Looking back on 2020, we can take some comfort in knowing we're still here, we're still saving lives. Though it wasn't our biggest, "most saves" year, the fact that we're in operation at all says a lot.
Due to the pandemic, we have made changes to how we do our adoptions.
We are open for business and are doing adoptions. Because our foster cats are located in foster homes, not in a shelter, we cannot invite anyone to meet our cats in person due to health-safety issues related to the pandemic. We realize that everyone who wants to adopt a companion animal should be able to meet them first, so this is how we're going to handle that:
Adoptions will be "Foster to Adopt."
• Home visits will be done via FaceTime
• During virtual home visit you will also be able to see and interact with your cat since we will base our communications from our foster room
• Applications need to be approved, as always
• You will be asked to fill out an "Adoption Terms" form via email and pay the adoption fee (we will hold the fee until the adoption is completed)
• Once approved we will set up a time to pick up your cat/s
The cat will be considered a Kitten Associates foster cat for the period of one week. This will give you and your family time to get to know your new family member. During that time we will provide food and vet care should the cat become ill.
At the end of the foster period (or any time before) we can finalize the adoption or take the cat back if it's not a good fit. We work very hard to make a good match, so we're hoping it will be unlikely you will need to return your foster cat. If so, we will take the cat back, no questions asked, no judging. This should be a simple process.
We have also changed our feeding guidelines. All foster cats are on a fresh diet and our adopters will be expected to continue feeding fresh in their homes. After 15 years of feeding fresh, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the health of all of our cats and kittens. This is not a great change from our feeding guidelines in the past. We will always be a No-Kibble Rescue and are now a 100% Fresh-fed rescue.
It's been a rough road, but we wouldn't be here without all of you. We wish you health, happiness and prosperity in 2021 and look forward to another year of saving lives and helping people live better with their cats.
©2020 Kitten Associates. Catshew from her perch in the KA Foster Room.
It's been two long months since we closed our doors to adoptions and intake. During that time we've helped cats behind-the-scenes by granting funds for vet care or to find them rescue placements. We opened up one of our foster homes so another rescue could place a mama cat and her 4 kittens into a safe and loving environment. We've continued to do cat behavior consultations and helped cat owners understand the power of a fresh diet.
We've been astounded at the number of adoption applications that have come in for our few, remaining foster cats, but sad we've had to say "No" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The good new is, we're finally at a place where we can slowly open our doors, so our foster cats can go to their forever homes.
Based on the guidance of Governor Lamont, we will partially re-open starting on May 20th.
Because we're so careful in screening potential adopters, instead of doing home visits in person, we are going to do home visits via FaceTime or other web video program for the next few months.
We are also limiting adoptions to IN STATE ONLY (Connecticut). We will re-open to doing out-of-state adoptions as the pandemic dies down. Most likely that will not be until September 2020 or later. There is too much additional paperwork and vetting for out-of-state adoptions. We're sorry, but we can't take that on at this time.
We will also implement other changes regarding how we do adoptions for the time being. Adoptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis. It will likely include doing hands-free adoptions where adopters pick up our cats without meeting them in person. Of course we ALWAYS take our cats back if it does not work out.
Our doors remain open to anyone who needs cat behavior counseling, feline nutrition or wellness advice. Though it is still too soon for us to take on any new foster cats or kittens, we will continue to network with our rescue peers to help find cats who need rescue an appropriate placement.
Catshew is getting ready to be placed for adoption! Photo courtesy: Dana Sharkey.
We need you by our side so we can continue to operate. If you'd like to make a purchase of items from our WishList or give a gift to help feed and care for our foster cats, go HERE.
We want to extend our gratitude to everyone who has stayed strong, stayed home and been courteous to everyone by wearing masks. And a special Thank You to our grocery store clerks, our hospital workers, our delivery folks and everyone else on the front lines.
Robin A.F. Olson
President & Founder
Due to the COVID19 virus, our town offices are closing, as well as the school system. As a business here in Sandy Hook for the past decade, we have been asked to make some changes to help keep our community healthy, which we are more than willing to make.
Because we are so careful in screening potential adopters, that requires we do home visits. Once approved, adopters come to our home, or the home of our foster family, to finalize the adoption. Clearly, doing this with a virus outbreak would put ourselves, volunteers and anyone we meet at some measure of risk. Effective at noon (March 14, 2020) we will be suspending our adoption program until further notice.
We will STILL BE HERE for anyone who needs cat behavior counseling, feline nutrition or wellness advice. We will continue to network with our rescue peers to help find cats who need rescue an appropriate placement. Behind the scenes, we'll take this time to work on some long overdue tasks, like update our web site and more, so stay tuned.
We will also continue to show off photos of our adoptable cats, along with any updates on adopted cats in their forever home. We'll tell some rescue stories or share some fun cat-centric tips to help you live better with your cats.
For now, we'll focus on the day to day care of our treasured foster cats, like Matilda. This poor, sweet girl has waited nearly two YEARS to find her forever home. It's heartbreaking to continue to make her and the others wait, too, but it's for the safety and benefit of our community.
Matilda still waits for her forever home. Photo courtesy: Dana Sharkey.
We need you by our side so we can continue to operate. We may need to do fundraisers for simple things, like food and litter, but we never ask unless we really need it.
We want to extend our love and support to all of you who are struggling and afraid. We CAN and WILL get through this together. Please offer to help your neighbors if they can't leave their home. Please don't be grabbing every item off a shelf if you already have enough. It's scary times. We really get it, but we can show the world how well we can work together in a compassionate, caring way for the benefit of others.
Robin A.F. Olson
President & Founder
We’re so thrilled that our friends at the Newtown Bee covered Flapjack’s journey! Here's full article:
By Alissa Silber
“Whatever it takes,” was the vow Robin A.F. Olson, president and founder of Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook, made to ensure Flapjack Shortstack had the best chance at a good life.
Affectionately known as “Flap” and “Flapjack,” the young orange-and-white kitten came into Ms Olson’s care through her nonprofit organization’s rescue program.
One look at his physical appearance and it was clear that he was a special needs kitten.
“Flapjack’s legs were turned and twisted in unique directions due to his mother being far too young to be pregnant and there not being enough space in her uterus for him to develop normally,” Ms Olson said.
Internally, there were also abnormalities that risked his odds of leading a full, healthy life.
“Flap’s ribs came to a point, instead of a smooth curve,” Ms Olson explained. “There was concern his heart and lungs were also compressed, which could give him a shortened lifespan. Flap’s spine had bumpy ridges from his muscles awkwardly contracting while he tried to walk, yet, there was still hope.”
Readers first learned about Flapjack’s medical journey in The Newtown Bee’s article “Flapjack The Kitten Hoping To Flip His Luck” from August 2019, when he was just four months old.
At the time, Flapjack was going to weekly physical therapy sessions in addition to wearing custom-made splints on his front legs. He was also being monitored by a board-certified veterinary surgeon.
The methods proved to be helpful. The young kitten not only gained strength in his leg muscles and had the bumps in his spine smoothed out, but it was determined that he did not have to undergo any amputations.
However, it was believed he would still need corrective surgery on all his limbs when his growth plates closed, a process that would not be completed until he was done growing.
Earlier this month, after reviewing many radiographs of Flapjack’s limbs and chest, it was even revealed that his heart and lungs were normal and no intervention was needed for his legs.
“It was clear to [the vet] that the best thing for Flap was to do nothing,” Ms Olson said. “Putting pins in Flap’s front legs or resecting a hamstring on his back-right leg could risk causing Flap to lose mobility, not gain it.”
No matter what his physical differences are from other cats, Flapjack always follows a mind-over-matter mindset.
He has proven to be determined in achieving his goals when he sets his mind to a task. His tenacity for life has caused him to learn to navigate through the world in his own way. While other cats run, he tends to scamper, but gets where he needs to go.
Ms Olson added, “He could use his litter pan as long as the sides were low. He loved to play and look out the window, chattering at birds as they flew to a nearby feeder . . . Flap was like any cat. He just moved differently.”
Ms Olson’s efforts to keep him alive and give him the best quality of life proved to be the right decision, because despite the odds being against Flapjack, he is now being fostered and loved by his soon-to-be official family.
Rachael and Chris DeMaida, of Waterbury, have decided to adopt Flapjack, as well as his fearless sister, Sugarsnap, with whom he is incredibly bonded.
“This loving couple didn’t balk at continuing Flap’s physical therapy for the rest of his life, if need be. They changed things in their home to make it easier for Flap to get around,” Ms Olson said. “They respected that Flap and his sister, Sugarsnap, shouldn’t be separated, even though Sugar has no disabilities. So Flapjack and his sister will stay together for the rest of their lives.”
The friendly and outgoing siblings will be adopted in just two months, as Flapjack will need to undergo an exploratory neutering surgery for one of his testicles that did not drop.
In addition to continuing with physical therapy once a month, Ms Olson said, “We have to continue to monitor how he’s doing as he ages. He will likely need some pain management like joint supplements and possibly laser therapy or acupuncture/chiropractic [care] in many years.”
The progress Flapjack has made over the last eight months is a jubilant surprise, considering a whopping four vets once told Ms Olson that he would be better off euthanized.
A proponent for trying everything possible, Ms Olson said, “You can put a kitten down any time if the odds are not in the animal’s favor, or you can lean in and work hard on their behalf. You can be willing to focus on the needs of one, even though others might say you could have saved so many more in that same amount of time.”
She added, “I see the kitten in front of me, who is sweet-hearted and happy, who got dealt a tough hand, who needs someone to stand up for him when no one else would. That’s my priority. I know I can’t save every cat, but I can save this one.”
To stay up to date of Flapjack Shortstack’s adventures, check out his Instagram page at instagram.com/flapandfriends. For more information about Kitten Associates in Sandy Hook and to make a donation, call 203-744-9228, e-mail email@example.com, or visit kittenassociates.org.
In the nearly ten years we've been open, what drives us to say “Yes!” to taking on a new foster cat or kitten is a gut feeling we get that "this is our next rescue kitty."
©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap doesn't know his legs bend the wrong way. Flap is 100% kitten. He loves life and everyone he meets.
When we first saw a tiny kitten, in a video posted on Facebook, we knew we had to do something. He was struggling to walk, dragging his right hind leg behind him, while his front legs twisted inwards into his chest. He was living outside on a deck with his furry family, waiting for someone to adopt him. His human family wanted him to go somewhere safe, where he would get the extra care he needed, but they weren't sure that such a person existed to provide that level of care. What if the kitten could never use a litter pan? What if he got sores on his legs? What the sores made it was too painful to move?
Their worst fear-what if they took Flap to the vet? The vet would tell them to put him down (which actually ended up happening).
Thankfully, his family protected him. They wanted him to have a chance to live so they said "NO" to putting the kitten down.
We reached out to them and offered to help. Luckily for us, they were willing to trust us with their precious boy. Sure, we had the same fears about how the kitten would do once he was with us, and wondered if he would be incontinent and have mobility issues that would make his life miserable, but we had to try. We would find a way. Then one day we'd find him a family who would cherish him and give him the forever home of his dreams.
We named him Flapjack Shortstack. Flap will probably be with us for at least a year, until he is fully grown. At that point Flap would be ready for any surgery, if we felt it was needed. We estimate that each leg could require $4000-$5000 in surgery fees OR maybe he won't need any surgery. It's too soon to know or get hung up on costs.
©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flapjack Shortstack.
Until then, how would we provide for Flap for so long? He'll likely be with us for a year without any buddies. It wouldn't be fair to him to be alone all the time, so we reached out to the owner and they were willing to let us take Flap's sisters, Sugarsnaps Sugarpants and Tickle Nurbington into our rescue program. Since we're not very good with math, we ended up with five kittens in total. Boom-Boom McGillicuddy and his bro, Trinket Worthmore, joined us, too.
So Flap has plenty of friends who love to play and snuggle with him (you can see them 24-hrs a day on our SqueeTV Web Cam).
©2019 Robin AF Olson. Test brace #1 (wasn't quite right so we tried again...then he popped brace #2 off so we're off for another test)
We're building our team of experts to help Flap walk better even after four Vets told us to put him down. Flap has a fire in his belly, a strong will to live. He doesn't let things get him down. Just because it will take time and resources to help Flap, that doesn't mean to save a buck we should end his life. That is just wrong. We do NOT DO THAT. Someone has to fight on behalf of the kittens who need the most help. How could we harm this kitten? Look at his face! Something magical is already happening. In Dr. Deb Weisman, at Newtown Veterinary Specialists, we found a great ally. When we asked for her advice she replied, "Let's fix him!"-NOT put him down. From day one she has been focused on finding a way that balances what is appropriate for Flap without causing him an unreasonable amount of discomfort.
Her approach is wise-do a little, watch and wait, adjust things here and there, respect that Flap already can get around just as he is now. The trick is to see if we can help him get around better, more comfortably and more appropriately.
©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap loves getting physical therapy. It's helped him be able to move more easily.
Flap is also seeing his friend, Aunt Gail, who is a top notch physical therapist. Between his visits we continue the therapy sessions here every single day. Flap is stretching and moving much better than he did a month ago. A few days ago, he jumped up and off his bed and onto the lower portion of a cat tree-a normal thing for most cats, but for Flap it was a major achievement.
Flap will need us well into 2020, so we really need all of YOU to lend a helping paw. If you'd like to be part of our rescue team by giving a gift to provide for Flap so he can continue physical therapy and see our specialists, and provide essentials for Flap and his friends, you can do the following:
Gifts of ANY AMOUNT (You do not have to have a PayPal acc't) PayPal
Mail a check made out to: Kitten Associates. Send to Kitten Associates, P.O. Box 354, Newtown, CT 06470-0354
Donate on Venmo: KittenAssociates
Gift Cards to Your Healthy Pet in Newtown, CT needed, too!
We also have an Amazon Wishlist. We're a 501(c)3 non-profit so your donation is tax-deductible.
Follow Flap's Story on Facebook or check back here for updates.
©2019 Robin AF Olson. Flap with Tickle and Boom-Boom. Thank you for caring about cats and visiting our site. We're revamping our look later this year. Stay tuned for some awesome new features!
BIG NEWS! Our friends Barb & Randy from Enlighten Up have an awesome kickstarter campaign for their Cosmic Cat Wisdom Deck & Guidebook. If we can make this happen, our rescue will also get a big donation!
To get your paws on a Pre-Sale copy of the Comic Cat Wisdom Deck and Guidebook go HERE
The Cosmic Cat Wisdom Deck features Cats purr-fectly sharing their wisdom in this 60 card deck, with engaging illustrations, a unique theme, and more exploration provided in the guide book.
What we love about this project is the cards are timeless. You will use them over your lifetime at work, home and play because each message is a beautiful reminder about what's really important in life. They make great gifts too! Get yours now and you'll be supporting Kitten Associates, too!
We're off this weekend so we can attend the 74th Annual New England Federation of Humane Societies conference in Warwick, Rhode Island. It's a 3-day long event with so many sessions, about all aspects of cat rescue, adoptions, socialization and more; that we're hoping to get re-energized and learn new ways to make life better for cats, our volunteers and adopters.
And by the way, did you hear the amazing news?
Our local paper, The Newtown Bee, wrote a story about Hanna Reps, an awesome young lady whose family adopted two cats from us 5 years ago. Hanna has become so inspired by living with cats and learning about them through our rescue and through her own studies, that she is now a blossoming cat advocate! It truly doesn't get any better than that.
We're SO PROUD OF HANNA!!!!
We did it! Thanks to everyone who donated or shared our messages on social media, we were able to raise over $5000 for our rescue program in just 24-hours!
I'm also very proud to say that out of the over 100 non-profits taking part, Kitten Associates ranked 33rd for most donors. This is great news. It means our message is getting out and that we have great friends who support our rescue efforts.
And though we did not raise as much as the top non-profits (over $100,000 in one case!), for a small, local rescue we still placed within the top 100 out of 415 registered organizations.
Thank you to everyone for their support and to all the folks at FCGives.org for helping us make dreams come true for cats and kittens in need.
Join us! We're part of Fairfield County Giving Day, a 24-hour marathon fundraiser for non-profits.
USE THE GREEN BUTTON below OR THIS LINK, TODAY ONLY, THURSDAY FEB 28, 2019, TO GIVE YOUR LIFE-SAVING GIFT. OUR GOAL IS TO RAISE $5000.
Please tell your friends about our fundraiser, too, so your gift can do even more.
We take on the tough cases, like Freya, who was given a 10% chance to survive. Today she's a 4-year old spitfire who's happy and healthy. We LOVE to do RESCUE, but we can't do it without resources.
Why it's Good to Give: Your gift is tax-deductible! AND...Because we're a 100% volunteer-rescue, all gifts go to providing for the care of our foster cats & kittens.
Laney & her daughter, Winnie, with their litters of kittens. Today this mom & daughter (along with Winnie's daughter, Piglet) live together in a loving home. The remaining kittens were adopted, too, and doing great. Spayed and healthy, these cats got to have a wonderful life, thanks in part to donations from people like you.