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In Honor of Love of Valentine's Day

Today we honor love; the love we have for our partner, our family, our friends, our sweet fur-babies…perhaps not in that order of importance. Today, I honor my lost true love, a tuxedo cat named, Stanley.

While most people get a box of candy or a card for Valentine's Day, in 1998 I adopted a cat. He was seven years old, skinny and alone in the world. His sister died from FIV. His family gave up on him when they were remodeling their home-worried he would get outside and become lost, so they left him at a shelter.

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©2001 Robin A.F. Olson. Me holding Stanley so his feet don't get cold. He wanted to play with the snow.

From the first moments with him, I knew he was the one, my one true love. This cat was sweet, devoted, charming, beautiful. He talked to me all the time. I never felt unloved when he was around. He met me at the door. He sat on me every chance he got. He made me laugh when I looked at the asymmetrical markings on his face. He made me cry, and I still do remembering, when he died prematurely after only five years together. Two Vets mis-diagnosed his health problem as something curable when in reality it was HCM and by the time we found out it was too late.

His name was Stanley.

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©2002 Robin A.F. Olson. My sweet Stanley.

Stanley's been gone for ten years. I'm breathless realizing it's been that long and not surprised the pain of his loss is still sharp. I want him back, but I know that's not possible. I rescue hundreds of cats and look for him in their eyes. I realize it's foolish, but I keep looking.

But my tears are not completely those of a brokenhearted middle-aged woman. They are tears of hope, too. I know I can't have another Stanley, but I can have a cat who reminds me of him, who touches my heart in his own unique way.

When I first saw him, I knew he was the one, but I didn't want to admit it. He was with the wrong family, who suddenly declared having allergies and wanted him gone. Their kid, mercilessly kicking him, screaming at him and chasing him when this kitten was barely four months old. He learned to attack hands and legs to protect himself, but when I first saw him, I didn't know those things. I just knew he needed to be rescued.

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From the Craigslist ad. He had me at meow.

When I reached into the cat carrier, I was struck by the silly markings on his face. He almost had a black heart shape over his right eye. He wanted to meet the staff at the vet so I let him walk around the reception desk. His bottle brush black tail was held high. At the very tip, the fur was white. I call that a “tail light.” He was clearly charming everyone who saw him, including me.

I fell even more in love with him when I found out he tested positive for Feline Leukemia; that his life would be so short made every moment seem more precious. But the ugly truth of his aggression came out shortly after he arrived in foster care and it gave me great pause.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The wild-child.

I worked with him every day for two months. I repeated the blood tests and it turned out he did not have Feline Leukemia. I allowed him to meet my cats and he beat them up, causing a fury of peeing all over my home. I had to lock him into a room at night or else he'd cause a ruckus and no one would sleep. I couldn't adopt him out as he was, so I worked with him and waited and wondered what home would be best for him. Clearly he could not live in a home with children, which would rule out most possible adopters where I live.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello, Cutie.

After many months, I started to realize he wasn't so tough to handle. In fact, he started to cuddle with me at night, laying belly up with his head on my pillow-something Stanley used to do, too. He'd reach out and touch my cheek but never put his claws out. This foster cat would lick and lick my face until it was raw. I didn't love it, but he was grooming me, a sign of affection (and maybe my face was dirty, too?).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Toez!

He's nine months old and weighs thirteen pounds. He's more like a horse, than a cat. He makes me laugh when I watch him run. His butt wiggles and his feet slide out from under him when he chases after a toy. I rarely hear him meow and in fact, I don't know that he ever has. He has a huge purr box and he's much more easy-going and the other cats aren't so bothered by him any more.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Still a kitten, believe it or not.

I've been good. I've said goodbye to many foster cats over the years. I was sad and missed each and every one of them. I've been able to let them go because I found the right home for them. This one already has the right home and it's mine.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Enjoying the sun, as Stanley once did, too.

It's Valentine's Day after all. It's a good time to adopt a cat.


I've made it formal and signed the Adoption Contract. It's not a surprise to any of you, but please help me in welcoming our latest member of the family: Doodlebug, aka the DOOD.


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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My boy.

Be Mine for the rest of our lives, DOOD. Be Mine.


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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

2016 Update: Dood weighs almost 24 pounds. He's our "class clown" and dopey BFF of our little Freya. Doodie even has his own Facebook Page  so everyone can follow his foolish lust for broccoli and his love of laying belly-up. 


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