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Choco News!


I have really good news! He had no signs of keytones when they checked him at 3:00. He was very happy to see me and was all over me. Potassium is back to normal and I brought him some food to eat. Boy o boy was he hungry. We only gave him a half a can to start and he was definitely wanting the whole can. I also brought his insulin and gave him a shot after he ate. He still needs to go to my regular vet in the morning but it looks like he will be coming home tomorrow!!!

©2011 Maria S. Choco with food on his face! A good sign after what he went through yesterday.

Of course, this is SUPER AWESOME NEWS and it's SUPER AWESOME that MANY OF YOU JUMPED RIGHT IN TO HELP MARIA WITH HER SUPER-LOUSY VET BILL! We're still trying to raise another $700.00 or so, so if you can help out, we would VERY MUCH APPRECIATE IT!

©2011 Maria S. Choco. Glad to see his MAMA!

It's tough to put into words just how much Maria does for at-risk cats. She is one of the best-she LOVES all cats and will do anything to help them. It's OUR TURN to help her!

©2011 Maria S. The ever-too familiar steel cage, but at least this time we KNOW this kitty HAS a loving home. Hs'e not in a kill shelter, thanks to Maria!.

Here's the LINK to the donation info. Remember that the PayPal email address they use does NOT have an EXTRA SPACE IN IT. The email address has the extra space to prevent spammers, so DO READ THE DONATION INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU TRY TO DONATE! THANK YOU ALL!!


Over the past year that I've been rescuing cats from Kill Shelters in Georgia, there have been a few people behind the scenes who make most of my rescues possible. One of my team members is Maria. If you read my blog, even just once in awhile, you know Maria's name.

Maria is my uber-foster Mom---the one I can load up with sick kittens, who never once complains about it, who frets over them and who takes days off work, to give them the best care possible. She will do just about anything and then some, to rescue a cat out of harm's way. Every week she volunteers to clean cages at the local Petsmart to help out another rescue group, even after a long day at work when doing so gets her home late at night.

She also let me know where to get Vet care done for less cost. She knows the value of a dollar, since she doesn't have many to her name. Like so many who do rescue, she cares not about herself, but her animals.

Maria even served our Country! Yep, she was in the Air Force! Maria is a tough cookie and works hard. Nothing seems to phase her, so when she called me today and was crying on the phone, I knew something terrible was going on.

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©2010 Maria S. Choco a few months ago, enjoying his new Catio.

Maria's cat, Choco, was diagnosed with Diabetes just last week. Jennifer, the Treasurer and a Board Members of Kitten Associates, contacted her friend, Venita at Diabetic Cats in Need. They were able to give Maria a lovely donation of tools she'd need to begin the daily blood glucose monitoring her cat would need. It really helped her alot, so way to go, Jennifer and Venita at DCIN!

©2010 Maria S. Maria adopted Choco, partially because Black cats just don't get adopted in the South. What a loss it would have been if she hadn't rescued him!

Then, this morning, Choco was hunched over and wouldn't eat. Something was terribly wrong. Maria rushed him to her Vet where they diagnosed him as having Ketoacidosis. This is a life-threatening, potentially fatal situation and the Vet couldn't provide 24 hr care, so Maria had to rush him to Southern Cresent Animal Emergency Clinic.

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©2011 Maria S. Choco, today.

You know the kind of place I'm referring to..the type that really wants to care for the inside of your wallet, then they'll look at your pet. The problem, as I know all too well, Maria's wallet isn't very full. She's desperately trying to put together some money to cover Choco's care and I really want to help her make this happen.

The estimate is $1800.00-$2700.00!!!Choco may need to be hospitalized for a few days. Many years ago this happened to our own, Spencer, the mascot of Covered in Cat Hair and he almost died. I was very lucky I had help to get the Vet bill taken care of or I would have lost Spencer.

Maria was able to get Care Credit to cover some of the bill, but not all over it. We need to do a fundraiser for her for, at least another $1500.00. DCIN has begun fundraising for Choco's care.

©2011 Maria S. Let's Help Choco!

You donation IS tax deductible. Maria is a wonderful person and we need to lend her a helping paw for all she does for cats in need.

Please visit THIS page on DCIN's web page to make a donation. Make sure you mark your donation "FOR CHOCO" so they know where to direct the funds.

If it's not a good time to make a donation, please share this post with your friends and family and help us get the word out on this lovely cat who needs our support.


Love to all, Robin

Not on My Watch: Okay, Not on Our Foster Mom's Watch!

With all the craziness going on with Bob, a family full of sick (YES, STILL SICK) kittens and a lovely 4-week-long sinus infection giving me an unGodly headache, the LAST thing I need is to do, well, pretty much anything. I really want to go to bed for the day and just SLEEP.

But, we have some work to do, first.

I got an email from our uber-foster-mom in Georgia a few nights ago about a beautiful cat at Henry County. She's been there for a few weeks. Happily not all their cages are filled to capacity right now, so the cat has had some luck on her side. We know that sooner or later, her luck will run out. Although we don't often have the ability to rescue an adult, we love to make exceptions.

This cat is certainly an exception. Just one look at her and you'll be in love! How could we NOT help her?

©2010 Henry County Care & Control.

This girl, has the BEST front paw coloring I've ever seen!

Her name is Amelia. Our dear, Bobby, busted her out of the kill shelter an hour ago and got her over to the Vet for a check up. As of this moment she is FREE from a cage and will be starting her new life in foster care, then she'll come to Connecticut where our dear friends at Animals in Distress are going to take her into their shelter and get her a new home (if I don't find her one first!).

Please welcome: Amelia. Kitten Associates FIRST rescue of 2011!


But wait...there's more coming! We helped save a few MORE kitties! Details about them coming your way soon!

Foster Cat Journal: Noelle After Surgery

Please accept this “aww-some” photo of Noelle in lieu of my Year-in-Review wrap-up post. I just finished making cat beds with some of my cat-lady friends and I'm talked out. I'll have LOTS to share with you tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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©2010 Foster Mama. Noelle resting on her bed after surgery.

In the meantime I'd like to wish Noelle's dear foster Mom a Happy Birthday! She's a New Year's Baby and has been taking great care of our little angel. Foster mom reports that she is a very sweet cat, very snuggly and no where near the frightened feral we thought she might be.

Noelle has 2 inches left on her tail and the infection is now gone. She's using her litter pan, which means she probably does NOT suffer any nerve damage in her rear end after the trauma she suffered being stuck under the hood of a car AFTER the engine was started!

This little beauty, didn't stand a chance at surviving, but yet somehow she did. With the support and love from so many of you, I was able to take her out of death row and tens days of absolute agony, to a warm, safe home where she'll stay until she can come to Connecticut and find that forever home she deserves. Super Deb has a mad crush on her. If she had a bigger place to live, I think we'd already have this girl adopted. With Super-Deb on her side, I just know we'll get this cutie a great home as soon as we can.

As ever, we'll keep doing what we do and appreciate very much all the support you provide to me and the cats throughout the year. We are blessed.


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: 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: 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!

Foster Cat Journal: Finding Faith

I don't know how Maria doesn't go nuts from the stress of caring for Polly and her family, as well as caring for some other fosters and her own cats. I don't know how I can handle the stress of being too far away to help lend a hand and can only supply her with food and supplements and a word or two of encouragement, while I try to figure out what else we can do to help these kittens get well.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Polly's eyes aren't quite as swollen. Hopefully the start of good things to come.

This is a practice of learning to have faith-and from someone born into a family where one parent was Jewish and the other was Catholic, well, let's just say, faith didn't come up much. We were told to choose a religion or not. My parents didn't push their beliefs on us (but man, do I know about GUILT!). Before I get into any delicate topic, I can just say that although I find issue with many religions, the one thing I can say is I never learned to have faith that things could turn out all right. If I had been exposed to religion, I think that would have come more easily to me.

Polly is getting maybe a tiny bit better, certainly not worse, as far as outward appearance. She and her siblings have lost weight. It's to be expected, but I hope it's not a trend.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cara grows worse, but hopefully will never get as bad as Polly.

Mazie is stable-of course, she's the Mama and has an intact immune system. Cara is worse, sadly, and Chester seems to be holding his own.

The kittens aren't eating by themselves. They have to be syringe-fed. They have taken well to the syringe, but it can't last. They have to learn to lap their food up and feed themselves, but they probably won't do that until they have a sense of smell again...and when that will be, we don't know.

They all had to go back to the Vet, again, on Saturday to re-check Polly's eyes and to refine the instructions on their proper feeding and to make sure none of them were in danger.

Maria shared a video with me of the babies. Polly is featured. She's doing a bit better now, but she has a long way to go before any of us are going to sleep well.

Tomorrow I'll share another video of the kittens having a nap. Yes, watch the kittens napping. I love it. They are so adorable. I want to kiss each one and tell them to have faith that it will be all right. They won't understand what I mean and in some ways, neither will I; but I'm willing to learn and this is as good a time as any.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Chester and Polly and Cara comfort each other while waiting at the Vet's office.


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