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My Secret Shame. Part 2 of 2

A YEAR PASSED with NO RESOLUTION. Many the cats were getting sick, of course, with the chronic upper respiratory that plagues many shelters. One cat had to be put down. At first I thought it was our girl, but I later found out it wasn’t. I knew very little about Tansy in those dark days. I only knew that the case wasn’t settled and to write back again in another month and another month and another month. I was never really sure she was alive since I didn't even have a photo to confirm they had her.

In late January of THIS YEAR, ONE YEAR AND SEVEN MONTHS after the animals were taken from Sue and almost THREE YEARS since the initial adoption, I got my monthly reply, but this one was different.

The ACO asked me, since they felt the case was nearing completion, did I want to foster Tansy until the case was over? I had to agree to return her to North Carolina if the Judge awarded her back to Sue. I promised I would follow the letter of the Law even if I didn’t agree with the verdict.

“When can we take Tansy out of there?” I asked.

”We’re open until 5PM today and from 10AM to 2PM tomorrow.” they replied.

I couldn't believe it! I wished I had superpowers so I could FLY to Animal Control and get her out. I started to consider making the 1000 mile drive, but first I wanted to make certain it was our girl. I asked for a photo of her to confirm we had the right cat. A few hours later, the photo below arrived in my inbox. There was Tansy, all grown up. A bit chubbier than she’d been when we last saw her, but it was still our girl. I was so happy to see her my mouth hurt from smiling so hard. They told me half the cats had become chronically sick at the shelter, but somehow Tansy had been spared. Thank God.

First Look at Tansy.jpg
©2013 ICAS&C. There she is-TANSY!

I called a friend of mine who used to run a shelter here in CT and who’d recently retired to North Carolina. I asked her to please go get Tansy and since she couldn’t foster her that I’d arrange to pay for the cost of boarding at a local Vet hospital if she could drop her off. It would mean more time in a cage, but we were almost out of the woods.

I made a silent promise that soon Tansy would NEVER be caged again. It was my chance to FINALLY do right by her, even though I may be getting a complete basket case of a cat. I’d figure it out later. Right now she needed to get OUT OF THERE.

The next morning at 10AM Tansy left the building, hopefully for the last time. An hour later I got more photos and a call. Tansy was at the Vet getting examined by the same Vet who had seen her while she was in custody. It's a very nice facility called Troutman Animal Hospital and the people there were really thrilled with their new furry client.

First look Tansy close up.jpg
©2013 ICAS&C. A second photo seals the deal. Yes, it's our girl.

Then the shocking news I would have never seen coming…Tansy was not emotionally crippled. In fact they were describing her as “a complete doll,” “stands up on her hind legs and reaches up to be held,” “we just LOVE HER she is so precious!”

I couldn’t believe my luck, nor did I deserve it, but I was so very grateful. I didn’t know if Tansy’s behavior was temporary and due to the long confinement or if that was her true nature.

I arranged for Tansy to be vetted and I set up her transport to Connecticut. I sent out some emails and was able to find Amanda Arthur from Paws and Claws rescue. She offered to drive Tansy 100 miles to the drop off location for the PETS transport. It was all working out so well. It should be an easy time for Tansy now, but there were more delays.

Laser beam Tansy at Troutman.jpg
©2013 Troutman Animal Hospital. Someone turned Tansy's laser beam eyes on at the Vet!

The weather tanked so we had to keep Tansy in North Carolina for three weeks. Over that time Ms Vicki, who works at Troutman, kept me abreast of Tansy’s latest antics. Vicki was in love with Tansy to the point of wanting to adopt her. Even if her husband was against the idea, preventing any thoughts of adopting Tansy; I couldn’t have let her go anyway. There would be vet checks and home visits for Tansy’s next-and last home if I had anything to do with it. I was thrilled that someone loved this cat so much that I heard her choke back tears of joy when I had to extend Tansy’s stay to a third week. It spoke highly of Vicki and of Tansy. Apparently, this was one great cat.

On February 1st at 9AM I sat in the parking lot at the Danbury Choice Hotel waiting for the PETS truck to arrive. It was bitter cold and I worried about Tansy handling the serious temperature shift. The driver opened the doors to the side of the truck as the families lined up to receive their newly adopted dogs. Tansy, as often happens, was the only cat on the truck. As I reached the front of the line, I asked for Tansy, knowing it would be the last time I said that name out loud.

She was huddled in the carrier, crying. I raced her over to my car and tried to take a quick look at her, but it was so cold I didn’t want to waste any time. I got the car started and headed for home. She was quiet and didn’t react much, just stared out the front of the carrier as I drove along I-84. I talked to her about her new home and I welcomed her to Connecticut, as I do with every foster cat who arrives from the south.

Then it hit me. TANSY SPENT ONE YEAR AND SEVEN MONTHS in a cage in a shelter. Alone, scared, wondering what she did wrong. If I had only brought her here in the first place, she never would have had to suffer. As I imagined her sad life, the tide of salty tears I'd held back for so long, broke free. I sobbed as I drove because I was so happy I finally had this cat in my custody and now she would never be caged again. My own suffering was almost over-though my shame would never fade. I finally had her away from that terrible place and now I could spend my time focusing on giving her the best life I could possibly provide.

It was the least I could do. This was the second time I’d saved her life from a Kill Shelter. I was determined to never put her in harm’s way again.

When I got home I brought her to her room. It’s my guest bathroom/laundry room. It’s not a huge space but it has a window that overlooks the woods. It has a cat tree and two scratchers. There are new toys waiting for her and fresh food (much BETTER FOOD) and water. I even had a heated blanket out for her to snuggle on. I wanted her to have everything she needed.

I set the carrier on the floor and opened the door. She walked out of the crate and looked around. She’s a very small cat. I expected her to be much larger. She seemed immediately at ease and came over to me to say hello.

She reached up to me so I lifted her into my arms. She licked the tears off my cheek and head butted me, then began purring. As I held her, Tansy’s old life melted away and my joy in finally holding her was complete.

Mabel on the Bed R Olson.jpg
©2013 Robin A.F Olson. One of the best moments of my life-seeing Mabel happy, safe and OUT of a CAGE.

That day was the beginning of her new life. I honored it by giving her a new name.

Looking into her sparkling emerald eyes, I whispered to her; “Welcome home, MabelBaby. Welcome home. Your long journey is over. I promise. No more cages. Never again.”

But how did Mabel do once she was out of the cage? Did she remain friendly or turn into a fiend? Mable had a few surprises left up her tabby patterned sleeves that no one saw coming…


3.13.13-UPDATE: The Verdict is in. Mabel was awarded to Animal Control. I'm allowed to begin the process of putting her up for adoption if I wish. My next challenge, one I hope you will join me in, is to help the remaining cats get out of the kill shelter in North Carolina before it’s too late. Stay tuned for details and thank you for sticking with me on my ever-so-bumpy-journey.


i am so happy donnt adopt her out she was ment for you and you only. God Bless you both after what happen to me here losing 5 of my cat cause of lies I will be leaving Kingsland Ga. as soon as I can. To keep the last 6 rescuses safe and with me.

I am SO glad she is safe and the verdict is in. Ohio has finally passed a law that says at least a priliminary hearing must be held within 10 days. Not to say everything is settled that quickly - especially if someone fights the seizure, but it helps. The shelter where I used to volunteer also let me start a program that allowed me to hand pick a small group of volunteers that would be given access to cats from seizures. We knew the outcome wasn't always going to go our way, but we were allowed to make the cats more comfortable, track their health and also keep track of temperments and help their socialbility. I can only hope that maybe, just maybe, someone was loving on her during her time there. And I hope people and groups step up to help the remaining cats. Hoarding is a horrible disease....and the animals suffer the most.

I'm thrilled she's doing great.  

SO GRATEFUL she is safe and, from all indicators, not traumatized or in ill health!  She had to have received love and at least a modicum of good care for most of her time away, even if it was in far-from-ideal circumstances.  

Though I like "Mabel", I really love "Tansy" -- just saying.  Besides, she looks like a Tansy.

And I have to say that I absolutely agree with Dorothea, posting above.  She is a tiny treasure. She's been through a lot.  C'mon, don't you have a little place she could enjoy until she's acclimatized and out among the general population? ;) 

I'm glad for Mabel and for you. Happy endings are great!!

I hope you can forgive yourself and let go of the shame. We all make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes cause other's pain. I'm sure Mabel has forgiven you, maybe it's time for you to forgive yourself too.

You belong to this kitty, and she to you!  She knows it!  And you know it too!  PLEASE finalize the adoption and make her legally yours!  <3

The Harrington Menagerie,

Sadie, Romeo, Jack, CeeCee, Fern, Roxie, Abbie and last but not least - Miss Kitty

I am so glad you got her back; Tansy/Mabel (I think she looks like a "Tansy", too, like another poster said :-) is an amazing cat for remaining emotionally and physically healthy through her ordeal.  And it took alot of courage for you to keep fighting for her and especially to share your story.  Keep up the good work!

Oh Robin! This is such a heartfelt story! Tears of fear and now joy are streaming.

God knows you have a genuine heart and that is why MabelBaby was spared and brought back to you.

You are not alone. Long before I started a formal nonprofit, I wanted to find good homes for kittens I found. Who would know to do home visits, etc. Most people are good, right? That's what we believe. But as  I got more involved and volunteered for a nonprofit I started to learn.



Founder, Riverfront Cats

So happy for Mabel, but my heart goes out to the other kitties that got left behind.  Purrs that they too get out.

awaiting Mabel's happy ending

I'm new to your blog and was captivated by Mabel's story. I hope to one day start my own non-profit cat rescue, but I am JUST starting out on my journey by volunteering for another rescue center. I know I will make mistakes, but it is helpful and encouraging to learn that others do as well, and that if you persevere and always try to do what is right in your heart, it will be ok. Though it was a hard road, you did right by Mabel :) Thank you again for your honesty and for sharing.

What a heart-warming, finger-biting story. With such utter dedication, only with time focus and prayers could you get through such a situation. So glad Mabel is back with you unfazed by living in a cage. Being involved in cat rescue, I would do the same as you and worry plenty about my furry friend's well-being. Now that you've got the experience under your belt and heopefully a new adoptive applicant screening process, a situation such as this will never happen again. Keep doing what you're doing. 

I've read Mabel's story twice now, and check on her status on your website every couple days. I have to admit I fell in love with sweet Mabel reading her sad story. Thank god for the happy ending! 

I wish I could adopt her but my hands are full with my old man Bubba- at 22, still going strong, and the wonderful Smokey and Bandit. If Bubba decides it's time to move on and Mabel is still looking for a home, I'll be all over your business!!

snuggles to all, and a special kiss to Mabel, who deserves the best!


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