You are here

Georgia Rescue

The Sad Truth about Bongo

If we didn't have the power of imagination just think about what a dull world it would be. We'd probably all still be living in a cave, wearing animal hides. There are times, though when I wish I didn't have the ability to imagine, especially when it comes to thinking about our latest rescue, Bongo.

X-ray of Bongo's damaged leg.

In the week we've had Bongo, I've only heard good things about him. The first few days made me sad when I heard he stayed in his litter pan, comforted by his own scent-something common to cats who are confined in cages at animal shelters. In time, Bongo realized he was safe and loved and began to spend his days relaxing on a soft bed or playing with toys. He walked holding his right front leg off the ground. It doesn't seem to function properly. You can see a video of it HERE.

If you compare the front legs, you can tell one has good muscle mass and one does not.

Yesterday Bongo met with Dr. Alan Cross, a noted Orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Cross reviewed Bongo's x-rays and did a careful and thorough examination.

He felt that Bongo had severe nerve damage and muscle wasting in his leg from a trauma of some kind. Most likely from someone grabbing his leg and twisting it backward. It wasn't enough force to break the shoulder, but it was enough to destroy the nerves.

It could NOT have been from being hit by a car. Bongo's leg had to be grabbed and twisted by force.

Muscle wasting.

I tried not to imagine who did this to him or why. I tried not to imagine that this person is still doing this to other cats. I did allow myself to imagine what I'd do to the person if I ever could find out who did this to such a sweet and innocent creature.

Bongo Day One B.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Sweet Bongo.

Dr. Cross felt the best solution in this situation would be to amputate Bongo's leg. It's only in his way and over time it will become more and more of a hinderance. Bongo has NO sensation in his paws, which we originally thought he had. I've never had to make this choice for an animal and I'm not overjoyed it has come to pass. For Bongo, I will do whatever it takes to help him live the most comfortable life possible.

If there was any way we could save his leg, it would be done. I know Bongo won't mourn the loss of his leg as we will because we can imagine what life he could have had, but perhaps we can begin to imagine a new life, on three legs, that can be just as full of love and joy as it would have been on four.

Saving Bongo's Leg

You never know what will come to pass when you rescue a kitten with a known physical problem. With King, we wondered if he'd been abused or if he was born deformed. Could he function better with a cart or prosthetic enhancements to his prematurely shortened hind limbs? In the end, King was perfect as he was born, missing the last inch or so of his legs and his paws. He does fine getting along on carpeting in his new home without any help or special surgery.

©2012 Maria S. Bongo enjoying a soft bed and freedom from the death row at the shelter.

With Bongo, our latest rescue, we have more questions than answers. Things we do know:

Bongo is NEGATIVE for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia.

Bongo is about seven months old.

We x-rayed his right front leg, which he does not use. His paw is warm, there is blood flow and sensation. There were no signs of major breaks but the x-ray could not detect any possible small fractures in the paw. The Vet felt amputation might be the best thing to do. If you watch the video, it's be clear his limb is slowing him down.

Thankfully, Bongo is also VERY FRIENDLY which will make whatever he needs medically, easier on him and foster mom, Maria.

©2012 Maria S. & Robin Olson. Bongo's first steps.

I've never had to give the OKAY to amputate an animal's limb before. I've only ever had one foster cat who had to have his right front leg removed. He was about Bongo's age and did very well after surgery. His leg had no sensation and was probably ruined in an accident, so in his case there was little to question.

X-ray of Bongo's Leg.

I realize there are some folks who would just take the leg without getting more definitive answers. It's a lot less expensive to take a leg off than it is to repair it. The recovery time is less and there are no chances of having to do a second surgery if the leg is already gone, instead of if the surgery is done badly.

Bongo Day One B.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Someday we hope Bongo will be able to run and play like any other kitten.


We need to take another step, out of respect for Bongo. I want him to see Dr. Alan Cross, an orthopedic Vet at Georgia Veterinary Specialists. An evaluation is discounted, but still expensive. I believe it's worth it to make certain there isn't something else we can do to save Bongo's leg.


We're doing a small fundraiser to cover the office visit and additional x-rays. Anything we don't use for this visit will be used for Bongo's future care. If you can donate the price of a cup of coffee to Bongo, it could mean a world of difference. Small donations pooled together can make big things happen!

We realize things are tight for everyone so if you can't donate, then would you please SHARE this post with your Bongo-loving friends?

Your donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE as my rescue, Kitten Associates is a 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Bongo" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Thank you and stay tuned for more updates on this sweet little guy.

Crushed Foot Kitty finds a Rescue with Kitten Associates

Not quite a kitten, but not big enough to be a full grown cat, a friendly Norewegian Forest cat mix was dumped off at Henry County Care & Control in McDonough, Georgia. Like most cats he was placed in a small steel cage to await his fate, but what was different about him was this cat was injured and unable to put weight on his right front leg.

Any cat lover would want to grab that kitten out of the cage and rush him off to the Vet, but without funds to do so, cats in shelters don't always get the help they need. It's not because the staff is evil or because they don't care, it's because of stupid things like money that force their hand. If they help this one, what about the two other badly injured cats with gaping wounds in their necks who just got brought in, too?

AC 9.26.12 001.jpg
©2012 Betsy Merchant. Poor little fella.

This year I had to turn away from helping cats from Henry County because there were so many others that needed our attention who literally fell out of trees (like Willow). After a long year of helping more abandoned cats than I have ever seen, more stray, homeless, starving, knocked up cats, Maria (our super foster mom in GA) and I decided we both needed to plan to take a break. Neither of us had had more than a week free from fostering for almost three years.

AC 9.26.12 004.jpg
©2012 Betsy Merchant.

It's just plain crazy to push yourself in a field where there is so much misery and heartache. I want to always love my foster cats and have the stamina and compassion to keep helping them. For my own sanity and out of respect to my own cats, after the 13 cats in my program get to their forever homes, I'm done for a few months.

AC 9.26.12 007.jpg
©2012 Betsy Merchant. Do you love those wispy ear tufts or what?

I've already had to say no to many requests for help. I hate it, but I have to do this. Of course, last night I got a text from Maria asking me if I'd heard about this “crushed foot” cat at Henry Co. I had seen the plea a few days before, felt bad about it, then closed the email. I hoped someone would help him, but it'd been a week and no one came forward.

We believe the cat is 6-9 months old and his right paw is twisted out at an odd angle. It's not quite fused in place, but there is a deformity. His paw is warm so there is blood flow. Our intrepid volunteer/driver, Bobby felt the paw and the kitten didn't wince, nor did he feel any broken toes.

AC 9.26.12 005.jpg
©2012 Betsy Merchant. This kitten mostly lays down in his cage. Getting him to stand up is not often easy.

I asked Maria if she wanted to take on another foster and she didn't hesitate to say yes. I contacted Bobby and Henry County and by 2 AM everything was sorted out.

Bobby arrived at Henry County 90 minutes ago and picked up the kitty, who has been purring non-stop since he got out of the cage.

We're going to take on whatever ails this little guy. He may need his leg removed or hopefully surgery can save it somehow. Yes, we'll need to start a ChipIn, but I'm even tired of asking for money. We'll wait to see what the Vet says and take it from there.

Bongo from Bobby.jpg
©2012 Bobby Stanford. Meet Bongo, our latest rescue!

The cat is at our Vet's office right now being examined. I'm praying his snap test is negative/negative. I'm more worried about that than I'm worried about his leg.

We'll get him his vaccinations and they'll do x-rays. If he needs pain meds, he'll get them. I look at it this way-it's just one cat, right?

Just one more cat to find a home for. One cat to fuss over and worry about until he's feeling well again. Just one more to love (and honestly, just looking at his crazy ear tufts was enough to put me over the edge).

This is Bongo, our latest rescue. Welcome aboard. The story of your rescue starts now.

Will the Real Jackson Galaxy Please Stand Up?

The fur is growing back on Jackson's front legs from where he was shaved to insert an IV needle. The fur is growing back on Jackson's chest where he was shaved so the cardiologist could get a better echocardiogram of his malfunctioning heart. In some ways, Jackson appears the same as he did when we rescued him from a kill shelter nine months ago, but in some ways Jackson is being transformed and the results have been surprising and shocking.

jack in the box.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beginning to feel better.

It's been about ten days since we discovered Jackson was suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—a thickness of the lining of the walls of Jackson's heart. Twice each day Jackson needs to be medicated with two tiny pills. Every third day, Jackson gets a quarter portion of a baby aspirin to prevent clots from forming.

At first I worried if I'd be able to keep to the schedule of medicating Jackson. I feared he'd be resistant and grow to challenge my attempts. Luckily, Jackson's been surprisingly easy to pill-so far-knock wood. I can hide Jackson's pills in minute amount of Flavor DOH along with a little bit of his favorite canned food.

Jackson in the Egg.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Is Jackson a good egg?

The only difficult thing about treating Jackson has been keeping his pills organized and making sure each Sunday I prep his pills by cutting them into halves and placing them in a pill box. I went a bit overbid and got his prescriptions compounded into liquid in case I couldn't give Jax a pill. It was expensive and turns out, unnecessary. At least I have more meds should I run out without having a refill on hand.

Pill Box copy.jpg

Before the “incident” Jackson was either very quiet or cried at night. He mostly kept to himself and slept. Once in awhile he'd play with the laser pointer. Now that he's been on his medication, a new Jackson is emerging. One I'm not sure I like very much.

Tunie Nicky Jackson copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Petunia, Nicky and Jackson (in egg).

Don't get me wrong, Jackson is a sweet cat, friendly and affectionate, but as soon as his energy level increased, his behavior changed. I caught Jackson spritzing urine near the kitchen, then again in a few other places. I deal with cat pee every day, but adding ANOTHER cat to the “who did the peeing” list is a nightmare.

I do the best I can to clean it up and sort out why they feel the need to do that. Sam and I are always looking for more ways to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. We want them to be happy, but we need some sense of autonomy over our own living conditions, too.

Yesterday something happened that could be the beginning of the end-the one thing I cannot tolerate and I can tolerate a lot. Without provocation Jackson charged after Petunia, scaring her badly. That's not the end of the world, but what he did next shocked me.

Cricket looking up.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Cricket is still stressed after being attacked.

Jackson jumped up to the top of a cat tree where Cricket was sleeping. Cricket is our “former feral” cat. He keeps to himself and he doesn't bother with any of the other cats. He's probably the most submissive cat in the house and one of the sweetest.

Jackson jumped onto Cricket, BIT him on the back of the neck, then grabbed him and literally threw him off the cat tree! Cricket fell to the floor, screaming. Clumps of his fur scattered around the living room. He ran off and hid, terrified at what had just happened.

What the HELL was going on? This is NOT acceptable. My cat-mother-protectivness came out with a vengeance. My cats are not going to fall victim to attacks like this. I don't care what is going on with Jackson. If he's injuring my cats that's it. He's out. It's not fair that my cats are subjected to new cats from time to time or have to suffer upper respiratory because I have sick kittens in another part of the house.

Jackson 9.14.12.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson just wants to be understood and loved for who he is.

But how am I going to talk about this? I'm going to get judged for what I do or think about this situation? Perhaps knowing that gave me pause and kept me from kicking Jackson out of the house.

I sat and thought about it and something clicked. Hyperthyroidism. It would explain his late night howling and eagerness to eat. It would also explain this sudden irrational behavior and it can be the root cause of heart problems/HCM.

Jax in the Egg alt.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Tomorrow Jackson returns to the Vet. This is his first Vet visit since he almost died. He's no longer in pain and feeling better. We're repeating his x-rays to see how his heart is responding to medication. We're running a FreeT4 blood test to look at his thyroid levels and we're checking his kidney function because he can have kidney problems due to the fluids he has to move to keep his heart and lungs clear.

Perhaps we'll find out that all these issues are caused by his thyroid, which can be treated. Perhaps it will make it a lot easier to forgive Jackson for his mis-behaviors. I realize he's not a man in a cat suit and he's behaving as a cat does, but who IS this cat? Is he as sweet as sugar or the devil in disguise? Is he just bored? What am I doing to contribute to the problem or am I the problem?

I can't say today, but fairly soon we'll know more and hopefully be able to get a better understanding of just who Jackson Galaxy really is.

For the Love of Jackson

This post is dedicated to all the good people out there who love our foster cat, Jackson Galaxy. Without your love and support it would have been very difficult to provide the high level of care Jackson required to diagnose that he was suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy-the most common and often fatal heart ailment that effects cats.

jack in the box.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson is comfortable at last. In one of his favorite spots-a cardboard canned cat food tray near the kitchen.

While we will always do whatever it takes to help our foster cats, the funds in our bank account were at an all time low. We begged and borrowed (no stealing, though!) and got Jackson the help he needed. Once you heard there was a crisis, many of you jumped in to help fill our coffers so we could make sure Jackson got what he needed.

I'm pleased to let you know, knock wood, that Jackson is doing well. He's responded to treatment and he's easy to pill (so far!). There's more down the road, more tests, adjustment of medications, but right now Jackson's comfortable, chatty, eating well and happy (okay he has a few eye-boogies, but I'll clean them off next time he gets pilled).

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Enjoy this update on our Jackson. It may have a sad start, but I know you'll enjoy the new footage of Jackson in action.


In honor of everyone who re-tweeted, shared on Facebook, dug deep into their pockets, please accept my most sincere THANK YOU. Thank you Jackson Galaxy for posting our plea on your Facebook page and letting your fans know your namesake needed help. Thank you to Jill Delzer for being super-awesome-a shoulder to cry on, to Katherine at Animals in Distress for soothing my soul and helping us pay for Jackson's much needed echocardiogram.


I'm truly grateful for every prayer, good wish and virtual hug. I know Jackson is, too.


Thank You Love of Jackson.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Newton Animal Control in Georgia. Adopters and Rescue Groups Needed!

We all know it's been a tough summer on cats in Kill shelters. The warm winter gave way to an extra breeding season. It's hard for me to post photos of these cats knowing full well what their fate may be, but if I don't try and we don't try to get the word out, then they have zero chance.

Instead of getting sad about this, let's try something new. I'm not going to make hysterical claims or beg you to save their lives. All I'm going to do is share this with you and ask you to do the same with your friends. By sharing this with others, perhaps we'll find a few special people who can make room in their home to take on one more or a rescue who can do their thing and help another cat in dire need.

These cats are located at Newton County Animal Control which is located at 210 Lower River Rd. Covington, GA 30016

If you're with a rescue group and want to help, you have to have a license from the state of Georiga to pull an animal out of this facility. There may be licensed rescues who will pull on your behalf, but that's something I can't advise on.

Georgia licensed rescues contact: FREDDIE 770-786-9514 They are open M-F 11 am to 4:30 pm for adoptions/pulls (which can take up to 24 hrs) and they are hoping to hear from some of you!

These are just SOME of the cats and kittens who need help. They're all friendly.

Cage 6 8/3/12 This is the meduim haired tuxy mama with 1 of her 2 tabby kittens

tuxy mama and kit.jpg

©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

Cage 10 7/23/12 This orange mama had her 7 kittens in AC about 2 weeks ago

orange mama and kits.jpg

©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

Cage 13 7/26/12 This black & white mama has 4 black & white kittens, only 1 is male

cow mama.jpg

©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

Cage 20 8/3/12 Silver tabby mama with 1 calico kitten

silver tabby.jpg
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

Cage 8 8/2/12 This is the tortie that appears pregnant

©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

Cage 19 8/3/12 This is the tabby that has milk. She is caged with a male that came in with her

©2012 Cyndie Tweedy.

You'll find MORE photos of most of these kitties (and ones not listed above) on this link to a PHOTOBUCKET web site

Let's start sharing on Facebook and Twitter and wherever you wish. That's all I ask. Hopefully this information will find the right place to land and some of these cats will have a happy future.

As always, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP. The kitties thank you, too.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Saving Tater.

We all had a very bad scare a month ago when Tater fell ill. The Vet felt it was the “wet” form of FIP, a fatal disease. We were all heartbroken and scared, but determined that if there was ANY chance Tater could survive, we would make that happen no matter what we had to do.

©2012 Maria S. Still got that belly, but we're not concerned that it's FIP.

Miraculously, through a twist of fate and our foster mom, Maria's careful observation, we were led down a path to a possible answer. It was NOT FIP, but a double-whammy parasitic infection along with a very nasty upper respiratory infection. We began treatment right away and sure enough, Tater's condition began to improve.

©2012 Maria S. Mugging for Maria.

Tater began to EAT again, then began to play; two big signs he might survive. The Vet finally took the FIP diagnosis off the table and we all breathed a sigh of relief for the remainder of July. Sadly, a few days ago Tater relapsed or is battling something new.

Tater was carefully examined. His lung sounds were not good. The Vet wanted to take x-rays and do blood work. We had that done and the Vet decided to put Tater on strong antibiotics for the next THREE weeks. This poor kitten can't catch a break. I asked if we had to consider the FIP diagnosis once again-terrified of the answer.


The Vet feels it's not FIP, but it IS a very serious upper respiratory infection which could turn into pneumonia.


©2012 Maria S. and Robin A.F. Olson. Check in with Tater, ChiChi and Latte, too.

Due to the costs for care and to also provide care for Willow, who is still struggling with a URI,

we're going to ask a tiny favor—for EVERYONE to consider donating the price of a cup of coffee to help us top off the Tater Tot Fund.


The ChipIn for the fund is below and is also in the RIGHT sidebar on my blog. PLEASE do not feel badly if you can't donate at this time. That's why we're only asking that everyone chip in a small amount. That way it will add up to a great donation if everyone takes part!

sammy and tater.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Tater getting some comfort from his new buddy, Sammy.

Your donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE as my rescue, Kitten Associates is a 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Tater Tot" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Any funds not used for the care of this family will go into our General Fund.

©2012 Maria S. Love that little curl in Tater's tail.


Thank you for helping us, help Tater. We couldn't do it without your support!


The Road Home is Paved with Love Part 2 of 2

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Traffic, traffic, traffic.

Judy needed time to think about it. Adding another cat to the mix should always be considered soberly and not in haste. As much as I wanted Judy to adopt King, I couldn't push her to do so. I told her to take some time and think about it. It ended up taking two weeks. During that time Judy asked me “what ifs” and I did my best to help her not feel pressured. Just before the end of June, on the anniversary of my sweet tuxedo kitty Stanley's passing, Judy said YES.

I made the reservation for King to get on the next transport north (as far as Connecticut) and let Maria know the good news. I decided to drive King from my home to New Hampshire so I could do the home visit and make sure King arrived safely. You can read about King's difficult trip and arrival to Connecticut HERE.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sabrina & King meet.

On Thursday, Sam and I took the day off to make the four hour trip to Concord, New Hampshire. The violent thunderstorms the day before had finally cleared and King had been here long enough to feel settled and eat normally. I knew it was not going to be easy on King to move him only five days after he arrived, but at least he didn't have to travel from Georgia to New Hampshire without any break. I also think that it was good for King to meet the kittens. It seemed to perk him up each time they entered his room. He'd stand the second he saw them, then walk over to them as best he could. Noses would touch, the kittens would run off to play. King would settle back down, but I swear he had a smile on his face.

King and Sabrina.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sabrina meets King and the two bond instantly.

I set up a carrier for King with a double layer of puppy housebreaking pads on top of a soft towel. King HATES to be in the car, which he proved by peeing BEFORE we even left the DRIVEWAY. Sadly, King can't stand up to pee while he's traveling so he pees in place. The poor cat soiled himself he was so scared.

What Kitty.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello? Anyone in there?

I got King cleaned up and tried to soothe his nerves. I covered him with another clean housebreaking pad and he seemed to calm down. For the next four hours King remained motionless. The only sound he made was when I uncovered him every so often to check on him. He'd look at me and moan pitifully. I petted him and he did his best to enjoy it, but he was too frightened to relax.

As Sam drove, I kept saying to myself that I hoped this home wasn't from an episode of Hoarders, that Judy was as nice as she sounded, that it worked out well enough so that I could leave King there and not be worried about his future. I had to prepare myself to tell Judy to her face that I could not go through with the adoption. I had to be brave. If it didn't work out, I'd just be clear and take King home.

King in Carrier.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wishing he was anywhere but inside a car…

We arrived a few minutes after 4PM. Judy's house is a cozy, mint green Cape Cod style house that was built around the turn of the last century. I took a deep breath and tried to steady my nerves. This was it; the moment we'd been praying for. I knocked on the door and waited a beat. A moment later the door opened and a very cheerful woman answered saying her name was Lynne and that she was Judy's sister. As she welcomed us into the house, Judy appeared, clearly happy and excited as she tried to get a look into the carrier to see King. Sam held up the carrier as Judy and Lynne both “squeed” with delight.

Reaching in to pet King.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Judy gives King his first belly rub.

Judy brought us upstairs to King's temporary room. The second I looked around I realized this was going to work out. The room was small and had cheerful blue painted walls. There was carpeting, as Judy promised, but it wasn't ugly at all. It was quite nice. Judy had put out a new litter pan with the litter King is accustomed to using. There was a clean bowl with water, a new cat bed, a cat scratcher and another cat bed. There was a large futon in the room and one of those “papasan” chairs everyone has or knows someone who has one from Pier One. (My brother had one of those chairs when he first got married.)

I put King's crate down and opened the door. King came out cautiously and looked around at all of us. I"ll be dammed but that cat can MOVE! In a flash he was in the far corner behind the futon! I moved the futon away from the wall and sat on the floor near King. He was trying to make himself invisible by putting his head under an end table, but the rest of his body was comically sticking out. I petted him for a few minutes and we all discussed what to do. I asked Judy to sit with him and I got out of the way. I was passing ownership over to her and this was the first moment she'd get to touch her new cat.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Yasmin, King's new sister, getting her brush on.

Judy cautiously touched King, then, as he relaxed a bit, she began to explore his head and back with her fingers. We were all talking to King and telling him he was a good boy. Judy's sister couldn't resist being away from King so she came over to join in the petting, sitting opposite her sister on the floor.

For a good hour we talked, petted King and got to know each other better. The more Lynne and Judy spoke, the more I liked them and liked their family. They were both clearly dedicated to providing the best care for their cats. They were lively and cheerful and had that sweet sisterly banter that made me homesick for the family I no longer have.

King managed to get away and hide in a pile of boxes that Judy was storing in the same room. It took some time but we got him out, then re-worked the location of the boxes so King couldn't do it again. I put King into a cardboard box turned on its side and placed a cat bed in the box. I put King on the bed and petted him for a few moments then Lynne sat with him and petted him. Lynne must have magic fingers. Before too long, King was falling asleep. Judy pretended to get miffed that her sister “hogged” time with King, but it was all in good fun. When Judy took a turn petting King, he was out cold.

Traffic accident.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. It took 6 hours to get home due to accidents and road construction. We arrived at 1AM, but it was worth the long drive to make certain King was settled in his new home.

We decided it was time to make the final decision and it was clear Judy made it before we even got there. I knew this would be a good home for King-one full of love and one where he would get whatever he needed. If he couldn't manage the carpeted stairs, then Judy said she would carry him downstairs during the day and bring him upstairs at night. Hopefully Judy's cats would come to accept and hopefully be friendly with King. We discussed at length about letting it take the time it needed to take and not be on some deadline. Judy was going to try and that's all we could hope for. It's was up to the cats to see how they would get along. I knew King would want a friend and would accept the girls. We had to be patient and hope the girls would see what we all did-what a great cat King is and give him a chance.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. It's been a long road for King, but well worth the journey.

I didn't have much of a farewell with King. I went to check on him before I left and he was sitting behind the futon, but not in the corner. I told him goodbye, but I'd kissed him and told him I loved him in the car, so I was ready to go. I didn't want to distress him by grabbing him and getting a photo of us together. Cameras seem to scare King so I didn't push it, though I was disappointed. Judy didn't want her photo taken so I teased her and said I'd do an “artist's interpretation” of the two of them together in lieu of a photo. She promised to stay in touch and let me know how King was doing.

All sweetness and light King.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. This image is burned in my heart and how I will always think of King.

We said our goodbyes to Judy and Lynne and got in the car to head home. As Sam turned the car around, I saw a large lilac in the corner of the yard. It faced the street and stood as a sentinel guarding Judy's home. To me it was the last sign I needed—my Mother was telling me again that this was the right place. She loved lilacs. There must be a hundred photos of her standing near a lilac or holding them in her hands. I didn't question whether or not I did the right thing. It was clear that King was home. His long journey escaping a cruel life at a palette factory in Georgia was over. He would never be hungry or scared or without love ever again.


Have a wonderful life, King. It's been an honor to know you.



Did You Vote copy.jpg

The Road Home is Paved with Love Part 1 of 2

I picked up all the bedding and loaded it into the washing machine, then added bleach to the load and pressed the small grey buttons to change the setting to “hot water.” I closed the door and the machine hummed to life making odd clicks and whirring sounds.

I grabbed the broom and started to sweep the floor, getting lost in the ritual that is so familiar to me now. When one cat leaves, I prepare the space so the next cat can arrive. It can take an hour or a few hours depending on how sick the previous tenant was or how messy they were in the litter pan.

Although I like to put things right and enjoy seeing bright surfaces shine, I can't help but reflect, missing the cat who is no longer with me.


Even though I didn't know him that well, in a short time I came to love him and perhaps moreso, admire him. He might feel afraid, but he'd work past it. I was always able to pet him even if he was scared. He never once nipped me or clawed me. He didn't care if I rubbed his paws or his belly. He talked to me some times when he was fearful by uttering a mournful, deep meow. I'd comfort him right away because I wanted to gain his trust-which he freely gave me. He'd settle down and go back to mooching another ear-scritch from me in moments.

What a special cat.

A few months ago I got an email from a woman named Judith. She was inquiring, only, not ready to even consider filling out an adoption application, for one of my foster cats. I admit I'm a person who sees, or perhaps tries to find, the interconnectedness in all things. When I saw her name, something clicked. Her name was my Mother's-Judith and my Mother's maiden name was King.

The cat she was inquiring about was named King.

Coincidence? Sure. A human searching for the pattern in things. Sure. But there was more than that and my heart recognized it, even if a scientist couldn't have run a test to prove it.

Judy explained that she read Covered in Cat Hair and saw King's story. She was so moved by his struggles that she had to reach out to me to see if anyone had come forward to offer to adopt him. Sadly, in four months (six months as of this post), no one had. Judy has two other cats; Sassy a fearful calico who was hoping to find a kitty-buddy to play with and Yasmin, the boss, the long haired tuxedo beauty who might not take kindly to a stranger. Judy wasn't sure if her home was right for King, but she did offer that she had wall to wall (in her words “ugly”) carpeting which was one thing King required to be able to move around.

I let Judy know that we guarantee our adoptions for life and if it didn't work out I would take King back. She had to think about it but shortly after our email exchange, she filled out the Pre-Adoption Application. On paper she looked good, but there was a catch-Judy lives in New Hampshire. I insist on doing home visits. It was 200 miles to her house. This could be a problem.

I called Judy's Vet (who I found out later is a single guy and very cute which is only important to know if you live in New Hampshire and prefer your Vet to to be a hottie). His Vet Tech gave me a glowing review and said he wished Judy would adopt HIM she was so great. Judy had pushed back on her Vet when Yasmin became diabetic. It was Judy who demanded to change Yasmin's diet to a grain free canned diet, going against the recommendation to feed her grained D/M dry food. Judy's research ended up putting Yasmin into remission from Diabetes. This is someone I'd want to adopt one of my foster cats! If only she would say YES!

Find out what Judy decides in part two…

Did You Vote copy.jpg

King of My Heart

It's hard to believe that we rescued King from a palette factory in Georgia six months ago. In that time, King has been transformed from a thin, filthy rag of a cat into a lovely, chubby cuddlebug.

On way to transport.jpg
©2012 Maria S. King getting settled prior to transport.

King is very special to me, even from afar. Knowing he must have had a difficult life living outside, handicapped by a deformity that robbed him of his hind paws, made me imagine the worst. How he must have suffered trying to get around with two stumps for back legs-especially with trucks, cars and fork lifts buzzing around him. How did he manage? How did he not get run over and killed? How is it that he's so darn friendly? I know the folks at the factory fed him scraps when they could and they put a piece of cardboard down under an outdoor staircase so he's have some sort of shelter, but someone handled this cat. That much is clear.

scared on truck.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Not so sure about going for a long ride.

Six months is a long time to be in foster care waiting for a forever home, but Maria and I both knew that finding King the right home wasn't going to be easy. In fact, a small rescue like mine shouldn't even take on anything other than cute little easy-to-adopt-out kittens. We don't have the staff or the foster home space to take on a cat we can't find a home for within a short amount of time. If we had a brick and mortar shelter we COULD take on more adults. If we took on as few as three adults who would be tough to place, it would prevent us from saving MANY more kittens from Kill Shelters. It's a very tough place for us to be in, but I know in time we'll take on more adults when we have the resources. I'll still help the few I can and get the word out on other adults I can find another rescue to take on.

©2012 Maria S. Maria watches the transport make it's way north.

But King had something about him, from the moment Bobby called me, describing this cat's plight. Bobby had seen him a year ago, then not again for a long while. When he saw him again, he knew he had to ask me, knowing full well that this is not a cat I can usually help. I understood that taking King on would cause some issues for us, but I couldn't say no. I'd never sleep at night thinking about him out there struggling to survive.

I had lots of questions and concerns. What could I do for him? Would he need surgery? Was he semi-feral? What was I getting myself into? I'd cared for a cat who had a limb amputated but not one without back feet who could not walk on a floor unless it was carpeted.

Getting a puppy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I saw many black dogs come off the transport. Black animals in the south still carry the stigma of being bad luck.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. King arrives, though not very happily.

On Saturday, King's transport arrived. Whatever concerns I had about him would be put to the test. The Vets and Specialist declared there was nothing more to be done for him. What would I do with a cat who couldn't jump or run around-who could only travel as far as I placed rugs or towels on the floor? Would I feel strange touching him…seeing his back legs end prematurely into rounded stumps that showed signs of a paw pad and deformed toes-but which didn't function as such?

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Meet King.

The trip was tough on King. He was crying and upset off the transport because it was filled with barking dogs. I HATE to put him through that, but the trip ends and the damage to his nerves won't last forever. It's a necessary evil if I want to get King here reliably and safely for a reasonable amount of money.

gettin scratched.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting to know King.

King was clearly confused and upset, but once he was in the car with me, without the sound of the dogs, he got very quiet and just sat towards the back of his carrier. I spoke to him as we drove along, but he didn't move or make a peep.

King and my leg.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. He loves to be loved. King has a heart of gold.

I brought him upstairs to the bathroom which would be his temporary home. He hid and cried.

I got him something to eat and sat with him. I wasn't sure I could pet him, but I had to try. The second I touched him, he softened up and pushed his head back into my hand. I scratched his neck and he flopped down on his side, rolling against me. It took a few minutes, but I coaxed him out of his hiding place. Watching him walk made me sad. His little back legs can't get a grip on a smooth surface so he slipped a little bit trying to reach the cat bed I'd put out for him. He climbed into the bed. It was the first time I really got a good look at him.

All sweetness and light King.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. You know what King wants!

King gained FIVE POUNDS since we rescued him and I could feel the weight of him as I stroked his back, then his sides. He quickly turned over, opening himself to me by showing his belly. He had no reservation allowing me to pet him there, too. He wriggled around, keeping eye contact with me. He loved being scratched under the chin and behind his ears. If I hit a certain “right” spot, his back leg would twitch and dig at the air, just as a dog would do.

King on his pink throne.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Chillaxin' on his "throne."


My heart sank as I realized King could not scratch himself, EVER. He had no way to do that. Of course he'd LOVE it if someone would scratch him so I spent a long time scratching every part of his head and neck, allowing his twitchy back legs to guide me to the right places.


The longer I scratched, the happier King got. He seemed grateful for this small gesture. He couldn't get up and run off or jump on the cat tree and look out the window. He could sit next to me and be my buddy and he seemed fine with that and I did, too.

The look of love.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Such a good boy! (by the way, King is going to the Vet this morning to re-check why his third eyelids are showing)

Although I still feel sad when I see King's back legs, it hit me all of a sudden-of course it really didn't matter that he's handicapped. He's a great cat, paws or no paws. King doesn't know what he's missing. He never had it in the first place. He doesn't let that stop him from living his life to the fullest.

King is here today because Bobby and Maria offered to help him, but the gravity of this rescue hit me. If I hadn't said; “I've got your back-yes I'll take you into my rescue,” this never would have happened. I looked down at King. He flipped over and showed me his belly again. He looked into my eyes and in that moment nothing else mattered. As the tears slid down my cheeks, I fell in love with this cat. This once miserable wreck of a beast, with no hope in his life, laying before me, completely surrendering himself to me, trusted me to do right by him-and I know I did. I felt honored. I felt humbled. I felt hopeful that a cat as sweet and gentle as King would find his forever home soon…

…maybe sooner than I imagined.

Did You Vote copy.jpg


Subscribe to RSS - Georgia Rescue