Posted by: Kimberly J. McCloskey | March 10, 2011

Little Miss Roxanne

Little Miss Roxanne

Roxanne came to live with us essentially because I finally found my calling in life.

See, one day I realized that we’d been doing our own form of cat rescue for 18 years, and I’d been a cat lover for far longer than that. It was something I hadn’t acknowledged before and I suddenly realized it was time to take a stand and tell everyone, “Yeah, I do cat rescue. If you don’t like cats, keep your comments to yourself.” It was time for me to learn about “real” rescues and volunteer my time to learn the ins and outs so that one day I could possibly run my own.

So onto the Internet I went, looking for local rescues. Now… what animal lover can go onto websites that show “Pets for Adoption” and resist the urge to look? You just can’t. I found myself scrolling through 50-odd kitties available at Castaway Critters Rescue in Blairsville, Georgia. Fortunately for me most of the write-ups were pretty basic so none of them were tugging at my heart stings – good thing, since I wasn’t shopping for a cat anyway! But then (you knew it would happen), the third to the last kitty was Roxanne.

The write-up about Roxanne was a little more wordy than the rest, but included the fact that Roxanne was a special needs cat because she was frightened of most people and had spent the last year and a half living (by choice) behind the washing machine in the rescue.  I burst out in tears! Literally! I remember my husband was walking past my office door and him seeing the moment I turned into a babbling, sobbing fool. He rushed into the room asking what was wrong, and all I could do was point at the computer screen so he could read it for himself.

What kind of life could that be for a kitty, living behind a washing machine! That was just unacceptable! She needed to come home with us and if she wanted to live out her life under our bed, well, that would be far better than behind a washer!

I contacted the rescue and got Roxanne’s full story… as full a story as a rescue kitty can have. A year and a half earlier Roxanne and her kittens were saved from a person who was going to poison the stray cats on his property. But after Roxanne and her babies were vetted and fixed and brought to the rescue house (these kitties have free roam of a three-bedroom home…no cages here), Roxanne promptly went into hiding. She was terrified of people, and when anyone was at the house she retreated to her favorite spot behind the washer. Volunteers did see her out and about in the house when they first arrived, so Roxanne did at least mingle with the others and got some fresh air. She just wasn’t comfortable with people.

Roxanne came to our house and was given her own room (my office) with several ready-made hiding spots under and behind furniture and a carrier or two with soft blankets. She found the spot that suited her the most (under a dresser) and essentially lived there for several days. We used a flashlight to make sure she was there and put her food under the dresser for her. If she felt we were getting too close, she would back further away into the corner.

Over the next couple of days, my husband would catch glimpses of her dashing from the litter box or the water dish back under the dresser. I would be in the office with her during the day, and talked to her, but never approached her or did anything to frighten her. But she would not come out to drink or go potty as long as I was there. And then on day three, she decided she wanted OUT of this room because, by golly, there were other cats in the house and she wanted to be around other cats! So her hiding spot during the day became the place under our bed, but when the house was quiet, she would come out to explore and to meet the boys (Buford and Weaver). She and Weaver hit it off immediately, though she was more affectionate than Weaver knew how to handle. It was so exciting to see her sneak out of the bedroom into the living room and look around, sniffing everything, brushing up against Weaver, and discovering cat toys. But the moment she realized one of the humans was around, she’d dash back to her hiding place.

Over time she hid less and less, and we always talked to her when we saw her. When she began joining the others in the kitchen during the dishing out of meals, we began petting her. It started with one pet down her back as she walked by and the rule became that she had to allow us to pet her before she could eat.

At the writing of this story, she’s been in the house with us going on five months and she is a totally different kitty! She lives among us, she sleeps on the sofa, she loves to be petted, and she’s the loudest cat in the house. We can’t pick her up or kiss her, and she certainly isn’t a lap cat (though I have a feeling one day she might be), but she is very affectionate in her own way. As a matter of fact, after meals is her favorite time for her private kitty-love fest.

She’s certainly our little success story!

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