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Foster Cat Journal: A Very Fond Farewell Part 2 of 2

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Remember when...the first foster kittens of Kitten Associates arrived in early August. From left to right: Sugar Pie, Cinnamon (front), Yodel (rear), Honey B.

Yodel got to me. I admit it. Being here for three months didn't make it any easier. She wasn't getting any applications-even bad ones. I started to wonder if I'd ever find her a home. As things go with adoptions, out of the blue, I got a promising application at last. A woman contacted me. She was, at first, interested in Honey B. Frankly, everyone has been. Her husband had eyes for Yodel. They decided they'd like to come over and see them both...see how it went. Their Vet reference was great. They let their cats outside, though. We talked about that and it was almost a deal-breaker, but after talking for awhile, the woman realized that one of her 3 cats did not like to go outside. Yodel or Honey B. could stay inside, too and keep her company. We talked further and gee, she's the Fire Marshall of a nearby town. I really felt like not only did I trust her, but I really liked her. She assured me if she adopted a kitten from me it would NOT go outdoors.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Yodel loved the Kong Kickaroo.

We discussed everything else like what to feed the kitten, no declawing, etc. All worked out well. On Friday, she and her very-nice-fireman-of-the-Year-Husband came over. I had Honey and Yodel in my bedroom so they'd be more relaxed and not be bothered by the other cats.

It was mid-afternoon and both kittens were sleepy. They looked up at the couple, then basically nodded off! I could see it in their eyes they loved both kittens, but I knew they only could take one. It didn't take long for them to feel that Yodel was the kitten for them.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. My little sweetie.

We filled out the paperwork. I asked them about fire extinguishers and they told me lots of helpful information-like make sure you have an ABC rated extinguisher-which we have on each floor, but they have to be replaced every few years. So we need to do that. They were just really nice, salt-of-the-Earth people. I felt very comfortable letting them take Yodel and in fact, I didn't even cry as she left.

I felt the all too familiar big lump in my throat as I saw her face peek up over the vents in the cat carrier as she was being taken to the couple's car, but I pushed it back down. It was time for Yodel to move on. It had been for a long time. It was only selfish of me to keep her here and now she'd enjoy the company of a few other cats, as well as a Bichon. I was down a kitten, that left me with 15 cats. A start...

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The always lovely, Honey B.

On Saturday, as you know, The Halloween Express was adopted. An hour later, another couple came over. They had eyes for Honey B. and no other cat. Their Vet reference was glowing. They answered all the right questions. In person they were a bit odd. They both bickered, but when I asked if i needed to break it up, they said that's how they talk and they were just kidding. It's tough to feel people out. I think it's natural to be judgemental, but I reminded myself that I have to be more open-minded. These people had had cats their entire life. They adored their cats and put them as a top priority. They were VERY gentle and easy with Honey, who, a true calico, was a bit wary of the new people. She began to warm up to them and it was clear that they were smitten with this kitten.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Nap time.

After two other almost-adoptions fell through and countless rejected applications, Honey, who should have been adopted over two months ago, finally got her home. The couple drove over an hour to meet her and said they would drive to the ends of the Earth, if that's what it took. The rest is history...the last of my very first litter of Kitten Associates rescued kittens was gone...just THREE MONTHS after they arrived.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Farewell baby-girls. I will miss you very much.

So now we are at just ten cats-from sixteen just hours ago. The unbelievable flood of urine from my own cats has been almost too much to endure. I've done so much to try to calm them down, clean it up, do things to help them cope, but the only thing I really could do, is get the extra cats out of the house. In all honesty, I have been so stressed by the fights and the peeing that I have begun to unravel. Between every day stresses, the cats, the lack of work, the finding work, the blah blah blah, I realized my temper has been whittled down to the quick and I admitted to Sam last night that I am to the point of being afraid of what I might do if things don't improve. I was thinking about going on meds for awhile. Me being upset isn't going to help things in the house, but me being out-of-control and losing my temper is very dangerous. I've never been an easy-going person, at least to the degree I'd like. Even with all the training I've had-learning meditation, taking refuge as a Buddhist-it's a wonderful's vital for helping me do as well as I have,'s been a long, stressful few months with barely a break of any sort. I'm not getting burned out, but I admit to feeling a great sense of defeat.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. No room at the Inn.

This morning was the worst. At 6:45am, Bob yeowled. It usually means he wants to be fed NOW. I can't feed him or else I'm training him that his effort worked and he'll do it again. So I went back to bed. Then, he picked a fight with poor Petunia, so I got up. It wasn't enough, so he came upstairs and peed all over. I started cleaning, then Bob puked some foam. Okay...feed him. He wins. While I was cleaning up, I saw Blitzen sniff the wall where Bob had just been. He lifted his tail and was about to pee, too. I almost died. Not Blitzen. Not him, too. I stopped him before he could do anything, but I found pee in 4 places-which is 4 more than usual.

I went into the foster room. It stunk. One of the kittens vomited on the bed (this is after I had just replaced the sheets a few hours before). Then when I grabbed the bag to scoop the litter pan into, the bag was covered with pee, too and it got all over me. I honestly don't know how I didn't have a break down right then and there.

A few hours later, I went to take a shower. The bathroom really stank of pee. I looked all over. Couldn't find it. I found it when I got out of the shower. It was on the bathmat the whole time. I didn't even realize it and Sam had missed it after his shower.

You better know that I must LOVE cats a lot to put up with this and hey, the cats are all still alive (so far!).

I've lost the ability to find humor in this. There is none. This is plain tough, heartbreaking and difficult. Sam and I have some sort of unspoken pact. We get mad at the cats, but not at each other. At least we seem to do ok and Sam is quick to comfort me-even though I can't even relax when he hugs me any more.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Moonpie and Patty. Still waiting to find their forever home.

Today most of the load is off my shoulders. I MUST get Patty and Moonie a home. They are probably the main cause of problems, but hopefully, now that the others are in their new homes, I'll see some positive changes. Already I haven't heard any fighting. The cats are all napping and relaxed. I have to hope that now I can regroup, clean the rooms up and take a break.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. The next fosters. Sweet Mama and her three babies. We need some names for them! Just not “Santa's Team II”!

It's been a long road, but I'm here for the long haul. I've got more babies coming this way, but I have another month before they arrive. I've learned some things-maybe I need to learn about pharmaceuticals next? I really don't know, but I need to find a way. There are many more cats that need help. I can't give up for their sake.

Foster Cat Journal: One Lost Mind. Anyone Find It?

It's tough to write. Actually, it's tough to do ANYTHING with 12 cats running loose in my house, plus four sick cats in the foster room who I have to make sure don't cover me in contagion every time I enter their domain.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The Halloween Express is stuck at the URI-Station!

Between the complicated feeding parade, breaking up fights, cleaning up urine marking, plopped poops and just the plain ol' litter pan scooping, I've lost hours every day. That doesn't even include play time-a must for these INSANE BEASTS and lovey dovey time, which, for my own cats has been whittled down to the bare minimum. I'm so out of touch with my own cats, it scares me. Sam has drifted into making sure they get fed, the raw food gets mixed up (I order and pay for it), while I do my shift feeding the fosters in three different locations, making sure they're all locked in their rooms during feeding time so I can monitor that everyone is eating enough.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pattycake and Blitzen share some snuggle time.

This is not what I had in mind. I had a room, ONE ROOM, not ALL MY AVAILABLE ROOMS set aside for cat care, with one room as a flex room-in case I had to separate out a cat or two. It's funny, though. I realized that if I just had four fosters in one room, plus my eight cats, that it would be a BREEZE! You get to a point where the “nubs” wear off and you can handle more and more. That said. I do not want to handle this many again. I am more than max'd out.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Meanwhile, Yodel is passed out on my bed.

Even as I sit here, I had two fosters battling for space in my lap, Blitzen and Spencer and Honey B all in my tiny office. Then they started fighting-no surprise and to save face (literally) I had to scoot them out the door for my own safety. Now they're ripping up some paper and a cardboard box. There is rarely ever a silent moment now. I have to get up every two seconds to break up fights-that's the worst.

Yet, I was ready to take in another foster cat two days ago! Thankfully, the little cutie--pie at Henry, got a rescue before I had to step in. In for a dime, in for a dollar, at this point.

There is a glimmer (of something, not sure if it's hope or just a bug in my eye) on the horizon! Maybe. Just MAYBE, I MAY have not one, but TWO potential adopters lined up. I don't want to jinx anything, so I'm not going to say much at this point. Just...maybe I will be down a few cats before the weekend is over. I sure hope so. I just spent $240.00 out of my own pocket on cat food (and that was with a HUGE discount). Yes, fundraising for Kitten Associates will be starting soon! We just saw our CPA and he helped us get a form done that was standing in the way of us getting our non-profit status. We are "this" close to being the real deal (Okay, we're incorporated, so that is a cool start!).

Since I may have only two more seconds to write before the next fight, I wanted to do some updates.


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©2010 Robin A.F Olson. Princess FiFi barely a month ago.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Princess just the other day-looking lovely!

Well, she is just doing GREAT! Carole, the President of Animals in Distress, brought her to the shelter so we could have a visit. Princess has grown. Her eyes are clear, where they were once full of dark, crusty, discharge. Her mood is light and happy, instead of limp and barely alive. She likes the other cats and [sorry, had to take a break, again to get Honey off my BOOKSHELVES-knocking everything onto the floor-great. Oh wait..I had to yell NO about 10 more times. I swear I start and end my day yelling!]

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. I love the markings near her front paws.

Oh yeah, and Princess MAY have found her forever home. Oops. It's sort of been there all along. Carole, who has been doing cat rescue for almost 20 years, is moving soon. She's taking her two Persian cats with her and vowing NOT to take Princess along for the ride. BUT...Princess LOVES her cats and they love her. Princess “uses her paws like little hands (you have to squeal when you say this, as Carole did)!” Carole is still in denial, but she's turned down a lot of adopters. I think she's fostered Princess FiFi long enough. Time to make it formal and adopt her.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sitting by the door to the Shelter. Waiting for her forever family...or is the wait over?


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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Ryan preps Rocco for his belly-rub-a-thon.

I love Rocco. I just do. He's a big guy. He got a raw deal-getting dumped by his crappy family who just didn't want him any more. I had a chance to visit him a few days ago. I brought my nephew, Ryan, whose mother is kinda-sorta-mulling-over the thought of MAYBE adopting Rocco. She has the brothers of our cats, Nick and Nora. All four of these “cameo” short haired cats are GIAGANTIC and they love belly rubs and they are just sweet sweet cats. Sounds a lot like Roc.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. He's not fat. He's TALL!

Part of the goal of my visit was to get good photos of Rocco so I could post his ad on Petfinder. Carole told me he shut his eyes every time she took a photo. I figured I'd shoot without a flash and see if I could get anything.

Ryan and I tried to get a good shot. We jiggled toys, gave him catip, offered treats. He didn't react to much of anything. In fact, I started to think that Rocco is deaf. Carole bent down, looked at him, called his name and clapped. When he saw her clapping, he perked up and ran over to her. I think he knew the gesture, not the sound. We didn't get to the bottom of his hearing issues, but it was very sad to think that maybe that was why he was starting to become shy of the other cats at the shelter.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't open your eyes to make our job easier. Okay, great. Hold it!

Even with all that, he would still come over to me, throw himself against my leg and want some belly action (which I happily gave him). In the end we got some OKAY photos, but nothing that really showed off his pretty green eyes. He's a big, probably older, fella. He got kicked to the curb and maybe he's not a fancy, spring chicken, but he's still got some miles left and hasn't forgotten how to love.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Really, don't open your eyes. It will ruin the photo and no one will want to adopt you.

Rocco is HERE on Petfinder, in case you know anyone in the area of Connecticut, who might like to give this boy a home. I'm not going to post Princess's ad. I don't want to waste your time! (Carole, please don't kick my ass for saying that!). (Carole scares me a little bit, but don't tell her that.) Oh and here's one more ad for Chance, a kitty A.I.D rescued after she lost her litter of kittens. She's not even a year old and is a very pretty medium-haired tortie.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Ooo! You opened them! Quick, take the photo..okay yes I did photoshop his eyes a tiny big, but they ARE that color! I swearzzz!

Time to feed the cats and scoop some pans. It was nice writing for awhile. Maybe I'll be allowed to do it again one day. Oh and for the record, I am REALLY going to MISS the cats who might be getting adopted...yes, after all my complaining...I'm going to probably have a good cry after they leave, but I'm not gonna say if they will be tears of sadness or tears of JOY!

Of Maidens Faire and Furry

It's been a long time since I posted much of anything. It started off with being overwhelmed by people asking me to post about a cat who needed help, who was going to be euthanized, who was abandoned by its' owner, who was injured or sick or old. In the meantime, other folks are asking me about how to deal with their problem-cat. I do my best to help everyone out, but some of these folks write volumes. I'm trying to get Kitten Associates off the ground and neglecting my duties there, too. I was spending far too much time answering a gillion emails. I realized I need to re-group, take stock, adjust.

I have Moonpie and Pattycake languishing here. They've been ready to be adopted for over a month. They're sick and tired of being in their tiny bathroom foster room so I've been letting them out. As I suspected, as soon as they started to explore the house, my cats started fighting and urinating...all over the place...a few of them doing it right in front of Sam. They literally are showing him they are PISSED. I've had to scrub down most of the house and yes, I do have Feliway diffusers ALL over the house, but they aren't helping OR they are helping, but just not enough.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pattycake likes to fly. Blitzen can't seem to figure how she does it.

As a result, the stress level has been going up and up, so the peeing is worse and so is the fighting. There is little I can do other than clean it up, try to keep the peace and get Moonie and Patty out of here.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Patty and Blitzen nap next to my desk.

On Saturday morning, the 4 kittens I rescued from being euthanized at Henry, the Halloween Express, will be here, along with Rocco. Do I have room for them? No. I still have Honey B. and Yodel here, too! I guess they will all just have to be roomates. They're all S/N and have their shots. They'll have to find a way to get along. This is what I feared and here it is. All of my foster cats should have found homes by now, but I had to deny a lot of applications and most of them were just for Honey or Sugar Pie and that's it.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Rocco lounging before his big trip to Connecticut.

Dr. Larry has even been trying to help. He sent a nice couple over to meet Moonie and Patty but it didn't work out. They really wanted ONE kitten not two. I realize if I allow them to be adopted separately I might get them out, but they are too bonded. I just can't do that to them. They're also really great cats. They get along with my cats just fine. They don't make a mess. They like to sit in my lap while I work. I know they would be great with a family or a couple. I just wish that right person would find them!

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pattycake and Moonpie happy to be out of the bathroom and to be able to relax on the bed.

On Saturday morning, I took a drive to Pennsylvania to see my friend, Mary. We had a diner-breakfast of huge proportions, followed by a day of visiting flea markets and antique malls. It was just what I needed.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. $15! This was so bad, it was good!

That afternoon, we headed to the Frog Hollow B&B, where I had a room booked for the weekend. I've stayed there before and frankly, it's the only B&B where I ever felt comfortable. The Innkeepers, Patty and Mitch Adler have taken their historic property and lovingly restored it. Their grounds are well manicured and there are mature trees and flowers, a pond with a fountain, a barn, home to Ben & Jerry, their sheep, as well as a few barn cats.

Of course I was knocked over by cramps. Why I get them the one day this year that I have a weekend off, I have no idea. Bad planning on my part, I guess. I was unpacking my suitcase, when I heard Mary call up to me to look out the window. There she stood, holding a small kitten in her arms. My heart sank. Oh shit. I'm going to have to rescue this kitten, aren't I? Mary hadn't seen it before and figured it was a stray. I started trying to figure out what to do next. Mary had to get back home so she put the tiny tortie kitten down. As soon as she did, the little kitten scampered off into the bushes.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Little Topaz.

I finished unpacking and headed downstairs to see the kitten. Patty was in the kitchen and the first thing she asked me was if I saw their new kitten! Apparently, someone dumped her there two weeks ago. They've already taken her to the Vet and she will be spayed in a few weeks. She's a polydactyl and ever so cute, but a bit nervous around too many people. Since the Adler's have a jack russell named Gracie, they decided that the kitten, they named, Topaz, is going to probably stay out doors, hopefully near their house, but they have to make sure Gracie won't hurt her. The Adlers have four other cats. Sadly the cats are locked up in the basement. They get to come out from time to time, but it seems, they too pee all over the house and since the house is also an Inn, they can't have it smelling like pee. The last time I was there, I spent hours giving them suggestions on what to do and how to help the cats. This time I kept my mouth shut. I can't make people do what I think is right. I just hope that they will keep an open mind and find a way to, at least, make the space for their cats as enriched as possible. I can tell they love their animals and are feeling stuck, but it does take a lot of work to keep things running smoothly and as I know from my own home, keeping the cats calm, keeping them from peeing, well it's not that easy.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Topaz is a sweetheart. I was sorry not to get a better photo of her big poly-paws.

I was relived Topaz was safe. Now I could focus on my goal for the rest of the weekend, to HAVE FUN, to NOT think about CATS and to LAUGH. Mary, her partner and I, along with two other friends attended the 30th Pennsylvania Ren Faire. We all dressed for the occasion-Mary dressed like a Pyrate, with mustache and soul patch. The transformation was disturbingly well done! I kept doing a double-take. I dressed as a wench in a red dress with a big, pouffy skirt and leather boots. Jen, one of my new friends, put braids in my hair. Everyone was having spirited conversations filled with nervous excitement. I had never been to a Renaissance Faire before. In fact, I imagined them to be annoying and hokey, everyone eating turkey legs and talking in phoney accents, but putting on the costume did a lot for my mood. Cramps or no cramps, I was determined to have a good time.

From the second we all crammed into the car, we started talking. It was close to non-stop storytelling and joking around for the entire two hour drive to the Estate where the Faire is located. I'm surprised the air didn't turn blue from our conversation. It was one dirty story after another, it seemed.

We stopped at a Rest Area to buy discount tickets for the Faire. When we got out of the car, I realized people were looking at us-especially Mary. It felt weird but I felt my anticipation notch up a bit. Now I couldn't wait to get to the Faire and be part of the festivities.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The Gang.

The place was packed but because we were a bit late, we actually got a good spot to park. I looked around and saw lots of buildings. For some reason I had imagined tents or mobile stands, but this place was more like Disney World, with "authentic" styled buildings and lots of folks dressed up either for the Faire or for Halloween. I didn't want to lug my camera. I just wanted to enjoy the day so I used my iPhone to take a few shots. Mostly we just walked around the park, took in the sights, ate a bit of this and that, and did some shopping. I really enjoyed the people-watching. There were outrageous costumes, people in street clothes and one dude dressed like a BANANA, which seemed completely bizarre.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Okay not sure if I'm at Burning Man or Dude in Big Metal Diaper Land.

There were lots of vendors selling clothing, corsets, boots, capes. I wanted to buy an outfit, but being practical I couldn't see the need for it unless I was going to come back to the Faire next season. Instead of poo-pooing the who thing, I realized that the folks who are truly into the scene follow the protocol, including being polite, genteel and charming. I loved it. It would be fun to come back and visit again.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. LOVE! Yes, there are black cats on this gown.

The weather was perfect. The crowds weren't too bad. Our little group got along great. Other than throbbing feet, I was completely happy, until we had to leave and then I realized I was going home in the morning. I'd barely been gone two days. It was a taste of what I'd needed to restore my senses. It wasn't nearly long enough. When I got home, although I was glad to see Sam, my heart sank as I smelled urine near the front door. I wanted to just turn around and leave, never come back. Just travel the country and have adventures, but this is my path and there are more cats that need to be saved. Hopefully, one day I can take a real vacation. For now, my weekend away gave me a taste of what I needed and left me yearning for more.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. A welcome sight, but do I have to go home already?

Not on My Watched: 24 Month Old Chubby Sisters, Dumped

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Look at their matching white bibs and paws! I love that!

They sat crouched inside a cat carrier inside a moving car. Suddenly the car stopped and with the engine still running, the door opened. The cats felt their carrier rise into the air giving them a better view of where they had been taken. It was dark, but they could see they were somewhere unfamiliar. They feared it was a trip to the Vet, but usually this only happened during the day. Nothing made sense.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Someone wants a belly rub. I'm not sayin' who.

Their person carried them a few feet, at a rapid pace. The cat carrier thumped on the ground, rocking them back and forth. They were terrified, not knowing what was happening. They were so glad they were together. At least it felt safer when they could be next to each other.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Lunch is served, though it may be one of your last.

The person made sounds at them, but they didn't understand. Then the person left, jumped into the car and took off. The sisters just sat there, huddling in their cage, wondering why they were trapped and if they were in danger.They just sat there and cried, but no one came.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Sweet Lady Gray with such pretty green eyes.

Even though they had to go to the bathroom, they had to hold it as long as they could. One of them couldn't wait anymore. She was sorry, but she had to pee. So they both sat in the crate with smelly pee and waited. After many many hours the sun came up and a woman found them. She took them inside and put them into a metal cage with some food and water. They were glad to be out of the cat carrier, but sad to be in a cage.

Then it sank in...they weren't going back home ever again. They got dumped. They didn't know what they did wrong or why they had to be confined. They are good cats and love each other and love people, too. No one even left a note so no one knows if they ever had a name. Now they have lost that, too.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. She says; "Don't let my life go down the drain...or let crazy-Robin write such tacky subheads under my photo!

Someone loved these spayed, domestic short-haired girls enough to make sure they were fed. They're both quite chubby. They're also just about 2 years old and have been tested negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia. They got their rabies shot and distemper combo shot so they are completely ready to go to a new home.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. If you scratch my butt, I will approve of that, but please ignore my dandruff. It will go away once I get fed better!

The problem: they need to stay together-AND the Vet won't commit to keeping them for very long. Their next stop will be Henry County Care & Control-otherwise known as DEATH ROW. Once at HCCAC, the cats will get a URI, fleas, ringworm, who knows what...if they get a URI they get put to sleep, if they stay more than a few days, they get put to sleep.

It's the age old threat that still applies. These girls are probably going to die. They are not purebreds. They are not kittens. They are just two cats who love each other and love people, even if they weren't so nice back to them.

We need a RESCUE group to take them into foster care OR we need ONE PERSON to ADOPT BOTH OF THESE CATS.YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A LICENSED GA RESCUE to help these cats! Since they're at a Vet's office, you can just come and get 'em! Transportation can be arranged.

If you would like to help these girls, please contact:

East Lake Vet Hospital

86 Claire Ct
Mcdonough, GA 30252-4836

or CALL: (770) 914-0735

Please, also cross post and share. This is the ONLY POSTING online for these two cats!!! THE MORE WE GET THE WORD OUT, THE BETTER! THANK YOU!

The Trouble with Buddy

Three years ago I trapped three feral cats. I thought I was trapping only one, but to my surprise, I ended up catching three! I thought they must all be related, and maybe in some ways they were. Clearly one female was older than a second female. They were always seen together- they had to be Mother and Daughter. I named them, Bronte and Madison. A third cat, I named Buddy, was a big, gray Tom who'd been in plenty of fights in his day. He was ragged and rough, with devilish golden eyes, yet he was far from fractious, just as the other two. I think they'd known human contact at some point in their lives, but over time those memories had been replaced with their primal, wilder urges.

I detailed the story of my first trapping experience, capturing Buddy, Bronte and Madison HERE.

Fast forward a few years...

You know that Buddy showed up injured a few weeks ago and since then we've tried a few different methods to trap him. Thankfully, Karlyn is a super-trapper and builds her own traps. This was what eventually did the trick, not only trapping Buddy, but Bronte, as well. Since neither of them had been to the Vet for years, I decided they could both get their shots updated and have a checkup and we'd finally be able to help Buddy with his leg injury.


©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Bronte and Buddy (rear) in Super-Karlyn's trap.

There was a bit of a problem.

It wasn't Buddy.

Recently, when I saw this cat, he was a big gray Tom with lovely golden eyes, but his ears weren't ragged and he had a sweet look to his face. He looked more like a lover and less like a fighter. I started to wonder if Buddy had long since left us and been replaced by a Buddyganger; a feral cat-double!

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Who are you, mystery cat?

Even after we trapped him, it just didn't look like the same tough guy I once knew. That left me feeling both sad and curious. When had Buddy left us and who was this cat? Where did he belong? He couldn't be a neighbors cat, could he? It would be a lousy neighbor if they ignored their injured cat for weeks on end—also, this boy really WAS a LOVER. He was still INTACT!

So our dear friend, Buddy is gone. What his fate was, we will never know. I don't even want to guess as my home abuts a State Forest. My neighbors are wild animals. 'nuff said.


©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Our new feral, Austen. What a face! Look at that BIG TOM head!

And who is this new cat? He's in need of a name. Since we have Bronte, already, how about Austen-in honor of Jane Austen, author of our perennial favorite 5-hour-mini-series-version-only, the one staring Colin “Hottie Pants” Firth, “Pride & Prejudice!”

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson Poor Bronte! She was so scared she cried. I wanted to pet her and tell her it was going to be okay, but I realized that would only make her feel worse. Poor baby!

Luckily for Austen, upon exam there was no sign of injury. Austen must have had soft tissue damage or a thorn that he worked out of his paw. Whatever it was, there was no old or new break and he had full function of his limb. His shots were updated and he was tested for FIV/FeLuk (neg/neg). Sadly for Austen, he is not a LOVER any more. I had him neutered-even if he IS someone's cat. Tough! (I really doubt he's someone's cat, though!). So no more yeowling in the yard, no more stench of cat spray, just a nice de-balled kitty with a very forlorn look on his face. At least he won't be fighting any longer or making little Austen's.

Bronte, poor dear, cried in her trap. I felt so bad for her. She just needed her shots. She got scared and peed in the car on the way back from the Vet. I can't get the smell out of my nose. Hope I didn't pee up there, too, in some freak accident I didn't notice. Whew...yikes!

While the cats were gone, I cleaned out their room in the screen porch. I set out a fresh bowl of water and lots of food. When we put the traps down, I got two photos-one of each of them. Austen, shot out of his cage like a rocket after I moved out of his way. Bronte was much more cautious. She went to the opening of the trap and reached out one paw towards the floor, but did not touch it. It was if she was testing to see if the trap would close on her if she tried to get out. She held her paw an inch over the floor for a long, few seconds. Then, carefully touched the floor. Nothing happened. And then she was gone, like a ghost, without a trace.

I hope they return as soon as they find a way to forgive me or their bellies get empty, whichever comes first.

Foster Cat Journal: Pissed

Things are unsettled here. My cats are literally pissed (as in pissed on the floor in four places in the past two days) that I have foster cats. I let Moonpie and Pattycake out of their small bathroom, to have a break and run around in my bedroom. The next morning, the peeing started. Luckily, it was not on the bed or the carpet-just on the hardwood or tile floor. I only stepped in ONE of the puddles (barefoot, of course).

I'm trying to make sure I spend time with my cats, but it's not as much as before. Add to that the “adults” in the house are not getting along, which creates even more reason for the cats to be off their food, not want to snuggle and generally be unhappy. Even Blitzen, who is not my little boy any more now that he weighs 8.5 lbs, has become withdrawn. He knows there are kittens in HIS old room. He sits outside the door when I'm with the kittens and some times he cries and other times he slips his paws under the door to coax the kittens to come play with him. I won't take the risk of mixing the kittens with my own cats, but that means there is less of me to go around.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. If he can't sleep on my lap, Blitz sleeps right next to me while I write.

I'm sure anyone who has kids and anyone who does rescue faces this challenge-how DO you spend enough time with everyone so that they all get what they need and YOU still have time to give yourself what YOU need? I have to face it. Corners are getting cut. Everyone makes due with less. For me, it's not an 18 year commitment for the foster cats (I hope!), so, in time they will find their homes and things will go back to normal...until I do this again.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. A kiss for Sugar Pie, (Cinnamon at front of photo)

It's not fair to quantify how much love and care a cat needs, but I seem to be doing that. I know my cats are already grown. They get clean water, fresh food, lots of toys and places to nap. The fosters need to be friendly and outgoing. I have to spend time with them so they'll become affectionate towards humans. If I don't do the time, it will hurt their future.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Cinnamon Naps. And yes, she IS getting bigger, believe it or not!

And really...can you say NO to these faces? If I could, I would probably spend ALL day with them! Each one has stolen my heart. What a special group of kittens. They all have the best litter box manners. They eat well. They like to play and are quick to purr.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Sugar Pie & Honey B.

As for the humans, we're pissed, too. We don't (want to?) spend time together, but at least we have more subtle ways of letting everyone know we're not happy. I'd hate to step in a puddle of anything Sam could dish out.

Author's Note: As I was finishing this post, Blitzen jumped into my lap. Instead of pouring him onto the floor, I gave him a super-good snuggle. He's draped over my shoulder right now, purring his little butt off.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen gives me the look that reminds me to stop what I'm doing and give him some love, so off I go.

And this little kitty went; “Wee, Wee, Wee”...all over the house!

There's nothing like the glow of the Northern Lights as they dance across the arctic sky. If you ever get a chance to witness this amazing phenomena, you should. You'll never forget the sight. They're not easy to photograph, which is why I wanted to share these photos with you.

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There's nothing like the glow of...

But wait, what's that, you say? This is not an image of the aurora borealis? Is this an all-too-familiar sight?

Yes, sports fans, this is cat pee, phosphorescing under the glow of a black light. It's located ACROSS the end of my hallway, right next to the door where the foster cats are housed. Makes sense that my resident cats would show me their disappointment in my choosing to bring yet more cats into the house by marking their territory right next to the offending room.

But what's this, you ask?

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Notice the spray, then the dribbly puddle on the floor. Someone was ANGRY. It wasn't me. That's all I know. I can't aim that well.

This would be near the landing to the second floor. Any cat that passes this spot will know that one cat has deemed any point past belongs to HER. I'm fairly sure this was done by Petunia, who of all my cats, is my biggest pain in the ass. She is high strung and nervous. Lately she's decided she wants to own the bedroom. This is her warning to others. I would have preferred that she simply issue a memo to everyone via email, than urinate on the wall.

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I wonder what Jay & Grant on Ghost Hunters would make of this?

Difficult to see, but this area of the wall near our master bath was covered with cat markings. Am I without any sense of smell? Surely not. I made the mistake of thinking I smelled pee just ONCE, then going on a mission to see where the offense had occurred. To my dismay, across a majority of my bedroom and second floor hallway the walls were marked.

Anyone who has to deal with this, knows it's a nightmare to diagnose, YES, diagnose and a nightmare to stop. In my next post, I'm going to talk about ways to figure out what is going on and how to clean it up.

I haven't checked the first floor of my house yet. I'm too scared. For now I'm re-checking the second floor every night to determine if this is ongoing or if it happened a long time ago and I only just found it.

Maybe I should start a gallery of art photos of cat peed walls? It's unique! At least it would help bring in a few dollars so I can afford to load up on a prescription of Xanax and scented candles for myself.

Behind the Scenes on Blitzen's Adoption

I thought I'd share a few extra bits of information regarding Blitzen's recent adoption that you might find amusing (written while Blitzen is literally hanging over my shoulder, purring loudly).

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Blitz really enjoys catnip!

Some of you remarked that Sam is a “Saint” for being willing to go along with my urging that we bring another cat into the household. In fact, Sam was the one who was ready to adopt Blitzen weeks ago. It was I who was doing the feet-dragging. Sam took a liking to Blitz waaaay back when he was just a tiny tike. For myself, I'm so used to telling myself I can't adopt any foster, that I pushed away any notion of it happening. It's simply not done!-not when you have SEVEN cats who don't get along like perfect little angels.

I was the one who worried about what it would mean for our other cats and worried about the urine marking festival that would and did take place. Yes, there was some fighting, too and urine marking all over the house, once Blitzen was out and about. Was Blitzen the culprit? No. Petunia, as ever, has been neurotically marking and I'm guessing Cricket may have followed suit. Regardless of who did it, over the past four weeks or so, the marking seems to have stopped (of course you have to be diligent and LOOK for it every day and make sure to clean it up VERY WELL). There doesn't seem to be any fighting and I've noticed some very subtle shifting around of where each cat hangs out.

Gracie and Petunia, the skittish twosome, are now residing in our bedroom most of the day, but it's sunny in there and they enjoy their selection of cat beds that are right next to a sliding glass door for a view of the woods. They've physically separated themselves from everyone else, but, they DO still come downstairs and eat well and Gracie even “chats” with me on occasion.

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(From left: Nora, Spencer, Bob. Blitzen, front and Nicky far rear of photo on left)

What's even weirder is that most of the cats now cover the bed at night. Bob, who stopped coming up the stairs (due to his advancing age and ill health), has returned. Cricket is the only cat who never comes up stairs. He just doesn't. On top of that, the cats don't seem to be fighting in the bedroom any more. This morning I woke up and saw Blitzen and Nicky, side by side, Bob, Spencer, Gracie and Petunia, all on or near the bed.

I have to wonder if this has something to do with the raw diet, because the cats are HUNGRY when it's time for breakfast, but they are also feeling better. Bob must be feeling great to get his butt up the stairs and be able to hop up onto our bed, which is rather high off the floor.

I don't have answers, I just find it all very curious. I hope this is all good signs for a comfortable and companionable future for us all. Blitzen is sitting on a chair a few feet away from me. He's purring so loud I can hear him. I have to keep taking a momentary break to pet him while I write. I swear he's smiling.

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Okay, so maybe Nora needs a bit more time to warm up to Blitzen!

So I admit I was taking it slow and being cautious about moving forward with Blitzen's adoption. Sam was ready to go. I was also sad that now I really can't adopt a giant, fluffy Tuxedo kitty, but Sam surprised me the other day.

After all this, he said to me that he thought Blitzen needed a buddy close to his age and that if I wanted to adopt a Tux, then I should just go ahead and do it.

I guess you guys are right. Sam IS a Saint!

Local Tales: Helping Chloe

"I'll give you $100. Just take the cat to the Vet and have her euthanized."

This is what one woman recently said to her pet sitter. She was talking about her 13 year old cat, Chloe. Chloe, a beautiful Maine Coon mix with shocking green eyes and a plush coat, who had only known this woman's home her whole life, was now being treated like a worthless, meaningless, nothing.

Chloe's owner was tired of a very common behavior problem in cats-inappropriate urination. Not only had Chloe climbed under the sheets, then peed ON her owner, she defecated on the bed, too. We know it's been going on for years. Chloe pees on anything soft. Chloe lived with two other cats. Was she troubled by them? What about her health? Would her owner even get her to the Vet for a checkup? Certainly, NOT. That would require making an effort.

Fortunately for Chloe, her pet sitter was not about to do hew owner's bidding. Instead, he took Chloe home. Since he wasn't sure he could safely keep her in his home, he chose to place Chloe in a small storage space over his garage. It's dark with just one window and a single overhead lightbulb. It's cold and damp and a bit mildewy-a far cry from the comforts Chloe once knew, but she was safe and in loving hands. That's what really mattered most.

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This big, pouffy baby just fits in her prized cat bed. With a new diet, she may slim down a bit and overall feel much better.

He got her a big dog crate and put her inside it with a litter pan. She used the pan properly, but when she was allowed out of the crate, she would pee on any bedding in the room-possibly because it smelled like other cats. Everything was removed, save for one new cat bed. I went to visit her to help set up a better space. We moved the litter pan out of the crate and into a corner. Sure enough she started to use the pan perfectly for a few days in a row.

She was seen by a Vet who said she might have some sediment in her urine that might cause her to feel uncomfortable. Chloe is quite overweight. Her diet needs to be addressed. I also thought she might be backed up with impacted feces. Many years on dry food...there is no telling what sort of shape this cat is really in. We put her on grain free food. She was slow to adapt to it, but this morning I found one (I call it Kitty Crack) that she liked. With a diet change may give her additional comfort and she's on antibiotics for awhile, too.

This morning she peed on a comforter. First I thought it was because it must have still smelled of other cats even though it was washed. I realized it might be WHERE it was placed (inside her crate). She may have thought "inside the crate means go to the bathroom" the comforter will be washed again, but this time placed OVER the crate to give her a place to snuggle at night. I brought her a new cat bed, too. Hopefully, she will use that for SLEEPING only.

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Chloe looks stern, but it's just the tabby markings on her forehead that give her that expression. She's really a sweet cat.

The pet sitter feels a strong connection to this cat. It made me sad because she may need to be placed in an only cat home and not be able to stay with the pet sitter. At her age and with this behavioral issue, she may have a long road ahead of her in a cold room with little companionship. Is it enough for her, for now? She'll live to see old age, but at what cost? How many others, like Chloe are subjected to ostracization (or worse) by their families for doing the same thing?

Working with inappropriate urination problems is very tough. I've suffered with cats ruining my home for three years! I can really feel for anyone with this problem, but to kill the animal is not the answer. It will take work to get Chloe turned around and find the right home for her, but in the end it will always be worth it to me.

Fun Playing Cat Behaviorist

This is part of a conversation I just had with a person who's frustrated by her friend's cat peeing all over the house she shares with her.

ME: Tell me about the cat. How old is it, where does it live, are there other animals in the house? Any recent changes?

HER: The cat is 1 1/2 years old, neutered, lives in a condo. Lived there his entire life. Lives with another cat, about the same age. They get along fine. Owner got deployed to AFRICA for a year. Left a month ago.

ME: How long has the cat been peeing out of the box? Where? On the wall or on the floor?

HER: He's peed all over since he was a KITTEN. Now it is WORSE. Since his "mom" went to Africa. He pees on the sofa, bed, floor, counters and right in front of us on the table. He DOES use the litter pan, too. Oh yeah, and there's another new cat in the condo, but it stays in a separate room.

ME: Wow, that's a lot of peeing, but you're only NOW dealing with the problem? Did you take him to the Vet?

HER: Yes.

ME: When?

HER: Last YEAR, I think. He had blood in his urine.

ME: Last YEAR? Was there a diagnosis? Any treatment?

HER: I don't know. I don't think so. I think he was ok.

ME: Um...well blood in the urine isn't really OK, by any stretch. You need to get this cat to a Vet NOW.

HER: Okay, but I have to contact his owner and find out who the Vet is and see if that's what she wants to do.

ME: Sigh.


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