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Foster Cat Journal: Fare Thee Well

December 17, 2009. 7pm EST. A date and time I will never forget. It was the start of a three month long trial that shook my resolve to the core and left me questioning whether or not I could go on. It ripped my very long term relationship into shreds. It broke my heart. It left me crying and raging, all for a handful of homeless shelter cats.

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Donner, Prancer, Dancer and Blitzen the day they arrived.

The journey of Santa's Team is ending. No more medicating wriggling kittens 50 times a day. No more force feeding them or endless Vet runs. It's done now. We made it. We're all okay and little wards are leaving the “nest” just hours after Jennifer's two were adopted.

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Prancer & Dancer. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella (my nephew!)

Yesterday, a family from Newtown met Dancer and Prancer. Though we all wished the two girls could stay together, they could only take one. Prancer left with them in a brand new cat carrier, off to meet her new friend, Luna. She will be renamed, Bella. A nice match and a pretty name for a quirky kitten. I'm invited to stop over and visit “any time” and was promised lots of photos and updates. I think Prancer will be happy with her new family. I hope she's not missing us too much.

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Prancer. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

Donner was supposed to be adopted yesterday, too, but I put a stop to it. I've never had to tell someone to their face that I couldn't go on with an adoption and I feel terrible about it. I screened the young applicants as best I could. Some things didn't add up and I pressed them for more information. I found out they lied on their form and they declared it was not done to deceive, but an innocent mistake. The damage was done. I kept trying to make it work and I should have stopped the adoption the second I found out about the lie, but I wanted to give them a chance. In the end, I discovered some other things that weren't so hot and I realized I had to trust my instincts. It was not a stable placement for Donner. For now, she's staying with me until I can sort things out for her.

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Donner. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

It would be one thing I was selling a car, but this is a living creature who may live 20 or more years. As much as I didn't want to hurt someone's feelings, I'd rather have them hate me, than let Donner go somewhere that wasn't right for her.

Last night, another cat was adopted. It's Cupid's turn.


Mama. Cupid. ©2009 Photo by Henry County Care & Control

Cupid-what a journey you've made. From an emaciated Mama, on the verge of being euthanized to weighing more than twice what you did when you arrived, with a glossy, soft coat and life in your eyes. I did this. I fattened you up. I saved your life. This is one of the most meaningful things I have ever done. It really hurts to see you leave, but there's so much joy in my heart and so much relief. Cupid didn't have to die on a cold steel table in a heartless shelter. She is the living proof all the effort was worth it.

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Cupid, today-chubby and content. ©2010 Photo by Robin Olson

Now Cupid will get a break from her kittens-one that will last the rest of her life. She'll be the only cat in a well-to-do family's home. She'll have two doggie friends and a kind 9 year old boy and his toddler sister to play with. Their Au Pair from Uruguay can't wait for Cupid to arrive and has asked if Cupid can live in her room with her, until Cupid adjusts to her new home. She will make sure everyone is looked after and loved and Cupid will never have a worry again. Her new parents are going to feed her a raw diet!!! They also are spending the next few days shopping for her, so they've asked me to hold her until Friday, while they buy her cat trees and scratching posts, toys and get the raw food ready, too. I could not ask for more!

As much as I'd like her to go with one of her kittens, I see her frustration and anger towards them some times. I think she'll enjoy being pampered and I know, in time, any sadness she'll have will be replaced by the love of her new family.

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Cupid and Dancer kiss goodbye. ©2010 Photo by Robin Olson

That will leave, of the original nine cats, just three: Donner, Blitzen and Dancer. Since I first wrote this article, there's been an update. In a few hours, a family is coming to meet Dancer and Donner. They've wanted a cat for months and have been searching for the right fit. They're very excited to meet the girls and with no pets, other than fish, the girls will be spoiled rotten. Saying goodbye to Donner will be very very tough. She was my inspiration to rescue this cat-family. When I saw her little face, I knew I had to do something.


How do you say, No to those faces? Photo taken at Henry Co. Care & Control in GA.

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Donner & Blitzen today. ©2010 Photo by Ryan Feminella

There is one other bit of news. There's been a gesture made to me. A folded note, left upon my desk, with words that brought more tears. From Sam, to me...not a goodbye, but one last promise. That no matter what happens to us and whatever we choose to do next, he will love me forever-even if it means farewell and our paths go separate directions.

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My heart is not so cold that his words did not effect me. While there is no certainty of what tomorrow will bring, perhaps it's time to put our weapons down and remember what's important?

My lonely ring finger has its' old friend back. My lonely heart has a glimmer of hope and my lonely life isn't so lonely after all.

To my little foster babies. Good luck on your next adventure. May you live long and happy lives.


It's wonderful that there is a happy ending for all, particularly Cupid. It's so hard to place adults these days, but there should have been no doubt about this family since they're all such gorgeous kitties.

As for everything else that happened, well... you know that saying that God never gives us more than we can handle? I call BS on that. That whole saying is cynical and insensitive to people who really do have too much to handle (isn't this economy right now evidence of the BS?). You were right to ask for help and the breakdowns were evidence that you're human. In a while, you guys can look back at this with an objective eye and learn.

And in the meantime, you can say that you've taken on a helluva lot and succeeded. I bow to you, madam.

I agree with you on all points!!!!!

I bow right back to you, for being a compassionate and kind friend! Thank you!

Jeez Robin, makin' me cry in public... You do such amazing work. I can only hope that when I have my own home I could do one fourth the miracle work you do! The cost is high, we all know that, but so are the rewards. Those cats have been the cutuest. If I wasn't in Minnesota I would probably have 5 already (you think I'm joking)... Good luck with your next batch and keep hope alive!
So much love,

I'm sorry, Stephanie!

Hey, I used to live in Minneapolis for many years! I miss it there. I can always ship you cats. Hee hee.


Thank you for the love and warm wishes. Right back atcha!

I have just been boo hooing tons reading this...sitting here eating my grilled cheese sandwich
and crying into my plate. what a journey! what and incredible trip you have been on.
I am so happy to hear that things are getting better and that the sweet kitties are all finding
wonderful homes thanks to YOU!
You deserve the Kitty Peace Prize!!!!

And my fingers are crossed tightly for the rest of it.

...but that DID make me laugh, too....I never heard of crying into your grilled cheese sandwich, but this could be the start of something great!

Thank you for going on this wild ride with me and for caring so much about the kitties!

So it looks like Blitzen (Zombie Kitten) will be the last, he's stolen my heart, and part of my brains. I'm sure he'll get a home in good time. Nothing but love for that adorable kitten. Nom nom nom.

I am in total awe of all you do and the sacrifices you make for these cats. Thank God for people like you who have the big heart, compassion, knowledge and stamina to do what you do.

I am so happy to hear all the good news about your kitties. I do hope the adoptions work out very well, for all of them.
You have done an amazing job. I am glad you feel proud of your achievement, especially as it has been so very hard for you, these last 3 months. It's just wonderful that it's worked out so well for the kitties in the end. I do hope though, that you really are going to take a break for a bit now... it brought you to the point of exhaustion in every way - give yourself some time.
Also, I am so glad of that olive branch from Sam. He obviously values your friendship and love very much. He must be hurting too. I hope, so much, that you are able to reach a good place with him, whether it means being together, or apart.
You're in my thoughts - quite often actually. I wish you all the best that life can offer!
You are a special woman and you deserve it!

What a wild ride this has been! One of those nightmares all foster people dread - but miraculously, everyone survived (even, it seems, your broken heart!). I'm so happy everyone is finding great homes (but of course, you would not let them go with anything BUT a great home).

If you had known what was going to happen, would you have taken this crew in? (I get the sneaking impression your answer to that would be yes.)

as always, just sending love.

it's all hard, it ain't easy, but it IS worth it.

Oh, virtual sister, what a long, strange trip it's been! Loving you for all this incredible work for the kitties, and wishing you well with Sam and the rest of your life. And looking forward to seeing you next month!

i smiled all the way through this, and then i cried at sam's letter. and now i'm all grinny for you! see, we told you you'd get here. :)

p.s. LOVE the cupid dancer kiss pic!

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