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In a Perfect World.

When I think about Laney and look into her owly-shaped pale-lime colored eyes, I feel relief. She weighs a bit over 10 pounds now. Her fur is sleek and silky, her expression sparkles with vitality. The fleas and parasites that plagued her body over a year and a half ago, are long gone. Her womb is no longer filled with a rag tag mix of kittens. Her fourth known litter was her last because we had her spayed. Instead of trying to scrape together a meal, living outdoors with filthy pest-covered kibble to sustain her, her meals are nutritious and brought to her twice a day. Recovered from many miserable years of ill-treatment, Laney now plays with a vigor that surprises me. She’s reverted to kittenhood in these moments, racing along after the red dot of a laser pointer or furiously chasing after a feather toy. She has blossomed into a magnificent, loving creature. In a perfect world she’d have her forever home by now, too.

Laney on the Bed
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Laney, our divine lady.

More than 6-months ago, I had a home for Laney. It was the only application I’ve ever gotten for her and it was a good one. The adopting couple had a perfect home and were going to give her everything she needed except one thing-she’d be alone. For some cats it’s fine to be the one and only, but Laney had at least 16 offspring that we know of, who survived long enough for us to rescue. She’s never alone. She's so bonded with her kittens (who are now young adults), I couldn’t imagine her not being around another animal while her new family worked away from home for 8 to 10 hours a day.

PHoto of Laney s previous litter
Photographer unknown. The first photo we have of Laney, showing her with baby-Winnie nursing on her (center of litter on the right), alongside another cat with kittens. We'll never know just how many kittens were a result of Laney not being spayed but our lowest guess is at least 20.

In the end, I had to pass on the application and the adopters got themselves a Bengal. I hope they know what they’re getting themselves in for because it won’t be as mellow and sweet as Laney and hopefully it won’t destroy their house while they’re gone all day.


It’s very difficult to choose to turn down a good adopter and wait for another that's a better fit, but I don’t run a mega-rescue. We don’t do a lot of adoptions. I can keep the cats for as long as I feel necessary. I struggled a lot because Laney, being a few years old, is not as easy to find a home for. I took a risk and hoped it would work out. I knew Laney was special because the few folks who did come to see the other cats, always were impressed by how outgoing and affectionate she was, even though she lost points for her age.



The foster room’s occupants haven’t changed in almost a year. It’s a record for me-one I’m not proud of. I’ve written about my troubles last year with my health and how I was so desperate for a break, that in a way I took one by not jumping on every adoption application I got. If the room stayed full, I couldn’t take more and if I couldn’t take on any more, I wouldn’t have to go through all the de-worming, the spay/neutering, the fussing with upper respiratory infections. These cats didn’t need much other than food, a clean pan and some affection. I couldn’t handle doing any more. I needed rest, too.

Co parenting funny Kitten Associates
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Used with permission. Winnie and Laney co-parent their offspring and begin our hopes that they will never have to be separated.

As the months passed, only Lex & Lucy got adopted while the others got bigger and bigger. Lolli and Jelly Belly are SO BIG they look like panthers and Louie and Larry aren’t much smaller. The foster room is just a bedroom. With seven adult cats it’s not very spacious for them. I knew I had to do better for them and as a result, I became anxious about getting them on their way.

Then November arrived and along with it an application for Piglet and Winnie. I was glad to see that someone could take them together because I’d been pushing for that or for Piglet to go with her grandmother, Laney. Either way I’d be happy because Piglet had such a bad adoption last April. It truly traumatized her. After she was returned, barely a week passed since her adoption and return, I decided I couldn’t let her be adopted again without her mom or grandma. As a result, I denied a lot of applications that were just for her.

2014 09 01 12 10 26 all together
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Used with permission. Winnie and Laney about a month after their kittens were born.

The woman who sent in her application is named Christine and she lives alone. Her last cat died about 6 months ago and she was looking for two to fill her home and heart. I told her the story about Laney and how Laney had litter after litter of kittens because her family never bothered to spay her. How she and her older daughter, Winnie, both got pregnant at the same time and gave birth within a week of each other. How Winnie lost two of her kittens and Piglet was the sole survivor, but because Winnie was so brokenhearted by the death of the others that she did not care for Piglet at all in those first vital days.

Laney stepped in and kept Piglet fed. Even while Laney was giving birth, she had her front legs wrapped around Piglet keeping her safe.

Laney with Piggie Kitten Associates
©2014 Foster Mom Moe. Used with permission. Love is...


Exhausted from giving birth to five kittens, with a sixth on the way, we feared Laney would lose that last kitten. Winnie went to her mother and began cleaning off the sixth kitten as it was being born, saving it’s life. Winnie began to find her desire for motherhood that day, and eventually began to care for all the kittens, including Piglet. In a perfect world Laney, Winnie and Piglet would never be parted, but this wasn’t a perfect world and it was a lot to ask anyone to take three cats.


Moved by their story, Christine asked to meet the girls. In early December, she drove over two hours from her home south of Boston to see them. I thought that was a good sign. The meeting couldn’t have gone better. The second she saw Laney, and vice versa, it was a love match. Eventually Winnie and finally the ever-shy-Piglet came over to say hello. Christine was clearly smitten with all three, but she could only take two. I couldn't imagine who she'd choose.

20140902 222431 pig win b1a 475
©2014 Kitten Associates. Winnie and Piglet.


I never pressure anyone to adopt. It’s a serious decision to make. Christine felt stirred up, excited, and maybe a bit scared about what she was thinking. Maybe she COULD take all three girls? I told her to think about it and let me know.


She called a few days later and explained that some things had happened in her life and now was not a good time to take on the cats. She was very sorry and was scared I’d be upset with her, but I wasn’t. I told her the truth; I’d rather she tell me this now than feel pressured to do something she really didn’t want to do. I told her the door was always open if she wanted to discuss it some other time and that there were no hard feelings. We ended the call on a good note. I was really sad that this story wasn’t going to end the way I wanted, really dreamed it could end, but I knew they would find their home some day.

Piglet playing on Laney 4 2015
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Piglet gets comforted by grandma-Laney and Louie while she recovers from having bartonella.

Then the holidays arrived and I scheduled Dr. Larry and Super-Deb do a house call. All the cats needed an exam and booster vaccination and they were too big for me to bring to him. I was shocked to find out that Winnie and Piglet had terrible teeth and needed a dental cleaning right away. Laney needed one, too, but it wasn’t an emergency as it was for the others.

Dr. Larry feared that Winnie and Piglet had stomatitis, which could mean an underlying auto-immune disease that would plague them for the rest of their lives. It might mean they’d have to have all their teeth removed, which was not only terrible news, but could mean they’d never be adopted. I was very upset because we’d done a test for Feline Leukemia and FIV so long ago that I wasn’t sure if we’d done it on Winnie. Then I began to imagine the “what ifs” she did have something and had it passed to the others? Did I have seven terminally sick cats on my hands?


Scared Louie at House Call
©2015 Robin AF Olson. Dr. Larry and Super-Deb make a house call while Louie looks on hoping he's not next.

Reluctantly I made the appointments for the girls to have their teeth cleaned. Winnie lost 2 teeth and Piglet lost 1. We ran Bartonella tests on them because some times bad gums can be a sign of the parasite. Ten days later we got our answer. Low and behold, Winnie was a +4 positive so she had to be treated with antibiotics. Piglet had bartonella a year ago and her re-test showed it was still gone after treatment.

Laney and Winnie at Vet 1 2016
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Laney and Winnie nervously wait for Dr. Larry.

I decided to email Christine, because she’d felt so guilty about changing her mind regarding the adoption. I figured I’d gently close the door on her adopting since the girls were going to have issues. I told her that maybe it was for the best that she didn’t adopt because I just had to spend over $1000.00 on the dentals and that the girls might need extra vet care for the rest of their lives.


Christine’s reply shocked me. She’d had cats with bad teeth in the past and her vet was very good about dental cleanings. Christine offered to have Laney’s teeth cleaned by her vet if I was still okay with her adopting Laney, Winnie AND Piglet. It seemed that after our last conversation she couldn’t stop thinking about the girls and that she really wanted to give them a home. She wasn’t bothered that they needed extra TLC. I think in her mind they were already hers, so whatever troubled them, she was ready to take on.


Winnie looking out R Olson
©2016 Robin AF Olson. It's only now that I look at older photos of Winnie compared the this recent one that I see just how much she's blossomed in a year. Her ratty, short coat is long and luxurious and her coloring has intensified into a glorious orange (she was originally much lighter in tone).

Then even better news: Dr. Larry realized that since Winnie had bartonella that it was also likely she did not have stomatitis after all. He felt the same way about Piglet, too. This was terrific news for everyone and only made Christine even more anxious to do the adoption.

I had to finish giving Winnie her course of antibiotics to kill the bartonella before she could travel to Christine’s home in Massachusetts. So we waited 3 weeks, while I silently prayed Christine wouldn’t change her mind or that something wouldn’t happen to the girls that would be a deal-breaker.

Pig and Louie R Olson
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Piglet's not sure she wants to leave her brother Louie.

Last weekend, we were supposed to do the adoption, but yet again had to delay because the northeast got hit by big snow storm. Thankfully, Christine was willing to wait, but how much longer?

We decided that we’d try again in another week if the weather held out. I emailed Christine the adoption contract so she could review it ahead of time. Again, I found myself worrying that she’d see something in our contract that would put a stop to it, but once again she was perfectly fine with our requirements and was looking forward to getting the girls.

Piglet Sick with Friends R Olson
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Piglet says goodbye to big brother Jelly Belly while Laney and Louie look on.


The weather has been mild the past week, so here I sit on the eve of the big day. I know that tomorrow morning Laney, Winnie and Piglet will leave me forever. They’ll start their life anew and never have to be parted. I will miss them, very very much. They’ve been part of the Kitten Associates family for over 18 months. They’ve been part of my life for nearly a year and I love them as much as I love my own cats. Winnie is my special buddy. She’s been transformed into a stunning long haired orange tabby. Every day she comes over to me to sit on my lap and trade purrs for pets. I’m such a sucker for orange kitties. I wish she could stay with me, but if I kept every foster cat I’d have 500 cats. That’s not going to happen so I’m doing the next best thing-finding her a great forever home.


Winnie Relaxing R Olson
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Winnie in all her glory.

I’ll also miss watching all seven cats interact. Each night Laney would sit on her spot on the corner of the bed nearest the door. She’d purr loudly and all the others would come to her side. Jelly would dip his head towards his mother’s. She’d lick his forehead or if he tried to nurse on her she’d give him a quick smack. Eventually they’d all sit cuddled up in an endless furry mass, purring and grooming each other until they fell asleep. I feel badly for Jelly. He loves his mama so much, but there’s a point at which their separation has to happen. Jelly, Louie, Larry, Lolli, will lose their mom and their sisters, but hopefully their time will come when they can find their home, too. I dream of keeping Louie and Larry together and Jelly and Lolli together. Maybe it’s a lot to hope for, but in a perfect world anything can happen.


And so we've come to our final moments together. I lean over and kiss Laney on her head and wish her what I wish all my fosters: a happy, loved life. I do the same to Winnie, and as usual, Piglet runs off when I try to say goodbye to her. Her predictable reaction makes me smile as tears begin to fall down my cheeks.


Lovely Laney 1 2016
©2016 Robin AF Olson. I'm going to miss you, sweet Laney.

If you'd like to read more about Laney's backstory you can read THIS story and THIS story as well as a special look back on Piglet's life HERE.

Christine and the Girls
©2016 Robin AF Olson. Winnie and Laney meet their mom, Christine.

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