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H1N1 Confirmed in Iowa Cat

Oh my GOD. I'm REALLY REALLY scared to think of what this might mean for cats with URI's who are at shelters and our own cats...

It was announced today that the first case of H1N1 Flu was been diagnosed in a CAT. This Press Release from the AVMA describes the situation in detail.

What do you think? I'm afraid to even put out this news because of how "hot button" the topic is-and what it could mean if people over react to the news.

Oh boy...this is a terrible day indeed.

Want to Help Cats Stay in their Homes?

Normally, I don't plug promotional events, but this one looks really helpful and is certainly worth mentioning. The ASPCA© Cat Assistance Program kicks off TOMORROW at the ASPCA HQ in NYC and continues on to nine other locations across the country. For a full list, visit the link, above.

There, they'll be giving out Cat Assistance Kits that include such things as: a litter pan, litter scoop and cat toys, plus free product coupons to 9Lives© cat food and Fresh Step© litter. The kits are available to cat owners in need (one kit per household, while supplies last).

The ASPCA is asking people to:

During the month of November, purchase specially marked orange packages of Fresh Step® litter. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the ASPCA in helping cat owners in need. To participate, look for the Paw Points code on the side panel of the specially marked Fresh Step® litter packaging. Go to and enter the code. For each purchase represented by entering the unique Paw Points code, Fresh Step® will donate 50 cents to the ASPCA® (up to $400,000).

Conduct a food/litter drive for a shelter in your community. There's a downloadable flier to get you started. Customize the flier and launch your own grassroots effort where you work, in your school, at a local business or with any club you belong to. If you’re not sure what items to collect, contact your local shelter for a wish list and collect items they need to help cats in your community.

So get out there and help families who are struggling to keep their cats! Just think, a few cans of cat food...purchase some cat litter...could prevent some kitties from being surrendered to shelters!

What to Feed Fluffy-A Great Feline Nutrition Resource

Thanks to Super-Deb, knower of all things important and good for kitties, I can share with you the url of a great resource for anyone considering changing their cat's diet from crappy dry or questionable canned, to a RAW or better choice of grain-free canned.

The Feline Nutrition Education Society, in their own words: "Promote[s] awareness of the issues involved in feline nutrition and health, with an emphasis on specie-appropriate raw feeding for cats. We will educate people on the techniques, benefits and issues involved in raw feeding for cats, and advocate not feeding grain-based artificial foods to cats."

Provide information on feline nutrition and health.
Provide information on raw feeding for people new to the idea.

• Create awareness of feline nutrition and raw feeding through traditional outreach: ads, adoption booklets, media outreach/releases.

•Create awareness of feline nutrition and raw feeding through new media: internet, video, blogs, mobile, viral marketing.

•Inform and shape the current attitude towards feline nutrition and raw feeding with the general public by promoting the health benefits, safety, and ease of a raw diet.

•Inform and shape the current attitude towards feline nutrition and raw feeding within the veterinary and pet food industry by promoting the common sense health effects of raw feeding.

•Help to change how people (general public, veterinary, pet food industry) think of dry food for cats by providing information about its unhealthy effect on felines and its inappropriate use for obligate carnivores.

•Reward the commercial prepared raw food industry by increasing their customer base.

•Encourage "do it yourselfers" with information on how to make homemade raw food for cats.

•Create a national/international member organization for feline raw feeders and those interested in feline nutrition and health.


Do I feed Raw? No. Did I? Yes! Did it make a big difference? YES, but...I did experience that "OMG I GAVE MY CAT FOOD POISONING" last year so I stopped, also it was ungodly expensive for me. Am I reconsidering feeding RAW. Hell, YES!

I'd pop over to FNES and check it out. Really looks to be an awesome resource!

$75 Million Dollars to One Smart Cookie

Okay, so I didn't do a write up about the Feline Forum yet, but in lieu of proper review, here's a tidbit to tide you over from a brochure I picked up at the Conference:

I'd like you all to check out Alliance for Contraception in Dogs & Cats. Their mission is to find a non-surgical solution to humanely control cat and dog populations around the world. Imagine, a simple shot, given to a puppy in a third world country where Vets are in short supply and funds to pay for neutering are nil. Imagine a way to control feral cat colonies in a way that's safe and less stressful for all concerned, also, the money saved by not having to pay for surgeries could be used for educational programs or to put towards emergency medical costs.

Instead of imagining all of this, there is already a product being used in male dogs under 10 months old called, EsterilSol™/Neutersol® (who comes up with these names!). I hate to tell you that this, but the drug is delivered via a shot directly into each testicle. Over time, the testicle withers away. Boohoo. Bye bye teste! (Sorry to my male reader/s!) I kind of wish I had this shot for a few of my ex-boyfriends! Also, I'd like to see them try to do this to a cat! Yeah. I knew I shoulda got those Kevlar lined, elbow length gloves I saw at the Feline Forum! (it's not FDA approved for cats just yet, by the way)

Thanks to Dr. Michelson, who is SUPER RICH and is a great advocate for finding a solution to the troubling problem of pet overpopulation, he's put up $75 MILLION BUCKS in grants and prizes to the first "entity to provide a single dose sterilant for male and female cats and dogs." If you're a super genius, visit Michelson Prize & Grants in Reproductive Biology for more info.

Maybe you're not an uber genius, but you want your shelter or rescue organization to support the efforts of ACC&D. They're looking for folks to join their worthy cause. You can find out how you can help by visiting HERE. more need for KILL SHELTERS, followed by no more OVERCROWDED shelters...followed by?? What do you think will happen to the pet population if there one day IS single dose sterilization product for cats and dogs? No more shelters at all??

Foster Cat Journal: Heavy Heart for Huggy Mama

Huggy Mama and her boys arrived barely two weeks ago. Over that time there have been quite a few medical issues that came up. Of course, you all know that the Huggy Bunch never was treated for fleas or ear mites before traveling to Connecticut (that was a mistake, I assure you). Sadly, Huggy had to endure a nasty ear mite infection and she and Snuggles had flea dirt on them.

Huggy's incision from her spay surgery wasn't looking great. Perhaps she picked at the sutures or she was too active, too soon after the operation. She was put on a course of Baytril and I kept an eye on it.

Huggy was really good about being pilled and very clever about spitting them out when I wasn't paying attention. I caught on to her tricks quickly and made sure she got a treat after every pill. That way I knew she swallowed her medicine.

The kittens kept nursing, which I strongly discouraged. They're well weaned and Huggy needed some rest. I don't often have a Mama and kittens for this long. By the time the kittens are weaned, the Mama is usually gone-adopted or released if she's feral. I have little experience with Mamas, especially post-spay.

The past few days, Huggy's really blossomed. The once quiet and reserved Mama, decided she wanted to play along with the kittens. She'd burble and squawk, the merrrow at the toys. She jumped and ran, plopped into my lap, made muffins and purred. She seemed very happy.

Yesterday, since the boys were off getting neutered (or so we thought since they didn't have the surgery when the Vet realized their little nuggets hadn't descended yet), I decided to give Huggy a treat. I carried her into my bedroom where she could get more space to run and we could snuggle in bed together for a few hours. Huggy wasn't scared at all. She didn't hide even though she smelled the scent of all the other cats in the house, I'm sure. She was curious, that's it.

She REALLY got goofy. Running and jumping around. She hopped up on the bed and sat on my lap, purring loudly. She stretched out, laid her head on my face and relaxed. What a love!

Happy Huggy.jpg

While I was petting her, I noticed one of her mammary glands was swollen. I thought it was full of milk since the kittens were not home to feed. It felt hot, but I thought that might be just because her belly is shaved and she's a mom. What do I know? Last night she ate and seemed fine. I gave her her almost last dose of Baytril and went to bed.

I've been in charge of putting together an Adoption Event that happened today. Last night I was really tired. Of course, I got my period that morning, had awful cramps from Hell and wanted to just stay in bed. Instead I dealt with my intern and getting things ready for the adoption event. My head was spinning from all the last minute details. I asked Sam to feed Huggy and Angel and our cats so I could go pick the kittens up from the Vet.

When I got up this morning, I felt bad for not spending much time with Angel, so I fed her and sat with her awhile, figuring Sam would care for Huggy. I left awhile later and made a mad dash to the Vet to get the kittens, then go home, pick up the Mamas and turn around and head off to the Adoption Event with all six cats.

I brought Dash and Snuggles in to see their Mama. I opened the door and I knew something was wrong. Huggy was laying in bed and would not get up. Huggy ALWAYS meets me at the door with a cute little meow-hello. She would not even look at me when I entered the room. I went over to her and she looked up at me. I touched her belly and recoiled.

Her mammary glands were HUGE, HOT, and HARD. It seemed as though someone inserted a hard edged tray under her skin. It was WRONG. VERY WRONG. Huggy did not want to get up. I called out to Sam and asked him if she ate that morning and he said, NO. That she hadn't even gotten up.


I made a few calls, fast. I talked to Super Deb and she said to get Huggy to the Vet ASAP. They didn't have any open appointments, so I was on my own. No problem. Huggy was going to the Vet no matter what it took.

Fortunately we were able to get her in to see Mill Plain Vets, Bless You! I had 15 minutes before I had to leave. Sam volunteered to take Huggy to the Vet so I could get to the Adoption Event. It was the LAST PLACE I wanted to go, but I have a strong sense of duty-and the cats needed to be there. I sent Sam off, gingerly putting Huggy into the carrier and giving her a kiss before she left. I felt like a real jerk for not catching this sooner and for not going with her to the Vet. I was sick with worry.

Huggy, moments before I gingerly lifted her into the cat carrier. She was running a fever of 104°.

Within the next hour I heard from Sam. Huggy was suffering from a fairly serious case of Mastitis. Two Vets took a look at her and have put her on an IV, given her more Baytril and Amoxicillin.

She's going to be staying at the Vet over the weekend. On Monday I expect an update. It's possible she may need surgery to remove the worse of the infected tissue. Although I didn't see any oozing, scabs or injuries, she's got a raging infection going on. She's a young cat, only 1 1/2 years old. I hope she's got a lot of fight in her and that she pulls through without any serious damage.

She's been through so much in her short life, but she's lucky she has so many people watching out for her and giving her the best care possible. She deserves all we can do and more—not only because she was rescued off Death Row at Henry County, but because she's so very special and loving. I need to see her pull through, feel great and be 100% healthy. No more fleas, ear mites, feline acne, infections...just a healthy, happy girl, ready to move on to her forever home.

It's quiet in the house. Angel and her kittens are back with Jennifer. Dash and Snuggles have been resting after their big day. I think about Huggy, probably hooked up to an IV, back in a cage. I really hate doing this to her, but there's no choice. I miss her a lot. I wish I could see her. I cross my fingers and hope that her life will be saved, yet again. It's a good thing she has a few left.


Zabby's been busted out of the Henry County Animal Care & Control! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!!I just LOVE saving another kitty. Do you realize it took over 16 people to help this ONE kitty her life back!? If folks had spayed/neutered their cats, this story would never have to happen. Shelters wouldn't be overcrowded and no animals would be needlessly put down. I know-preaching to the choir. We need more ways to get the word out and to get LOW COST S/N for all animals.

Judy, from Kat5 Rescue has Zabby boarded for the next two weeks. Necessary quarantine to make sure she doesn't have anything contagious that could be spread to the generous folks at Catnip Cottage, who'll be giving Zabby a place to live until she finds her forever home.

More good news! Zabby's paw has been treated and is improving. Her combo test results were NEGATIVE! All that remains is for Zabby to get spayed next week, if she remains in good health, then on August 24th Bobby will drive her to South Carolina!

Photo: Henry County Animal Care & Control

Zabby is NOT FOUR YEARS OLD. Zabby is only 8-9 months. Just a baby. If you can give Zabby a forever home, please contact me until we have Zabby moved to Catnip Cottage.

The Tweetie Chronicles: Chapter Eleven, The Meeting

I admit I've been dragging my feet about writing this chapter. It means that the last few stories I'm able to share about Tweetie will draw to a close; even though there IS so much more to this story than I can tell here, right now. Reflecting on our last day together, too, will remind me that my relationship with one, very special kitten is also possibly coming to an end.

The Meeting

Slinky Socks.jpg

If you don't already know this, introducing a new cat into a home where there's already one or more cats, should be done with great care. As with people meeting one another, first impressions matter. Get off on the wrong foot, or paw, in this case, and it can set up years of discord, damage to the home and stress for all concerned.

When the new cat is about to meet a Celebukitty, there's even more at stake. Not only is their meeting going to be of concern to their new family, but to the Global Press at large. Will the headlines read: "Sockington Rebuffs Tiny Twin, Tweetie" or "Sockington Welcomes Ward Warmly"?

The answer won't be completely obvious for some time. You simply MUST be patient about how things will pan out. Be willing to give it time, whether it be hours or MONTHS, for your cats to all get along. They may never sleep snuggled together on your bed, but at least they should respect each other's space and not fight. You must NEVER toss the new cat into a room and "let them work it out" with the cats whose home has been usurped!

A Few Introduction Tips

The new kitten or cat must be separated from the group, in their own space, with their own litter pan, food, bed and toys. It will be their "safe haven" when the day comes that they're allowed the freedom to explore the rest of the home. It's from this separate room that the introductions are done, either by opening the door slightly or, in our case, by putting window screens across the doorway.

Even though Sockington and Penny are famous kitties and it's really really cool that Tweetie looks a lot like Socks, their introduction is a serious matter. This is about their lives together as a new family, not a publicity stunt.

The Big Moment

I had a can of what I call "Kitty Crack." It's the one brand of cat food I've never seen a cat turn away from. I won't say what it's called (Solid Gold), but it's really expensive and if they want to ship me a crate, that would be awesome!

The plan was to feed Penny and Socks this delicious treat on one side of Tweetie's room divider, with Tweetie being fed on the other. This would help the cats to associate a positive experience with seeing each other. Using window screens, the cats could see and smell each other through the screen, but Tweetie would be safe from harm should one of the cats decide to lunge at him.

Food Lady, Mr. Scott, Sam and I stood breathlessly as Food Lady put down food for Penny and Socks.

Penny didn't even get close to the screen or her food. She figured out what was going on and immediately ran off. At least she wasn't aggressive. No tasty treat was going to change her mind. This left Socks to meet Tweetie.

Socks wasn't sure what to make of the creature behind the screen. His skinny tail puffed up while Tweetie looked eagerly at him. There was a sharp "hiss" from Socks, who wanted to lick at the yummy food, but was distracted by his tiny doppleganger.

Not sure about mini me.jpg

Curious, Socks took a step closer. Tweetie, remained eager and friendly, with tail held high. Perhaps he hoped he could play with Socks soon?

First Sniffs.jpg

Socks and Tweetie sniffed each other's face through the screen. Though Tweetie did nothing to provoke him, Socks hissed and Tweetie hissed only in retaliation. This cat may be big and look strangely familiar, but Tweetie wasn't gonna be no scaredy cat.

Food Lady reached down to comfort Socks, but shocked by the sudden distraction, he lashed out with another quick hiss, this time at Food Lady. This is not unusual and it's worth noting that when a cat is stressed, a comforting voice, staying neutral is great, but hands off until the cat is in a relaxed state. Yes, this is how I got bit-trying to handle a cat who was highly stressed and I assumed I could deal with him. Wrong! Sometimes it's better to let things cool off a bit, if possible.

Fortunately, Food Lady was only startled, but not hurt. Socks just wanted to let us know he was distressed at this visitor. Point taken.

Wanna Play.jpg

Then Tweetie was given some food, which he happily ate, regardless of the giant cat towering over him with the rather silly attempt to scare him with his almost pouffless tail. We all had hoped that Socks would just eat and relax, instead of try to look menacing, but he ran off.

Socks Tail Pouff.jpg

With a bit of cajoling, we were able to encourage Socks to return. Tweetie was still ready to be friends, but Socks wasn't ready for that. With a short, guttural growl and quick hiss, Socks ran off again, seemingly for good, this time. Poor Tweetie. He just wanted to make friends. He behaved far better than I could have hoped. He didn't run and hide. He didn't flip out. He was brave and confident. Gone was the fearful feral kitten I once knew.

Face to Face.jpg

Finally, Face to Face. Tweetie Wonders; "Are You My Daddy?"

Even though the introduction was far from a Hollywood Ending, it could have been much worse. Penny will need time to come around or she'll just stay in "her space" and avoid any interaction with Tweetie. Socks showed interest and although felt threatened by the newcomer, he returned, just moments after running off, with tail held high, looking as fabulous and calm as ever.

All is Well.jpg

It was time for me to go. Enough excitement for all the kitties for one day. Time to let them all relax. I asked for a moment to say goodbye to Tweetie and everyone kindly left the room. I stepped over the window screens and Tweetie dashed behind the toilet. I called to him and he came right over to me. Unsure of what was going on in this new place, with new smells and a giant cat hissing at him, he was still willing to leave the safety of his hiding place. I picked him up, then was surprised to see a mirror on the wall in front of us. I hadn't noticed it before. Tweetie looked at the reflection just as I did. I took a mental portrait of us at that moment, sorely wishing I had my camera. It was the first time I ever saw myself with Tweetie and it made me tear up. I realized this may be the last time I ever hold this sweet little cat. The last time I feel his quick purr or hear his goofy burble. I got to this moment with a lot of hard work, patience, a few painful bites on my finger and a lot of love. Though my heart suddenly ached, there was nothing more that I could do other than to kiss his forehead and leave him to settle in his new home. I promised myself I wouldn't cry in front of his new family. It was a tough promise to keep.

This is my life; to socialize feral kittens and to help find them good homes. I'd done my part. Now it was up to Food Lady and the rest of her family to decide if Tweetie will be a good fit in their home. Part of me wishes it wouldn't work out so I could take him back, but I realize I'm being entirely selfish and this just feels like the place where Tweetie was meant to be-I know again with my silly predictions!

I hope that Sockington and Penny will find their way to love Tweetie, as I have, and that their home is filled with a lifetime of joy. I really enjoyed meeting Socks. He's just awesome in every way. I'd love to get to know Penny. I feel badly we only had a moment to visit with her. She's really a beautiful girl. I wish I could tell them both that it's going to be okay. That they'll still be just as famous and just as loved, if not moreso than before.

Food Lady and Fat...err...Mr. Scott are both focused on what's best for all the cats. Their sincere desire to make certain the introduction is done in the most positive manner possible is truly impressive. They're very good people who I hope to become friends with as the days pass.

Here's to new beginnings-a new chapter, of either Tweetie's visit?...or Tweetie's rise to fame, alongside his older mentor, Sockington?

I Didn't Do It.jpg

What will happen to this little fella? He no longer has to fear being released into the woods, but will Tweetie's visit turn into an adoption or will he come back to Connecticut to find a new home?

All I can say about that is, of course, stay tuned...and...shoot! I forgot to get a pawtograph!

The Tweetie Chronicles: Chapter Nine

I'm very proud of Tweetie. In less than two weeks, he's come out of his angry shell. The once ferocious feline is now a cuddly bug. He's getting along well with his little friends, Sprinkles, Twinkles and Pixie and even spent all night with them last night and never once had to be sequestered to "his room" to give him a "time out" from the others.

Today we enjoyed some play time, which I also video taped! I hope to post some movies of the kittens as soon as I can work out some of the technical details. You'll laugh when you see Tweetie's reaction when he looks up and sees my big cat, Spencer looking down at him from the balcony railing!


The other kittens, too, are doing well. They're all growing, finally eating their food and truly have a wonderful time with each other. It makes me a bit sad to know that this is their last night together. Tomorrow, very early, the kittens go off to be spayed, while Tweetie and I go on a road trip. By Friday, all the kittens will have gone to their forever homes.

Hail Feather Toy.jpg

And where are Tweetie and I headed? It was one thing that Tweetie had an audience with Food Lady, Sockington's Mom, but now we've been invited to travel to Boston to visit The Socks Army HQ!

Tweetie and Sockington are going to MEET!

With any luck, tomorrow, from the road, I'll be updating our status on Twitter, as well as posting photos via TwitPic. If you keep any eye on my Twitter feed, you should see how we're doing.

The next question, I'm sure you're asking yourself is: Will TWEETIE BE COMING BACK WITH ME? Or will Tweetie be made a high ranking official of Socks Army OR, as rumors suggest, will Tweetie be asked to carry out orders as Sock's body double, thereby keeping Socks safe?

I can't answer that just now, but what I do know is, who knew? Who knew posting a photo and tweeting about a kitten would take us on this crazy journey?!

Urgent Help Needed! Cough Up Some Cash for a Little Kitten!

This JUST IN from our group The Animal Center:

Unexpected twists and turns in life happen to everyone. Winkle the kitten is only ten weeks old, but has already had some big ups and downs in his life. First, something happened to seriously damage his left eye, leaving him partially blind and in significant pain. But then his life started to change for the better when someone spotted him in a busy parking lot and brought him to the neighborhood "cat lady," who then contacted The Animal Center for help.

Shortly after Winkle came to us in late July, we brought him to an eye specialist who diagnosed his left eye with severe glaucoma. Winkle is completely blind in that eye and the pressure behind it is causing him considerable pain.

winkle 1.jpg
Photo credit: The Animal Center

But despite his pain, Winkle is always in good spirits, greeting visitors with purrs and affection, and he loves to play. Like so many animals who are abandoned and rescued, Winkle has demonstrated a strong will to live and trusting, positive spirit from the very first day we met him.

We don't know how Winkle was injured, but his veterinarian suspects a blunt force trauma to his head.

winkle 2.jpg

Photo credit: The Animal Center

What we do know is we can make life a whole lot better for Winkle. By removing his left eye, his doctor will relieve the pressure behind it, eliminating Winkle's pain. His surgery is scheduled for August 5th, 2009.

Today, we're asking for donations to our Angel Fund to help us pay for Winkle's eye surgery and follow-up care so that this kitten has a chance to live a full and healthy life free of pain. And if you know anyone who's interested in giving the sweetest one-eyed kitten in the world a home, let us know!

Note from Robin:

Every dollar helps, so don't feel like you can't donate enough. We appreciate even a $1 donation. Please help Winkle! I'll be sure to update his progress as soon as we have more info available!


Weighing the Options

Yesterday I posted a photo on Twitter of one of my foster kittens, Tweetie. He has an uncanny resemblance to The Famous Sockington, a cat so famous he has his own Army! Now, THAT is one cool cat.


Thousands of folks visited Tweetie's photo and visited my humble BLOG. Many were asking about adopting Tweetie, even though he's still a wild child and has a long way to go before he'll ever like people. It does my heart good to know about that support.

The sad reality for us, is that our rescue group is small and we don't have the luxury of time, to turn Tweetie, and those like him, into adoptable companions. This is why our group does TNR and we don't try to adopt out kittens who won't make good companions without months or years of work.

For those of you not yet familiar with TNR. TNR is "Trap, Neuter, Return" You can read this article on the ASPCA's web site

Sweetie Tweetie.jpg

Tweetie IS adorable, but he's already bitten two people, myself included. Since he's been here, I've seen him soften a bit and I know I could turn him around, IF we had plenty of foster families or the money to open a shelter, since that would take the burden off me to foster more kittens.

That forces us to weigh the options. If I kept Tweetie for six months, I couldn't take any more foster kittens. That would mean, at least 24 to up to 50 kittens could have passed through my doors, who won't even get a chance to be rescued AND at the end of six months, there is no guarantee that Tweetie would be adoptable by then.

As I write this, I know of two kittens living in a car at one of the nearby town's dump. A very nice man is looking after them, but he knows if they don't get into a home for socializing soon, it will be too late for them, too. We can't help him because adoptions are down to nothing with the bad economy. Once we free up room, we take more. I hope to help these kittens as soon as mine are ready to go.

Alley Cat Allies also has something to say about this problem, too:

"Depending on your initial decision, you will end up with either socialized, well-adjusted kittens who you can easily adopt out, or a colony with fully sterilized, vaccinated feral cats and kittens. Either decision is correct because, as you have read, taking on the task of raising kittens or socializing them is no easy feat. Be secure that you made the best choice for your circumstances and don’t second guess yourself. Kittens can pull at our heart-strings, but in the end, doing what is best for you will ultimately be what is best for the kittens"

After all this, I want to assure you that we are working with Tweetie, in the time we have. We have to face this dilemma with kittens every year. There are always a few we can't turn around, no matter how hard we try. For those, the most compassionate thing we can do, is provide them with a loving caregiver and a safe outdoor home to live in. It's not ideal, but when you look at the figures of how many millions of feral cats and kittens are euthanized every year; a life lived outdoors, in comparison, is a life LIVED.


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