You are here

Rainbow Bridge

The Baroness von FiFi

Today is the day I think of you with tears in my eyes. I mark the calendar. I count it out on my fingers. I wonder how nine years have slipped by without you in my life. I think about the last day. I don’t want to, but I cannot forget it. I think about all the other last days I’ve had to witness since you’ve been gone, my Mother, cats: Stanley, Taz, Sasha, little kittens too young to have names, Bob Dole, Bobette, so many others.

I worry about the ones to come.

©2001 Robin A.F. Olson. My lovely, Squeegee.

You were my “before-cat”—before I knew about raw feeding and that the grain in your dry food was the culprit, causing your diabetes. It left you overweight and demanded I learn about giving you shots of insulin every day to keep you alive. If I had known I could have saved you simply by changing your food, even to just grain free canned food, you might still be with me today. You might never have gotten cancer, which when it entered your lungs, I knew the time we shared together was coming to an end.

squeegee_shadow copy.jpg
©2001 Robin A.F. Olson. Squeegee finds her place in the sun.

You were before I had the courage to foster more than a single cat, when I worked long hours away from home, hiring a pet sitter to stay with you each day so you wouldn’t be lonely. Back then it was just you, me and Stanley, my sweet tuxedo cat who died a few months after you did.

It was back when I had a life. I could leave the house for more than a day and not worry. My hair wasn’t falling out in clumps. The quilted lines under my gray eyes hadn’t even begun to form.

Robin and Squeegee.jpg
©2003 Judith K Feminella. I asked my Mother to take some photos of Squeegee once I found out she only had a few months left to live. I'm so glad I have these keepsakes of us together.

Part of my sadness is linked to missing the simplicity of my old life and you represented that life. You were also the last connection I had to my marriage, what there was of one. He didn’t even know you were sick, nor cared that you were slipping away. Now he’s on that list of last days, too, with cancer of the salivary glands and no health insurance to save his life.

My Angel, Squeegee.jpg
©2003 Robin A.F. Olson. A few hours before I had to put Squeegee down, she climbed onto the bed for the first time in months. The lung cancer was so bad she could hardly move, let alone jump on the bed. I took it as her way of saying goodbye, a gift I will always cherish.

I care that he’s sick and I ache because he suffers. I ask myself how anyone can grow old and not have so much pain in their heart from witnessing one loss after another that they have any happiness left? I honestly don’t know the answer to that any more.

You were the cat I didn’t want who ended up being my best friend and deeply treasured companion. You had a silly meow, which earned you your name; Squeegee, but you deserved more, so after some time I added: “The Baroness von FiFi.” You should have a regal, elegant name even if you weren’t a purebred cat.

Robin and Squeegee 1990 Polaroid.jpg
©1990 Robin A.F. Olson. Squeegee and I take a nap without a worry in our hearts, a very long time ago.

You should have lived longer than 13 years, but that was before. I know better now and because of you, hundreds, if not thousands of cats will never have to suffer the way you did. They’ll have healthier lives, longer lives, better lives.

I mourn the fact that I couldn’t give you the gift of a healthier life, but I honor your memory today by sharing your story with others.

squeegee on the bed.jpg
©2003 Robin A.F. Olson. Farewell, my sweet.

Squeegee, the Baroness von FiFi, thank you for inspiring me to be a better pet parent and for being my inspiration and the reason why I’ll never stop writing about the importance of feeding a species appropriate diet to cats.

I miss you so very much, Fifi. Until we meet again…

Forever in My Heart

It’s been less than a day since our former foster girl Bobette, who was named Kissy after she was adopted in May, passed away. Just typing those letters, “p-a-s-s-e-d” makes me cry. I’m still in shock and still hoping someone will call me and tell me it was just a bad dream, that the Vets figured out a way to save our sweet pumpkin girl and she’s going to be okay—but no one calls.

The events leading up to Kissy’s death, I’ll leave to her “mama,” JaneA Kelley of Paws & Effect to write about. This is her story to tell, with her cat. My post is about my reflections about a foster cat who just barely a year ago arrived in my home, with her three young sons. They’d reached the part of their rescue-story where all the shots are done, they are spayed or neutered, and all that’s left is for them to just have fun and wait for their adopters to find them. It’s usually the part of the story where we all can relax, knowing the worst is over and the best is yet to come.

AC 9.14.11 001.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant. A stray cat dumped at a Kill Shelter with her six newborn kittens waits for rescue.

Kissy didn’t have an easy life. I wrote a great deal about her and her boys, Jakey, Mikey & Teddy…and their three siblings, who passed away a few days after we rescued them from a Kill Shelter in Georgia. If you do a search on Covered in Cat Hair using the phrase: “Bobette” you can read all the stories, but here are a few: Life in the Pumpkin Patch
Bobette's Secret Pain
Harvest Time for Bob's Pumpkin Patch
and the Cat Writers' Association Certificate of Excellence winning: It Had to be You about Kissy's adoption.


Kissy was rescued in honor of my cat, Bob Dole, after he passed away in September of 2011. He was a beautiful, brilliant orange Maine Coon tabby mix with piercing green eyes. When I saw Kissy’s photo and her brilliant orange coat and piercing green eyes, I knew I had to rescue her and her family...which also explains why she was originally named, Bobette.

AC 9.14.11 003.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Not eating for four days, Bobette was in dire straights.

Thanks to Maria, I had a foster home for the family until they were ready to come to Connecticut. Thanks to Bobby Stanford, I had someone to go bust this kitty and her babies out of the shelter before they got sick or were euthanized. The pieces fell in place. It was meant to be.

Kissy was far too thin and far too young to bear the burden of having six kittens. She began to recover and eat again, but after the loss of three of her kittens perhaps part of her shut down. She was a good mother for a time, but as the remaining boys grew, her love for them waned. She taught me that not all mothers and kittens suffer being separated. In fact, Kissy did better without her boys, though I know they missed her a lot.

Lunch Rush.jpg
©2011 Bobby Stanford. Moments after rescue.

Kissy was just 9 months old when she had her kittens. I couldn’t blame her for wanting to be away from them, as she was barely a kitten herself.

Yesterday when JaneA called me and told me that Kissy had passed away, I broke down and sobbed, completely heartbroken. In that moment I realized something that I’d known for a long time, but perhaps was too close to it to see the truth—Kissy had taught me something else, my foster cat hadn’t just died, MY CAT just died.

Nursing the boys.jpg
©2011 Maria S. Safe in Maria's home Kissy can finally relax.

The pain I was feeling was why many people can’t foster cats. They fall in love with them along the way and they can’t bear to be parted from them when the time comes. I realized that all these years of fostering cats that I truly do love each and everyone just the same and just as much as I love the cats who live with me for their entire lives, not just for a few months.

Family copy.jpg
©2011 Maria S. Kissy and her boys.

Each foster cat charms me, delights me, challenges me to learn more, to make fewer mistakes, to remember to cherish each day. I fall in love with each foster cat, not just a little, but fully, completely. I can’t build a wall to protect myself from how I feel about them. Instead of running away from that fear, I push into it. It does me no good to hide from feelings. In facing them head on, perhaps I gain some gentleness about saying goodbye when they get adopted.

Bobette after spay.jpg
©2011 Maria S. Her spay surgery over, Kissy relaxes in a comfy bed at Maria's.

When I go for a drive, I often pass homes where my foster cats now live. They are still my cats, they just live with other families. I still feel the tether that connects us. I sense they’re out there and they’re okay and because of that, I’m okay, too.

Bobettes Intense Stare.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Finally in my home, Kissy and I get to know each other.

Maybe I’ve been kidding myself for a long time that I love my foster cats, but never enough so I can’t let them go. It’s not true. I love them no less than my own, I’ve just been practicing letting go and rationally telling myself that I must do this so I can help more. It always hurts, but the pain is bittersweet because I know they'll be happy where they're going.

Bobette and the Boys.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Family portrait with proud mama.

Bobette and Mikey copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Kissy and son, Churchy (formerly Mikey).

Bobette in Cast on Sam sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Lap time with Sam as Kissy recovers from her corrective surgery. In the end, the surgery didn't help Kissy live more comfortably. Her leg was too deformed to be corrected.

Kissy only lived for two years. She knew a lot of pain in that time, but in the last year she knew a lot of love; love from Maria, me, Sam and finally her true mama-JaneA. She knew it from her fans and friends online who were rooting for her surgery to go well and for her to take her first steps without pain. That didn’t get to happen. We’re all shocked and terribly sad that Kissy’s story didn’t get to have the happy ending we all wanted for her. Frankly, I can't stop crying about it.

Lovey Face copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Such a good girl.

Kissy’s short life will not be in vain. I don’t know what I’m going to do right now, but I’ll be doing something to honor her. Kissy taught me a lot and made me realize I was foolish to think that love could be restricted or spooned out in measured amounts. It’s all or nothing and I loved that cat completely. I will never forget her and I thank her for what she taught me. Maybe we’ll meet again one day? I can only hope so.

For now I share my grief with those of us who fought hard to give her a great life and who will keep fighting for other cats so that they may have the same chance Kissy did. She will never be forgotten and always be in my heart.

Lounging Lady copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fly free, my sweet. No more pain.

We Love You, Kissy.

More on this heartbreaking news another time. I'm crying too much to write.

Lovely Bobette RIP copy.jpg

To Those I Cannot Save

Every day whether it be via email, a phone call or on Facebook, I get notified of cats and kittens in dire need of rescue. Some are owner-abandoned, some are found on the street wandering, seriously injured. Others are listed on Craigslist because they have behavioral issues or the family is moving and “can’t take them” or mysterious allergies pop up so the cat has to go. If they don’t get any help they will go to the shelter---and we all know what that implies---they may be euthanized.

This is a letter to all those cats.


Dear Cat ID# Unknown,

My heart is very heavy. I took it upon myself to open my home to helping cats like you. Cats who are hunkered down at the back of a stainless steel cage, with dilated pupils, cowering in fear. Cats who are too old to care and just sit, staring in their litter pan, hoping the smell of their own excrement will offer them a sliver of comfort in a place that is not their home. They are confused, lost, scared, hopeless. Some have newborn kittens clinging to them for nourishment and who are trying to protect them from the sounds of the shelter, the barking dogs, the smells of cleaning fluids and untouched cat food.

George Day One.jpg
©2012 Maria S. George's guardian lives in a very bad part of town and had taken him off the streets knowing full well she would get evicted for having a cat. She was also in hiding from an abusive relationship and was risking her own safety if she got evicted. My rescue group, Kitten Associates took him on because his next stop was going to be the kill shelter or being turned back to the streets.

I want to save your life, but I can’t. I’m so very sorry. I see your photo and you look like a perfectly nice kitty. You don’t deserve to sit there, waiting to die. I wish I knew something I could do to help you. There isn’t enough time in the day to send out pleas to everyone I know for every cat I discover who needs help.

I don’t want to be cliché and say, “If I had the space and money, I would save all of you,” because I don’t think that’s even possible to do by just one person. I have to measure what I can do versus what is needed. If I take too many, I am no help to anyone. As it is, my home is ruined from my own cats suffering from stress from a constant flow of incoming and outgoing cats, but it’s just urine-ruined floors. If that’s the price I pay to save lives, then so be it.

©2012 Bobby Stanford. 10 yr old Helmet was brought to the shelter. The owners were warned the cat would be euthanized if they surrendered him. Being over 10 years old he had no chance. I sent out a plea on Facebook and within a day we had three adopters interested. This is a rare WIN. There are so many requests for help on Facebook cats like Helmet get overlooked.

I’m not saying you’re not worth it, because you are. You are SO worth it. You are worth making a fuss over-every single one of you. You’re a sentient being. You forgive and forget. You can move on with little or no remorse. You are so much better than I can ever be, but I don’t have a way to help you so I have to delete this email or ignore this post on Facebook.

Even though I try not to see you, I do. Each time I “pass” on helping another one of you, it puts a little tear in my heart, which is already in tattered shreds.

Helmet Rescue.jpg
©2012 Bobby Stanford. Helmet, now named, Grayson, with his new, devoted family. I'm told he is doing really well and is already requesting belly rubs.

I feel so badly I can’t do more, but I aspire to, at least, but it’s getting harder and harder to know about all of you because this year is the worst I can remember in a long time. I know that mamas and their kittens are dying in record numbers this summer and into the autumn and that pains me in a way that nothing can make right again. I can’t stand seeing elderly cats given up by their families who turn a cold shoulder to them at a time when those cats should be cherished even more.

©2012 Bobby Stanford. This lovely pregnant cat was living outside in a very dangerous part of town. The owners of the apartment complex wanted her dumped at the heart stick kill shelter where she would die before her kittens were born.

What ever happened to “when the going gets tough, the tough get going?” No…you are disposable. I will never understand how anyone can think that of you.

©2012 Jennifer N. Another miracle rescue-Anastasia was offered a loving foster home ONE HOUR after I asked for help. This is another rare WIN for a sweet cat who deserves the best we can give her.

You are not a cat on death row-you are my cat. You would give me the world, your love, your heart. You would give me all that you are, every single one of you, but I can’t give you the same in return no matter how badly I wish I could.

No other rescues stepped forward to help you. They’re in the same bind. No one came to adopt you. You’re going to die today. I can’t do a damn thing about it other than cry and hate that we, as a society, decided euthanasia is the answer to overcrowded shelters.

Look at that belly.jpg
©2012 Jennifer N. Anastasia's due to give birth any time now. Thank goodness she's safe.

I recently learned that in Italy it’s against the law to euthanize a cat. The community has decided to take cat care on as a group. Everyone pitches in to help the cats. There are sanctuaries and adoptions and some cats just live outside without a home, but they are cared for and cared about.

Why can’t we do this, too? Because we’re selfish and don’t want cats ruining our plants or peeing on the front door. Or we don’t want to deal with spending a few extra dollars to put out food for the strays or ferals because then it becomes a bigger problem. We’d rather the cats just die, as long as we don’t see it happening, so we can focus on what WE want and what WE NEED, who cares about them?

Silver Tabby small.jpg
©2012 Betsy Merchant. Three days ago I learned about this kitty and MANY others at Henry County Care and Control. I wanted to help him but I didn't have time. Why would a cat like that have to be put down? It never makes sense.

We can shout all we want about spaying or neutering cats, but it falls on too many deaf ears. We can say “no kill!” but we don’t know that it often only means “no killing of adoptable animals” and that shelters can make rules that any animal over 7 is too old to be adopted so they can KILL those perfectly healthy, loving animals and still declare they are “no kill!”

We have to realize that millions of cats will die this year because we’re too lazy to get off our asses and really FIX this problem. It’s not an important issue compared to the economy, people losing their homes, losing their jobs, etc. There will always be another reason that is “more important” to focus on even though we COULD focus on this AND work on those other issues, too.

©2012 Betsy Merchant. I found out that they're putting cats down daily. This photo was haunting me, like so many others. I stopped what I was doing and begged a favor. As of this afternoon, THIS CAT IS BEING RESCUED by Kitten Associates and Animals in Distress, but I couldn't help the other 15 or more who don't have a chance.

To my dear cat who will die today, I failed you. We all failed you. We need to stop failing and start putting an end to this madness and start saying NO we don’t accept euthanasia as a solution for overcrowded shelters. We need to start opening our homes and accepting cats in to foster-NO MORE EXCUSES ABOUT IT BEING TOO PAINFUL TO LET THEM GO TO A NEW HOME BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO SUFFER THE EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT BEING BROKEN. Just do it.

©2012 Betsy Merchant. Three days ago I learned about this kitty and MANY others at Henry County Care and Control. I loved this cat's face. What a serene and beautiful cat. This post is dedicated to her and the thousands like her who didn't make it. She was euthanized two days ago because there wasn't enough room in the shelter.

I would much rather cry because my foster cat got adopted then if it died in a shelter because I refused to open my home up to fostering cats.

I’m so very sorry, kitty. Rest in Peace. Fly free.


If you want to help the cats of Henry County or the cats in your town, please consider opening your home to foster a cat for a rescue group or shelter. It's a magical thing to realize you truly are SAVING a LIFE.

Bob Dole. The First Anniversary.

Grief: a 5-letter word that describes a facet of human emotion triggered by the loss of a loved one. How long grief lasts or how powerful its’ effects can’t be measured. For some, a loss is understandable, expected, perhaps only bittersweet. It’s a gentle feeling often accompanied by saying things like; “they’re in a better place” or “they’re no longer suffering.”

For me, after the loss of my cat Bob Dole, the grief comes in fierce waves; arriving not on tidal terms, but seemingly random ones that knock me to my knees. I don’t think Bob’s in a better place. Being with me was better. Now he’s just gone.

©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob.

Bob died a year ago today after suffering from multiple forms of cancer which ravaged his FIV+ body. He died at home, with his family at his side. After he passed I went into a deep depression. Bob was my last living link to my Mother and now that was gone.

Bob had amazing charisma. Everyone recognized it when they met him. The second they heard his name was Bob Dole, they laughed, charmed by his silly name. Once they spent even a few moments with him, I could see the look on their face soften to one of utter adoration.

Bob was the kind of cat you just loved the second you met him. The cat purred all the time—this goofy, burbly, purr. Bob's last purr was a few hours before he died. I happened to have recorded the sound. I don't have the nerve to listen to it again, but I hope one day I can hear it and not be devastated.

Bob was in charge of all the cats and kept power until the last few months of his life. Bob was fearless from living for years outdoors, some of those on his own as a stray. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Bob wasn't neutered until he was well into adulthood. Though I am adamant that cats be spayed or neutered, I'm secretly glad there are probably baby Bob's out there somewhere.

Bob seemed more like a human wearing an orange long-haired coat, than he was a cat.

Bob on his chaise.jpg
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's favorite spot in the sun.

Grief grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you hard. It wakes you up or it makes you want to sleep until the feeling passes. Sadly, the feeling doesn’t really pass. It lies dormant, catching you off guard at odd times like on the first nice spring day when normally I’d put out the deck chairs and cushions so Bob would have a place to relax outside. I didn’t go out on the deck other than to fill the bird feeders. With Bob gone no one went out on the deck this year. I just couldn’t bring myself to set up the deck furniture. I didn’t want to set out the lime green cushions that reminded me of the color of Bob’s eyes. If I did that I knew I’d keep looking for him to appear, spread out on the chair, clearly loving life, not bothered to even look up if a bird flew right over his head.

Sweet Bob.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Near the end, ravaged by ringworm, Bob was still beautiful to me.

As I get older, I find that there’s more grief in my life than love or happiness. Doing cat rescue there is so much grief over the loss of newborn kittens or knowing those cats you’re trying to rescue don’t make it out of the shelter alive. I know so many “cat people” that of course their cats pass away, too and I share in their loss.

Some of my friends have died. I don’t feel “that old” where my friends should pass away or get stricken with cancer (which triggers a whole other form of grief).

It’s been a year since Bob died. I honored him by rescuing an orange tabby cat I named Bobette, along with rescuing her six newborn kittens. Three of the kittens passed away within the first few days—a tragic loss after just losing Bob. The others did well and all the cats have since been adopted into great, loving homes.

AC 9.14.11 003.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Cat at animal control who would later become the beloved Kissy of Paws and Effect. Her surviving kittens, Jakey, Teddy & Mikey are about to celebrate their first birthday with their families.

My friend Warren, of Royal Bobbles, honored Bob by creating a custom “Bob-blehead” of him as a gift. It’s something I will always cherish.

Bob and Candle and Shrine copy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Shrine for Bob featuring the custom sculpted Bobblehead on the left.

I’d like to do something more to honor Bob. Perhaps I’ll start a special fund for him or rescue more orange tabby cats. I’d like to do something positive with all this pain, but it’s a struggle not to let depression take over.

The energy in the house just doesn’t feel “right” any more. I can’t explain it. It’s not as if I don’t have any cats. There was something I felt in my heart that’s gone. There’s a queer emptiness to the house. The places where I’d often find Bob are empty. I can’t get over the feeling of wishing he would come back or that I could see him again, in all his magnificent glory, when he was healthy and well.

Give Bob a Hug Day_sm.jpg
©2006 Robin A.F. Olson. Not long after adopting him after my Mother passed away-Bob in his full glory.

Some people believe we see our loved ones again after we die. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know if that does happen that one day I will be covered in cat hair in heaven, too.

I miss you so much, Bob. I always will.

Trying to Move Heaven & Earth Part 1 of 2

I don’t feel like I can breathe. It’s 1pm. I haven’t eaten anything since last night. I feel like I’m going to collapse. I’m so wrung out and tired. I don’t want to hear the sound of my phone ringing or the tone that indicates I have an incoming text message. Every time I hear my phone chime, my heart races. What am I going to find out now? How much more can I take?

I barely stepped off the plane at JFK Airport when things started to race downhill. Opal, our rather feral, far too young mama, gave birth to a kitten last Monday. Cyndie, the foster mom, found the kitten laying on the tile floor, cool, but alive. She put the kitten with Opal, hoping Opal would care for her newborns. Twenty four hours later, Opal gave birth to 3 additional kittens.

The next three days were a blur of phone calls, texts, e-mails. Opal wasn’t caring for her kittens and we weren’t even sure if she had any milk to give them if she could. Opal was more and more fractious. Cyndie had a tough time intervening, but eventually was able to start bottle feeding the neonatal kittens to ensure they were getting some sustenance.

The challenges began to pile up. Cyndie couldn’t provide round-the-clock care to such young animals. Frankly, I couldn’t have done it, either. I started a frantic search to find a nursing mama cat we could either rescue (and take any of her kittens, too), or one we could put our four kittens with. There were no mamas to be found—all already had 5 or 6 kittens. We couldn’t put 4 more with them.

Baby 1.jpg
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. We need a name for this little kitten.

Cyndie called an old friend who had experience with newborns. She offered to take the kittens and give them all the care they needed. It would relieve Cyndie and give the kittens a better chance at surviving. Cyndie chose to only give her to the two most critical kittens, a boy who was born first, and a girl who was born last (Opal wouldn’t even clean off the amniotic sack on this kitten, who Cyndie initially feared was dead). The other two kittens appeared to be doing ok. Opal seemed to be feeding them, but no one was really sure since getting close to Opal meant getting clawed.

Meanwhile, two kittens were doing worse and worse. Then, on Thursday, the little boy passed away. We knew that the mortality rate for newborns is 30-40%, but it didn’t make what happened any easier. The little girl, Baby G., was not doing well, either. As if things couldn’t get worse for her, they did. The bottle feeder who was helping Cyndie had to rush to the hospital because her Mother had a bad gallbladder attack and had to have emergency surgery. Now Cyndie was alone with the ailing kitten and didn’t know what to do. She placed the kitten with Opal, who ignored her baby. When Cyndie looked at the little kitten, she realized the other two siblings were MUCH larger and clearly doing much better. A few hours passed and Opal had her leg over Baby G. Baby G. wasn’t nursing or doing much of anything. Something had to be done.

Baby opal in 2011.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Maria took this photo last year. This is Opal, just a kitten, before she became hateful of humans and had her kittens. It's so unfair to see this precious kitty and know her fate as it is now.

I have to take on the responsibility for ALL decisions for our foster cats and trying to do it from 1000 miles away is grueling. Not only do I emotionally support our volunteers, I have to help them make difficult choices and I have to KNOW what I’m talking about to do that…which would be fine IF I knew what I was talking about.

I took a Bottle Baby Bootcamp class at Tabby’s Place a few months ago and it dawned on me that Baby G. should be tube fed. Cyndie was massively sleep deprived and stressed out and didn’t feel this was a good option and that it could hurt the kitten. I had to try to draw from my own reserves to help her have faith that tube feeding was the best and possibly last option for Baby G. I wished I could have just taken the situation out of her hands so she could rest. We were both so tired, but in the end the buck stops with me. It was barely 6:30 AM on Friday the 29th. Not the best time to even be able to think (at least for me)

Cyndie rushed Baby G. to our Vet. They weren’t busy and could offer her supportive care until she stabilized. Over the course of the next few hours Baby G. was fed and got some fluids. She perked up and they thought she was going to improve so we made plans for them to keep her at the Vet partly so Cyndie could rest and partly so we could be sure Baby G. was stable before we brought her back to her mom.

The Vet graciously offered that one of their Vet Techs would take Baby G. home and tube feed her over the weekend. They would do it for NO COST, which truly was a blessing. I think everyone on Facebook started to feel like all their prayers and hopes were working. I did, too.

Early that evening, Cyndie called me. Baby G.’s temp started to fluctuate
wildly. Shortly thereafter Baby G. took her last breath and passed away.
I was speechless. What happened? I really thought we were going to save her life. How arrogant of me to think that! Now Baby G. would join her brother, the two would be cremated together. I found it ironic that the costs for the cremation would be more than what we spent for her Vet care. They would ship the ashes to me. I already have many little tin boxes of ashes and these two babies could rest with my cats, never to be forgotten.

Survivors with mom B.jpg
©2012 Cyndie Tweedy. Opal with the surviving kittens.

After many tears I hoped that perhaps we all could finally breathe? The stress gone, only our broken hearts remained. Over the past day, Opal had started to produce milk and eat a great deal of food, indicating that her milk production was strong. The two remaining kittens, a boy and girl, were twice the weight of the kittens who died. These two had a very good chance of making it. Opal, fiercely protective of her young, was in mom-mode now. We just had to keep her fed and keep an eye on the kittens, but she would do the rest for the next few weeks.

Sick tater 1.jpg
©2012 Maria S. Tater Tot on the way to the Vet.

Less than a day passed and Maria called me. She didn’t like the way Tater Tot was looking. His belly was big, his eyes runny, he seemed flat. She feared FIP. I didn’t want to accept that-who would? I asked if she de-wormed him and she said she had a few days ago when she first noticed his belly getting round.

The next 24 hours were spent in a mad dash to see if there was anything we could do to save Tater's life. Part two shares our roller coaster ride with you.

The Re-Birth of Bob Dole.

It's been almost eight months to the day that my beloved cat Bob Dole passed away. His death came slowly, from lymphoma and the return of a hepatic cancer that I thought had been surgically removed right after Christmas of 2010.

Bob's last year was bittersweet. His once magnificent coat was reduced to tattered ruin since he could not fight off a fungal infection because he also had FIV+ and his immune system was compromised. He grew thinner and weaker. The once boss of the household grew quieter and let others rule the roost. He ate less and less and even after months of chemo and other treatments, I had to syringe feed him. I knew nothing could save him, but I never stopped trying to give him another day…another good day. [You can read about Bob's last days-though it's a TISSUE WARNING multipart post, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE]

Give Bob a Hug Day_sm.jpg
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. My most beautiful Bob at 16 pounds of pure pouffy perfection.

When Bob passed away I lost a dear companion and part of my heart, even though we'd only spent five years together. Bob used to be my Mother's cat. After she died in 2006, I took Bob in and his presence was so grand that even now it feels empty in the house without him.

bob on deck_shaved.jpg
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. After a "lion cut" he looked so CUTE!

Bob was the greeter, the peacekeeper, the big love muffin and had the best purr I've ever heard. He had just the right amount of sass that just made everyone love him all the more. Whenever I said his name aloud, people's eyes would light up and they'd laugh. They asked funny questions about if Bob Dole, the cat, referred to himself in the third person as Bob Dole the former Vice President of the United States did (the answer was of course, yes).

Welcome to my Belly.jpg
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Welcome to mah belleh.

Even now it's very difficult for me to write about Bob, to look at photos of him, without crying. There will never be a new photo of Bob, his dazzling orange coat and lime green eyes sparkling with that “Puss in Boots” expression he gave me when he wanted a treat. Now his ashes lay inside a tin box I have in my living room. It sits next to some framed photos atop a glass shelf. When I can, I have a candle burning, too, in his honor, as if there was a chance I might forget him. He meant more to me than any cat I've known and will probably ever know again.

Shortly after Bob died, my friend and client, Warren Royal, contacted me. I've written about Warren and his wife Terri. These people have the biggest hearts and deepest love for cats. They've saved the lives of countless cats and taken a few of them into their home. They will stop at nothing to help a cat. You can read about them HERE and HERE.


Warren's company is called Royal Bobbles,™a premium bobblehead manufacturing company specializing in exquisite historic figures. I've designed a few of their outer cartons for Alfred Hitchcock, Mark Twain, Smokey Bear and the cast of American Pickers. They also create custom bobbleheads to celebrate weddings or birthdays or to use as fundraisers.

Can you see where this story is going? I sure didn't-at first.

©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob the bear?

Warren asked me if I'd like them to create a BOBblehead and of course I accepted right away. The process might take some time, he warned. They'd never done the likeness of a cat and said it would be tough to do, but they wanted to try. I was delighted to have a chance to memorialize my dear cat.

©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob looking more cat like.

And so, over the past eight months, we've been working to get it right.

There was a sculptor in China who began working on a form. It was sad to realize that cats aren't pets in China and I don't want to write about what they do to them there. Memorializing a cat was certainly out of the norm so it took many trials and refinements, but eventually it got sorted out.

Proofing_with boob bowl.jpg
©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Okay, clearly something is lost in translation. Is that a BOOB next to BOB?

I began to realize how difficult it would be to capture the sad-eyed look of Bob regardless of how many photos I sent for reference. Even though I had to ask for changes, I was impressed with the dedication Warren and his team had in making every detail just right. I didn't want to think about how much all of these revisions were costing him to get done and though I tried to love everything they did, even Warren would often write and say he didn't love it either and wanted to push back for more edits.

Just Bobblehead Bob copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Say hello to Bob the Bobblehead.

A few weeks ago after Warren hired another artist to repaint our little BOBblehead, who did an outstanding job. We all agreed that Bob was finally done and a few days ago my BOBblehead arrived. When I opened the box I held my breath as I carefully unwrapped the base, then the bowl, then finally Bob. I held him in my hand and his little head jiggled back and forth. I looked at his face and though it would never be Bob, somehow his “Bobness” had been captured. I smiled as tears ran down my cheeks. If I couldn't have the real Bob, this would be a lovely way to memorialize him.

Rear View Bob copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nice pouffy tail there! (Bob is sitting on his flannel blankee)

I rearranged my shrine to Bob to make space for the new addition. I wondered what Bob, the cat would have thought about all this fuss. He probably would have said not to bother and that we're just being silly humans. That may be the case, but it's comforting to have the little guy here.

I know it took a lot of work and patience to get this done and I'm extremely grateful to Warren and his crew for their efforts. I just love my BOBblehead!

Bob and Candle and Shrine copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The shrine complete, with Bob's ashes in the blue tin to the right and the Maneki Neko candle my friend Irene made for me from her own bee's wax.

The sun just rose on another day. My fingers are cold from typing with the windows open. It's another day without Bob, yet in a way, Bob has returned. I hope this Bob will be with me always as a reminder of one very special cat, gone too soon.

Bob shrine with candle.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Good night, Bob. Rest in Peace.


This may be a bit odd, but I know there are some of you who have followed Bob's life story for many years and who have come to love him as I do. Though it was NEVER my intention to profit from this experience, I'd like you to know that if you'd like your own BOBblehead, to contact me at . Depending on how many orders we get will drive the per unit cost of the piece. The more orders, the lower the price. I will put everyone on a list and let you know in a week or so how much they would be and if you want to order one we'll figure something out.

If you want your very own Bobblehead of your cat, dog, friends, family or one of yourself, please DO visit Royal Bobbles and fill out a contact form and let them know Robin sent you! They do GREAT work and their prices are very reasonable.

A Special Announcement. In Honor of Dahlia.

Last week, our friend JaneA Kelley, lost her dear cat, Dahlia to atypical large-cell lymphoma. It all seemed to happen so quickly, just moments after JaneA moved into her new apartment, her concerns that something was wrong with her beloved cat, that had nothing to do with the stress of moving, came true. JaneA's blog, Paws & Effect, followed Dahlia's life and sudden passing in moving detail. You can read about Dahlia's passing HERE.

Dash of white.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Dahlia, along with her kitty-family, Thomas T. Bombadil & Siouxsie Mew are well known to fans of cat blogs around the world, so we all felt great sadness when JaneA posted the news that Dahlia was gone. We lost one of our own.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

As a friend, I just wanted to make it better. I hate to hear about cats passing away. I never want any cat to die-that's why I do cat rescue. I wanted to do more than simply say I was sorry or send a card. So, if you'll watch the video posted here, you'll see what I've done in honor of Dahlia's life and these photos will make more sense.

Little White Eyebrows.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

To JaneA and her furry family, my condolences on your loss. Because of all your stories about her, Dahlia will live on forever.

The Vivid Sting of a Life Lost


I'm like a cat. I like my little routine. I like the predictability of the day. When there are jostles and bumps, I can handle it, to a point, but this week, had I known how it was going to unveil itself, I might have skipped over to next week.

With my hand beginning to recover, though still very tender, and with new antibiotics no longer making me sick, I set to the task of focusing on helping Bobette with her recovery and to continue working with Jakey and Teddy, to help them overcome their tummy troubles, as well as keep them from going stir crazy in their small bathroom home. The days are long and there is little time for a proper meal or just plain old sitting around in front of the TV. I admit the need for a break. Last night I thought I had one.

As it often does, once I sit down, the cats act up. Maybe one starts being aggressive with another, or one is acting like he's going to pee on the floor because the litter pan isn't pristine. I'm constantly getting up, then sitting down, getting up, then down. I don't think I've ever just sat for even 15 minutes without something going on that I need to tend to and last night was no different.

I heard an odd sound. It wasn't very loud, nor did it last very long. I turned off the volume on the TV and listened. I knew something was wrong so once again, I got up.

Blitzen and the DOOD were in my office, frantically trying to get behind a file cabinet and a printer stand. There was something else in the room, but that sound was not the sound of a mouse. It was bigger. I started to tick off in my mind what it could be and the options were not very appealing. It could have been, God forbid, a rat? A squirrel? A raccoon? opossum? What the HELL was in my house?

behind stand b_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

There's very little room in my office to walk around. It's a small room to begin with and I have it full of bookshelves and storage for a zillion years of graphic design project files and reference books. It's not a pig sty but it's not meant for more than me and a few cats to hang out in. Trying to get to a wild animal in this room was going to mean things getting broken and or possibly someone getting hurt.

Sam got the big flashlight out and was trying to see what was going on. I stood by the doorway with a Maglite, shining it under the furniture. While the cats were going crazy, I saw something move. It was BIG. This was no mouse or rat. I yelled to Sam as the thing made a move for it. Somehow it got across the room over to my bookshelves. Sam could have grabbed it, but was unable to, allowing the creature to get into the space between the wall and the bookcase. Sam directed his flashlight into the space. The creature was halfway up the back of the bookcase. It was a flying squirrel.

How the HELL were we going to get that thing out of the house in one piece? There was no moving furniture, that was for sure. We couldn't open the window because it's a big window that opens left to right. The screen would be about four feet square, at least and even if we could get it out, there was no room to back up to get it out of the way…AND I live in the woods. You open the window to let something out, odds are you will get something back IN while you're at it.

behind stand_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

It was already pushing 10pm. What were our options? We didn't have a small humane trap. We couldn't just leave the door open and wait for the cats to scare it out at 3am. Sam went to look for something and I grabbed the maglite-which weighs a few pounds. I don't know why, but it slipped out of my hand onto my big toe. The pain was so severe that I almost passed out. I started SCREAMING and CRYING, desperately trying to leave my body it hurt so bad. I thought the cat bite was painful-this was nothing in comparison.

And Sam…just stood there while I writhed in agony on the floor. I was in so much pain I couldn't talk. My mind was abuzz. I was trying to think…what to do? How to stop this PAIN!! Why isn't Sam doing ANYTHING?! Do I have to tell him? What if I was having a heart attack? Would he stand there and look at me, too?

Now I was really pissed on top of being in agony. I shouted at him to get me some ice. The pain kept coming in violent waves that made me shiver. I tried to bend my toe. I could bend it a bit, but it was too much..too much..and now I'm thinking about the damn flying squirrel in my office. The cats were going to get it or some crazy shit was going to happen any second now. I had to stop hurting so I could get back to the problem at hand, but the pain was just getting worse.

cats at door_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for tickets to a concert or just hoping to get into my office?

Sam got some ice, but was very awkward about the whole thing. I guess not everyone is good at being in charge when someone else is in pain. Me, I just get things done, take charge, help out. I don't wait to be told what to do if it's an emergency. Here I am rocking back and forth, trying to calm down, while he says barely a word. I really felt like I was on my own. Great. Just what I needed.

I asked him to turn on a light so I could see my foot. It didn't look as bad as I thought, but it was already swollen and discolored. I guess I will loose that toenail one of these days. I bent my toe, it was painful but I could bend it. The ice made it hurt worse, but I had to do it so I sat there for 20 minutes while the tears dried on my face, and iced the injury. Meanwhile, the cats were lurking around, hoping the flying squirrel would come down and play with them.

After the “incident” I was “done” for the night. I didn't care who ate what at that point. I was going to bed to nurse my wounds. I suggested to Sam to put a cat carrier in my office with some peanut butter on a plate inside it. To shut my office door so the cats could not get in it and we'd deal with it in the morning.

I slept for a few hours, then woke when Sam came to bed at after 1AM. I couldn't get back to sleep. My toe was throbbing painfully. I finally got up and took a fist full of aspirin. After a few hours I fell asleep again, only to wake up in pain when the alarm went off at 7:30.

But what of the flying squirrel?

He was not in the cat carrier and hadn't touched the food. Sam found him behind my printer stand where I keep my battery backup and surge protectors. A cat bed had slipped behind the printer stand, onto the floor. The little flying squirrel was sleeping on the bed. He moved a bit, but seemed to be sleeping. The cats were forming a line outside my office. They all wanted to “help” get the flying squirrel, but I was not going to let that happen.

sub qu for nicky.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nicky about to get his fluids for the first time.

I called Wildlife in Crisis and they told me that flying squirrels are easy to trap. To put out black oil sunflower seed and some walnuts. Oddly enough I had both of those things, so all I needed was a trap. We had to leave to bring Nicky to see Dr. Larry. Nicky has renal disease. I'm not sure how severe it is, but the fact that we have to learn how to give Sub Q fluids means he's lost a lot of kidney function. While we were out we were going to find a trap. I made some calls and thankfully, my buddy Carolee, who is the Animal Control Officer of Newtown, said I could borrow one of hers.

f squrriel_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hang in there little guy.

I got back home, dropped Nicky off, then got ready to head out to get the trap. I didn't go into my office for fear of spooking the flying squirrel out into the rest of the house. I stopped over at the Dog Pound and had a nice visit with Carolee and Matt. They had some small traps that were ancient. One had a newspaper lining the bottom. I joked it looked like it was from the 1800's.

I felt hopeful that we'd get the flying squirrel out by tonight. I figured I would set the trap, shut the door to my office with me inside it so I could do some work, then later tonight the little guy would get trapped and I could let him go outside. Maybe he was still sleeping on the cat bed, the irony not being lost on me as I limped into my office after setting the trap. I put the trap down, then leaned over the printer stand, but the flying squirrel was gone! I started to look around the room in dread. Where did he go? Was he going to jump out at me or worse? Was he dead behind the bookcase?

with buddha_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Fly free.

Just as I was about to leave, I saw him. He was right out in the middle of the room. He wasn't moving. I called out to Sam and Sam put on gloves and got a container. He got the flying squirrel but he captured it too easily. It was barely moving.

We watched it for awhile and ended up moving it into a cat carrier. I couldn't see it breathing, but Sam thought he saw it move. It's eyes were open, but in them I saw that all too familiar emptiness that told me we didn't have much time left. At first we thought we'd give him some time to rest, but then it seemed he had passed away. We brought him outside, as we do with all the creatures who die in the house and offered him to the other animals to help sustain them. We always put them on the lap of the Buddha statue in our yard, in the hopes it will somehow be a respectful place to let them rest. I don't know why I felt I needed to take a photo. I felt so terrible about the whole thing. As I pressed the button to take the photo, the little squirrel MOVED. I thought I was losing my mind, but Sam saw it, too. We picked him back up and I called WIC again. They told me to come over, so with throbbing toe and aching hand, I drove the dying flying squirrel to their Center, all along feeling I was doing a Fool's errand…but I owed it to the squirrel to try.

I was met by a Vet as I pulled up the driveway. I told him I thought it was too late. He held the little flying squirrel in his hands, examining him carefully and agreed that he had passed away. He told me that with cat bites, the little guys only have about 12 hours before the bacteria in their mouths causes so much damage that they can't turn it around after that. I never even saw a mark on the flying squirrel, but I knew that's must have been what happened. I thought about the bite on my hand and wondered if there was any way I could have helped the little guy sooner. I had the medicine in my house that would have saved him-but what dosage? How would I give it to him? I couldn't help but feel the bitter sting of being too late to save his life.

I'm definitely “done” for the day. I've written my post, now I'm going to go hide under the covers-hopefully alone. I'm going to ignore the fact that the DOOD did not come down to eat his dinner. I'm worried maybe he bit the squirrel and what did the squirrel give him in return? Is he sick again? At what point do I just tell everyone to fend for themselves and hope I can deal with it later.

And I didn't even tell you about the kitty whose back paws are gone…either crushed or cut off, who we're trying to put a rescue together for…but I will soon. I will. For now…

...Fly free little flying squirrel. Rest in Peace.

2011: The Year of the Orange Tabby

I started to write a “Year in Review,” thinking I could get through it with some effort. A lot of things happened in 2011, but many of them were just too heartbreaking to look back upon in much detail. Today I write as a brokenhearted, tired rescuer with a very bleak outlook for 2012. I've decided that too many years have passed where I've been near broke and exhausted. 2012 is going to be better, damn it! I'm overdue for a wonderful year and for things to finally get better on the economic front.


It wasn't all bad news, like any year, there were some highlights. I'm very glad to say, that even though I had some very long term fosters here, which cut back my ability to take in more rescues, my group, Kitten Associates (KA) adopted out quite a few kitties and by the power of the inter-web-net and this little blog, in total we helped save the lives of over 70 cats!


That's not too shabby considering we did the hands-on rescues basically with just a small group of people, placed the cats by teaming up with our “sister” shelter Animals in Distress or via KA and we got the word out about many other cats in need by depending on THOUSANDS of folks who read this blog and who jumped in to help spread the word. It made a difference and it WORKED. We did some AMAZING things!

AC 5.18.11 035.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Cow mama and her babies just before rescue.

There was our “cow mama” from Henry County Care & Control who no one would rescue regardless of our pleas for help. While other mamas and their babies got out, she did not. I didn't have many resources, but at the last minute, in the middle of the night, I got a name of someone named Jennifer H. at Humane Society if Forsyth County in Cumming, GA. We worked out the logistics and the next morning, at the very last second before the family was to be put down, they were busted out. Today they are all doing well and have been adopted into loving homes.

Mr Big with Hand.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Big boy with hand model, Lauren from Dr Larry's office.

We went to bat for two giant kitties who were dumped off at my Vet's office. Within a few days, they were adopted by someone who had two big kitties just like the two who were dumped. Her cats had passed away and the day she got the call about them was the anniversary of one of the cat's passing away. She knew it was kismet and they were adopted.

AC 6.22.11 082.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Sweet mama who gave birth to a kitten with a deformed leg.

Another mama had a kitten with a club foot who could barely walk. We loved this family so much we figured waving money around would help get them a rescue. Though it wasn't the sole reason for their rescue (they ARE an adorable family!), we raised $500.00 IN ONE DAY to cover the costs to remove the misshapen leg. This family was placed with a no-kill shelter and some were adopted into good homes, but sadly Prince William needs MORE SURGERY to correct his other damaged leg. If you can help this little guy out, please consider making a donation to his ongoing care! You can read about him and donate HERE. This poor guy has been in foster care for most of this YEAR! Let's get him the help he needs.

Tortie mama.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.

Some of the mamas we blogged about who all got rescued.

first gray mama.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.

All these kitties are safe now.

First Blk-white mama.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control.

We got the word out on a number of families in crisis. Every single one was rescued by a no-kill shelter or rescue group. We are so grateful that by helping get the word out, the rescues who do have the facility and resources to help, find out about these families and jump in to do their part. Our hat is off to these groups.

Barney and Bella two.jpg
©2011 Bobby. Bella and Barney

Who can forget, Bella & Barney, the toilet flushing cat! It was through our massive push to get the word out on these cats that King Street Cats heard about their plight and offered to take them in just 48 hours after the story broke. I've never had a story shared and re-tweeted so many times. This proves that through a simple click of a mouse, we can help save lives. These cats were facing being given up to a kill-shelter and now they are safe and sound waiting for their forever home.

©2011 Warren Royal. Buddy, what a love.

I loved the story about Buddy and his journey as an FIV+ stray into the home of our good friends, Warren & Terri royal, who rescued him and found him safe haven with a no-kill shelter. Buddy found his forever home, along with another FIV+ kitty. They are best friends.

AC 8.17.11 019 rez.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant-Henry Co. Care & Control. Basil and Nigel just before being rescued by KA.

Basil & Nigel, just two big lugs, looking' for love. Their bellies were scalded by urine from being confined in a cage for who knows how long. They both tipped the scales at well over 25 pounds. Being somewhat timid on top of that, made their rescue a miracle in the making. Somehow I was able to get enough favors pulled and folks interested in their story to help make a dream come true. Basil and Nigel have slimmed down to just about 20 pounds each and are doing well in foster care. Basil is still very timid, but if he can overcome this his foster family indicated that they would like to adopt the boys one day soon.

©2010 Amy Sikes. CHEESE!

Cheese. A great name for a sweet cat whose owner gave him up, thinking it was temporary, then realizing in a few months it had to be for good. She lost her home and job and couldn't take Cheese back. One of our friends, Amy Sikes, fostered Cheese until another one of our readers offered to adopt him. Cheese was transported from Virginia to New Hampshire where he lives with a few Papillons, who he finds annoying, but he's gracious about it as long as they stay out of his food bowl.

Picture 033.jpg
©2011 Maria S. Muddles & Cuddles.

Muddles & Cuddles were rescued by our foster mom-Maria. She took them from a neighbor who wasn't particularly interested in SPAYING her cats or providing them with even basic care. It was a very tough choice for Maria to risk taking on adult cats when she has her own cats to care for, so we jumped in and helped her with them. They made their way to CT and to AID where they both found great homes.

Close up of Phil.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Phil!

Phil was five years old and a huge cat. It took all of FIVE days after he arrived in Connecticut to find him a GREAT forever home with a retired couple who has another cat named Tiger. Phil and Tiger quirky became best friends. His family is thrilled and so are we. Phil has a new name, they call him Big Poppy after a baseball player on the Red Sox.

Big Lunch for Little Kittens.jpg
©2011 Maria S. Amberly and her family. Our most amazing rescue yet.

Amberly and her family's rescue was a miracle. This amazing family had the most beautiful copper eyes I've ever seen. Each kitten was sweet and Amberly was a doll. She was a skinny wreck when she first arrived and a stunning beauty when she left for her forever home. Amberly's journey is like so many others, but the mark this family left on my heart will be there forever. Amberly and her five kittens are ALL in great homes together. Amberly went with her son, Jack. Periwinkle and BlueBelle, the prettiest kittens I've ever had went together and Truffles and Blaze found their home together, too. This was one wonderful family and Maria is amazing for doing what it took to find Amberly's kittens before it was too late. You can read more about them HERE.

The Nunes Ranchy Family_med.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Peri & Blue with their new family.


Jack Blue and Peri.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blue, Jack and Peri-you are sorely missed.

Amelia and Noelle (a kitten injured when she was discovered under the hood of a car in 2010) came to CT and were placed in a great home, together thanks to our friends at AID!

Who Are You copy.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Amelia just moments after arriving in CT.


award close up.jpg

The highlight of my year was winning the 2011 Dogtime Media Pettie Award for Best Cat Blog. I wish you could have seen my reaction when I won. I was dumbfounded-completely shocked and thrilled. Some times I think I sit here in my jammies and talk to myself, but apparently I was wrong about that (maybe somewhat wrong about that). If I haven't said it enough times, let me say it again-THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR MY BLOG. It really means a lot to me to get some recognition for my efforts. I get so much love and concern from all of you already, this was an amazing bonus and I am deeply grateful for it.

Clare and Sally just had to be rescued! Look at those faces! I thought they were Siamese. Little did I know they were snowshoes-a breed I've never even heard of! I brought them north and AID had no problem finding them a great home-which only lasted a few days. The girls came back to the shelter and found an even BETTER home with a new family just as quickly. Their only failing-they let their child rename the cats. Meet Pillow and Rainbow!

Clare and Sally small.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Clare and Sally.

Oh Bob. My dear, Bob.

Give Bob a Hug Day_sm.jpg
©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob a few years ago, looking magnificent as always. Rest in Peace my Angel.

We had real heartache this year, too. First, we lost our dearest boy, Bob Dole to lymphoma. His death was a long, slow process. He passed at home with both Sam and I petting him and talking to him to ease his journey. Through Bob's life I learned many things about good feline nutrition and learning to let go of being afraid of seeing Bob die and taking some joy that his passing was beautiful. I never wanted Bob to leave us and today I still miss him terribly. My heart is broken.

Not long after Bob died, I rescued an orange mama cat and her six kittens in his honor. Bobette was sick, but it wasn't right away that we understood what was going on. A week after the rescue, three of her six kittens died within hours of each other, before we could even give any of them a proper name. Maria named them Sammy, Rocky and Red. They were cremated. Their ashes are with Maria while I care for the remaining family.

AC 9.14.11 003.jpg
©2011 Betsy Merchant. Bobette and her family at the shelter.

Bobette's secret pain was that she was hit by a car or abused to the point of it moving her kneecap far out of position. On a scale of 1 to 4 she's a 4-meaning BAD. I see her limp and stretch out her leg to try to get the kneecap in place, but it won't go unless she has surgery. Thankfully, our generous Vet, Dr. Mixon, has offered to do the procedure for $100.00, instead of $2500.00!!!!


As we wait for Bobette's surgery date, one of her boys, little Teddy Boo, was adopted last night.


Teddy Adopted.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy with his new mom and dad.

Another orange tabby had good news, too. Rocco, who I rescued in 2010, was returned. It just wasn't working out. Through the twists and turns of fate and timing, I ended up finding a wonderful home for Rocco, one I hope and believe will be his FOREVER home. Rocco spent his first Christmas with his new family, just a day after he was adopted.

rocco on the coat.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rocco on his mom's winter coat just before he got adopted.

I love black and white cats, but in 2011 it seemed to be the Year of the Orange kitty. MacGruber, who I rescued in 2010, found his forever home, along with Polly Picklepuss in 2011. They are doing GREAT with their family. Every update is happier than the last. Both cats love life and are happy in their home. I miss Macky-G very much. He was a marvelous kitty and best buddy to my cat, Blitzen.

6.2011 Mac.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. MacGruber. One awesome cat.

Mazie, Polly, Cara & Chester-some of the sickest cats I've ever had. Cara was chronically ill to the point where I thought she would die. Mazie got an infection and soaring high temperature that almost took her life, too. For months and months I worried, ran to the Vet, gave them one prescription drug after another. They got better, they got worse, they were with me for almost a year. One by one they slowly got well enough to be adopted and one by one they left for their new homes.

AC 10.20.10 001.jpg
©2010 Betsy Merchant. The last time I hope to ever see Mazie in a cage. She and her family are all doing great in their forever homes.

Chester was renamed, Boris and has a big pet family he adores. Polly is with MacGruber and Cara was adopted by her Guardian Angel, Connie.

Mazie, who ended up being with us for FOURTEEN MONTHS was adopted A FEW DAYS AGO. We're still adjusting to her being gone. It was a tough farewell.


Mazie on the rag bed sm.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mazie on her rag bed the night before she left us.


Three Kitties.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Triple trouble!

We had a White Christmas this year after the arrival of four white kitties we nicknamed the Angel Babies. One of the four, Princess, was just adopted a week ago. She is doing fantastic and loves her two other kitty friends. She's even sleeping with them! We're still hoping her brothers find their homes soon. They are awesome, lovey-dovey cats and if you know what I mean when I say, they are like The Borg, you'll understand what kind of crazy cats they are…one mind…three bodies.

Just 3.jpg
©2011 Chris from Greengirlz Pet Photography. Christmas Kitties!


Cutie Hannah.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet little Hannah.

Hannah and Macy were rescued off the streets in Bridgeport, CT. Hannah was so tiny and sick we thought she would die. After being bottle-fed by one of our volunteers and a lot of love and care, both Hannah and Macy recovered. They were also the first kittens I observed being spayed!

Macy Close up.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Macy.


To end the year on a high note, Hannah and Macy were adopted THIS MORNING!


And lastly there's the DOOD. This kitten came from Cheshire, CT. I thought he'd be a quick kitty to find a home for so I took him into my rescue group. the DOOD turned out to test POSITIVE for Feline Leukemia-which shocked me completely. I refused to accept the test result and two days later he tested NEGATIVE. Even with that, he HAD to be quarantined for TWO MONTHS to make certain he did not have the disease. Thankfully, DOOD's test was NEGATIVE and he was allowed to meet our other cats. He and Blitzen are buddies who love to wrestle and groom each other.

After all that time here, I'd been working with him, to calm down his aggression towards people. I found out his former owner's kid kicked him and chased him around the house. I was filled with rage when they admitted the truth. They asked how he was doing and I never replied. They don't deserve to know what happened to their cat. Thank goodness I got him or he would have been put down by now for being aggressive.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Ryan meets the DOOD.

You can see he's a sweet cat (okay, some times) in this video featuring my nephew, Ryan. You can also see he went from a little kitten to an eight month old MONSTER, tipping the scaled (over) at THIRTEEN POUNDS!!!! He is going to be a HUGE CAT one day.

I'd hoped to announce that the DOOD was going to be living here with us, for good, but due to issues with our other cats, that may not be possible. We're going to give it a few more weeks and see how things shake out. I may have to just move away with the DOOD so we can stay together. Considering how my love life was this year, I may not be making much of a joke with that statement.

What about 2012?

• Bobette will get her surgery and hopefully she'll be walking normally by March.

• Somehow I will find a way to pay my bills.

• I'm going to re-design Covered in Cat Hair so it's easier to follow stories and stay in touch. Plus, this web site design is years old. Like anything else, it needs a facelift!

• I'm going to take a few days off. I don't know how. I don't know when, but I am in DIRE need of a holiday. I haven't had a trip away from home, other than for business for years. I think 2012 has to allow some healing time for me, just so I can stay strong and do more rescues.

• I may start rescuing from one of the most notorious and horrible kill shelters-the dreaded AC&C in New York City. Rescuing from here is not for the faint of heart, but they need all the help they can get.

• Take a deep breath and try to prepare for what we will soon find out about our cat, Nicky. Does he have lymphoma and are we on the start of another painful journey?

• And Bob. Well there's news about him, too. We've found a way for Bob to live on and I will be sharing that joyous news with you soon.

As ever-stay tuned…and Happy New Year.


Subscribe to RSS - Rainbow Bridge