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Foster Mom

Glimmers of Hope

I couldn't sleep last night; that's two nights in a row. How this happened is completely idiotic: I lost my health insurance so I couldn't go to the doctor to renew a prescription that's been keeping my old lady acne at bay. Since my face exploded with breakouts after my 'script ran out, I got some "gentle" acne face cleanser and a "gentle" spot on treatment at the local drug store. It ended up burning my skin and I accidently got some on my eyelids. The next morning after my "accident," my eyes were almost swollen shut. I tried to deal with it on my own, but it got worse, so I HAD to go to the Doctor, after all. Great.

She put me on steroids, a short course. Guess what? I can't sleep. Not even for a minute. So my eyes are puffy, my chin is burned and sleep is a memory. I was told to take Benedryl at night to counteract the effects of the steroids. It would make me sleepy. Sure it will. I'm not feeling very confident in pharmaceuticals right now, so I'm still not getting any sleep.

In the meantime, one of the side effects of the steroids is that I seem to be crying a lot, or, heck, it could just be because of all the sad things going on in my life, too. Whatever it is, gee, I'm not a lot of fun to be around right now. It's a good thing I went to Dottie's Diner today and got some “rescue” donuts: chocolate on top is best. I think it can cure whatever ails me (other than acne cream eyelid burns).

I can't stop thinking about Bob. How I tell myself that the rest of my journey with him will not be an easy one. How I know that with every cat I adopt, all that joy and love comes with a price, a sad ending, a final farewell. It's a heavy price to pay, but it's the love that keeps me going. For in that pain, is the reminder of the love, too. The heavy weight of sorrow, lightened by the joy of what once was and what will always be in my heart, no matter what.

As I tried to sleep last night, Spencer came over to me and laid down, as he so often does. His head tucked near my outstretched left arm and his back pressed firmly alongside my chest created a perfect cat-human “spoon.” I ran my right hand over his thick fluffy belly fur and he purred. Some of my tension washed away. I was transported to a safe place where I could take a moment to realize how lovely this connection was and how much it means to me. It is SO NOT just a human with a friendly “pet.” It is SO MUCH MORE.

I have to remember to enjoy what is here, right now and not get carried away on a river of fear about what is next.

It's been a similar journey for Maria and myself regarding our dear fosters, Polly, Cara, Chester and their mama, Mazie.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Mazie and Polly have a snuggle.

The good news is that all the cats are showing signs of improvement and are growing bigger and stronger every day. Though they are not at the weight they should be for their age, they're gaining-that's what counts.

There have been many ups and downs, though.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Mazie's eye-here we go again.

After being the first to “recover,” now Mazie's eye is infected. She's already been on new medication for a few days and I've heard she's doing better. She's been spayed successfully and the kittens are weaned. She's just about ready to come to Connecticut to join her forever family (I just know they're out there somewhere right now!).

I'll be caring for her initially. I want to make sure it's safe to separate her from her babies. I hate doing that a lot, but over the years, I've seen some mamas go after their kittens violently. Perhaps it's Nature's way of telling us it's time for them to move on? Whatever the case, I'll make certain the time is right, first.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Mazie, Cara and Polly have a snuggle while Chester keeps them company.

Polly's finally starting to have two open eyes, instead of one. Her coat condition is slowly improving. She looks remarkably like...a kitten. At last!

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Polly starting to look like a proper kitten-at last.

Cara is doing better, too. I don't want to breathe a sigh of relief or assume this is it and the babies are out of danger. They still need to make the long journey here and it's very likely they will have a relapse and it will be “Santa's Team”-the 4 month nightmare of sick kittens, all over again. For now, I will take joy in seeing their improvement. They aren't on the transport for about ten more days. Hopefully that's enough time to get them ready.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Cara.

Chester was the only kitten really spared from the worst of the URI/Herpes virus. His weight is good. His coat, fabulous, his temperament is marvelous. This cute little bug has stolen Maria's heart and it's easy to see why.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Chester plays with his tail and shows off his cute belly.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Could it be? Playing kittens? Great news!

The transport is going to be done by Izzy and Mark. Once again these generous folks are using part of their vacation time to include a pit stop in Georgia to pick up some kitties for me and, perhaps, another rescue group. It will be the only private, single car transport I could do without having to go there myself. I've been torn about putting the kittens on the transport, but their mama is ready to go and either I separate them now and get the kittens up here in another month, on a noisy dog transport or try to do a multi-leg transport which would also tax them, greatly. I believe this is my best option for them, but I am concerned about what will happen once they get here.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Polly's gotten bigger, but she still has a way to go before being 100%.

And truth be told, I'm a bit worried about how them being here will effect Bob's health. Will my cats get herpes? How will I handle Bob needing surgery with having the kittens here? If they get sick, too..oh boy. I've rolled the dice and been wrong before. I admit I'll be holding my breath on this one.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. “Are you my sister?.”

Some times I wish I had a crystal ball. I could gaze into it and see my future. I'd be able to make correct choices, instead of guesses, but if I knew what was coming, there might not even BE a correct choice to make, but a tough situation to learn how to cope with. We'll see how it goes.

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©Foster Mama, Maria. Mazie, Cara and Polly have a snuggle while Chester mugs for the camera.

In a way, it's good I had the trial by fire with “Santa's Team,” but in another way, maybe it would be better if I was still naive about all of this? If only I could turn back the clock...hit the “snooze” button on life for awhile. If only...

Furry Friday Cute Break


This is Polly's brother, Chester, relaxing and lookin' good! Chester was the only his litter who did not become seriously ill with upper respiratory infection. Luckily his case is mild-so far (knock wood!).

I think he wants you to rub his tummy.

Foster Cat Journal: Moonpie & Pattycake: Their Journey Ends.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Moonie and Patty at Maria's house just after they were rescued off death row.

They arrived in August from good old Georgia. Their mama, Tansy, was adopted right away. Now it was their turn to find a forever home. I had no idea the journey would last FOUR MONTHS.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonie (left) and Patty (right) as they are today.

I'm a stubborn old broad. I couldn't see separating Moonpie and his sister, Pattycake. They always seemed to be an unmatched pair. I knew it would cut down the number of potential adopters, but I had to do right by them. Even if I separated them briefly, they would cry. I just couldn't separate them.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Ringworm I know thee too well! Meh!

A few weeks after they arrived, I noticed a spot on Patty. Turns out it was ringworm rearing its ugly head. I had to lock the sad pair into my bathroom and try to keep it from spreading (which it ended up infecting Blitzen, Nicky and Nora about 6 weeks later...SO FAR!). This added another month to having to keep the cats here. They were already getting big-too big to be cutesy kittens so their chance at being adopted went a tick lower.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonie plays with his buddy, Blitzen.

Eventually they were cleared of ringworm and were allowed out of the tiny bathroom to mingle with my cats. They were too big to be in such a small room. They loved the freedom and Blitzen LOVED having friends that were close to his own age. It seemed to be ideal, but sadly one of my cats did not care for the intruders and began peeing all over the house. Many of the other cats began to do it, as well. It was a complete nightmare.

I did my best to reduce stress, give her attention, clean up the mess after mess...everything was being urinated on-even Blitzen peed on the sofa while I saw him do the deed. I had SSSCATS set up. I sanitize-wasehed everything I could. I only let Patty and Moonie out during the day and let them sleep in the bathroom at night, but nothing worked.

I got only TWO applications on the kitties. Each one was approved. Each family came over to see the cats, but it just wasn't right. They didn't want two cats. Moonie and Patty were almost nine pounds! They were bigger than Blitzen, who is a year old. Who would want such big cats?

I got another application last week. A family with THREE boys! The oldest is 11. They had no Vet reference because they have no pets. They wanted BIG cats that could handle the energy of young boys. I did a home visit and I'll just say the home should be called a MANSION it was so huge and very well kept. The family was very very nice AND they were completely willing to feed the cats their raw diet, keep them indoor-only and do whatever it took to keep them healthy. They're even going to use Dr. Larry as their Vet (who LOVES THESE CATS, by the way!). I couldn't have asked for more. The boys were very well behaved and very smart (of course, they chose my cats!). I liked them very much. I felt that Moonie and Patty could take whatever the kids dished out and, once they got used to their new home, would really enjoy running around the 5000 sq ft of space!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky, Moonie, Spencer and Patty enjoy bed time.

It's always tough to say good bye. It's harder the longer you foster a cat. Moonie and Patty really got under my skin. They had very curious quirks that I loved-including fetching, sleeping on my head and bringing cat toys to bed, then leaving them by my pillow. The one thing that blew me away was Patty. I caught her NURSING ON HERSELF!

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Patty getting her “freak” on.

She'd sit like a person, start to purr, then “make muffins” as she suckled at herself. YIKES! Have I seen it all? Sheesh-YES!

I knew the kitties needed to leave, for any chance of the peeing to stop. I grabbed Petunia, the offender, and put her into the guest room by herself. I thought that while the fosters were still here, she should be alone. The peeing stopped. Not one drop anywhere in the house. Unfortunately, Petunia continued to pee in the guest room and ruined two cat beds-no doubt because they smelled like other cats. Now she can sit on the bed, but it's covered with a plastic mattress cover. There is little left for her to ruin and I see she has begun to use the litter pan for peeing. It's not ideal, but having the peeing stop is heavenly. I hope that after the fosters leave, I can reintroduce Petunia into the household, but I fear that may never be possible. She is the “pariah cat.” She has very high anxiety about everything. I'm going to try homeopathy and I'm going to talk to some of my cat-writer-friends. Yes, even I get stuck and am not sure what to do next. Finding her a new home is probably not something I can do, so I need to work it out.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonpie featuring his very swanky pink toe!

Maybe I'm an awful person, but Moonie and Patty did so well here that I would have traded Petunia out and kept them. It's tough to love the kid who just is a pain in the neck and who ruins everything in the house. I was grateful a wonderful family stepped up so I didn't have to be tempted any longer. Last night Moonie and Patty went to their new home and we had a chance to get them settled. I didn't get much of a chance to kiss them goodbye, but all the kisses and photos I could take will never change that it's time for them to go. My heart aches and I'm sad, but I know I'll have more kitties to care for in a few weeks and I need a break.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. My shiny self with Patty. A hug good bye.

On Sunday, Sam and I were in a car accident. We were rear-ended by a glib jerkwad while we were stopped at a traffic light on our way to the book store. Sam is doing well, but I have a sprained back and neck-at least. I'm moving slower than usual and in a lot of pain. Having a few weeks off will give me a chance to begin to recover and prepare for the next arrivals.

Until then, my heart is full of memories of two very goofy kitties who I love dearly and hope that though their journey with me is over, that their next adventure brings them even more joy.

Foster Cat Journal: The Littlest Soldiers

A month ticked by since we rescued Polly, Cara, Chester and their Mom, Mazie. It's been a constant battle to keep them alive. To date there are been about ten Vet trips, one emergency run late at night. Of the four, Polly has suffered the most and is still struggling to recover fully from the dreaded herpes virus infection she got just days after she was rescued.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cara Melle wants to get better, NOW!

Her sister, Cara struggled as well, then started to improve, but now has an added complication of picking up another type of URI that's effecting her breathing. Maria, their foster mama, works so hard to get them to turn the corner; has taken time off from work, gotten her sister to come see the cats during the day so they're fed regularly, but more importantly, that someone is watching out for them.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Poor Cara, one thing after another sickens her over and over again.

Chester hasn't been hit too hard, knock wood. His mama, wasn't effected too badly, either, but she has a mature immune system. We expected she would pull through all right.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Red-rimmed eyes indicate that Chester is also feeling awful.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Chester (top), Cara (middle), Polly (bottom).

Each sunrise the kittens see is triumph. It means, they lived through one more day. Each meal is a few more calories to keep them alive and get them to grow stronger. Mazie watches over them, encouraging each one with a lick on the face or a comforting purr.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.Little Chester with his Mama, Mazie.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Only Mama can help make Chester feel better.

The difficulties in providing care for these kittens, is partially due to their inability to smell their food. First, it stopped them from nursing and caused Maria to take over syringe feeding them many times a day. Then, it was difficult to get them to lap food off a plate. They just didn't understand how to eat. I suggested Maria elevate their plate and that seemed to help, but before that was done, their bathroom home had to be scrubbed down many times a day.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Dinner time!

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Polly gets down and dirty with dinner.

Litter training was a tough road, too. If they can't smell, they can't know the smell of their mama's elimination. What then would help guide them to the litter pan?

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Polly is a mess in more ways than one.

And yes, Maria also has other foster cats to care for, plus her own kitties! How she's doing this without having a nervous breakdown, I don't know. She's a tough cookie, that's for certain.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. A yes...antiviral eyedrops. $90.00.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Mazie and Cara.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Mama Mazie.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Chester and Polly.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Chester looking much better!

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cara and Polly still struggle to get well.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.Cara relapses and goes back to the Vet.

Then there are the costs. One small vial of antivirals cost $90.00. I've lost count of the Vet visits and we don't get a discount. Fortunately the Vets try to be kind about charging us, but it adds up. We also had thought we were going to get some funds covered from an anonymous donor, but that has fallen through. We're going to have to open up our fundraising and ask for more funding. The costs for their care and future spay/neuter is going to break the bank.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. It wasn't bad enough that Polly's been sick for a month, but she was so filthy she had to have a bath. Some day she'll look like a normal kitten...we hope!

We're still waiting for the day when the kittens look like kittens, instead of sad little urchins. Where their joy is measured in how high they can jump after a toy or how long they can purr.

These little soldiers will march on and we will continue to be there to help them along the way.

They Stole More Than Just Cat Food

It's bad enough that Maria had a lousy day yesterday. A long day at work, followed by being caught in a downpour while waiting for the bus. Tired and wet as she was, she kept her commitment to cleaning out cat cages at Petsmart. It was a long day. She finally made her way home around 9pm.

I told her there was a shipment of cat food waiting for her by the garage. UPS verified the delivery. I was anxious for her to get the food since I knew she was running low and this food was for Polly and her family...who are STILL STRUGGLING to beat their URI!

As she walked down her driveway, she saw the shipment, but the box looked funny. Then she realized, it had been ripped open. Her heart sank.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

As she lifted the lid, her worst fears were realized.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

It was empty-save for the invoice from Pet Food Direct and the air filled plastic cushions to keep the cases of cat food from being damaged.

What sort of heartless moron would STEAL CAT FOOD...and from a CAT RESCUE GROUP??!!! Donations are tough enough to come by and now this?

Maria gave me a call. I missed picking up the phone. I heard her voicemail and she sounded terrible. I thought Polly was dead!!! When we were finally able to talk, she told me what happened. I was stunned that someone would stoop so low as to steal food. Could we have bought a big bag of dry food for a few dollars, instead of shipping cases of canned food? Well, no, we couldn't. We feed a grain-free, canned food diet, which has kept our foster kittens in much better health and at their fragile age is MUCH easier for them to digest and mix with the milk replacer they also eat. We may spend more on food, but in the long run we'll save more on Vet care since our babies will be in better health if we get them off on the “right paw” to begin with.

Maria actually filed a police report. This is the second time someone stole from her yard. The last time it was a nice cat carrier she had left outside to dry after she washed it out. A few hours later-it was gone. She originally thought it was a fluke, but now she realizes either the local kids are thieves or her neighbor who has many cats (and dogs) and no income, may have done the deed. She spoke to the woman who acted surprised that Maria would make a fuss over stolen cat food. I told Maria to check the woman's trash in a few days!There aren't many people that live in Maria's neighborhood to begin with..this is all so messed up.

The shipment cost $90.00 and I had to send out a second shipment last night to replace the one that was lost and it cost more money..the price went up. So there goes another $110.00. I called my credit card company and the purchase insurance does not cover food. I contact Pet Food Direct and they are talking to UPS, but the feeling is nothing can be done since the package was delivered. This may change, but it will be a week to ten days before I get an update.

In the meantime, our babies need to eat. If you'd like to help us recover our loss, we would dearly appreciate it. It really feels like those creeps stole more than just cat food—they stole our faith in humanity.

Maria got two hours of sleep last night. Cara, Polly's sister, is not doing well. Another kitten from another litter had a 104.6°F fever. Maria looked after them until early this morning. Now she's back at work, trying not to face-plant on her desk. I wish I could do more than just order cat food for her, but there are some things that can't be done from 1000 miles distance.

If you know Maria, do send her a note to tell her you're sending good thoughts, good wishes, support. Is this life or death? Heck no, but Maria is our friend, our super-foster mama. We need to rally around her so she can continue to care for quite a few ailing kittens. Maybe our goal is as simple as being a good neighbor—something that Maria does not seem to have.

Foster Cat Journal: A Precious Journey to a Safe Haven

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with permission. Precious gets a hug from one of the Vet Tech's at Eagle's Landing.

Precious went to the Vet. It's the first thing we do when they leave the Shelter. The big question: what was wrong with Precious and what needed to be done right now and what could wait until she arrives in Connecticut in a few short weeks.

©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with permission. Okay, I admit she looks a wee bit nutty here, but what a lovely coat she has! I like her golden toe (see right rear foot).

Precious weighs just 4.6 pounds. She's not an adult-barely grown. She's only 9-12 months old. A mere kitten. My foster cats are younger than she is and they weigh TWICE what she does.

She's a lovely blend of tabby and calico. Her coat has hints of Maine Coon. Her snap test results were negative for Feline Leukemia and FIV-I always am relieved when we get that result. She had a flea or two, no surprise. She is not in obvious pain, but her lower jaw is broken and one of her canine teeth hits her gum. If left untreated she would adjust and just have a crooked smile, but you KNOW we will not leave her to suffer.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with permission. Inspecting her new room.

Her right front leg has feeling, is warm and has sensation! There is crackling in her shoulder. It is either a broken leg or a dislocation. She is comfortable and can get around with ease, so for now there is no treatment. It may seem cruel not to act right away, but we can move her much faster to the north, to her home, where we can have all the surgeries done that are required. She can recover from the stress of travel without the complication of recovering from surgery. We just know she would break with a URI if we did that.

She is not pregnant and, of course, this cat has probably NOT been spayed. Spaying will be done, as well, when the time comes. For now, she can eat as she pleases and get some rest.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with permission. The paperwork you can see on the bed is the release form from Henry Co. That little piece of paper gave this cat her freedom and her life back.

Bobby drove her to Corinne's. Our new foster Mama. Corinne has loads of experience and many stories of saving little kitties and big kitties, alike. Really with no time to prepare, she offered to help with the blue kittens, then when we didn't need a foster for them and I heard about Precious, I asked if she would mind helping her instead. There was no hesitation, just willingness to be part of this rescue.

Precious arrived and one of Corinne's cats snuck into the room, but Precious didn't mind. They escorted the cat back out so Precious could get to know her new home without added stress. A soft, welcoming bed was just what she needed to take the stress off her injured leg. She purred and relaxed. Wherever she had just been-that cold, scary place, was already a fading memory. She was safe and sound, maybe a bit sore, but in Corinne's warm and gentle hands, it would see her through this tough time. Corinne will also be her chaperone when it was time to leave Georgia forever and begin her new life in the northeast.

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©2010 Bobby Stanford. Used with permission. A nice soft bed. No more harsh cage for this injured sweetie.

We're all just pleased as punch that this worked out so well, so far. Thank you, again to Bobby and Corinne for all they did to help this girl to safe haven.

Foster Cat Journal: The Sweetest Slumber

Four Vet visits...lots of meds...lots of fussing, worrying, praying...we find our little wards comfortably asleep. A good sign, hopefully, of better days to come.

Thank you to Maria Sandoval for sharing this video!

Get some rest, babies. Grow. Conquer this URI. Be well!

The Sniffles & Boo-Boo Fund

It was a long night, filled with gut wrenching dread. I got a call around dinnertime that Polly was NOT doing well at all. Her eye was sealed shut and worse, she was SCREAMING. Maria called me to give me this urgent update and while we talked, I could hear Polly wailing. It was too late to go to a “regular” Vet. Our only option was to go to a 24hr ER Vet-also know as: “open your wallet and empty it out. Thank you. Now we will provide your animal with care.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Polly cries-where is the cure for me to get better?

There was no hesitation. Even if it was coming right out of my almost -empty pocket. Get all the kittens and Mama Mazie to the Vet NOW! Maria had just gotten home from work and was faced with a white-knuckle drive to the Vet. I was in a daze. What to do? I didn't want Polly to die!

I realized I had NO IDEA where Maria was going, so I called her back. She said she was just about to call me to ask me to look up the number so she could alert them to her arrival. I offered to do that for her, getting online and quickly finding the Vet. Then Maria got quiet. She is a tough-cookie, but I could hear her choking back tears. She said she didn't think Polly was going to make it. She said she heard there is a “death scream” that kittens make and that's what Polly was probably doing!!!

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. If this isn't the most miserable kitten, ever. Poor Polly.

I felt my gut drop to the floor and my legs got wobbly. I got choked up, but I really wanted to help Maria. I told her to stay strong, that we were doing EVERYTHING we could for these babies. That if we could not save them it would not be because we didn't give them every chance we could. Some times Mother Nature makes the choice for us, but I have to say, I hung up the phone and cried.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. No words.

Being 1000 miles away, helpless. All I could do was call the Vet, warn them, then follow their rules by scanning my Driver's License and credit cards and emailing them the info so their bill would be paid. It was the least I could do, but thoughts of Princess FiFi danced around in my head. Her care set us back $2000.00. We were able to raise about half of that in donations and Animals in Distress was abel to pick up the rest of the tab, but this was ONE KITTEN and I had THREE, plus their Mama. Oh boy...I did not want to do THAT sort of math.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cara Melle struggles, too.

Maria got there in good time. They took the family in the back and Maria sat in the waiting room while I sat with my phone in my hand, trying to face eating dinner, until I got an update. I didn't feel hungry. I was too sick. I was imagining what was going on. Time ticked hour...then I get a text from Maria. A cat who came in just after she did came back a box. That really set me off. I didn't want to have any of our kittens pass away. The waiting was grueling for both Maria and I. There was nothing we could do but just keep waiting and say a prayer for the poor kitty who didn't make it.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Even Chester is sick, today he is a bit worse.

Another hour passed. Nothing. My imagination was running wild. Didn't they always get the money worked out FIRST before they did treatment? Why didn't Maria get an update?

A third hour passed. I was hoping that other animals were in more serious shape and were being cared for while our family was just waiting in the back room. ANOTHER HOUR LATER we found out, that was the case.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Mazie and her family waiting for the Vet.

Polly had no fever. Though she was uncomfortable in her breathing, there was no “crackle” sound in her lungs. Her brother and sister were afflicted, but not quite as bad. Polly was crying, I'm guessing, because she was so hungry. If she couldn't breathe through her nose, she wouldn't feed off her Mother-how could she breathe? So the Vet fed each kitten and said they were big enough to get some cat food/baby food/milk replacer. This would make it easier for them to eat. Once fed, Polly quieted down. She must have been exhausted, too.

They made a few other suggestions, like running the shower a few times a day so the humidity would help them breathe. Polly gets some sterile saline and eye ointment many times a day. Syringe feed as needed if they don't lap up the food on their own. Monitor, monitor, monitor.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Only Mama can make it better. Polly finds some peace after a very tough day.

The family was already on antibiotics since they'd just been to the Vet the day before. They felt there was nothing more to be done just now, so Maria packed everyone up and went home. She told me she was going to take the next day off-for which I was very grateful. I would not want to leave those babies alone until they get to a point where they are more stable...KNOCK WOOD...

But this story is not over yet. None of the kittens are in the clear. Some may improve, while others get worse. Because it could easily come to pass that we will need more and more Vet care, I felt it was time to start asking for donations to provide Vet care for Polly and her family, as well as for any cat or kitten in our program. I'm not asking for much, just enough so we have some protection in place, in case we need to get Polly back to the Vet or to see an eye specialist, if it comes to that.

The donations needed go to Kitten Associates, Inc., my rescue group. We're about to become non-profit so your donation will be tax deductible, retroactively. We just need to wrap up our paperwork over the next week.

Last night I posted info on our Facebook page about the kitties. Thank you for your help and for your good wishes and prayers for this very sweet family. It really helped last night. I'm happy to add that Polly got through the night all right and is resting comfortably with her siblings, as Mama Mazie watches over them and Maria keeps them all safe.

Foster Cat Journal: Better Be Better!!!

I'm in love with the latest family we rescued. Every photo Maria sends me, makes me grow more and more attached. In her own words, she said she wished she could stay home from work and just watch them interact with each other and their mama. I wish I could drive down to Georgia and bring them home with me right now! I can already tell, they'll be tough to give up to anyone. What a beautiful crew we have!

And at last, we have names!

This is a little girl. She looks like she'll be long haired as she's already sportin' a baby-sized ruff. Since she's a bite-sized cutie, I'm going to call her, Cara Melle.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Say hello to Cara Melle!

This is our little man. A show-stopper-orange tabby. Another fluffy feline. His name is: Chester Cheetah

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Say hello to Chester!

This is our second little girl. Her markings are very unusual. Her back is dark and light, like salt & pepper hair or the pattern of a hedgehog! I was going to call her, Sonic, but Maria warned me that was a boy's name. Instead, her name will be: Polly PicklePuss

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Say hello to Polly PicklePuss!

The last name we need is for the kittens mama. I'm told she is 2-3 years old and is very very friendly. She's a great mama and I'm guessing this isn't the first time she's BEEN a mama. Her name will be: Mama Mazie

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Say hello to Mama Mazie!

Ahh..if naming them was the toughest task...I wanted to make sure they have names because they've become sick with an Upper Respiratory Infection. At just three weeks old, the kittens don't have any sort of immune system to protect them.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cute Cara.

It started with Mama Mazie. Her eyes got watery. She started to sneeze.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Pretty Polly Poses Perfectly.

We all knew it was just a matter of time before the kittens fell ill, too. It was terrible, knowing they didn't have much time. Every feeding not only helped them to survive, but also gave them the URI. How could Mother's Milk be so good, yet so detrimental to their future?

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

If the kittens were even two weeks older, I wouldn't be worrying so much. There's little that we can do. Maria took them all to the vet yesterday and it was decided to put them on antibiotics-which made Mama Mazie get sicker.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Chester before he got sick.

The kittens seemed to be okay for a day or so, but...

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

We knew they would fall ill...and they did.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. A watchful Mama Mazie.

With things like this, if it's a viral cause-there are no drugs. Just rest and good food. To prevent a bacterial complication-antibiotics and eye drops and maybe nose drops. I worry. I flash back to Princess or to my own, Blitzen who cost thousands of dollars in vet care, who had to be force fed, who we feared would pass away...and they were OLDER when they first got sick.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Lunchtime at the Vet.

I hate being 1000 miles away. All I can do is try to figure out a treatment or a supportive ointment or paste. They get lysine and bene bac. I know Maria is doing everything she can, but in the end, it will be up to the mama and the kittens on if they will be able to survive this.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Mama gets sick first.

I wish I could say they will be ok in a week or so, but I don't know. When kittens get to the age of cutting teeth, it's a precarious time. I've been told that they can pass away during this time for no obviousl reason. Add to that they are now sick...well..even more precarious.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Then Polly gets hit hard.

I've been lucky to have not lost a kitten...KNOCK WOOD...SO FAR, but I know that will not always be the case. I do know that I will do EVERYTHING in my power to help these cats get well. And get well SOON. If they don't respond to the meds and need more Vet care, I'm going to have to start fundraising to make sure we will have enough set aside if the whole family or just all the kittens need supportive care.

We've been down this road before...the not knowing...the fear...the rollercoaster ride. We just have to take a deep breath and find some faith that these babies will make it so they can come to Connecticut in December and so I can KEEP THEM ALL! I mean, so I can find them great forever homes.

Come on, babies. Get better!!!

Foster Cat Journal: One Lost Mind. Anyone Find It?

It's tough to write. Actually, it's tough to do ANYTHING with 12 cats running loose in my house, plus four sick cats in the foster room who I have to make sure don't cover me in contagion every time I enter their domain.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The Halloween Express is stuck at the URI-Station!

Between the complicated feeding parade, breaking up fights, cleaning up urine marking, plopped poops and just the plain ol' litter pan scooping, I've lost hours every day. That doesn't even include play time-a must for these INSANE BEASTS and lovey dovey time, which, for my own cats has been whittled down to the bare minimum. I'm so out of touch with my own cats, it scares me. Sam has drifted into making sure they get fed, the raw food gets mixed up (I order and pay for it), while I do my shift feeding the fosters in three different locations, making sure they're all locked in their rooms during feeding time so I can monitor that everyone is eating enough.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pattycake and Blitzen share some snuggle time.

This is not what I had in mind. I had a room, ONE ROOM, not ALL MY AVAILABLE ROOMS set aside for cat care, with one room as a flex room-in case I had to separate out a cat or two. It's funny, though. I realized that if I just had four fosters in one room, plus my eight cats, that it would be a BREEZE! You get to a point where the “nubs” wear off and you can handle more and more. That said. I do not want to handle this many again. I am more than max'd out.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Meanwhile, Yodel is passed out on my bed.

Even as I sit here, I had two fosters battling for space in my lap, Blitzen and Spencer and Honey B all in my tiny office. Then they started fighting-no surprise and to save face (literally) I had to scoot them out the door for my own safety. Now they're ripping up some paper and a cardboard box. There is rarely ever a silent moment now. I have to get up every two seconds to break up fights-that's the worst.

Yet, I was ready to take in another foster cat two days ago! Thankfully, the little cutie--pie at Henry, got a rescue before I had to step in. In for a dime, in for a dollar, at this point.

There is a glimmer (of something, not sure if it's hope or just a bug in my eye) on the horizon! Maybe. Just MAYBE, I MAY have not one, but TWO potential adopters lined up. I don't want to jinx anything, so I'm not going to say much at this point. Just...maybe I will be down a few cats before the weekend is over. I sure hope so. I just spent $240.00 out of my own pocket on cat food (and that was with a HUGE discount). Yes, fundraising for Kitten Associates will be starting soon! We just saw our CPA and he helped us get a form done that was standing in the way of us getting our non-profit status. We are "this" close to being the real deal (Okay, we're incorporated, so that is a cool start!).

Since I may have only two more seconds to write before the next fight, I wanted to do some updates.


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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Princess FiFi barely a month ago.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess just the other day-looking lovely!

Well, she is just doing GREAT! Carole, the President of Animals in Distress, brought her to the shelter so we could have a visit. Princess has grown. Her eyes are clear, where they were once full of dark, crusty, discharge. Her mood is light and happy, instead of limp and barely alive. She likes the other cats and [sorry, had to take a break, again to get Honey off my BOOKSHELVES-knocking everything onto the floor-great. Oh wait..I had to yell NO about 10 more times. I swear I start and end my day yelling!]

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. I love the markings near her front paws.

Oh yeah, and Princess MAY have found her forever home. Oops. It's sort of been there all along. Carole, who has been doing cat rescue for almost 20 years, is moving soon. She's taking her two Persian cats with her and vowing NOT to take Princess along for the ride. BUT...Princess LOVES her cats and they love her. Princess “uses her paws like little hands (you have to squeal when you say this, as Carole did)!” Carole is still in denial, but she's turned down a lot of adopters. I think she's fostered Princess FiFi long enough. Time to make it formal and adopt her.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sitting by the door to the Shelter. Waiting for her forever family...or is the wait over?


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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Ryan preps Rocco for his belly-rub-a-thon.

I love Rocco. I just do. He's a big guy. He got a raw deal-getting dumped by his crappy family who just didn't want him any more. I had a chance to visit him a few days ago. I brought my nephew, Ryan, whose mother is kinda-sorta-mulling-over the thought of MAYBE adopting Rocco. She has the brothers of our cats, Nick and Nora. All four of these “cameo” short haired cats are GIAGANTIC and they love belly rubs and they are just sweet sweet cats. Sounds a lot like Roc.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. He's not fat. He's TALL!

Part of the goal of my visit was to get good photos of Rocco so I could post his ad on Petfinder. Carole told me he shut his eyes every time she took a photo. I figured I'd shoot without a flash and see if I could get anything.

Ryan and I tried to get a good shot. We jiggled toys, gave him catip, offered treats. He didn't react to much of anything. In fact, I started to think that Rocco is deaf. Carole bent down, looked at him, called his name and clapped. When he saw her clapping, he perked up and ran over to her. I think he knew the gesture, not the sound. We didn't get to the bottom of his hearing issues, but it was very sad to think that maybe that was why he was starting to become shy of the other cats at the shelter.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't open your eyes to make our job easier. Okay, great. Hold it!

Even with all that, he would still come over to me, throw himself against my leg and want some belly action (which I happily gave him). In the end we got some OKAY photos, but nothing that really showed off his pretty green eyes. He's a big, probably older, fella. He got kicked to the curb and maybe he's not a fancy, spring chicken, but he's still got some miles left and hasn't forgotten how to love.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Really, don't open your eyes. It will ruin the photo and no one will want to adopt you.

Rocco is HERE on Petfinder, in case you know anyone in the area of Connecticut, who might like to give this boy a home. I'm not going to post Princess's ad. I don't want to waste your time! (Carole, please don't kick my ass for saying that!). (Carole scares me a little bit, but don't tell her that.) Oh and here's one more ad for Chance, a kitty A.I.D rescued after she lost her litter of kittens. She's not even a year old and is a very pretty medium-haired tortie.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Ooo! You opened them! Quick, take the photo..okay yes I did photoshop his eyes a tiny big, but they ARE that color! I swearzzz!

Time to feed the cats and scoop some pans. It was nice writing for awhile. Maybe I'll be allowed to do it again one day. Oh and for the record, I am REALLY going to MISS the cats who might be getting adopted...yes, after all my complaining...I'm going to probably have a good cry after they leave, but I'm not gonna say if they will be tears of sadness or tears of JOY!


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