When All You Have to Offer is Love

She lives in a bad part of town south of Atlanta, Georgia in an apartment complex where she and her daughter are in hiding from her abusive husband. I can't say her name or mention her town to keep her safe. She doesn't have two sticks to rub together. She doesn't have a car. She barely gets by on her own.

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3 to 4 Month old gray kitten-FRIENDLY.

The one thing she does have is a love for cats and their well-being. Against the rules of the apartment complex where she lives, she takes on the stray cats that show up in endless numbers and tries to do right by them. Last week I found out that 3 more kittens, probably litter mates, had shown up and were living off dumpster food or scraps they could beg at the nearby McDonald's. It's no life for any cat, but this woman is trying to get help for them and is feeding them what she can until we can get a rescue involved.

I'm left scratching my head about what to do. I've got 22 cats in my house. More than half are rescues. I'm not getting adoption applications. I'm worried I won't find homes for the cats I already have.

I want to help this person, partially because I know she's risking her home by helping these cats. I want to help because I love cats too and will do as much as I can.

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3 to 4 Month old medium-haired orange kitten-FRIENDLY, but a bit shy (just needs a bit of lovin').

We all see pleas for help every day so I know it's asking a lot. These cats face either being returned outside or given up to the local kill shelter where they will probably never get out. I'd like to give them a chance and I hope you'll help me simply by sharing this news with any of your cat loving friends-especially ones that do rescue in Georgia.

Let's Make a Deal

We need an ATLANTA-AREA or GEORGIA, USA-AREA Rescue Group to take these kittens.

What I Will Do in Return

The cats weigh about 3 lbs, so it means they are about 3-4 months old (yes they look bigger in the photos). They are all friendly, though the orange one is a bit shy. They will need vetting, but I'm not asking for any rescue to pick up the tab.

Kitten Associates will grant a legitimate 501c3 non-profit rescue $100.00 PER kitten ($300.00 total) to cover costs of vetting. They must take ALL 3 kittens.

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3 to 4 Month old black and white kitten-FRIENDLY & GOOFY.

We will transport the cats to your door. You do not have to get them.

I will PROMOTE the rescue group's good work here on my blog and on Facebook that can reach tens of thousands of cat-centric fans.

I will ask those fans to offer donations to your organization and look at your cats for adoption. There is a chance that these 3 cats will not cost you a dime and may help you place other cats, too.

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Rub ma belleh.

If you're with a rescue and can take these kittens, please contact me, Robin Olson, at info@coveredincathair.com

Thank you and please let your friends know about these kitties. This woman has given everything she has to save these cats from death. In her honor let's help these cats find a life.

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All the kittens get along well with each other. Can you help us find them a rescue?

The Clementines. The Eyes Have It. Part 4

(Continued from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)


Shelter kittens get sick pretty much every time I bring them into foster care. There’s just no way to keep viruses out of shelters. I wish there was and I hope there are some shelters out there doing a great job of keeping their rescued cats healthy, but I expect that sooner or later (usually sooner) I’m going to see upper respiratory hit the kittens.

I had a nice break from sick kittens with Minnie’s family. They were born on a sidewalk and never saw the inside of a building until they entered foster care on their 4th day of life. They were treated for parasites, but I don’t think they had any. They had some loose stools, but that was about it.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Cara (left) and Polly (right) have a rough start to their lives-a nasty URI they still battle today.

I look back on some of our first foster cats—Polly Picklepuss, her sister Cara Melle and brother Chester Cheesetoes. Polly and Cara are STILL sick to this day (years later) from the wicked viral “thing” they got in a shelter. It’s a miracle they survived. Cara had about $5,000.00 of vetting to keep her alive, not to mention round-the-clock care for a few weeks that required I medicate her every 6 hours.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Brewing eye infections plague the foster kittens.

With the Clementine kittens, they got off transport with a few minor eye issues. I had been treating them with Neopolydex drops and thought that was the end of their care. A few days later, they had bad FVRCP vaccine reactions and one of them, almost overnight, broke out with very swollen conjunctiva (the tissue the lines the inside of the eyelid). The victim was Sherbert, one of the two male kittens. Bert looked terrible so I brought him back to the vet AGAIN. This was about the 7th Vet trip in the 3 weeks I’d had this litter of kittens.

At this rate, I was going to have to set up a cot and just live at my Vet's with the kittens if things didn’t improve.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Buttercup (center) flanked by Mandy (left) and Blossom (right).

Dr. Mary said she really wanted to treat him with Terramycin® ointment, but it’s no longer available. I asked why and she had no idea.

I found it absurd that you couldn’t get a medication and she told me that she’s hearing of more and more medications that are no longer available or in very short supply. I contacted Pfizer, whose rebranded “business unit” Zoetis, a Global Animal Health Company, had the following to say about the shortage:____________. Yes, that's a blank space. I got no reply to my query about the unavailability of this product and it's no longer listed on their web site. I checked the USFDA's web site where they list Resolved Drug Shortages and there's not even a mention of Oxytetracycline. After searching and searching for anything that would give me an answer, I found nothing and was left angrier at this injustice than I was before.

Dr. Mary gave me the option of trying a different eye drop to see if that would do the trick. I asked if there was any way at all to get the ointment and she said she had a connection that could get it compounded but it was very expensive and time consuming to get it.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor, sick babies.

I tried the new drops for a few days, but Bert’s eye got worse. I’ve never seen a cat’s eye look so monstrous. In fact, looking at it gave me the shivers it was so gross, but I HAD to overcome my squeamishness to help him. I was terrified he would lose his eye and I promised myself, arrogant or not, that there was no way in Hell he was going blind on my watch.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Signs of serious trouble ahead-Bert's eye is sealed shut and swollen.

I took Bert back to Dr. Mary for a re-check and we decided to order the Terramycin, but it would take a few days to get it. I heard you could buy it online for $12 for 3 tubes. It was imported from Turkey. Yes, I realized it could be counterfeit and do nothing but I’d rather blow $12 and hope it works. I put rush shipping on the order because Bert’s eye was so swollen I thought it was going to pop. We started him on another eye drop in the meantime, hoping it might do the trick.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. [GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: CLICK TO VIEW] Where did Bert's eye go?

That night I went to check on the kittens and I saw something coming out between Bert’s swollen eyelids. I didn’t know WHAT it was but I was horrified at the sight. It looked like a piece of his third eyelid was protruding from between the eyelids. I carefully wiped at it with a gauze pad but it didn’t move. I didn’t want to pull at it because I feared it might be Bert’s eye, perhaps it had ruptured after all! I felt like I was going to be sick. It was almost 11 PM. I knew it meant taking Bert to the Emergency Vet, who would charge at least $125.00 to just examine Bert’s eye. I feared it was going to cost about $1000.00 when they were done with whatever they had to do, but I couldn’t wait until morning. The infection wasn’t responding to anything. I had to help this kitten.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. [GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: CLICK TO VIEW] The conjunctiva is so irritated and swollen that we can no longer FIND Bert's eye.

I called the Emergency Vet and told them what was going on. The woman who answered the phone said they could get the Vet Ophthalmologist to come in if needed (and I’m guessing it would be out-of-this-world expensive to get someone out of their home late at night to tend to a sick kitten). There was a General Practitioner on duty in the meantime.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. [GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: CLICK TO VIEW] At its worst-Bert's eye with mysterious tissue coming out of it. Did his eye RUPTURE?

Sam and I rushed Bert to the Vet. They weren’t busy when we got there, but shortly after we arrived a woman came in with a dog. He must have been in more serious shape than Bert so they took the dog first. Sam and I were put into a waiting room. A tech came in and looked at Bert. She was pretty cold to us and didn’t say much about what she thought was going on and she didn’t tell us not to worry. She said to wait.

So we waited-for two hours.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A moment of levity-something we all needed.

While we waited, Bert was fussing. I could tell he needed to go to the bathroom because he almost did it in the cat carrier. I asked the lady at the front desk to get me a litter pan and the second she brought it in Bert used it and took a big pee. Sam and I laughed. These kittens seem to constantly need a litter pan during their Vet visit. Our laughter was cut short when Bert returned to the tiny tray and took a very watery, smelly poop. There was NO air in the tiny waiting room and it quickly turned into a noxious death trap. I asked the receptionist to please take the tray away while I opened the door to the room a little to get some air flow.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bert trying to crack the computer password while waiting for the ER Vet to arrive.

Bert wanted to get OUT of the room, so we had to take turns either holding him or playing with him to keep him from taking off. The open door didn’t do much to help the stench so we sat there with our eyes watering, while Bert played with some toys I found in my bag.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Trying to keep the little guy entertained while we continue to wait.

The Vet finally came into the room and examined Bert’s eye. He explained that what I thought was tissue was a chunk of PUS. Pus? Oh man, I felt faint. The Vet had to pry Bert’s swollen eye open and rinse out the infection. It was a rather large plug of pus and once it was removed, there was a bloody, red hole where Bert’s eye might be lurking. It was very tough to look at, but I had to force myself.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. [GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: CLICK TO VIEW] Clean out completed, Bert doesn't look much better.

The Vet examined Bert’s eye socket, searching for his eye under all the swollen tissue. He could barely see a tiny bit of Bert’s pupil. The swelling was so severe it was impossible to tell if Bert would ever see again.

Although there was nothing more we could do, at least I knew what I was looking at. I had to work on being able to get over being nauseated while treating Bert going forward. I was so angry that he could go blind that it made me get over my own fear and decide then and there that I was going to kick this infection in the ass if it was the last thing I ever did.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Mary searches again for a sign of Bert's eye.

The next day the Terramycin arrived. I started it on Bert and hoped that the convincing little box from Turkey was going to make a difference. I made an appointment to bring Bert back to Dr. Mary in two days, which was when the compounded version of the ointment would be ready.

I’m not sure if the Turkish terramycin worked or not. Bert didn’t seem to improve after two days. I couldn’t risk it being Vasaline in a tube, so as soon as the compounded version of the medication was ready, I loaded Bert up with it.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. [GRAPHIC IMAGE WARNING: CLICK TO VIEW] Not easy to see, but after a few days, a sign that Bert's eye is still in place.

Dr. Mary showed me how to rinse out his eye and clean out the gobs of pus. She wasn’t sure if his vision would be saved and my heart sank at her words. I took Bert home and gave him a kiss. I told him we’d fight it as hard as we could and that if he had to go blind in that eye, so be it. We’d still find him a great home when he was feeling well again.

Over the next few days the swelling in Bert’s eye went down a bit. I kept taking him to see Dr. Mary for re-checks because I wanted her to witness his progress in case it wasn’t going as well as it should. I was being very protective over my little ward and it was worth the extra vet costs to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. At last-after 10 days of eye drops that didn't work and 11 days of medicating with the Terramycin and cleaning out Bert's eye-a sign that maybe we're finally beating this infection.

Bert’s siblings were contracting the conjunctivitis, too. Blossom, who’d been so sick the week before, got the infection in her left eye so we began treating her. Then little Mandarin got it. She hated being medicated and struggled and cried every time I treated her, but ANY sign of redness around the eye meant that kitten was getting medicated.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Big boy, (right) Mango's eye is the next target of the infection.

Every day, a few times a day, Sam and I went through the routine of cleaning the eyes, medicating the eyes, dolling out antibiotics and hoping to see some sign of improvement.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Poor baby Marigold! When would this cycle end?

I kept thinking the swelling was going down on Bert’s eye, but I wasn’t certain. One morning as I entered the room to give the kittens their meds, I couldn’t figure out which kitten was Bert. Bert’s inflammation had improved to the point where his eye was open and I could SEE Bert’s eye!

We were due for another visit with Dr. Mary, but this time felt more like show and tell. I was so proud of myself. I was fairly sure Bert was going to be all right.

When Dr. Mary did her exam, sweetly cooing at little Bert, she said that he DID have vision and that she didn’t feel he would lose his eye. Before I could even consider crying, she added that the tissue surrounding his eye had been so swollen that it was possible it would have adhered to his eye and caused him to become blind. She added that the careful rinsing of the socket and cleaning out the pus had made all the difference in his future.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Believe it or not-this is a recent photo of Bert looking oh so much better.

Now I could cry, but it would only be tears of relief and joy.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh no! My poor cat, Blitzen's at the Vet!

Next up…as Bert recovers the 5 remaining kittens get the infection. Will it EVER go away? What will it take? Will another kitten be at risk of losing her vision, too, or worse, will this horrible disease hit one of my own cats…hard.

Amazing Update: Caged for 2 Years No More

Twenty-four cats were seized as part of an animal cruelty case in North Carolina. Due to the Court System and the former owner, who would not stop fighting the case, the animals were left to suffer at Animal Control for TWO YEARS. Many got upper respiratory infections, almost half ended up losing their lives. Of the thirteen cats who survived, one came to my home (a cat I named Mabel, who had been one of our former fosters) and the most of the rest went to Wake County SPCA (who I'd been working with behind-the-scenes to help these cats). If you'd like to read more about this story, you can visit this LINK.

Today I'm thrilled to share with you an email I got yesterday from Elinor. She adopted one of the other cats named Jethro and she wanted to give me an update. Her story and photos are used with permission.

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©2013 Iredelle County Animal Services. Our first look at Jethro.


“I recently found your blog about 12 kitties caged for 2 years.

I wanted to send you a big thank you for finding shelters to take these cats. My husband and I adopted Jethro from the Wake County SPCA in June. He is such a smart, playful, friendly cat.

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©2013 Elinor Angel.

I saw him at the SPCA, a little cat sitting on a chair watching over the lobby. I petted him briefly, he was sweet. When I moved on to some other cats, he got out of the chair and came up to me for more petting. When I left the room, he followed me to the door and looked through adorably. He was just begging me to take him home. I took a picture with my phone and looked at it a lot. We came back the next day and adopted him.

I like to think he picked me.

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©2013 Elinor Angel.

When we first got him, he was temperamental from switching environments. He had some of that pet me/don't pet me attitude, but he really wanted love. Slowly he started to trust us more, let us pet him and request attention. As I'm writing this, he's in my husband's lap purring loudly. He is one of the smartest cats I've met and eager to please. He follows me around the house, sits for treats and plays fetch with a ball. He loves climbing on things and running up and down the hallway. I've learned that exercising him is important or he runs around all night.

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©2013 Elinor Angel.

It just breaks my heart every time I think about him caged for two years, it's just so cruel. I'm so grateful to you and the Wake County SPCA for getting him to me! I thought you might like to see a couple pictures of him as a happy kitty.”

Thank you,



Once in awhile we get to take a moment to look back and realize that all our efforts, our tears, were so worth it. This one cat has the chance to live the life he's deserved since the day he was born. It's clear that thanks to Wake County SPCA, this cat and most of the remaining twelve cats have the same chance at a happy life and for that I will always be grateful.

What didn't pass unnoticed was something magical. It's Elinor's last name. Angel.

Bunny Boo Boo's 14 Month-Long Road Home

Once in awhile you get a foster cat who doesn’t cause any trouble, who doesn’t have serious behavioral issues, who gets a bit…meh-sick…but not really ill. They might not stand out from the crowd. Sometimes it takes more than simply spending time with them to see how they stand apart, but in this case I didn't see this cat's magnificence until I saw her through other people's eyes.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bright-eyed Bunny.

I’m referring to Bunny Boo-Boo, the now full-grown brown tabby who started her story with us as a little 4-month old kitten, dumped in the parking lot of Target in McDonough, Georgia. Bunny’s family, for whatever reason, thought that dumping their cat was the answer for whatever issues they had with her. Was it that they couldn’t afford to take care of her? Couldn’t keep her in their apartment due to regulations? Were they just cold-hearted fiends?

What I do know is in September of 2012, our intrepid foster mama, Maria, was shopping at Target when she saw Bunny, just moments after she got dumped. Seeing cats running loose in her town is not uncommon. It’s a sad fact that there is rampant cat overpopulation in the south and Maria has helped as many as she can (most end up coming to our rescue, Kitten Associates). I don’t know how Maria does it, but she jumped into action, even though she was already fostering other cats for us—even though she has more than enough on her plate.

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Bunny's Adoption Flyer featuring photos of her when she was a kitten. What a cutie!

Maria called me to ask if I could take the kitten and at the time I had to say no, but I did say I would help her find a home for Bunny. Maria got Bunny vetted and I designed a flyer she could hang out at work and share around town. Bunny did very well in Maria’s home. In fact, Maria became very fond of her little tabby sweetheart. A few months passed and Maria felt hopeless about finding Bunny a home. She asked me again if I could help and since I had space I told her I would take her on, knowing I might have a hard time finding Bunny a placement. She was much bigger now and as you know, the bigger they are, the harder to find cats a home.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleepytime.

Bunny arrived in Connecticut in February of this year, along with her new buddies, George and Bongo. They were all adult cats, but I wanted to see if we could make a go of adopting out cats that were older than kittens. It took a few months, but Bongo and George found a great home together. By then we’d had some changes in our foster spaces and with poor Barney alone, after his brother Fred died, we put him with Bunny and they got along great.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny and buddy, George.

During all these months since Bunny arrived, a friend of mine in Boston named Michelle, had told me she was looking to add a kitty to her family. She and her husband, Pat had a sweet cat named Sunny. Sunny was submissive and shy so when they brought a new kitty into their home, Sunny stopped eating. The new kitty was marvelous on her own, but she was too much for Sunny and they began to worry about his health.

Though they tried everything they could, they realized it wasn’t a good match. They had no other choice but to return the cat to the shelter, but the good news was the kitty was not at any risk and the couple gave the rescue a huge donation and returned their adoption fee. The kitty was adopted again shortly thereafter.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny has a "necklace" of black fur that encircles her neck, then runs down her back, all the way down her tail.

The couple truly suffered after that unfortunate experience and decided to take a very careful, long look for another cat. After they shared their story with me, I suggested a few different cats for them and we talked at great length about each cat’s personality and how it might work with Sunny’s. At the time, Bunny was still in Georgia, so I offered other cats we had as options. Then, nothing came of it.

I didn’t hear much from Michelle for months. I didn’t pester her. I figured she adopted from another place. What I didn’t know was that Michelle had a death in her family and there were a lot of expected issues surrounding that so she stepped back from thinking about adopting a cat for a long time. Meanwhile, Bunny continued to be overlooked as many of our other foster cats got adopted. After the first year passed, I wondered if we'd ever find Bunny a home.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny with new buddy, Confetti Joe.

A few weeks ago, I heard from Michelle. It had been about 10 months since we first started talking about finding her a good match. I told her about Bunny and sent her photos. She used our web cam to observe Bunny’s interaction with her new foster friends, Gracey and Joey.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny snoozing with Minnie's kittens.

Michelle and Pat thought that maybe it was a sign that this was their new cat because they already called their current cat, Sunny-Bunny and they loved how sweet Bunny was with the kittens. She often groomed them and slept with them. If she was so friendly with Minnie's 5 kittens, Barney, George and Bongo, certainly there was a good chance that Sunny would someday be her new best friend.

We set up a time to meet and I thought it might be Bunny’s adoption day, but the couple wanted to drive down from Boston just to meet this kitty and to really, truly make sure that this was the kitty of their dreams.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I oftener watched the kitties sleeping together via our Dropcam.

I liked that they wanted to meet her without the pressure of deciding. They know what a commitment it is to adopt a cat and they take it very seriously. I had a good feeling about it when within the first few moments of entering the room, Bunny walked over to Pat and rubbed up against him! Bunny had been quite a shy kitty when she first arrived in Connecticut and as the months passed she’d become more friendly and outgoing. I was delighted to see her out of her shell, but I also knew that she had to win Michelle over, too.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny is very good at making funny faces.

I left the couple with Bunny to have some private time with her. I thought about how she’d been in our program for over a year and that in all those months she’d only had ONE adoption application that fell through right away. Bunny has beautiful coloring, a deliciously soft coat and is in prime health. She’s also very charming and has a high-pitched me-ow that I find amusing. I don’t know why she never had a line out the door of potential adopters, but in truth, all she needed was one good one.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Licking Gracey's tail.

Michelle called for me to join her and her husband in the foster room. I asked them how it went and they were very pleased. I asked them “Is this your cat?” and they said YES! Though they weren’t ready to take Bunny home with them that day, we did sign the contract, sealing the deal.

Bunny had her forever home, at last.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey and Bunny.

Michelle and Pat wanted time to get their home ready, buy a few things for Bunny and arrange to take a few days off to help ease her transition. I was very impressed and thrilled when they talked about how they plan on spoiling her, too. Clearly, there was something about Bunny that stood out from all the other cats they could have adopted. Maybe I didn’t see how special she was until I saw her through their eyes as they began their lives together. I hope it works out for both Bunny and her new friend, Sunny, but only time and careful introductions will tell.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny the spy.

I’m off to drive Bunny to Massachusetts to start the next chapter in her life. Though it took a very long time for Bunny to find the right place, I’m happy about how things worked out for her. Bunny will have lots and lots of love and the companionship of both humans and a new kitty friend that will bring her great joy.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bunny often sat on a shelf on the bookcase near the door. She liked to greet me when I entered the room.

From dumped in a parking lot in Georgia to a loving home in Boston—not a bad end for this cat’s rescue tale.

Update: Bunny was delivered to her new mama last night and I've already heard that Bunny was ready for pets and play time not long after she arrived in her new home. I feared she would begin her new life by hiding under the bed, but she just enjoyed getting to know her new family. Go, Bunny! Hurray!

The Clementines Battle One Thing After Another Part 3

(Continued from Part 1 and Part 2)

Blossom was up on her paws, walking. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just hours ago she’d appeared to be near death and now she was looking up at me like I had a bad dream because certainly everything was right as rain.

Of course, being that Blossom is part of a litter of 6, I knew that the odds were good that another kitten might fall ill. At least if they did, I knew what to do for them and that with supportive care, they should be fine in day or two.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Puttin' some meat on their bones.

I checked in with one of our Vets, asking him if it was okay to get the kittens their second, in a series of three, Distemper combination vaccinations called FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia) He felt it was safe to vaccinate because it was rare to have a complication after the injection and since Blossom seemed well again that we should go ahead.

On Wednesday, October 16th I took the cats to the Vet for their shot. They had a grand time exploring Dr. Chris’ office, though he did not particularly care for them ripping his furniture with their claws. Each kitten got their vaccination in their right front leg. I packed them up into their carriers and brought them home. It was a quick visit.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Mandy gets weighed in.

I knew the kittens might feel a bit off, a bit more tired than usual, or picky about their food, so I didn’t worry about checking on them right away after I got them home. I waited about ninety minutes before I checked our web cam, Squee-TV Channel 2, to see how they were doing. They were all huddled onto one cat bed. They looked unusually flat. Concerned, I turned off the camera remotely and went into their room.

Something was terribly wrong.

All the kittens were flat. I tried to get a few to walk and they limped on the leg that got the shot, then laid down in place. They felt hot to the touch. They were crying. I knew there was a chance of an allergic reaction to the vaccination and Dr. Chris had closed for the day. I grabbed a kitten and took her temperature. It was 105.2°F. I called the Cat Clinic and Dr. Feldman spoke to me directly. He said he’d make time for them and to bring the kittens in right away. If they were having an anaphylactic reaction they could die.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sherbert feels awful and Mandy can't even get up (background) they are feeling so poorly.

I raced over to the Clinic, swearing under my breath that if this vaccine killed any of my kittens there was going to be Hell to pay. The kittens cried the entire trip to the Vet. At least I knew they were alive.

Dr. Feldman and his assistant examined each kitten. They all had very high temperatures of over 105°F. High normal for a cat is over 102°F. They were all lame in their front leg. I worried that the vaccination trigged Calici, which is what might have made Blossom lame a few days before or if the needle used for the shot was too big. I didn’t know if the vaccination had expired or was otherwise hurting my kittens. All I knew is seeing them all suffering was heartbreaking.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mango and Meri are miserable.

Though rare to have such a bad reaction, Dr. Feldman suggested we give each kitten a shot of Dextramethasone, a steroid, to combat the high fever and comfort the lameness. He said I might read that it would invalidate the effects of their vaccination, but at this point we had no other options. The kittens might overcome their fevers on their own, but at what cost? I knew steroids were NOT what I’d ever want my kittens to be given, but I had to hurry to make the decision. They were suffering so severely and were affected so quickly after their vaccination that I felt our hands were tied. We gave them the steroids.

Dr. Feldman is very compassionate. He made sure they used the tiniest needle possible on the kittens. It looked like the width of a single human hair. The kittens cried getting another shot. I felt so badly about causing them any more pain, but we had to do it. I was told to observe the kittens and report back the next day unless they got worse. The thought was that we’d have to repeat the FVRCP vaccination again anyway, so we would just move on, give them time to recover and in a few weeks try it again.

We could also pre-treat them with antihistamines before they got the next shot. To be safe, we recorded the lot number and date of the vaccination they got and compared it to what the Cat Clinic would be using when we did the next one. The date of expiration on the vaccination that made them sick is December 2014. Cat Clinic’s expires December 2015. I had to wonder if the vaccination had already gone bad and that’s what made the kittens so sick. It's on my "to do" list to contact the manufacturer and report this problem.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Since they've arrived a month ago there hasn't been one day when ALL the kittens were well. Here's Blossom, Buttercup and Mandy in better days before the vaccination.

By the next day, the kittens had bounced back. They were eating and wobbling around. Clearly they were still sore, but doing much better. My goal now was to focus on fattening them up, since they were still looking like furry skeletons, and get them ready to be spayed and neutered. I wanted them up for adoption soon while they’re still small.

Little did I know that this little upset in their lives was nothing compared to what was about to occur…

Part 4 coming up next where I face the real possibility that one or more of the kittens will lose an eye due to illness.

The Clementines Arrive with Unwelcome Guests Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

We got home around 1 A.M.

The kittens were ready to explode out of their carrier and I felt badly confining them to a large dog crate for the night, but I had to contain the fleas, as well as the kittens. I got them settled and brought them food, wondering if they would even eat. I knew they’d been fed all sorts of dry food and that transitioning them over to grain-free canned might be tough.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Our first look at Buttercup, the sole buff colored kitten.

The kittens went crazy for the food and ate so much I had to keep bringing them more. For six little guys they ate three, 6-oz cans of food. If nothing else, they would be able to rest now that they had a full belly and a soft bed.

The kittens had been removed from the shelter in two groups. The first one to get out was a solo kitten named Blossom, along with a dilute calico who was on her own and not part of Blossom’s family. They left the shelter and entered rescue days before I even knew about the Clementines.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Out of the cage and ready for fun.

Because Blossom got out earlier she had advantages over the others-access to better food and more of it, a less stressful environment and a lot more love. As a result, Blossom grew much larger than her siblings as they continued to wait in hopes of rescue. It meant, at least, Blossom should do better than the others, but I was wrong.

Blossom was the first to get really sick.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.

The next morning all I had to do was feed the kittens and load them into the carrier, but I needed a few minutes with them before we left. I wanted to have a chance to at least get a good look at the little guys, maybe grab a few photos. Even knowing about the fleas, the poor kittens wanted to run around so I let them out of the crate. They raced around the room, exploring every nook and cranny. Each one came over to check me out, too. A few were purring at the slightest touch. The energy in the room was one of joy and I couldn’t help but feel charged up by it.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The littlest, Mandarin (Mandy).

My joy was short-lived when I saw Mango. His left eye was runny and swollen. The folks in Kentucky had mentioned eye issues in two of the kittens and that the Vet had put “salve” on them. I cringed wondering if it was vasaline or if it actually was medicated and I wondered why they didn’t include the meds along with the kittens. Due to the laws in Connecticut the kittens had an appointment to see one of our Vets in a few days to be issued a health certificate, but looking at Mango’s eye, I knew it couldn’t wait. I called for an appointment to see Dr. Mary and asked our new foster mom if I could delay getting to her.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. This can't wait a few days. Off to the Vet with Mango and gang.

The kittens had fun at with Dr. Mary. She examined a few of the kittens and we discussed treatment plans. I asked about treating them for fleas but she said there was no way we could do anything more than bathe them at this point. I was to treat everyone with eye drops and hope that would do the trick. She said she wished we could get terramycin because it’s the “go to” medication for this sort of conjunctivitis, but it’s on some sort of universal outage for vets. They can get it for newborn babies, but that’s about it. In fact there’s a program in Philadelphia where a hospital donates their one time used tubes of terramycin to animal shelters so they can get access to the drug. I don’t know why this is going on. Is Pfizer causing a shortage on purpose to make a buck? I didn’t understand. All I knew is that Dr. Mary had just met another vet who said they could get it but it was very tough and if they didn’t respond to the current treatment we’d get the medication.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Spring fling.

The plan was to take the kittens to their new foster home and see how the meds worked. I was very relieved they were out of my house because the cat population was up to 22 cats and that just didn’t sit well with me. Every spare room was loaded and I was grateful that Jeannie offered to help. Without her home I would increase the risk of illness racing through the other cats. The more cats, the more stress, the better the chances that things will go downhill fast.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Buttercup gets a bath.

Jeannie is great. She’s got a big smile and friendly, chatty demeanor. She’s fostered all sorts of kittens in all sorts of situations. Nothing fazes her. She actually wanted to bathe the kittens and has a routine all set up. I knew I could learn from her and was eager to get these kittens cleaned up.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Yikes.

We set up an assembly line. Jeannie bathed the kittens and picked off the fleas. I dried the kittens and placed them into a big cat carrier that was lined with a thick blanket and had a small space heater blowing warm air into the space. Jeannie cooed over each kitten, talking to them about how we’d get those nasty fleas off them, and saying how cute each one was. It wasn’t until we bathed the kittens that I realized how very underweight they were. They were basically skeletons with fur, made more extreme by seeing them wet. One of them, a tiny little girl, seemed so fragile I worried if she got sick we’d lose her.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh the humiliation!

One by one the kittens got bathed. They were either relaxed by the warm water and got sleepy, or being so malnourished they went limp in my arms since many struggled against being in the water. It was rather unnerving to see them like that. It took them awhile, but with the warm air and being clean they slowly began to groom themselves and show signs of life.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Did you ever have “one of those days?”

Jeannie was ready to take over the helm and I had to race off. Why? To help another family of kittens who were arriving on a transport from Georgia get to a temporary foster home for another rescue group. It meant having a chance to see our dear friend Bobby and I couldn’t pass it up.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.

A few days later I had to bring the kittens to another Vet for their health certificates. I told Jeannie I was going to bring them back to my house after the vet visit because we’d been fortunate enough to adopt Lolly and Clark and their room was now open and it would give me a chance to get a few photos of the kittens and see how they were doing. I’d bring the kittens back in a few days or we’d take on other kittens for her.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Wet and flea-free.

The vet visit was unremarkable in nature. What we’d already started doing based on Dr. Mary’s orders was fine to continue doing. I went home thinking things would be all right.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Having fun wherever they go.

On Friday, Blossom seemed picky about her food. On Saturday, clearly she wasn’t feeling well. Jeannie and her friend stopped over to see the kittens and we examined Blossom. We took her temperature and it was 105.2° F but then her friend reminded us that Blossom had been laying on a heated bed. Relieved it probably wasn’t a fever, we still noticed she seemed lethargic and depressed. Jeannie has a medical background and suggested taking Blossom home with her where she could give her round-the-clock care for the next day or two. We went back and forth about what would be the best thing for Blossom. Would it be safer on the others if she was separated from them?

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What? We're not doing anything!

I was ready to let Blossom go with Jeannie, but then we got her to eat a little bit. I knew if Blossom got worse I’d have to run her to the Vet anyway so I told Jeannie I’d take care of her.

The next morning, Blossom didn’t want to walk at all. She was like a limp rag in my arms. She wouldn’t get up to eat and she was crying. I tried to get her to walk but her back right leg was tender and she favored it. I’d read about kittens limping being a possible sign of Calici virus and I started to panic. Dr. Mary and Dr. Larry were off, being that it was Sunday, so I took her to their associate, Dr H. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of Dr. H, but she is the only game in town, unless I wanted to spend $1000.00 or more going to the ER Vet.

Dr. H. barely looked at Blossom and talked to me about what she wanted to do. I had to ask her to watch Blossom try to walk and talked to her about my concerns about it being calici. What sort of exam is it if she’s not even looking at the kitten walk or checking out why she is lame?

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Trying to get Blossom to eat.

I felt like she was ignoring me and talked about levels of care and their costs. She wanted to do full blood work, x-rays, repeat the snap test, and a PCR test and pain meds. I told her it was very clear to me it was calici and I didn’t want to do all these tests. Yes, Blossom could have fallen but there was no obvious sign of injury and she was painful all over her body, not just her leg.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Blossom's x-ray shows good growth plates but no issues.

Dr. H. wouldn’t let up so I said to go ahead with the blood work and x-ray. Both were normal. Now I was out $500.00. I was really pissed. I was to take Blossom home and give her sub-q fluids a few times over the next two days. If it was a virus, giving her antibiotics wouldn’t help, but the fear is secondary infection. I said no to the antibiotics, but got pushed into getting pain meds. She wanted Blossom on Buprenex because letting her suffer wasn’t fair. Again, I felt it was off base. When I get a bad cold, I feel like crap, but I don’t want to load myself up with drugs that give me more problems than help and this was a little kitten. I thought supportive care was what she needed, not more drugs that really only make her loopy and possibly lose her appetite…which again..does not make sense. Why make it harder for Blossom to recover by taking away her appetite? It was the only thing she had going for her. At least if she couldn’t get up I could feed her if I held the plate next to her mouth as she laid on the heated cat bed.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My poor sweetie. Blossom was wiped out from the virus.

I feared that Blossom was going to die she was so weak and then I started to wonder if this was going to become my worst fear—some sort of terrible virus wiping out the whole litter and Blossom was only the first to go.

I thought to myself; “Baby steps. Just breathe. Keep her comfortable and fed. Give her fluids and hope she can beat this on her own. Don’t freak out. Just focus on keeping her comfortable.”

The next day I didn’t believe what I saw when I entered the foster room. When I looked at Blossom all I could do was shake my head in disbelief.

Part three next…

The Clementines Arrive with Lots of Unwelcome Friends Part 1

Three weeks ago Sam and I drove to Philadelphia. With miserable traffic on a Friday night and rainy roads it took 5 hours instead of 3, but we were determined to get there. Our goal was simple, eat a big sandwich at Tony Luke’s and pick up 6 orange kittens who were scheduled to arrive via a legged transport. They were nicknamed the Clementines, but some might have called them the Lucky Ones because we had rescued them from a small rural animal control in eastern Kentucky just hours before their lives were scheduled to end.

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There were six kittens from one litter and one kitten (the dilute calico pictured here) from another litter. The dilute was “pulled” from the shelter by a rescue group right away, leaving the orange kittens behind.

I’d never done a rescue from Kentucky before and I had to trust people I didn’t know who promised me they would make sure the kittens were quarantined properly and vetted before they arrived. It left me feeling very uneasy because I had no choice but to hope that the kittens were really cleared of fleas, de-wormed, given their first vaccination and checked before leaving for Connecticut. I feared that coming out of a shelter they would be sick, but was assured they were healthy. The last thing I wanted to do was put my other foster cats or my own cats at risk of getting a disease or parasite.

Before we even started our trip, I got a call from my friend, Izzy. She and her hubby, Mark, will frankly drive just about anywhere to help cats in need get to their home and on this day they’d offered to drive from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and back to Philly to rendezvous with us. I’ve depended on them many times as my link to make some of these rescues happen. Izzy’s voice sounded a bit funny as she started to speak. I knew something was wrong.

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©2013 Friends of Powell County. Not a life for such lovely creatures. I'm so grateful we could get them out thanks to the efforts of people in Powell County.

“Did these kittens get treated for fleas, by any chance?”

I told her they had been bathed only and a vet had seen them just the day before to give them a clean bill of health.

“Well I just killed a little bugger coming off one of the kittens and now I’m seeing another one.”

My heart sank.

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©2013 Foster Home in KY. Just for the record, this is NOT QUARANTINE.

During the supposed two week quarantine, I learned that the kittens had been brought outside, Vet’s orders. He said they needed 15 minutes of fresh air every day. When I learned that I just about popped. What kind of foolishness is this? I sent my contact a number of emails, furious that they kept breaking quarantine by going outside. She wouldn’t understand why that was wrong. I saw photos of them in a cage outside in someone’s yard, but when I saw photos of then running around in the grass that just infuriated me. You can’t have quarantine if the cats go outside! Am I crazy? I felt like I was losing my mind. They just didn’t get it and I knew they were exposing the cats to who knows what. So much for having “clean” kittens arrive. It also made me very worried-did they REALLY get ANY vetting? How could a vet see them the day before, say they were ready to travel, when they were crawling with fleas? You might get a stray flea after seeing the vet, but a lot of them? No way.

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©2013 Foster Home in KY. Blossom enjoying "quarantine."

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“Well, we can stop at Walmart and I can get some supplies and bathe them while we’re driving.” Izzy said without skipping a beat.”


“It won’t be perfect but it will be something. I’m seeing a lot of fleas.”


So Izzy rigged up a small container with apple cider vinegar and a drop or two of dish soap and water. She soaked the kittens up to their necks as Mark drove 65 mph towards Philly. She picked off and killed as many fleas as she could while I sent off an angry email to the folks in Kentucky.

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©2013 Izzy. Fleas anyone?

Once I had time to let the news settle I became fearful I was now going to have to deal with an explosion of fleas throughout my house.

I made a few calls and talked to some of my rescue friends. They assured me it’s not that big of a deal, but to not take it lightly, either. There would be a great deal of vacuuming in my future and washing all the linens that the kittens were exposed to.

Due to having limited space for fosters, I had planned to crate the kittens in the one room we NEVER allow cats. It’s the room that has the expensive family heirloom rugs and precious family items I can’t risk cats destroying. I didn’t want the kittens in the room, but thought for just one night it would be okay since they had been vetted. Now I had to worry about the kittens dropping fleas all over the rugs and them getting into the nearby linen closet. I just didn’t have much experience with fleas. You’d think I had after over ten years of doing rescue, but most often the cats have been quarantined before I get them.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The photo is not great, but the dark blobs in the photo are clumps of dead fleas. The bottle was full of them

I had a big tub of diotamaceous earth. It’s fossilized algae and it gets onto the exoskeleton of the flea and basically dries them out and they die. It’s very safe for pets so I sprinkled it liberally all over the room, the bedding where the kittens would sleep, anywhere that made sense. The plan was to re-bathe them at their new foster home that would open up the following morning. I just had to keep the fleas at bay for one night.

This foolishness cost me. I had to buy 16 doses of Revolution® to cover my cats and the foster cats. I could not risk letting one flea start a nightmare throughout my cats. I had to buy another 12 doses (for now) to cover the kittens (a 2-month supply) once they were big enough to be treated. I didn’t dare do it right away because I was told they were all very underweight and probably a bit too young for much more than a bath.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. After three tries I finally named all the kittens. We have: Mango (top left), Sherbert (below Mango), Marigold (center), Mandarin/Mandy (lower right), Buttercup (top right) and Blossom (not in photo) .

I couldn’t give them Capstar, which kills fleas in 45 minutes, because they were too fragile. It was very frustrating.

We arrived in Philly around 8:30pm and had a few minutes to eat before Izzy and Mark arrived. The sandwiches we’d been looking forward to were VERY spicy, not at all what we remembered. Just as we gave up on finishing them our friends arrived.

Izzy got out of the car. She was holding a plastic bottle that at one time held a beverage. She showed it to me. It was the wastewater from bathing the kittens. It took me a minute to make sense of why the water was MOVING. There were probably over 100 fleas wiggling around in the fluid. I felt sick.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sherbert before things got really bad for him.

“I didn’t get them all, but I got a lot of them, nasty buggers.” Izzy said as she shook her head.

I bent down and looked into the cat carrier. It was dark and tough to see the kittens. I could barely make out their faces, but I could see their coats were ratty and they were anxious, unsure of what had been happening. I told them it would be okay and that they were almost home, but I feared this was just the tip of the iceberg with having problems with the kittens and sadly I was right. Having fleas would be nothing compared to what was to happen next.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The first sign of problems to come. Blossom's eye is infected. Will this happen times 6 kittens?

Part two next up…

Thanks to All of You.

It's hard to believe a month has already passed since the winners of the Dogtime Pettie Awards were announced. I was deeply honored and thrilled to win Best Blog Post for my story, “Dear Fred.”

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I wish I had filmed my reaction to winning the award, but it went something like this: I screamed REALLY LOUD, so LOUD that Sam thought I was being murdered. Then I ran into the living room, where Sam intercepted me and I yelled; “Oh my GOD I WON I WON I WON!” I started jumping up and down, a lot, quickly, as high as I could until I felt a stab race down my left left. I ripped the tendons in my old lady limbs and I crumpled to the floor in pain. I spent the next four days wondering if I should go to the "Limp in" clinic. I did't sleep because the pain was too severe. I'm doing great now, but really, I need to start exercising or something before these award shows.

It's been a blur of kitten rescues, vet runs and celebucat sightings since the award. In that time I tried to figure out how in the world I was going to shoot an acceptance speech without a video camera or anyone to be my cameraman, but the folks at Dogtime asked and I just couldn't say no.

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©2013 Robin AF Olson. Selfie with my award. Oooo! It's real!

Yesterday I decided to make room on my iPhone (since it's already loaded with cat photos) and just shoot a "selfie" acceptance speech. I thought it would be amusing to just shoot clips without reading off a script and shoot it in various areas of my house (including my bathroom!). I hope you like the end result.

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©2013 Robin AF Olson. I need to put this down. I can't just walk around carrying it, can I?

There's a special message for all of you, so DO give the video a spin!

As ever, you guys are the wind beneath my wings and I deeply appreciate your love and support. I hope to keep doing good work and sharing interesting tales of a life spent with cats with all of you.



The Squee Diaries Ch 11. The Lonely Room Part 3

Minnie’s kittens have been with me since they were 4 days old. I knew that our journey together was temporary and I took refuge in knowing that the day was a long way off. I would focus on my job—to help them grow strong and sure and be ready to be adopted one day. It’s a fairly straightforward process and there are always blips (or weeks of diarrhea to contend with), but with any luck it works out fine.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Baby Petey.

Minnie’s were the first kittens I didn’t feed ANY grain to whatsoever. I didn’t give them milk replacer, which is full of sugar and rice. I took a chance on using goat’s milk and chicken baby food to wean them, then quickly started them on a simple grain-free canned food, then on to raw. The kittens took to it well and had great appetites. What stunned me was how BIG they got and how effortless it seemed. They were a pound bigger than Lolly and Clark, who are a month older. They FEEL robust and vibrate with good health. From handling them every day, even if it was only to weigh them in those first precious weeks, they are accustomed to being touched. If I have to clean a face or trim claws, they just sit there limply and wait until I’m done. In some ways I feel like I’m creating a new breed of kitten. Certainly NONE of my own cats are this relaxed or had such a good start in life.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Afternoon nap—something I was honored to witness.

I wasn’t in a hurry to find the kittens homes. I’ll admit it. Every time I was with them, my heart sang. They gave me a great deal of joy. All that I did for them, they gave back to me tenfold. Though I got many adoption applications, especially for Jellybean Mel, I kept finding fault or put off getting back to them and they adopted elsewhere. Honestly, I hate processing adoption applications because I have to talk to people I don’t know and possibly have a confrontation with them because they may not agree with our policies (no going outdoors except on a lead or in a “catio” for example).

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.

As the kittens grew into young adults I began to fret I’d waited too long, so I got more serious about the applications and found a great fit for Jellybean Mel. The family had come to adopt him, but he hid while they were in the room and Yukon Stan surprised me by stealing their hearts. It was completely unexpected and only just now am I realizing I never wrote about it. I just posted the news on our Facebook page while I returned to searching for good matches for the other kittens.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan (left), now named Oliver, with his new family-doing great!

Although I knew his departure meant the beginning of the end of my time with all the kittens, I knew it HAD to be done before the kittens were so big they’d be tougher to adopt.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel gives himself and Petey a bath while Petey gets ready to push him away with a “bunny kick” to the head!

All within the same week, I got good applications for Barney, Willow, Jellybean Mel, Precious Pete, Lolly, Clark and Mabel. We did a flurry of home visits resulting in many of the cats being adopted with one exception. I put a stop to Mabel’s adoption because my gut instincts said NO. The family was nice. The home was spotless and large. Mabel would have been the only pet in the home, but the wife seemed angry and uninterested. The husband, who I had been dealing with, was nice but I didn’t think anyone would actually PLAY with Mabel and she needs that every day. They have a teenager who is close to being off to college soon. It left me feeling like Mabel would be loved but maybe not get much attention. After what she suffered through, being stuck in a cage for TWO YEARS at a Kill Shelter (READ ABOUT THAT HERE), I owed it to her to give her the best home I could—one where I had no doubts.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mabel has not a care in the world, for which I am very happy.

I wrote the man the nicest, most apologetic email I could. I started second-guessing myself that I was wrong and should go ahead with the adoption. On paper it was all good, but in my heart it wasn’t. The man hadn’t even met Mabel so I thought he would accept me suggesting another cat we have here OR I told him I’d send him to one of our other rescue friends if he didn’t like that option. He took offense and I didn’t hear from him again. It left me feeling badly and worried I’d made a mistake, but I have to do what’s right for the cats.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Must look nice. Adopters are coming!

Next we did a home visit of a young professional couple who hadn’t had cats since they were kids. They’d recently found a friendly stray and had enjoyed his company so much it inspired them to adopt their own cat. They found us through one of our Vets because they just so happened to bring the stray cat to the place where the cat had been vetted before so they knew his owner. They reunited the cat with his family and while they were at my vet’s office they asked where they could adopt two kittens and a match was made with our organization, Kitten Associates.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey looking divine.

The home is HUGE, new and almost empty as the couple just moved in not long ago. They showed me where they would put the kittens and we discussed things like cat trees and scratchers and why these things were important. They wanted to know everything I could tell them because they are determined to provide the best for their new family members.

They showed me a room off their family room. It had lots of windows and was very cozy. They talked about how they were going to get everything set up, order cat trees, toys, everything, so the kittens would have their own room until they were comfortable exploring the rest of the house. Even though they didn’t have a vet reference, it was clear they would do what it takes for whichever cats they adopt. They told me they’d been watching our SqueeTV Ch 1 and had their hearts set on adopting Jellybean Mel and Precious Pete. I wasn't surprised, but I didn't want to show any reaction either. This was getting real and I had to accept the fact that two of my boys might be leaving soon.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Sweet Mellie.

I knew if I had to let those two kittens go, that they’d have to have the best and I thought there was a good chance that this was IT. I didn’t want to think about how deeply I loved both kittens or that Mellie had really gotten under my skin a very long time ago. I had to think about their future, what they deserve, not my own feelings.

I don’t care to have “favorites” in each litter of kittens, because that status often changes over time anyway. I have a bond with all of the kittens in this litter, but Mellie loved to sit on me. He’d drape himself over my arm, or lay against my leg, purring loudly and fall asleep. He gave me that lovey-dovey look. You know the one, the one that melts your heart.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mel and Petey, not even fully grown, are going to be big boys one day.

I tried to think of ways to keep him, but I already have too many cats. I also wanted to keep Petey because he’s just as amazing as Mel and oh so adorable. Thinking about not seeing them every day made me feel ill. When the day came for the couple to meet the kittens, I literally felt like I was going to faint I dreaded it so much.

I had no doubts about the couple at all, but I didn’t want to see the little family torn apart. Stan was already adopted but now the little clutter would be down two more and I knew things would be a lot different with them gone.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How to hold a cat, oops, or not.

An hour before the couple arrived I spent time with the kittens. As always, Mel came over to me and lay against my leg, stretched out, belly up. I thought about how this was the last time he’d do that with me and the last time we’d share this sweet time together. I petted him gently. He turned to look into my eyes. We held the connection for a moment as I struggled not to cry. He purred contentedly. We just sat there together with no need to do something more. I didn’t want to move, ever again, for the rest of my life.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Traci and Paul are getting the hang of it…almost.

Petey came over to us and spread out across my chest. Petey is a charmer and his fur is like silk. I stroked his tiger stripes and tickled his little niblet toes that he spread apart as my finger traced the outline of each one. His purr joined Mel’s, then Joey, Bunny and Gracey came over and all snuggled up together. It doesn’t get any better than this. I wanted to record this moment forever so I could play it back over and over, but there is no device to capture something this wonderful.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What's this?

The hour flew by quickly. There were only a few minutes left. Our time together was over. I had to get ready. I told Mel and Petey to have a wonderful life and that I loved them very much. As I left the room I heard a chorus of purrs, the sound softening as I gently closed the door. My heart was pounding. Could I really do this? Could I let my babies go?

The couple arrived with a huge cat carrier. It made me laugh. They’d lined it with a very soft cat bed. I was impressed. They spent almost three HOURS here in the foster room. They played with the kittens, talked to me about everything from what do they do when they have kids some day to best treats, toys, how to hold the kittens properly. Surprisingly, it was Gracey who charmed them and so did Joey. I started to think I’d get to keep the boys awhile longer. I kept urging Mellie and Petey to go play with their new family. They would run past them or rub their leg and dash back to me while Gracey stretched out with them on the bed and let them rub her tummy.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. As always, Gracey leads the way.

I thought I’d prepared myself for the boys leaving, but then started to realize that Gracey might be going and what would I do without her? I love her and Joey, too! I knew no matter how it turned out, two kittens were leaving. I just didn’t know which ones.

It was after 8 PM. I took a deep breath and asked the couple if they felt ready to make a decision, part of me hoping they’d take them all. They looked at each other and asked each other if they wanted to choose Mel and Petey even though Joey and Gracey had been very sweet, too. They realized that they loved Mel and Petey before they even stepped in the room and they knew, too, that in time both cats would be as affectionate with them as they had been with me so they were ready to choose.

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©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey says goodbye to his brothers.

We did the paperwork and I didn’t feel sick. It felt right. I realized I’d been like a kid with a favorite toy that accidentaly got put in the washing machine and was ruined. I wanted things to be the same as ever, but I knew they never could be again. I loaded Mel and Petey into their new carrier, while Gracey made us laugh by trying to join them, too. The boys found their forever home. It was time to say our goodbyes.

After the couple left, anxious to get home with their new family members, I knew I had to feed the kittens and straighten up their room for the night. As I put my hand on the doorknob, I took a deep breath, trying desperately to hold back my tears. I opened the door and Gracey, Joey and Bunny looked up at me questioningly. I did what I needed to do without falling apart. I wished them a goodnight, giving each one an affectionate pet on the way out. I knew it before I’d even taken a step inside the room that things were different now.

The magic room was no more.

The Squee Diaries Ch 11. The Blue Room Part 2

The email was from a young man in a neighboring town. He’d been evicted from his home and needed to place his two, 5-month old kittens. They’d been bottle fed, which meant they were bonded well to humans. All I could see from the photo he included was that they were tabbies. One was medium haired and one short haired. I had the space to take them on, but if I didn’t adopt them out quickly, it would cause a jam with Mochachino’s kittens coming up here in a few weeks from Georgia. Going with my gut, I decided to help them out.


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