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Turning 50 & Life Turning Upside Down


I'm very sorry to not have been tending to my Blog over the last week and a half. Every day that passes that I don't write, bothers me a bit more.

Initially, my plans were to talk about the lovely birthday party-a SURPRISE party, that Sam held for me, now over a week ago. He really pulled the wool over my eyes. I had no idea until the very last second-when I hoped, against hope, that maybe even though he had a bad cold, even though he said there could be no birthday this year, even though most of my friends said they were busy that weekend, it would happen.

It was Connie's doing, too. She called me around noon on my birthday, to say her cat, Big O was very sick and could I come over and help her give him a bath? Oh yes and “Happy Birthday.” Big O was covered with poo! She sounded so sad, I realized it didn't matter if it was my birthday, so I got changed, grabbed some things to help with the bath and told Sam I was off. He knew I was hungry so he said he'd come with me and we could go eat afterwards.

Connie lives a mile away. As I started to pull up her driveway, I realized that Sam had asked me to “kill” a half hour before we went to lunch, then Connie called me, it was too much of a coincidence. Maybe something was going on at her house? Surely not. No. I was going to break up with Sam. I was really mad at him. He'd hardly talked to me for weeks. He didn't even notice when I got my hair done (like a porn star-that's what my stylist called it)-and it wasn't just because he didn't give me a birthday party. The near-silent treatment was killing me!

Then I noticed two cars in the driveway, but certainly it couldn't be cars I knew. It must be a...then I saw it...a “Happy 50th Birthday” banner over Connie's front door. There stood Marcia, Super-Deb and Connie, all waving and shouting Happy Birthday and here I am in a t-shirt with a glow-in-the-dark Cheshire Cat on it and crappy pants. Thank God I had a change of clothes with me! I looked over at Sam and was torn between slapping him and kissing him. I never had anyone throw me a surprise party in my life. It was really nice.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

No sooner than we walked in the door, I realized there was no sick cat, so I got changed, then we all left for lunch. As I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, I saw my dear nephew, Ryan and my sister, Anne! Another suprise, yay! This was going to be a nice day after all.

But then I walked into the dining room at the restaurant. There sat Mary. My other sister. I didn't see anyone else for a moment. My mouth fell open. Mary had LIED to me, first saying she was coming to take me to lunch and there was no way I'd be alone on my birthday, then she begged off saying her cat was sick not 6 hours later. She had been in Baltimore for a book show (Mary is a Writer and Graphic Designer)! Then I realized she must have driven up from there. What a shock!..and there sat her partner, Shelly...and my friends Irene and Jennifer I.! I love those babes! I was literally speechless and it took all my reserve not to burst into happy tears.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Nephew Ryan shoots the flames while his mom, Anne watches.

We ate at a Hibachi style restaurant and had TWO chefs taking turns either trying to set fire to the place or tossing food bits at our faces (since most of us couldn't hope to catch the food in our mouth). Everyone was happy and getting along well. I never wanted it to end. I had a nice lunch and lots of lovely gifts. I missed my Mother and Father so much, but they were there, too, in spirit (and later that day, I discovered my Mother had sent me a message, too. More on that, in another post).

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The cake on the left is what I ordered for myself, thinking there would be no celebration of any sort. I cut out the frown and turned it upside down later that day.


I have a lot to tell you about the cats-especially Bob. The short version is, to me, he seems to have turned a corner and is doing better. He seems to have gained weight. Tomorrow he gets Chemo #9. I'll find out if he gained any weight then. A surprise blessing is that some of his fur is growing back ever so slowly. It's just peach fuzz on his head, but I can see the subtle stripe of his tabby pattern in the fur.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and the gang on the electric blanket

I took him to a Dermatologist and she confirmed he as a terrible case of ringworm and that only he can really fend it off and with cancer and a bad immune system, the odds aren't great. We give him baths and add a special lotion afterwards. He's lost half of his coat, but I think, just maybe it's slowed down. He seems comfortable and he seems a lot more like his old self.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson.

The kittens are still struggling with URI's and this and that. Cara has grown some, but one of the kittens has been vomiting. I don't know if it's Cara. We're closer to the day we can call her healed, but we're not there yet. The kittens are as big as their Mom, now. I think Chester will be even bigger. He is the most darling cat in the world. He really is sweet.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara and Chester, bigger and better every day.

MacGruber is still here, too. Got a tiny dot of ringworm on his paw, so he seems to stay here another month and another month...he's a bit like gum stuck on the shoe...but very cute gum.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay. I'm suppose to adopt this cat out! Really?

I'm bringing Noelle to Connecticut next week, along with Amelia, another Henry Co. Cat we rescued last year. It's time for them to get their forever homes. I need to write more about that soon.


The main reason I need to write is I need to tell you what happened and why I haven't been able to write more than this post-we had a family tragedy and I'm struggling to cope with it.

A few days ago, Sam and I were to visit his Mother in Manhattan. We were going to have a belated birthday party for me and Sam's adult daughter, Kate, whose birthday is two days before mine. The day before we left, Sam told me his mother was having trouble walking. The pain from her hip, which she broke six years ago and has long since healed, was back. We worried that if she couldn't stand for a long period of time, that we needed to come up with ways for her to fix meals that didn't require much effort. The plan was to finally buy her a microwave whether she liked it or not. Get her some wholesome meals she could just pop into the microwave and eat without standing over a stove or getting up and down to check on a pot on a burner. We put a lot of time into planning how we'd manage to get all this stuff into her apartment, since we'd have to double park to get the car unloaded. Parking is a bear on the upper West side on a weekend.

We thought we had it all worked out. We got a bit of a late start, but we got everything done. Sam called his Mom to tell her we wold be there soon. She didn't sound right. She said she might need to go to the ER. Sam pressed her as to why. All she said was, “You'll find out when you get here.”

This was not something his Mother would say. She has always been the most polite and kind person I have ever known. She was raised in the south and that sweetness never faded away even though she's lived in Manhattan most of her life. What was going on?

Sam drove as fast as he could to NYC. We had an hour to go. I texted his daughter. She called her Grandmother and found out that she was asked to get there soon. Clearly something was terribly wrong. Had Sam's 82 year old mother re-broken her hip? Why didn't she call 9-1-1? Why was she waiting?

When we got to the apartment building, I got a txt. Kate was there. I said we would be right up. I stayed with the car, as Sam ran up to her apartment. A neighbor came out and signaled to me to follow him up the block to take his parking spot. As I was about to try to park the car, I saw Sam in my rearview mirror. I got out of the car. Something was wrong-really wrong.

“It's bad up there. It's a need to be calm about this, but get up there now. I'll park the car.”

“What happened?”

“She slit her wrists. Prepare yourself. She's alive, but it's a mess. Just get up there.

No one had called 9-1-1. I think everyone was in shock. As much as I wanted to help, I had a bad flashback and my heart started racing. Years ago, my Father took his own life. I didn't want to go through this again, but I went upstairs and walked into the apartment filled with dread and absolute fear.

Poor Kate was kneeling on the floor, next to the sofa. She wasn't saying a word. I could see Sam's Mother's white hair on the arm of the sofa. She must be laying down. I walked over to her and tried to be calm. It was very gorey, but she was conscious. I asked her what she did and she told me that the pain was so bad in her hip that she just couldn't take it any more. That she felt so bad she couldn't do anything any more and didn't want to get in the way. I asked to see her wrists. I saw that the blood was congealing. This was good, but she injured both wrists and up her arms. I talked to her for a few minutes. Everyone was calm, almost matter-of-fact. As if nothing terrible had happened at all. It was surreal.

I told her that we all loved her and it would be so terrible if she left us without letting us even say goodbye...that we didn't know she was hurting so much and that we wished she could have told us so we could help her.

Then I did something weird. I'd bought her a hyacinth. It was in bloom and so fragrant. I held it up to her nose and asked her to smell it. She smiled as she smelled the sweet flowers, even though her skin was as pale as a sheet and her robe was crimson. I reminded her that it was finally spring. That even on our worst day, another day will follow and maybe that day we will smell the sweetness of a flower or see the sunny sky and it will remind us to try to get to the next moment, and the next after that. To not give up.

I calmly told her she needed some help and that I was going to get that for her. She said it was ok, if I really thought she needed help I could do that (as if anyone could to STOP me from calling for help!!!) I left the room and called 9-1-1. In less than 5 minutes, 5 NYPD officers were at the door. A few minutes later, the EMS arrived. I had to stay away from them so I could completely fall apart and cry. I felt so bad for Sam and Kate and his Mom. I worried about Kate, who found her Grandmother just moments before we arrived. I was in a bad place, myself. I couldn't believe it. It was not about me, it was about his Mother and getting her help. I pulled myself together and did whatever I could to help until she was ready to be taken to the hospital.

It was about 10 hours before we could get his Mother admitted. We waited in one room after another. She barely was tended to at all. We had to fight and make a fuss for every little thing. No one was “supposed” to make a decision or do what was needed. I never so much “passing the buck” in my life.

She's stable now. She had to be admitted into the Psych ward, though she is the last person on this Earth I would ever think belongs there. I don't know for sure, but I think she just wanted the pain to stop so badly that maybe this was the only way anyone would really hear her? If that's the case there's a big disconnect that needs to be fixed. Between her Doctor putting her off for almost a week, to even our relationship with her. We all need to learn to stop being polite and start getting “real” with each other.

Since Sunday, my life, Sam's life and Kate's have been turned upside down. There is so much to do, so much to try to figure out. Will Sam's mom ever be able to live alone again? How can we get her help? Who can pay for these things? And who is going to clean up the apartment?

The last question, I answered. I cleaned it up. I didn't want Sam or Kate to have to do that. Even though I've known her for almost 20 years, I was still the person most removed from this situation, so I got to work. I just did what I needed to do. I started to clean away more than just the accident scene. I started to clean everything. I wanted to put life back into that apartment. I wanted the space to feel happy again. In a way, it was like cleaning my Mother's house after she died. It was so nice, freshly painted, re-carpeted, sparkling, even. It made me sad she never go to see it. I hope that Sam's Mother gets to see this. Her home, which was dark and sad, will be clean, fresh and even have lots of color and comfortable places to sit. Perhaps the gloom, washed away, will give his Mother something she's needed in addition to being free of pain, maybe it will give her some joy, some delight in her day to day life?

Perhaps this is the start of her new life? Perhaps it's a new start for all of us?

I don't have the answers. I can tell you I had a breakdown the night after I cleaned things up. I couldn't stop crying. Other than my little birthday lunch, it's been one bad thing after another for more than a year. Every time I feel down, I look to the positive. I get myself back up. You guys lift me back up, heck you catapult me back up! But with all of those blessings, that love and generous support, sadly there is a darkness that remains in my heart. The same thing that drove Sam's mother to do what she did, the same thing that drove my Father to do what he's there, waiting. I am terrified one day I will lose this battle to stay in the sunshine, but I am equally determined to not give up and to help Sam's mother do the same.

One of my friends said something to me once in jest; “Life. It's not for everyone.” He couldn't have been more right.

Not on My Watch: Buddy, the Definition of Devotion

When you open your heart, your home and your wallet to a friendly stray cat, you never know how it will go. Some times you get lucky. The cat doesn't need much, just their shots updated. A clean snap test. Deworming and maybe a flea treatment or two. But more often than not, the cats who've been subjected to neglect for all or most of their lives, have more complex issues to treat that require more of a financial investment and longer term care before they can be adopted out.

Last week, our friend Warren Royal, of Royal Bobbles, jumped at the chance to help a cat in need. You may have read about the rescue. If not, you can read the post HERE. Buddy was doing well, but Warren knew he had problem teeth. An older cat with FIV+ is going to have gum issues, which usually end up that some of the teeth need to be removed, as well. Warren stood by Buddy. Whatever he needed, Warren was determine to provide.

Prior to his dental, the Vet ran some blood work. This is common to do since it helps the Vet understand that there may be an underlying problem and that anesthesia could be too risky. She noted that Buddy's kidney function was going to make it difficult to do the dental, but that the teeth were so bad, they HAD to risk it. Needless to say, Warren had a very long, worry-filled day. Did he do the right thing? Would Buddy survive? Would he have been better off euthanizing this cat instead of putting him through all these procedures?

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©2011 Warren Royal. Buddy before his procedure.

Warren wrote to me with an update:

“Buddy had a tough day today, but he's resting well now. It turns out that
the teeth were worse than expected. His left and right canines were badly
damaged. There were horrible infections in both, a mass in one, and she had
to remove both of them. There was another tooth on the top that was "iffy"
but she felt that it could be saved so she left it there. She had to remove
a bit of the bone on the canines. Buddy will probably be in a fair amount of
pain after this. He's under some strong sedation (like morphine) and we'll
give him more as needed every 10-12 hours or so.

The poor little thing only has one bottom tooth left in the front, he
apparently lost some others earlier in his life. But he's got his molars
and they look pretty good. And they cleaned the rest of his teeth well so
that will help him a lot. They also gave him a microchip so that when he's
ready for a new home he will be all set.

The whole endeavor was complicated by the kidney tests. There is some
elevation of some of his levels, so they gave him plenty of fluids and kept
his blood pressure up during the surgery. They also didn't put him in all
the way under, to keep him safe during the anesthesia. But they thought he
was comfortable. They will do another blood panel in a few weeks and that
will give us a better indication of the long-term prognosis of his kidneys.

They think he's a bit older than before, after looking at the teeth. She
thinks he may be as old as 10-12.

The kind folks at the veterinary office fell in love with him. They said
that despite all the poking and prodding, he remained so sweet throughout.
He just let them do what they had to do and dealt with it the best he could.

They found roundworms, in addition to the tapeworms that we discovered
yesterday. He's been treated for both. He's on antibiotics, and is going
to get a lot of rest over the next couple of days. We've delayed his intake
at the humane society adoption center for a few days to let him recover a

We've done everything possible for him at this point, all we can do is to
let him rest and hope that he recovers well and feels better soon. And then
we'll take it from there.”


Clearly, doing rescue is stressful. It's not a fun roller coaster to ride. Though difficult, Warren was undeterred. Sure, he had troublesome thoughts, but we all do. Anyone who deals with a sick cat, their own or a rescue, worries; “Am I doing the right thing?” Sadly, you never know until it's all said and done and by then you can't go back and do it over again.

I believe you have to do the best you can with the information you have. If you have good intentions and have a clear mind, you shouldn't have to look back with regret. Buddy's is a painful journey but not without joy. Buddy is very comfortable and is eating and purring, just as he did before. He's a tough cookie and so is Warren. There's something fated about this relationship. For Buddy, perhaps he needed a Guardian Angel to look out for him on his journey to finding a permanent home and for Warren, each day that passes, helps him realize that all the effort, the ups and downs, to save Buddy was worth it and then some.

P.S. Buddy IS available for ADOPTION! Please contact Warren Royal, if you're interested to learn more about this sweet cat.

Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: For Bob

Tomorrow Bob has his 8th chemotherapy treatment and I'm scared. I'm scared to find out what Dr. I. has to say about Bob's current condition. I'm scared we may be running out of options, too, depending on what he says.

Bob looks like Hell. He has about 1/2 of his fur left. Every day a lot more falls away. I feel alarmed when I see how much more fur he's lost from day to doy. I've complained about it to both Vets and taken him to see Dr. Larry. No one can really say if this is ringworm gone wild or if the new chemo is causing it. At first we thought it was only ringwrom, but not it just doesn't look like it. I need someone to take a stand, not push it off onto another Vet and deal with this. I don't see lesions on Bob. I don't see the crusty look of ringworm. I just see smooth skin.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and Gracie share a place in the sun.

We've given Bob two baths with Malaseb, but it hasn't retarded the fur loss. I've given him conofite lotion, but that doesn't do anything, either. I really think, rare or not, this IS a reaction to the chemo and the oncologist needs to stop stepping back from it and either adjust the chemo or change it.

I know what you might be thinking. So what? Bog has no fur, but he's ALIVE. Yes, that's a great point, but WHY is the fur falling out? It's NOT SUPPOSED TO. Bob is COLD. He spends his day and night on our bed. We have a space heater and an electric blanket on 24/7 to keep him warm. He never used to even go upstairs, but he makes the journey in slow old-man steps. Somehow he can still jump on the bed. I want Bob to have his dignity. I want Bob to be warm! He was so beautiful. It kills me to see him like this.

Bob's appetite was poor last week. I gave him an appetite stimulant just for one day. A week later, Bob is still eating well. I feed him often, about 4-5 times a day. The lymphoma makes it tough to absorb nutrition, so I'm hoping Bob has not lost more weight. He hovers around 13 pounds, but he looks thinner to me. I'm scared to find out he's lost a lot of weight since he had chemo 3 weeks ago. It would be a sign that the chemo isn't working.

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©2011 Robin A.F Olson. The Orange Cat Club has it's daily meeting with Blitzen (front right) and Bob (left of Blitz), MacGruber (far left) and Nora (far right)

I'm trying to convince myself that if you ignored the fur loss and just looked at how Bob is living his life, you'd say he was doing all right, not great, but okay. Every time we go for the chemo, they ask us to rate Bob's health on a scale from 1-10. Usually we rate him around 8-9, but I asked Sam last night and he feels it's down to a 7, maybe 7.5. It's so tough to not judge Bob on how he looks when determining a rating.

Bob eats, he washes his face, he purrs, he goes to the litter pan by himself, he drinks water. He comes downstairs to eat breakfast and dinner, but he moves slowly. He seems to be more tired, but many of the cats spend the day in bed with him, so really maybe he's not doing that badly?

With all the challenges facing Bob, there is one positive change I've noticed. Blitzen has started to groom Bob's head from time to time. He will also sit near Bob, a bit protectively, perhaps. MacGruber, who was very bratty with Bob, has now backed off. Generally speaking, I think the cats are aware of Bob's illness and are giving him both space and respect and companionship. Bob didn't used to hang out with the others. Very often he kept to himself or napped with Nora. There's been a lot of chaos and fighting between the cats over the past few months, but it's quieted down. Maybe they've decided to get along for now? For Bob.

Not on My Watch: Won't You Be My Buddy?

This past January, terrible snowstorms ravaged the southern U.S. Many roads were impassible for at least a week, that was IF anyone could even leave their homes. Undoubtedly many feral and free roaming strays perished from not having shelter and without having access to feeding stations or a friendly handout. One of those cats had a different journey. This is his story:

The brown tabby cat sat huddled, chilled to the bone, inside a cardboard box. The towel that lined the bottom of the box was supposed to help keep him warm, but it was wet from falling snow the day before. He'd never known snow or such deeply penetrating cold. His paws were numb. His breath came out in misty puffs.

He shifted his weight to keep the blood flowing to his feet, but he was unable to get comfortable. He had to stay put or risk losing his territory to the other homeless cats in the neighborhood. At his age, the days were fast approaching where he'd no longer be able to protect his simple home. The many battle scars on his ragged ears were testament to his struggle to survive for as long as he had.

For the past year, he lived on the lawn of a church in Georgia. The church members provided this box for him, as well as food and water. The church members adopted him, in a way, and were all very affectionate towards this rough and tumble looking cat. It was more than most stray cats get, but it was lacking in some ways, too. The church folks felt he was fine as he was, but one of the members didn't agree. He noticed the cat shaking his head, digging at his ears, clearly in discomfort. His coat was in poor condition. He looked like he'd been in fights many times. He could tell this cat needed veterinary care.

He suggested taking the cat to the Vet. The parishioners did not agree and said “he loved it there” and he was “fine”. The cat had food and water and the love of the church. It was enough. They did not want him to intervene, so all he felt he could do was to go to the local home improvement store and buy a big plastic bin that could serve as a more weather resistant home for this lost creature.

That was until this past winter. Warren Royal, whose love and compassion for animals goes beyond simply providing a great home for his own cats. When he and his wife were approached by two stray kittens one night when they were eating at a local pizza shop, they couldn't ignore their plight and ended up not only rescuing these two cats, but have gone on to rescue many others over the years. They do TNR, Trap, Neuter, Return of feral cats. They donate money to cat rescue organizations. They volunteer and give back in any way they can. They are truly a cat's best friend.

Warren was troubled about this cat's future. He contacted me and told me this touching story. He knew if he didn't go against what the church members wanted, the cat might perish. He'd seen it one too many times before. That this cat even survived the past few months out of doors was a feat in and of itself. I made some suggestions and told Warren, I'd be there for him if he needed my help.

©2011 Warren Royal. Best food to trap a cat with: KFC!

A few days ago, Warren and his wife, Terri, rescued the cat. He named him Bruiser due to his rough appearance. They took Bruiser to the Vet and discovered he had already been neutered at some point in his 8 years of life. Most likely he was dumped for one reason or another. Bruiser was also FIV+, which was not really a surprise considering the battle scars he carried. FIV+ can be transmitted through deep, penetrating bite wounds. It was not a death sentence for Bruiser, but the Forsyth Humane Society, who did Bruiser's evaluation, said they could not accept him into their program. This left Warren with a difficult choice, but really, it was no choice. Warren was committed to caring for this cat, so he brought him home, hoping we'd be able to find Bruiser a permanent home one day soon.

©2011 Warren Royal. Bruiser, for now.

Bruiser had ear mites and a bad ear infection. His belly felt hard, but after an ultrasound they determined it was just gas, probably from eating garbage. Sure, he had worms and teeth in very poor condition. Warren didn't turn away. He just paid the bill. Next week Bruiser will get his dental, but for now he's on a good diet and no longer living in a box.

Bruiser lives in his OWN ROOM, away from Warren's other cats. This is a wise thing to do when bringing a new cat into your home-especially one that may have parasites yet to shed. Bruiser has his own, soft bed. Imagine how it feels on his paws. The room is not cold or drafty. His food is always available and out of the elements. And Bruiser, Warren discovered, could not keep his name. Even though he was rough on the exterior, this cat was the biggest love-muffin Warren has ever met.

©2011 Warren Royal. See how affectionate Buddy is with this video from Warren.

It was clear he needed another name, so Bruiser became, Buddy. That's all this cat wants to be. He wants to be your buddy. He wants to rub his head on you or get petted. He's so grateful to be out of that cardboard box and the freezing cold nights, that all he wants to do is spend his days purring and loving his new friends.

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©2011 Warren Royal. Just call him Mr Love Muffin.

Warren knows that he can't keep Buddy. If he does, he can't rescue other cats in need, so Warren is hoping to find a lasting home for this wreck of a cat. His outside may be busted up, but his inside is gleaming with pure affection.

Buddy still needs to have his dental done, but after that he will be ready for adoption. Buddy is an 8 yr old, neutered male tabby with FIV+. He loves people, but we're not sure about other pets just yet. He will be COMPLETELY vetted before he gets adopted. If you'd like to give Buddy a home, or have questions about this lovely cat, please contact Warren directly at:

If you live outside the state of Georgia, transportation can be arranged, so don't let that stop you.

If you know someone who might be interested in Buddy, please share this post with your friends and family! Thank you!

And Thank You, Warren and Terri for being completely awesome-for not giving up on an adult cat who lost his home. I'm proud of you!

Foster Cat Journal: See What Sticks

For the past three weeks, I've taken Polly, Chester and Cara to see Dr. Larry at least once, some times twice a week. The kittens are just NOT “getting over the hump.” They get mildly better for a day or two and seemingly overnight they get very sick. They also don't all have the same symptoms at the same time. I've learned not to freak out when I see Polly's eyes all watery again or Chester sneezing, but...what can be done for them?

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Larry

Last week, Dr. Larry and I had a long talk. He was very concerned that the kittens have FIP. For those of you not familiar with Feline Infectious Peritonitis, let's just say that it's a death knell for any cat who gets it. It's highly contagious, as well, which means I could have put ALL MY CATS, even Bob Dole, at risk for getting this incurable disease.

I did NOT want to think this is a possibility. I pushed back, saying the kittens were chronically ill, BUT they were thriving, in some way, too. They did PLAY, they ate well, they WERE gaining weight. Yes, they were sick with some sort of horrible URI that wasn't responding to MONTHS of medications, but could it be FIP? Oh no..PLEASE NOT THAT. Please don't make me have to EUTHANIZE MY FOSTER KITTENS!!! I could NOT IMAGINE A WORSE CHOICE TO HAVE TO MAKE. NOT MY LITTLE ONES. NO surely, not them. Granted my life sucks right now, but having to face this would put me over the edge and into a dangerous place.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly trying to rest, but too stuffed up to be comfortable.

That's why I couldn't write about it. I was too sick.

So we ran tests, even though Polly fussed and screamed, being the sickest, we decided to do the tests on her. We ran a PCR, which might tell us if she has Calicivirus, Herpes, etc. We ran a full blood panel, a stool sample, bartonella screening, re-snap tested her for FIV+/Feline leukemia. The tests cost $600.00 and many took the better part of a week to get results on.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly and Cara spoon on me.

While I waited for test results to come back, I spent time with the kittens, and their mom, Mazie, too. The kittens slept on me for hours. I didn't mind spending that time not working. My head was killing me. Having a headache for two months is not really fun. I loaded up on painkillers and we all took a nap. The kittens have grown fond of me, in their way. Once in awhile, I get a purr, especially out of Polly. Her coat is now like silk, from the grain-free food. I love to pet her while she snoozes. She sounds like a stuffed up duck when she breathes.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Tiny Cara passed out while Chester snoozes nearby.

Cara tugs at my heartstrings. At 16 weeks old, she is only barely 3 pounds. She has so much mucus in her, if she eats too fast, she regurgitates her food, then hysterically tries to eat it back up, only to pass it out again. I have to feed her very slowly and still she is anxious to gobble up whatever she can. She is so tiny, with such big owl-green-eyes, I can't help but want to do whatever I can to save her life.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie, Chester & Cara enjoy the sunshine.

The test results started to come in. Bartonella-negative, Bloodwork, ok, but showed she is anemic, just slightly. Stool sample showed positive for a type of coccidia I haven't heard of and I will have to report on exactly what this was later since it escapes me just now. The PCR was inconclusive-probably because Polly has had so many antibiotics. Dr. Larry feels they have a heck of a herpes virus infection...DUH! We knew that going in! Would he take FIP off the table now? He said, YES, maybe, but he also insisted we snap test Cara and Chester for FIV+/Feline Leukemia. So we did that. Negative/Negative. Thank GOD.

Dr. Larry called a vet he knows in Arizona who works with shelter cats. She said she's seen this before. She suggested we hit this and hit it hard and that would get rid of what ails these cats. The problem is, there goes another $400.00.

Here are the meds...I am deworming them with Panacur, it's gonna blow out whatever parasites they've got. They are getting shots of B12, Zithromax, Baytril, Terramycin for their eyes. Most of this will take two weeks of daily or twice daily application. If the kittens don't hate me now, they will soon. I'd rather they hate me than have FIP any day of the week.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The latest pile of medications.

The other problem, as usual, is funding. I've asked so much of everyone that I can't even bear to ask now, so I'll just post this ChipIn and if you can help the kittens, that would be very much appreciated. If you can't, no worries.

These kittens deserve a chance at a healthy, long life. If I can get them over this, then I can start the happier task of finally finding them good homes. For kittens who've been sick almost every day of their short lives, it really would be remarkable to see them healthy-at last.

And if this doesn't work...I'm just not sure where that path will take us next. I won't let them down. I just won't, no matter what.

Even if I find out their Mom has RINGWORM...yeah...surprise! She's got it.


Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: The Good, The Bad, The Fugly

I took photos in case no one would believe all the crap going on with Bob. My poor baby. I don't even want to write about it. It's enough already that Bob has FIV+, a URI, one or TWO kinds of cancer and now this...

We visited Dr. Larry and Super Deb today. I have to find out what is on Bob's head. Is it ringworm? Is it a fungal infection, but NOT ringworm? Of course it's #@#@!! ringworm, who am I kidding? How many times have I seen this in the past year? We did a DTM culture to see if it's positive, but since I know I have ringworm in the house, DUH, that's what Bob has. The culture can begin to show signs of being positive in a few days to a week, but we really don't know for TWO WEEKS.

Meanwhile, Itraconazole which is an anti-fungal, is really toxic so we can't give it to Bob. Okay, I won't give it to Bob and neither will Dr. Larry. We CAN treat it topically and I already started that, BUT the treatment duration is a month.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's head was shaved here and there to slow down the spread of #$@$!! ringworm.

We don't HAVE a month to do this treatment. Bob MUST get back to Chemo, but if we put him on another dose, the ringworm will spread like wildfire, then guess what? ALL of my cats could get it and Sam and I could get it, too. This really SUCKS and it's a very tough decision to make. We either have a cat who looks awful but is alive or a cat full of cancer and who's going to die very soon.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob won't pose for the camera and neither will Blitzen. Hmpf!

So we wait for Dr. Larry to talk to Dr. I and we see how it goes. Maybe we wait one week...get Bob loaded up with Conofite lotion and hopefully, at least have stopped it from spreading.

But wait...the title of this post says, “GOOD” in it!

According to Super Deb, the only way to tell if Bob gained weight is to weigh him on the SAME scale every time. That's why I can't be TOO excited that Bab's weight, at Dr. Larry's, was up 3 oz in one week from the weigh-in at Dr. I's office. He could actually weigh more, less or the same. We won't know for sure until Bob goes back for chemo. and is weighed at Dr. I's office. That said, Bob appears to be less shrunken in, less skeletal. He's certainly eating like a champ!

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor sweetie. Mama will make it better somehow.

The other news that truly IS good is that Bob's liver function blood test came back at 475. Normal is about 100, BUT...his last ALT was 1265 so this is a BIG improvement! It proves that the surgery to remove 1/2 of his liver WAS a good choice...yeah, 'cause the liver lobe that was removed was CANCEROUS, too.

But it doesn't end there. Of course there's the FUGLY: last night, I went out to buy..ha ha ha...MORE CAT FOOD. I met Jennifer and we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a chat and a snack. Okay, it was the only place near the pet store that wasn't awful. Anyway, we had a nice visit. Jennifer BLASTED off to get back home. I started my car. Started right up. Tried to turn the wheel. NO GO. You would have to be Hurcules to turn that steering wheel! Of COURSE my car is busted. Is it the Power Steering Pump? Fluid? A hose? I have to call AAA for a tow. It's 28°F outside. Nice. Why do I feel lke the car repair is going to cost exactly how much money we just raised towards Bob's Vet Bill? It never ends, I swear.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. By Bye Car! You're only 11 years old! Why did you break?

I guess the good thing is that I didn't get stuck tonight. We're supposed to get TWO FEET of SNOW and we already have more than that on the ground. I would have waited a week for a tow with that going on! My car is at the shop now. I guess I won't be seeing it any time soon since they're overrun with folks trying to get their cars fixed before the storm hits.

I'm not complaining, really. I'm just a bit amazed at how much crap has hit the fan. Hopefully it will be dealt with and we'll get through it okay-as long as the power stays on, I have cat food, and cookies (for me); we should get through this all right.[crossing fingers! anti-jinx]

But I did forget to buy marshmallows.

Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: Too Close for Comfort

I thought Wednesday was bad. Okay, and I was right, it was. Yesterday morning was worse, around 6AM, Petunia attacked Blitzen who was SLEEPING on the bed with us. She has gone berserk-a jealous rage about MacGruber being here. She's taking it out on Mac and Blitzen, but mostly Blitz. The poor cat walks around looking miserable. It's got to change. I want peace and quiet in the house for Bob's sake, as well as my own.

Since I was already up with my heart was beating out of my chest from being startled awake, I thought I'd go check on Bob. He was sitting in “his spot,” on a fleece cat bed that's covering a heated cat mat that's on three fluffy cat beds. A Princess & the Pea set up if ever there was.

Bob looked glum, but he got up and ate a little bit for me. He looked particularly dreadful, but I had to take Polly and her siblings back to visit Dr Larry. I need to update you on them and will do that soon.

Around 10am, I gave Bob his antibiotic and an antihistimine pill that's supposed to make him hungry. I syringe-fed him some water to wash it down. He gagged. I realized he had gagged right after he ate his breakfast, too. He didn't want a snack. He got up and seemed weak on his feet. He went over to the table and sat under it, to get away from me. My heart sank. Something was wrong.

While at the Vet, I almost had a nervous breakdown. I didn't even want to talk to them about Bob. I just wanted to get the kittens looked at and go home. Dr Larry pulled me aside and we talked...about Bob. He was very concerned that I've already tapped my limit to what I should spend on Bob's care, that I will lose my home, what happens if another cat gets sick, too? What then? I could only answer that I hoped it was a cat I didn't like too much, then started to cry.

Dr Larry kept saying what a great person I am and how I love Bob and give him the best, but there's a point where I have to stop from going broke. He figured I was long past that and I had to agree. Where we differ is where things end. Where do I stop tapping every resource I have? Plus, I don't care about what anyone thinks. I have to go to bed at night and be confident that I did what I felt was appropriate for Bob's quality of life, even if it means it's expensive.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob, a week ago.

I went home. Bob looked bad. I offered him some food. He turned away. Bob ALWAYS PURRS almost ALL the time. No purr. He was clearly depressed. He licked his mouth-nausea. He gagged a bit. He was supposed to be HUNGRY, feeling GOOD, not

I called Dr. I. and voiced my concerns. I didn't know what to expect and maybe I was just seeing something normal or was there a problem? He told me to bring Bob back to New York and he would do another ultrasound on Bob's abdomen. Perhaps he has cancer in his stomach or intestines. Time to take a look. He could give another kind of chemo today, too! What? That was not part of the plan yesterday! I told him I had to think about it. I couldn't do that to Bob-not another car ride. I couldn't do that to ME. Those tests were gonna COST.

I went online and looked up Elspar. Just about shit a brick. Over and over I saw “not recommended for cats with LIVER disease or who have had PANCREATITIS!” Bob HAD a horrendous pancreatitis flare up two years ago! Bob has 1/2 of a LIVER? WHO would give this stuff to BOB? It was probably making him SICK and possibly hurting him a lot worse than it was helping him.

So I called Dr. I again. I needed some explanation. I talked to the Vet Tech. She tried to gloss it over. I was not having it. She said to come up and they would run tests. I said how much will that cost? He should be on an IV, that means an overnight stay. There's a snowstorm coming. I would be trapped in New York or not able to go back and get Bob for who knows how long? How much is THAT going to cost? I asked if Dr. Larry could help Bob locally (and less expensively) and he's not open 24/7 so that would be a problem. I was truly panicking. Do I wait it out? Does Bob need to be at the Vet, on an IV NOW?

It's one thing when you have a cat with upper respiratory. The first few times it may be daunting, but after awhile you KNOW when the cat needs vet care and you KNOW when to let them ride it out. With this-who KNEW WHAT to do?! If I couldn't get Bob to eat, I'd have to force feed him. I could do that, but he was gagging and very uncomfortable. Even I thought he might need some fluids, at least. They said I could come to the clinic before 5pm or at 10:30AM on Friday they would have an appointment for Bob if I thought I could get him through the night.


I didn't know what to do. It was about 2pm-last time Bob ate (according to my notes-and yes I take notes about when Bob does just about everything) was at 7am. It was make or break. He had to eat.

I opened a can of Evo, Beef. Bob seems to have a craving for this for some reason. I put a tiny bit on a plate, warmed it and brought it over to him. I put some on my finger. He sniffed, but did not turn away, as I expected he would. His old man, softened pink tongue slipped out of his mouth a little way and licked at my finger. Then Bob sat up! I put the plate in front of him, being careful not to push to much to get him to eat. I didn't want him to run back under the table and hide. He began to eat! He stopped after a few bites and stood up. He's used to eating in "his place" by the kitchen so I walked him over to the spot and put the food back down. He kept eating. I could NOT believe my eyes.

He even did his "thing" in the litter pan, then I gave him a few chicken treats, which he ate right up. I didn't want him to get sick from eating too much and he seemed satisfied. He found his way into my office and headed to one of the beds under my desk. He sat right next to Petunia-who he hates and Spencer, who is his co-Boss-of-the-house.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob, with his buds. (I'm going to put a better cat bed in "his" spot today!)

I have a space heater running so it's nice and toasty and the area under the desk gets lots of sun, too. The cats settled down and Bob went back to resting. I didn't want to be too hopeful, but I knew I could hold off on taking him to ANY Vet for awhile.

The trend continued. Bob ate some dinner, not a lot, but some. The Vet called me from NY. They were wondering how Bob was doing and if I was coming in that afternoon. I told them no. I wanted to say, you're not getting any more money from me today, OK?!

Since there's a storm coming, Sam and I realized we HAD to run to the store and stock up on a few things or we'd be eating Bob's cat food, too. We were gone for an hour or so. When we got home, I unlocked the front door, but before I stepped inside, I thought about Bob. I thought that I could open the door and he could have passed away while we were gone. Then I chastised myself for thinking that, but I couldn't help it! I took a deep breath and opened the door.

There was Bob. Standing up, clearly waiting for us to come in the door. He was obviously HUNGRY again! I was overjoyed!

I couldn't wait to get the groceries put away so I could give Bob one of the treats I bought him. Bob LOVES raw chicken liver. Yes, RAW. He is a FREAK about it. So I cut up two big hunks of liver. The entire time Bob was getting under my feet, blocking my way, almost tripping me-as he USUALLY DOES when he WANTS FOOD. He can be SO ANNOYING and I JUST LOVED IT! This was a Bob I had not seen since before his surgery!

I put down the plate of liver. I had to give some to Blitzen, too. He shares Bob's passion for the stuff. Blitzen dug in, but Bob gave him a run for his money. Bob ate with gusto and cleaned his plate! Then he walked over to his heated "Princess" bed and relaxed. Whatever is in that pill was working wonders.

I can't adequately describe what a shocking difference in Bob I've seen. He's more social again, climbs the stairs, is starting to meow a bit, though it's more of an “air-meow.” He's a lot less fussy about his food, too. As for the effect those pills had on me...well, I feel like I can breathe again and my heart isn't racing.

Crossing Fingers, but...I think that maybe, just maybe I will be canceling that 10:30am vet appointment for tomorrow.



Baba-D is IN DA HOUSE!

Author's note: Bob has a few nicknames-one I use most often is: Baba-D. Some others are: Bobbee Tinkleberry, Mr. Bob and Robert J. Dole (only used if I'm yelling at him)


Barely 24 hours ago, I got a call from one of the Vets at VCA Cheshire. He said something I didn't expect to hear: “Bob's ready to go home. He's eating a bit and has perked up. If you can get here before, say 3pm, we won't charge you for an extra day.

All I could muster in reply was; “You're shitting me.


I was told that shortly after Sam and I left yesterday, Bob perked up. He ate a little bit, he sat up in his cage. Dr Weisman, who I LOVE, said she felt the pain meds were really taking a toll on Bob, so she eased off on them. Sure enough, the minute it started to wear off, our old Bob started to make a comeback.

Of course I had a Vet appointment for Polly, who is, getting SICK again. I had to postpone it to today. I basically had to postpone everything to get ready for Bob to arrive. Since Bob's belly is in a fragile state of repair, we have to give him either cage rest or put him in a small room with no furniture. Since we don't have a room like that, I set up a BIG dog crate, then went out and bought a dog pen to attach to the crate. It would give Bob some chance to walk around a bit. I didn't want to put it in a dark part of the house or off in a corner, so Bob's in the middle of the living room. I want him to have sunshine and to be part of our daily activity so he can feel like he's part of the gang again.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's new digs.

Sam and I got things set up and I realized I needed a few things so I left early to hit a pet store that was on the way to the hospital, which is a 45 minute drive from here. Of course, I took the wrong exit and the store is in the middle of Waterbury, where the roads are like a messy plate of spaghetti. I panicked and decided to skip the store and not risk getting lost. I did NOT want to be late. The Vet bill was over $3000.00 and I didn't want it to go any higher if I could help it.

I hit a grocery store and got a new litter pan and the litter my Vet wants to use. I bought a few groceries and ignored the bell ringer from Salvation Army. I wanted to go up to him and tell him how much money I give to animal charities and how I run my own. I ask myself why I feel so guilty about not putting money in his bin when I donate clothing and household goods to them every year. Maybe that's how they score? The guilt factor?

Guilty or not, I was racing to get to Bob on time. It was 2:30pm and there was some sort of nightmare traffic jam, from what, I could not figure out. So I crawled along, finally getting to the hospital in the nick of time. I grabbed my empty cat carrier, walked in the door and almost yelled, “Filler Up!”

Oh yes, but there is a matter of the rest of the payment to deal with first. They were very nice, very professional. They went over Bob's discharge information, which isn't really much, other than to watch Bob and check his incision. He doesn't need extra meds. He can go back on Denamarin and Dasquin and eat what he likes (so THEY say!). He is supposed to wear a “cone of shame”, e-collar but he hasn't picked at his belly at all so no go for now. He's been through enough.

I spoke with Dr. Weisman, who I LOVE (yes, i know I wrote that earlier and it's still true). She told me what to watch out for and to either call her or just email her to let me know how Bob is doing or just to say hello. You're KIDDING ME, right? Woah. I love her. She's not tossing me to the wind now that the surgery is over!

While we were talking, I realized someone was standing next to me. It was a tech holding BOB!!!! I grabbed his carrier and she placed him inside it. He looked perkier, even at a glance. I couldn't wait to get him HOME!

I got the bill settled. It was actually a bit less than the low end of the estimate. The amount still kills me and it will be a year before it's paid off, but I can get it done. It was time to head home with my BOB!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob, at home, at last. By the way, we moved his litter pan out of this crate, into the penned in area after this photo was taken so Bob has more space to relax and not smell his own fumes.

I wanted to let Bob out so he could walk around a bit, when we got home. I thought he might like to use his familiar litter pan, then I'd put him into his crate. Instead, Bob almost RAN around the house, then got away from us and RAN up TWO flights of STAIRS! Oh NO! he's gonna blow himself wide open! Thankfully we got him and put him into the crate. Sheesh!

We warmed up some raw food and offered it to him. He licked once or twice, then went to his heated bed and laid down. He was exhausted. I offered him some chicken treats, which he ate, but then turned away from me. He licked his paws and his face, a great sign. He got comfortable and went to sleep.

Sam and I sat in the living room, talking quietly. I sat facing Bob so I could keep an eye on him. He groomed himself some more, but stayed clear of his belly. He put his head down, then twisted it at a cute angle, as he so often does, and went to sleep. I was worried that he didn't eat, but hoped he'd eat a bit later.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob loves his blanket from Aunt Jennifer.

As the evening passed, I got into the penned in area and sat with Bob. I offered him dehydrated chicken and he ate every piece. He wouldn't eat any real food, but it was a start. We said good night and let him rest. I didn't sleep well. I worried about what I might find this morning. I got up at 6:15am and went downstairs to check on Bob.

I walked over to his crate and said, hello. He got right up and came over to me, purring loudly! I hustled into the kitchen and got him some grain-free canned food. I warmed it slightly and put dry chicken treat on top. He lapped at it hungrily! I was SO GLAD to see him eat! He didn't eat as much as I'd like to see, but he probably ate about 1/4 of a can of food, purring the whole time.

Of course, the problem with feeding Bob is ALL the other cats, including MacGruber, circled the pen and reached into it trying to get at Bob's food. I had to put Mac and Blitzen into the bathroom they were so bad! We've found Blitzen in Bob's pen a few times, now, so we can't leave food in there or Blitz will snarf it. Pig!

Of course, Bob doesn't seem to pay any heed to these interruptions. He just licks at his food and purrs, just as Bob did before, like any other day, but this isn't any other day. Bob just survived a very serious surgery and he's HOME. HE'S HOME! HE'S HOME!

An Update on My Dear Bob


Bob made it through the first night after the major surgery to remove the right lobe of his liver. It had a 5cm mass on it and it needed to go. Fortunately, Dr. Weisman was able to remove the entire mass, but because the rest of Bob's liver didn't look so great, she had to biopsy a small part of that, as well. She also biopsied some lymph nodes. The pathology will take FIVE DAYS. This means that with the holdiay upon us, I'm guessing I won't know a thing until next week. For now, the goal is to get Bob to perk up, start eating and use his litter pan.

This morning I was told that Bob was not eating. He's on pretty serious pain meds right now and between that and the operation, he must feel like Hell. I offered to come see him and try to get him to eat, since I know all his favorite treats. I figured, if nothing else, I had the dreaded dry food to give him if he wouldn't eat anything good.

I couldn't get up there fast enough, but I admit to being one of the many people who stayed up late the night before to (attempt to) see the Eclipse. It was too cloudy here and though I hoped the stupid clouds would move out of the stupid way, they did not. I watched some of the “show” online, but it felt phony and awful. I went to bed and got a few hours of sleep, but felt hungover when it was time to get up.

Sam wanted to see Bob, too, so we ditched whatever plans we had and grabbed some raw food and treats for Bob. We stopped at the store and I bought a small container of chicken liver. Gross, but yes, Bob LOVES it. I don't give him much of it, but I had to arm myself with everything I could, in case he would eat for me.

We got to VCA Cheshire in the early afternoon. They told us they weren't busy and to come over. Just as we got there a family got ahead of us. They were there to see their dog, so we had to sit and wait for them to stop visiting with the dog so we could see Bob. My blood started to boil. Why they couldn't put Bob in an exam room was beyond me.

The minutes ticked by. After 30 minutes I was about to spit fire. Then, out of nowhere, was Dr. Weisman. She came over and explained what was going on, that it was very busy in the back and that they were going to put us in a room with Bob. At last! As we stood up to walk to the room, I saw through a window in the door to the hall. A tech was holding BOB in her arms!!!!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh, Bob!

I asked for a towel for him so he wouldn't have to sit on the cold steel exam table and she brought out two. Bob seemed like Bob. He didn't look near death's door, but he wasn't very perky, either. We gave him pets and kisses. He started to purr faintly.

Bob has the best purr. I have an audio recording of it that I must figure out how to share one day.

Bob was clearly in pain. He didn't move much and his head was almost always down on his paws. He was wiped out. What did I have done to my boy?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Get some rest, my sweet boy.

We began putting different food combinations together. We brought out all his treats. He ate nothing. He was fine if I rubbed something against his mouth. He even licked at it a bit, but we thought he throat was hurting from being intubated, along with everything else. He wouldn't eat raw, or dried chicken treats or dried salmon treats. I opened the container of chicken livers. I had no way to chop them up so I washed my hands and just ripped up little bits. I put them right under his nose and he licked a few off my fingers. It wasn't much, but it was something. I tried over and over again, to encourage him to eat something more, but he refused.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. We will be strong for you, Bob and keep those prayers and good wishes comin'!

I didn't want to push him too hard, so I let it be. I washed his face and he purred for me. We pet him and talked to him, told him to get better. I wanted to see his belly, but I didn't want him to exert himself by having to stand up or roll over. I wanted to sit on the floor and hold Bob on my lap until he felt better again.

I ran into the Doctor again. We talked about Bob. She wasn't too worried about him not eating. He's on an IV, so that's good. Her concern is she wants to see Bob perk back up. Have some twinkle in his eyes again, then he can come home-even if he's not eating. That surprised me, but she knows best. Instead of coming home today, our next hope is that he will come home tomorrow NIGHT, at the earliest. She said if we had been through what he had, we would be in tremendous pain and not want to eat, either. On a good note, Bob DID use his litter pan and had a good pee. He wouldn't use their tiny pan, but when they gave him a big one, he went for it and made a big mess, splashing the litter all around! How unlike Bob to make a fussy mess! Maybe he still has some “Bob” left in him?

The tech came to get Bob and I gave him another kiss. She lifted him in her arms and that's when I saw it...his belly. My heart sank. I knew the incision was going to be long, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw. My Bob looked like franken-kitty!

I could only think about how badly that incision must HURT and on top of that, what's going on inside his body right now? My poor, sweet boy. I am so sorry I had this done to you, but I know it was your only chance of getting better. To know I made my cat suffer so much...well, it's a very uncomfortable feeling. If I think about it too long, I'll start to beat myself up. I made this choice for him-his one chance. Now he has to heal and show us he can make it and I will do everything I can to help him get there.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Franken-Bob. :-(

All I know is, Bob has survived the surgery, now he has to survive the recovery.

I love you, Bob. I hope you can come home, soon.

Sifting Through the Pieces

I'm trying not to think about Bob...24 hours a day. I'm trying to remember to not loose my footing, to stay calm, to try to breathe. I don't want to make a rash decision, but I also don't feel like I have a lot of time to think. With the Holiday crush upon me and with Polly and her family and MacGruber about to arrive, I need to get things ready, but all I want to do is lie down next to Bob and just be with him.

I know I can't take enough photos of him. I can't pet him enough times. I can't listen to his crazy purr long enough. I got up at 5am, went downstairs and just sat with him and petted him. I can't take one second for granted. I can't assume he will be here tomorrow. Sure, that's true for all of us, but when you KNOW the sand in the hour glass is running low, is there any way to prepare?

I've made a few more decisions. I took Bob to get a blood test to check to see if his blood will coagulate properly. If it does, then he is a better candidate for surgery. If it does not, then we'll stop here and just let Bob live out whatever days he has left. If he's OK to go ahead, then I'll meet with the surgeon. She is VERY well respected-certainly one of the best. I'll only have a consult with her, that's it. If she says we can go ahead, then I have to make a very difficult decision. Dr. Larry told me that if we did open Bob up and they find that he has cancer, to wake him up out of sedation is unkind. It would be asking so much of Bob-to have him wake up, then face painful recovery, only to die a few weeks or months later in even more pain from the cancer spreading.

“You have to prepare yourself now for being able to make that choice for Bob, if it comes to that.”

There goes my heart, breaking into little pieces. I can't put Bob through Hell, but there IS a chance it is benign, operable, can be removed and he can live for a few more YEARS. How can I not take that chance? My head feels like it's going to explode.

I ordered a new cat tree a few weeks ago-before all this mess with Bob. I bought it on a lark, thinking it would give another one of my cats a place to go if she got stressed out. The box just arrived a few days ago when I was hormonal (why do cat trees show up when I have PMS? If you want a laugh, read THIS and THIS). Sam and I weren't on great terms (still). Somehow we still managed to put the thing together without killing each other.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen, the parts inspector arrives.

In a way, it was nice to do something that got my mind off things. The simplicity of tightening down a bolt helped me stop obsessing. Seeing the parts scattered across the floor, while my cats excitedly inspected every piece made me break with tradition, as of late, and actually smile.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob helps with the inspection, but as usual, Nicky fails by smelling Bob's tail, instead of the parts of the cat tree.

Blitzen was fascinated. He sniffed and climbed on everything. Bob and Nicky joined in, but were soon bored and went back to taking a nap. Blitzen, began to scratch on the sisal posts just seconds after they were in place. Lock down a sleeping platform and he was on it having a field day.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob!

Blitz was certainly test-driving the cat tree and it was a good thing he did-he's about the ONLY cat that will actually FIT onto or into most of the damn thing!

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bratty boy “helps.” (we're still building the cat tree at this point)

It's small. This is not a cat tree for full grown cats, save for the main platform that's big enough for any cat to lie on, but the rest of it is tiny. One piece was so small we didn't even bother to attach it. Honestly, this will be GREAT for my foster kittens, but my guys will not be able to enjoy this very much.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson

Of course, tell that to Blitzen. He loved it. There was only one problem.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen gives this cat tree a 1-Belly Up!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bucket o' Blitz.

“Someone” is not big on sharing.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer was investigating the top of the cat tree when Blitzen reminding him whose cat tree it was.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Not sure which end of Spencer you're seeing in this photo.

I admit that Blitzen is good for cheering me up when I'm feeling down, but it makes me feel guilty, too. Blitz is, in some ways, much like Bob. Blitz has a crazy purr and it's obvious he shares a resemblance with Bob, though Blitz is very light in coloring. Blitzen is all things joyous and fun-full of promise and magic. He has decades ahead of him, most likely. His story is just beginning.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. King of the Cat Tree (for now)

Bob was like Blitzen once-a long time ago. I never knew Bob in his youth, only as an adult. I bet he was a handful when he was a baby. I find myself wishing that I COULD have been his “mama,” from day one. I could have prevented him from getting FIV+, he'd still have all his teeth and most likely, he never would have gotten a mass on his liver in the first place...but I can't get a “do over” to put Bob back together again. I don't have the right tools and I'm pretty sure the instructions are written in Chinese.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob, enjoying his heated cat bed.


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