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Dear Fred.

Dear Fred,

You’re in the foster room on the floor above my office catching the last few rays of sunshine as you rest in the little cubby on the cat tree. I imagine your respirations, too fast for normal, a bit shallow. Your tail lays limply, instead of flicking back and forth. You’ve been sick with something for months and it’s robbed you of the use of your back legs and now your front are gone, too. We’ve done so many tests on you, with most of them coming up negative or normal, only to find a hint of the horror you may be facing is FIP after all. Feline Infectious Peritonitis—a fatal disease.

Sleeping inthe sun R Olson copy.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Fred catching the last rays of sunshine.

I’ve never fought so hard to save a cat’s life. I’ve never reached out to so many Veterinarians, Specialists, anyone who might be able to help you. I’ve never worked so hard to raise money to make sure we have whatever we need, so we can provide for you—no matter what the cost.

I’ve been anxiously waiting for each result, praying it wasn’t FIP. There were MANY tests that said there was NO WAY it could be what we feared most, but one did point a bloody finger…a very high protein level in your spinal fluid…and that may be the only clue we ever get from science. The rest of the clues are witnessed in your weakening physical condition.

You’re just a baby, Fred. You’re only 10 months old. I know we lost your siblings, Pebbles and Bam-Bam a few days after they were born, but I never thought you or your brother, Barney were at risk, too. Please tell me if I did something wrong-or made you get sick! Did I cause you too much stress? Did one of the other foster cats in your room expose you to something that they were immune to? I didn’t think I waited too long to get you to the Vet, but maybe we were too slow to do tests, fearing the costs? I feel like I’ve let you down, Fred and I hate myself for that. I will never forgive myself for your death and I know you’re going to die. I'm so VERY SORRY, Fred. I know it won’t be much longer now.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Our Fred.

The treatment we hoped would work has done nothing other than make you gag when I give it to you. The steroids don’t make you hungry or feel any better. I keep thinking that I can’t give up on you. I just can’t, but now I see you barely able to sit up and I think, why am I doing this to you? Is it fair to let you be this way? You’re still “Fred,” in so many ways, but now I’m faced with the worst thing I will ever deal with and that is choosing when to end your life.

It’s so against what I have devoted my life to-saving lives, not taking them. I know that if you were in a shelter, they would have put you down a long time ago. I know if you were still living in that terrible place where we rescued your mom, you’d have died a long time ago there, too. You can’t expect to live in filth with little or no food and no vet care and survive very long. I know that you’ve probably lived with me longer than you would have lived anywhere else-even if you’d been adopted because I doubt anyone would not go to work so they could stay home and syringe-feed a kitten or spend thousands of dollars in Vet care for a possibly hopeless situation, so maybe that’s the meaning of this journey?

You didn’t get adopted months ago, when you had an adopter come see you because you were supposed to stay with me. I just don’t want to know what my lesson is in all of this because if it’s that cat rescue means euthanizing cats, I honestly don’t know if I am capable of doing that.

Barney Licking Fred Sm R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Barney fussing over his brother, trying to get him to play again.

I love watching kittens take their first steps and be part of introducing them to the world, but if it means I have to take the life of a precious kitten before he even has the chance to see his first birthday, I just don’t know if I have what it takes.

Dear Fred-I love you so much. You were so charming and carefree. You amazed me at how high you could jump and how much you loved to chase those feather toys. I’ve known you since the day you were born and I’ve looked out for you all these months.

I know I can’t fix what’s wrong with you. I can syringe-feed you, try to keep you clean and dry, since you can’t make it to the litter pan any more. I can brush you and speak sweetly, encourage you to be strong, while I try to be as gentle with you as I can.

I have one last offering for you, sweet Fred. Today you’re getting adopted. Sam and I are adopting you into our family. The contract is signed. You belong to us. Our goal is to find a forever home for every one of our foster cats, even if forever is only going to last another day. I can’t cure your FIP, but I can give you a loving home until your last breath leaves your body.

Adoption Contract R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.

I will never forget you, Fred. I know that one day we will do something very special in your honor because of the big impact you made on all of our lives. I hope your journey to the Rainbow Bridge is as beautiful as I can make it and that one day I will see you again.

Love always,
Robin (and your daddy, Sam, too)


I can't even tell you how much of a pleasure it was to meet you and Barney last Thanksgiving, and how much you did to heal my broken heart. Fly free, sweet Fred, and come back to us sometime if it's meant to be.

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi soha.

We are sending our love, thoughts and prayers to you.  Thank you for loving Fred so much. 

Oh Robin, you have done so much for Fred, you should be very proud of yourself. I am so glad that he knew all that love that you gave him and are giving him. Thanks for adopting him. You were so right about the tissues. Thanks for taking such good care of Fred \.


 You have done the best you could for Fred.You have gone above and beyond for him.Please know that you did EVERYTHING you possibly could.I know from experience how terrible this is ,has been,and will be for you. You will miss him forever.My one big hope and prayer is that we will all be united with our furchilder when we pass on.There is nothing I can say to make this any easier for you ,but please know that I am grieving with you.Bless you for all the love you have given to Fred.



Thank you for giving Fred the diginity and opportunity to leave this world as and official part of a loving family. My heart is heavy and my eyes are teary, but somehow I feel at peace with all of it. Thanks to you and Sam for everything you've done for sweet Fred. You are angels.

Be brave and loving for his sake, and know that your friends are all around you, sharing the pain. And please stop blaming yourself. Since he was infected, his illness was inevitable and completely unavoidable, just the miserable luck of the draw. So, please, give yourself credit for the fact that he has lived for as long as he has.  May you somehow find a little joy in this terrible sadness, because you're giving him peace, and you've given him a great, if too-short, life he would never have had otherwise.

He knew you'd give him the best life and the best care in the short time he had, so he made sure he came to you, and stayed there. Sometimes that's all we get to do for the kitties who come into our lives, and he made the best of every moment he had. My Lucy was another little dancer who came with a litter but stayed when the last thing I needed was a kitten, and though I lost her at 15 months to FIP she packed a whole lifetime into that time, and when she left she sent me her mama Mimi and Mimi's wonderful children. You gave Fred the gift of a lifetime commitment, and I'm sure he'll return with a gift of a lifetime for you and Sam.

You and Fred have been in my thoughts & prayers.  As painful as this was ... thank you for sharing with us (as I write through tears).  Your loving commitment  is such an inspiration.

Dear Robin & Sam- I know how hard this is. I have been there, as many of us have, but the pain is never so searing as when it hits our own. I just have a few things I want to remind you of: Quality over quanitity. To me it sounds as if Fred has the shimmering gift of unconditional love- even if only for a short time- something many, many cats never have the chance to feel for a minute or even a day. This is a beautiful thing that he has known what a warm bed, a gentle hand and a loving voice feel like. You were his warm patch of sun to bask in, safe, and unafraid. Thank you for giving him this.

Nextly, these angels are only Borrowed from Heaven.  My husband reminds me faithfully that creatures so loving and purrfect can only be furangels, and we only get to borrow them from heaven for a short time before they are needed once again, perhaps to look after a new litter of kittens that needs a guardian angel to protect them?

and Finally- A Snowflake In Your Hand. As the great author Samanthan Mooney tell us.. cats are like a snowflake landing on your palm- each is so beautiful and unique- none is like any other- but their time here on earth is so fleeting, like a glittering  flake melting on your skin.

I hope soon the jagged edges of the cat shaped hole that Fred has left in your heart will grow fur and soften- so you can remember the joy, and leave the pain behind.. he would want it that way. Big hugs, Laurelei

Thank you for sharing your love and concern for Fred on your blog.

I know he will live forever in your heart.  I am glad you legally adopted him.  My thoughts and prayers are with you today.

Love, Maria (and from my current cats, Earle, Willow and newcomer,

what a beautiful post Robin. Fred is a very lucky kitty to have you and Sam. He is having the best life he could have. And just remember, he is one of the lucky ones. He knows your love and the love of other kitties. I'm seriously crying at work damn you!

Check out just because.  Google it and they also have a phone mumber.   The best to you 2 and Fred.

So sorry Robin. I know this was an especially difficult loss.  He was so young, and his illness is a mystery. Maybe someday you'll find out what it was. But you did everything you could, and he had some quality months with you. That's more than he would have gotten elsewhere...

Robin and Sam - There are no words to fully express how sad I am for your family right now. While everyone feels differently, I can say I know first hand how hard it is to watch a beloved furkid deteriorate - hard to watch, hard to not know what is going on, hard to know what to do or what not to do, hard to not to try anything to make the hurt go away, hard to not to think about giving up when you're not sure if the next thing will be the thing to "fix" everything, hard to think about saying goodbye, and the hardest thing - saying goodbye. I know that you and Sam have been the best thing that could have ever happened to Fred and Barney. Please please know that you have done nothing wrong and everything RIGHT for Fred (and all of your other rescues) - you have loved him better than anyone else could have and have provided food, medical treatments, and a home that was nothing less than happy for him. If you doubt me look at all those pictures of him happy and playing and jumping. I know that will be hard now but I know he knew love by the look in his eyes... And then he was the hero of the Kittens for Kids program. He showed the world how awesome he could be and what wonderful people you and Sam are. He did such a wonderful job with the kids who needed him. Maybe that's why he was here to bring happiness in the wake of sadness. And he did such a great job at that!! Those kids were blessed to have Fred and you. I wont say dont cry (because yeah i tearing up as i write this) but know that Fred loved you as much as you loved him. I have to admit that when i read that you were adopting him, while it made me cry, it also made me smile. Now he knows that he is wanted and has his official family (no matter how long it is for)... that is so much more than so many kitties ever get. Please love on Fred and give him hugs and petties for all of us out here in the virtual world who cannot. Let him know how many lives he touched without ever even knowing. Give Barney lots of love and let him love on his brother and say goodbye (i know it sounds silly but when one of kids furkids passed away I took his closest kitty sibling to say goodbye and the kitty more than the others was able to move on and past his grief more than the other two). Know that lots of prayers and love and thoughts are being sent your way as you are going through this painful process. I will keep praying for Fred as long as needed. Stay strong and know that you amaze me with your strenght, compassion, love and determination to help kitties. Lots of love your way.

Dear Robin and Sam,

Take comfort in knowing you left no stone unturned for Fred. I feel your pain and wish I could take it away.

Fred touched so many lives. He will continue to inspire all who come to know this special purrball. 

Officially adopting Fred is the most wonderful tribute you can give him. If not for you, Fred would never have lasted, never been a mascot for Kitties for Kids, never touched the people his story has reached, never made a difference. You made that happen for Fred. You gave us Fred and the gifts he gave back to us. Thank you.

Congratulations on your new addition Robin!  

I was dry eyed until then.. That gets me.  It is why I rush to name kittens that come to me so very ill.  I abhor the idea of them dying with out even having a name.

I forgot that Fred's siblings died.  I wonder if he might have a congenital issue that is causing this.  I just saw on the news today about a four year old boy having strokes because of a protein deficiency in his blood.. maybe Fred has something along those lines??

I understand your position of not wanting to kill kittens, but I think you should focus on the QUALITY of life, not the quantity.  Fred has had so much more then he could have ever hoped for being born in the circumstances he was.    Some kittens are just not able to live in this world.. You can do everything 100% right and they still die.   It is nothing you did, or failed to do.. it is the frailty of life - which is what makes it so precious

Dear Robin,

My heart was breaking as I read your post, tears streaming down my face. I know how very hard you have worked to save Fred, giving him unconditional love and the best medical care. But sometimes that just isn't enough, and we need to let go. Please, please, please do not beat yourself up with the "woulda, coulda, shouldas." None of us is omnipotent - we just do the best we can. Bless you for caring so very much for this little guy, and all of the cats you have touched. Hugs and prayers to you, Sam, and Fred.

Thank  you for sharing with us your love and concern for Fred.  He will live forever in your heart.  My thoughts and prayers are with you today.

Love from Maria and My Cats, Willow, Earle and Cali

lovely sweet fred
and all the kittens you have saved
and shared
and sent out into the world
are love.
through them imagine
all the love you have given to the world
even beyond rainbow bridge
that love is still felt
still shared.
thank you
thank you and sam
for all the love you have sent
to the world
to all of us.

Dear Robin and Sam,
I am so grateful that for as long as he had, Fred spent his last time here on earth with your family. When his time arrives to leave you, we wish him a quick and gentle journey to Rainbow Bridge, where all of our beloved pets gone before will be waiting to greet him.

Some things just hurt and have no good explanation.  FIP is one of them, and we have several friends who have lost beloved pets to this in just the past few years.  I do hope that you can find the courage to continue with your rescue work.  I feel very certain when I say, there is no better gift you could give to Fred, and others like him.

We will plant a flower for Fred in our garden this week.  Love and peace to you all.

Sharon R. (Lexington KY)

mom to Felisha (one-eyed, blind) and Cat Buddy (deaf)

I am so, so sorry, Robin.  I wish I could be there with you right now to offer hugs and comfort in person.  You have kept your promise and vow to save lives by doing everything you possibly could, seeking out every veterinary recourse and test and treatment, for Fred.  Sometimes, the kindest thing we can do is give our furbabies a release from their pain and suffering.  Fred has had months of love and fun and cuddles and playtime and silliness and napping in sunbeams because of you.  What time he's had, it's been as full of everything a cat should be enjoying because of you and Sam.  You've made his short life full.  Anytime you find yourself thinking you didn't do enough or wondering if you could have done more, stop immediately and remind yourself that you busted your butt and spent thousands to try and save Fred's life and he got to spend his short life napping in sunbeams and cuddling with his brother and being loved by you, and then tell yourself you are an AWESOME CAT MOM, and keep telling yourself that until the thoughts that you failed him go away, you hear me?!?! Seriously, you're awesome and you work incredibly hard for the furbabies in your care.  I'm so, so sorry about Fred.

In taking a break between mind numbing reports, I decided to read the post. Now, I'm trying not to cry. Fortunately, I am surrounded by cat lovers who know, as I do, the pain of sending a friend across the Rainbow Bridge.

In your pain, it's possibly not a comfort to know that your readers know you did more than others would have done to save Fred. You've chronicled the struggle, the frustration and now, the ultimate sadness that comes from loving someone so much. He knows you love him and he probably knows how much you tried. It's small consolation when you're grief stricken.

I shall hold my girls extra tight tonight and tell them how much I love them. May you find peace in the coming days knowing you did right. I admire you.

Dear Robin & Sam -  my heart breaks for you.  There is nothing sadder than watching a beloved pet suffer.  Maybe Fred's time with you was to bring comfort to those in Newtown who needed comforting and he certainly met that obligation with flying colors.   My thoughts and prayers are with you all.  I'm so glad Fred has been adopted into your loving home.   Ellen

If you received my other posts about Fred, then you know that I have also endured this experience, twice, once with a great deal of success because our beloved Sun lived to be just shy of 16 with a good quality of life up until almost the last, and the other, very much the opposite, as the bouncy, healthy kitten girl we rescued developed wet-form FIP (I believe from the vaccine) and was gone very quickly, at just shy of 3 months old.

The other posters' words express my thoughts and feelings eloquently.  All that I would add to them is that Fred has been enveloped in love and cherishing; he will be forever remembered and forever loved; and there are some mysteries in this life that perhaps it is not for us to know the answers to.  My heart goes out to you; you and Fred are in my *PRAYERS* <3

Thank you, Robin, for sharing Fred with us. And thank you Fred for blessing us with your sweetness. I am so glad that you have a furever family as you cross the Bridge.

Dear Robin & Sam, 

My most heartfelt & sincerest condolences to you, Sam & Barney on the loss of your much beloved fur child, Fred!  You gave Fred the best life a kitty could ever know, both in sickness & in health!  With you, he had all the things every kitty should, security, nourishment, a place in the sun, joy & love!  What's more, you shared him so unselfishly with all of us!  Today we share your sorrow & your tears, but we will also have happy memories of Fred to hold in our hearts forever!  

With MUCH love & BIG hugs,

Laurie & Panda McRae

I've been checking in to see if there was any news of Fred - and now I know.

You have given this sweet kitten so much love and care. Sometimes things just happen - I don't know why, but I know that we all do the best we can with what we are given. Fred has known love, care and now he has an "official" family. He will go to the Rainbow Bridge with those gifts. And one day you will join him.

In the meantime, knowing how very hard this is, quality of life has to be the biggest concern. You know him best and will know when he no longer has that quality that he deserves. And then you will do what you must FOR him because you love him. And you will grieve his passing, then one day you will smile and the memory will outweigh the sadness, and you'll be on your way to healing.

Godspeed, Fred. I wish you a gentle and peaceful passing with those who love you - when it's your time.

Sad hugs,


I cried so very hard reading this-I know there are no words that I can say to make you "feel better" during this time.

I too just lost 1 of my boys 2wks. ago, & I fully understand, as I'm sure many do who have caretaken 1 of their babies, the feeling of helplessness when they can't figure out what is going on with your little loved one.You feel like you've failed them, even though you are doing everything possible in your power to help them get better;you go over & over in your head what you did, or if they had gotten into anything without you knowing; how long this was going on prior to you noticing it; etc.Please try not to blame yourself or feel guilt(easier said than done, I know.) I believe Fred knows you are doing everything possible to help him, to keep him as comfortable as possible, & to let him go when he is ready. I hate that decision, it is 1 of the hardest ever, for we love them so! Please know I am thinking of all of you, & sending much love & many prayers to you today......

                                                 With love & caring thoughts,

                                                      Caroline, Coda, & Stitch

I just finished your post, Robin, and now I am sitting here at 3:30 in the morning with tears blurring my vision, feeling a crak inmy heart for an adorable little guy named Fred, whom I have never even met. You are beyond eloquent; your letter was more moving than I can even begin to express. Thank you for sharing that with your page followers-I know you are in pain and all we can do is let you know that you and wonderful Fred have touched so many people. Please do not blame yourself in any way; you are an amazing pet parent, and Fred has had the best of care. He has been genuinely loved, as every fur ball deserves; it just seems so unfair, after the circumstances of his birth, that his little life should be over so quickly. I am so profoundly sorry for your beautiful boy, and for the heartbreak we all know you are suffering. You are just the best, Robin; may Fred find rest and the peace he so deserves. Much love from a friend in California

Patty Porter Huggins So sorry to learn the sad news about Fred. I as thousands other have been following his story and hoping for a miracle. He did live 10 months he would have never experienced without the extraordinary amazing humans, Robin & Sam. God Bless Them Both.

I'm just so happy that Fred got the best gift of all, an official forever home. Even if his forever wasn't that long -- what a gift. I love it and can't think more peaceful, fulfilled way to complete life.


This is Love!

This is why we do what we do.

Thank You

This is exactly what rescue is all about. I had a tear trying to escape the corner of my eye in the first part of your story, then about halfway through, I had sprung a leak, but at the end, it was full on water works.  It's a beautiful story about an ugly disease that robs this world someof our most beautiful little lives.   I've always said that staying with and holding them through their final journey from this world is the greatest gift wecan give them when thweir is no alternative,but this is absolutely beautifulk, your gift of a home.  

I guess I also felt that way, but didn'tquite put a name on it,becausemy little foster, Awesome PAwsome,who was one of 4 feral kittens I tamed at 5 weeks old, tested positive for FeLV, as did 2 of her siblings.  In 60 days time, the other two positives had managed to "turn" and test negative,but PAwsome kitty remained positive.  60 days later, no change.  All the others had gotten adopted out (with the understanding of the risk) but the rescue I was fostering for had no idea what to do with my little Pawsome kitty and decided to put her up for adoption, free, on CL.  I knew this cat would not live a full life, and in fact would not live long at all, most likely, and I knew she was highly contagious and I have other cats and fosters, but I could not have that be her fate, so I fixed up my bedroom into a little wonderland for a lone kitty, and since then she has not left that space.  I was preparing myself to give her the best short little life possible, within my power; also for the heartache of losing her quite young.  It's been 3 years so far.  She is healthiest cat I have, seemingly, except for her FeLV+ .  And, I guess I am still preparing myself, though I cannot imagine life without her, now.  I have fallen head over heels.  (and apologize for hijacking a piece of your blog)                                   


Thank you for giving your Fred this wonderful gift of a home and family, and so much love.  (My nose is still running, thank you very much. haha)

Thank you for taking the time to write. I love what you wrote and I feel for you and Awesome Pawsome. I had the DOOD test positive for FeLV, as well, but he beat it back and has been negative ever since. I know the fear you face, but I also know someone who has 13 cats and ONE of them is FeLV. The others are vaccinated and they ALL LIVE TOGETHER. I don't know how she does it, but they are fed separately and have sep access to water and the litter pan. I also know there are some FeLV only rescues, too, so if you ever got into a place where you needed help, you could contact me and I'd put you in touch with them. Most people would turn their back on a tough case like FeLV and it does my heart good to know there are people out there who just make room for them and work it out. They deserve just as much love as every other cat-if not more. THank you for being good to the kitties and not giving up on them. You honor cats with your love and devotion and you make this world a better place. Lots of hugs, Robin


Thank you for putting Fred's story here. My story with my kitty Yoda Monkey is almost exactly the same. Yoda lived 18 month and when could no longer walk and he developed a mega colon, it was time. This little kitty that became my best buddy that I bottle fed was now going to cross the rainbow bridge. Yoda like Fred had FIP too. I understand and know your heartbreak and I thank you for sharing.

Thank you for sharing Fred's story

I just came across this page. I do rescue in GA, and lost my precious foster baby Tugboat at 10 months to a sudden, explosively-fast wet FIP. It was my 4th foster baby in 3 years to lose to this insidious disease. I'm devastated for you, and am crying right now as I remember how my healthy little boy turned on a dime because of FIP. I'm changing the way I have my foster situation set up, to decrease the kittens' exposure to the coronavirus from my other, older foster babies. But I know that only does so much. 

I'm devastated for you and Fred, and can only reassure you that, in his soul, he never knew anything but love his entire life. All due to you. It doesn't make it easier for us, but try to find relief that he had a perfectly loved life. And you will see him again.

I always imagine that FIP babies are have this beautiful little alcove in heaven, where they are even more crazy and playful than before FIP, with tons of tree branches to swing from, and soft cotton clouds to land on. Fred is up there with Tug, Percy, Peggy, and Duck, having a ball, stopping every now and then to nosh on some delish wet food. When they see me upset, they send me a sunbeam, the kind that they used to lie in. I so want to see them again. My heart goes out to you - 

I remember reading this post and crying about it at the time just as im crying now. In the time since, I have lost my own cat, Nom Noms to Wet FIP. We lost him October 26, 2014. It was fast, and he left on his own. I still hate that I could not save him, that no amount of money, or time could heal what was wrong. I wondered if it was my fault for fostering kittens (he had no interaction with them, but he didnt like that they were here at first). I wondered if I could have broken up him and our other cat from playing too rough one night if he would have never gotten the absess that created the infection that triggered FIP. 5 years, and 3 days old. We were supposed to have at least 20 years, at least that is what I always told him. Its been 7 months and the pain has not gone away, it just doesnt throb as hard as it did all the time. Im so so sorry you had to go through this with fred, im sorry any of us have to go through this at all. I miss my boy more than words can say. My other cats and husband are a comfort but you dont understand how this feels unless you go through it. My thoughts are with you and your family! (Feline and human!)

So sorry to hear of Fred's passing, he looked such a lovely cat :(

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