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Who Knew?


Last night I had the pleasure of meeting, Kenny. He's an affable lug of a cat, the kind that makes you take notice-especially when you look down-at his paws.

Kenny is a polydactyl (sometimes called Hemmingway) cat. He has the BIGGEST PAWS I've EVER SEEN! This cat's paws are almost as big as my HAND!

What I can't get over is the sad fact that Kenny was given up by his guardian and left to die at a shelter. He was going to be put down for not other reason that space issues AND that Kenny is not a cute kitten.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. LOOK AT THOSE PAWS!

Kenny is about 9 years old. He probably weighs a bit over 20 pounds. From the first second I saw Kenny and he saw me, he rolled over to show me his impressive belly. I was told he was nasty at the shelter most likely due to the fact he was terrified. This cat was sweet, friendly, willing to be held and simply happy to be out of his cage.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

Kenny needs a home where he'll get the love he craves and the adoration he deserves.

Kenny is SAFE where he is now, but it's not very roomy and he doesn't get a lot of attention. We need to find this special kitty a home!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hi Kenny!

Kenny is located in CONNECTICUT.

If you think Kenny is the one for you, contact ME and I'll put you in touch with Kenny's caretakers.

Please don't contact me if you live more than one state away from CT. I doubt this caretakers would want to transport him too far away.

Contact me at if you'd like to know more about Kenny!

The Best Worst Thing Ever. Fire at Animalkind.

Late in the evening of May 1, 2012, on the third floor apartment where a caretaker lived, a small fire broke out due to the hot embers of a cigarette coming into contact with bedding. The fire was extinguished before the fire department even arrived. The building didn't burn to the ground, but something equally terrible occurred. The building-wide sprinkle system was activated, releasing a torrent of water, not light rain showers, but a flood of water throughout the building.

On the second, first and basement levels lived the cats of Animalkind, a non-profit cat shelter located in Hudson, New York. Most of the cats were allowed to freely roam their adoption areas. Terrified from the onslaught of water, the cats climbed onto the horizontal vents from the brand new $50,000 HVAC system that was installed to control the spread of disease. The cats huddled in the rafters, terrified; but what was worse was the fate awaiting the most fragile of the cats—the mamas and kittens. They were in the basement and all the water from the floors above pooled there, inches deep. The families weren't free to escape, they were in cages, trapped in the water at risk of drowning.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Still lovely, the exterior of Animalkind.

No one perished. No cats died. In that, it was a miracle, but the building was gutted. The once pink and yellow cheerful walls of Animalkind were soaked, ruined, crumbling to the floor. The joy that had filled the building, all the years of hard work and loving care, vanished in a matter of hours. The building that once held 150 cats was destroyed.

As early as 2am Katrin Hecker, the Director and Founder of Animalkind, her volunteers, staff and residents of Hudson, New York, gathered together and quickly began to capture as many cats as they could.

©2012 Animalkind. Used with permission. Moving the cats into their new location.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of a local merchant, The Warren Inn, a nearby hotel, turned its' office space into a temporary shelter space. It was just a few steps away from Animalkind's headquarters. Cages were assembled and cats were tagged and given a place to recover their shock. Many cats needed to go into temporary foster homes and people throughout the area opened their doors. The townsfolk jumped into action along with everyone from Animalkind. Though heartbreaking, the staff was buoyed by the support.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The irony of the sign on the bottom of the window isn't lost on me.

In the following days, amazing things happened. Cats who'd been at AK for YEARS were getting adopted. Adoptions on the whole went way up. About 60 cats found homes right away. Folks started to show up from out of the blue to help any way they could. As the news spread, I heard about this terrible tragedy. In an odd coincidence, I'd been only a few miles from the fire delivering Leo to Animalkind's neighbor, Aslan's Sanctuary.

©2012 Animalkind. Used with permission. The basement.

Like so many other people, the devastation bothered me deeply. I couldn't imagine how any rescue could recover from such a loss. I'm just one person. What could I do to help?

©2012 Animalkind. Used with permission. One of the shelter spaces, empty of cats, filled with water.

I got in touch with Animalkind and Bob Mechling, a Designer and key member of the shelter, got back to me right away. I asked him what they needed and told him I'd do what I could to help him get it. I couldn't believe I was saying those words. I don't have two sticks to rub together, but in my heart I knew that after all these years of blogging and writing pet product reviews that somewhere I MUST know someone who could help me scrounge up a few donations.

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logo-01.gif and Halo come to the rescue!

World's Best Cat Litter-YOU ROCK!

I got to work. Within a few days and after many phone calls I got the logistics worked out. Right away, Kelly Ausland of and said he would be delighted to help with a donation of 350 bags of kibble from Halo. He wasn't doing this for a write-up on my blog or a pat on the back. He sincerely was concerned and wanted to help.

Next up were my associates at World's Best Cat Litter, who also did not hesitate to help once I alerted them to the problem. I was very impressed by how quickly they jumped into action! Now the cats had a supply of food and litter coming in the door. I reached out to a few other companies, but sadly they were not able to offer any assistance.


If you'd like to help put a smile on the faces of shelter cats in your town, you can get a SPECIAL DISCOUNT of 10% off on any size case of Stretch and Scratch scratchers, plus you get reduced shipping. Use CODE: CATS to get the discount! If you'd like to gift AnimalKind more scratchers (they LOVE THEM), please go HERE to get their shipping information:

I also reached into my own fairly empty pockets and ordered two cases of Stretch and Scratch cat scratchers. I knew that the cats would be stressed out in cages and having something to scratch could make a world of difference to their well being.

©2012 Animalkind. Used with permission. The Adoption Room circa 2004..

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Welcome to the Adoption Room 2012.

As Animalkind began the difficult work of assessing the damage and speaking with their insurance company, things got very busy for my little rescue. I didn't hear much from Katrin, but she was never far from my thoughts.

Recently, I made the 100 mile trip north to meet Katrin and Bob and see how things were going. What I saw broke my heart and compelled me to do more.

Animalkind still needs help. In some ways, things are worse now than ever. In part two I'll share what I learned during my visit and introduce you to some VERY special cats.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center-The Tour, Part Two

[if you missed part one, you can read it HERE]

The agenda for the rest of the day included presentations about Hill’s Philosophy of Precisely Balanced Nutrition and about their Promise of Quality & Safety.

Hill’s has 170 different products for dogs and cats that are divided into two distinct lines: “Science Diet®” and “Prescription Diet®” (which is only available through a Vet). Does that blow your mind, too? Does it seem like a bit much? Sure there are different nutritional requirements for a kitten than for a senior cat and for a dog who’s a couch potato versus a dog who does agility training, but do consumers really need to choose from 170 different products?

I had to take a deep breath. Does it make sense that there needed to be such clearly defined types of food? There’s food for cats who have kidney problems, cats with thyroid problems, cats who are fat, cats who have skin allergies. There’s wet, there’s dry, there’s more versions of the same for dogs.

But why not take a step back? Treat the underlying cause for these issues. What CAUSED these problems instead of treating them using the same mindset as a pharmaceutical company—don't cure the problem, manage the symptoms and keep the patient comfortable.

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©2012 Hill's. Black cat in group home. (used with permission)

From my standpoint, there really only needs to be one wholesome food that branches out to a variety of single, unique proteins with slight tweaks of additional ingredients you can rotate feeding. That way the cat or dog doesn’t get bored and it ensures the animal gets a balanced diet since some proteins are higher in fat or other vitamins and minerals and some are lower in differing ratios. Rotating the proteins, again, just common sense (and yes there are Vets who support this notion as well).

My father, who was a microbiologist and in charge of Quality Assurance for a major corporation in the dairy industry always said this to me about proper nutrition; “Everything in moderation.”

If I was going to get on board with the need for a growing number of different foods, then I would be very impressed with how Hill’s goes about creating them. They do palatability tests. They have humans learn to sniff out different flavors, then do testing on those flavor combinations to see what goes over well with a cat versus a dog. They have the ability to “map” out flavor combinations and create charts that show what cats prefer versus dogs. Turns out cats love grassy scent, but not earthy. They like fish, but not if it’s too fishy. They have teams of people who just work on the science of taste. That was quite impressive, but is it really necessary?

They’re also very serious about food safety and have extremely strict protocols for each and every ingredient they purchase, strict guidelines their vendors must attain and everything is tested before it even ENTERS their manufacturing plants in the US and eastern Europe.

What we didn’t get to learn about was Hill’s nutrigenomics because their lead person had left the company recently. We saw a chart while walking in the hallway and a tech from that department told us how they take the DNA from a cat or dog and have ways of seeing how it reacts when specific nutrients are applied to it. From their web site it states: “For Hill's, nutrigenomics is promoting lifelong health through targeted nutrition. We strategically formulate our pet foods to address the genetic processes that help keep our pets healthy and promote longevity. Nutrigenomics is not to be confused with just making food targeted to a pet's breed…

©2012 Hill's. Christina Scott with Mauer and Jane Victoria(on shelf). (used with permission)

… One of our therapeutic weight control pet foods, Hill's® Prescription Diet® r/d® Canine, is another example of our use of nutrigenomics technology. The nutrition in Prescription Diet® r/d® Canine features targeted nutrients that support healthy metabolism, thereby helping dogs burn fat more efficiently.”

This is where my head started to spin. Wouldn't a wholesome diet help an animal burn fat appropriately? My concern here is that by affecting the metabolism so that it “burns fat more efficiently,” what does that do long-term to the animal? Is it as simple as helping dogs burn off fat? What if this changes the dog's metabolism permanently, even after this Prescription Diet® r/d® food is no longer fed? There may be a tipping point in the life of that dog where fat burning becomes a problem, not a solution.

I asked about the length of clinical food testing trials they do on the animals in their care. The trials last no more than 6 months and are done on a handful of animals, with one exception where they followed a group of dogs that lived as the single pet with a family for 5 years.

I can’t agree that six months is a long enough time to see the effects a specific diet will have on an animal especially when you realize that consumers will potentially feed their pets this food for years.

How can you know what a food will do to a cat’s teeth when they do dental cleanings on ALL animals EVERY year? No pet guardian does that in “real life.” How can you know your dry food doesn’t cause dental problems or cause obesity if they only get it for 6 months or, if they get so many other foods to test, how can you say what causes that animal to gain weight? Which food gave the cat diabetes if they’d been tested on 10 or more over the past number of years?


©2012 Hill's. Dr. Stone and HotBot with exercise pen in background. (used with permission)

We had a very interesting presentation by Dr. Bill Schoenherr, the Principal Nutritionist at Hill’s, who has a long background in the cattle feed industry and more recently in the pet food industry. He talked about how to read a pet food label and the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines for food ingredients that AAFCO approved manufacturers must follow. Each and every ingredient is listed as to what it can be and cannot be, what form it should take, from what part of the animal or plant and so on. You have to be a member of the Federation of Animal Science Societies to purchase a copy of the AAFCO guidelines that were last updated in 2008.

How to read a pet food label could easily be book in and of itself, but some of the big things you should know are that ingredients are listed by weight-heaviest weight is listed first. If the food lists “chicken” first, it’s no different than the AAFCO definition of “chicken meal” (which certainly sounds worse than just Chicken to consumers). “Meal” is the dry form of chicken. It’s nutritionally similar, it weighs less and is cheaper and easier to ship, but consumers see the word “chicken” and assume it’s the same as what they would eat. WRONG!

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©2012 Hill's. Dr. Burris with Hug Me Jeff and Fraizer. (used with permission)

The chicken our pets get is not very appetizing. It’s no feathers, heads or feet (feet are in by-products), but it’s not organs or much muscle meat. It’s a lot of bones and the ash content can differ by supplier.

He spoke a lot about food descriptors like, “gravy, dinner, platter, entrée, formula.” What he didn’t talk about was what sort of goal Hill’s had regarding these ingredients or descriptors. It was said over and over again their only goal was “complete and balanced diet,” but they didn’t say how they made that happen for obligate carnivores using ingredients like corn, wheat, soy or cellulose in foods that were often over-cooked to the point of a breakdown in nutrients.


I was disappointed by the presentation by Dr. Julie Churchill who is a Vet Nutritionist at the University of Minnesota. Her presentation was about nutritional assessment of dogs. She started by saying to the effect that she was not being paid by Hill’s to say what was on her mind about nutrition, and that she hoped they would invite her back again, suggesting she was about to say something mind-blowing about animal nutrition. Silently, I was rooting her on, hoping she’d say the “R” (raw) word.

In fact, all she did was talk about scoring a cat or dog’s physical condition and that optimal nutrition was the cornerstone of good health—DUH. Her presentation featured images from the AAHA’s (The American Animal Hospital Association) web site regarding a study that was paid for by Hill’s. I kept waiting for her to say something about what makes up optimal nutrition, not just that an animal needs it, but what IS it?

I didn’t have the nerve to say something in public but as we began the tour of the facility, I asked her what makes up optimal nutrition and she wouldn’t answer me directly, only saying it was a good question.

Animal Testing

Our tour included seeing the housing for Hill’s “Pet Partners” (research animals)—420 dogs and 500 cats. Their facility is 40,000 square feet. We saw about one half of it. They mostly house beagles from known breeders and domestic short-haired cats, again from breeders or they breed them in-house. They also take animals from other labs when their tests are completed. They’re too concerned about bringing illness into their facility by rescuing shelter cats or dogs to get animals from those places.

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©2012 Hill's. One of the many group homes. (used with permission)

The animals are in group homes with spotless platforms to lie on, big windows and plenty of space to move around. We were not allowed to take photos of these areas, but were provided a few by Hill's.

The dogs have outdoor access and they have 2-hour breaks outside, then are rotated inside so another group can go outside.

There are 65 people caring for over 900 animals.

Anyone who works at Hill’s can take a dog for a walk or work on their computer and hang out with certain cats. The cats get new toys weekly and have a few rather scant cat trees and soft places to rest.

As we walked near the glass walled enclosures for the cats, some of them ran over to rub up against the glass. Everyone cooed over their actions, but I felt sad. The cats and the dogs are supposed to get enrichment, which includes time with humans, but how can they ever give them enough? I saw a staff member enter a room and all the cats got up and ran over to her, desperate for attention. The cats would live there for lifetime, with an exceptional few who can be adopted into a home when they’re too old to be tested. I wanted to scoop them up and get them out of there. It’s hard to see animals who clearly need love, not be able to get enough of it. I understand that the people at Hill’s do their very best to provide for these animals, but in the end, it’s difficult to imagine how 65 people give 900 animals enough love and attention.

©2012 Hill's. Daphne. (used with permission)

I asked about what happens when a cat gets too old to be tested or develops health problems where they can no longer provide good test results...

…find out in my final post tomorrow.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back. Saving Tater.

We all had a very bad scare a month ago when Tater fell ill. The Vet felt it was the “wet” form of FIP, a fatal disease. We were all heartbroken and scared, but determined that if there was ANY chance Tater could survive, we would make that happen no matter what we had to do.

©2012 Maria S. Still got that belly, but we're not concerned that it's FIP.

Miraculously, through a twist of fate and our foster mom, Maria's careful observation, we were led down a path to a possible answer. It was NOT FIP, but a double-whammy parasitic infection along with a very nasty upper respiratory infection. We began treatment right away and sure enough, Tater's condition began to improve.

©2012 Maria S. Mugging for Maria.

Tater began to EAT again, then began to play; two big signs he might survive. The Vet finally took the FIP diagnosis off the table and we all breathed a sigh of relief for the remainder of July. Sadly, a few days ago Tater relapsed or is battling something new.

Tater was carefully examined. His lung sounds were not good. The Vet wanted to take x-rays and do blood work. We had that done and the Vet decided to put Tater on strong antibiotics for the next THREE weeks. This poor kitten can't catch a break. I asked if we had to consider the FIP diagnosis once again-terrified of the answer.


The Vet feels it's not FIP, but it IS a very serious upper respiratory infection which could turn into pneumonia.


©2012 Maria S. and Robin A.F. Olson. Check in with Tater, ChiChi and Latte, too.

Due to the costs for care and to also provide care for Willow, who is still struggling with a URI,

we're going to ask a tiny favor—for EVERYONE to consider donating the price of a cup of coffee to help us top off the Tater Tot Fund.


The ChipIn for the fund is below and is also in the RIGHT sidebar on my blog. PLEASE do not feel badly if you can't donate at this time. That's why we're only asking that everyone chip in a small amount. That way it will add up to a great donation if everyone takes part!

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©2012 Maria S. Tater getting some comfort from his new buddy, Sammy.

Your donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE as my rescue, Kitten Associates is a 501©3 Non-Profit Cat Rescue.

If you'd prefer to send a check, please make it out to: Kitten Associates and please note on the check the funds should go to "Tater Tot" mail it to:

Kitten Associates
P.O. Box 354
Newtown, CT 06470-0354

Any funds not used for the care of this family will go into our General Fund.

©2012 Maria S. Love that little curl in Tater's tail.


Thank you for helping us, help Tater. We couldn't do it without your support!


BREAKING NEWS: Global Domination Phase One

As a Professional Member of the Cat Writers' Association, I'm pleased to announce that I've been nominated to be part of CWA's Council of Directors for a two-year term starting in November of this year.

If I garner enough votes to win, I will finally realize my plans for global domination. Okay, maybe it's going to take another 10 or 40 years to achieve total domination, but being on the Council of Directors is a good start.

I'm proud to be called to serve and pleased to be in such good company. Congrats to my peeps, Janea Kelley of Paws and Effect and Angie Bailey of Catladyland for also being part of team.

©2011 Robin Olson,CiCH, Spencer_tiny.jpg


Here's the Press Release from CWA

The 2012 CWA Nominating Committee proudly announces the following slate of officers:

President - Susan M. Ewing

Vice President - Dusty Rainbolt

Secretary - JaneA Kelley

Treasurer - Allene Tartaglia

Council of Directors (four open seats) - Joan Miller, Allia Zobel Nolan, Angie Bailey, Robin A.F. Olson

Executive officers are elected annually. Council members hold two-year terms. Because JaneA Kelley accepted the nomination for Secretary, leaving her Council seat vacant for the remaining period of one year, the committee had the option of appointing a person to fill the vacancy or select someone for a full two-year term. Since we had a tremendous outpouring of interest, we chose to select a fourth seat in the Class of 2014 for a full two-year term.

According to the CWA Bylaws, once the slate is published, officers are elected at the next annual membership meeting -- this year it will be November 3, 2012, at the CWA Conference in Los Angeles, Calif. Only professional members may vote, and they may vote prior to the meeting by mail if they wish. However, when the election is uncontested, no ballots are mailed. A majority of the members present and voting at the annual meeting can conduct business, including the election.

This year's Nominating Committee was Ramona Marek (chair), Fran Pennock Shaw, Nancy Peterson and Lyn Garson. We thank the large, record-breaking and outstanding pool of candidates and sincerely hope to see such positive interest for leadership positions next year.


Ramona Marek

Chair, CWA Nominating Committee

Tater's Tale

It feels like a month's worth of time has passed over the last 10 days since Tater Tot first fell ill. Between sleepless nights, emails to colleagues, calls and visits to Vets; we teased out a possible answer to what has been ailing our little foster kitten.

Tater has Coccidia, Tapeworm and a bad Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (and maybe pneumonia). Three days after we began treatment, Tater's temperature dropped and by day four, his temperature was within a normal range.

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©2012 Maria S. Tater on the way to the Vet yesterday.

On day four of treatment, Tater began to eat on his own. By day five, Tater gained back some of the weight he lost.

We brought Tater back to the Vet for a re-check and to discuss what sort of testing we should consider doing. We have a suspicion Tater has Bartonella, which is now called Mycoplasma haemofelis ("feline infectious anemia").

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson & Maria S. Tater's Tale. Tissue Warning.

The Vet didn't feel we needed to do tests just yet, but to continue with treatment though she did agree to change Tater's antibiotic to Doxycycline which would fend off the Bartonella, if that's what he's been battling. There are no conclusive tests that will tell us more than just levels of exposure to the Coronavirus if he has FIP or if he has Bartonella.

For now she wants to stay the course and see how he does. Tater is NOT out of the woods, BUT he is also NOT close to death as he was just one week ago today. It will be a long road to recovery, if we are lucky enough to get him healthy. I know for certain that Maria and I are dedicated to his well being and that he should enjoy a happy future.


I asked the Vet if we could take FIP off the table and she said, YES based on a number of clinical factors.


I know we have a long way to go, but for now we can rejoice that Tater is with us—hopefully for a long time to come. We've learned a lot about FIP and perhaps what is NOT FIP. Nothing is certain, but in time all this will make sense.

The Re-Birth of Bob Dole.

It's been almost eight months to the day that my beloved cat Bob Dole passed away. His death came slowly, from lymphoma and the return of a hepatic cancer that I thought had been surgically removed right after Christmas of 2010.

Bob's last year was bittersweet. His once magnificent coat was reduced to tattered ruin since he could not fight off a fungal infection because he also had FIV+ and his immune system was compromised. He grew thinner and weaker. The once boss of the household grew quieter and let others rule the roost. He ate less and less and even after months of chemo and other treatments, I had to syringe feed him. I knew nothing could save him, but I never stopped trying to give him another day…another good day. [You can read about Bob's last days-though it's a TISSUE WARNING multipart post, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE]

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. My most beautiful Bob at 16 pounds of pure pouffy perfection.

When Bob passed away I lost a dear companion and part of my heart, even though we'd only spent five years together. Bob used to be my Mother's cat. After she died in 2006, I took Bob in and his presence was so grand that even now it feels empty in the house without him.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. After a "lion cut" he looked so CUTE!

Bob was the greeter, the peacekeeper, the big love muffin and had the best purr I've ever heard. He had just the right amount of sass that just made everyone love him all the more. Whenever I said his name aloud, people's eyes would light up and they'd laugh. They asked funny questions about if Bob Dole, the cat, referred to himself in the third person as Bob Dole the former Vice President of the United States did (the answer was of course, yes).

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Welcome to mah belleh.

Even now it's very difficult for me to write about Bob, to look at photos of him, without crying. There will never be a new photo of Bob, his dazzling orange coat and lime green eyes sparkling with that “Puss in Boots” expression he gave me when he wanted a treat. Now his ashes lay inside a tin box I have in my living room. It sits next to some framed photos atop a glass shelf. When I can, I have a candle burning, too, in his honor, as if there was a chance I might forget him. He meant more to me than any cat I've known and will probably ever know again.

Shortly after Bob died, my friend and client, Warren Royal, contacted me. I've written about Warren and his wife Terri. These people have the biggest hearts and deepest love for cats. They've saved the lives of countless cats and taken a few of them into their home. They will stop at nothing to help a cat. You can read about them HERE and HERE.


Warren's company is called Royal Bobbles,™a premium bobblehead manufacturing company specializing in exquisite historic figures. I've designed a few of their outer cartons for Alfred Hitchcock, Mark Twain, Smokey Bear and the cast of American Pickers. They also create custom bobbleheads to celebrate weddings or birthdays or to use as fundraisers.

Can you see where this story is going? I sure didn't-at first.

©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob the bear?

Warren asked me if I'd like them to create a BOBblehead and of course I accepted right away. The process might take some time, he warned. They'd never done the likeness of a cat and said it would be tough to do, but they wanted to try. I was delighted to have a chance to memorialize my dear cat.

©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Bob looking more cat like.

And so, over the past eight months, we've been working to get it right.

There was a sculptor in China who began working on a form. It was sad to realize that cats aren't pets in China and I don't want to write about what they do to them there. Memorializing a cat was certainly out of the norm so it took many trials and refinements, but eventually it got sorted out.

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©Royal Bobbles, Inc. Okay, clearly something is lost in translation. Is that a BOOB next to BOB?

I began to realize how difficult it would be to capture the sad-eyed look of Bob regardless of how many photos I sent for reference. Even though I had to ask for changes, I was impressed with the dedication Warren and his team had in making every detail just right. I didn't want to think about how much all of these revisions were costing him to get done and though I tried to love everything they did, even Warren would often write and say he didn't love it either and wanted to push back for more edits.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Say hello to Bob the Bobblehead.

A few weeks ago after Warren hired another artist to repaint our little BOBblehead, who did an outstanding job. We all agreed that Bob was finally done and a few days ago my BOBblehead arrived. When I opened the box I held my breath as I carefully unwrapped the base, then the bowl, then finally Bob. I held him in my hand and his little head jiggled back and forth. I looked at his face and though it would never be Bob, somehow his “Bobness” had been captured. I smiled as tears ran down my cheeks. If I couldn't have the real Bob, this would be a lovely way to memorialize him.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nice pouffy tail there! (Bob is sitting on his flannel blankee)

I rearranged my shrine to Bob to make space for the new addition. I wondered what Bob, the cat would have thought about all this fuss. He probably would have said not to bother and that we're just being silly humans. That may be the case, but it's comforting to have the little guy here.

I know it took a lot of work and patience to get this done and I'm extremely grateful to Warren and his crew for their efforts. I just love my BOBblehead!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The shrine complete, with Bob's ashes in the blue tin to the right and the Maneki Neko candle my friend Irene made for me from her own bee's wax.

The sun just rose on another day. My fingers are cold from typing with the windows open. It's another day without Bob, yet in a way, Bob has returned. I hope this Bob will be with me always as a reminder of one very special cat, gone too soon.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Good night, Bob. Rest in Peace.


This may be a bit odd, but I know there are some of you who have followed Bob's life story for many years and who have come to love him as I do. Though it was NEVER my intention to profit from this experience, I'd like you to know that if you'd like your own BOBblehead, to contact me at . Depending on how many orders we get will drive the per unit cost of the piece. The more orders, the lower the price. I will put everyone on a list and let you know in a week or so how much they would be and if you want to order one we'll figure something out.

If you want your very own Bobblehead of your cat, dog, friends, family or one of yourself, please DO visit Royal Bobbles and fill out a contact form and let them know Robin sent you! They do GREAT work and their prices are very reasonable.

The Return of Jackson Galaxy

Poor Jackson Galaxy the foster cat. Late last year I rescued this big lug from a Kill Shelter in McDonough, Georgia. He had no hope of rescue since it was so close to Christmas and many rescues couldn't take another adult, but once I saw him I had to save his life. There was something about him, his great size, but sweet vibe that told me this was a kitty who needed to be spared being euthanized.

Fortunately, my friend Katherine from Animals in Distress (AID)said they would take him into their shelter, since I had my hands full. It worked out beautifully and Jackson arrived in January of this year. You can read all about it HERE.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The most tranquil and Buddha-like Jackson.

I also told Jackson Galaxy, the swanky Cat Daddy from Animal Planet's hit show, “My Cat From Hell,” about this apple-head Tom cat. He felt the same vibe and wanted to lend a helping hand. He offered to provide a FREE 15 minute consultation with whoever adopted the cat. I was delighted!

In less than a few weeks a family stepped forward to adopt Jackson. They had other cats and a dog. There was some concern about how he would get along with everyone, but since Jacks did so well at the shelter, not picking fights or bothering with the other cats, that they gave him a chance.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The image that started this journey. How could you say NO to that cat?

Sadly, I don't know all the details, but the basics are that the other cats picked on and attacked Jackson. Jackson didn't cause any trouble at all. He didn't love the dog, but he didn't fight. He tried to stay clear of the cats, but they were violent with him. Eventually the family gave him to their Mother-in-Law since she had no pets. Jackson did fine with her, but then her husband died.

The Mother-in-Law visited her family often and brought Jackson with her. This constant upheaval caused the other cats to continue to attack Jackson. The woman was between a rock and a hard place-either she stop seeing her family, leave Jackson alone or give Jackson back to AID.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Return of Jackson Galaxy.

I know that the family had a very tough time letting Jackson go and I know they ALL cried about it. They shouldn't be vilified for their choice. Jackson was very dear to them, but with the problems with the other cats, they decided it would be best to let him go.

I think there's a point at which people have made up their minds and you can't tell them to try to re-introduce Jackson or to not travel with him and get him a pet sitter; to work it out differently so Jackson wouldn't lose his home. The point was passed before we had a chance to intervene and on Friday, Jackson was brought back to the shelter.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Investigating his new home.

As fate would have it, AID was beyond full up, but they HAD to take Jackson. I felt responsible and tried to figure out what I was going to do, but Bobette was here taking up the only space I could use for Jackson. It just worked out beautifully that JaneA Kelley adopted Bobette while Jackson waited in a cage at the shelter for space to open up here. He only had to wait a few days.

I brought Jackson home yesterday afternoon and got him settled. My home is the fifth home Jackson's lived in in as many months. He is a bit anxious. He wants OUT of his foster room, but I need to give him and my own cats time to adjust to Bobette being gone and to the new arrival.

Jackson's coat is in terrible condition. It's dry and feels tacky. He must have been fed junk. His eyes are a bit runny and he has feline acne, which I'm already treating homeopathically and with diet. I've been brushing him a lot and trying to soothe his fears. He seems ready to meet my cats and just hang out, but I fear he will break with an upper respiratory infection from all the stress he's been under, so I have to wait a few more days.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Simply, Jackson. Visit his Petfinder Ad HERE

Jackson will be fine here until we get a great home for him. He's very likable and loving and meows like mad when he gets lonely. I hope he and my cats become friends. He deserves to have a good experience with other cats.

Jackson's very lucky. He not only has me and Katherine looking out for him, but Jackson Galaxy, the man himself, is also this cat's Guardian Angel. Mr. Galaxy took a liking to this big Buddha of a cat and is dedicated to helping us find our boy a great forever home.

With so many people on his side, I just know that one day the REAL forever family for Jackson Galaxy the cat will find him. Until then I get to say I'm living with Jackson Galaxy! How cool is that?


If you're interested in adopting Jackson, visit Kitten Associates Adopt Page and fill out a Pre Adoption Application. Though we prefer adopting within the United States and the area in or around Connecticut, for the right adopter, we're open to discussing an adoption that is further out of state.

It Had to Be You

“Some others I've seen might never be mean

Might never be cross or try to be boss

But they wouldn't do

For nobody else gave me the thrill

With all your faults I love you still

It had to be you”*

What transpired over the past few days has left me a bit tongue tied. Perhaps it's a bit too soon to try to make sense of it all, but the news I have to share is so surprising, I couldn't wait to begin writing.


Barely four days ago, I said to my friend, JaneA Kelley, who's the well known “Mama, Webmaster & Chief Cat Slave” of the blog Paws and Effect: A blog by cats for cats and their people , that she should come to Connecticut to visit my foster kittens. JaneA immediately agreed and suggested she was available that weekend and did I want to get together then? The kittens are old enough to be adopted and since one of them is named after one of JaneA's cats, I thought the timing could work out (if I did a massive “hide the piles of paper” cleaning ASAP). The kitten I really wanted her to meet is named Dahlia. You can read about the cat she's named in honor of by clicking the following link, “Farewell, Sweet Dahlia”.

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Although I did have some plans “penciled in” for the weekend it was something JaneA said to me that made me clear the decks so we could get together. She said she'd love to meet the kittens, but she really wanted to meet Bobette!

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Bobette? You mean the cat who's been here in foster care for six months and three months before that in Georgia in foster care? The one who I've never gotten even ONE application to adopt? Bobette who was named after my dearly departed cat, Bob Dole? The same Bobette who has struggled to get along with my eight cats, who suffered through losing three of her six kittens and who had to recover from a very difficult and painful surgery to correct her Patellar lunation?

Yes—“THAT” Bobette!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson.

I didn't want to press the subject of WHY she wanted to meet Bobette. I knew the reason, but couldn't imagine saying the word, ADOPT. Bobette is an amazing cat. She has a great personality, is smart, silly and sweet, but she's had difficulty adjusting to living with my cats and has charged and hissed at them on a daily basis. I know that it's partly due to my own inability to properly introduce Bobette to the crew and, over the past few weeks, Bobette, on her own, has been slowly carving a place for herself and the attacks have reduced in number and intensity. I was resigned to having a very difficult to place adult cat on my hands-one that should probably be an only cat, but…I HATE thinking that ANY cat has to be an only cat. Again, I look to the Cat Guaridan for why multiple cat households have failures. It's not black and white, but there are MANY cats out there who get labeled as having to be “only cats,” but who would probably be just fine with one or two other cats IF they had the time to adjust and be introduced.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA is making some sort of secret code gesture or Vulcan Salute FAIL. Meanwhile I'm trying to look awesome-FAIL.

I warned JaneA that she'd have to sleep in the foster room with the kittens and she was almost giddy about the idea. I forget I'm around kittens all the time, but for many other people it's a special event. We sorted out the details and JaneA arrived Saturday afternoon with her bags and two bottles of wine. Clearly she was prepared to have some fun!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette tries to use the power of her mind to melt the window pane.

I ushered JaneA into my home, introducing her to my cats. I'd left Bobette sitting in the kitchen. She was mesmerized by a weird looking squirrel who was missing half his tail. He was focused on eating bird seed on the deck railing while she sat frozen, her butt wiggling every so often in anticipation. I could tell Bobette was saying a kitty prayer that the glass in the window frame would melt so she could bust through it and bite the rest of the squirrel's tail off.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA and Bobette get to know each other.

I asked JaneA if she wanted to meet Bobette and she perked up and looked around. I brought her over to Bobette. She called to her and Bobette stood up and ran over to her side! In that moment, I witnessed love at first sight; as if two halves, separated for years, had finally come back together.

I didn't say a word. This was the look I hope to see in all my adopters, but it didn't add up. JaneA could provide a home for any cat. She didn't have to drive for five hours just to meet this one, but what I didn't know was that JaneA had been following Bobette's story from the first days we rescued her out of the Henry County kill shelter. From afar, JaneA had a gut feeling that this was her cat, but at the time she couldn't add to her kitty family and then after the tragic loss of Dahlia the timing just wasn't right.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Me with a squirmy Bobette.

JaneA, Sam and I caught up on recent events. JaneA's blog just got nominated for a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Award for Best Meow Blog! Of course I'd be glad if she won, but only if I don't win, first! Although we're both nominated for the same category, the pressure is off since it's a Juried award and we don't have to beg for votes. This time it feels like we're already both winners since we're Finalists. The rest is gravy…or 5,000 meals of cat food from, which is part of the award to the Winner.

JaneA met the kittens and the big moment of her meeting her cat's namesake, was a huge letdown. The kittens were a bit nervous having both myself and JaneA in the room. When I picked up Hello Dahlia to bring her to JaneA, the kitten freaked out and ran off. The heartwarming moment, the tears never came to pass. It was fine by JaneA. She knew that the kittens would have a far easier time being adopted. It appeared that JaneA was thinking about something else—a little spitfire named Bobette.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Bobette has such a sweet face and her eyes are really that bright shade of green.

We went out for some nice FRIED FOOD for dinner, followed by a sickly huge waffle cone full of ice cream. It was fun to have another cat lady to hang out with and the time flew by. Soon it was time to get JaneA settled into the foster room. We made up the bed while the kittens ran around. JaneA laid on the bed, hanging off it so she could get closer to April without scaring her. I wished JaneA good luck trying to sleep in a room full of kittens. I closed the door and said a little prayer hoping it would go all right. The few times I've napped with the kittens I was terrified I'd roll onto one and kill it. I guess I'd have to hope for the best.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Beautiful brat.

The next morning, I asked JaneA how she slept as we prepared to make a pot of coffee. “I slept like a baby!” was her surprising reply. Apparently the kittens settled down and went to sleep as she did the same. Being around kittens was truly good for her soul…but…what about Bobette?

I didn't want to push JaneA into doing anything she wasn't ready to do, but as the time drew near for JaneA to return to Maine, I coyly asked her how she felt about Bobette. She said she loved her already. We discussed how it might work and our concerns that Bobette might not be a great fit in her home. I knew that of anyone who could possibly adopt Bobette, this was one person who understood the importance of a proper introduction, knew how to do it and was willing to take the time to do it right. I told JaneA that we could do the adoption on a trial basis and that I would ALWAYS take her back if it didn't work out.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. A few last pets for my foster sweetheart.

JaneA sat on the floor and called to Bobette. She asked Bobette if she wanted to go home with her. Bobette responded by rubbing against JaneA's knees, her arms and pressed her face against her hand, clearly saying, “yes.” I had to fight back the tears it was such a beautiful sight.

I never could have guessed that Bobette's forever home would be with a fellow cat-lady-blogger and that the next time I saw her she would be featured as part of the family on Paws and Bobette's five month journey with me comes to an end, but her story with JaneA is just beginning.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. JaneA with her cat, Bobette.

We signed the contract and I pulled together some of Bobette's favorite toys and some cans of food. I didn't have time to take “farewell photos” or even say more than goodbye and kiss her quickly on the head as JaneA placed her into the cat carrier. It all happened in a heartbeat. As we waved goodbye to JaneA and her newest family member, I turned away, hot tears trailing down my cheeks.

I was so very happy, yet so sad to see little Bobette go.


My phone rang. It was Katherine from Animals in Distress. Did I have space to take in another cat? I laughed at the irony of the timing, then asked her what she needed help with. Her words cut into my heart...

“Jackson Galaxy just got returned to the Shelter. His adoption fell through.”


*"It Had to Be You" is a popular song written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn, and was first published in 1924.

Celebrating National Hairball Awareness Day 2012

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©2012 Robin A.F Olson (photoshop goofiness only). What if the Mona Lisa was Covered in Cat Hair? Leonardo would have been dismayed having to paint in all that extra detail, but maybe he would have invented the first lint roller?

Let's face it, even I, the self-proclaimed High Priestess of Covered in Cat Hair, am not a fan of having to buy lint roller brush refills by the case, just so I can wear black. Loving cats means being covered in cat hair. It's a given.

But what can your cat do to get rid of all that excess fur if he can't use a lint roller on himself? Try as they might, the best they can manage is to lick it off and they NEVER get all of it-which is why we go around saying cute things like “In my house cat hair is a condiment.” Yecch. What's worse is they often throw up a jam-packed fur-sausage at some point, days or weeks later, usually in the middle of the night when you're trying to sleep! Double-yecch.

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©2009 Robin A.F Olson. How many cats are in this photo? Even Nicky isn't certain.

The sad truth is that what once was simply gross or somewhat entertaining (if your nasty mother-in-law or ex-boyfriend-to-be stepped on a newly minted, wet hairball barefoot), belies a potentially serious health issue. Could this be the first sign of Inflammatory Bowel Disease or worse…Lymphoma? Studies are showing a strong link between cats vomiting out hairballs and illness caused by an inappropriate diet!

©2009 Robin A.F Olson. Recycle your cat fur. In the spring the birdies love to line their nests with cat fur. I put my “fur mains” into a suet feeder and the birds can help themselves (and entertain my cats who are watching through the window).

In short, feed your cat an appropriate diet and watch the hairballs disappear. This means, at least a grain free canned food that's high in protein and low in carbs. Ideally you should feed your cat a raw diet. If you do, not only will you rarely ever see your cat struggling to blast out a hairball, their coat will shine, feel like silk and their poo won't smell any more-BONUS! Visit our friends over at Feline Nutrition Education Society for more information on species appropriate diet for your cat.

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©2012 Robin A.F Olson. All this fur only took about an 30 minutes to get off my cats and I could have easily gotten a lot more off a few of them.

The fine folks at FURminator® (say that five times fast) suggest that you brush your cat to prevent hairballs. I think that's part of the solution, but I suggest you try feeding an appropriate diet and monitor the changes. Where I find brushing is the most important aspect of caring for your cat is it gives you an opportunity to develop a deeper bond with them. In general, myself included, I don't think we spend enough one on one time with our cats. Brushing them is a great way to not only get rid of the excess fur, but it's a way for you to show love for your cat without giving them fattening treats.

After a stress filled day, skip the Appletini and kick back with your cat. Give her some loving attention and you'll be rewarded with a purring, confident, happy cat.

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©2012 Robin A.F Olson. Yes, we were so goal oriented we made TWO Fur-lebrities. Teddy especially liked Jackson Galaxy.

The sweet thing about Furminator's deShedding solutions is that they have a Long Hair deShedding Edge and a Short Hair deShedding Edge. Originally, they had ONE tool and it did NOT work on long hairs at all. In fact it was terrible, but it worked GREAT on short haired cats. Now that they've modified their design, long haired cats can benefit, too. I was supplied with a Long Hair deShedding Edge to use on my super pouffy cats: Spencer, the DOOD and Blitzen and they all enjoyed it (though the DOOD got so excited I had to stop brushing him or he would have taken off my hand at the wrist) These tools are NOT for removing mats, but they ARE for getting the undercoat thinned out without stripping the top coat (though be careful not to overdo it and cause a bald patch!). My favorite is to use both my long haired and short haired tools in the spring or fall when the cats shed their winter coat or summer coat, respectively and it doesn't hurt that these tools are beautifully designed and come in awesome colors.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Didn't you just KNOW this was going to happen?

And then there was the creation of our Angelina Jolie made out of cat fur. As you know, FURminator invited us to have some fun creating a Fur-Lebrity out of cat fur and enter it into a contest that celebrated National Hairball Awareness Day. [See all the behind-the-scenes images of how we created Angelina Meowy on a previous post I wrote] HERE. My friend Irene and I worked very long hours for a week to create her and we were very honored to be chosen as one of the five finalists. Though we did not win first prize, we had a blast and I learned that you can do a lot with cat fur, which gives me more reason to keep brushing my cats.

In fact, I've been so inspired I may start making a life-sized Fur-Lebrity. I'm thinking I would enjoy re-creating Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Of course I'd have to MEET HIM and do some very careful studies, take measurements of his body, so I would get it right. Anyone know his agent?

My sister cat-bloggers have gone over this topic more eloquently than I have and in more detail. Click on, “See More Fur-lebrities Here.” to view a blogroll of other blogs who are participating in National Hairball Awareness Day and who have taken the time to put together some fabulous tips for you .


Happy? National Hairball Awareness Day!



After careful consideration, from time to time I write a product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO compensation for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am usually supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ.


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