You are here


The Squee Diaries. Ch 8. Paint the Town Brown

The miserable heat wave has vanished, replaced with blessedly cool and drier air. The windows are open for the first time in weeks. It feels more like autumn than the middle of July. I’m grateful for the respite, even if it will just last until morning.

Group Portrait R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The gang at 7 weeks: Confetti Joe, Yukon Stan, Lil' Gracey, Precious Pete & Jellybean Mel (front).

Minnie’s kittens continue to delight me. Even without their mother’s careful tutelage, they surprise me by being willing to accept me as their surrogate—at least in as many ways as are appropriate. For a little over two weeks the kittens have been mine alone. Minnie has completely turned over her duties to me, without a look back or regret. She moved on before any of us were ready. Her sudden apparent rejection of all her kittens, first brought on by the pain of her illness, then perhaps due to her hormones, urging her to procreate again, was rather shocking. It was as if a switch was flipped and with it her motherhood came to a premature end. The kittens and I were lost for those first few days. Neither of us wanted to give up on her so each day I offered her one kitten. I held the kitten out to her with the door opened to her room. At first she would act out violently, hissing and growling, scaring the poor kitten badly. I’d soothe its fears and put it back with the others. Minnie would go back to her place and lay down, grooming away her anxiety over being presented with an unwelcome guest.

Minnie not feeling well r olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Minnie between vet visits.

I tried each day for a week to get Minnie to accept her kittens again. Minnie didn’t hiss as much, but reacted by retreating further into her room. The kitten would cry to her and she would reply with a tiny almost-chirp. Maybe she was telling the kitten that it’s time to grow up and be on their own and to trust that mama knows best.

Gracy on the cat tree R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey.

What I didn’t expect was how the kittens immediately rallied, focusing their interest on me. When I’d previously entered the room, they would look up, maybe run past me, but now, they run over to me, try to climb up my leg or cry at my feet, hoping to be lifted into my arms for a cuddle. For seven and half week old kittens, they are all very friendly and affectionate. I realize that this will be better for them in the long run. Bonding with a human will serve them well one day when their families come to find them.

Eating Raw R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Eating raw.

Weaning kittens is always a challenge. They make a horrendous mess by running over their plate and tracking food all over the floor. Their litter pan habits still have a few kinks to be worked out so there’s “that” to be cleaned up as well. The literal dark side of weaning is that the kittens are also getting their digestion working, or not. The result for those tender tummies were piles of mushy brown splats all over the bathroom. At first I blamed it on parasites so I checked a stool sample out and the test came back negative. I still de-wormed the kittens with Strongid, which doesn’t get all the parasites, but it’s gentle enough.

Stanley Closeup R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh Stan! Swoon!

That didn’t work so I began adding a probiotic based in dehydrated goat’s milk to their food. The kittens liked it a lot, but it didn’t help, at least for the few days I fed it.

It got to the point where I didn’t want to enter the foster room. The poo-piles were always somewhere tough to get at, like behind the toilet and the smell could be bottled and used as a chemical weapon. I was very worried when I saw blood, some of it mucousy, in their stool. The kittens had very wet bottoms and many cried while in the pan. It’s one thing to work with one sick cat, but five sick kittens is a test of how to stay calm when in your mind you imagine that the kittens have the beginnings of something terrible and not just simple loose stools.

Befor and after poo R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. After a day of raw (inset), canned food moosh-poop.

I kept the kittens clean and I scrubbed the floors a few times a day. I decided to take the kittens off whatever I was feeding and put them on a plain, raw chicken diet that also had proper vitamins and minerals added to it. They attacked it with such vigor that I was taken aback. Within 24 hours their stool showed signs of improvement AND they stopped using the floor for their toilet.

Joey Pooping R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor Joey. Straining and crying in the litter pan.

On the second day, I saw less blood, but in a somewhat formed stool. The kittens behinds looked cleaner and the litter pan wasn’t as loaded. I went back to a new de-wormer and started them on that to see if it would help. I knew I might have to use something more powerful if I couldn’t get the blood to stop, but for now the kittens were racing around, gaining weight and having fun. No need to flip out.

Rock stars R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My little rock stars.

What was interesting to me was that I ran out of raw food and had to feed the kittens one meal of canned late at night. The next morning I found stool puddles all over the bathroom again. I wondered about the food being the culprit or was it just that the raw was easier on their tummies?

Joey with Mousey R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey with mousey.

While I was trying to sort out what to feed the kittens, Minnie’s health took an odd turn. She went into heat and stopped eating. I haven’t seen a cat in heat since I was 9 and we were told to wait until our kitten was almost a year old before we should spay her. She went into heat and my parents thought it was amusing that she got so very friendly with my dad-especially. What it told me was that now with Minnie on her own, I couldn’t even spay her so she’d have to remain in her room without any cat-companionship for a while longer. Spaying a cat in heat is difficult because the uterus is engorged with blood and can tear easily. Since Minnie had just barely recovered from a terrible infection, I didn't want to put her into any higher risk for her spay.

What the heck R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How many cats are in this photo? Hint: there is MORE than one.

I took Minnie to see Dr. Chris, who thankfully gives us an amazingly generous discount, and he told me that we could end Minnie’s estrous by stimulating her ovaries. I gave Dr. Chris a funny look then said; “You’re not even going to buy her dinner first?”

Then I wondered how this was going to be done. Next I thought…I don’t want to know.

Minnie at Vet Sniffing R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting for Dr. Chris.

Dr. Chris grabbed a thermometer and a cover for the tip then gestured for me to hold Minnie in place. He inserted the thermometer into Minnie’s vagina and twisted it around. Minnie started to vocalize loudly, her eyes wide. I thought she was going to bite me, but then quickly realized she was too busy getting her funk on with Dr. Chris to bother with me.

Stanley and Mellie R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan and Mel.

In all the years I’ve done rescue, this is one thing I’ve never had to do. Dr. Chris told me that we had to irritate her, just as a male cat’s barbed penis would and it would end the cycle and we could spay her safely sooner.

Of course, I blurted out that if humans had barbed penises there would be three humans on Earth. He didn’t make a comment and I simply blushed.

Joe Tail Tug R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mine! Mine! Mine!

We opted to give Minnie her Rabies and FRVCP (distemper combo) vaccinations. I thought she’d be fine, but she had a nasty reaction to the shots. Her right front leg went lame and she didn’t get up for the next 24 hours. Worried, I called two Vets and they said to give her another day. By the second day she was up on her paws, but not eating well. I sat down next to her to give her some reassuring pets when I noticed a big red lesion under her left front leg-nowhere near where her vaccine was given.

Jellybean Mellie B R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie.

Either she was having a nasty allergic reaction or somehow Minnie had gotten the dreaded “RW” (ringworm). Just as I thought Minnie was finally out of the woods, she was back in it again. I raced her over to Dr. Chris and he took a look. He thought it was an Eosinophilic plaque-possibly brought on by the vaccine OR it was “RW.”

Lesion on Minnie copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A foreign lesion.

…but he was leaning toward the plaque to which I almost told him I would make out with him I was so happy. Ringworm means lots of fear it will spread to ALL of us..not just the cats but to me and Sam, too. No ringworm means Minnie can be with other cats much sooner and hopefully with some treatment she will feel much better, too. Fortunately for me, I kept my mouth shut and didn’t embarrass myself further. We did a culture of the fur near the lesion and we'll have to wait about 10 days for results.

Joe and Gracey Posing Nicely R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joe & Gracey.

In the meantime I will keep fumbling along, trying to right this tipping ship and hoping I can prepare myself for the kittens to be ready to go up for adoption soon. I knew I would get attached and now I have to figure out how to still love those babies to pieces without shattering my own heart.

NOTE: there were SO MANY PHOTOS I didn't have room in this post, so the next one will photos-only and please don't forget to VOTE so we can win a $1000 donation for our kittens!

Pettie Banner for BLogPosts A.jpg

The Heart of a Lioness: The Fire at Animalkind part two

There’s a certain quality only a rare few people have. It’s a magnetic kind of energy that radiates from within, but can be felt by others. At times it smolders, belying the real power it can unleash, while other times there is no ignoring it. When that person enters a room, the airwaves seem to change and become electrified.

One such person is Katrin Hecker, the Director of Animalkind. She’s tall and tan with brilliant blonde hair. She’s from Germany and has an unmistakable accent even after living here for decades. She’s not shy about who she is, where she’s from or what her passions are. Upon first glance she might come off as a bit distant or cool, but talk to her a few times and you’ll sense her great heart.

Katrin operates in a no-nonsense manner especially when there's so much to get done. Since losing Aninalkind's building after their sprinkler system destroyed the interior (You can read more about that HERE), she has more than a lot on her plate.

Katrin with Kittens copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Katrin Hecker with the latest arrivals.

Katrin is creative, a painter way back when. She lived in New York City with her husband, but after too many years in the hustle and bustle, decided to move north to the small riverside town of Hudson, NY. They bought an old church and set up their first home. Katrin wasn’t sure what she wanted to focus her attention on, maybe design or get deeper into painting.

One day she realized she’d seen quite a few cats walking around town. Her first thought was how sweet it was, seeing them dash down an alley or pass by her front door. She imagined she was living in a town that loved and cared for their cats as a community, otherwise why would there be so many of them roaming around?

New HQ AK_Panorama1_475.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Panogram of one side of the temporary headquarters at the Warren Inn. Click to see a large size of this photo.


It didn’t take long for her to realize that those cats were very thin, their coats ragged; some were injured or pregnant. Clearly none of them were being cared for and there was no rescue facility or group in the town to help them.


Katrin rescued a black cat off the street and took it to the Vet. Her husband didn’t mind as long as she didn’t get out of hand and take in all the cats she saw. Katrin found a few more cats that needed help. They were all black. Mischievously motivated or just plain brass, Katrin took in a total of eight black cats. She hid them away in one room, where she’d set up as her painting studio, knowing her husband wouldn’t enter the space. She let one or two out at a time and her husband never noticed they had more than just a few cats until one night when it was very cold and the power went out.

The wood stove was the only source of heat. One by one, the cats showed up to warm themselves by the fire. The cats were out of the “bag.” Katrin’s husband was shocked, thinking he’d gone mad seeing eight nearly identical cats appear out of the woodwork, but she made no apologies. There was a serious problem in this town and something had to be done.

By 2000, Animalkind came into existence and ever since it’s had a symbiotic relationship with the community. Katrin told me that she can’t be like other rescues and say no all the time when someone asks for help. She described some of the locals, who are down on their luck, struggling and just want to help a stray or their own cat. She finds a way to say yes, even if it means loading up her home with cats or reaching out to the community to help her help the cats.

Surgery and Vets Office copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Doors to the former surgical suite where they did all their spay/neuters.

Even at the clearly worst point of her life, with heartbreaking family problems, including illness and brain injuries to contend with and the loss of Animalkind’s headquarters, she still has to help the cats. She could have given up and walked away after the building was gutted. She could have walked away after her own home was badly flooded after Hurricane Irene badly damaged all the homes in her neighborhood.

With all that’s on her plate she finds a way to get up every day and figure out how she’s going to put the pieces of Animalkind back together again and how she’s going to get those poor cats out of their cages and into their new space as soon as possible.

View to First Floor.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Watching my step.

Katrin led me through the front door of what was once a building filled with the sounds of volunteers working away, answering calls, scooping litter pans, feeding the cats; who were living freely in large open group areas. It was eerily silent now. I had to watch my step because the floors were stripped to the bone, covered with debris. The HVAC vents snaked across the floors having fallen from the mounts on the ceiling. The cheerily painted sheet rock was gone. All that remained were exposed studs and wiring, the shell of what must have been a glorious Victorian home. I stood there. The heartache of loss was palpable.

©2007 Animalkind. Before the damage.

As we picked our way around the first floor, Katrin described each room. We passed the Adoptions area, then climbed to the second floor to see where their grand surgical suite was located. There are French doors separating the spaces, but no longer any walls on either side of the doors. A few stainless steel surgical tables and other equipment were shoved into a corner, dirty, but still usable. However, most of what had once been there was long gone.

HVAC collapse.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. After the damage. The only thing that's recognizable is the teal bench.

It was a warm summer day and as we climbed the stairs you could feel the temperature rise slightly, along with the humidity. The third floor held a secret—one that couldn’t be helped. This is where the contagious cats lived...the ones with ringworm. Even though they weren’t supposed to have animals in the building, they had no choice. It was keep them safe or let them go. It’s not as though any rescue would knowingly take cats with ringworm and there was no way Katrin was going to put them down, either.

©2007 Animalkind. Cats lounging before the disaster.

They did the best they could. The cats had the basics and no more. It was only for now. It would get better soon, but the building had no electricity and without screens on the windows, the windows could only be opened a very tiny bit. Most of the cats were flat from the heat but not in any danger at all.

Sick Kitties.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Waiting.

Katrin told me about their plans for the room as I looked around imagining how it would appear with fresh paint, new cat trees, comfy chairs. It was an enormous space with large windows overlooking the street on one side and an overgrown yard on the other. They received a generous grant to re-do the yard into a perfect cat habitat so cats could go outdoors and still be within a closed space. They were going to put in benches and lots of plants and cute statutes of cats playing. It was going to be so wonderful, if only it could happen soon.

Skinny Calico Kitty.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A skinny little lady comes over to greet us.

And truly, that was the problem.

“Soon” seemed to be defined as “not any time soon.” You tell that to a room full of cats who are desperate for things to get back to normal.


The final part of my story introduces you to one amazing little kitten and shares some last-minute updates, promising news and more. Stay tuned...

Checking in on Bob's Pumpkin Patch, Startling News & a Mama in Need!

Jakey and Teddy are still here. I don't know why it's been so difficult to find them a forever home. Interest in adopting them together is few and far between. Applications are lacking in ways I can't overlook, if I do happen to get any. Now Jakey has gotten ringworm on his back foot and Teddy has it on his shoulder-at least I'm pretty sure that's what it is…so it means even more time here since they can't go anywhere until they clear up. In the meantime I'm itching to do a rescue, but with Bobette in the big foster room and the boys having to spend the night in their room leaves me no extra space.

I'm already seeing kittens appear on Henry County Care & Control's Petfinder page. It makes me sad and sick. Here we go again. The sense of urgency ramps up. This Animal Control is going to be overloaded any second. Lots of animals are going to die. I sit back and take a deep breath. I'm not the only rescue helping HCC&C, but that doesn't mean any of the cats I read about are safe.

AC 2.22.12 090.jpg
This is NOT BOBETTE! This mama and her babies are ID# 2/18-0416 and need rescue! Contact: if you are a GA LICENSED RESCUE ONLY.


Teddy Portrait.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Teddy with his creamy filling showing.

Things are not looking good for any local Georgia cat who needs help. Between the news of PETA's investigation of Caboodle Ranch in Florida, which alerted the ASPCA to respond to claims that over 700 cats were being mistreated and living in poor conditions. The number of rescues helping with this situation is astounding and includes: Atlanta Humane Society (Atlanta, Ga.); Bay Area Disaster Animal Response Team (Belleair Bluffs, Fla.); Cat Depot (Sarasota, Fla.); Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Bushnell, Fla.); Good Mews Animal Foundation (Marietta, Ga.); Humane Society of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); International Fund for Animal Welfare (Yarmouth Port, Mass.); McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center (Chattanooga, Tenn.); PetSmart Charities, Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.); and RedRover (Sacramento, Calif.). Staff from the University of Florida (Gainesville) College of Veterinary Medicine and Maples Center for Forensic Medicine at UF are also assisting with the rescue operation. The news was NOT well received by many in the rescue community who were outraged that the owner of Caboodle Ranch, Craig Grant, was treated like a criminal and is being persecuted unfairly. You can read some of their comments HERE Meanwhile, others claim there are seriously ill and dead cats on the property. Add to that, the news of a hoarding situation of 40 cats in GA means local cats may have a tough time finding a rescue.


©21012 Robin A.F. Olson. Together, Forever.

I've got to find Jakey & Teddy a home and get them out of here as much as I adore them..I mean they drive me crazy! Now that they're out of their confinement for most of the day, they get bored so easily that they constantly bug me for either attention, food, playtime or food. I had to put them in their room the other night after I counted having to scold them 15 times in 15 minutes…and this is after they had play time and it was 10pm and I just wanted a few minutes to fade out in front of the TV. Apparently the fact that I sit on the loveseat in the living room means they should lie under it with their belly up and rip the underside out of the furniture. You know..for fun. There are a billion toys inches away and they go for the furniture. Hmpf!

Silly Jakey copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey, silly boy.

Then there's Bobette. What am I going to do with this cat? She was supposed to go over to AID months ago, but I held her back because she needed surgery and I felt responsible to get her healthy before she goes anywhere else. The problem I'm seeing is she HATES her offspring to the point of it being dangerous if they sneak into the room when I enter to feed her. I haven't allowed any of my cats to see her for fears of what she will do. If she won't get along with other cats, that's going to be a very tough sell. I'll have to set up a screen and do a test with my cats. I wonder if it's just her boys she wants to stay away from or all cats. Oh boy...

3.2.12 napping twins.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Siamese twins!


©21012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette Jumps!

It's tough to say what is going on with Bobette's leg. I see her every day and changes are not so apparent to me. I can say I've seen her run with more confidence and JUMP! I also notice her pulling her self up onto the bed instead of jumping up on it so is her leg weaker or stronger?s


Silly boys snuggle.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Room enough for two.

Three weeks ago Dr. Mixon told me she may still have a “dip” to her gait until he removes the pin in her leg. It's the last thing that will be done and hopefully removing it will allow her to be more comfortable since the pin is right under her skin and I think it is uncomfortable for her.

Just Jake copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Just Jake.

On Wednesday the pin will be removed. Will I get bitten again? Will Dr. Mixon be the lucky winner? Hopefully we know to go easy with her and will be able to get her lightly sedated enough so Dr. Mixon can quickly remove the last piece of hardware from her leg.

Jakey Portrait with ASPCA.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey with the ASPCA Kitty.

Bobette's fur has grown back. If she didn't limp I would almost not know she had surgery. Her knee has stayed in place, but when I felt her leg it felt terrible. I think it's because I was feeling the nylon sutures that will always be in her leg. At least that's what I hope I'm feeling!

Rock star hair copy.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey is having a bad hair day.

The weather has been odd. It was sunny and in the 50's in February and now that it's March, it's colder and snowy. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I want to be free of it and do something. I don't like sitting around when I know cats need help. Behind the scenes I've been doing some things to help other cats, but it's not enough. I miss having teenie kittens around and this is after I promised myself a break.

Jake and Blitz.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jakey with Blitzen.

I suppose having cats that don't require much care is enough of a break. It's almost spring, Kitten Season looms on the horizon. With the weirdly warm winter I fear it's going to be a Hell of an explosion of kittens very soon. Better take it easy while I can.

Of Halloween, Scary Real Storms, and Kittens White as Snow

Hello all! Izzy here with a guest blog post.

Poor Robin is without power after an October snow storm dumped lots of snow on their home and brought down a whole bunch of trees. She's been without electricity since Saturday, and she doesn't know when the power will be restored.

She, Sam, and the kitties are okay for now, though they are hoping things will be back up and running soon since they have no power to run their water pump.

She asked me to post a guest blog here and I'm happy to update you on our trials and tribulations here in Central PA. We also got snow, but luckily, no power outages and all the snow was melted by this morning.

FCJ: Feeling Stuck

It's been a very long road for Polly and her family. They've been here for three and a half months-the longest I've ever had fosters. They should have found their permanent homes a long time ago, but chronic upper respiratory for some or life and death strictures for another, made it impossible to put them up for adoption. The exception is Chester and his mama, Mazie.

Chester Adorable.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Mr. Handsome! (Chester Cheesetoes)

Chester never got as sick as Polly and didn't have two strictures that Cara is recovering from. He's just a big, love-bug whose already had lots of interest from potential adopters. I've held off moving him because he has a slightly runny eye. I think that a visit to the kitty eye doctor for both him and Polly are going to be needed. I won't adopt out a sick cat unless that cat is deemed “special needs.” I worry that once adopted, the cats might not get the care they'll require-the extra observation and attention to make sure they don't break with the URI again. I have to be very careful about screening adopters. In fact, I had one application come in and in doing the background check I discovered they had not one cat, as listed on their form, but over 18 animals, ranging from ferrets to dogs and a few cats! The Vet they listed said they had not SEEN any of these animals for TEN YEARS!

©2010 Maria S. Polly a few days after being rescued, before she got sick.

For the most part, Polly and Chester are in good shape. Polly is FINALLY getting spayed TODAY. I hope she'll do all right. She's a tiny bit sniffly, but I really can't wait any longer. She's about to go into heat, if she hasn't done so already. I can't believe how big she is. I'm facing the very real problem of not being able to find her a home she's getting so large. I worry about Cara and especially Mazie, who no one has had an interest in adopting. I had planned for her to go to my friends at Animals in Distress where she'd be seen every week at their open house. It would mean separating her from her babies and putting her in a room with many other cats. She broke with a tiny DOT of ringworm so I held her back for four extra weeks, but that is long gone now. I just couldn't bring myself to let her go. I'm hanging onto the hope that she can be adopted with one of her babies. It's a long shot, but I want to her babies are not babies.

Who will want these cats when “kitten season” is here?

3.28.11 Polly.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Polly before heading off to be spayed.

AND I still have Noelle, remember her? The kitty caught in the car engine? She's in Georgia with another Henry Co. cat we rescued last year. We need to get them up here and adopted quick! They're just waiting around. I had to put off moving them because I have no space for her. Plus, I can't help any more cats. I HATE not being able to rescue! It really bothers me a lot. In fact I feel a lot of shame about it. I really do. Without foster families, my hands are tied. I can't bring any cats into my house. I'm full up. We need some local folks to help out and join our forces so we can start rescuing all those spring babies that are starting to be born!

Picture 008.jpg
©2010 Maria S. Noelle after the surgery to dock her tail.

Then there's MacGruber. Yeah, he's STILL here, too! I had to hold him back because the little bugger had a TINY dot of ringworm on his foot. Ugh. He's loving his life. He and Blitzen are constantly together, either playing or getting into trouble. They chase after Petunia and that's caused a lot of problems. Can you spell, inappropriate urination?

Mac napping.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. MacGruber has made himself at home it seems.

We wish Mac could stay with us. He really feels like a part of the family. He's got a huge personality, that's for sure, but we also know he'll get ten times more attention-which he deserves, if he had a family to call his own.

That ALL that any of these kitties dream of...a good home...and SOON!

Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: The Good, The Bad, The Fugly

I took photos in case no one would believe all the crap going on with Bob. My poor baby. I don't even want to write about it. It's enough already that Bob has FIV+, a URI, one or TWO kinds of cancer and now this...

We visited Dr. Larry and Super Deb today. I have to find out what is on Bob's head. Is it ringworm? Is it a fungal infection, but NOT ringworm? Of course it's #@#@!! ringworm, who am I kidding? How many times have I seen this in the past year? We did a DTM culture to see if it's positive, but since I know I have ringworm in the house, DUH, that's what Bob has. The culture can begin to show signs of being positive in a few days to a week, but we really don't know for TWO WEEKS.

Meanwhile, Itraconazole which is an anti-fungal, is really toxic so we can't give it to Bob. Okay, I won't give it to Bob and neither will Dr. Larry. We CAN treat it topically and I already started that, BUT the treatment duration is a month.

Bobs Ringworm with Blitz.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's head was shaved here and there to slow down the spread of #$@$!! ringworm.

We don't HAVE a month to do this treatment. Bob MUST get back to Chemo, but if we put him on another dose, the ringworm will spread like wildfire, then guess what? ALL of my cats could get it and Sam and I could get it, too. This really SUCKS and it's a very tough decision to make. We either have a cat who looks awful but is alive or a cat full of cancer and who's going to die very soon.

Bobs Ringworm with Blitz b.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob won't pose for the camera and neither will Blitzen. Hmpf!

So we wait for Dr. Larry to talk to Dr. I and we see how it goes. Maybe we wait one week...get Bob loaded up with Conofite lotion and hopefully, at least have stopped it from spreading.

But wait...the title of this post says, “GOOD” in it!

According to Super Deb, the only way to tell if Bob gained weight is to weigh him on the SAME scale every time. That's why I can't be TOO excited that Bab's weight, at Dr. Larry's, was up 3 oz in one week from the weigh-in at Dr. I's office. He could actually weigh more, less or the same. We won't know for sure until Bob goes back for chemo. and is weighed at Dr. I's office. That said, Bob appears to be less shrunken in, less skeletal. He's certainly eating like a champ!

Bobs Ringworm.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor sweetie. Mama will make it better somehow.

The other news that truly IS good is that Bob's liver function blood test came back at 475. Normal is about 100, BUT...his last ALT was 1265 so this is a BIG improvement! It proves that the surgery to remove 1/2 of his liver WAS a good choice...yeah, 'cause the liver lobe that was removed was CANCEROUS, too.

But it doesn't end there. Of course there's the FUGLY: last night, I went out to buy..ha ha ha...MORE CAT FOOD. I met Jennifer and we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a chat and a snack. Okay, it was the only place near the pet store that wasn't awful. Anyway, we had a nice visit. Jennifer BLASTED off to get back home. I started my car. Started right up. Tried to turn the wheel. NO GO. You would have to be Hurcules to turn that steering wheel! Of COURSE my car is busted. Is it the Power Steering Pump? Fluid? A hose? I have to call AAA for a tow. It's 28°F outside. Nice. Why do I feel lke the car repair is going to cost exactly how much money we just raised towards Bob's Vet Bill? It never ends, I swear.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. By Bye Car! You're only 11 years old! Why did you break?

I guess the good thing is that I didn't get stuck tonight. We're supposed to get TWO FEET of SNOW and we already have more than that on the ground. I would have waited a week for a tow with that going on! My car is at the shop now. I guess I won't be seeing it any time soon since they're overrun with folks trying to get their cars fixed before the storm hits.

I'm not complaining, really. I'm just a bit amazed at how much crap has hit the fan. Hopefully it will be dealt with and we'll get through it okay-as long as the power stays on, I have cat food, and cookies (for me); we should get through this all right.[crossing fingers! anti-jinx]

But I did forget to buy marshmallows.

Bob's Battle with Lymphoma: Transformation.

I suppose that like anything else, sooner or later, regardless of whatever the bad news is, you get to a place where the hard edges of pain, soften and you find a new routine. Your heart may be aching, but you have to find a way, right?

Bob's been transformed in the past month, from a sweet (and some times bratty) elderly gentlecat to a frail old man. Bob's thinner. Down two pounds since September of last year. Bob's coat is greasy and he belly is bare from being shaved for surgery just before Christmas. His eyes are the most startling. They seem sunken and dark. Not as sparkly as they once were. Bob used to have quite dilated pupils and there were times when he's look up at me and he'd remind me of Puss in Boots from Shrek. He was very good at that look whenever I was trying to eat dinner and he'd want a bite of something off my plate (which, I have too often given him).

©2001 Dreamworks SKG

Bob has a new routine. He's being treated for a URI (of course, he can't just have cancer and FIV+). One of the meds makes him hungry, so every two hours or so, he finds me or he follows me around so if I get up, I can get him some food, too.

He eats his many small meals. I give him treats. I have to give him a few pills, so more treats with that, too. Bob's been coming upstairs, which was rare. I think he's driven by hunger, but some times I wonder if he feels a bit clingy? He's never been a lap cat. He was so heavy my Mother, who used to have Bob, discouraged him from sitting on her lap. He could sit with his front paws on one leg, so that's as far as Bob will go on us, too.

The days are spent on the good old heated cat bed or lying under my desk in the sunshine. It's common to see most of the beds filled as the sun makes up for the thermostat being kept very low.

©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. The “Under the Desk Gang” at it again.

Today I realized there's another problem facing Bob. I won't swear but imagine the “F-word” right here...I think Bob has ringworm.

Last week when we met the oncologist I mentioned the skin issue on Bob's head. He didn't want to deal with it-not his thing. He said it should be cultured and that we couldn't do chemo if it was ringworm because it would set the ringworm off like wildfire. I really thought that the ringworm was on the way out, but I was wrong. Bob's head has more lesions and the fur has come off most of the back of his ears. I've been treating it with goldenseal and giving Bob sulpher, per my homeopathic Vet's suggestion. I don't know if it will help. It's too soon to tell. All I know is that this could prevent me from doing ANY more Chemo for Bob until this is resolved. If so, that would mean another MONTH lost. Conventional treatments are VERY toxic and take a month, so I'm not sure we can even DO that. I need to talk to Dr. Larry and the Oncologist. This is all so twisted and confusing. It's tough enough trying to figure out how to manage the cancer.

bob, blitz, spence, mac.jpg
©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen, Bob, Spencer & MacGruber leaving me to figure out where I can lay down so I can go to sleep, too.

I wish I could make Bob smile or see him appear to be happy again. I don't know if I will ever see that perky look on his face, the big begging eyes, the swat with the paw to get my attention. Bob has been transformed and with his change, I change, too. I'm so gentle and careful. I'm not so mad all the time. I'm letting things roll off my back. All that matters are the days I have left with Bob. I know I'm going to mess up what should be done for him or when or how it's done, but in the end, all I want is for Bob to be happy again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Pink Toe.jpg
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonpie featuring his very swanky pink toe!

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

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

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

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

Foster Cat Journal: Got You Covered

Bobbi is free. Free from the life in a cage on death row. Had we not pulled her when we did, she would already be gone, for at the Vet we found out that Bobbi has the beginnings of a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection)-which is a death sentence for cats in a shelter. Her skin is in such sorry condition that the Vet fears she also may have ringworm, so we did a culture called a DTM to rule that out. Her skin problems are most likely the result of having a bad flea infestation and not ringworm. When she was brought to Henry Co. Care & Control last week, they only saw the fleas. She was surrendered by her owner for reasons we will never know.

©2010 Maria S. Bobbi is FREE!

A just 5.5. pounds, Bobbi, though small in physical size, is still seriously underweight. It's possible her owner could not afford to feed her any longer. I've heard stories of folks in the south feeding their cats bread when they had no money for cat food. It's really a terrible situation for so many people. I suppose whoever relinquished her thought they were helping her, when they were just sending her off to die.

©2010 Maria S. You can really see how thin Bobbi is in this photo.

Bobbi is slow to eat much. She must be having trouble smelling her food. Her foster mama, Maria is going to get her some other things to eat to see if she can stimulate this thin baby's appetite.

Not only starving, but this cat must have been through some other Hell I can't imagine. Being covered with fleas and declawed, she is unable to relieve her itchy skin with a scratch. This, too me, is such torture, I can't imagine how this cat can still maintain a friendly and affectionate demeanor when she must be so uncomfortable. We're looking into finding a soothing bath and treatment that will help her feel more comfortable.

©2010 Maria S. Regardless of how lousy her life has been up to this point, Bobbi finally has a place to stretch out and relax.

Bobbi loves people. She's between 1 and 2 years old. How she got declawed on all four paws, but may not have been spayed, boggles my mind. Is her tail amputated or is she a manx? I don't even think I want to know at this point. All I know is we are going to get this cat well and get her a terrific home.

©2010 Maria S. Bobbi takes a moment to say; “Thank You for rescuing me!”

Due to her illness, it's not certain if she'll be able to make the transport late next week. It would really be terrible if she misses it, but we will do what we need to so she continues to get better. We MUST keep the other cats from getting sick, too. You and I both know the last thing we want to happen is to get a car load of sick cats! Not after last year's nightmare with Santa's Team and their 4 month battle with URi's and ringworm. Please not again!

This is definitely not great news, but it's not a complete setback, either. In the coming days, hopefully Bobbi will improve and regain her good health and we can look forward to celebrating her arrival...

That said, I have the feeling I may have to go on a road trip in a few weeks. Anyone want to drive to Georgia with me?

The Gift from Santa's Team That Keeps on Giving...




Note: this is a SMALL, dime-sized lesion on my side. Sorry the photo is crappy, but do you REALLY want a nice, clear image? No. I doubt it! I started treating it two days ago. Hopefully it won't SPREAD.

Ah...ringworm. You suck.


Subscribe to RSS - Ringworm