to raise for your surgery, that's it. Not very much to help a nice kitten who deserves every nice thing we can do for her.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Little Maria sits awkwardly but is ready for some petting and snuggling.

So today we ask you, to ask your friends, to look in your pocket, to find a few dollars to give to Maria's Surgery Fund. Maria is a magnet for good fortune in that our dear friends, Mr. & Mrs. Warren & Terri Royal, who are VERY VERY GOOD FRIENDS to cats, have offered to MATCH any donation, up to $150.00, so for every dollar you donate, another will be added to the pot. The sooner we can raise the money, the sooner the surgery can be paid for.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. She's still far too thin for her age, but now that she's safe in foster care (and her foster mama, Maria LOVES HER very much!), she will begin to finally put on some weight. She will always be a small kitty, though..

Mr. Royal has also offered to donated 15% of the proceeds of any orders placed by readers of Covered in Cat Hair on either of his two web sites: or websites. When you make your purchase, in the COMMENTS AREA write "COVERED IN CAT HAIR" so they'll know your purchase is for Little Maria.

Thank you to Bobby, Maria, Connie, Carole and all the Vets who have shared the expertise with us and helped us to find a way to help Maria walk without pain and have a wonderful future-filled with purrs and love.

P.S. YOUR DONATION Via CHIPIN IS GOING TO ANIMALS IN DISTRESS, who will be taking Little Maria into their NEVER-KILL, NO-CAGE shelter here in Connecticut once Maria is well enough to travel. A.I.D IS A registered NON-PROFIT, 501(c)3 charitable organization.

Foster Cat Journal: When Busted Out is Taken Literally

Little Maria and Pauly are safely out of Henry County, in the loving care of Bobby, our devoted driver, babysitter, and photographer of all kitties we rescue from there. Though knowing they're off death row is one thing, but the kitties are never out of the woods until we get them to see the Vet and get the results of their Snap Test, which lets us know with some accuracy (depending on the age of the cat), if the cat is positive for Feline Leukemia or FIV.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Some of the friendly staff at East Lake, where we often take our shelter rescued kitties.

©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Little Maria waits for her exam.

I really hate waiting for results.

If a cat is positive for Feline Leukemia, which is easily transmitted between cats, then what do I do? Guidelines will say euthanize. I am terrified I will have to make that decision one day.

At least for Pauly and Little M., the results were negative. On to the next concern...what is wrong with Little M.'s rear end? Why does one bone in her right leg protrude out? What happened to this little baby?

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Dr. Segal with Little M..

After a few xray's it was pretty clear what was wrong. Little M. has a broken right rear leg. It's broken near the femoral head, which is basically the top end of the femur that usually fits into the hip socket. Little M., who we are told is only NINE WEEKS OLD, at 2.2 POUNDS, has been living with this broken leg for quite some time. There is evidence of the injury healing itself, but not healing correctly. Little M. can walk, but with a wobble. She does not seem to be in pain, but she will be as she ages, if nothing is done.

Dr. Segal gave us some options:

1. Do nothing but give her cage rest-meaning lock her up in a small crate so she can't move around much and let the break heal on its' own. The result will be that Little M. will have one leg a bit shorter than the other, will develop arthritis in her leg and perhaps never be able to jump.

2. Amputate the leg. It's less expensive then a surgical correction, but then she will have to hop around for the rest of her life. Sure she can manage, but the leg isn't useless, it's just broken.

3. Have a surgical consult done and find out if this leg can be repaired. There's a procedure called Femoral Head Ostectomy where the femoral head is removed, and the leg is re-set into the hip. It would mean a relatively normal life for Little M., IF that is the end result. Right now we don't know what, exactly, she needs, but we do know that the surgery has to happen soon since the break is already repairing itself incorrectly and she's just a baby and growing fast. We need to take action, but the surgery is going to cost a few thousand dollars AND we may need to have the surgery done in Georgia...after that is done, when can we hope to get Little M. to Connecticut?

And...Little M. is sick.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. One of the Vet Tech's checks out Little M.'s hips.

She has an upper respiratory infection and a temp of 104°F. We can't even think of doing any surgery to her until she is clear of the disease. With any luck she will be fine in a week, but she is young, sick and just came out of a shelter. We all know that URIs can last for months.

Even through all of this, Little M. purrs and is a sweet cat. She will even try to play. Her will to live is still strong. One day I hope we can look back on the challenges we're facing with this kitten and realize it all ended up well. I guess my gut will be in a knot until things get sorted out for her.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Pauly does a great job defying gravity.

Meanwhile, there's Pauly. At about 4 months old, he's a bundle of raw energy mixed with sugary sweetness. Pauly does not want to hold still for the camera, especially when he's being fussed with at the Vet. He is in good shape, but of course, has been exposed to Little M.'s URI, so we will see how big of a mess this turns into.

©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Pauly isn't so sure about it a treat or treatment?

Pauly finally burned himself out long enough for Bobby to get a photo of him. His white toe tips and tail tip is adorable! He's got very lovely tabby markings and beautiful eyes. All we have to do is get him neutered and he will be ready to go in no time! Connie said she felt he will do well here in CT-I agree 100%.

©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. At last, Pauly relaxes long enough to be photographed.

We're going to have to do a fundraiser to help cover Little M.'s expenses and to pay for transport (some day!) to come north. I'm getting the nagging feeling I may have to drive down there to get the cats. I can't imagine putting a cat who recently had surgery onto a big, loud, transport. If any of you are going to be traveling northward in about 3 weeks or so, let me know! Until then, we just have to hold tight and hope that Little M.'s fever comes down and Pauly doesn't get sick, too.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with Permission. Kitty artwork at a Vet's office is always a good sign.

You just never know what you're going to find out once you “bust” cats out of a shelter, but aside from any health issues, in time we'll find the same thing we always do—loving, lonely cats who deserve the best forever home possible.

Foster Cat Journal: Fare Thee Well

December 17, 2009. 7pm EST. A date and time I will never forget. It was the start of a three month long trial that shook my resolve to the core and left me questioning whether or not I could go on. It ripped my very long term relationship into shreds. It broke my heart. It left me crying and raging, all for a handful of homeless shelter cats.

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Donner, Prancer, Dancer and Blitzen the day they arrived.

The journey of Santa's Team is ending. No more medicating wriggling kittens 50 times a day. No more force feeding them or endless Vet runs. It's done now. We made it. We're all okay and little wards are leaving the “nest” just hours after Jennifer's two were adopted.

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Prancer & Dancer. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella (my nephew!)

Yesterday, a family from Newtown met Dancer and Prancer. Though we all wished the two girls could stay together, they could only take one. Prancer left with them in a brand new cat carrier, off to meet her new friend, Luna. She will be renamed, Bella. A nice match and a pretty name for a quirky kitten. I'm invited to stop over and visit “any time” and was promised lots of photos and updates. I think Prancer will be happy with her new family. I hope she's not missing us too much.

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Prancer. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

Donner was supposed to be adopted yesterday, too, but I put a stop to it. I've never had to tell someone to their face that I couldn't go on with an adoption and I feel terrible about it. I screened the young applicants as best I could. Some things didn't add up and I pressed them for more information. I found out they lied on their form and they declared it was not done to deceive, but an innocent mistake. The damage was done. I kept trying to make it work and I should have stopped the adoption the second I found out about the lie, but I wanted to give them a chance. In the end, I discovered some other things that weren't so hot and I realized I had to trust my instincts. It was not a stable placement for Donner. For now, she's staying with me until I can sort things out for her.

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Donner. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

It would be one thing I was selling a car, but this is a living creature who may live 20 or more years. As much as I didn't want to hurt someone's feelings, I'd rather have them hate me, than let Donner go somewhere that wasn't right for her.

Last night, another cat was adopted. It's Cupid's turn.


Mama. Cupid. ©2009 Photo by Henry County Care & Control

Cupid-what a journey you've made. From an emaciated Mama, on the verge of being euthanized to weighing more than twice what you did when you arrived, with a glossy, soft coat and life in your eyes. I did this. I fattened you up. I saved your life. This is one of the most meaningful things I have ever done. It really hurts to see you leave, but there's so much joy in my heart and so much relief. Cupid didn't have to die on a cold steel table in a heartless shelter. She is the living proof all the effort was worth it.

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Cupid, today-chubby and content. ©2010 Photo by Robin Olson

Now Cupid will get a break from her kittens-one that will last the rest of her life. She'll be the only cat in a well-to-do family's home. She'll have two doggie friends and a kind 9 year old boy and his toddler sister to play with. Their Au Pair from Uruguay can't wait for Cupid to arrive and has asked if Cupid can live in her room with her, until Cupid adjusts to her new home. She will make sure everyone is looked after and loved and Cupid will never have a worry again. Her new parents are going to feed her a raw diet!!! They also are spending the next few days shopping for her, so they've asked me to hold her until Friday, while they buy her cat trees and scratching posts, toys and get the raw food ready, too. I could not ask for more!

As much as I'd like her to go with one of her kittens, I see her frustration and anger towards them some times. I think she'll enjoy being pampered and I know, in time, any sadness she'll have will be replaced by the love of her new family.

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Cupid and Dancer kiss goodbye. ©2010 Photo by Robin Olson

That will leave, of the original nine cats, just three: Donner, Blitzen and Dancer. Since I first wrote this article, there's been an update. In a few hours, a family is coming to meet Dancer and Donner. They've wanted a cat for months and have been searching for the right fit. They're very excited to meet the girls and with no pets, other than fish, the girls will be spoiled rotten. Saying goodbye to Donner will be very very tough. She was my inspiration to rescue this cat-family. When I saw her little face, I knew I had to do something.


How do you say, No to those faces? Photo taken at Henry Co. Care & Control in GA.

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Donner & Blitzen today. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

There is one other bit of news. There's been a gesture made to me. A folded note, left upon my desk, with words that brought more tears. From Sam, to me...not a goodbye, but one last promise. That no matter what happens to us and whatever we choose to do next, he will love me forever-even if it means farewell and our paths go separate directions.

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My heart is not so cold that his words did not effect me. While there is no certainty of what tomorrow will bring, perhaps it's time to put our weapons down and remember what's important?

My lonely ring finger has its' old friend back. My lonely heart has a glimmer of hope and my lonely life isn't so lonely after all.

To my little foster babies. Good luck on your next adventure. May you live long and happy lives.

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