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They Stole More Than Just Cat Food

It's bad enough that Maria had a lousy day yesterday. A long day at work, followed by being caught in a downpour while waiting for the bus. Tired and wet as she was, she kept her commitment to cleaning out cat cages at Petsmart. It was a long day. She finally made her way home around 9pm.

I told her there was a shipment of cat food waiting for her by the garage. UPS verified the delivery. I was anxious for her to get the food since I knew she was running low and this food was for Polly and her family...who are STILL STRUGGLING to beat their URI!

As she walked down her driveway, she saw the shipment, but the box looked funny. Then she realized, it had been ripped open. Her heart sank.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

As she lifted the lid, her worst fears were realized.

©2010 Maria Sandoval.

It was empty-save for the invoice from Pet Food Direct and the air filled plastic cushions to keep the cases of cat food from being damaged.

What sort of heartless moron would STEAL CAT FOOD...and from a CAT RESCUE GROUP??!!! Donations are tough enough to come by and now this?

Maria gave me a call. I missed picking up the phone. I heard her voicemail and she sounded terrible. I thought Polly was dead!!! When we were finally able to talk, she told me what happened. I was stunned that someone would stoop so low as to steal food. Could we have bought a big bag of dry food for a few dollars, instead of shipping cases of canned food? Well, no, we couldn't. We feed a grain-free, canned food diet, which has kept our foster kittens in much better health and at their fragile age is MUCH easier for them to digest and mix with the milk replacer they also eat. We may spend more on food, but in the long run we'll save more on Vet care since our babies will be in better health if we get them off on the “right paw” to begin with.

Maria actually filed a police report. This is the second time someone stole from her yard. The last time it was a nice cat carrier she had left outside to dry after she washed it out. A few hours later-it was gone. She originally thought it was a fluke, but now she realizes either the local kids are thieves or her neighbor who has many cats (and dogs) and no income, may have done the deed. She spoke to the woman who acted surprised that Maria would make a fuss over stolen cat food. I told Maria to check the woman's trash in a few days!There aren't many people that live in Maria's neighborhood to begin with..this is all so messed up.

The shipment cost $90.00 and I had to send out a second shipment last night to replace the one that was lost and it cost more money..the price went up. So there goes another $110.00. I called my credit card company and the purchase insurance does not cover food. I contact Pet Food Direct and they are talking to UPS, but the feeling is nothing can be done since the package was delivered. This may change, but it will be a week to ten days before I get an update.

In the meantime, our babies need to eat. If you'd like to help us recover our loss, we would dearly appreciate it. It really feels like those creeps stole more than just cat food—they stole our faith in humanity.

Maria got two hours of sleep last night. Cara, Polly's sister, is not doing well. Another kitten from another litter had a 104.6°F fever. Maria looked after them until early this morning. Now she's back at work, trying not to face-plant on her desk. I wish I could do more than just order cat food for her, but there are some things that can't be done from 1000 miles distance.

If you know Maria, do send her a note to tell her you're sending good thoughts, good wishes, support. Is this life or death? Heck no, but Maria is our friend, our super-foster mama. We need to rally around her so she can continue to care for quite a few ailing kittens. Maybe our goal is as simple as being a good neighbor—something that Maria does not seem to have.

Not On My Watch: Something Borrowed, Lotsa Things, Blue.

This morning I woke up, checked my email. It was bad news. No one was able to save the Little Blue Babies from Henry Co. I really thought all hope was lost unless I could find a Vet Tech or a VERY experienced foster mom to take the Blue Babies into foster care. They were getting sick, thin, not sure why, maybe just a simple thing, maybe something bad. Whatever the reason, they would NOT make it beyond tomorrow morning, that is clear. Henry is closed today, but tomorrow they are back in the business of putting down the animals who fall ill.

I stood in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, crying. I cried a lot. I went back to working the email and phones. I actually found a GREAT possible foster Mama with lots of experience with kitties. I had a Rescue step up to offer to give them a home after their quarantine time in Georgia was done.

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The post that will never come to be...

Then the emails started coming in. Barb Lowe, who must have a very powerful magic wand and the steely guts of a warrior, did what I could not do. She found a way to get the pieces put together to rescue the little blue kittens-even though we KNOW they are NOT WELL and we are NOT SURE why they have become thin. I'm sure Barb's team will get that sorted out. I just sit on the sidelines and offer to help. She just picks up the phones and makes it all happen in ways I only hope to be able to do one day.

So it IS confirmed from Betsy at Henry Co. Just as the kittens had less than ONE DAY LEFT TO LIVE...they are OUT OF THERE FOR GOOD and ON THE ROAD to THE BEST CHANCE THEY HAVE TO LIVE A WONDERFUL LIFE!!!!

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I AM SOFA-KING HAPPY (as they say in "france")!!! I think everyone who does rescue in Georgia knows about these kittens in need. Hopefully all of them will find out that they are SAFE!!!

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Oh yeah and no big deal but Betsy told us a beautiful Mama and 4 kittens just arrived-all Blue, too. Could we save them? I guess Barb has a huge heart and a warehouse of foster homes or something because THIS MAMA and the babies are ALREADY OUT AND SAFE, TOO! OUT BEFORE THEY CAN ALL GET SICK!!!!!

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Way to go, Barb and WCR. You never cease to blow our minds with what you can do.

If you feel as happy and grateful as I do, why not pop over to WCR and make a donation to any of her kitty fundraiser widgets? It's the least we can do to honor someone with magical powers. Maybe she will let me borrow them one day?

Thank you to everyone for their support and good wishes and offers to help. At last, the one thing that is NOT blue after all of this is us. I'd say we must be in the pink!

The Sniffles & Boo-Boo Fund

It was a long night, filled with gut wrenching dread. I got a call around dinnertime that Polly was NOT doing well at all. Her eye was sealed shut and worse, she was SCREAMING. Maria called me to give me this urgent update and while we talked, I could hear Polly wailing. It was too late to go to a “regular” Vet. Our only option was to go to a 24hr ER Vet-also know as: “open your wallet and empty it out. Thank you. Now we will provide your animal with care.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Polly cries-where is the cure for me to get better?

There was no hesitation. Even if it was coming right out of my almost -empty pocket. Get all the kittens and Mama Mazie to the Vet NOW! Maria had just gotten home from work and was faced with a white-knuckle drive to the Vet. I was in a daze. What to do? I didn't want Polly to die!

I realized I had NO IDEA where Maria was going, so I called her back. She said she was just about to call me to ask me to look up the number so she could alert them to her arrival. I offered to do that for her, getting online and quickly finding the Vet. Then Maria got quiet. She is a tough-cookie, but I could hear her choking back tears. She said she didn't think Polly was going to make it. She said she heard there is a “death scream” that kittens make and that's what Polly was probably doing!!!

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. If this isn't the most miserable kitten, ever. Poor Polly.

I felt my gut drop to the floor and my legs got wobbly. I got choked up, but I really wanted to help Maria. I told her to stay strong, that we were doing EVERYTHING we could for these babies. That if we could not save them it would not be because we didn't give them every chance we could. Some times Mother Nature makes the choice for us, but I have to say, I hung up the phone and cried.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. No words.

Being 1000 miles away, helpless. All I could do was call the Vet, warn them, then follow their rules by scanning my Driver's License and credit cards and emailing them the info so their bill would be paid. It was the least I could do, but thoughts of Princess FiFi danced around in my head. Her care set us back $2000.00. We were able to raise about half of that in donations and Animals in Distress was abel to pick up the rest of the tab, but this was ONE KITTEN and I had THREE, plus their Mama. Oh boy...I did not want to do THAT sort of math.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Cara Melle struggles, too.

Maria got there in good time. They took the family in the back and Maria sat in the waiting room while I sat with my phone in my hand, trying to face eating dinner, until I got an update. I didn't feel hungry. I was too sick. I was imagining what was going on. Time ticked hour...then I get a text from Maria. A cat who came in just after she did came back a box. That really set me off. I didn't want to have any of our kittens pass away. The waiting was grueling for both Maria and I. There was nothing we could do but just keep waiting and say a prayer for the poor kitty who didn't make it.

©2010 Maria Sandoval. Even Chester is sick, today he is a bit worse.

Another hour passed. Nothing. My imagination was running wild. Didn't they always get the money worked out FIRST before they did treatment? Why didn't Maria get an update?

A third hour passed. I was hoping that other animals were in more serious shape and were being cared for while our family was just waiting in the back room. ANOTHER HOUR LATER we found out, that was the case.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Mazie and her family waiting for the Vet.

Polly had no fever. Though she was uncomfortable in her breathing, there was no “crackle” sound in her lungs. Her brother and sister were afflicted, but not quite as bad. Polly was crying, I'm guessing, because she was so hungry. If she couldn't breathe through her nose, she wouldn't feed off her Mother-how could she breathe? So the Vet fed each kitten and said they were big enough to get some cat food/baby food/milk replacer. This would make it easier for them to eat. Once fed, Polly quieted down. She must have been exhausted, too.

They made a few other suggestions, like running the shower a few times a day so the humidity would help them breathe. Polly gets some sterile saline and eye ointment many times a day. Syringe feed as needed if they don't lap up the food on their own. Monitor, monitor, monitor.

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©2010 Maria Sandoval. Only Mama can make it better. Polly finds some peace after a very tough day.

The family was already on antibiotics since they'd just been to the Vet the day before. They felt there was nothing more to be done just now, so Maria packed everyone up and went home. She told me she was going to take the next day off-for which I was very grateful. I would not want to leave those babies alone until they get to a point where they are more stable...KNOCK WOOD...

But this story is not over yet. None of the kittens are in the clear. Some may improve, while others get worse. Because it could easily come to pass that we will need more and more Vet care, I felt it was time to start asking for donations to provide Vet care for Polly and her family, as well as for any cat or kitten in our program. I'm not asking for much, just enough so we have some protection in place, in case we need to get Polly back to the Vet or to see an eye specialist, if it comes to that.

The donations needed go to Kitten Associates, Inc., my rescue group. We're about to become non-profit so your donation will be tax deductible, retroactively. We just need to wrap up our paperwork over the next week.

Last night I posted info on our Facebook page about the kitties. Thank you for your help and for your good wishes and prayers for this very sweet family. It really helped last night. I'm happy to add that Polly got through the night all right and is resting comfortably with her siblings, as Mama Mazie watches over them and Maria keeps them all safe.

Forensic Graphologist Analyzes Previous Post

One thing I really love about writing this Blog is all the great people I get to meet. Some are pen pals from across “the pond” and others I've had the pleasure of meeting in person. These folks have a varied background. Some times their jobs flat out surprise me and leave me in awe.

While I am sworn to secrecy over this person's identity, I can tell you she is a Forensic Graphologist, otherwise known as a Handwriting Analysis Expert. She contacted me last year about analyzing a handwritten note I'd posted on my blog. That lead to me sending her some “exemplars”-samples of handwriting for her to use to practice her craft. She likes to keep fresh and seeing the samples is also fun for her. I sent her mine, Sam's, some friends and family. She told me things that surprised me and shocked me. She was even able to tell me one person I know is “closeted” gay. When I talked to that person, that person indicated she was correct! I had NO idea! And no, I didn't care if the person was gay or not. Sheesh! It was that I had NO idea and the person's handwriting said it all! That was what was so interesting!

To think that the loops and shapes of our letters tell a story all their own is fascinating. With that in mind, months ago, I asked this person to look at the writing samples from a post (rant) I'd written about Koko the cat, who was dumped by her owner. My email fell into her Spam folder and she just found it yesterday! She wrote up her analysis, which I'll share with you, below.

These notes were regarding THIS post.

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The gal who wrote the first note is youngish, I would guess early 20s.

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I'm sorry to say that I think the writing is a kid's and here's why:

1. I don't think an adult could imitate the weird spacing, which is common for kids who don't have a lifetime of experience writing notes.

2. The "10 mins" he wrote looks childlike--I don't think an adult would know to make the numerals different sizes, like kids do.

3. The word "gob" for "job" isn't a misspelling an adult would use to throw someone off the track. Adults who misspell purposefully wouldn't use a real word in place of another word (homonyms excluded, of course)--they would just switch around a few letters.

4. The placement of the ":" between "from" and "Korey" is also an indication of someone youthful.

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[Robin's note: this was the KICKER to me!!!]

The third note writer is definitely aware that they're behaving like an asshole, at least. No connections between letters within words, the personal pronoun "I" is demented and the "f" has a weird, duplicitous loop at the top.

What is wrong with people!!!!!!!!!!!


The good news is that within a day of my post going live, Elke, one of our readers CALLED ME and offered to adopted KoKo. The next morning, our beloved Bobby, drove Koko to her new home-a few HOURS away


Elke reports that Sophie (no more KoKo), is doing very well integrating into her home. There have been NO litterbox peeing or pooping other than in her pan. Is Sophie sick? Heck no. She's fine. Not only is she fine, she is well loved and cared for and living a wonderful life with Elke and her family. What started out as a tragedy-in-the-making, turned out to be quite a happy tail and one that I was proud to be part of.

If Sophie could write, I just know her handwriting would certainly indicate that she is happy, confident, friendly...and relived her nightmare is over. I bet she'd dot her “i's” with smiley faces or hearts, too.

Breaking News: Tweetie's at the Emergency Vet!

My former foster kitten, Tweetie, who rose to fame and fortune when he was adopted by Sockington, the Internet's Most Famous Cat, is lying in recovery at a Boston area Vet after having emergency surgery to correct a urinary blockage.

I don't have much more info than that at this time, but please send your good thoughts and prayers to this sweet little guy and his family.

As soon as I know more, I'll let you know.

Hang in there, Tweetie!!!

37 Seconds of Fame-My Fabulous Interview on Grouchy Puppy

Between rescuing cats and building a non-profit from the ground up, I also have time for rebuilding the engine of my 10 yr old car, knitting cottage cheese colored mittens for my kittens and cooking complicated cuisine featuring paprika for my man. I'm so completely fabulous that Sharon Castellanos of has decided to interview me and share my fabulousness with the world.

You can read the interview in the “Cleo's Day” section of her web site HERE.

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...or you can skip the whole thing since you already know how fabulous I am...and isn't that enough?

Note: if you're playing the drinking game where you take a shot of vodka for every time I wrote “fabulous” you should be pretty wasted by now! See? I know...

Not on My Watch: Everything's Better with CHEESE!


One of our dear readers, saw the plea-a-thon I started for CHEESE yesterday everywhere she looked. She took it as a sign that she needed to help out this kitty and his dear mama, Kathleen.

CHEESE will now be luxuriating at the home of an Associate Dean at the College of William & Mary!

WOOHOO AND THANK YOU for helping out a kitty (and nice Mama) in need! Way to go!

And now...back to our regularly scheduled programming...GO CHEESE!

Love the Treats? Great! Cost for Emergency Surgery to Retrieve Foil Shards, Priceless.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Pattycake LOVES her treats!

Dear Petcurean Pet Nutrition,

Two of my foster kittens have ringworm. They're locked in the bathroom for the next month while I'm treating them for this fungal infection. It breaks my heart to confine such perky, happy creatures into such a small space, so every day I try to do something fun for them to keep their spirits up.

Normally, I don't ever buy any dry cat food at all, but in this situation, since these cats once had lots of dry food at the Kill Shelter I rescued them from, I thought I would find a good quality, grain-free treat to hide all over their room. That way they'd have fun trying to find the yummy pieces and give them something to do.

They REALLY like the treats. A lot.

They both look like crack addicts about to get a fix whenever they hear the sound of the treat bag being opened and once there are treats to be found they scamper about, hoovering up every morsel.

They seem to be having fun. This all sounds great, right?

Here's the problem:

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. The bag in question. No. I did not do anything to the bag other than photograph it. This is how I found it.

I must have inadvertently left the bag where they could get at it. Since they get a bit too much "alone time," they had plenty of time to figure out how to EAT open the bag. Yes, I said, EAT. Once I found this bag, stashed behind a blanket, I realized that there were pieces of the bag that, even now, are still missing. Maybe they're only temporarily missing...if you get my drift.

The real question is, do you have a program to provide grants for emergency surgery to remove bits of the treat bag from my kitten's belly?

Just wondering if I can start the application process now. If I don't see any shiny surprises in their litter pan soon, I'm thinking I'll be going to the ER Vet since it's a HOLIDAY WEEKEND here in the USA.

Really good treats. Maybe you should consider packing them in KEVLAR?

Sincerely yours,

Robin, the freaked out foster mom

Not on my Watch: A Little Kitten's Struggle to Survive

WARNING: Graphic photo of belly wound, below. Please be forewarned and use your good judgement as to if you wish to look at it.

Hope sits quietly on a soft blanket in a cage at Sweetwater Creek Animal Hospital in Lithia Springs, Georgia. Once a city named after it's historic Mineral Water, now so small its' residents voted to dissolve the city charter in 2001 and essentially de-incorporate it. There weren't enough services to qualify Lithia Springs as being a city any longer. That this tiny town even has a good Vet is a very lucky thing for this four month old kitten.

Sometime about twelve days ago, something terrible happened to Hope. Only she and the people who harmed her, know what really happened. Anyone who sees her now, don't have to be psychics to know she was injured by an unspeakably cruel hand.

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©2010 Cathy P. Used with Permission. Hope, today, August 24th.

Hope's underweight body is curled tightly. Her front paws drawn inward, perhaps a way to protect the deep, ragged gashes on either side of her belly. Wounds so painful it's difficult for her to sit otherwise. The wounds, shocking and large are from a fish hook that gouged her from one side of her abdomen to the other—as if she were hung on the hook like a piece of bait. It was not enough to stop there, the hook also travelled into her left leg causing a serious infection.

©2010 Cathy P. Used with Permission. Tiny Hope's belly shows two gapping holes from where the fish hook entered and exited her body.

While I don't know the details of how Hope came to Sweetwater, I know many people involved in her care were so moved by her good nature and her serious injury, that they had to find a way to help-instead of humanely euthanizing her. I was alerted to her situation a few days ago and I, too, could not look away from this humble creature and just assume someone else would help her out.

I don't want to torture myself or others, with the thoughts of how this cat must have suffered such pain. How the person or people who did this to her aren't human. They are pond scum. They are worse than that. For what sort of person could take a young animal, just learning about the world, just learning to trust and do that...jam a big hook into her belly, as if she had no feelings, as if she were garbage.

I emailed Cathy, my sole contact about Hope. She said no one was raising funds for her and thanks to a little push from our friend at CiCH, Izzy, I decided to just raise money for her myself, even though I don't know this Vet. I don't even know Cathy's last name. I had to look up Lithia Springs on the map. It didn't matter. A kitten needed help. I could do my little bit to make a difference.

Thanks to the generosity of MANY people from all over the country, so far I've raised $490 of my $600 goal. Hope may need much more than this, but it's a very good start.

You see, Hope may lose her left rear leg. As of today, though the swelling on it has gone down and she's responding to the antibiotics, she cannot stand on her own. Partly due to being weak, underweight, with serious belly wounds-how could she stand with even that? We simply don't know how she will do. We don't know if she will walk and maybe someday play again, but what we do know is the awful people who did this to her are far outshined by the good people who rescued her, who care for her and love her as she recovers.

©2010 Cathy P. An uncomfortable Hope, sits before us. We all send her our love and good wishes for a speedy recovery.

The good news for Hope is that we will not need to find foster care for her. Her foster mama, who I hear is excellent in every way, can't wait for her to arrive-when she is well enough to do so. Should her leg have to go, Hope will still be as loved and still have a wonderful life ahead of her.

For now, we wait. We hope the antibiotics will continue to do their thing...that this little girl will pull through her ordeal and one day be able to stretch out and relax, no longer in pain, with those bad memories long behind her and only good ones to come.

Not on My Watch: Dear KoKo.

Dear KoKo,

You don't know me, nor will you probably ever meet me. I live very far away from you, but that doesn't matter to me because I care about what happened to you and it bothers me that you are all alone in the world. I have been trying very hard to find a way to free you from that cage.

Last night, while you were sleeping, a nice lady called me from Alabama. Her name is Elke. You never met her before, either, but she surely cares about you, too. Elke called me and asked me if I would help her to help you. She doesn't want you to stay in that cage. She lives in a nice house with two other kitties. There is plenty of room for you to live there even if you don't get along with your new friends.

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©2010 Courtesy Henry Co. Care & Control. Many people contacted me asking how they could help KoKo. In the end it was a simple phone call that made all the difference. As of 11AM EST-TODAY KoKo left Henry County's cage. She is RESCUED!

I wrote to my friend, Bobby. He also said he wanted to help you, too, so just when you wake up, Mr. Bobby is going to visit you. He is going to take you OUT of your cage and you will NEVER go back there again! Mr. Bobby is going to take you to the Cat-Doctor. I know. Doctors are not fun, but you can do this, then things will get better. Then after that, Mr. Bobby will take you for a long ride in his car.

After the ride is will take a few hours, you will be greeted by Ms. Elke. She isn't going to foster you. She is going to be your new Mama. I like to call it your “Forever Home.” She said you should never have to worry about where you spend the rest of your life and she already can't wait to meet you, love you and care for you the way you should have been cared for by that other family.

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©2010 Courtesy Henry Co. Care & Control. Ms. Elke, who is one of our good friends at “Covered in Cat Hair,” stepped forward last night to offer to sponsor KoKo and give her a Forever home. Elke, you're a Saint! Congratulations to you both!

One of Elke's daughters already can't wait to meet you, too. I know this is a big change for you, but I know you'll be safe and happy now. No more cages for you!

I'm sorry we will never meet in person, but know that from afar, I send you my love and good wishes for the happy life you have always deserved.

I've got your back, Koko.

Your friend,


P.S. Don't forget to write and let me know how you're doing!


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