Friday, February 24, 2006


Clara at her original foster home

We stayed at 5 cats for over a year. All our kiddos get along great and even Jubilee comes out and of her throne room occasionally. (Our room is her room. She sees no need to to leave it since her cat tree and everything she wants is there. She's Jubi. We just accept it. If she's happy, we're happy.) When we adopted Rollo and Coal we also took on two more foster cats. We hadnt planned to. There was a remodeling going on at the main foster home so we had to move all the foster cats out of one room. We took 4 cats to foster for just a few days, till the room was all done. Andie and Mandy spent a few days in our bathroom and then went back to the main foster home, until we ended up adopting them a few months later. We had also taken Stella and Clara, who were two of the shyer cats and decided to keep fostering them with plans to possibly adopt them in a few months time. Obviously we ended up adopting Andie and Mandy and alot of other things happened in the next few months time to change our plans. Stella, a beautiful Tortie/Maine Coon Mix, was the first shy cat Richard really worked with. She was also somewhat tempremental and got overwhelmed easily so we really didnt feel our home was the best one for her. A quiter home with a few less cats seemed a better idea, but since she had been with our rescue since 1999 that didnt seem very likely to happen. Low and behold a year after we started fostering her we got a wonderful application to adopt her! We struggled with adopting her out but once we met her new mom we knew it was right. Stella hid when her new mom came to meet her, not even coming out from under the futon and yet her mom wasnt put off. We were shocked when she said she still wanted to adopt her. She knew Stella just needed time to trust her. Adopting Stella out was very hard as we were very attached to her but it worked out so well. Her mom stays in touch with me and often sends me pictures to show how well Stella is doing. She has blossomed so much in her new home and even lets her mom pick her up, something she never let us do. Stella realy got her dream home.

Stella and Clara

It's amazing how the timing of things works out. God really was looking out for me. For the next few months, adopting a cat was not really anywhere in my mind. I was too busy loving my boy and letting him go. I'll need to write a seperate entry on Baby Boy, to tell his story. Clara's story is somewhat entwined with his though so there has to be some mention of him. After Baby Boy left this earth we broke one of our cardinal rules:We let Clara out in the house with out cats. We dont usually mix our cats with our fosters. Baby Boy wanted to be out with our guys some though and since I couldnt deny him anything he spent time out in the house. Since Clara was his roomate she came too. Once he was gone I wasnt going to leave her in the foster room by herself so she came out into the house. Besides which, in the entire time we has been fostering her (over a year and a half now) we had never had anybody apply to adopt her. (Technically that's not entirely true. The wonderful woman who adopted Stella had expressed some interest in adopting Clara, but since she and Stella could be pretty snotty with each other that wasnt a great idea.) So Clara wasnt going anywhere. She knew all our kids, had been with them at the main foster home so once her and Mandy stopped hissing at each other they were all fine. She adores Nilla and the two of them look so cute together-A big white dog and a little black cat. Other people do mix their fosters and own cats, but I never have since I get attached too easily. Anyway, Christmas was coming and Richard kept telling me he had gotten my main present already and it would make me cry. I kept thinking he was going to get me something to memoralize Baby Boy and I wasnt ready for that. I had no idea what he had planned. So Christmas Day comes and my first present is a calendar of black cats. I love black cats so I was thrilled. My last package is flat and thin. A folder. I was compeltely confused now. Then I opened it and there was an adoption contract already filled out with Clara's name. He was right. I cried. He handed me a pen and I signed it and Clara was officially mine. Clara seemed to know things were permanent now. She was out and in the middle of everything all day. I could never have let her go. I have loved her since she was at the main foster home. She's so shy she used to hide but would come out when I called her and let me pet her. She has the softest fur, it feels just like a bunnies, thus her middle name became Bunny. Clara is pretty shy and most strangers will never see her. Richard's parents were over visiting this Summer and Clara shocked us all by coming out of hiding and climbing all over Richard's Dad. Richard told me that's when he decided this was definitely her home. I had known it all along, from the moment she let me pet her all those years ago.

Andie and Mandy

We hadn't planned on adding any more cats to our family after adopting Rollo and Coal, at least not for awhile. Two little girls had other plans however.

Andie was found after a housefire in a local neighborhood. Some neighbors took her to a woman they knew was an animal lover. She was disabled however and the only space she had for Andie was an abandoned trailer. To make matters more complicated Andie was pregnant and quickly gave birth to five kittens. The woman called our rescue and we quickly got Andie and the kittens into our main foster home. Andie was a skinny, frightened kitty but she immediately trusted Richard. She quickly became his shadow. She would sit on his lap while he scooped litter boxes, talk to him as soon as he entered the room and generally made it known that she had chosen him as her daddy. Most of Andie's kittens got adopted fairly quickly. Only two were left, Slim, a handsome gray and white male and Mandy, a very shy little cutie who adored her mommy. Andie and her were tightly bonded, so much so we didn't want to adopt them out separately. We weren't fostering any adoptable cats at this point so we didn't usually go to the adoptathons. One one occasion there was a couple interested in Andie and Mandy and Richard went to meet them. They were less than nice, had no connection with the girls and kept going on and on about how shy there were. I couldn't believe how mad Richard was when he got home afterwards. I had a feeling then these girls weren't going to anyone else's home. I have to give Richard credit, he really did try not to get attached. Of course it didn't work. And finally, when coming home after an adoptathon Andie came running out her carrier, chatting the whole time and jumped up on Richard's look with the most put out expression on her face it was very clear she didn't want to go to anyone else's home at all. We had a big multi adoptathon coming up and I told Richard if the girls didn't get adopted then I was adopting them for him as a late birthday present. He didn't even try and argue.

The girls didn't get adopted so a week later both Andie and Mandy came home with us. They spent a week in our downstairs bathroom and at the end of the week were out about in our house like they had always been there. (It took Rollo and Coal much longer to be ready to be out all the time. They spent the majority of their first three months in a spare bedroom, having little trips out in the house before they were comfortable enough to stay out all the time. One night Coal just refused to go back in the room and we took this as a sign they were ready. Cats tell us so much about what they need if we only listen.) We really cheated on integrating them into our household since they were from the same foster home and even the same room as Rollo and Coal. They all greeted each other very casually "Oh are you living here now too?", gave each other a few "I know you" sniffs, and settled down to life as brothers and sisters. Mandy was right at a year old when we adopted her so she's the closest to a kitten we have ever adopted. She holds the title of eternal kitten in our household and is just as spoiled as you can imagine any baby would be. Since Andie was so young when she had her (Not even a year old) the girls have barely a years age difference and are great playmates. Mandy has slowly gone from a shy little girl to a very affectionate, cuddly one. She can usually be found either sleeping on the arm of the couch near her Daddy's head or laying across my chest. Andie is a typical Tortie. She is extremely smart, full of personality and extremely personable and outgoing. She greets all visitors to our house and if they fail to greet her back she will tap them on the arm till they respond. She is very cuddly and sweet with me but she is 100% a Daddy's girl. The world revolves around Richard for Andie. If he's late coming home she sulks. If we get a new foster cat and she thinks he's paying attention to them and not her she sulks. If he dares to have his laptop on his lap and not her she sits on my lap and glares at him till he puts the laptop away and she can reclaim his lap. She is a happy cat who got what she wanted most; A home for her and Mandy, with her Daddy.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rollo and Coal

Rollo and Coal are a bonded pair. I think these pictures I took when they were still in their foster home shows that! They really do walk with their tails intertwined. They absolutely love and adore each other. I have many weaknesses when it comes to cats (Black cats, Tabbys) but bonded pairs is my biggest one. Luckily since the rescue we work with is a small one we have the luxury of keeping the pairs together. We adopt them out together if they are truly bonded or not at all. Rollo and Coal weren't rescued together. They have vastly different pasts.

Rollo came into the rescue in July of 2000, about a year old. He was living with a man who lived in a trailer right by the highway. Supposedly this man loved cats and he had many of them. All of whom he let outdoors. Many of whom got hit by cars. Of course the man did not take them to the vet. No, he shot them. I don't know all the details of the cats lives there but needless to say it was definitely neglecting and abusive. Without going into all the details my boy was rescued by the founder of the rescue. She has rescued more cats than I can imagine and can tell you all their stories but Rollo's she remembers very vividly. She told me the other day she will never forget the look in Rollo's eyes, that their was no life, nothing their. I cant even imagine it as he is one of the most vibrant, life filled kitties I have ever known. He's a smooshie, cuddly boy.

Coal came into the rescue in March of 2001. Coal was a stray cat who came into his foster home as a wild boy. The woman who rescued him swore he wasn't wild but I have heard horror stories of how close to feral he was. He's a big black cat who alot of people think is scary and intimidating looking so I can imagine he didn't have alot of people who were kind to him when he was a stray. At one point his foster mom really thought he would have to become a farm cat as he was just too wild to adopt out.

How exactly my boys found each other and bonded so close I don't know but I do know I owe their foster mom and Coal for saving my boy. Anyone who could ever claim that animals don't love just needs to see Rollo and Coal together. My heart just aches every time I see them together, it's so beautiful.

I wanted my boys for a long time. When we first starter volunteering we were living in an apartment. With Nilla, Jubi and our foster kitty we were already over our animal limit. The first words Richard said to me when we found out we were getting out house were "You can have your boys." They truly are my boys. Rollo is my little boy. He loves other cats. He loves Nilla. He love everyone! Coal is my handsome boy. Coal is a bit more cautious with strange cats and people alike. When we adopted him we knew he wasn't as affectionate as Rollo. I was ok with that. I loved him for him. If we was never really affectionate that was ok. The first time he clomb up on my lap I cried. That fact that he now routinely climbs up on my lap and purrs for me is the greatest gift. They have both blossomed so much since coming into our home. They are best example of why people should adopt shy cats and give them a chance. My boys are the best cats. I cant imagine my life without them.

Olympic Moment

I just have to comment on the Olympics. I am such an Olympic junkie! I love, love, love ice skating. I love the snow boarding and speed skating. I am absolutely heartbroken that Michelle Kwan had to pull out of the competition. I have watched her since she was a little girl and have always loved to watch her perform. I will always feel she was robbed in Nagano. She was the epitome of grace, strength and elegance at those games and her performance was flawless. While I hate that she wont be competing I am in awe of her graciousness, her honesty and her integrity. She could have stayed and skated. It was her right to do so. But she loves the sport and the Olympics too much to do that, so like the graceful athlete she is she stepped aside. I shed tears watching the announcement and in the retrospective of her career that followed. I have always loved what a fighter she is. How many other skaters have retired from professional skating since the first Olympics she attended? But not Michelle. I admire that so much and I relate as I am so bad at quitting myself. She has said a few times she wouldn't rule out another Olympics. She would be 29 at the next Winter Games. No woman that age has ever won a gold medal in skating. I guess we'll have to wait and see. But I wouldn't count her out till she decides she's done. She's a fighter after all.

Friday, February 10, 2006


We started volunteering at a local cat rescue in the summer of 2002. I wanted a cat. Richard wasn't sold on the idea as he had never had a cat. At the time Nilla was being treated for heartworms so we couldnt add another animal till she got the all clear anyway. So we had time to meet some of the cats and get to know them. We started helping out at the main foster home, cleaning litter boxes, feeding the cats and playing with them. I wanted a black cat as my childhood kitty had been black and I know they are not easily adopted (Alot of people still have really dumb ideas when it comes to black cats.) None stood out to me as my cat. There was one we considered named *Simon, a gray tabby but we werent completely sure.

Then a kitty was returned from her home. She had been in her home since she was a kitten and now the couple was getting divorced. The husband had suddenly become allergic to the cat and neither of the people wanted her. So back she came to a foster home. We only have a few cages there, since for the most part the cats are free to roam, but we have a few for returns, cats who hate other cats, medical cases, ect. Millie was a 2 year old brown tabby. She came back to her foster home absolutely scared. She huddled in a cage and looked like she was trying to pretend none of this was happening. The first week we were there to clean we left her alone, hoping she would be a bit more settled down by our next visit. The next week we cleaned her cube out and she was just as scared. I talked to her in a soft voice, wrapped a soft blanket around her and told her it would keep her safe. She snuggled her head into my hand and I was lost. It is the one and only time I have gone home and cried. Nilla was due for a vet check the next week and Richard immediatly said if she was ok then Millie could come home with us. I set about thinking of a new name for her. A new life deserves a new name and names are very important to me. I am admittedly a huge comic book fan. I love the X-Men and my favorite character has always been Jubilee. It also happend to be the Queen's Golden Jubilee year and a Jubilee was a celebration. So Millie was to be renamed Jubilation Lee. Nilla checked out fine at the vet and Jubilee came home with us the next weekend. She spent her first week in our small bathroom with little visits out in the house to get her used to the surroundings. By the end of the first week she was ready to be out and about in the house. She was fine with Nilla and she settled down really well. Jubilee is the perfect cat. She doesnt jump on the counter, she doesnt get into things and she is pretty self sufficient.

Three years after coming to live with us she is a very sweet, affectioate cat. She is also the most stubborn creature on the face of the earth. I researched cat food when we adopted her and discovered how important wet food is to a cats diet so I wanted her to eat it. Richard got a great kick out of watching me pull my hair out trying to get her to eat food food. For years the only wet food she would touch was supermarket junk food. Finally, we found one premium food (Merrick) she will eat. We all rejoiced. Jubilee is our number one cat. We dont love her any more than the others but there is just something very special about her. Initially she was pretty aloof and tempremental. Now she sleeps beside me almost every night. She tolerates our other cats but she spends most of her time in our bedroom. Since she's the Queen she has her food seperate from the others in there. Spoiled? You bet!

(*Simon was actually adopted about a week after we adopted Jubi. It worked out well as he hates other cats so he went to a single kitty home. We all got happy endings.)


My stories about my kids always start with one. Oreo. I got Oreo when I was 11 from a shetler in NJ. She was with me for almost 17 years. We lost her, my baby dog right before we moved to NC. She was the most amazing baby. People who didnt even like dogs loved Oreo. She had survived Parvo as a puppy (She never reached her full size because of it) and was the first animal Richard ever loved. It was extremely hard to get another dog after losing her. I still cant see a German Shorthaired Pointer without getting emotional. I agonized over getting another dog. I wanted one but it just was so hard. I kept looking at dogs on Petfinder but I just couldnt do it. Then I saw Nilla. I have a soft spot for active/hyper dogs and I had always wanted a Dalmatian. She was a Dalamtian/Lab mix. At the time she was named Alexis, was almost 6 months old and was in a low kill shelter. Low kill still doesnt mean no kill and her days were numbered. We were getting ready to go to Chicago for a work trip. We spoke to the shelter and planned on picking her up on our way back. We drove back from Chicago as fast as we could and arrived not long before they were to close. Nilla came bounding out and it was love at first sight. She was playful, sweet and just as active as Oreo had been as a puppy. (Oreo was named after Oreo Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, so to keep up the theme I wanted another Ice Cream name. Vanilla Bean fit perfectly.) Her first Christmas was so much fun. Nilla is very smart and she loved unwrapping presents. We videod her first Christmas just like proud new parents. I strongly believe Oreo had a hand in us getting Nilla. She is one of the most easygoing babies. She loves people, loves cats and is amazingly loving. She's our princess.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday, Just Thursday

So I made my 3rd new recipe last night. Not a success. Aw well. I tried. That's what this year is about for me. Letting go of fear and trying new things. That's not an easy thing but I'm working on it. It's all baby steps right now but baby steps are still steps.

Oddly enough I am really into American Idol this year. I have always avoided it since it's such a huge thing were we live-Clay Aiken land. So many people here just live and breathe the show it's hard to not be turned off by it. (My favorite moment was when we went to a local restraunt with my inlaws who were visiting from England. The waiter of course had to tell us we were sitting in Clay Aiken's favorite booth and took great delight in telling my mother in law she was sitting in the exact spot Clay himself sat last time he was here. I dont think he knew what to do when she told him she didnt know who that was.) For some reason this year we watched the auditions and have had alot of fun with it. We missed last nights episode (way too much DVR'd) so I've been reading the recap. Looks like my favorites go through. Yae!

We had had tons of applications to adopt for cats lately. My Chamomile (more about her later) went home last Wednesday to one of the best homes we have ever adopted to. Serenity is meeting her new family on Saturday. We have sevral people lined up to come to the adoptathon on Sunday so hopefully Jazzy (who was returned from her home last week after 5 years....grrr) will find a new family as well. I love this time of year when we have adult cats getting adopted. Oddly enough, I the kitten lady (I'm the Kitten Intake Coordinator) have never adopted a kitten myself and I much prefer when we adopt out adults. It's a heck of alot harder emotionally letting go of an adult cat than it is a kitten. Most kittens come and go pretty quickly (Chami and Serenity are the only cats left over from kitten season at our house and they were both momma kitties.) so you dont get too attached and you dont usually really have to work with them too much. But an adult who you have to work with is another story. In Chamomile's case she needed major socialization. We had her since August and she wasnt ready to even be put up for adoption till January. You spend alot of time with a cat like that and it's so hard to let them go. In a way fostering is setting yourself up for a broken heart but I cant imagine not doing it. Speaking of cats, I still need to show off my own babies. I'll do that in my next post.