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Saving Leo

There are times when something happens that stops you cold in your tracks. Whatever pressing engagements you had fall to the wayside without guilt or concern. You're driven by a mixture of shock and adrenaline. You must act immediately, even though you're not sure what to do.

On Saturday, April 28th, a couple noticed a cat wandering outside their apartment. The cat walked oddly and was very thin, but seemed to know they were there and didn't run away. When they got closer to the cat, they saw something so shocking they were stunned into silence.

The ginger tabby's eyes were sealed shut by a crust of some sort. His nose must have been running for a long time which caused it to seal shut, as well.

To make it worse some sort of green mold or growth had covered his nostrils, as if he was sprouting a nightmarish green mustache. The only way he could breathe at all was through his mouth. This cat was suffocating. He couldn't see to get around and was going to die and die soon if someone didn't help him.


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One of the saddest things I've ever seen. This is what Leo looked like when he was discovered. Click to view the image and click again to hide the image, BUT BE WARNED IT'S GRAPHIC and may upset you.

It's easy for some people to come up with a reason to look away-to not help an animal in need. They may not have money or time or experience in knowing what to do. This couple didn't have a cat, nor could they have one in their apartment, but that didn't stop them from helping a cat they'd only just met. They carefully approached the cat, who turned out to be very friendly, even though he could not see them. It didn't take them long to realize they needed to get this cat to the Vet right away.

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Leo after his face was cleaned for the first time. No one even knew if he could see or if he'd gone blind from the horrific upper respiratory infection he was battling.

They named him Leo.

Leo was in sorry shape. The Vet began to carefully clean away the crusts covering his eyes and nose. Leo was too weak to make a fuss. He had probably been unable to eat for long time. They put him on an IV and a combination of antibiotics. The protocol for vetting an unknown cat is to perform a combo test to test for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia, so they did that, too. The test came back positive for Feline Leukemia which is contagious to other cats and ultimately fatal. Leo was also neutered, which meant he had a home at some point, but where was his family now?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Leo under the lights at Home Depot.

As with every positive test, Leo would need to be re-tested at a later date to prove his Leukemia positive status, but the problem was that there was no where for this cat to go-IF he survived treatment. Who would take a Feline Leukemia positive cat who was battling a horrific upper respiratory infection? Maybe Leo would be better off if they euthanized him?

Calls were made, emails sent out. All the rescue groups in Long Island alerted all the rescues in New York and Connecticut. They needed a foster home or an amazing adopter or an amazing rescue to take this cat on, knowing full well he would require expensive Vet care. They chose to try to save his life if they could find a place for him to go. When I saw the photos of Leo, my heart broke. I couldn't do much, but I contacted Gina, who rescued Leo and told her about Aslan's Cats Sanctuary in upstate New York. Their rescue takes only feline leukemia positive cats. Maybe they could help?

I also offered to help transport Leo to Aslan's should it come to pass.

Leo was on an IV for a few days. Gina and her husband got a bill for $1500.00. When I told them we'd do a fundraiser, they said to donate any money to Aslan's because Leo will need much more Vet care and they had secured a placement for him there…and oh, by the way, could I drive two hours north that very night? Leo was stable enough to be moved.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Our first real look at this lovely “apple-head Tom.”

So barely twelve hours after I first heard about Leo, I was driving to the Home Depot in Brewster, New York (along with Sam) to meet Gina by 8:30pm. Gina bought a crate for Leo and a blanket that she wanted to donate to Aslan's. She gave me his paperwork and I peeked inside his carrier. His eyes were open just a bit, which was an improvement over the last photo I'd seen, but he looked like he was in rough shape. His right front leg was bandaged. I could see he still had a catheter in his leg. It reminded me of my cat, Bob, which immediately made me feel sad. I started to pray Leo would not die before I got him up to Catskill, New York where Aslan's is located, but I had a two hour drive ahead of me and plenty of time to worry.

I-84 and I-87 have seen better days. There were bumps and potholes aplenty. I kept saying “I'm sorry.” to Leo since I needed to drive “enthusiastically” if I was going to get to Catskill before 11pm, but driving at highway speeds made every bump even more obvious. Leo didn't make a fuss. I always consider that a bad sign when a cat is quiet in the car.

About 30 minutes into the drive I heard an odd sound, then I heard it again. I realized Leo was wheezing, but it was not the sort of wheeze I had ever heard before. Since I was driving I kept asking Sam to check on Leo. Is he sitting up? Is he looking fairly comfortable? Is his nose running? Is he ALIVE?

Leo was uncomfortable but did not appear to be in any danger. I made good time and we arrived at Asland's at a few minutes after 10 pm. Hilary Harris, the Director, met us with open arms. She's the kind of person you can warm up to right away. I brought up some of my Halo Spot's Stew canned food donation to offer her and we started talking about appropriate food for cats. We talked shop. She introduced us to many of the cats-and there are 60 of them. She knew every name and where every cat came from. It felt peaceful there, but I felt very sad, too. Here is a house full of cats who have a terminal illness. Many will never have a home to call their own, but being at Asland's is a very good option for them. [I'm going to go into more detail about Aslan's Sanctuary at another time because they deserve a blog post solely about what they do and about the tragedy that befell them last autumn.]

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Leo, severely underweight and weak, gets a lift from Sam.

I finally got a chance to see Leo for a moment as Sam lifted him out of the carrier and placed him into a nebulizer tank, which is basically a plastic tub with a tight fitting lid. There's a hole in one side for a tube to enter the tub, which is attached to a nebulizer. It's a way to deliver medicine to the sinuses and lungs that will help decongest Leo and ease his breathing. It's also very unnerving for a cat, but it had to be done.

As Leo got his treatment, we got to know each other. Hilary told us she could have lived offsite from Asland's but prefers to live with the cats. She has a small bedroom and tinier office space in Victorian home she shares with the cats. There are few human comforts. It's all about the cats and keeping them happy.

Everywhere we went the cats followed us, reaching out for attention. I was slow to touch them, thinking about how I was going to decontaminate myself and not bring anything into my own home later that night. After awhile I forgot about the URI's or the leukemia. They were all sweet kitties who needed the same love any cat did. I wished it wasn't so late so we could have stayed longer, but Leo needed to get settled and the next morning he was due to go to a new Vet for more supportive therapy and another checkup. We said our farewells and as the rain began to tickle our shoulders, Sam and I got back into my car as I set the GPS for HOME.

More on Leo and his struggle to survive tomorrow…



If you'd like to help with a donation for Leo's care you can visit Aslan's Cats Donation Page. They are a Non-Profit 501©3 and accept PayPal or you can mail a check. Their address is included on the donation page.


Foster Mama FAIL!

For the kitten's fourth week birthday I decided to be an idiot and scare the crap out of them! Hurrah! I'm learning oh so much about fostering kittens; what to do, not do. Today's lesson is: “DO NOT DO THIS.”

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Wondering what the heck is going on.

The other day I downloaded some iPhone apps that had to do with cats. Some are educational/ reference material about what is toxic to cats or cat health and others are silly and have to do with painting using photos of cats or adding weird things to existing photos of cats (like laser beam eyes). I also got this app called Cat Sounds. It was FREE. It has all of FOUR (free) cat sounds on it, plus some wild cat sounds. Last night I played a few of the sounds and my cats almost slept through them. One sat up and looked around.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Drama! Intrigue! Hilarity!

This morning, after playing with the kittens and shooting some video, as a MORONIC ACT I decided to (FAIL!) play the sounds. One sound was of a purring cat and another was was titled: “Happy Cat.” April was sitting next to me on the floor. She heard the sounds and looked around, but was basically bored.

I played the Happy sound again. I think it was a cat in heat. The energy in the room shifted. It got quiet. I looked into the bathtub and the kittens had formed a group and were huddled together-TERRIFIED!


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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Foster mom's blunder; scaring cats into nice photo op (by accident).

Of course, instead of soothing them, I shot a video. Classy move on my part, I know. Fortunately the kittens don't appear to be adversely effected, but one of them is still giving me a funny look ever time I enter the room to check in on them.

Watch the video! It will explain it in a more entertaining way.

Over and out.

Save Your Cat's Life with a Question

Yesterday I got a heartbreaking comment on a post I wrote two years ago about the dangers of giving your cat Metacam®. The cat guardian found my post after he had given Metacam to his 13 year old cat because she had hip dysplasia and he wanted her to be comfortable. He noticed his cat became constipated and called the Vet to ask if the Metacam was the culprit and they said it was unlikely. He backed off giving his cat the medication and she got better, but she was still having pain in her hips so he felt obliged to give her the Metacam again.

The constipation returned to the point of her crying and straining when she attempted to defecate. She began vomiting so her guardian took her to the Vet. They determined she was in renal failure (based on blood work). They offered treatment but gave the cat about nine months to live. The guardian, feeling like he wanted to do what was best for his cat, chose to have her humanely euthanized. After she died, he did some research online and found out he could have treated her and she probably would have lived much longer- and clearly, too, it was possible that the Metcam caused her renal failure!

He wrote me, broken hearted. His cat was gone. Here he was trying to do the best he could for her and felt he had failed her.

What went wrong?

This brings up a few points I'd like to share about how to work with your Vet during your cat's health crisis. Notice I didn't write; “How to listen to your Vet and do what they tell you and not ask questions.”

If you're NOT someone like me, who has a lot of cats and is always at the Vet or learning about cat health, then it's very easy to put the decisions into your Vet's hands and not take an active roll in your cat's health decisions. The second you do this almost guarantees that later on you'll have a lot of regret. If your cat isn't in an emergency situation, like she was injured in an accident or ate something poisonous, then use common sense. Take the time to find out what the Vet is talking about. Even if it means, as I have done in the past, sitting down with a report in one hand and looking up terms online so you can decipher an ultrasound report, then do it. Here are other things to ask:

• If your vet says to change your cat's diet to a “prescription diet” 
or give them an antibiotic ask him or her WHY are they making this recommendation?
What side effects or other issues can this medication cause? Is there something
you can do to help offset the side effects (like give probiotics at a timed interval
after giving an antibiotic). What's in this food that's so good for my cat? 
Is it species appropriate or full of grain that will sicken my cat further? 
• How will your cat benefit from this treatment or is the Vet simply 
not sure what is going on and wants to try something to see if it works? 
You'd be surprised at how often that happens.
• Is this medication specifically ok to use in cats or is 
this an “off label” use? 
• Would my cat benefit from seeing a homeopathic, holistic or 
eastern medicine Vet? What about acupuncture? If the cat had 
bad hips, she may have done well with that therapy, alone.

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©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. My cat, Bob was given Metacam after he'd fallen almost 17 feet off of our deck. Bob had an ALT of 700 (normal is around 100), yet he was prescribed this medication. Had I known about the issues surrounding Metacam I would NEVER have allowed my Vet to give it to him. I don't know if it caused him to have a hepatic cancer or not. I will never know. Bob passed away last September from a variety of complications. Today I have a “NO METACAM” warning on ALL MY CAT'S FILES.

Unknowingly, the cat guardian thought it was safe to use Meatcam on his cat because his Vet prescribed it…but Metacam is NOT DESIGNED FOR USE IN CATS. It's used “off-label” because there are no effective NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for cats that wouldn't also cause them more problems or kill them. I wrote about it in more detail in my original post on Metacam that you can read HERE Even back then I wrote: “If you read the insert it clearly says " Do not give in cats" and it has caused renal failure in a number of cats after just one dose.”

To make matters even MORE confusing, lately Metacam is being touted SAFE for cats who are undergoing orthopedic surgery or even a spay/neuter if injected one-time before surgery is done to prevent swelling. In fact, Bobette's surgeon gave her Metacam, which flipped me out because I didn't know it until he had already given it to her. He said it was safe if used along with an IV which would keep the kidneys flushed out. So I did some reading about it and see he was correct, but it's still comes with MANY WARNINGS: “Pets should be evaluated for pre-existing conditions and currently prescribed medications prior to treatment with METACAM. Anesthetic drugs may affect renal perfusion; approach concomitant use of anesthetics and NSAIDs cautiously. Use of parenteral fluids during surgery is recommended. Concurrent use of nephrotoxic medications should be carefully approached. Multiple injections or concurrent or follow up use with an NSAID (including METACAM) or corticosteroid should be avoided.”

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This is from the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. Metacam data sheet. It states: “Death has been reported as an outcome of the adverse events listed above. Acute renal failure and death have been associated with use of meloxicam in cats.”

Should YOU have to know this information? Should you have to know about every single medication your Vet prescribes? Why can't you just leave it up to them? They're the ones who went to Vet school!

Guess again. There can be more than one way to treat a health issue. Surprisingly, diet alone can help with a number of factors. If you DON'T get involved with understanding what your cat is being prescribed, then you can find yourself in a very sad situation, as our friend was a few days ago. It's not his fault that he trusted his Vet, but there's a point at which you MUST take an ACTIVE ROLL in your cat's health. Partner with your Vet. Don't let them simply dictate to you. Yes, they have more experience and they went to college, but you can read and you can ask questions. What your Vet is telling you may be spot on, perfect, appropriate and safe-and I hope that's always the case, but for the sake of helping your cat live a long and lovely life, please…ASK QUESTIONS!…breathe!…give yourself some time to consider what is going on and take a step back if you have to. I never want to read another comment or get another email from someone who felt like they were backed into a corner and put their cat down far too soon.

Take a moment do some research, ask questions, ask your friends, see another Vet. There's a tremendous amount of information out there. Even simply going to a pharmaceutical company's web site and looking up the information they provide on their drugs may be all you have to do so save your cat's life.

The Worst, yet Best Birthday, Ever.

The blissful buzz from last week's adventure with Jackson Galaxy, getting the mind-bogglingly-huge donation of cat food from Halo and having the Press here wore off faster than I had hoped. You can't be “that” happy and think that you'll feel that way forever-ain't gonna happen. The only thing was I wasn't prepared for how low I would feel the days to follow.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Hello, baby!

Tuesday was my birthday. I didn't expect a gala celebration, but I did expect, at least a few cards and a cake. I got FIVE postcards from vendors wishing me a Happy Birthday and issuing me a discount to buy cat food, get my back “cracked” or save on a new outfit at the chubby chick store. Sam made an appointment to take his cat, Nicky to the Vet so I guessed we weren't going out for breakfast as we used to do. We passed each other in the hallway. He wished me a “Happy Birthday,” then left. I found a few cards scattered around the house for me. I opened one. I sighed. Was anything in store for me today? Any surprises? Nothing had happened the weekend before and I knew this coming weekend was Easter so I doubted he would set something up for that time…what gives?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Look at those extra toes!

I didn't have time to think about it. Katherine, my so called “friend” (I'm joking and only Katherine knows why. We really are friends, right?), told me about a stray cat living in Trumbull (where I used to live as a kid), who had given birth to what we thought was three kittens, but turned out to be six! I wasn't sure I should take them. I have King and Miss FP in Georgia and Bobette is in the big foster room. I only have one other space for cats so if I took this family, King and Miss FP would have to stay back in GA-which is so not fair to them or Maria.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Everyone tells me to name this cat, Wishbone, but I think that's a terrible name for a cat. What do you think?

In the end, I didn't feel like I could sleep knowing those cats were living outdoors. It gets into the 30's at night here and I feared not all the kittens would survive. They were born the night I met Jackson so I took it as a sign and agreed to take them on.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama is not sure what is going on and just wants to be reunited with her kittens.

While Sam was at the Vet, I went to another Vet to meet Katherine and pick up the kitties. First, Mama had to be snap tested for FIV+ and Feline Leukemia. We test EVERY cat before the come into the house. Thankfully, Mama was negative/negative, which was very important. If she was sick, that meant her kittens would be, too. If she had Feline Leukemia, it would have been a very bad day for all of us.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Meet the family!

Katherine had told me the kittens were black and white, which was fine. I'm slow to take on kittens that are solid black because my rescue is small and black kitties are the last to get adopted. I don't want to get stuck and not be able to help other kittens if I have kittens here for a long period of time who aren't easily adoptable. I wish that wasn't the case and I wish it didn't matter, but it does. Of course, we were not given very accurate information. All but one kitten is black, the other is black and white. A life is a life and these babies would be safe, but I did feel worried that if I couldn't find good homes as soon as they were old enough to be adopted that I'd have these cats forever.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama & the Family.

I looked at the bright side. Two of the black kittens are also polydactyl on their front and back paws. Their daddy is a big, black, fluffy poly-kitty. It's the first time I've ever known the sire of any of my cats. From the looks of it, even at just eight days old, two of the kittens were going to be bruisers.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Nom-noms with mom-mom!

On the way home, I stopped a Luigi's and got myself a few pastries. Luigi's smells like what Heaven should smell like-sugar. I hadn't been there for years and it was a special day so I was going to treat myself. I wasn't even going to SHARE with Sam. So there!

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. I didn't eat all of this, at once or at all, but I thought about it.

I got the little family tucked into their room. I left them alone so the mama could check things out undisturbed. So began my worrying that one or more kittens would die. Until they are two weeks old they have a 30-40% mortality rate! I kept thinking about Bobette's little ones who died after we rescued them. I wasn't prepared for that to happen again, but the mama is small and with six kittens constantly vying for food, it was a lot of stress on her and on them.

I sent out emails to my rescue friends who've bottle fed kittens and asked for their advice since I've never done it before. I read about ideal weight of week-old kittens and I got my scale ready. I weighed most of the kittens until Mama sat across the front of the scale and growled at me. I didn't want to mess with her kittens too much and have her abandon them, so I left the room.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. There are six kittens in there somewhere.

The first two days were shaky. I wasn't sure she was feeding her babies. Mama began to eat, drink and use the litter pan normally. Slowly, but surely, she let me see her eat, then see her feed her kittens. I was greatly relieved to see her feeding all her kittens, not just some. None of them were cast aside. So far, so good.

Mama came over to me and let me pet her. She was very sweet, but something bothered her so growled and jumped back into the bathtub to sit near her kittens. She's very protective of them and seems to stay close by most of the time. I find that if I bring her food and hold the plate by her mouth, she'll eat while the kittens are nursing. She's eating a lot of food and I just keep it coming. I know the more she gets, the more she can provide.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Mama provides.

I'm going to weigh the kittens today since it's been three days since the family arrived. I have to balance bothering the mama with making sure each kitten is gaining weight. This morning, one of the kittens had it's eyes open! Pretty soon all of them will-I hope. At this point, I don't even know what sex the kittens are so I've put off naming them and I think I'd feel better if they were a bit older before I did that.

It's kind of nice to have little ones here. It's been years since I had kittens this young. Usually Maria has them at her house and frankly, I think she's much less of a worry-wort and better prepared to deal with them than I am.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Aww!

Oh and as for my Birthday, the Birthday that never was…as the hours ticked by I got more ticked off. Clearly nothing was going to happen. No flowers. No surprises. No CAKE! Sam was acting like he was mad at me but I couldn't figure out if it had anything to do with me at all. The only surprise was that nothing was happening. At 7:30PM Sam asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner. I basically exploded at the point and we had a big fight-just what you want to do on your BIRTHDAY. It's not worth it to go into details or ask you to take my side, even if I'm (mostly) right! It was my Birthday and no one should be told mean things on their birthday. I'm sorry but that's just wrong.

Once again, Sam and I walked to the edge of the precipice, but neither of us was ready to jump, though I certainly did fantasize about pushing him over, that's for sure.

I focus on the mama-cat. I focus on work. My birthday was just another day, but it WAS great to be part of saving seven lives that day. Whatever else is going on, I'm numb to. It's a sad place to be, but I hope I find my bootstraps so I can pull myself back up.

The Making of a Fur-lebrity: Meet Angelina (Meow-y) Jolie

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Did you know Natioanl Hairball Awareness Day is April 27th? Our friends at Furminator want to remind everyone about the importance of keeping your pets groomed, not only to alleviate nasty hairballs, but to encourage bonding between cats and their guardians and to help keep your cat feeling comfortable. Mats on any animal are painful. As they get bigger and thicker, they pull on the skin making every step uncomfortable, then cause infections and bleeding. I'll discuss Furminator's de-shedding tools and some grooming tips in another post. For now let's focus on the strange and bizarre (my favorite!) request the Furminator folks asked of me.

A select number of cat bloggers were invited to create, what I call a “Fur-lebrity” (celebrity look-alike) out of cat fur! Sound insane? Yes, I'd say so! The rules were simple, groom your cat and use the fur and whatever else you need for your creation. Who you create is up to you.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My fur-lection of cat fur.

I do not consider myself to be crafty, but I did go to art school so I had some hope I could pull this off.

With a $1000.00 donation to my favorite charity (Kitten Associates, YAY!) on the line as First Prize for the best entry, I knew I had to really kick some butt.


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gathering some tools I think might help.

Who would I try to create? I immediately thought of Jackson Galaxy, but then realized I had no way to recreate his brilliant tattoos. I wanted to do someone who is easily recognizable-then it hit me-I would re-create Angelina Jolie's newsworthy leg flash at the 2012 Academy Awards. It went viral in seconds. Her LEG got it's own Twitter page, followed by the creation of a MEME showing classic images with her leg added to them. If you haven't seen it, you can look HERE.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. We have fur. We have photo. Now what do we do?

I had NO clue how I was going to pull this off. I did research and gathered images. I called my friend, Irene and asked her to help. We both got to work brushing our numerous cats and made plans to get together for a planning session. Was I overthinking this? Yes! But I REALLY want that First Prize donation!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Felting the fur, then making a curl. COOL! I can do this!

My shorthairs really shed like crazy and I got a TON of fur off of them. Pee-tunia loved being brushed. I must have brushed her for 30 minutes and I could have kept going her fur is so dense! Because it's so dry this time of year, static electricity built up and I wore almost as much fur as I removed from my cat.

The longhaired cats didn't contribute much, but their fur was softer and easy to work with, especially the DOOD's.

I bagged each cat's fur separately since I'm anal retentive, plus I thought if we had to dye the fur we'd know how much we had up front. Heck, I could always get more as long as didn't make my cats bald.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The LEG. I think Angie is gonna have to shave it!

Irene and I spent many hours working, scratching our heads, making weird faces, feeling confused. We went to a craft store and found lots of goodies that inspired us to keep going.

After we'd found lovely little detail items, we really got to work. Felting cat fur is fairly easy, you just rub it into the shape you want and it stays that way. Irene and I were both covered in cat hair as we worked. We tested, ripped apart, started over. We got Angelina's dress sorted out and I thought it looked spot on. We even got the pleats correct. I started to get into making every little thing I could think of. I made her a little purse, adding earrings and a ring. I even added strips of gray fur to suggest her tattoos. She has one on the inside of her right arm and the longitude and latitude of where her children were born tattooed on her left arm (to cover a tattoo she got of her ex, Billy Bob Thornton's name).

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The gown is lookin' fine!

We kept looking at our reference images. I kept asking myself if there was enough fur being used? How creepy is her face if we SEW on her features? Yes, it's creepy, but just using a doll face seemed like cheating. Irene and I kept looking at each's others contributions. I did the leg, she did the face. I made curls. She sewed the dress once I got the fabric pinned. All said and done, we were really happy with the finished Fur-Lebrity. We even found sparkly red paper we could use for the Red Carpet.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Angelina Meow-y.

Before I photographed our entry, I had to use a LINT ROLLER to get the cat fur OFF part of the gown! Seemed a bit ironic to need to do that.


If we're one of the FIVE lucky FINALISTS---WAIT SCRATCH THAT! BREAKING NEWS: WE ARE ONE OF THE FINALISTS SO I HOPE YOU'LL GO TO the FURMINATOR FACEBOOK PAGE AND VOTE FOR US! We just took in a mama and six kittens so that money can go to providing for all their upcoming Vet care and we can help the other cats in our Program like King, Miss Fluffy Pants & Bobette!


©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. What a cute couple!

Then Irene's niece, Chris sent us a surprise! She created a spectacular Jackson Galaxy! Now I had a problem-we could only enter ONE Fur-lebrity! I felt like I was in a warped version of Sophie's Choice!It was a very difficult decision, but in the end, I went with Angelina. I sure hope Jackson doesn't feel betrayed!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Don't be mad at us, Jackson! You know we love you!


If you'd like to see the other entries, just click on the badge, above. I'm going to go vacuum up some cat hair.

Dining with The Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy. Part 3.

I managed to not drive like a moron, get us lost or scare Jackson with the driving skills I learned when I attended the Skip Barber High Performance Driving School in 2000. Sure, I know threshold breaking and about contact patches, but does Jackson need a demonstration in the middle of the night? Taking a curve on an exit ramp at 80 mph is much more exciting during the day, anyway.

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All roads lead to CVS.

We found a CVS, a different location, but part of the same chain I’d been in that morning to buy mascara. We were the only ones in the place other than a lone employee. It was surreal shopping under the painful glare of fluorescent lights with the snack deprived Cat Daddy.

Jackson had the hood up on his jacket to keep his head warm. I looked at him from a distance and tried to imagine how I’d feel if I was shopping and looked up and saw him without knowing who he was. Would I swoon? Be intrigued? I think he would have scared the [censored] out of me. He is so tall and was so bundled up, all I could see was his face, dark beard and sharp-lined glasses, his dark eyes darting back and forth over the choices in the snack food area. But then, Jackson walked over to the aisle where the “As Seen on TV” stuff was located and mischeviously said that “Furniture Fix,” which are interlocked plastic strips you stick under the cushion of a “blown out” sofa or chair, actually work. See? Never judge a book by his cover.

I told him I used plywood and it just made it feel like the sofa was blown out and the cushion was on the floor, but was glad to know that FF actually works (no, that is NOT a JG Productions endorsement—sheesh!).

Then I pointed at the box for Pajama Jeans, which are my new favorite thing to make jokes about now that Snuggies are passé. I wonder what the world is coming to when people are so lazy they can’t be bothered to take off their pajamas and get dressed. Wait! What was I saying! I live in my pj’s half the time. Who sees me? Maybe I should get some Pajama Jeans? At least they were dry!

Pajama jeans.jpg
Every fashionista's worst nightmare, but they come in “skinny” AND “boot cut.” How cool is that?

We walked up and down the aisles and looked at the cavalcade of crap: chips and nuts and candy, oh my. We made jokes, talked about what we liked or hated. We both liked Cap’n Crunch® when we were kids. Jackson chose something salty (pretzels, what I always get, too!) so I told him he had to get something sweet to balance it and he agreed. We both sneered at the Oreo®’s (Sorry, Nabisco®). Then Jackson pointed out that peanut butter stuffed pretzels are ALWAYS sold in tubs, never in a small bag or box. I pretended to cry and said that from now on, every time I saw those stuffed pretzels I’d think of him. Then I realized “there’s many a true word said in jest.”

Jackson gathered a few items and went to the check out. I used my Jewish super powers (my Mother was Jewish so she handed her powers down to me before she died) to guilt him into not buying RedBull® for the next day's recording session out of fear of what that buzz would do to his digestion, let alone blood sugar (he wisely chose water).

As we stood at the checkout, the young man at the register didn’t realize who was right in front of him. I looked at the kid’s nametag. It read; “Jackson, ”so of course I started frantically poking Jackson’s arm to get his attention to look at the name tag and he whispered to me that he already noticed and that I was slow! What a joker. Gotta love that guy.

double jacksons_ret_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Jackson with his “mini-me” that a volunteer named Chris Fetcho made for Kitten Associates. It's created out of “furminated” cat hair, wool and a maxi pad. Yes, there's a maxi under his shirt…under the faux-Jackson's shirt! Sheesh.

The short drive back to the hotel went just as smoothly as the drive to CVS. Why I didn’t floor it and kidnap Jackson so I could have him all to myself is beyond me. But no, I had to be a good girl and go back to the hotel when I had the chance of a lifetime. I blew it! I’ve never been in jail before nor had a reason to be. I'm such a twit!

Poor Jackson was half asleep in the car. The jet-lag had kicked in full force and I knew it was time to say goodbye.

I pulled up in front of the hotel, killed the engine and got out. Jackson came over to me and we looked into each other’s eyes. Jackson removed his glasses and blinked slowly, making that soft eyes expression he uses to soothe naughty cats on his show. I responded to his gesture by taking off my glasses and giving him soft eyes in return. I felt a purring sensation begin to rise from the depths of my soul. What in the world was going on? Was this guy some sort of Svengali with women, too?

I lost control of my fingers. My glasses slipped to the ground with a “clink.” We fell into a passionate lip-lock, oblivious to the fact that it was [censored] cold outside. His beard tickled my neck as I got lost in his commanding embrace. My knees turned to jelly, but he held tightly onto me. Our bodies started to turn together, as if on a giant lazy-susan. There was no one else, no TV show or book tour to worry about, just us spinning in circles fading in and out of soft focus perfection…

…Really? Come on.

We gave each other a big hug and that was it. I didn’t even score a peck on the cheek, [censored][censored][censored], but I can dream, can’t I? This is MY story about dinner with Jackson so I can write whatever I want!

I think we were both too tired to say much more. I would have liked to tell him good luck with everything and thank you for dinner (thank you!) and a million more things, but I had an hour and a half drive to get back home, so with great reluctance I got back into my old car, I mean my COOL Black BMW (pwned it!) and pointed it west as Jackson’s figure disappeared, the Lobby doors closing behind him.

At least I’d been able to snag Jackson’s yellow wallet during the hug as a souvenir. His Driver's License is a trip! There's a black wavy mustache drawn over his face in the I.D. photo.

---------TUESDAY 3/28/12-----------

I got home at 12:30 AM. The drive along I-95 was spent following an ambulance running lights and sirens. Though I stayed far back from the vehicle, in a way it felt like I was getting an escort home, so I pretended I was a high ranking Government Official (officially tired).

I’d had a cup of tea while Jackson and I shared dessert earlier that night. (OMG I SHARED dessert with Jackson…swoon!) I’m very sensitive to caffeine and only have it, at most, once a day and well before 5pm, otherwise I can’t sleep. I chose to have tea late, knowing full well I’d have to be awake to drive home.

Then I realized how stupid I was. I should have said I too sleepy to drive home! “Oh Mr. Jackson, please pity me. I am so tired and weary and have nowhere to rest my porn-star-hairdood-head and I cannot afford to stay in this luxurious hotel and I am so far from my home. Oh, Mr. Jackson can you help me? I noticed there is a mighty big bed in your room.” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Why aren’t I more conniving, or at least catty? [censored][censored][censored].

So there I lay, in my own bed, with dry (yay!) pajamas on, my porn star hair getting flat, covered in cats. My heart was racing from the adrenaline and the caffeine. I tossed. I turned. I got up to pee and stepped in a puddle of cat urine that was on the floor by the toilet. I saw one of the cats sitting in the doorway. It was Pee-tunia. I know she did it: the little [censored]. I sighed. It was too late at night to yell, plus WWJD? He wouldn't yell at the cat so I cleaned everything up and went back to bed. I tossed some more. I kept reliving the evening. I told myself to cut it out, to focus on the next day. Some folks from the local media were going to be here to document my rescue group, Kitten Associates, receiving it's biggest donation ever-2500 cans of cat food from HALO. I’d have to be fresh and on point for them. See, Jackson, I’m famous, too. Okay, not like you are, obviously, but…but…but…okay, maybe having my photo in The Newtown Bee and The Danbury News-Times does not qualify me for being “famous, ” but it’s something.

Jacksons Card Olson_sm.jpg
The only physical proof, other than a beard hair I found in my car that this night really happened.

I couldn’t sleep a wink. I tried to rest. I knew I was going to pay for it later. I’d told Jackson if he wanted to hang out while he was in town, to let me know. Since there was a slim chance I’d see him again, it was another reason not to want to sleep. I wanted the day to get going so I could find out if I’d see him again; the heck with the Press!

-------------later that morning------------

I did my best to get up and go through my normal routine. I got ready for the Media to arrive, but I was so tired I didn’t do everything I wanted to do before they got to my house. I called Paula at the freight company, expecting her to tell me that the shipment would arrive some time in the afternoon. It was 11am. She said the driver should be there by Noon, the latest. NOON?!! Oh no!

I sent out a few quick emails and made some calls, letting everyone know about the time change. They all made plans to arrive, but would miss the actual delivery. I heard something up on the street. I looked up. The truck was at the end of the driveway, on the street. Oh [censored]! It was 11:15!

I ran to the front door and opened it and almost walked into the driver. He apologized and told me the bad news. He would not drive his truck down the dirt driveway and drop off by the garage, so he’d have to drop the 1100 pound load about 200 yards away, leaving us to have to unpack the palette, load up a car, drive down the driveway, unpack the car, repeat four times, then re-load the palette with 290 CASES of CAT FOOD once it was moved into the garage. UGH!

I’ll cover more of this story and complain about My Backache From Hell later…back to Jackson…

Actually, there really isn’t a lot more to say about Jackson. I was still “high” from meeting him, but the reality that it was over and done and that I probably wouldn’t see him again, either ever or, at best at a Conference some day, left me feeling broken-hearted. I realize it’s stupid to feel like that, but I was greedy. I’ve been yearning to have fun for so long that when I got a taste of it I wanted more.

That the “fun” was with the acme of Cat Behaviorists, as well as a TV star was almost more than I deserved, but my birthday is in a few days, so I gave myself a break from feeling guilty.

It’s not realistic to think that Jackson is available to be my buddy, especially now, with so much on his plate for a very long time to come. If we met under different circumstances maybe we’d be able to hang out and get to know each other, but we live 3000 miles apart. I tried to be happy that anything happened at all, but it just reminded me of how sad I’ve been for so long that I wondered if maybe I should have just stayed home in the first place.

Are you [censored] kidding me? Miss out on meeting Jackson Galaxy? Never.

After the Press left and the palette was moved, I went to bed. It was 4:25 pm. If Jackson was going to contact me about getting together, it would be within the next hour. I set my alarm for 30 minutes, not wanting to miss anything. Of course as soon as I laid down, I got texted by my ex-sister-in-law, who I adore, and who wanted to know if we could get together later in the week. I didn’t want to talk. I had the shakes from being so tired. I wanted to sleep, but I stayed awake and texted her for a while. I kept checking my email, just in case Jackson contacted me, but nothing new appeared in my inbox.

I re-set the alarm for 6pm, knowing in my heart that I wasn’t going to hear from him. I didn't sleep at all so I got back up and moped around the house. At 7:30pm I got a note saying he was hunkering down. There was simply too much going on with the show and the book and the…so he was going to stay in for the night. The Inn sent some chocolate covered strawberries to his room, making him feel like a “rock star.”

I wrote him back and said I understood and wistfully told him to save me a strawberry.

I went downstairs and ate a scoop of ice cream for my dinner. A second day had passed and I’d hardly eaten, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t hungry. I was just sad. I had a good cry, then washed my face and went to bed. I have to face my boring life and go back to worrying about getting my taxes done, how I was going to pay my mortgage, when I was going to get my car fixed. I didn’t want to go back to all that without first promising myself I’d work on figuring out why I was so sad and how I could make changes to enjoy my life more.

I would pick myself back up, gosh darn it, just like in a 1950's musical. I’d focus on my work and focus on my words. I'd rescue more kittens. I'd wash that man right out of my (porn star) hair. I’d had a very nice run of good news after a very long drought. Meeting the Cat Daddy was as wonderful, if not better, than I imagined. He’s probably as good of a people-whisperer as he is with cats.

It’s a delicious feeling to get swept away by the thrill of having a heart’s desire realized, but it’s also bittersweet when it has to come to an end.

At least we’ll always have CVS and peanut butter stuffed pretzels.

Galaxy Wedding Olson.jpg

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson & Jackson Galaxy. This is how I would have preferred to end this post, but unicorns are tough to come by this time of year. Honestly, are we a cute couple or what?

As fate would have it, I got another email, but this one wasn’t from Jackson and what it said made my Grinch-sized smile grow three times larger. But what could possibly top this? We'll see my friends. We'll see.


A serious note: To all of you who one day have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Galaxy, do me a favor won't you? Treat him kindly. Protect him from stress. Don't ask too much of him right now. Give him some breathing room so he can stay clear, keep his Cat Mojo intact, stay sweet. The kitties need him and so do we.


For every copy of CAT DADDY pre-ordered before May 10, Tarcher/Penguin will donate $1.00 to the cause of saving shelter cats. To make your preorder count, simply e-mail your receipt (or a photo/scan of your receipt) to:

Not On My Watch: Holding Breath

Sometimes I feel as though there really is some sort of interrelationship between all things. It's difficult to describe exactly what I mean other than by simply stating “it was meant to be”-when random events stitch themselves together to create a larger meaning-is something real. Or is that that I “stitch” those things together to make meaning for myself? Just because you can't “scientifically” prove something doesn't mean it doesn't occur. Science is flawed in that way because if they can't create a test to measure or study something then it cannot be true.

After yesterday's post about what cats would say if they could speak, I found out that my friend's husband accidentally struck and killed a pregnant cat with his car. He is devastated beyond description to not only have lost the mama, but the unborn kittens inside her, as well. As he and his wife mourned the loss, they mutually agreed that they need to rescue another cat and give it a home, in honor of the one who was lost.

This morning, Sam and I drove Gracie to Dr. Larry's so she could finally get her dental cleaning and extraction and have the growth on her abdomen removed and tested to find out if she has cancer. Jessica, who works the front desk, was only one person in the Clinic when we arrived. Since the clinic wasn't full of other clients needing attention, I asked if it would be ok if we put Gracie into her cage and got her set up. I often go into the back of the Clinic so it wasn't unusual. Gracie is so scared of everything, it was the least I could do to see her off properly.

Gracie on the way to Dr. Larry's this morning.

As I set down her carrier, I noticed another cat carrier. It was old, odd, two-tone green plastic crate and far too small for the cat inside it. Crammed into the tiny space was what appeared to be a very big cat. I asked who the cat was and found out that his name is Jasper and he's 20 years old. He's in renal failure. His owner dropped him off to be euthanized. She didn't even have the decency to be with him, instead left him there to end his life at the hands of the good people who work with my Vet. My heart sank.

I asked if it was his time or did he need better supportive care? Was he getting sub Q fluids? Was he on a good diet? She told me that he was brought in last week because he had stopped eating, but they got him to eat and he perked up and ended up going back home, but now this owner said it's time. She won't give him sub Q fluids, perhaps his is too tough to handle. She's done what she can, but clearly has given up.

I couldn't even see the cat's face. All I could see was that he was white and brown tabby. He couldn't stand or even turn around he was in such a small space. I told Jessica that I thought I might have another option and that to please have Dr. Larry consider that I could re-home the cat and possibly give him the extra time he may have left.

She said she would pass along the information, but since none of us knew how seriously ill he was, there was no way to know if he was going to survive the day.

I called my friend and told her about the cat. She said, of course, they would take him, but couldn't take him until Thursday. I made some calls and worked everything out. If Dr. Larry felt the cat wasn't ready to go and the owner would surrender him, that my rescue group, Kitten Associates would take him and pay for his boarding and medical care until he could go to his new home.

It's almost 11am and I'm waiting for news. I'm worried that the longer it takes for me to hear anything, the worse the news will be. I can't change the flow of this cat's life any more than I already have, but it seems curious to me that Gracie was supposed to have her Vet visit two months ago and is having it today. That last night my friend's husband should suffer a tragic event that caused him to want to adopt a senior cat and that today perhaps those decisions and tragedies should come together to create something wonderful…but it's too soon to know that.

All I know is that another cat got treated like trash, but I had his back this time and maybe his life is not meant to be over today. If he is gone, I will honor him with my tears and try again. There are so many out there who need help. I'm just waiting for a sign to know which one is next.

If Cats Could Speak.

I'm not a disposable object.


ID 20966
Pet Name/Cage Number: C22
Breed: Brown Tabby DSH
Age: Young
Size: Small
Gender: Male
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 2/24
Shelter Name: Simon
A very loving kitty. He was difficult to take a good picture of 
because all he wanted to do was nuzzle me and the camera.

Don't dump me outside to fend for myself if I peed on the rug.

Take me to the Vet. Try to see the world from my eyes. Why would I do such a thing? A few minutes of thoughtful consideration might let you find the answer and if it doesn't, take the time to reach out and ask for help. Are you so busy you can't skip watching a TV show or texting your friends and spend that time thinking about what I need? I wasn't always like this, but something changed and I need your help, not your disdain.

21029-180x270 hestia.jpg

ID 21029
Pet Name/Cage Number: C24
Breed: Brown Tabby DSH
Age: Adult
Size: Small
Gender: Female
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 2/27
Shelter Name: Hestia

I don't deserve to be taken to a shelter and left to die, terrified and alone because you don't want to put the effort into taking care of me any more.

Maybe you got busy or had a baby, but you'll find a new routine and the baby will grow up. Why can't I stay with you during these changes in your life? I've loved you unconditionally for my entire life and now, when I'm a senior that no one would want, you turn your back on me. What did I do to deserve this?

20875-180x270 hallie.JPG

ID 20875
Pet Name/Cage Number: C32
Breed: Tuxedo DSH
Age: Adult
Size: Small
Gender: Female
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 2/15
Shelter Name: Hallie
This calm little girl from Morning Dove Lane is ready to 
get out of animal control. She is great with other cats 
and very affectionate. She rolled onto her back and let 
us rub her belly. She and Sandy are great friends if 
you’re looking to adopt two.

When times get tough, have faith that it will get better.

Don't just cast me aside and move away to a place that doesn't allow pets. What about all those nights when you were sad and lonely and I was there for you with a gentle paw and a sweet purr? Won't you give me the same consideration-the same devotion?

Realize that you made a commitment and take it seriously. It's not like a marriage that ends in divorce.

I can't fend for myself without you. I can't build a new life without a lot of help. I give you 100% every day and I don't even ask that from you in return. So why would you buy me on a whim from a pet shop or adopt me as a gift and think you can just return me like a used sweater if it's too much to scoop my litter pan or too costly to provide me with good food and adequate Vet care?

21036-180x270 rascal rez.jpg

ID 21036
Pet Name/Cage Number: C25
Breed: Orange Tabby DSH
Age: Adult
Size: Small
Gender: Male
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 3/3
Shelter Name: Rascal
This big sweetheart is such a wonderful kitty cat. Don’t you just
want to squeeze his precious cheeks? Well one of our volunteers 
did. How did Rascal respond to this? He purred. As long as she 
was touching him and paying attention to him he was purring.

Why would you be so selfish or foolish as to not have me spayed or neutered?

Don't you care that every single extra cat or dog just forces another cat or dog to die somewhere else? Will I stop being a good mouser if I'm spayed? Clean up your yard. Clean up your basement. Clean your house. You won't need a mouser! Will you feel bad taking my testicles if I'm a male? Why would you want me to be more aggressive, stink up your house spraying and add to overpopulation? It takes part of one day out of your life to get me “fixed” and if you look around, you'll find out there are plenty of places to get it done cheap. Now you don't have to dump me at a shelter, with five newborns fighting to get a meal off me. Because you didn't do the right thing, I will have to watch my precious kittens get killed at the shelter just before I take my last breath. Mamas and kittens are always the first to get sick and to be put down. If you just went without buying another pair of shoes, and not even very good shoes, you could do right by me, instead.

209712-180x270 sandy.jpg

ID 20971
Pet Name/Cage Number: C31
Breed: Gray Tabby
Age: Young
Size: Small
Gender: Female
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 2/25
Shelter Name: Sandy
Sweet, sweet Sandy. How tragic her time at the shelter has come up.
This wonderful little kitty would mesh well in just about any home 
environment. She does well with other cats and likes kids. Don’t 
you just want to give this darling her second chance? She and 
Hallie are great friends if you’re looking to adopt two.

I'm not disposable. I'm a living creature with emotions and needs and I need YOU to take care of me.

Please respect me and fight for me, instead of taking the easy way out by killing me or casting me aside to fend for myself, which is just a slower death. I'm worth fighting for. I know there was a time when you thought so, too.

Even if you give up on me, I'll still love you with my last breath.

21053b1-180x270 axil rez.jpg

ID 21053
Pet Name/Cage Number: C04
Breed: Buff Longhair
Age: Adult
Size: Large
Gender: Male
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 3/7
Shelter Name: Axil
This amazing boy would make an excellent companion. 
We haven’t seen him around kids yet, but he is a VERY 
tolerant kitty. Such a handsome boy with a wonderful 
personality to match.

All the cats listed on this page have been disposed of in one way or another. Now they face their last few days. These cats are listed as URGENT-THEY HAVE UNTIL WEDNESDAY. They're at Coweta County Animal Control in Newman, Georgia. If you're with a rescue group, we have a contact who can pull cats on your behalf if you're out-of-state. If you're local and with a rescue, just call Coweta at: 770-254-3735 and give them your GA license info. Use the same number if you are local and want to ADOPT. If you want to adopt any of these cats and live out-of-state, contact me ASAP-SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY-and I will forward your info to someone who can help you. Email me at

Adoption Fees:Cats and Kittens: $45-$70
(Fees include spay/neuter, vet exam, vaccines, microchip and deworming.)
Viewing of Pets/Adoptions: Mon.-Sat. 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

3/19 UPDATE: Three cats are safe-can we save MORE??! See updated photos for who got rescued or adopted.

IMG_64241-180x270 nina.jpg

ID 21055
Pet Name/Cage Number: C26
Breed: Black DSH
Age: Young
Size: Small
Gender: Female
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 3/6
Shelter Name: Nina
This beautiful kitty cat is very affectionate. She thoroughly
 enjoyed being petted and loved on.

21052b-180x270 stevie.jpg

ID 21052
Pet Name/Cage Number: C1
Breed: White with Black DSH
Age: Adult
Size: Small
Gender: Male
Spayed/Neutered: No
Date Available: 3/7
Shelter Name: Stevie
This big love is ready to leave animal control. Unfortunately 
his time is up on Wednesday. wouldn’t you like to come and 
meet this gentle boy? 

My Broccoli-Obsession

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Excerpt from My Broccoli-Obsession

That's it. the DOOD is insane! I caught him grabbing at one of the plants, trying to eat it. I remember what Jackson Galaxy said before I started to scold the cat; “with every NO, provide a YES.” So after I got DOOD away from the plant, I warmed up some broccoli for him as his “yes” and the rest is history (repeating itself).

I've never seen a cat go so crazy over anything as DOOD is for broccoli. He makes this growly-purry noise while he's chewing. I can't help but laugh every time he does it. Of course I did give the other cats a chance to enjoy broccoli, too, but none of them wanted any-not that the DOOD would let them near it!

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. My Broccoli-Obsession

Broccoli? Really?

Humble Pie Never Tasted so Bad




Just when I think I understand cats, something happens that reminds me how wrong I am. Things here are about as terrible as can be. There's a complex territorial situation going on between the cats that results in urinating and defecating out of the litter box. It feels as though I'm Sisyphus. Instead of my task being that I must push a boulder up a mountain every day, only to have it roll back down the hill just as I reach the crest for all eternity; my task is that I believe I've finally worked out what's irking my cats and what will solve their issues, only to have them fight at 3am, urinate in more areas, ruin more things and turn my house into, literally a waste-land (hopefully NOT for all eternity). One day I would like to get up in the morning, walk down stairs and not have to look for, find, and clean up cat urine for an hour before I can do anything else.

Gracie instagram.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracie a la Instagram

As you also may recall, my finances are in horrendous shape. It took me a few weeks to get up the nerve to even write about it-then anther few weeks to work up the nerve to upload the post. I spoke of my humiliation in not being able to provide Vet care for one of my cats. Over the past few weeks I worked up the nerve to talk to Dr. Larry about it, figuring I had to try to do something to help Gracie.

©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracie always feels a bit less stressed if I cover her with something while we wait for Dr. Larry.

There's a Demotivator poster that sums up how I feel. Perhaps the mistakes I've made will help others to do better? Right away I learned that I only have to ask and my Vet will tell me I can pay off Gracie's Vet charges over time-and take as long as I need. I have NEVER paid a bill late, always up front, always in full. Dr Larry knows he can trust me and because of that trust, I was able to bring Gracie in to see him yesterday and not worry about the bill.

© "Mistakes"

The goals were: 1. Re-check the growth on Gracie's abdomen. Is it cancer? Is it worse? Does it require surgery as we thought three months ago? 2. Assess Gracie's teeth for dental cleaning-they NEED IT.

Gracie is a fragile cat. She's VERY timid, but also VERY sweet. She would never hurt anyone. She cowers in fear and trips to the Vet cause her to tremble. Gracie also suffers from Milliary Dermatitis which I have written about over the years. It's basically a rash of unknown origin…and trust me, we have tried to figure out what is going on with her. Her skin, which was once so covered in scaly, raised scabs that she felt like a reptile. She barbered (chewed off) her fur, vomited daily and bit herself raw and bloody. I ended up using homeopathy which helped her emotional state. We only feed her raw. If she has any canned food she gets worse. Her skin is not perfect, but it's much better. She doesn't vomit daily. She has a bald patch on her tummy, but it's not bloody. I would consider her to be mildly stressed, but overall in very good shape compared to how she was last year.

towel ret.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Of course Dr. Larry won't see Gracie under the towel-or so she thinks.

But Gracie is fearful and skittish..and very hard to give a pill to. She was abused before I ever got her to foster and the scars of that stay with her no matter how quiet and sweet we are with her. She's come a long way, but still tends to run off unless she comes to us. Lately she's been climbing on us at night and sleeping on the bed. Some times I hear her walk into the room. I hear a "click" as one of her claws tap onto the wood floor. I made a mental note to get her claws trimmed when we were at the Vet. I never heard a cat's claws make any sound on the floor before.

at vet ret.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Dr. Larry listening in…

Little did I know that one observation and decision would later come to shock me.


I don't trim my cat's claws. My eyesight isn't that good and the last time I did it I almost cut off a foster kitten's toe. I DO hold the cat and Sam clips the cat's claws-at least the cats we can handle. Gracie has extremely fluffy paws and fur between her toes. She's so skittish, we just don't bother her. I had NO idea there was anything at all wrong with her paws. She did not limp. She did not cry out. Perhaps that she has been climbing on us every night-maybe she was asking for help? I can't say.

All I know is I was holding Gracie while Vet Tech Amber was trimming Gracie's claws. Gracie trembled as usual, but didn't make a fuss. I didn't even have to scruff her.

Amber clipped the back claws, then began the front. She had to spread Gracie's toes apart to see past the fur. She stopped and quietly said; “Oh, she's got an ingrown claw. Let me get Dr. Larry we have to use special clippers for this.”

Before she left she showed me what was wrong. I gasped when I saw it. It looked unreal. There was her claw, turned into itself-a deadly pointy hook, jabbed deeply into her paw. How she was walking around the house, I had NO IDEA. I felt a nauseating flush of adreneline hit my gut. What the HELL?! All I could think of was how fast could we get that out of her paw and how much PAIN Gracie must be in right now-and that she isn't even making a fuss!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The horror of an ingrown claw.

Dr. Larry came in and took a look. As I've heard so many times, his voice took a serious tone. There was no time for sedation. The claw would come out. Dr. Larry just had to make a few cuts to remove it from her paw. Because Gracie is so submissive, he was able to work quickly to remove the claw. Gracie barely struggled. Perhaps she knew he was trying to help. What relief it must have been when that claw came out after a few, quick snips of the nail cutter!

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Snip, snip, snip-DONE!

When I saw the claw laying on the exam table, I truly felt sick. I could see a line of blood. It indicated just how deep that claw was into her paw. This had been going on for a long while now-at least three months because that was the last time Gracie was at the Vet. Months of blinding pain. How did she not give me a clue? Or did she show me, but I didn't take notice?

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The line of blood indicates where the claw was outside the paw (to the left of the line) and into her paw (from the right side to the tip).


I learned that the older the cat gets, the thicker their claws become. They grow faster as the cat ages and the sheath that usually breaks off every so often, does so less often and that's how ingrown claws can occur.


Gracie is not a polydactyl. It was her fourth toe on her front paw…I called it her ring-toe. She has a hole in her paw and is on antibiotics. She could benefit from a soak in DILUTED betadine solution, but with the meds on board it's not a must.

I looked for information on ingrown feline claws but didn't find much about it. I did discover a kooky looking poster with 3D illustrations of what to do if you discover your cat has an ingrown claw. If it's bad you MUST get your cat to a vet, but some times you can deal with it at home if your cat won't bite your face off when you handle him or her. Here's the info: Step by Step instructions from GoToAid-CATS Download a Poster to keep on hand-pardon the almost pun.

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©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Sleeping under my desk. Relaxed and pain-free at last.

After thinking about it for awhile, I recall seeing Gracie chewing at her paw. I've seen cats do that before to remove the claw sheath. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but that's what I should have been looking for.


I hope ALL of you will take a look at your cat's claws TODAY-especially if they're older! Trim their claws if you can. Take them to the Vet and have it done if you can manage it. Get a friend to help you do it. It's also a good time to remind you to make sure you have plenty of adequate areas for the cat to scratch. You should provide vertical and horizontal surfaces for scratching. I have cat tress with sisal covered posts for vertical scratching. I use corrugated cardboard scratchers for horizontal scratching. I have a chunk of red cedar, too. Cats like it and it's aromatic. While it didn't help Gracie this time, it may have prevented the other cats from having a problem. In 30 years of having cats, I've never had one with an ingrown claw before.



The biggest surprise was how Gracie acted not even a day later. For the first time in YEARS, I found her, not sleeping away from everyone on the bed, but sleeping right under my desk as I write this. She's not lightly sleeping, ready to RUN off at the slightest sound. She's asleep. Her posture is relaxed. She must be feeling so much better, though there is more to be done to help her feel really good.

The reasons I brought Gracie to the Vet in the first place, were eventually addressed. I discovered that Gracie's growth has reduced in size from 10 mm x 14 mm to 10 mm x 7 (still a nice size for a diamond, but even better size to show a shrinking cyst). Dr. Larry is going to drain it when Gracie gets her dental on Monday. He may send the fluid out for testing, but right now it doesn't look like cancer! Gracie's front teeth are okay but the back teeth are NOT. They're causing her pain, so between the antibiotics and dental cleaning she should be really feeling great in another week.

As for myself, I've never cared for the taste of humble pie, but I have a feeling I better acquire one soon.


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