When my cat Roxy was found after nearly two weeks on the run, she was starved for affection and food, but otherwise in fine fettle. When I saw her yowling in the Havahart trap in which we had snared her, I was so jubilant that I literally flapped my arms around and jumped for joy. My friends and I decided she ought now to be called not just “Roxy” but “Roxy the Wonder Cat.”
That was not only because she had beaten the odds and found us again in unfamiliar territory. It was not just because she had managed to elude the predatory fisher cats and coyotes that stalk the area. It was not even because the veterinarian said she had come through her experience unscathed, without even a flea or tick to show for her adventures. The real wonder of Roxy the Wonder Cat lay in the fact that a whole community of people had reached out to help find one tortoiseshell cat, and in the process they had proved that they cared wholeheartedly about a visiting cat and the stranger who owned her.
Their help was heartfelt and immediate. It was also sustained. And it led to another surprise along the way.
My friends Dick and Barbara, from whose house Roxy had escaped, kept dishes of fresh food set out for her and called for her whenever they were home, day after day and night after night, despite the fact that their 93-year-old mother was approaching the end of her life in a nearby nursing facility. In the middle of the night, I found Barb outdoors, sweetly calling for Roxy in the cold and dark. Although she literally had matters of life and death on her mind, Barb was still willing to take time from much needed rest in order to imitate a sweet meow in the effort to entice my cat back to safety.
And that was not the only effort that was made on Roxy’s behalf. As soon as the cat was known to be missing, a woman whom I had met only once placed fliers about Roxy in countless mailboxes and posted more on telephone poles and in shops. While I fretted because I could not call for Roxy during daylight, this woman took my place in that effort, and called for my cat in back roads and little-known pathways that were unknown to me.
While I was told that the animal control officer in the area was earnest but only communicated if he had good or bad news, this was not the case for me. This man phoned me one morning and spent a full 15 minutes listening to everything I could tell him about my cat, and then promised to spend a morning looking for her in the area where she had gone missing.
Neighbors led me to the out-of-the-way home of a woman who is known around town for rescuing and fostering stray cats. On the way, I met a family who said they had opened their basement doors every evening when they heard me calling for Roxy, in case she had slipped into the under parts of their house.
Two people in the area set Havahart traps, presumably for catching Roxy. One caught a raccoon instead. Yet another neighbor arrived with a Havahart trap for us to set.
When we set the trap, we first captured a fat orange tabby who had been dining on Roxy’s food for almost two weeks. A tag on his collar identified him as “Floyd.” The next visitor to the trap was Roxy herself.
Roxy’s return was wonderful in itself. But it turned out that this was not the only rescue that occurred thanks to Roxy the Wonder Cat. When Barb called the number on Floyd’s collar, his owner was thrilled and amazed. It turns out that Floyd had been on the lam for six months before our search for Roxy led to the orange tabby’s reunion with his owner, too.