A cat carrier sits on the pavement of a cul-de-sac in the blazing hot Georgia sun. Inside it’s cheerful pink polka-dot patterned shell, holds a terrible secret. Struggling inside the case were three tiny kittens and their mama, who were suffering not only from the heat, but from being in such cramped quarters. With no cool air to circulate between them, their bodies raised the temperature inside the carrier to a dangerous level. The mother, a short-haired black cat, furiously ripped at the mesh ends of the carrier, breaking off her claws with each panicked attempt. She was desperate to create an opening in the material so she could save her family and escape to the cool shade. Time was running out.
©2013 Maria S. First glimpse of the family and the brand new carrier they were abandoned in.
The mama was in a terrible state. She didn’t know why she was in this carrier, in the middle of the street. She could hear dogs barking, which concerned her even more. She was hungry. Her kittens were taking all the nourishment they could from her, but she had nothing for herself.
Exhausted, she laid down, panting. Her kittens squirmed over her to get at a nipple. They were oblivious to the danger they were in, but it wouldn’t take long for all of them to perish if they didn’t get out soon.
A day passed inside the carrier. The mama hadn’t been able to rip a hole into the mesh. She began to howl, not caring what predator heard her. After her voice was sore from crying, in a nearby house, the door opened and a woman emerged. She walked over to the cat carrier and peered inside. The mama cat heard her sigh. She asked the mama if she was okay. She asked her what in the world she was doing in the middle of the road and didn't she realize how dangerous it was. The mama wished she could answer, but all she could do was pant.
©2013 Maria S. Oblivious to the dangers nearby, the kittens explore their new world.
The woman lifted the carrier and brought it over to the side of her house near some shrubs. She unzipped the mesh door and let the cats go free. She couldn't take the family inside. As the kittens scattered out into the lawn, she walked into her home and after a few minutes came back outside with some food and water, which the mama ate greedily. The kittens were unfazed by their brush with death and not fearful of the woman. They got to work playing in the grass, oblivious to the fact that there was a dog in the back yard who had just mauled another dog to death the day before. Their freedom may have just put them into a more dangerous situation than they were in before and something had to be done.
©2013 Maria S. Mama is standing by the boy, so close to a very dangerous dog. It wouldn't have taken much for any or all of the kittens to wander too far in the wrong direction.
This family was lucky because the woman who found the cats, knew our Maria, intrepid foster mama for our rescue. Maria came over to her friend’s house, even though she was reluctant to get involved in yet another rescue right now. Maria has been taking a break from fostering (though she still does have 2 foster cats who are looking for a home) so she could focus on caring for some of her own, ailing cats. She knew she’d have to start making calls and sending emails asking for help to rescue groups that are already overloaded with animals. This year seems worse than ever for dumped/abandoned animals and it’s tough to be in rescue and have to ask the same people, the same question, and face the same answer—“no,” over and over again.
But she had to try-for the cats.
Maria let me know what was going on and I told her right away that Kitten Associates would, at least pay for the initial vet care of the cats, but I also had to be honest and say that taking on an all black adult cat would be really tough for us. I have a growing number of adult cats that no one wants: Barney, Bunny Boo-Boo, Mabel and Minnie. I have nowhere to put another adult. I thought I could take the kittens, but even that might be a stretch if the ones we have now don’t get adopted soon. It’s always a juggle between space and resources. At least we had some funds to get the family vetted if Maria could foster them for a time.
©2013 Maria S.
What I’ve come to learn about rescue is that trying to see too far down the road is a waste of time. First things first. You have to look at the moment and get the basics taken care of. We had a space for the family to live. We had funds to provide for their first Vet visit. We had at least four to six weeks before we’d need to put them up for adoption, so maybe we would have time to work out everything else. I had to be realistic and remember how it went with Minnie and how one day she had her family and the next was the last time she saw her kittens and had to be separated from them. Anything can happen and it’s usually not what you imagine. As my friend Katherine often says; “We’ll deal with it when the time comes.”
For the next few days, I struggled with what to do with this family, while they began to recuperate in Maria's home. Maria found a placement for them, but she felt more comfortable working with me because of our long history together. She asked me if I would take the family on and I told her I needed more time to think about it.
©2013 Maria S. Mama-cat was so tired that after Maria got her fed, she passed out cold. She must have been exhausted after her ordeal.
He looked like he belonged with the family Maria had so I contacted Betsy to find out where she got him. It wasn’t near the same area, so they couldn’t be related. I emailed Maria and asked her if we were idiots to take this kitten on, knowing that we risked the health of the ENTIRE FAMILY if this kitten sickened them or vice versa.
©2013 Maria S. Safe and resting comfortably at Aunt Maria's house.
I asked my friends on Facebook about how safe or stupid it was to put a sole kitten in with a new family. I asked a few Vets. I kept getting the same answer-you weigh the options. Without the nurturing and friendship of his new mama and siblings, he would not thrive. The mama might not accept him because Betsy had put him with another family she had and they beat him to a pulp.
©2013 Betsy Merchant. Our first glimpse of Biscotti. His paws and nose are burned from being trapped in a hot metal dumpster.
Maria and I felt like we had to risk it, so Maria made arrangements to take the family and the new kitten to the Vet. Her first stop was to pick up the lone kitten and go to her sister’s house to drop off the car she borrowed. She let the kitten meet her sister’s dogs and the kitten enjoyed being around them. When Maria sent me the photos I thought; This is one tough cookie. He can survive being in a dumpster. He survived being beat up by other cats. He likes dogs. What would I name a tough cookie? Biscotti. Of course.
©2013 Betsy Merchant. The little fella is only 3-4 weeks old. What a rough start to his life, but he's a fighter.
The Vet determined that the kittens are about 4 weeks of age, even Biscotti. The mama is about a year old. She was negative for FIV and Feline Leukemia, so that meant odds are the kittens were okay. They were too young to be tested, so we have to hope for the best and will test them when they get older.
The mama and kittens were very friendly, so they’d been around people, which was both good and bad for obvious reasons. Someone loved them for a few weeks, but then decided it was better to cowardly dumped them in the middle of a road, on a hot late summer day, than it was to ask for help. I had to stop imagining what I'd like to do to that person and focus on worrying about how Biscotti was going to get along with the others.
©2013 Maria S. Fearless Biscotti with Dale.
Will Biscotti like his new family? Will they like him? Will it be safe for them to be left alone or is Biscotti’s life still in danger if his step mom wants to harm him? Will I ever decide if I can take on five more foster cats in my home?
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the Discarded Cats Diary!
I'm absolutely shocked and thrilled to share our good news that thanks to ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT and VOTES we've WON the Dogtime Pettie Award for Best Blog Post for “Dear Fred,” which honored the last day of Fred's life before he passed away.
If you'd like to see a rebroadcast of the Awards Show, go HERE
More than anything I'm so grateful that now Fred will live on. His short life was truly precious and knowing that in some way his story will be heard by so many is a humbling gift.
Not only are we celebrating our win, but our dear friend Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat won Best Overall Pet Blog (for a second time!) and Ingrid has generously offered her prize money/donation to Kitten Associates, as well! This will make it very easy to tell our super-foster mama, Maria that YES, we can afford to take the abandoned kitty-family she found and be able to provide care for them without worry.
Rescue never sleeps-awards or not. Meet Biscotti & Pizzelle. Two of a family of four just rescued. Stay tuned for more about these sweet 4-week old kittens, their two siblings and their mama!
What is it about a cat that would make you drive over 200 miles just so you could be in her company for a few minutes? Yesterday afternoon, I couldn't begin to answer that question. I'd been going through a wave of very deep depression and felt pretty much hopeless. Mentally, I felt impaired from feeling like a failure. While I was surfing around online, I read that the feline-phenom, Lil Bub and her “Dude” Mike Bridavsky were going to be attending a book signing for Bub's first book; Lil Bub's Lil Book. The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet. It meant a long drive to New Jersey later that day. I was tired of feeling lousy, so I decided I had to make the trip. Maybe getting away from home would help soothe my tangled nerves?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
As many of your know, Bub was rescued after she was born outside, the runt of the litter, to a feral mama. Bub had many severe physical deformities including dwarfism (she only weighs four pounds), a shortened lower jaw that leaves her tongue hanging out and her teeth never erupted (which ends up being a blessing since those teeth surely would have caused her a lot of mouth pain). Bub wasn't expected to live beyond a few months, but when her daddy, Mike Bridavsky met her, it was "lub" at first sight and perhaps, in that moment that bond gave Bub the will to survive.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Grateful that my tongue doesn't stick out all the time like Bub's does because this is something that maybe should not be seen on the internet. Oops.
Bridavsky was at a low point in his life when he met Bub. Inasmuch as he saved her life, she's now saving his. She's become an internet sensation and media darling, with millions of fans. She stars in an internet talk show called Lil Bub's Big Show. The episodes are set to air every Tuesday on Vice Media and the first episode has already aired. It features Whoopi Goldberg, but the star of the show is the script Bridavsky wrote. It's clear he has a talent for giving Bub a voice that is both endearing and completely charming without being overly saccharine. Bub's interview with Ms. Goldberg will leave you glowing with joy.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bub and “Dude,” Mike Bridavsky.
Bub's been very busy. She has her own movie titled “Lil Bub & Friendz”. It's available to view in four parts on Vice. Part one (all I've seen so far) is a documentary on Bub's life, but also includes an interesting discussion on just why cats are such a huge part of the internet. Some clips include interviews with the likes of Ben Huh, creator of I canhascheezburger, NYAN Cat, Keyboard Cat, Grumpy Cat and more. It's very well done and I admit, the scenes with Bub really tugged at my heartstrings. What IS IT ABOUT THIS CAT that's so appealing beyond the realm of normal?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stubby legs with extra white toes, Bub may be the most curiously constructed cat ever.
My intentions were to buy Bub's book, get it signed, say hello, go home. On a lark, I worked up the nerve to ask for Press access to Bub, hoping that coveredincathair.com would be enough credentials to get me in the door. The owner of Book-Ends, where the signing was held, took my business card and disappeared into a back room. Thirty seconds later he came out and held up his hand, spreading his fingers apart. “Five minutes. You have five minutes.”
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Buy a Bunch of Bub's Books.
I was ushered into a small office behind the front desk with no time to clear my mind, prepare some questions, focus my camera. It wouldn't have mattered how prepared I was because as I turned the corner, my mind went blank. Before me was Bub sitting on a knitted mat on a folding table, with her “Dude,” Mike by her side. It caught me off guard and I felt a lump of emotion rise in my throat. Was I going to burst into tears? Why did I feel like I was meeting a major rock star or the President? It was a CAT! How many cats have I met in my days? Probably thousands by now. Yet meeting Bub was transformative.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Thank you for giving my blog your paw of approval, Bub.
I said hello to Mike, not wanting to be completely rude, but later I realized I forgot to say my name! I told him I wrote a blog about cats. I gave him my card and he put it right next to Bub, thinking I could take a photo of her with my card. Oh dear…then I realized that of course everyone would want to hitch their trailer to this rising star. Mike was dutifully doing what was expected, except that I didn't have any interest in plugging my own work when I was trying to be respectful of his situation. This was his cat, her success. I was just documenting my visit so I moved the card out of the way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. BUB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thought about this a lot last night while I was struggling to fall asleep. Bub is providing her Dude with a living. I'm sure advertisers are knocking at the door. Fans are lining up around the block. Everyone wants something from both of them, but it's Bridavsky's job to find a balance between leveraging the spotlight on Bub without it causing her harm. I got the sense that if he could be doing anything it would be to get away from all these crowds and be back home with Bub. I didn't get the sense that Bridavsky's ego was involved, nor did I get the sense he's out to make a buck off his curious cat. There's still an honesty there. He has to make a living, everyone does, and he's surrounded himself with a team of friends, not internet marketing geniuses, to create the Bub dynasty. There aren't handlers and crowds of publicists. It's still Mike and Bub sitting very quietly in an office, having a chat with a strange lady with crazy hair who seems to have forgotten how to use her camera and speak the English language.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. My anointment into the Bub clan.
I was cautious about approaching Bub and immediately whispered when I addressed her Dude, Mike. He told me it was okay to speak at a normal volume, but that she didn't like the noise level in crowds. I still kept my tone soft and I got down so I could be at eye level with Bub. I asked if I could touch her and Mike said it was okay. I offered my hand to sniff, which she did, but she didn't react like other cats. I couldn't tell if she was giving me the okay or not so I gave her a gentle pet, then as I do with my own cats, I tipped my head to her so she could sniff me better. As she sniffed me I could hear her raspy breathing. It felt like I was being blessed by a scared creature. I struggled with wanting to pet her, but not bother her, out of respect for her well being. She must be handled so much that I just couldn't treat her like that. I knew there were a lot of people waiting to see her at the signing and I felt my cat-rescuer code calling me to to protect her more than I wanted something for myself.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lub Bub!
I took as many photos as I could, then forgot my camera in the office. I left Mike and Bub feeling completely transformed, but frustrated that I didn't get to ask half the questions I'd wanted to and wishing it could have lasted a few minutes longer. I was energized, vibrating. Why was I so happy?
I sat down with my friend, Irene to look at Bub's book. It's a colorful, whimsical, wondrous piece of art containing hundreds of color photos of Bub with a tapestry of words that weaves a magical tale of Bub's past. In it she declares that she's actually not from planet Earth, but from another planet far away. Bub crash landed here when she was looking for fishes, but now that she's met “Dude” she's here to stay. Bub is featured in imaginative sets, much like her TV Show and Film, but because this book is something you can hold in your hands and hold dear to your heart, it makes it more precious. Captured on film are the many faces of Bub. In some of the photos she's featured in hokey sets with mutant-sized props. I loved it. It left me wanting more. I couldn't stop thinking about this tiny creature on the glossy pages, with her owly eyes and tongue hanging out. She doesn't do amazing tricks. In fact, walking around is difficult for her, but lately she has gotten a bit stronger. It almost doesn't matter what sets she's in, because Bub is cuter than cute and becomes more irresistible with each turn of the page. She shares her book with some friends like Colonel Meow, but what stands out are the words. There's a tenderness and affection in the story that Bridavsky penned. I'm sure not only would adults love this book, but every kid, too. Bub's magical powers effect us all and I could read this book over and over and always reach the end with a smile on my face and a warm puddle in my heart.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bub's arrival!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mike is constantly checking on Bub to make sure she's comfortable-a true doting dad.
It would be easy to take a lot of cute photos of Bub and leave it at that, but this book has soul and is filled with love, which is expressed throughout as well as in some of the images of fan art the book also includes.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I'm sure there are a lot of ladies looking at this cute gu,y who loves his cat, who are writing marriage proposals as we speak.
Bub and her Dude are a talented team, but they don't flaunt it. There's a great sense of generosity that goes hand in hand with their fame. They use their super-powers for good by reminding their fans to adopt from shelters, and more importantly, to not overlook special needs cats. And as someone who runs a cat rescue, part of whose mission is to encourage spay/neuter legislation, Bub is there, encouraging everyone to make sure their own cats are taken care of, too.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I lub Bub.
I told myself I wouldn’t write about how Bob died on the second anniversary of his passing. I wouldn’t try to remember that last year, which was filled with one Vet visit after another, one more hit on the credit card, one more wish that maybe we’d find a way back to health, but it was not meant to be. I wanted to remember just the happy moments we shared and be positive, but I struggle with being able to do that.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob's shrine, featuring the precious "BOB"blehead that was made of him by Royal Bobbles.
What I hate about death is there is no second chance. You don’t get to, at least, see the person once a year on the anniversary of the day they died. It would be so wonderful, wouldn't it? You could have that time to catch up, tell them how much you miss them, love them. As the sun set, they’d go back to the great beyond for another year, but you’d have something to keep you going. The pain of loss wouldn’t be able to carve a hole into your heart.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. So many Vet visits. Bob was always such a good boy no matter what they did to him.
No. You can’t have any more time with them, as desperate as you may feel, as much as you tried to be a good person, hoping maybe the rules didn’t apply to you if you were a good girl or boy. That bottomless well of despair can never be healed. With time, perhaps it may take longer to reach that familiar place, but once arriving, that pain is still as sharp as ever, the longing just as fresh as it was when you first had to say goodbye.
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob by the fire.
Bob wasn’t just an ordinary cat. He was a human in an orange striped long-haired coat. He had a quality about him that was almost unsettling. When he looked at you with those brilliant green eyes, it was really into your soul. If he suddenly spoke to you, it might not even be that surprising. You just knew he understood what you were saying. He could relate to people so effortlessly. Everyone loved Bob.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Yes, this is how excited Bob got about chasing after wildlife.
Bob had a huge personality. He was “the boss” to the other cats and had a firm paw, but it was rarely used. He constantly purred, loudly. I called it “burbling.” I don’t know how to describe the sound. It was musical, bubbly, with a million tones blending into one. Even a few hours before he died, he purred. That was Bob: the purring machine.
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. In his full glory and on favorite place, his blankee on the deck.
Bob loved to be outside. After my mother died in 2006, I brought Bob home to live with me. It wasn’t planned to be his forever home because I thought I was at my limit with six cats, but over time I realized, Bob would never get good enough care anywhere else and his being outside (and intact for many years until I had a fight with my mother about it and got him neutered), lead to him contracting FIV. I couldn’t let him roam freely outside any more. It was dangerous when he lived with my mom, but it is far worse here because the back yard of our home is a state forest.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Incorrigible-Bob.
So Bob wouldn’t be miserable, I set up a space for him on our deck. It’s almost 17 feet off the ground and Bob, as well as Spencer and Nicky, could sleep on cushions or nibble on the plants and I didn’t have to worry about them running off. They watched the birds flit back and forth to the feeders, but they didn’t bother with them at all.
©2007 Robin A.F. Olson. Bob and new BFF-Nora.
Bob would go outside every day from the first warm day in spring and continue to go out every nice day until winter. As he grew sicker and weaker, I made sure he could still spend the days in the sun, some times carrying him or adding steps so he could get onto the lounge chair. I knew our days were numbered when a big crow landed on the deck, cawing excitedly at Bob. Bob barely moved and I knew this bird saw what I was trying to not see…Bob was going to be gone soon and there was no way in Hell I was going to let him become crow-food so that was the last time he went outside.
I just realized that we don’t go on the deck any more. Not the cats. Not us. I guess it doesn’t feel right without Bob.
©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. With Blitzen.
I’d never had an orange cat before Bob, but I admit I have a very soft spot for them now. If you know me even a little bit, you know I’ve rescued a lot of orange tabbies in his honor. It’s something I'll keep doing because in some way it’s like keeping Bob alive. They can never replace him, but I admit to looking at each one and wondering if maybe one of them will look back at me in the same way Bob did. If I can’t see him once a year, it won't stop me from looking for him every time I meet an orange cat.
I'll remember you always.
There are some things even the best writer can’t do justice to by using words and one of them is in describing how amazing Bob was. I tried to give you an idea, at least, and maybe I’ll find the right words next year when I sit down to think about him on this sad anniversary.
I hope to see you again one day, my dear Bob.
Your cats are bored. They get into fights. They bite your ankles or the just lay around with a glazed look in their eyes. They're little hunters with nothing to hunt (unless you let them outside, but please don't do that!). Can you imagine not having an outlet for your deepest desires? To be crass, that would really stink.
I try to have play time with my cats every night, but getting them to chase after a toy can be daunting because my cats are either 2 years old or 12 years old or older. What would I use that appeals to all of them?
Some cats are “air hunters” while others prefer to stalk prey at the ground level, so I'd need a toy that works well dragged on the floor, mimicking the movements of a bug, and something I could gently whip back and forth to get my air hunters to jump.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stan is the consummate high-flyer when Neko Flies are around.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Jellybean Mel inspects mysterious package.
Unlike many wand toys I've used in the past, Neko Flies feel well made. Their clear plastic rod has a comfortable rubber grip. At the opposite end of the grip is a clip with a charming braided green and black cord that's attached to a variety of “Lures” that resemble and move like real bugs or mice.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey grabs her Kattiepede.
Ellen, the creator of Neko Flies, underscored the importance of creating unique, carefully crafted (some elements are done by hand) toys that are as safe as possible for cats. She told me they constantly look for ways to improve their product, from finding ways to use less glue (they already only use a few drops), to finding thicker material for the wings of their Kragonfly cat toy as well as for better ways to anchor the loop into the toy so it doesn't pull free when cats tug on it. Ellen seems almost obsessed with designing toys that truly appeal to cats and are not just a collection of feathers glued to a string or that utilize materials that are so cheap they fall apart after one use.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What IS this?!
It was tempting to write the world's shortest review by stating: I LOVE NEKO FLIES. Rather, my CATS love Neko Flies.
But then something happened…
One of the cats bit the green and black cord, severing one-third off it, along with the Kragonfly. I took the fly away so they wouldn't eat it, thinking I would just trim the end of the cord and reattach the Fly to it. In the meantime, since I was cooking dinner and trying to play with the cats at the same time, I would just have them chase after the string, without the toy attached because they seemed to like it just fine.
Ahhh…hindsight is 20-20 vision, as they say.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Love at first bite.
Some cats become so enamored and hooked on NEKO FLIES that they have been known to try and get the toy off a shelf by themselves! This is an interactive toy for a human to play with the kitty, so keep your Neko flies tucked safely tucked away in a drawer or closet until you are ready to play with your cat again!
[Neko Flies Lure is attached to a card with this warning printing on it. See? They told me so!]
“Neko Flies are designed as a toy for you and your cat to play with together. The lures at the end are designed to move in a lifelike way which is a great part of their appeal, even to cats who usually are not interested in toys or playing. However, these toys are not intended to be left with a cat to chew or destroy (as she would actual live prey). Once your cat manages to catch a toy you should praise her and then get her to release it right back to you by offering her a really tasty treat - doing a "bait-and-switch" the way you would with a human toddler or a dog who have gotten something you don't want them to possess. Because the Neko Flies lure toys are so enticing to cats, there is a warning that they should never be left anywhere your cat can get to them without your participation. This is a wand toy, not a chew toy! Neko Flies satisfy your cat's primal instinct to hunt and chase - but it is up to you to then protect the lures from your cat's instinct to "kill!"”
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I turned my back on my cats to check on dinner. I didn't even leave them alone for more than a minute. I looked back and the green and black cord was one-third the length it had been. Clearly, one of the cats had chewed it off and possibly EATEN IT. In decades of being a cat-mom, this was the first time I ever had to worry that a cat ingested such a large part of a toy.
I searched the living room. I knew the culprits were either my tiny foster cat, Mabel or my big bruiser, the DOOD. I had a bad feeling it was DOOD because he's, well, not the sharpest pencil in the box.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Stanley goes nuts for Neko.
I couldn't find a thing. In a panic, I called Neko Chan, home to Neko Flies. Ellen, herself, called me back right away. We talked about what materials were used in the cord (polyester).I called the ER Vet and told them about what material I believe one of the cats ingested and they suggested I bring both cats down, spend $1500.00 per cat on endoscopy-that was IF they could get an internist to come to work late on a Sunday night. They also told me to get a cat to vomit is some sort of “holy grail” treatment because the chemicals they might use to make them vomit usually kills them.They told me to watch for the cat to become listless, vomit, not eat and if that happened to RUSH them in for EMERGENCY SURGERY because the cord could twist up in the intestines and basically KILL the cat.
OR…it might pass on its own…out the “other” end.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey prepares to pounce.
The next few days were absolute Hell on my nerves. I ripped apart the living room the next day and checked everywhere I could, but no string was found. I hovered over the DOOD and Mabel, but they ate as usual and seemed unaffected. Then I started to worry that maybe it wasn't them, but another cat. I have 9 cats running around! This was going to end badly, I just knew it.
Ellen checked in with me, hopeful I had good news, but there was no sign of the missing string. I thought maybe I was getting Alzheimer's and this was the first sign? I was so paranoid that I carried the remaining section of cord in my purse, in case I had to take one of the cats to the ER so they would know what to look for yet still…nothing.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Gracey and Joey enjoying their new toy..
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Woah. Green Poo (and no ham).
Being the offspring of two scientists, I HAD to get a magnifying glass out and inspect the green stool. We feed our cats a raw diet so their stool is VERY pale, hard and dry. I teased apart the green ball and saw fibers. I put the section of string I had in my purse next to the questionable object and the color matched. Whoever ate the string passed, at least some of it out. Thank God.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Six weeks later, the green string is found.
Although I'll never know if that was ALL of the string, hopefully it was enough so that it won't adversely effect the cat who ate it (most likely the DOOD). I don't know if the raw diet slowed the process down since the cats don't pass much stool or if it helped. All I care about is that my cats are fine and my pocket still has a few bucks in it.
Best entry as Judged by me, Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair, will win ONE FOXIFUR KITTENATOR with ROD. You may only leave ONE comment for ONE CHANCE to win per person. This Giveaway ends FRIDAY, AUGUST 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM EST and is open to residents of the USA and CANADA (yay Canada!) only (sorry guys outside of those areas!). Rules, quantities and whatever else I forgot are subject to change without notice.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. DOOD.
After careful consideration, from time to time I write product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO reimbursement for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ (I can only hope there will not be any ER Vet visits!).
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Oh boy! What's in the boxes? What's in the boxes?!!!
It's one thing to order a little something special for yourself, then anxiously await its arrival. The doorbell rings and the delivery person leaves a box by your door. You have a moment of joy anticipating what's inside the box, even if you already know what it is.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. What is it?
So imagine for a moment what it's like when you open your front door and there's an enormous stack of boxes sitting there and you don't know where they came from. You start searching your mental database of what the heck you did. Did you have a late-night pity-purchase jag that's going to set you back even further into debt? You know you're credit card is in a lock box because you really can't be using it right now so where on Earth did these boxes come from?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Embarrassment of riches!
You brighten, realizing you behaved yourself, this one time. It's not some crazed shopping spree, it's a donation from 1-800-PetMeds®. Wait…THIS IS A DONATION?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. This Igloo Cat Bed is so nice I don't want to let the cats use it.
As I opened each box, they revealed eye-popping delights—a very fancy Refined Feline® Igloo Cat Bed, Omega 3 Capsules (much needed by my cat, Gracie, who suffers from skin issues), a SmartCat® Garden and Peek-a-Prize (the kittens will love this), 1800PetMeds treats, catnip, and as I opened the final package, the trumpets blared, Ta-Da!, a box containing a much desired Refined Feline Cat Clouds Cat Shelf™.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. It's not the Starship Enterprise! It's a Cat Clouds Cat Shelf!
It would be one thing if I could go out and buy all these things for myself, but I can't. Putting gas in my car is a big accomplishment, so these items mean even more to me and my cats. I'm not sure which cats will be enjoying some of these items, but with eight cats and nine fosters, I'm sure they'll all benefit in some way.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Blitzen likes the boxes, best, of course.
These days not getting bills in the mail is a good day, but finding a stack of huge boxes by your door from a well-meaning company is a humbling delight. Thank you Dana and friends at 1-800-PetMeds for really making my week, if not, month and thank you for offering up some lovely products I can use or donate to my rescue.
A few months ago I got an email from a cat-loving friend of Covered in Cat Hair who lives in Rhode Island. She told me that she wanted to help out Kitten Associates, but didn't have a lot of resources to make a donations. Instead, she told me about a program called BarkAid and suggested I contact the Founder, Patrick Lomantini, and ask him if Kitten Associates could be part of his fundraising efforts.
BARK. AID? Isn't that for dogs?
After visiting BarkAid's web site, I came to understand the following:
Patrick owns Lomantini the Salon in Wichita, Kansas. He loves animals even though he couldn't have one as a child AND he's somewhat allergic to cats. He wanted to make a difference helping animals in need, but didn't want to focus just on his local rescue. Sure, he could do a cut-a-thon, something he'd done in the past, but it would only help one rescue. It wasn't enough.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
Three years ago, Patrick had the crazy idea to get in his car and travel to one state per DAY, team up with a local salon, cut hair for 12 hours and charge just $20/haircut. At the end of the day he'd donate the money to a local rescue group. Yes, it's nuts, but Patrick is a physical specimen of manly hunkatude who can handle the challenge he set for himself. His 6-pack abs have abs and his biceps would make Popeye blush. Patrick has close-cropped hair and wears tight black t-shirts and jeans, with a big hunky watch. His blue eyes could charm anyone he meets. There's a bubbling energy about him that's contagious, which won him over with folks as he blazed a trail across the country.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
Patrick decided he had 50 days to accomplish his mission and somehow he pulled it off. What is more impressive is that he decided to do it again the next year and again this year, with a small team of volunteers at his side.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Zach, Patrick (Center) and Alexis.
As fate would have it, just a I was contacting Patrick to ask him if Kitten Associates might take part he happened to be looking for a rescue group to work with in Connecticut. Apparently he hadn't had the easiest time here and was hoping for a better match this time around. I told him we're a TINY rescue and that there are bigger ones in town that could do a lot more, but Patrick had faith in us and said that the smaller rescues always worked a lot harder to publicize the events and support his team.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I figured I'd give it a try IF I could secure a salon for his team to set up shop. My first and only choice was Salon Michele, where I get my fancy-pants hairdos from time to time. I ran the idea past Maggie, who has been doing my hair for a few years now. She is a cat lover, so it wasn't tough for her to say YES. Of course we had to ask the owner, Michele and I realized it would be basically asking her to shut her salon down for the day and let me use it to raise money. Thankfully the date they chose for us was a Tuesday, so it was a slower day for business which might make it easier to give us the green light.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I gathered all my info and presented it to her. She didn't take long to think about it and said YES! From that moment on was a whirlwind for me. I had to do a lot of planning, getting permits to put out directional signs, finding out how to get a 25-ft long banner hung over the main street in town, making list after list of what needed to be done, who needed to be told. I struggled with how to get the word out and my dear friend Mary Shafer of Word Forge Books helped me get the Press Release sorted out.
For two months I was obsessed, but my biggest challenge was HOW to explain this event and NOT have people think that it was either Haircuts for DOGS or a fundraiser for DOGS?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I got everything sorted out and spent a lot of late nights working on this. I began to realize right away that we'd have to spend a good deal of money on advertising-YES, not just doing free ads online. Our town paper, The Newtown Bee, was the key way to get the word out to everyone in town. After all, we are the hometown cat rescue and we knew they'd help us. As luck would have it, an ad space opened up that was PRIME location and it hit the streets a few days before our event. I worried about spending $450.00 for this huge ad. It would be on the front page of The Bee Extra, The Bee's free paper, as well as inside their main paper.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Alexis with the Mascot-dog plush (a gift from Kitten Associates)
I had to take a risk. If we couldn't reach people, what was the point?
I was very glad my graphic design background came in handy. I put together designs not just for flyers, but for table top signs, HUGE window signs that would re-skin Salon Michele, directional signs and a twenty five foot long banner-the biggest piece I've ever designed.
It also dawned on me that this is something I was meant to do. When I was a kid, I put on plays for my parents, then when I was at school, I was in Student Government where I came up with events like "Bring your Camera to School Day." In High School and College I took it up a notch and planned big events. My pride and joy was a 1940's Prom with a big band for over 600 guests. Why couldn't I do a fundraiser for my own rescue group?
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
Because I had to take care of RESCUES, too!
In the two weeks before our event, I helped rescue about twenty cats and kittens. All of them went to other rescues, but I did a lot of emailing, phone calls, driving around with a car full of kittens. It seemed that Minnie, too, got the message because she relapsed and got sick again and ended up having to have emergency spay surgery a few DAYS before the event!(she's recovered now and doing well)
I was having all sorts of stress dreams. The worst was the morning of the event, I dreamt I was waking up with most of my hair laying on the pillow and no way to hide that I was bald.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Beth, one of our awesome adopters with Patrick.
When the banner was hung and the ads were printed, I knew I'd spent about $1000. and that was about half of all the money we had. I started to fear we might lose money, but my friends kept reminding me that getting our name out is valuable, too (tell that to the Vet when he wants to be paid!).
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
A few days later the banner was hung and more calls came in. We were up to 14 appointments, which was still far too few. We needed 50 to break even.
The Friday before the event, the big ad in the paper came out. Nothing happened for three days, then on Monday, the day before, we were up to 50 and rising. Between the banner, the ad and word of mouth, things were heating up. By Tuesday I knew we had over 60 with whispers that it might even go higher than that.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Busy Bees cutting hair and raising money for our kitties!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. These cupcakes from the DOrazio Sisters Bakery tasted SO GOOD that I am craving one or ten right now!
So I got to work. Patrick and his team were already there even though the first appointment wasn't for 30 minutes. They'd arrived at 1am and were already back up and ready to go at 7:30am. These guys were amazing and they hadn't even started!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
While I set up, everyone got to know each other. Zach, one of the stylists graciously helped me put out the directional signs at the perimeter of the parking lot. We got chatting and he told me this was the first time he'd been east of Montana and that his home state was Idaho! I couldn't begin to imagine how amazing and exhilarating it was for him to see so much, in so little time. What a wild ride. I was tempted to offer to join them.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
Alexis, one of the other stylists, offered to do something with my hair. It was really kind of her to help me look less like a mop and more professional, plus it was just plain fun to get fussed over after all the weeks of preparations were finally over and I could (sort of) relax.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
Then, as they say, the rest is a bit of a blur. People were coming in, a few almost begging for appointments, we were filling up to the point of having to turn people away! From 50, to 60, to 70 haircuts. The day raced by. I answered a lot of questions about cats and around noon, Sam brought three of our kittens to remind everyone why we were there. They did great and had a lot of fun. Everyone wanted to take them home, but Irene, my faithful friend and volunteer, kept a watchful eye over them so none of the kitten “accidentally” left the salon.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. It's not a party unless you have tattoos!
I was really hungry. Our friends, the DOrazio Sisters from Brooklyn who opened a bakery here in Newtown, kindly and generously donated 4 dozen cupcakes. We had them set up on a lovely cupcake tower stand and it was tough not to eat them ALL. I managed to sneak one..okay two, but no more than three, when no one was looking. I still have a jones for another one!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
It was clear we were going to do okay. Somehow amidst the chaos, a lot of people were getting really nice haircuts. One lady donated her hair to Locks of Love, which really touched my heart. Another lady talked about being at the Sandy Hook Elementary on "that day" and I think it helped her with the healing process to have Patrick fuss over her and listen to her heartbreaking story.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
We had lots of kids come visit, too, who told me stories about their cats or other pets. Even though I've lived in Newtown for over 20 years, it honestly was the first time I felt like I was part of this community. Not having children, I never had need to go to any of the town events or schools. I've yearned to feel closer to the people in this town and surprisingly, that finally started to happen because of K.A. Kitten Associates is on the radar of more people in town. It was definitely a dream starting to come true.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. A donation for Locks of Love! What a wonderful woman!
By 8pm we all pitched in, packed up, cleaned up and were ready to call it a day. Patrick and team were professional, friendly, outgoing, charming, everything good. Thankfully Michele's salon wasn't trashed. It was respected by all and I think that we all parted with genuine smiles and goodwill for each other. Patrick said he was ready to do this again next year, as he hugged me goodbye. I just shook my head, wondering how he does this, because I wanted to go to bed and not get up for a few days I was so tired.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
In lieu of a proper photo album, enjoy some images from our big day!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Michele, owner of Salon Michele giving a great haircut and big smile to a customer.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Patrick hones his craft.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Alexis and Ruby (who was SO adorable!)
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Ruby steals the show.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The team with Minnie's kittens: Gracey, Mellie and Joey.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Zach and Gracey.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How to know it's time for the kittens to go home.
The kittens are 10 1/2 weeks old and today is the "big day." It's time for the boys to be neutered and Gracey to be spayed. Although it's vital this procedure be done, I dread it. I'd rather wait until the kittens are a few months old, but this is their best chance to be adopted, when they're still little. I could have done it even sooner than today, but I dragged it out as long as I dared. They're all at a good weight and the soft stool they suffered from for so long seems to have resolved by feeding them a raw diet. I think they're ready.
So while I put the kittens into their carriers and kiss their little faces, take a moment to enjoy this celebration of my dear kittens. To Stanley, the high-flyer, to Mel the comedian, to Gracey the tough-cookie, to Petey the rascal and to Joey the gentle soul, I honor your amazing journey; being fearless, taking delight in your ever-expanding world, and reminding me that joy can be found in the simplest of things. I love each one of you very much.
I present to you, my fearless flyers. Enjoy!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible ladder.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Put your paws in the air like you don't care.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible rope climbing.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey is a big boy now.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Double dutch jumpers.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Put your hands up!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Pole-dancer Joe.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I got it! I got it!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Extreme gotcha!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Going up!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Lil' Gracey at 10 weeks.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible pony ride.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Beware the toilet-zombie!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Wrong way Mel.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Invisible recliner.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Joey at 10 weeks.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Marmalade mayhem.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Mellie at 10 weeks.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Twist and shout!
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Catch me when I fall.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Petey at 10 weeks.
If you'd like to catch up on The Squee Diaries, just visit these links:
A few years ago, I read an urgent plea about a cat who'd just been hit by a car in Greenville, South Carolina. He was a young white and tabby cat who needed a rescue group to get him out of animal control, then to get him to a vet for the care he needed. It was one of my first big rescues, before I even started my non-profit. I didn't have much experience in what to do or how to get the job done, but thanks to two people on the scene, Jenna, a long-time dog rescuer and Dr. Carol Anderson, who runs a clinic in Greenville, we worked together we were able to do great things for this cat we named Will.
©2009 Robin A.F. Olson. Will after rescue.
Will changed my life and inspired me to take on rescues from wherever they needed help, not just from my own community. If you want to read the touching story of what became of Will and how he also changed the lives of others, read this post. It's one of my favorites: The Best Thing.
Jenna contacted me a few days ago, with a heartbreaking story about some very fragile kittens whose lives were hanging in the balance. Not all of them survived, but for the ones who have, she is in dire need a forever home for them or for a rescue group to take them on and find them homes. With her permission, I'm sharing her poignant words in the hopes that it reignites the flames of inspiration—that one of you will read these words and know that these are your kittens, the ones you've been looking for for so long and that you can open your heart and home to them.
Sampson and Delilah
[ROBIN's NOTE: There are graphic descriptions of what happened to neonatal kittens below, please be prepared]
The call came in to Concerned Citizens For Animals of a mother who I rushed over to the church with the empty parking lot looking for a I rushed to the vet nearby. Euthanasia was what she told me to do. I wanted to try, so I took them home. The next morning even after Revolution was applied the ears on the little boy were pools of blood. I had a suspicion of what it was and as I began to squeeze, maggots came out. So many came out, I
had not been seen and babies with their eyes still closed. Nothing
more other than an approximate location was given. The emailer gave
no information of themselves and when we tried to contact them we got
a return mail response.
trash dumpster where the emailer said they would be found. A teeny
orange kitty barely able to cry anymore probably because he had been
crying for a day now was on the sidewalk. He was covered in blood
and dried on sticky afterbirth. Mama had just given birth maybe a
day ago. Looking through the bushes I found another, a tortie very
stiff unable to move covered in blood, I thought she was dead, but
their was still life in her. Further inspection lead me to two more.
One was covered in maggots. Rigor mortis had set in and still another
that I thought was in that same condition a tortie was found. When I
picked her up she opened her mouth and tried to cry and she moved her
arms, but I knew she was too far gone. The maggots were coming out
of her mouth, they had already claimed their prize.
They have less than a 1% survival rate and the little tortie female
would probably not make it through the night. They were covered in fleas and
maggots everyone in every orifice possible. They also had never had
the benefit of any time with mother in that the afterbirth on them
indicated they had just been born and for whatever may have happened,
mama was gone.
©2013 Jenna Gutierrez. Used with Permission. Syringe-feeding Sampson.
thought he would never hear, and the vet confirmed it was a
distinct possibility. We all struggled those first weeks as any person has
been through who has nursed but struggled because the insects on them
and in their intestinal tract had started their death toll. Enemas,
and every sort of thing we did, worked to keep them alive.
©2013 Jenna Gutierrez. Used with Permission. Raised together, it is Jenna's wish that they be adopted together, too.
We have reached five weeks now and my prayer through the feedings is
for one more miracle. You see I have come to love them in a way that
I cannot begin to tell you. But I cannot keep them. My 80 year old
husband has some mental issues that are demanding more and more of my
time as he progresses through this disease. I know I, too, will not
outlive these kittens.
The call came in to Concerned Citizens For Animals of a mother who
I rushed over to the church with the empty parking lot looking for a
I rushed to the vet nearby. Euthanasia was what she told me to do.
I wanted to try, so I took them home. The next morning even after Revolution was applied the ears on the little boy were pools of blood. I had a suspicion of what it was and as I began to squeeze, maggots came out. So many came out, I
©2013 Jenna Gutierrez. Used with Permission.
©2013 Jenna Gutierrez. Used with Permission.
Every night and day I am praying and praying for a very special home
for them. They will be fully vetted when they weigh enough and have
no special needs. Yes, Sampson can hear................
The kittens were vetted yesterday. They are neg/neg for FIV and Feline Leukemia. They got their first vaccination and they both weigh about 1.5 lbs. At 6 weeks of age, they really should go to a rescue or AFTER they are 8 weeks and big enough to be spayed and neutered, to a VERY experienced home. Jenna needs our help and after all she's done, it's the least we can do for her. I urge you to please share this socially with all your friends. I KNOW there's someone out there who can help these kittens. They just need to read this story.
If you'd like to know more about Sampson and Delilah OR if you're with a non-profit rescue organization and would like to help these kittens, please contact:
phone (864) 801-3177.
Transport OUT OF STATE IS AVAILABLE.
UPDATE: August 16, 2013. The kittens are going to be adopted! Their forever home has found them! Hurray!
Rescuing cats doesn’t only mean taking a cat off the street or out of a kill-shelter and giving it a home until you can find a forever home for it. There’s a great deal of behind-the-scenes networking going on, too, that doesn’t often get reported.
For a rescue like mine, that’s held together by a few very precious volunteers and even fewer foster homes, we can’t take on many cats because we don’t want to get into an overcrowded, unhealthy situation. We can’t expand until we get more foster homes so for now, we tap out at about 20 cats or less.
Add to that…adoptions are at an all time low. We’ve had Barney since he was BORN and he just turned a YEAR OLD. Other rescues, loaded up, report one or two adoptions every few weeks, when in past years they were always ready to take on more cats because enough were finding homes. When you do the math, between the rise in abandoned cats or owners who get evicted, the natural rise of the unspayed/neutered cat population and the economy and you have a disaster in the making that has ended up with the cats paying the price with their lives.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. His owner died. Family members promised they would come back for him, but they never did. Leaving him depressed and alone, wondering what he did wrong.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. “Can't Keep.” Why?
Though I can’t speak for every rescuer, I’d bet we’re all very exhausted, particularly this year. Our spirits are broken, too. We used to be able to call an associate at another rescue and beg a favor. After a few calls we’d usually be able to find someone to say they could help and take on a cat we couldn’t help. We’d offer bribes-we’d pay for vetting or we’d drive the cat to their door. We’d make jokes or promise to use our social networking chops to let everyone know that this one cat is at a great rescue to help that rescue get donations…whatever it took.
Today we can make the calls, but often they go unanswered or if they are answered we’re told; “I’m so sorry, but we just can’t take another…did you try such and such rescue?” We all strive to help each other out, but we’re just lost about how we can keep doing this if people don’t start adopting cats again.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. How can this cat take the stress of living in this cage? When I approached him, he came over and wanted me to pet his head. Leaving him behind broke my heart.
I made my usual calls asking for help and surprisingly enough a group here in town said they could take on a few kittens if I could go get them. I was told to take five, but then I was faced with having to choose which lives to save.
I’ve done a lot of rescues from Georgia, but I’ve never been to the state. I’ve never gone to animal control and chosen a cat to rescue. I’ve used photos as a guide, but there were plenty of times I didn’t even have that much to go on. This was the first time I would go into a place where I knew if I didn’t help, maybe no one would. As I drove to Bridgeport my task weighed heavily on my heart, but I was also excited to be part of something good happening to these needy animals.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Those are adult cats in those dark cages. They barely can stand. Imagine what it would do to their psychological state after being in there for a long period of time?
I met with Melissa, who runs animal control along with her associate Jimmy. I loved Melissa right away. She was smart, cute with dark curly hair and funky glasses. She was expecting my arrival since I’d promised her help and was finally able to make good on my words. She walked me over to a room that was having some construction done on it and told me to pardon the mess, but mess or no, I was immediately taken aback by what I saw.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. I desperately wanted to take these guys, too.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Do I chose this litter? YES!
Then there were the kittens-either all black or black and white. They were together as a litter, each clinging to the other, wide-eyed, looking at me, trying to decide if I was going to harm them or help. There were eleven kittens and I could only take five. One of the kittens, a sole longhaired black male, was sick, with green discharge from his eyes and his nose was runny. I asked to look at him and I checked his mouth for sores, the telltale sign of Calicivirus-which thankfully he did not have.
I had to consider what the rescue would want, not me. They would want the youngest, friendliest kittens. I went back and forth, adding up which combinations I could take. I started off with the sick kitten, but realized he could affect the others so he had to go back into his cage…and trust me on this…it was not a good feeling. I had to push through my emotions and make a choice.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. The little sick kitten I thought I had to leave behind (who is now at a Vet getting the care he needs)
I called one of my friends who works with the rescue taking the cats and asked if I could, at least, take a sixth kitten since it would have been left behind when it was part of a litter. She said YES! I wanted to take three older long-haired black and white kittens, but the voice in my head said, no, take the younger ones. I felt the ones I left behind would easily be adopted as they were very pretty and friendly. I had to hope for the best.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. This kitten was so friendly I couldn't believe he came out of such a high-stress environment.
We packed up the kittens. In the end I chose two litters: one of two kittens and one of four. I borrowed a second cat carrier so they wouldn’t be together. I looked at the sick kitten and he reached out a paw, wanting to get out of the cage. I asked Melissa to promise to tell me how he was doing and when he got out, but I felt terrible leaving him behind.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
I drove the kittens to our new animal control where they would be quarantined for the day until the rescue could come pick them up.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson.
While I was at animal control, I mentioned the sick kitten and some of the others. I knew I did what I could, but the image of that little guy stuck with me as I drove home.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. These kittens turned out to be cheerful, friendly and playful once they had a chance to get used to their new temporary home.
A few hours later, I got a call. Our dear animal control officer asked me why I didn’t take the sick kitten, too. I told her I had no place for him to go and she told me to go get him and that she would care for him herself and get him placed! I called Melissa and told her I had to return her cat carrier and that I’d do it the next morning. She jokingly asked if I’d like to fill it back up with more cats and I replied, yes and that I was coming back for the sick kitten.
©2013 Robin A.F. Olson. Twenty-four hours later, this little kitten is no longer depressed and fearful, but happy with a full tummy.
I had to wait to get my sick kitten and I got lost trying to find the room he was in. I walked past empty cages, then would see just one cat by itself. Confused I couldn't figure out what was going on, until one of the caretakers came up to me. I asked him about the empty cages. His eyes teared up and he said to me that in the nine years he'd worked at BPT Animal Control, this was the BEST DAY they'd ever had and that most of the cats were GONE. Gone? As in dead? He replied, no…gone as in rescued or adopted.
If only this story was being repeated across this country at every animal control and shelter…what a wonderful world it would be. Yet, I'm grateful I got to witness the breathtakingly beautiful power of what can happen when people come together to affect great change.
75 cats got to see the sunshine again, breathe fresh air, eat good food and be loved. It doesn't get any better than this.