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Foster Mom

Not on My Watch: The Halloween Express

Maria is full up with foster cats and kittens. Even though I know that, it weighed heavily on me that there were three orange kittens and one little black one that I could possibly help. Adoptions are going too slowly and I'm worried that because I don't have everything in place to advertise my available cats that if I DID greenlight getting more kittens, that I wouldn't have room for them by the time they arrived in two to three weeks.

I emailed a few folks about possibly helping with fostering. Everyone is busy, but a few said they COULD help me out. I did not want to drag my feet so I decided to go for it.

I found out early on that the two smallest kittens had been put down. URIs are rampant. At the first sign of a sneeze, they put them down. I f-ing HATE IT, but that's the rules. I'm not going to show their photo. I know it makes you guys cry. It sure made me do the same thing.

I didn't want to take just two since I should have room for more when they would arrive. I should take as many as I can get. The two kittens are 12 weeks old and by the time they get there, 14 or more. It's harder to get them adopted than small kittens, but I can get them spayed/neutered in GA and have them ready to go when they arrive-instead of waiting a week-or in the case of my last batch of kittens, over a MONTH for the S/N to happen here in CT. Then I was faced with if I didn't take those two cats that they would probably die...and could I live with that?

You look at their faces and tell me you can say no to them.

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. “SAVE ME!!!!”

Another round of calls and emails. Betsy emailed me at 3:30 and said that the two orange kittens were sneezing and were going to be put about 30 minutes. They had two siblings who were OK so far. If I wanted to help them, I need to decide.

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. “SAVE US!!!!”

My hands started to shake. Now I had four kittens to rescue. My stupid iPhone was going too slow. I needed to call Maria, Bobby and Betsy as fast as I could. If we could juggle some things around it could work. I called Betsy and this time she was at the shelter. Over barking and other people talking and shouting I was able to get Betsy to GET THE KITTENS PUT ON RESCUE HOLD and NOT PUT THEM DOWN!

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. “SAVE US, TOO!!!!”

Betsy said if not tonight, they would be put down in the morning. I told her I had Bobby coming over in 15 MINUTES to pick them up and to get them ready to go!!!!! I was at my wit's end. I didn't even know what the two siblings looked like so Betsy read off their ID numbers to me so I could see them on Petfinder. As I started to look at the listing, I noticed there were a few siamese mix kittens there, too. SHIT! I couldn't take them! What I really want to do is EMPTY THE PLACE OUT! I just got 6 cats out of there yesterday and 4 more today! I honestly don't know how other folks do this all the time. The stress is not good. The life and death choices are worse. least these four kittens are safe.

Bobby picked them up and has taken them to the Vet. I could hear them "singing," as Bobby called it, while we talked on the phone. I said they were screaming “THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE!”...which couldn't have been more true and couldn't have come at a better time.

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©2010 Henry County Care & Control. Meet Trick (left) and Treat (right)

Welcome to Kitten Associates, little ones!

©2010 Henry County Care & Control. and Jacques O'Lantern. (left) and Candy Corn (right)

As for me, I'm having a “ho boy, what have I done?” moment, but it won't last. As soon as I see their little faces and hear their purrs for the first time, I'll just be happy that I could help a few more escape death's cold embrace.

Big Updates on BIG O, PAULY & MARIA & Our First Adoption Event!

Big O (“O” for Orange, not you-know-what!) is in da house!

This poor boy was rescued from HELL by a good samaritan named Mary Jo. The SAME Mary Jo who also rescued and is still rehabilitating Hope, the little kitten who was gored by some creepy person, using a fish hook. Mary Jo could not stand by when she heard about a big orange cat who got dumped after his owner got dementia and whose son did not want to care for her AND her cat. Poor Big O. You can read more about his backstory HERE.

Connie, my friend and benefactor of all things cat food related, saw Big O's story and fell in love with him. After suffering the loss of her own dear boy, Lion King, who was also a big orange boy, she decided to rescue another cat in his honor. Without ever meeting this kitty, she just decided to go for it-figuring she would find a way to make it work.

Two weeks ago, Connie and I jumped into her car, which has a bag of carrots in the back seat and little bits of hay sprinkled across the cushions (treats for her horsey!). In my car there is cat hair and cat food bits. We headed out to New Jersey to meet Mark, who had just driven up from Georgia with his wife, our CiCH blogger, Izzy and a car load of rescue cats. Okay, so we had a bit of a kerfluffle about finding each other, but it did get sorted out and soon enough we spotted Mark and his car load of cats: Big O, Pauly and Little Maria. I couldn't wait to meet them all and Connie was jumping up and down. We said a quick hello and goodbye to Mark. I didn't like the way Big O looked. He looked a bit limp and I wanted to get his butt to Connie's so we could get him fed and watered.

We put Pauly and Little Maria in the back cargo area. They seemed comfortable and well...and very CUTE. It was like Christmas. You know you have a gift to open and you can't wait for the time to come to see what's inside the box. I wished we could teleport to Connie's house-where everyone was going to stay. After all this time, the fundraising for Little Maria's surgery, the hope Mary Jo could rescue Big O..finally coming to a conclusion. The cats were just about home.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Big O arrives!

We were told that Big O did NOT like to be crated, so I offered him my lap as Connie drove us back to CT. Big O, well, he looks “road hard and put away wet.” He's far too thin for such a big cat. His legs wobble from weakness that we suspect is due to diabetes, but has yet to be proven. Big O liked to chat. Connie would talk to him and he would meow back to her. I asked him if he liked Chicken...silence. I asked again...still silence. I asked if he liked fish..MEOW!

Then Big O went into the back and laid down. He was very quiet during the rest of the trip. I started to panic that he was crashing. I am waaay to overprotective of cats, or paranoid OR, maybe I was right? Fortunately, we got back to Connie's house in good time. She pulled up in the driveway and I heard a “thump” on the roof of the car. Connie said; “Oh, that's just Charlie.” Sure enough, a big orange tabby with white paws walked non-challantly down the windshield, sat on the hood and meowed “Hello.”

Note: Charlie has to be an outdoor cat. Long story...but Connie knows not to let the cats out...just sayin'...

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

We got Big O into his OWN room (for now, until he can meet the other kitties). I put down some food, but he didn't like it. Connie hurried downstairs to grab more options. We started with grain free canned, but ended up with Fancy Feast. Hey, a guy needs to eat so we didn't get fussy with him. As Big O ate, we got Pauly and Little Maria settled in THEIR own room! (I hope Connie has a room for me, too! I love her house.)

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pauly is ready to check out his new digs.

Pauly popped out of the carrier and started checking out the room. He ate, slid under the furniture, looked out the window. He is long and skinny and has the cutest tail with a tiny white tip. He acted as though he had lived there forever.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Maria, looking much more plump and healthy, poses for a photo.

Little Maria took a bit longer to investigate the room. She walked with a slight limp, which should go away as she grows. She's a very petite kitten, but you can tell she's a sweetheart, even though she was nervous in her new foster home.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Big O, before his beauty treatment and vet checkup.

I went back to Big O's room and just sat with him. He was chatting and walking around the room. He tried to jump onto the window sill to look out the window, but couldn't manage it. I felt so bad, but had to remind myself that whatever is wrong with him is going to be sorted out in the coming days. In fact, we have Jennifer, our Premiere Diabetes Expert on our side and she will be coming to see Big O in a few days. Big O's already been through the worst part of his life. Now it will only be good times for him as much as we can all provide.


I had my first Kitten Associates Adoption Event at Animal's In Distress's shelter in Wilton, CT last weekend. Pauly and Little Maria were there, along with my guys. It was HOT in the room, so I begged Sam to drive an hour each way to deliver a fan. The kittens were all confused and within the first few seconds of being crated, Pattycake blew a huge, loose stool all over the brand new cat bed in her cage, which, in turn, filled the room with the stench of wild poo. This is not a good way to welcome the folks who were about to show up to adopt a cat. It also did nothing appetizing for the cider and doughnuts we had placed across from the cages on another table.

Connie grabbed the cat bed and rinsed it off outside while I fretted and sweated and finished getting everything else set up in time.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. It was really HOT in the room and the kitties were all flat and tired.

Then a stream of people came into the shelter. Within the first hour a cat from AID got adopted-who had only been there a few days. Folks came in to look at my kittens, but mostly beelined into the next room to see the cats and enjoy the air conditioning.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Another hour passed and another cat got adopted. This time it was Moose, a big orange Tom who'd been waiting for MONTHS to find a good home. We were all delighted. Meanwhile, my guys just sat there looking glum. We set up the fan and made sure they had water. I offered them a litter pan I rigged up out of a cardboard tray from cat food. Moonie and Patty acted like they wanted to use it but it was far too tiny. I ran into the shelter and borrowed a litter pan. Good thing I did because BOTH cats used it and once again...weeeeeee...another blast of loose, stinky poop! What a way to CLEAR a room! In all the adoption events I've done, the cats have NEVER gone to the bathroom. Apparently, my good luck had “run out.” What could I do? I took a picture. Sue me.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. When I think "Harvest Festival" I think of the smell of POOP.

So I guess this is my way of saying the adoption event didn't go too well for Kitten Associates. We collected about $4 and my clothes stuck to my crevices from sweating for 6 hours. I ate two doughnuts and drank too much cider. My blood sugar was swinging wildly. Who needs illegal drugs when one has sugar? It was getting late and I wanted to pack up and sit in the air conditioned car. I went into the shelter-proper and visited their kitties before I left.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Meanwhile, in the next room, Pauly has a nappy, while waiting for the adopters to show up for the event.

Pauly wasn't feeling at his best. He was struggling with a mild URI.
Little Maria was just a dear, sweet, baby. In a crate to keep her from running around too much on her leg-which is still healing, she sat quietly or watched people pass by. I wanted to tell everyone her story about how her leg had been broken for a she almost was euthanized at a shelter in Georgia, but what would it matter to them?

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Little “Super Cutie” Maria.

Little Maria was already adopted, anyway. We knew it was going to happen but couldn't say anything until everything was ironed out.

Yes, I said ADOPTED!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson.

Apparently, Connie was madly in love with Little Maria from the first day I posted information about her-and, in fact, was the reason we were able to save her life in the first place. Connie had arranged for a placement for Little Maria at AID and was a big part of paying for LM's surgery, too. We could all see it coming. Sure enough Connie confirmed that she has adopted LM and that LM has already made a best friend with Connie's other rescue kitten.

But that wasn't the last adoption of the day...there was one more. Someone you know, too. Hee hee...but this post is way too long as it is, so that will be the NEXT update. Or wait..should I update you about Princess, who was deathly ill just 10 days ago or was she the one who got adopted? No wait..this is confusing. I need a doughnut and some cider.

Foster Cat Journal: The Princess & the Pig

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Very Sick Kitty_sm.jpg

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tails from the Nine Lives Express

As I am sure you have read from Robin's blog, my husband and I are drivers on the 9 Lives Express. That is what we call our trips from Pennsylvania to Georgia and back to transport rescued kitties to foster care or furever homes in the North East.

We've made this trip four times so far, and I expect that we'll make it again before too long. We are planning a trip down to Florida in December for vacation, and I am sure there will be kitties in need of a ride hitching their way up north with us on the way back.

Not on My Watch: Everything's Better with CHEESE!


One of our dear readers, saw the plea-a-thon I started for CHEESE yesterday everywhere she looked. She took it as a sign that she needed to help out this kitty and his dear mama, Kathleen.

CHEESE will now be luxuriating at the home of an Associate Dean at the College of William & Mary!

WOOHOO AND THANK YOU for helping out a kitty (and nice Mama) in need! Way to go!

And now...back to our regularly scheduled programming...GO CHEESE!

Foster Cat Journal: “Meh” Little Princess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Nom-noms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not on My Watch: Dumped & Abandoned.

Are we all getting tired of hearing stories about cats being dumped by their "owners?" I know I am. I feel so much RAGE when I think of people who sneak up to shelters, who dump their cats at the door then take off in a cloud of shame and dust.

There is no excuse for this childish, selfish behavior. Even if they walked in the door and signed over their cats, knowing they would be put down, it would be better. At least the Pound would have a health history on the cat and understand any known behavioral issues-which could give the cats a chance at not being put down as soon. But no. These cats are left in the hands of people who already have too much on their plate.

Friday, I got another plea from Betsy at Henry Humane. It was about a Calico Mama and her adorable babies. They were left behind the building, but this time a volunteer SAW the car AND got some of the license plate tag. I hope they find this jerkwad and that something can be done to prosecute them, but that's a lot of hoping.

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©2010 Henry Humane/Betsy Merchant.

Meanwhile, we had the WEEKEND to find a placement for this family or they would have to go to HCCAC and we all know that means the cats will get sick and be put down. I did the math, looked at the calendar and realized I could not take them here. I still have my 6 in two rooms and I am full up. I had to go back to hoping someone would step in.

Thankfull, Ms. Vickie, at Catnip Cottage raised her hand. Another wonderful woman in New Jersey offered to pay for their vet care. They needed someone to transport the cats, about an hour's drive. At last, something I could help with! So I called "our Bobby" and of course he was willing to help.

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It didn't take a miracle, nor did it take a village. It just took five people who cared to stand up and get involved. Is this easy to do? No. Not often enough. But I'm so glad it DOES get done. These cats surely would have died if any one of us had not stepped up. Now these lovely cats have a chance for a wonderful future.

Tomorrow, I'll be doing a piece about Catnip Cottage and the wonderful care they take of their wards. Vickie is a very special lady and helping her reach others who might adopt her cats is the least I can do.

In the meantime, there's a bit more news.

Remember this cat (below)? His owner fell ill with dementia and her son decided he didn't want the declawed cat so he kicked it outside. For the next YEAR this kitty suffered, slowly starving, almost to death, until Mary Jo, one of our newest heroines, made it her duty to get her hands on this cat and foster him, even though she had NOWHERE to put him-no shelter in her area of Atlanta had any openings. She knew he would be alive at her home, but then what? He was so thin the Vet didn't dare give him any vaccines. He needed to get some food on board and rest-but would he ever recover enough to go to a new home?

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Meanwhile, Mary Jo is also taking care of the kitten who was abused with a fish hook. The kitten's name was Hope, but now it's Ariel. Ariel is doing well, but has a slight limp. She's battling a URI (still!), but is reacting well to a new course of antibiotics. Mary Jo wishes she could do more, but that she does anything at all is a big blessing for these cats. They are very lucky to be in her home.

I knew someone here in CT was looking for a cat and thought this poor neglected orange cat might be able to come here if he was well enough to travel. Our friend, Jennifer, who rescues diabetic cats, noticed that this orange cat was "down on his haunches," which can indicate diabetes.

No matter what his health status, someone DID reach out to this cat. Our own BFF, Connie, who is responsible for getting some of our cats over to Animals in Distress, recently lost one of her dear cats and felt she could add another to her family. She is so generous and loving. She really will do anything she can to help out a cat in need...and her home is so wonderful. Any cat who lives with her is lucky. I know this Orange Cat, now named, Sammy, will be happy again. We just need to get him here safely.

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So the last piece of the puzzle is Izzy and her husband, Mark. What do they do to celebrate their wedding anniversary? Why they drive from their home in PA and go to Georgia to pick up cats for me and for another rescuer! You gotta be KIDDING ME? This is beyond generous! This is the ideal transport for us because our cats will be well cared for and arrive as soon as possible! A week from today, Sammy, Little Maria (who is doing very well after her surgery!) and Pauly will arrive!

I'm not sure who I'm more excited to meet. I'm just glad that these cats are going to be all right. I hate to think there are more out there that need us. Sadly, every day I hear about more and more... I just did...

We have one of our toughest cases yet. I can't figure out HOW we'are going to be able to help TWO MORE CATS who were dumped by their jerkwad-owners. While I wait for all the information to arrive, remember just takes a small handful of us to help these cats. We each do a little part and we can get the job done. These big sisters need us. How can we not help them?

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

I hope that tomorrow, you'll see my post about these chubby girls-the latest victims of the recession, you'll be inspired to be a part of their rescue. There really is no other feeling like knowing YOU DID IT. YOU SAVED THEIR LIFE. It will lift your spirits and make your heart soar.

Somehow the puzzle pieces have to fit to make it happen. More soon...

Foster Cat Journal: Question of the Day

For those of you wondering what the heck happened to me and why I didn't post this past week, it can be summed up thusly: Kitten Associates is (somewhat) Open for Business!

After weeks of preparation and endless head-scratching on how to set Adoption Policies, I finally have enough cobbled together where we can start promoting our group and sharing the kittens we have for adoption. Yes, the time has come!

Kitten Associates brand new main page. You can visit us at:

This week I started getting Pre-Adoption Applications. I ask many questions on my Ap in the hopes I can understand potential adopters better and figure out if they'll be a good match for my kittens. I've been accused of being too picky or asking for too much. Maybe that's true, but I'd rather be able to sleep at night, knowing I did what I felt was right, instead of just trying to move animals out the door. I don't have a shelter and I'm not "open admissions" so I have the luxury of taking time...just not too much or the kittens will be too big.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. How cute is Cinnie?!

Speaking of size, the girls were big enough to be spayed this week, so I got myself over to H.O.P.E at a way-too-early 7:30AM drop off time (okay, it's 8AM, but I got there early). The person doing admissions and I had a little snitty conversation about what to feed the cats. Apparently, dry food is good for cleaning cats teeth (one of the biggest mis-truths out there) and dry food “has special vitamins and minerals that kittens need for optimum health.” Really? And what vitamins and minerals are these? Corn? Wheat? Sugar? I was so shocked...then she said I should be working with my Vet to make sure my cats aren't suffering or getting the wrong nutrition. As if VETS know about nutrition! My Own Vets both told me they did not get much of anything regarding nutrition when they were in school. I really wanted to slap this woman in the face, but since this is a low cost S/N Clinic, I had to bite my tongue-which would have had better nutrition in it than some of those kibble foods..blah. Hey, it's great for dogs, but dogs are not cats. I only wished Margaret Gates from FNES had been there with me to let this woman have it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sugar Pie shows off her hunting skillz.

The kittens are home now and doing well. I de-wormed them again and all of a sudden, they're starting to get a little padding on their frame-finally. They have been too skinny (probably because of the dry food I refuse to feed them...hmpf!), but now they feel REALLY soft (from the grain-free and raw food they get) and chubby. I love it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Yodel and her goofy little expression.

So my next task is to find homes. I've gotten many applications on Honey B. and Sugar Pie and I'm sorting through them. I already said; No, to a family-who felt I was being unfair saying no when I suggested they adopt a 5 or 6 month old kitten to a 1 yr or older cat because they have FOUR KIDS and a DOG. One of the kids is 3. Although they were a great family, just not for a tiny kitten. I think it would be too much on the cat and if the littlest child got hurt or bitten, then what?

It leaves me with a nagging question: How do I find homes where they won't EVER give up on these kittens? Where they will take good care of them for the rest of their life? Where they won't balk if it costs $1000.00 for Vet care should the cat fall ill. Where, if they break up with their boyfriend or husband or whatever, they won't give up the cat, too? I know. I can't solve all the issues, but how do I cut it down so that the fewest cats are at risk of ever being returned?

Two days ago I got a call from the adopter of two of Santa's Team, kittens. These were Donner and Dancer, the two kittens I felt went to the wrong home, who I tried to get back-unsuccessfully. Now they want to give up Dancer because she is "too shy." The one person in the family-an 18 yr old daughter, who was working with the kitten, has moved out and now the kitten only hides...this was one of the reasons, I wanted the cat back months ago.

So I told the person, I would help him either work out the behavior issues so he can keep the cat or he would have to return it to where he adopted it from...and that I no longer have a relationship with this group. He said he would call me back.

I haven't heard from him since.

Now I wonder...will the cat be given up, given to a shelter, let outside? I have no idea. This is what I face times 6 more cats...

This is the tough stuff. How to find great homes for little kittens who need more work than adults, more love (maybe?) and certainly careful guidance so they group up to be outstanding companions.

Where are you wonderful families and folks? Where are you? What question do I need the answer to to KNOW you will do right by my fosters?

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

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

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

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

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Little Maria in foster care.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not on My Watch: 9, no...11 Lives Express!

I'm pleased to announce that Izzy & Mark have picked up our fosters, along with the new cat they just adopted and a few other cats they're transporting to VA. The car is loaded down with cats. I wonder how noisy it is in the car right now or if everyone is too scared to meow? I really hope they don't have a car load full of cats that explode with pee or poop from motion sickness, as two of my cats do! Eek! Remind me not to volunteer to transport lots of cats.

Today is the start of another phase of their lives, as they progress towards that ultimate goal of finding a forever family. What's kind of fun to imagine is that those families already exist. They may be talking about how they want to adopt a cat. Maybe they've been looking and hadn't seen one they liked? One day we'll meet and it will be kismet. They'll fall in love with one of the kittens and that will be it. Will Bobbi go to a home with little kids? Will the kittens be able to stay in pairs or be adopted singly? Who will be adopted first?

©2010 Maria S. What a big change a few weeks of good food can do! Bobbi looks GREAT!

Time will surely tell. For now I'm going to get some things done around the house and get some rest. It's about to get busy around here very soon.

©2010 Maria S. Mark loads the car. I hope they have enough room for all those cats!

Sam's mother is still in the hospital in NYC, but looking well. She may be discharged fairly soon, then after she gets settled, Sam can come home.

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©2010 Maria S. Maria with her beloved, Cin.

Lion King is still missing. Connie had a commitment today and won't be back until late. I'm going to go over and look for him. Maybe I'll have luck again?

I finally saw Buddy. He IS definitely in trouble. He's limping, but I could not see any obvious break or injury. He can put some weight on the leg if he has to do it, but otherwise he keeps the limb up in the air. When I went out the front door to offer him some treats he ran off. He can still move quickly and that's a good sign. Of course the second he started to move, I stopped and went back into the house. The last thing I need to do is scare him into the road. It's a tough life for a feral. I hope we can get him the help he needs very soon.

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©2010 Maria S. Moonpie? Yodel? I better get this figured out! Bye bye, Maria! Hello, Robin!

Spencer...oh dear. That will have to be a separate blog post. Let's just say that too much is a bad thing. Poor Spencer. His chin is an erupted bloody mess. It's a good thing I took him to see Dr. Larry today-before Dr Larry goes to Italy for two weeks! Did he ask me if he could go? Doesn't he know something bad always happens to my cats when he's gone? What nerve! Going on a vacation!

Wait...what is this...vay-cay-shun thing, anyway?


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