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One I Hold in High Regard

The Metacam Debate

You may have noticed by now that I'm not a Vet, but I play one on my web site. Part of being a good pet owner is being responsible for maintaining my cat's good health. I don't follow Doctors orders blindly. In fact, I constantly ask if there's another way to look at a prognosis or another way to treat a problem, or a way to have prevented it in the first place.

A serious subject I've noticed that's painfully lacking is the element of proper nutrition and it's health effects on our cats. Time and time again, I've been told to get this "Prescription Diet" because it has the word "prescription" in it and can only be gotten at my Vet, so therefore it must be good, even if it's DRY food, full of grains and lacking in decent source protein. Even though my cat's health problems might have been solved by feeding my cat a raw diet or grain-free canned diet, that's much more nutritious and doesn't tamper with their digestion and throw them into cycles of illness, inflammation of the liver, pancreas, stomach, etc...give them diabetes and crystals in their urine. Are Vet's reading the labels on this stuff or enjoying too many perks from the sales staff of all those "specialty" diets?

I want my Vet to know MORE about nutrition and sell high quality, species appropriate food in his Clinic, not heaping bags of dry diets.

I'm also peeved about the Metacam debate. As I've ranted previously, there are many in our community who feel using Metacam in small doses is perfectly fine, even though Metacam is "for dogs only." Cats don't mix well with NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In fact "NSAIDs decrease production of substances that protect the stomach and GI tract from the acid and reduce blood flow to the area. This can cause ulceration and perforation of the stomach or intestines. NSAIDs also decrease the blood flow to the kidneys causing damage and renal failure."*

I've spoken with three Vets. One at Mill Plain Vet in Danbury, CT, Dr. Whitney at VREC in Norwalk, CT and Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, which, if you watch Animal Cops, yes, it's THAT hospital, which is part of the ASPCA in NYC.
Each Vet told me their concerns about using Metacam. Two of the three just won't use it in cats and have never seen a good outcome using it. Dr. Murray shared her concerns with me regarding giving Bob metacam after he fell over 16 feet off my deck and needed something for the pain. Bob's ALT was sky high at over 700, yet he was given Metacam. Then, I read this in an email from Dr. Murray:

"If you read the insert it clearly says " Do not give in cats" and it has caused renal failure in a number of cats after just one dose. You should also know that NSAIDs in general are contraindicated with liver disease."

Bob may not have liver disease, but clearly something is causing his high ALT, so why give him this stuff? Another web site declares that
Metacam Kills! Maybe not all of this is true information, maybe only half of it is? Maybe only two cases? The thing is, even if ONE is true then something is going on here. I know someone who's using Metacam for long term pain management in their cat, but the dose is ONE DROP and Bob got far more than that i his first, of two doses.

So now I'm going to sit here and wait. Next week I'll pay to have another blood test done to check's Bob's ALT AND to check his kidney function. I shouldn't have to do this and I shouldn't have to worry that I've done something irreversible to my cat, but I'm stuck. I've done the deed. Yes, I will say Bob seemed much happier after the Metacam, but was that happiness to be short lived?

I still have the damn bottle of this stuff on my desk. The purple box is lying their taunting me. I want to stomp on it. I think I will. I wish there WAS a safe NSAID for cats and I just read that now Metacam IS supposedly "safe" as an injectable, but I believe it's only for use in post surgery pain relief, certainly not for every day pain management or even for a short course treatment.[note: after this post went live, Dr. Murray cautioned me again, noting that even after ONE INJECTION, Metacam can cause renal failure, so referring to metacam, in any form, as being "safe" would not be accurate.]

Dr. Murray and a few others have suggested using buprenorphine, a semi-synthetic opiate, also called Buprenex. Dr. Murray told me that it's " a mild narcotic that can be given under the tongue (it absorbs from the oral mucosa and the kitty dose is usually only about 0.1 ml so a tiny volume which is nice too)." This is a much safer alternative, but does it answer every cat's health needs when they are in pain? I can't say. My guess is probably not.

One day there will be a truly safe NSAID or something equivalent to help cats who are in pain. For now, please, read the label, ask your Vet when the meds say "for dogs only" and push back if they say not to worry about it. There IS cause for worry, not panic. There IS cause to ASK QUESTIONS. It can save your beloved pet's life.

I'd like to add a special "Thank You" to Dr. Louise Murray for her helpful suggestions and for sharing her wisdom with me, so I can share it with all of you. If you'd like to know more about Dr. Murray, you can visit her web site: Vet Confidential or follow her on Twitter: VetLouiseMurray


Not On My Watch/Foster Cat Journal: There's No Place Like Home

Six weeks ago, I was moved by a plea to help save a Mama cat who was notorious for "hugging" her kittens. She was called, Huggy and she and her two offspring were slated to be euthanized in a few days if no one stepped forward to help her.

At first, I thought we had an interested family in Indiana, so I started to put together a plan to help transport the cats to them, but it fell through. The person in Indiana never stepped up or even let us know she had changed her mind. Already involved, I felt it would be wrong to throw my hands up, say I did my bit and walk away. I just couldn't.

Many of you know what happened next: with what seemed like endless emails, questions, fears and hope, between myself, Winging Cat Rescue, Kat5 and a handful of helpers, we were able to rescue this mama and her babies, along with quite a few others.

I never did this before. I never pulled a cat from a kill shelter close by, let alone from 1000 miles away. I know many people frown on doing this, especially if the cat isn't even purebred and there are so many that need help right here in Connecticut. She's just an average domestic short haired cat, but a life is a life and I was in too far to turn back. Huggy's life was no less precious or less worth saving than any other cat.

I was told Huggy was friendly, but really, how could I know? I had no idea how old this cat was and without a shelter, how was I ever going to find her a home once she got here? Who adopts adult cats? I feared I would have her until, at least, the end of the year or longer. Something inside me said, yes, I need to do this, no matter what it takes. I need to make it right for these animals.

When Huggy arrived, there were plenty of problems. First, she had evidence of having had fleas. She had bad ear mites. Her chin was full of feline acne from eating out of a plastic bowl. She was thin. Her coat was rough and yellowed. Her kittens were odd looking and not that friendly. She was in much worse condition than I expected.

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Huggy, day one.

Huggy also became seriously ill with mastitis, then had to be separated from her boys for two weeks, given meds twice a day and lots of rest. It was very difficult, but she never complained. She was easy to pill, she ate her food right up. She loved to lay on my lap, then attack my leg, letting me know she was still young and wanted play time, too. Only 1 1/2 years old, Huggy has a lot of energy and more and more as each day passed and she got stronger and gained her weight back.

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Feeling Huggy's boobs.

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Huggy showing Snuggles the ropes (pardon the pun)

Two weeks ago, Huggy was adopted, but it wasn't until today, that I finally got the OK from the Vet to let her go to her family. It's about as close to a magical experience as I think I'll ever get; seeing so many changes in this once tired, mama cat. Her coat is soft and clean, her chin is almost completely healed, her ear mites and fleas are long gone and her mastitis has resolved. She gained 1.50 POUNDS since she got here. She's at ten pounds now.

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This photo ran in The Newtown Bee, which was how Huggy's new family first found her.

Since she arrived, there hasn't been a day when being around Huggy wasn't a joy. She truly is a sweet, mellow, feisty, cute, loving, chatty lady. Her new family couldn't wait to come get her once I told them she was ready to go. She'll be living with a Mom and Dad, their son and daughter. She'll have a wonderful home and all the good food and love she'll ever need. Although part of me wants to cry at seeing her go, I am SO VERY HAPPY that we made it this far, so quickly, seemingly as though it was all meant to be, that I can only smile. I am so grateful for everyone's support, so lucky a great family came forward- understanding that adult cats have a hard time finding a home and so willing to give her AND her two boys a chance.

This is the most rewarding work I have ever done. Each and every home I find for each and every cat fills my heart to bursting. When people ask me how I do this? I can only answer, how can I not? It's worth all the effort by tenfold.

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Sleep deprived, just back from the Feline Forum, no makeup, but a GREAT a kitty in my arms; here's me giving out the hugs. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

Huggy. You beat so many odds that I don't think there ARE odds for how lucky you are. From death's door to the lap of luxury. It doesn't get any better than this.

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It's time to say Good Bye, friend. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

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Hugging Dash good bye. She'll be seeing him and Snuggles again in a few days. (Photo by Ryan Feminella)

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Huggy, with some members of her new family (used with permission).

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Back from the Vet with Bob

During the long drive down to Norwalk, Bob was mostly quiet, save for a few weird gasps or sighs or something. I caught him panting so I ran the A/C and he seemed more comfortable.

We got to VREC in good time and Dr. Whitney met with us promptly. We reviewed Bob's history, talked about ALTs being high, looked at his x-rays and discussed the big fall. After that we got Bob out of the cat carrier for an exam. Bob was so well behaved! Dr. Whitney was immediately struck by how lovely and nice he is-of course! She put him on the floor to see how he was walking. No sign of trouble. She squeezed and squooshed him all over and he didn't budge.

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Looking at Bob's blood test from yesterday and taking into account his history, she decided to be safe, and suggested we do an ultrasound to rule out damage to his liver, but if it was bad, we'd probably already have seen him acting sick. She re-ran some blood work to check his ALT again and also his Free T4 because his thyroid might make his liver act up.

While I waited for Bob's test to be run, a woman walked in with three Chinese Cresteds. What a crazy looking bunch!

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Apparently, two of them will be featured in Oprah's magazine very soon! Watch for the clothes issue? Fashion issue? For people, not dogs! The owner of the dogs should have been in the magazine, too. She was very artfully attired, had wild "cat eye" glasses and a HUMUNGOUS emerald cut diamond ring! I was dying to know what she did for a living, but I get a bit shy some times!

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Oh, if only I hadn't cropped her ring out of this shot! Boohoo! You would have LOVED seeing it!

Once the glare of the big diamond wore off, Dr. Whitney returned with Bob and gave me the update on his condition.

Seems Bob is only lucky so-and-so. His liver looked about the same as it did a year ago, stomach lining about the same. Not fantastic but not bad at all. Blood work showed his ALT DROPPED to 520 (from 731 yesterday). His thyroid test would be back later and she'd call me about that. Bottom line is Bob appears to be all right! NO METACAM for him, by the way, too. She is not big on using it and that was all it took for me to not give it to him. He is sore, but not so bad that he's hiding or crying, so we both agreed to continue to let him take it easy, keep an eye on him and just let him heal.

So for $1000.00 I have peace of mind and can go to Chicago on Thursday without worrying about Bob. I just took my very first Xanax and suddenly, I don't feel scared about flying! We'll see how I do. I hate flying so much...ugh...I get traumatized if I have to do it and I hate that. I want to be able to fly, so I don't miss everything, but I sure love to be home. safe here!

On to the next thing...oh God. I shouldn't have written that...Thank you ALL again for your inspiring and loving comments! You are ALL THE BEST! Bob sends his love and thanks, too!

Catch Me When I Fall

Many of you know that a few hours ago, my dear cat, Bob Dole, accidently slipped and fell about 15 feet off the deck, into some brambles and small rocks in the back yard. It all happened so quickly and so horribly. One second Bob was on the deck railing-which I HATE seeing him do, for obvious reasons. The next, he was gone.

I was making some lunch when I looked out and saw Bob drinking out of the bird bath. That water can be so dirty and filled with weird organisms that I quickly ran to the deck door to shoo Bob away from the water. He knows he's not supposed to do that. I didn't scream at him, but it was enough to startle him, which made him step back from the bird bath, slip, then, drop like a rock, off the deck. In that flash I saw the look on Bob's face-surprised and scared, while I simply screamed.

I ranl I ran down the stairs, into the basement. There's a room down there with a door to the back yard. I was barefoot, but I didn't care. I ran out, leaving the door slightly ajar in my haste, all the while being terrified of what I was going to see next-would I see Bob's lifeless body? I had no time to prepare myself. I burst out of the back door to catch a glimpse of Bob as he RAN around the back side of the house, up a big hill!

In a way I was glad to see him moving, but terrified that I would not be able to get him back home. He was very scared and just ran and ran!

I kept calling after him, begging him to come back, while my feet were feeling the ravages of all the rocks and thorny brush. Eventually, Bob took shelter under the smallest deck that's at ground level. I tried to cajole him into coming inside, but he sat there, frozen. I was afraid to startle him by trying to touch him, but I had no choice. I got down under the deck and pulled him out. He dug his claws into me, but I tried to be calm and get him into the house.

I got as far as the screen room that connects to the house and who do I see? Spencer. The little pouffball had squeezed through the opening in the door and got into the room. Had I gotten there one second later and he would have gotten outside, too. Then I realized, since I'd been chasing Bob for a good 10 minutes, that any number of cats could now be outside and I wouldn't know. I couldn't waste time looking for them. I had to get Bob some help, fast.

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Poor Bob has a bloody lip!

Bob walked up the stairs on his own, great! I hobbled. Not so great. I called out to the cats. Shook the bag of dry food to get their attention and Bob came over, wanting to eat-another good sign. I put down a tiny bit of food for him while I washed my feet and tried to steady my nerves. I knew pretty soon I'd be a hurting unit, but for now all that mattered was Bob.

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I was lucky today. I called my Vet and they could see us right away. I got Bob into the cat carrier, when I felt my back go out. I loaded him into the car, stiff with pain. I made it to the Clinic in good time. Not only that, but Dr. Larry was actually there! He normally has Monday's off. Also, Bob's best friend, Aunt Debbie (the super Vet Tech) was there! If I had to pick the two people I would want to look after Bob-they would be the ones.

While we waited to see Dr. Larry, I cried some more. I had called our Director sobbing about what to do and if I needed to get Bob somewhere that was open 24/7. I told her I couldn't account for 3 of the cats. She told me not to worry and was very calm when I couldn't be. She promised to help me find the cats when I got home, if I needed her. Then I started replaying the image of Bob falling off the deck. I felt so sick.

Bob was a good sport. He sat there and purred, just like he always does. He rested his head on my hand and laid down. I don't know if he was tired from the stressful experience or something worse. Dr. Larry came in and gave me a hug and proceeded to look at Bob. He was worried that Bob broke his jaw, a common injury after a big fall. Although his mouth was bloody, the jaw felt OKAY. Dr. Larry listened to Bob's heart and lungs and checked the function of each leg. Everything was all right, but that didn't mean Bob was out of the woods. Next, Bob would get a full body x-ray, they'd run a blood panel to make sure his organ function was all right and observe him for a few hours. I gave Bob a kiss and headed home to wait.

I'm in a lot of pain right now. I must have twisted my knee, thrown out my back and neck and have lots of cuts and scratches. I'm also terribly worried about Bob-that something will be missed, that this is the beginning of the end of his life. It wouldn't take much for him to have an internal injury and that is what I fear, because that is the toughest to detect. I don't even let Bob jump down from my own BED because I think it's too high off the floor. Bob is an old cat, but he IS a tough cookie, too.

When I got home, it took awhile, but I did manage to find ALL of my cats. Everyone was fine and looked at me like I was nuts. I suppose they are a better judge of my own character than I am.

I didn't expect I had the stamina to write all this down. I'm just wiped out. All I intended to say was a BIG THANK YOU to all the folks on Twitter, who have been so very kind to Bob and myself. Once I put out the word that Bob needed support, they rallied around us by including us in what they call, a "Pawcircle." They joined together to send their love and support to Bob when he needs it most.

I live a very quiet life. My parents are gone. I don't have lots of friends who live close by. When Bob fell, I had no one to catch me, too. I came home and went online and found that I was wrong. There were SO MANY good wishes for us that it's making me cry right now. I felt SO ALONE when this first happened and so scared. Your support and compassion is such a GREAT GIFT and means SO MUCH to me. I wish I could give all of you a big HUG and tell you to your faces how you not only helped Bob today, you helped me, too.

Thank you for doing for me, what I could not do for Bob today-catch him when he fell.

Foster Cat Journal: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Last month I added my voice to those who were pleading with folks to come together and find a way to rescue some kitties from Henry County Care & Control in Georgia. With the help of Kat5 and Winging Cat Rescue and the generosity of many people, we were able to raise the funds needed to bust some of these precious kitties out of Death Row.

I offered to take Huggy Bear and her two kittens, but had no placement for the dilute calico we named, "Last Chance." We'd gone as far as I thought we could go. Without another foster family or rescue group stepping up to the plate, Last Chance and her offspring were going to be KILLED.


Thankfully, our friend Jennifer, stepped up and offered to help. She'd never fostered kittens before and never fostered for our organization before. She doesn't even live near any of us, but she didn't care. She just wanted to help. If it wasn't for her last minute offer, we would have lost these sweet animals. They were saved just hours before their time was up

For the past two weeks, Jennifer and her hubby have been caring for Last Chance, now called, Angel and her babies, Spyder and Pumpkin.

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Tomorrow the kittens are due to be spayed and Angel will be seeing them again on Saturday when we have an adoption event at a local pet food shop. Since it's a long drive to our Vet for Jennifer, she dropped everyone off at my house tonight so I could get them to their Vet appointment by 8:30am.

It's great to finally meet these guys-especially Angel. You can tell she hasn't had the best life. Though friendly and very affectionate, if you reach out to pet her, she tucks her tail and ducks her head back. She'll still come to you for pets and is easy to purr. She's got a beautiful patchwork pattern and cute gray spot on her chin. She reminds me very much of Huggy, both in her look and overall condition. She's a mama, who's young enough that she still wants to play, but had a tough go of things and it has quieted her disposition. I can see this kitty really flowering once she has a safe and loving home to call her own.

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The kittens are chubby and rambunctious. Both are completely adorable. We're already getting adoption inquiries on both of them. I hope to find them awesome homes very soon!

It's all good. We came together and found a way to save these kitties and I'm really proud of all of us, but...if I sit quietly and stop thinking about the million things I should be doing, I get a pain in my gut. I feel like I'm going to burst into tears. I look at their faces and imagine them being put to sleep-that someone would have done that to them and they'd already have been dead for two weeks.

Who would have been witness to their lives? Who would have seen the love Angel has for her offspring or their joy in playing with a new toy? Who would have heard their purrs or taken comfort in watching them eat a good meal?

Who would have cared for them in their last moments? Indeed, would anyone?

In my joy is such sadness, more than anything else, for the ones we could not save that day. For the ones we could not save the next day or the next. Or the ones at Spaulding. There are so many it's sickening. You don't want to know about it. You don't want to look and see their faces. You want to fix it, but you don't know how!

So we pick our battles. We try to find joy in this moment. These cats will have a good life. They will know love and a warm bed. They will not know a cage ever again. When it's their time to pass on, they will be missed. They will be cared for in their last moments. It will be life lived that wasn't cruelly ended before it had a chance to begin.

Some Sun Amidst the Clouds

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Shamus (above) and Arabella (below) were adopted by a very nice family yesterday. Congratulations, kitties and family!


Sadly, poor Malibu and Nova still don't have a home. They're both getting big and the bigger they get, the less time we'll have to get them a good home. They're both really sweet kitties, but Nova doesn't show well and Malibu is goosey, even though he purrs loudly and with great passion and loves people! I hope they find their place with a family very soon.


Lastly, though Our Director is a private person, I have to ask everyone to think good thoughts for her kitty, Spruce. Somehow, on Friday, he tore the ACL in one of his legs. He was rushed to the Vet and it was determined he needs surgery. Spruce will have his surgery on WEDNESDAY, 9/9/09. If you'd like to leave Spruce a message with your good wishes, please post them here and I'll pass them along.

I'm not going to wonder what's next. This week will be crazy juggling cats. I don't even want to think about knowing I'm the back up rescue group for the eight babies down in South Carolina that no one has stepped up to help. I feel like I bit off more than I can chew, but I'll stand by my promise, come Hell or high water...ho boy...

The Tweetie Chronicles: The A Word!

At last! Word has come in to CiCH HQ that Sockington, and Penny (with great reluctance) have decided to move forward and make Tweetie's "visit" a permanent one. Yes, I can finally announce that


I heard from a reliable source that Socks will sit outside Tweetie's room and wait for him to come out, instead of hiss or run off and hide whenever he sees the little guy. I believe that Socks actually misses the him when they're apart!

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The photo that started it all...along with it a simple question; "Are you my daddy?"

Tweetie will undergo a name change at some point. We're not sure what it will be or when it will be announced, but rest assured, as soon as I know, you'll know, too.

Congrats, Tweetie! I'm sure I'll see you again on one of your Twitter Pages or on Sockington's web site or on TV or in a Book! Shoot! I knew I shoulda gotten your autograph before you left here!

UPDATE: Looks like the rumors are NOT true. Tweetie's name has NOT BEEN CHANGED TO, Oliver or Cousin Oliver! It's a character reference from the Brady Bunch, not his new name.

Not On My Watch: Zabby Update

If you recall, a few weeks ago, I wrote a few post about Zabby, an injured 8 month old kitten at Henry Co. facing a dismal, if any, future.

Thanks to the generosity, kindness and hard work of many people, instead of being euthanized, Zabby was not only pulled from the Kill shelter, but vetted so her paw could heal while she was in the mandatory two week quarantine period. She was transported to Catnip Cottage in South Carolina, to live until she was adopted. In fact she wasn't at Catnip Cottage for very long at all. She was so sweet and well adjusted that she was immediately added to an Adoption Event. That very day, a lovely couple adopted her, who felt they were ready for a new kitty, as their's had died 6 months previous at the age of 18.

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Congratulations, Zabby!


Big News! Time to do the HAPPY DANCE!

Huggy Mama is OUT of Henry Co. and on to her temp. foster home. Instead of going to Indiana, she is coming right HERE to Covered in Cat Hair HQ for fostering until she and the babies find a forever home!

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Dilute Calico Mama is OUT of Henry Co. and also on her way to a temp. boarding facility where she will be out of harm's way until she can go to her foster placement!

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And this my friends, this is my great joy...this mama and her babies were going to be put down today, but at the very last minute we got a SUPER GENEROUS OFFER from one of our very own, beloved Covered in Cat Hair members, Jennifer, who is graciously opening her home to these at high risk foster babies! (Apparently, Jennifer just picked out names for them, not being able to wait for them to arrive!) This morning, Barb did her magic and I made a tearful call to Robin at Henry County to ask if these guys were still available (ALIVE) and she said YES. Once I found out, we got the balls rolling and Mama will be out TOMORROW.

And yes, I will put out ONE MORE request to bring in some funds to help cover the costs for this mama and her babies, but then I will shut up for awhile. Once we have a widget set up for their donations, I will post it and if you can help, super great. If not, then just send them your love. They need that, too!


And our spare, orphan was adopted by the woman who dropped her off a few days ago. We didn't raise funds for this little one, so no harm done and we are very happy she's off to a good home!


And believe it or not, Barb and Judy have managed to rescue even MORE cats than I have photographs of! I am SO SO HAPPY that all of you pitched in, gave up money during a friggen' recession, and sent so much love and support-well THANK YOU isn't enough, but that's what I got!


We've got MORE to rescue, so let's get to it!

Poopie thing I have to add: I hate to worry alone, so you should all remember that ALL these mamas MUST TEST NEGATIVE FOR FELINE LEUKEMIA AND FIV or ELSE I am gonna CRY and they are gonna have to be PTS. I'm sorry to rain on the parade, but we got them this far...hopefully this is just the beginning of their journey to their forever homes.

THE R WORD: Chapter One

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Kate + 8 have been removed from Henry Co. and are off to their next stop, where they can live for the next two weeks while they are in quarantine and before they are moved off to foster care. Please think good thoughts for the kitties as Mama has to have a "combo" test which will test her for Feline Leukemia and FIV. It could be sad news if Mama has Feline Leukemia, but for now, let us focus on one phase of this journey being accomplished.

Kate + 8 are out of the KILL SHELTER!

Thank you very much Barbara at WCR for doing all the paperwork, making the calls and finding a safe haven for all these kitties, Judy with Kat5 for finding transport and boarding and Bobby for kindly transporting the kitties OUT of Henry Co., as well as all the other folks I have not met yet, who are part of this hopeful story!


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