I’ve always been an animal lover — cats, dogs, mice, bunnies, deer — anything with that sweet soulfulness, innocence and trust. We had many animals while I was growing up, either as pets or wildlife that liked to visit, and while it always hurt when we lost one, I rebounded fairly easily. I never felt an attachment to the animals like I found when I got Roxy.
It was 2001 and my husband and I were finally taking the plunge and buying our first house. We closed in late September, and as soon as we moved in the excitement started to build within me. Finally, after over a decade of apartment living, I would have the opportunity to get a pet! This would be the first pet that was truly mine — not the family pet chosen by mom, but a pet that I would choose to care for and love.
I was relentless, bringing up the topic over and over with my husband until finally, in early December, he agreed to go “visit” the cats at the Humane Society with me. (He knew without a doubt that the visit would end with us taking home a cat.) We would go the next day.
The next day at work I poured over the Humane Society’s website, reading about all of the cats and kittens available for adoption. I wanted to be fully prepared to make the right selection. When we arrived at the shelter we went into the cat area and I started making my way around the room, determined to look at each and every one to give them a fair chance. I was about halfway around the room when I realized my husband was no longer behind me. I turned around and saw he had been stopped by one rambunctious little kitty.
“What about this one?” he asked, looking up at me as I walked over to them.
The tag on the cage said “Joan,” which just didn’t fit this loud, demanding tuxedo kitten with the adorable soul patch on her chin. She was reaching her little arms through the bars trying to make contact and meowing insistently. We brought her into the visitation room and I could tell immediately she was going to be a handful. She grabbed at everything — my hair, my hood strings, the scrap of paper on the floor, scurrying and pouncing and full of pent-up energy. I was a bit nervous, but if choosing this cat meant I got a cat, then this was my cat.
We brought her home and I immediately fell in love with her. She has more attitude than any cat I’ve ever met, and I decided to call her Roxy since that felt like a better fit for her character. She’s very expressive — I can tell from her face when she’s excited, annoyed, content or just plain mad. She’ll follow me around from room to room, shouting at me for attention, grumble and struggle and complain when I pick her up, and then purr when I hug her and grab her little face to smother it with kisses.
But outsiders beware! You don’t know this little cat like I do. You don’t know the warning signs when she’s had enough attention and needs her space! I know these signals and all her little quirks and that’s what makes her my kitty, MY little softie with a hard candy shell.
Every now and then I look at her and wonder what my life would be like without this furry little beast: to not have her pushing things off of the nightstand to wake me up; to not have her howl in the night when she wants to play; to not see her through the window by the door every time we come home; to not have her walk back and forth over my lap when I’m trying to work; and to not leaving me alone until I snuggle her. I’m so grateful we were lucky enough to find her!
I love Roxy to bits and fear the day she leaves me, because I will be losing a piece of my own heart. She has worked her way into my heart and brought me years of happiness and joy.