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The End is Here. A New Beginning is Near.

I've been trying to write this post for a week. I'm torn between writing a virtual rant vs. just moving forward with my life. The temptation is to light these words on fire and to really let off a years' worth of steam, but reason states that those of us in the rescue community all know each other and burn one bridge now means making trouble for yourself later.

So with that in mind, I will write this:


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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer says it all.

I left The Animal Center for good. No turning back. Done. Whatever reasons I have for this, for now, will be my own. I gave it my all for 5 years, but there was a price to pay that I wasn't willing to pay any longer. I leave angry and hurt, but I know in time those feelings will fade away and for now, I can use that energy to do something positive.

I've been grappling with what to do next. The answer has been right in front of me for a long time, but I was afraid to give it a shot. I'll continue to use my tiny networking skills to help rescue cats from southern death row shelters. I'll also keep doing everything I did before, but...

I'm going to make a go of it on my own. I'm going to start my own Non-Profit Cat Rescue Group. Stupid idea or perfect timing, I have no idea. There are lots of hurdles ahead, but I'm going to try. This is the dawning of my new journey. The road I've travelled on has led me to this place. I stand here before you and take a deep breath. I'm ready to stick my neck out, kick some ass and save lots more cats.

You're welcome to come along for the ride and see how this pans out. Maybe you'll say “I knew her back when she first started that was just her, but now look at it!” but hopefully not; “Oh yes, that was before she got stuck with all those cats she couldn't adopt out and went crazy and they found her body...the cats got to it first...

I'm truly scared. I had all these plans to start super small, go slowly, only take those two cute cow kittens in to foster and see how it goes...

But so many need help! I can't just sit here with two foster kittens when I have room for more! Oh boy...what have I done?

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Details of my craziness coming soon...

When The Bells Tolls For Thee

I'm not getting any younger. That's for sure. Every day new aches pop up and the type on cat food can labels looks like a secret code only a mouse could read. I don't have children (other than furry ones) and my family is sparse, mostly non-cat people (how that happened, I don't know) or I hate their guts (oops).

That leaves me with a predicament.

Who will care for my cats after I die? Sam and I are together so often that we could die together in an accident. What then? What if Sam dies first, then I die?

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob has already had two families that I know of. Will he have another one day?

I have a Will. In it, I dictated that the Director of the group I'm with should find homes for my cats. I have come to realize that that choice is not a good one any longer. I would rather know the homes my cats are going to now, if, at all possible. Just as people do with children, I would like to choose “Godparents” for my cats.

Am I being morbid? NO. I'm being realistic. Shit happens even when you're 18 or 32. I'm pushing the big 5-0. I've been lucky so far, but one day the luck will run out.

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©2008 Robin A.F. Olson. Cricket sleeps. My former feral is mostly too shy around anyone but us. What will become of him? He's a really sweet boy. He would not make it in a shelter.

I started to imagine putting just one person in charge of all the cats. They would get my house, most of my stuff, but would have to live here until all the cats pass away (naturally!), then they can do what they want with the stuff. But that's a lot to ask.

The other problem is that the people who would give my cats the best home, already HAVE, in most cases, quite a few cats, already. Asking them to take 8 more is too much. Perhaps, asking them to take one or two is possible?

I don't have to have it all sorted out in a day (I hope), but I dipped my toe into the water to see how it would feel. I asked someone to take Bob Dole, should he outlive me.

I asked, Super-Deb.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Spencer. The pouffy cat with his own fan club. Spencer is my beloved, but he wouldn't be an easy fit into just any home. He must have play time or he can be bossy with other cats. He's an alpha-boy, too and does not like belly rubs or to be picked up. That said, he loves to be near me at all times and he's “my boy.”

I love Super-Deb, but who wouldn't love someone who is super? Even though I've known SD for many years, I don't know her very well. She is a private person, with me, but I get the feeling she's shared things with me that maybe not many other people know. She may seem to be a bit guarded, but it doesn't take long for her to reveal a wicked dry sense of humor. Her devotion to her own animals and her loving care of them is a beautiful sight to behold. She really knows her stuff and has been a mentor to me during so many crises and a calming voice during the worst of it.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Petunia or “'Tunie” as I call her. She should be called; “Princess.” She's clever, chats with me and can do tricks, but she is high strung-no wonder, she's one of the lowest cats and I know the boys pick on her some times. She would be great in a home with no other cats other than her mama, Gracie. I know she would blossom.

She's jokingly called “Aunt Debbie” when Bob goes to Dr. Larry's. Bob loves her and vice versa. He will let her brush him and he won't let me do as much. I only want Bob to visit Dr. Larry when Aunt Debbie is there to oversee his care. It's a perfect fit for SD to take Bob.

©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. I should re-name this cat, “Poor-Gracie.” for she is not in good shape. I'll write more about her, separately, but she's had a very long road with a skin ailment that's taken her beauty and her joy in life. She needs a kind hand and a knowledgeable person to keep her healthy.

Yesterday we were talking on the phone about my worries about Gracie. I didn't have the nuts to ask her about Bob, so I sent her an email, shyly asking her to ignore my being a loonie, and would she consider taking Bob (along with some money for his care) if something happens to me and Sam? She wrote back a resounding YES!

A few minutes later, my phone rang. SD blurted; “Can I have Blitzen, too?!”

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and Blitz. Some days things are just perfect.

I didn't want to ask her for that, thinking it was too big of a request, but of course, YES. I would be happy for her to take him, too.

I've got four more cats to figure out homes for, unless Sam wants me to try to place his cats, too, and then it will be six. Once we have this worked out, I go to my lawyer. I want to protect my cats as much as I can after I die. They shouldn't have to face death row at a shelter because they might be older or sickly. It's not fair to them at all.

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©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. I assume there will be a fist-fight over Nicky, but with Nicky, comes Nora. Maybe they can go back and live with their brothers; “Charles and Bailey,” but I haven't asked just yet.

I hope that all of you will think about this and how it effects your own life and cat-family. Yes, it's scary or creepy or “you just don't want to go there,” but if you don't “go there” it's selfish. What of your cats? Their future well-being? Your dogs? Some times you have to do things that are unpleasant, but knowing you have it worked out, for when your time comes? Well, hopefully, it's a great comfort to you and most assuredly, the least you can do for your pets.

Sniff Test

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I don't think Spencer recognized Bob without his clothes on.

Behind the Scenes on Blitzen's Adoption

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

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Blitz really enjoys catnip!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster Cat Journal: The Last of Santa's Team

Little Blitzen is the last of Santa's Team to be in foster care. The rest are off to their forever homes. Blitzen would have been long gone had he not needed treatment for Ringworm. His last dose of meds will be on Saturday. He's had no sign of any ringworm for a few weeks. Other than an occasional sneeze, his health seems good.

I also let him out of his room a few weeks ago, too. Once the others were gone, it was too unkind to leave a little guy alone for so long. I knew it put my cats at risk of getting ringworm, but since the stuff is airborne, I had to figure they've all had a snoot-ful of it by now.

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Blitzen loves the cat mat that Aunt Clare made him!

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I think he's wear it if he could.

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Bob's not too sure he wants to share the cat mat, even though there's one behind him...yes, it IS considerably smaller and Bob wants what Bob wants. Blitz is happy to have someone to roughouse with. Spencer is staying out of it this time.

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Open the door to the deck and all fighting ends. The boys love the fresh air.

Blitz has been trying to find his place among the other cats. Petunia is very angry about him being here and Spencer has ramped up attacking her. It's a complex situation having eight cats. Spencer wants to bully Petunia and so does Bob. I can't understand why, though I do believe that Petunia might want to be the alpha cat OR she is so fearful that she needs a nicer alpha cat, instead of a bossy guy like Bob or Spencer. Having Blitzen here doesn't help her, but it does give the big boys someone to play with and chase around, so maybe they'll leave her alone a bit more often?

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Someone's tail is growing faster than their body. I'm not sayin' who, though.

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And don't think for a minute that Blitzen is in any danger. In fact, the little squirt instigates many of the clashes. He's not aggressive. he just wants to play. I've seen Spencer race up and down the stairs with Blitzen hot on his tail! It's great to see the cats running around more. Even Bob and Nicky, who have been slow to warm to Blitz, have begun to show signs of accepting him.

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Blitzen and Nicky. Looks like the little guy has a long way to go yet before he's as big as Nicky-if that is even possible!

I feel bad for Blitzen. He's doing his best to fit in where there isn't a whole lot of room. He was sleeping between Sam and I most nights, but now he is under the bed. I think ”the girls,” Gracie and Petunia, had a talk with him and asked him to get lost. He won't even hang out on the bed and they rarely leave it. Something is up.

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I know you want to come outside on the deck, but you're too young! Talk about guilt!

I really want Blitzen to be happy here. Sam is ready to adopt him. I see some definite benefit, but I also see the problems. He might not get as much time and attention from us as he would from a family with only one other cat, but he will have other cats to interact with here in addition to his human family. The problem is that this sweet little guy has had a few cats hiss at him, so now he's confused about being friends with other cats. I really hope he can find one or two of my guys to be closer to. I'm sure he misses the closeness he shared with Cupid and his sisters and it's not fair for him to go without cat companionship.

Blitzen has done very well adapting to a much bigger space, lots more cats and challenges. He remains a sweet tempered kitty and he always makes me smile.

I have to ask myself if I can be happy letting him go and knowing he's in a great home, that's not mine; or decide that although we weren't looking for another cat, that one found us.

It's time to adopt him or put Blitz on Petfinder.

For You, With Love & Thanks


If I could send all of you a bouquet and a Thank You note for putting up with all my worrying and crying about the “Santa's Team” rescue, I would. I really appreciate all the support you all give me. I am completely undeserving and humbled. I'm just a regular “schmoe” just trying to make a difference in a few cats lives. You make me feel like a shiny star.

Along the way, I had no idea I'd find there are so many caring and compassionate people out there who are generous and willing to share their heart and affection with me. I am so honored.

Spring Fever!

It's been waaaay too nice outside for the past few days. We've been seeing temps well into the 60's with sparkling blue skies. I'm taking the day off and am headed to hike with my nephew and to see the effect all the recent rains have had on our local waterfall in Kent, CT.

In honor of Spring, here is a photo of some daffodils from my own yard, taken last year. It's still too early in the year for them to bloom, but I'm anxious to get spring started!

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And on a cat-note, I am going to visit Donner & Dancer. Hopefully my anxiety of their placement will fade once I see how they're doing-even if they are being fed crappy grained food. Okay, I know it's not about the food, it's about the loving care, right? But that includes the food, if you ask me. All I go. More in a bit...

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While Spencer Sleeps...

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...I toss and turn. I'm still in the throes of doing my blasted taxes. I'm in a foul mood. I don't see the sense in wasting days of my life, adding up countless receipts because when it's all said and done, I probably won't owe any taxes and I won't deserve a refund. So why bother?

Last night I did a home visit for DRNA. They posted a message about needing help here in Newtown, so I offered. Along with my home visit, I had to fill out a very comprehensive form, detailing my visit. It made me realize how little we ask of our own adopters. We certainly don't do a home visit and we only ask that they don't declaw the cat and have their other animals up to date on vaccines and wellness exams. That's about it.

After the home visit, which went fine, we stopped at the grocery store to buy cat litter. Who should I run into but the dad and two sons of the family I adopted Donner & Dancer to. In the guy's hands was a stack of canned food-the cheapest, most awful crap you can imagine. It was 20 cans for $7; full of grain and mystery meat products. I almost screamed.

I did my best to be friendly about it and he said he didn't know how to tell it had grain or not and I reminded him that he can't buy grain free in a grocery store-which also pisses me off. Why can't you get good cat food at the grocer? At least you can't get it around here. There wasn't anything I could do. I said I'd send him info and he bought the crap food.

Once home, I sent him a long email with links to cat food resources and a discount code. I could not sleep. I kept thinking about how awful this was and that they said Dancer was still very scared-probably because there are two rambunctious boys in the house. I imagine her cowering in fear and growing into a messed up adult. I want to think the best of these people, but I really f-cked up. I should not have adopted to them, but the deed is done. I can't go get the cats when I don't have a great reason to do so. Now I fear the cats will become fat and unhealthy and I wonder if they will even keep up with Vet visits? Will they even keep them indoor only, as promised?

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I'm sick about this. I know it could be worse. Even two of my best friends, who adopted from me two years ago, feed crappy cat food and the cats are chubby but they are loved so very much. They seem to be content in their home and maybe that is enough?

Bob Dole's Story Featured on

While I wallow in self-loathing and despair over parting with many of my foster kittens, I thought I'd mention that my latest article just went live on Feline-Nutrition's web site.

It's a story about how I got started feeding Bob (Dole)(my cat, not the dude), a raw diet. Just after I wrote the article, I made my first batch of “homemade” raw for the clutter. Since it was too late to go to press, I'm including some extra photos, here.


For my crew, this is what it takes to feed my cats for a little over TWO days. Yes, it's a lot. It's kind of a pain in the ass, actually, but I'm still trying to find my pace and getting used to not opening a can and dumping it onto a plate. At least now I know for sure what my cats are getting in their food.

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For anyone who fears this is gross, it's not. It smells nice and fresh. The trick is getting it warmed up without cooking it. If it's still icy cold the cats won't eat it.

If you want to know why I bother, look at the before and after photos of Spencer, below. He was a blimp a few years ago. It was hysterical to look at him, but I was doing him an injustice and I knew it. Spencer also has a chronic breathing problem, which left him wheezing all the time. These days I can barely hear him. I'm sure the diet helped keep any swelling down in his sinuses

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Here's Bob on day one of the new raw diet. He ate as though he had never eaten before. Most of the cats cleaned their plates, which I have NEVER seen them do in almost a decade. This might sound weird, but they also seemed relaxed and content. Most of them passed out after they ate and washed their faces. It's not like that every day. I'm still working out the kinks, but it's nice to see them be interested in their food.

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The article is on the front page, so if you care to read it, just look for Bob's cute face and you've found the right place.

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Dear Clare

Dear Clare,

Thank you for the homemade cat mats. I know I'm supposed to give them to the foster cats-and I will, but I had to “test drive” one on my cats first.

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Dear Clare,

What did you put in the cat mat? Spencer's sense of smell is poor. Normally he isn't interested in catnip. Is there something you want to tell me? Spencer is bunny-kicking the shit out of this mat. His eyes are glazed over. What is going on?


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Dear Clare,

My cats won't share. They want their own mat. If they don't get one, they'll spat.

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Dear Clare,

There is more square feet of cat, than there is square foot of cat mat. Can you make me a bedspread sized one?

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Dear Clare,

Do you know if there's a catnip rehab facility in Connecticut? I'm thinking Bob might need to go there. He looks like he's had a bit too much and Nicky can't stop rolling around and yeowling incoherently. I'm afraid the neighbors are going to call the cops.

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Dear Clare,

Nora would like to know if you can rub her belly to maximize her user experience (since she can no longer reach her own belly).

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Dear Clare,

Nicky also asked if you could rub something, but I had to edit out what he said. I blame the drugs for his ungentlemanly, he had a surgery a few years ago and that sort of limited his options in that department, anyway.


Dear Clare & All My Dear CiCH Readers,

It's friends like you that are like a big mat of catnip for me. I can wrap myself up in your comforting words and breathe deep, feeling suddenly quite invigorated and alive when only moments before I was too busy licking my wounds to do much else.

With Love,



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