Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Happened and What's to Come

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When the Stouts moved in, they were perky and round but days later, things started to change for Filbert.  His little body was always cold, he had trouble keeping food down, and what managed stay in long enough to pass, came out in drips.  His energy was low and he looked dehydrated, so on a Saturday morning, I took him into the shelter so he could get fluids.  There's no doctor on staff over the weekend, so he couldn't get a full examine on this day.  I was hoping the fluids could suspend him until we could see the doctor  on Monday morning.

We returned home and all afternoon the vomiting and diarrhea continued, so we paid a visit to the emergency vet.  Flibert was examined  and diagnosed with intussusception of the intestines.  We discussed the option of surgery, and decided we would get him fully hydrated and stable first, run a few tests, and then figure out what to do next.  I left the frail boy at the clinic, and headed back to the house to tend to the girls.

Shortly after I arrived, the phone rang and the doctor on the other end delivered the horrible news -  Filbert tested positive for Panleukopenia.


If you are a foster parent or if you work or volunteer at a shelter,  this news is as bad as it gets.  It's a horrible virus, highly contagious, and a killer of kittens.   There are treatment options for older and stronger cats, but not for a wee one-pound kitten like Filbert. For him, euthanasia was the only option.

I don't think I've ever worried and panicked like I did in those moments after I received this news.  Because in those moments, it just felt like this whole itty bitty empire was going away.

We were losing Filbert, for sure, and because he had Panleuk,  there was very strong chance the girls had it too, and we could lose them as well.    And then I panicked about our future - once this virus enters your home, because it's so contagious and hard to kill, you have to wait a year to foster again.

And if I couldn't foster, how could I blog?  And if I couldn't blog, what would I do? And how could we have our fundraiser, if there are no kittens to staff the phonebank? And would my book deal fade away?  And then I worried about all of you and then everything else under the sun because that's what I do in moments like this.

Fortunately, I married a man who doesn't panic or rattle easily, and together we returned to the emergency clinic with Wylla and Audrey so they could be tested too.

It was a long afternoon and evening at the clinic.  They tested the girls, and while we awaited the results, we had a chance to suit-up in gowns and gloves and say our goodbyes to dear Filbert.

He was in a cubby in the isolation area, curled into a ball. It had barely been an hour since I left him there, and in that time, it was clear the virus had tightened its grip on that tiny kitten.  Normally, when Filbert received any amount of affection, he would respond with loud, rumbling purrs, but in this weakened state, he couldn't.  His eyes were dull, he was fading, and shortly afterwards he was put down.

We returned to the examination room and  received the good news that the girls tested negative.  Thank goodness.  They wanted to do some more testing and blood work, so we waited while they squeezed us in between other appointments and emergencies and finally, just before midnight, we left the clinic.

We had to do all that we could to prevent exposing the girls further to this virus, so on the way home we stopped at the store to pick up a gallon of bleach, a few cleaning supplies, and a new litter box and scoop.  



The girls waited patiently in their carrier while we quickly but carefully scrubbed every square inch of their wire kennel with bleach and hot water.  We set them up in their new basement quarters with fresh blankets and a bed, a new litter box, and new toys.  They were happy to be home and ready for a good meal and a long nap.

We were too - the day was exhausting.

The weeks ahead were still worry-filled.   The girls had to be tested several times before we knew for sure they were virus-free, and of course we had Wylla's other health issues to deal with too.

These days were work-filled as well - we had to begin cleaning the kitten room, which was no small task. Transmission of the virus occurs either through direct contact between cats or through contact with common surfaces, so every surface in the room - floors, walls, furniture, objects - had to be cleaned with bleach.  If it couldn't be cleaned with bleach, we had to dispose of it,  so we took a station wagon filled with an upholstered chair, lamp shades, pillows, bedding, books, kitty toys and towers to the landfill.

Just last week we finally finished up with the former kitten room.  We've deep-cleaned,  repainted, redecorated and it's now a guest bedroom - for humans only.

But don't worry.  That doesn't mean we're done with fostering.  We've figured out a plan.

Even though I feel we were very thorough in our cleaning, we don't want to risk exposing any other kittens to lingering bits of the virus, so we are building a kitten nursery in our basement.  It will be a lovely and serene space that's easy to care for kittens in and easy to clean and sanitize between batches.

It's not going to happen over night -  but now that we've dealt with the former kitten room, we can move ahead with the project full-steam.   I'm very excited, and we'll work as quickly as we can to get it up and running soon.


With fostering, there are risks involved, and I've always known we may have to go through something like this one day.  It happened,  we survived this foster mom's worst nightmare,  Wylla and Audrey made it through, and a bright kitten-filled future lies ahead.

Thanks for being so supportive through this whole ordeal.  We sure do appreciate all of your good thoughts, prayers, sweet comments and kind gestures.   Your positive ways helped us get through these hard months.   Thank you for being there for us each day.

xoxo




 






130 comments:

  1. Best kitten foster parent award goes to you! <3 Thank you for all you do for the homeless kittens of the world.

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  2. Oh Laurie. What an ordeal for you all. Bless you for soldiering on with the wonderful work you and Craig do for these kittens (and your/their fans). I look forward to more itty bitties in good time. Until then, I hope you and Craig can get some rest before your next batch! xo

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  3. Thank you for all that you do, Laurie. For the kittens and for our community! I wept as I read your beautiful words. You are such a blessing to the kitties you foster and outside of that, you give all of your readers endless smiles on any given day.

    I can't wait to see the kitten's new space and know that with your creativity, love, and special touch, it will be nothing short of magnificent!

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    1. ditto Jen, you eloquently said what i was thinking, thanks

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  4. Laurie, what can your Itty Bitty family (us!) do to help?

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    1. Yes! Maybe you can create a Kickstarter for this? I would love to donate towards the new kitten room. You've brought us all so much joy with this blog. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would love to give back somehow.

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    2. Here too!
      You work so hard and bring so much hope and joy, let us help you the way you help us!

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  5. I had a feeling that was what happened when you started describing the symptoms. I'm glad you guys were in a position where everyone was isolated and you could keep it contained. Panleuk sucks. Bless you, Clan Stout, and your fabulous husband.

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  6. XOXOXO to you too, Laurie and Craig!

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  7. XOXOXO to you,Laurie and Craig!

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  8. Wow Laurie. You and your hubby are amazing and I am so thankful to know you and have one of your amazing kitties (Leonard, now 16 pounds).

    Keep us all posted. You will always have loads of support. :)

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    1. Leonard Winkler, I presume? :) Awww!

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    2. Leonard is one hunk of a handsome kitty - and he looks so incredibly soft. Gah!

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  9. Oh Laurie. I wish there were some way we could have offered you some support through this painful process. May we contribute financially to the refurnishing of the kitten room? I can't imagine being happier than knowing that I helped buy a new cat tree or beds or toys or paint or a chair or something. Please let us know.

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  10. Infrequent commenter here: Laurie, your dedication and love is admirable and all that is right with the animal-people world. All my best wishes to you, and thank you for what you do :)

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  11. Thank YOU, Laurie, for everything you have done, and continue to do, for the kittens blessed to meet you and be your fosters. I know in my heart that Filbert knew only love and caring when he was with you, Craig and Charlene, and that you gave him the very best life any kitten could have dreamed of having. Your passion and devotion to your fosters, and to the community of humans you've fostered through your blog, is bigger than galaxies and universes and infinities, and it shows in every post, every photo and every video. XOXO right back to you, today and all the days to come.

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  12. Agreeing with Dash and others above: I would also be happy to donate some $ to help fund your kitten nursery.

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  13. Your blog makes my mom and I smile and laugh. Even on a rough day, I can come here and find myself giggling and squeeing. I love Charlene and you do a marvelous job of making her personality come to live on Facebook and Twitter, as well as showcasing the wonderful personalities of all the kittens who come through your home.

    I'm so sorry you had to go through all of this worry and sadness. I hope you never have to again. You have helped so many kittens find happiness, and you brighten so many people's days by sharing your adventures.

    You'll have to post the progress of your new kitten haven in the basement as it comes along!

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  14. What an ordeal! I'm so sorry you went through all of this. You (and your husband!) are awesome kitten-fostering ROCK STARS for doing so much for the little ones.

    It's been incredibly heartwarming to see Wylla getting stronger. I needed a pick-me-up REALLY badly yesterday, and I couldn't have asked for anything better than the video of Wylla rolling around attacking her tail and chasing Charlene.

    Thanks so so much!

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  15. Laurie, I've enjoyed your blog for years and would love to contribute to the kitten nursery. Might I suggest a Kickstarter campaign so all your readers can have a chance to help out?

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    1. That was my first thought when I read this (well, after finding a whole mess o' tissues after reading your story). If you set up a Kickstarter, I'll bet you'll have enough funds to make the best kitten room ever before you know it! Please consider it. There are a lot of generous folks out here in IBKC-land.

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    2. I agree! And shouldn't it be called a kitten den since it will be underground?

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    3. Or perhaps the Catcave?

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  16. Bless your heart, Laurie. We had no idea just how much trauma there was behind the scenes! Thank you for sharing that, and for carrying on through what I'm sure was (and is) a difficult time.

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  17. Hi there,

    Is Bean safe from the virus, and will she be able to be with the new kittens as they come through?

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    1. We keep her fully vaccinated, and they were quarantined, so she was never at risk.

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    2. I remember from posts I've read that when new kittens arrive, they must be quarantined for two weeks before Charlene can meet them. Poor dear Filbert has reminded us exactly why that is necessary. Fortunately it seems to be rare.

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    3. That's great, such a relief. Thank you so much for all you do. I visit the site every day to see the kitties and the Bean. I'd definitely contribute with a Kickstarer.

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  18. As always, thanks for everything you do for these little kittens. Please let us know if we can donate items to you for the nursery.

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  19. Laurie, on behalf of your loayl readers, the past and future adopting parents, and all the furry-purry-sweet lives you have and will save, THANK YOU! For your dedication to all things kitten, for spreading your knowledge & wisdom to the foster community and for touching oh so many hearts, you deserve a medal! So does your extraordinary hubby! You ROCK!

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  20. You are a very special person. Thank you for what you do for the kitties.

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  21. Laurie, This just blows my mind! I knew you were a committed, dedicated foster mom, and I knew there were so many difficulties with the health of the beloved Stouts, but I obviously didn't know the half of it. What uber commitment and dedication you have! Thank you for all you do for the kittens, and for not giving up on fostering after enduring such a traumatic experience! Many, many blessings to you!

    And I completely agree with the others who offered financial help, and I would be more than happy to contribute what I can to the new kitten room also. Please do let us know how we can help you!

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  22. Oh wow. Oh my gosh. I am so sorry you went through such a horrible time! But I'm also so glad you were able to stay positive and find a solution that allows you to keep doing what you love. Thank you so much for being so caring, for spending so much time and energy on these kittens. You are a credit to us all.

    K from MN

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  23. *hugsies* Thanks for taking care of all the kittehs over the years. I love watching them all grow up (if their parents so choose to tell their stories).

    In particular, I've been following Zoubi (Zelda Lamm) and her adventures with her sister. It brings me joy to know they are doing well.

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  24. PS: And yes, bless your wonderful husband and Ms. Bean too! ;)

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  25. Bleach is cheap and extremely effective but for some surfaces you might want to keep this around.

    http://www.deconlabs.com/products.php?ID=40

    Conflikt kills vitually everything and it's safe for most surfaces.

    Congrats on surviving the ordeal.

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  26. My home has also experienced panleukopenia with two kittens we adopted nearly six years ago right after I lost my father. I wondered if that's what Filbert had because your description of him matched perfectly with the experience I had with my little Turbo--they even looked so much alike they could be brothers. It was heartbreaking to read of your experience with Filbert because I remember those feelings.

    Zoey, his sister, also had the virus but her outcome was much different. She is my "Fluffy Feline Furball Therapy" and is quite the diva kitty. She is the "queen" of our home and has two subjects: Kiki, a fostered Calico we adopted after two years (to make sure the virus was gone); and Perky, my grand-kitty that I'm taking care of while my daughter is serving in Afghanistan.

    I love your blog and reading about your experiences with fosters. I really love the photos and often wonder how you get them to sit still! I'm so glad things have worked out that you can continue to foster and bless the lives of these sweet kittens.

    Best wishes and many blessings for you, Craig, and Charlene.

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    1. Best wishes to your daughter for a safe deployment, and please thank her for her service!

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  27. It's already been said many times above, but thank you both, for having the love, heart and tenacity to care for all of the kittens who needed your help, most especially the Stouts. Wish there was something I could do to help, so if there ever is, I do hope that you won't hesitate to ask. I'd be honored to contribute anything to ease the life of your fosters, current and future.

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  28. No Laurie, thank you. You and Craig are truly special people to open your home to hundreds of kittens and help usher them to their new, happy lives. I am in awe of the care you gave to the Stouts, going way above and beyond.

    I can't speak for all your devoted fans but I certainly wouldn't mind if you took some time to rest and recharge before welcoming the next group of Itty Bitties.

    Thank you again for all you do.

    P.S. I was wondering why I hadn't seen the magic pink basket in awhile. I guess it was a casualty of the contamination.

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    1. Yeah, I just mentioned below that I noticed a while ago that I hadn't seen the usual bedroom, and that a different bedroom was shown the other day. Also part of the change, I assume.

      But your observation about the basket, for some reason, really makes it sink in.

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    2. I started to get quite upset at the thought of the basket being gone - it's nurtured so many kitties through the years, it's hard to believe it won't be around for any more of them to snuggle into. But then I remembered about the lovely anonymous donor who sent over Wylla's new basket, just at the right time. Laurie always says the universe takes great care of the itty bitties and this seems to be more proof of that!

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  29. Oh my! Reading it all at once ... I didn't realize how bad the situation was. I'm very happy you percervered and won out over this nasty virus. Many hugs to you and Craig for all your hard work. I'm sure the kitten nursery will be wonderful and full of fun things for kittens to do as you and Craig and the Bean prepare them for their homes. I look forward to the pictures of it!

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  30. I had a feeling, in my gut, something like this was going on. And while it has been really hard for you, I am so glad that the other 2 (and BEAN!) are ok. Your plan sounds like a good one, very well thought out. And I think that like others, you deserve a little help for this. Since this is a complete upheaval of your house and life. Let us help in some way.

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  31. Thanks for loving all the kitties! I'd love a way to donate to your new kitten room!

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  32. Thanks for all you do for the kittens! I'd love a way to donate to your new kitten room :)

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  33. Gosh, Laurie! What an emotional roller coaster ride! My hat is off to you and Craig. I totally understand how worried this must have made you. I am a worrier, and I never want anything to happen to my babies. But, we all know that sometimes these things do happen. The real difference is how you react to this ordeal. And I can't think of anyone I would have trusted to help these sweet little babies get through all this. The Stouts and all the other litters have been so fortunate to have you and Craig as their foster parents. Your dedication and love for these little ones is inspiring! Please let us all know how and if we can help in some way.

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  34. My girls bring me so much unconditional love and this blog provides me with my fix when I am away from them while at work. Please allow us to step up and help out.

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  35. Oh my gosh, you had much, much more going on behind the scenes than we knew about! I know there's always a certain amount of that -- I've never fostered kittens, but I know they're a LOT of work -- but this went far beyond that. Bless you and Craig for your dedication to the babies!

    We would of course be unhappy if you had to stop fostering for a year, but you could spend a whole year doing reruns or fill-ins with pictures of the beautiful Charlene and we'd still be your faithful fans, never worry! I'm just so glad that only poor little Filbert had that awful, awful virus.

    And to echo so many others, if there's any way at all that we can help you as you revise your fostering situation/location, please don't hesitate to ask. Just about anything we could do would be but a pale reflection of all the happiness you've brought to so many people -- not just your readers, but all the wonderful adopters who've given your babies their forever homes. Please remember we're here for you no matter what, okay?

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  36. Wowzer. Thanks for sharing, and no wonder you didn't want to get into it before this.

    Actually, I had noticed there hadn't been any pictures in the usual bedroom, and also in some picture the other day, a room that we hadn't seen before. I suppose that's the new human room.

    Speaking as someone who is still looking for their special person, it has always sounded like you and Craig have something unique and special. Glad you didn't have to go through that alone.

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  37. I am very sorry that you lost some personal items in dealing with this, but I admire your dedication to keeping Charlene and all your other kitties safe. Little Willie will not be forgotten.

    P.S. We would still love you and follow your blog even if you were not able to foster for a year.

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  38. Wow. There are no words. Apart from thankyou for your dedication with the itty bitties and the Stouts in particular. I, like many others, would love to know if there is a way we can help. It is the very least we can do for all the joy you bring all of us on a daily basis.

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  39. Oh my goodness. Thank you for sharing your story. While it is sad that one didn't survive, I'm glad the girls were negative. I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to take a break. This must be overwhelming for you both. Hugs and thanks for your continued dedication.

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  40. I agree about the Kickstarter for your kitten room! KICKSTARTER! KICKSTARTER! KICKSTARTER!

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  41. Wow, I am so in awe of how you and Craig pulled out the stops for the Oh SO wonderful itty bitty Stouts.

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  42. OMG - yes, yes, Kickstarter kitten room. Bless you for your stout and loving hearts and hands!

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  43. Thank you for letting us know Laurie. I honestly did not realize the extent of what was going on. You and Craig are absolute angels for all the hard work and care you put in to your fostering. I can't even imagine the anxiety you faced in those days. Thanks to your love, the kittens thrive and graduate to their forever homes.

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  44. Laurie, you and your dear husband are to be commended and hugged (and fed chocolate!) for all the worry, work, stress, tears that this situation brought you. Some might decide to throw in the towel, but you have a calling, and a heart of gold, both you and your husband do. I am proud to be a regular follower of this blog, and supporter of all the itty bitties. You are my hero!! (and Butterbean too!) Hugs and Blessings from Robin.

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  45. This must have been a very painful post to write, Laurie — reliving that heartbreaking day when you had to say goodbye to Filbert and deal with all the fear his illness could mean for your future as a kitten foster mom... The depth of your commitment in caring for the kittens that come to you is simply amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do.

    I'm so glad there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm sure your new foster room will be wonderful!

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  46. So much work on top of heartache and worry. Laurie - you and Craig are wonderful people! I do hope you'll let us (the loyal IBKC fans!) help in some way – you do so much, and make our lives so much better in the process. Personally, a donation would be a mere drop in the bucket compared to all the joy I've gotten from visiting the IBKC.

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  47. Love and blessings to you and Craig and Wylla and Charlene!XOXOXO

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  48. Thank you for posting this. As a foster parent, sometimes people think it is all cuteness all the time without realizing that it can BE heartbreaking. Can't wait to see the new foster room - one day I will have one here.....

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  49. Thank you for all the posts that I look forward to seeing everyday.
    The loss of any animal is never easy, but a delicate and innocent kitten is particularly difficult and it most have been hard, very hard for you both. Your new plans sound terrific and that you carry on after everything is a testament to your dedication and love for the kittens.

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  50. Dear Laurie, Craig and all kitten wranglers,

    Thank you for all of the work that you do, and all of the love that you share. Know that we are so grateful for the joy you give us, and that we will help in any way that we can.

    Thank you.

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  51. Much love & light to you & your human & feline families. <3

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  52. Thank You for all you do. And just like everybody else has said, you had a ton of stuff going on... A lot of it very heart wrenching. And out of it, you are creating something new and wonderful. What an exciting time developing a new kitten room that will be even better than the one before.
    And... you made it through.
    Thanks for letting us know.

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  53. You will need funds for new towers, toys and things. Please don't hesitate to call upon your online army of admirers -- even without kittens to answer the phones, I'm sure a mini-marathon would net you a handsome purse for these important purchases.

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  54. Lynn, Alex, India and ZoubisouMay 1, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Laurie (and Craig)- There really aren't enough words to tell you how much we admire you. You are the ultimate kitten whisperer- your foster kittens go on to their new families with happy little attitudes and great personalities. This is because of how you have raised them as itty bitty ones. We always say to our friends that the reason sweet India is timid and Zoubi is the life of the party is not because of their genes- it is because India started in the engine of a car, but Zoubi was fostered in a lovely home full of her littermates and lots of love. We are forever grateful to you for our wonderful kitten. I am sure everyone who comments on here has cried over little Filbert because we are a soft hearted bunch. We are also the cheering team for little Wylla. I am sorry that you have to go through the sad times. Just think of the years and years of joy that your little kittens give to people like us. You are a very, very special and talented person. You don't just change the futures of kittens, you change the lives of the people who love them. Please let us know if we can help you build the best kitten room ever.

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    1. Zoubi is SOOO the life of the party. *chuckles* I have been remiss in checking your Flickr page for updates of that smart spunky sweetheart.

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    2. Zoubi is SOO the life of the party *chuckles* This reminds me that I've been remiss in checking up that sweet monkey of a kitten on your Flickr page. :D

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    3. Snow- we miss you! I am glad you are okay.

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  55. Oh my goodness, I'm so so sorry you and the kittens went through all this. It sounds like you've handled it extremely well, though. I'm sure the new kitten room/basement will be wonderful, and I'm happy to help if you need anything!

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  56. Madeleine in New YorkMay 1, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Laurie and Craig: This was the saddest, yet most hopeful thing I've read all day. I know the kitten basement is going to be glorious. When someone is doing something good and pure, any obstacle can be endured.

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  57. Laurie, seriously -- a kickstarter, indiegogo, or gofund me is entirely appropriate here, and I promise that it won't prevent me from donating to the Dogathon. Alternatively, set up an Amazon wishlist or something to replace the lost items. You offer us so much joy, and you have gone through so much with this litter. <3 for you and all you, Craig, and Bean do.

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    1. I want to echo Anna here. PLEASE let all of us who enjoy this blog so much give something back to you. I too promise that I will give to Dogathon as well as to the kitten den.

      Just post a link to a donation site or Amazon wishlist, and I know we all will give as much as we can.

      My hugs to all of you as well!

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    2. Even a way to send a small donation to paypal from here if you want to keeper lower key and simple!? :)

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  58. You spared us the details, but you went through the incredibly difficult journey with the Stouts knowing all of us support you. Amazing story. Wow.

    Please let us have a KICKSTARTER for the new nursery!!!

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  59. I agree: I will donate to the dog(cat)athon but want to help set up nursery or replace lost objects!!

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  60. WOW!!! Laurie, what can we do to help you build the kitty dream nursery? I'd love to donate to the cause.

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  61. You are so selfless and strong Laurie! Maybe you could name the nursery after Filbert, or dedicate it to him, with an itty bitty photo and plaque? I loved that guy, he was special.

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  62. Oh, and I am also happy to contribute to the nursery.

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  63. Laurie, I just want to go through my computer screen right now and give you and Craig the best, longest, warmest hug in the history of hugs! Thank you for the amazing work you do and for the joy we share everyday because of ITKC. In my heart I wish you and all your family and all IBKC graduees and their families all the happiness in the world. No matter what, don't forget we'll always be here for you guys. As many other have said, I'd be more than glad to join a Kickstarter for the ultimate kitten den. Please consider our offer, as any amount we'll give you will never repay the happiness you give us everyday throuhg this blog.
    I hope tonight you will lay in bed and feel all our happy thoughts raining on you. :)

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  64. Oh my goodness! You and Craig Do Not Mess Around! You both really are the most wonderful people. And Bean, too. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  65. Bless you and Craig and Beanie for all you do for the kittens. I already can't wait for the first batch who will get to christen the "kitty cave"! And like so many others have said, don't hesitate to ask if we all can help financially in any way. xoxo

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  66. God bless you Laurie & Craig and Butterbean too, your home is the best introduction to kitty life that any baby kitten could have! Thanks for caring so much, your beautiful pictures and stories of the kitties show how much you love them all and we most appreciate your ability to keep IBKC such a positive place on the web to visit....

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  67. I'm so sorry that you had to go through such a sad event, but at least we all know Filbert had the most warm and loving home possible for his short time here. I can't imagine anything more comforting than that for a little boy who's not feeling well.

    As for you, Laurie... there are no words to describe what you do for all these wonderful animals, and for their owners as well. Getting to read and learn about the kitties and their personalities in advance can go a loooong way to making sure each family gets the kitten that's just the right fit and can be a permanent happy member of the family. You're helping the kittens, the adoptive parents, and everyone who visits this blog simply for a dose of cuteness on a not-so-awesome day.

    Tons of love and hugs to you and your husband for everything you do!

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  68. Wow. I have tears in my eyes. I always donate to the Dogathon, and, like so many others above, would absolutely LOVE to help you out with refurnishing your kitten den. Amazon wishlist sounds like a great idea, or maybe gift cards from Petco or Petsmart, or even Target/Walmart. You do so much for so many, both kittens and humans, let us do something for you in return. You make my day better every time you post. Thank you for everything, Laurie (and Craig, and Charlene), thank you.

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  69. You are the best human kittens could ever be placed with. The efforts you go through to care for all of the fosters you care for...it's mind-boggling. And on top of that to undertake not only such major cleaning, rearranging of your living spaces and then conversion of your basement into a kitty space - you deserve huzzahs and hugs. What you get, aside from these posts, is the love of the many kittens you have fostered. The Higher Cat is surely smiling down on you, Laurie (and Craig).

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  70. You are the best human kittens could ever be placed with. The efforts you go through to care for all of the fosters you care for...it's mind-boggling. And on top of that to undertake not only such major cleaning, rearranging of your living spaces and then conversion of your basement into a kitty space - you deserve huzzahs and hugs. What you get, aside from these posts, is the love of the many kittens you have fostered. The Higher Cat is surely smiling down on you, Laurie (and Craig).

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  71. Bless you and your family and Charlene, Laurie for what you did and what you do for the little kittens that make their way to you. You are Heaven sent and I'm proud to know you if only in cyber time. God bless you!

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  72. You're the best foster parents ever! Thank you for everything that you do!

    I'd like to make a plug for the lucky kittens that do survive panleukopenia. They often have brain damage resulting in ataxia similar to cebellar hypoplasia, which makes them wobble a bit like they're drunk. After the infection has run its course, they're no longer contagious, they are not in any pain, do not need medication, and have a totally normal lifespan. (Anecdotally, they have sweet, cheerful dispositions, too, but I don't know how true that is across the board.) They can have a high quality of life and don't need euthanasia, but they often get put down because people don't want to adopt them.

    One of my kitties has this condition and I can't imagine our household without him. His condition doesn't add to our expenses or workload; at most we need to bathe him if he falls in the litter box. Please don't overlook special needs cats when you're looking for a new pet!

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  73. Dearest Laurie, thank you for sharing this painful tale of dedication, loss, and love. For all you are and all you do, we respect and admire you immensely. You are a treasured member of so many ohanas around the world, and when you are hurting or tired, we ache too--but our job is to lift you up and hold you in floofy paws. And so, that is what we are doing right now. Feel the thanks, feel the love, feel the peace. It's not too hard to see why Charlene Butterbean is the kind of cat she is; she learned it from you.

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  74. What an ordeal... and what a great response to that ordeal!

    Admirable!

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  75. You are so selfless and so amazing! If you need funds to get any of this done just ask!

    I have post traumatic stress disorder and I had to go off my meds as I want to be a mommy, but here at IBKC it's a happy safe and wonderful place for me.

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  76. First time commenter, because I just had to say something to this heartrending post. I am so glad Charlene, Wylla, and Audrey are okay, and I am so sorry for poor Filbert.

    I'm glad you're coming out the other side of this, too, and in such a good way.

    You and the kittens have brightened my day for some time now. Thank you.

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  77. You guys are amazing. Thanks for the update, and may Wylla and Bean and all your future kittens be well.

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  78. Oh my goodness, Laurie and hubby! Now that the full behind the scenes story is out, I don't know how you blogged and kept us informed at all on top of caring for the two remaining kittens! God bless little Filbert. Hooray for Audrey and Wylla. Mary A

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  79. So sad to hear about Filbert, he had the best little life with you while he was with us.

    I wish I was close enough to help you clean and sanitize and all that but it sounds like it will work out well in the end.

    Sending my love to Miss Bean (I secretly want you to clone her for me!) Wylla and Audrey, very happy to hear they are testing neg for the virus so far! (fingers are crossed it stays that way!

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  80. Wow, I had no idea it was that bad of a virus! I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this, it does not sound fun.
    On the other side, can't wait to see the new kitten room!

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  81. I can't read the other comments because of the tears in my eyes. Thank you, Laurie, for what you do. I come here everyday because it truly is the high point of my day. And I have a good life...it's just that this place is so special and never fails to cheer me.

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  82. What a horrible ordeal, made worse by the lingering effects. Thank you so much for your dedication and your detailed sharing of this difficult time. I am so happy to hear that you have found a way to continue.

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  83. As everyone else has said, I am so sorry this happened, but I also feel like you and Craig handled better than almost anyone could. Hugs to Bean and Wylla, and you, too.

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  84. Laurie- I wonder if you would be comfortable registering on amazon.com (there is a wish list you can do) and we could buy and have delivered to you the things you like? I don't know the tax implications on receiving money via Kickstarter,and I know kickstarter takes a cut- but I'm pretty sure if you had a wish list on amazon, that we'd all know what we could contribute that you want, and what has been bought all ready. That might be easier than managing cash via kickstarter, etc. But lots of us want to get something for the kitten room! So please give us an option for that if you can.

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    1. YAY - great idea! Do it Laurie! (Or maybe BEAN can make a wishlist for you!)

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    2. Yes! Think of it as a baby registry - except a registry for many baby kittens!

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  85. I had no idea it was that bad--and amazed at your stamina and resiliance. I thought my friend had it bad when her litter of three fosters was diagnosed with leukemia and she loved them for ten months as kitten by kitten died. I think we all wish we could have helped you bleach and clean your home. I agree that a kickstarter or amazon registry would be a great idea so we could all help you restock. You do so much good for these dear animals and put so much positive energy back into the world and I know many of us would be happy to help in some small way.

    So glad that you can continue fostering and that Misses Charlene, Audrey and Wylla are all OK>

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  86. I just recently lost my 4-year-old Persian friend because of the same virus. And I'm worried about the other three even though they have been fully vaccinated. I also have sterilised the whole house, which I hope will kill the remaining virus. Good luck with the new kitten room/den :)

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  87. Oh, Laurie, my heart dropped when I read this. I volunteer with cats and I've fostered before, and I had no idea panleukopenia was so virulent. I'm so sorry you went through that, and so grateful that Wylla and Audrey made it through safely. Also, let me add my voice to the chorus: if you need help funding the kitten den, please let us know.

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  88. Laurie, my heart goes out to you during this horrible ordeal you have been thru.
    I can't even imagine! And to lose poor little Filbert, on top of it. God bless you and your wonderful husband for getting thru this and coming up with a solution.

    I just discovered your site about a month ago and have it favorited on my tool bar for at LEAST a daily visit. And going back into the ARCHIVES is an expedition in wonderment, when I have more time.

    Your site is a beautiful little oasis, in baby pink, with fuzzy adorable little faces and (Annie Leibowitz quality photography!) where we can stop by and remind ourselves that life is so much more than the dark stuff in the media. And that little angels really exist.

    I am shocked how easy it is to get involved as a reader, with your little kitty families: Thank you again for all you do and for your swift action which really averted a much worse crisis. I was so praying that WYLLA would be ok because I follow her progress every day. I was SO afraid that I would read that, with her health compromised already, that she would be gone.

    I sure hope you DO get that book deal...you obviously have great experience and talent to draw on....I for one, would buy it if its about IBKC.

    I read your article with tears in my eyes....I can't even imagine what you have gone thru !

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  89. Long time reader, first time commenter. But reading this post, I had tears filled in my eyes and my heart just hurt for you.

    All the amazing work you do, I hope you know that it doesn't go unnoticed. I hope that Filbert is now strong enough to chase anything that comes his way over the rainbow up in the sky.

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  90. Laurie, you are such an absolute angel. The IBKC community is so lucky to have you, Craig and Bean. You are so so loved, please let us help. I can't speak for everyone but after reading this beautiful and heartbreaking post have the overwhelming NEED to help in some tangible way. These little Stouts have been some of my most favorite kittens yet and I honestly think you are the most incredible amazing woman and kitten mom ever ask time hands down no contest. Please let us help!

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  91. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Bless you for all you do for these sweet kittens. Please let us know if we can help in any way. The IBKC is a bright spot in my day and many others. You are the absolute best!!

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  92. My heart stopped when I read Panleukopenia. I am so sorry you and Craig went through that.
    Poor little Filbert. He was so lucky to have you in his life. All itty bitties are, of course.

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  93. So sorry that you've had this heartache and lost a precious kitten. At least that baby knew love in his itty bitty little life ~ thank you for loving him so much. Fly free little one.
    Blessings to you for all you do to give these babies the best start ever.

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  94. I would TOTALLY donate towards the new kitten room! Indiegogo! =) (Okay, maybe a kitten room and a weekend away?) Seriously. All that effort and expense (and emotional exhaustion) - we're happy to take the edge off in whatever way we can...

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  95. Thank goodness for people like you! xoxo

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  96. What a stressful time you've had! I'm glad you are turning the corner. Thank you for always being there for the kittens!

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  97. You have just defined "Loyal foster mama" to the Nth degree. I was devastated about Filbert, but as you keep reminding us, fostering is all about risks. Good or bad. While I am sorry your house had to be redecorated, I look forward to the new Kitten Hotel. And Wylla. And Craig. And Beanie. And YOU for sharing.

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  98. Thank you for being so amazing and wonderful. Thank you for not letting this get in the way of providing a wonderful home to more amazing kittens. Please let us contribute to the new kitten room. It would be nice to send something your way, that way we can all be a part of it, just like we are now. I need to ask... the the famous red basket need to be tossed? I feel like it might have :(

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  99. Like everybody else, I had no idea you were suffering through all this; we knew losing little Filbert was painful, but not this bad.

    So many hugs to you.

    As everybody else has said, do let us know how we can help.

    I am NOT a nonprofit tax attorney so don't take this as legal advice, but I've had classes in nonprofit finance and law, so I feel reasonably safe in the following.

    It would probably be best for tax purposes if the HS sets up the Kickstarter or sets up an account for donations. Then it could either buy the new furnishings and lend them to you for use in fostering or give the items or cash to you as a replacement for the loss you experienced as a result of volunteering for a 401(c)3. That way, it shouldn't have any tax implications for them or you.

    An Amazon or other online gift list in your own name should also be fine, as should any cash sent directly, as long as it's marked as a gift, not as payment for services. There is some kind of tax implication above a certain amount for personal gifts, but I'm not sure where it lies. I believe it's around $10,000 and the tax onus would actually fall on the donor, not the recipient.

    Again, I'm not an attorney, but this seems straightforward.

    Plus some more hugs.

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  100. okay, I am at work and I cannot read all the prev. posts so please accept my appolgies for duplicate suggestions. I, too, come to this site for a kittne fix and a smile, if not an out and out laugh. I would love to contribute to the new hangout, maybe you need a fundraiser for the new digs, plus get us ready for the big one! Please oh please oh please tell me the itty bitties will have thier little telephones!!! and in the mean time, maybe it's a good thing Wylla is in need of a little extra time to grow!

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  101. Long time reader, first time commenting. laurie - you are amazing. I will watch for a way to help out your new kitty den.

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  102. I am so very sorry to hear all that you have been going through. Since I read your post, your trials have been on my mind. I visit this blog every day and all my family knows "Bean" when I talk about something cute I saw on the blog. She's a very special kitty. Next to Bean, little Wylla's story and seeing her progress over the last few weeks has stollen my heart and I think about her every day hoping she's getting stronger and stronger. We, your community of huge kitty and huge Charlene fans stand at the ready if you need funds to offset the costs you have incurred, so just let us know if we can help in any way. I pray little Wylla gets just the right home when she's well and ready to move to her forever home. She's an angel.

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  103. Oh wow. I read this blog almost daily, but I must have missed even meeting Filbert. I am so sorry that you all have had to deal with such heartbreak. You make it all seem so "easy" to foster the kittens, but we all know now how much work you and Craig put into this. You truly put your heart, soul and sweat into these kittens, and I am so grateful! I wouldn't have my sweet little, floofy Norman if it weren't for you. Blessings to you, Craig and Bean (and miss Wylla too). I can't wait to see the new kitten room and its first batch of kittens!

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  104. Any kitty foster knows the dread of that diagnosis - you and Craig did a great job handling such a stressful time. Maybe that is Filbert's legacy - a new kitty nursery for all those to come. Thanks for all you and Craig (and Bean of course) do to allow so many itty bitties to have full loving lives even if some are briefer than we wish.

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  105. Big hugs for you guys and the girls. lots of love to you all in this difficult time xoxo

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  106. Perhaps a picture of Filbert can grace the walls of the new kitten haven?

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