Rescued at 1 Day Old and Nearly Euthanized Due to Illness, Roxie Proves She’s Worth All the Trouble

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There are millions of cats in the U.S. alone that are still in need loving forever families. Some of them are easy to rescue, easy to care for, and easy to adopt out. Others present much greater problems and sometimes make people wonder if it’s worth putting so much time, energy, and money into them. After all, rescue organizations and their resources are already spread thin.

But Cheryl Slater is a firm believer that all rescue animals are worth the trouble they put their rescuers through. Her cat Roxie is a perfect example.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Roxie was found alone on the streets of Philadelphia in 2019, when she was just one day old. Since she didn’t have a mother, staff at Charlie’s Army had to feed and care for her around the clock. Then when she was three weeks old, she became very ill and had to be hospitalized. She was having seizures, and her health was declining so rapidly that the vet believed she may need to be euthanized.

Cheryl recalls that a rescuer from Charlie’s Army “went to basically go to the vet and say goodbye to her, at which point Roxie started yelling her head off at the woman who ran the rescue, which the woman took as a sign that she was not done fighting.”

And so Roxie escaped euthanasia, but her fight was not over. On top of needing to be treated for her illness and have time to recover, she had also developed a horrible case of ringworm, which is very contagious, so she had to be kept in quarantine for eight weeks. Cheryl says the skin disorder affected Roxie’s face, legs, and other parts of her body, making her look rather ugly. Charlie’s Army was sharing her story on Instagram at the time, and her fans dubbed her the “Hot Mess Express.”

But those fans loved Roxie despite her many problems. So many people were following Roxie’s story, in fact, that she had a “pre-adopter” lined up weeks before she was healed enough to go to a forever home. However, that arrangement later fell through, and Cheryl, who had also been watching Roxie’s story progress on Instagram, stepped up to adopt her instead.

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Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Cheryl and her husband have had cats for a long time, but they’ve always kept just two, no more. However, something in Cheryl’s gut told her that Roxie needed to be part of their family, no matter what.

“I’m like, ‘I need to get this cat, so I filled out an application to adopt her. I didn’t hear back fast enough, so then I sent an email, a very lengthy email, telling the woman who ran the rescue all about me, all about my family, all about the other animals that we have, including stories about them, and pictures were attached.”

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Cheryl’s appeal worked, and she and her husband drove down from New York to Philadelphia, roughly a three-hour drive, to pick up their new family member, who was by then four months old.

Back at home, Roxie quickly became the queen of the castle, ruling over her big orange brother, Ralph, and her quiet tortie sister, Midget. Her family learned that she has an opinion about absolutely everything. She is very vocal and constantly announces her presence. She loves shrimp more than anything on the planet and will even do tricks for it. She is fascinated by water (although she found out the hard way that she doesn’t actually want to be in it). Whether it be the shower, the sinks, the toilet, or the water cooler, she must be near wherever there is moving water. In fact, she makes a point of accompanying Cheryl to the bathroom and sitting on her lap the entire time, inconvenient though it may be.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

“If I close the door, she goes to the door and scratches and scratches and cries unless I let her in there,” Cheryl laughs. “If I open the door, she takes one step in and then launches herself and sits on my lap.”

Oddly enough, Roxie also chooses to savor the water she drinks in a very peculiar way. “She does not put her face down to a water bowl and drink,” Cheryl explains. “She sits down next to it, dunks her paw in, and then licks her paw, dunks her paw in and licks her paw, and she just will not drink a like normal cat.”

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Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Roxie also insists on doing the same thing with the leftovers from Cheryl’s cereal bowls on the occasion that she eats cereal for breakfast. Roxie isn’t picky about the type of cereal, but she must drink from the bowl by dipping her paw in it and lifting it to her mouth.

Another thing Roxie loves is going to court – at least virtually. Cheryl is a lawyer and still works from home a lot post-COVID. She says Roxie loves Microsoft Teams and has been to court with her hundreds of times. She’s on screen so often that when she’s not there, people ask about her.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

“When I’m home in the office, she must be in there, and she either sits on the desk and watches or sits in my lap, and frequently helps with the typing as well,” says Cheryl. “Unfortunately, her favorite typing is like one letter like 100 times.”

Despite her love for Microsoft Teams meetings, Roxie typically wants nothing to do with visitors who arrive in person at the house (pets and people alike), but she’s very possessive with her own humans. Cheryl thinks this may stem from all the time she spent in quarantine as a kitten, away from other cats and with humans as her only companions.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Cheryl reports that when visitors leave, Roxie clings to her human parents like Velcro, apparently so happy that the guests are finally gone. Recently, Roxie has even started playing bodyguard to Cheryl when they have guests, sitting between Cheryl and the other people and reaching out to hit any newcomer who gets too close.

Some other things Roxie hates include being in the cat carrier to go to the vet and not having Cheryl stand right next to her while she’s eating.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

“She needs to eat first, of course, and she needs to sit right next to me and eat, or she won’t eat,” laughs Cheryl. “I feed her first, and she’ll start, and then once the other cats are eating, she stops unless I move her bowl and sit right next to her.”

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As you might imagine, this opinionated cat had something to say about the idea of getting a new sibling too. This past February, Roxie’s new little sister Jonesy joined the family – she looks a lot like Roxie, and Roxie absolutely hated her at first. Even now, she sometimes plays with or grooms Jonesy and other times wants nothing to do with her. She still has big opinions about Jonesy.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Luckily, however, Roxie is bribable and has learned to accept her new sibling and find happiness again. Cheryl says all she has to do to turn the cat’s mood around was invite her to accompany her to the bathroom.

The most important thing Cheryl hopes people take away from Roxie’s story is that all rescue animals are worth the effort, no matter how many medical or behavioral issues they may have in the beginning.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

“Anyone along the way could have said, ‘No, it’s too hard. No, it’s too much. You know what? There are other animals that need homes. We’re gonna take care of these ones that are healthy or easy,’” says Cheryl. “It’s worth it. I mean, the first three months of her life, she was a project. And that makes me eternally grateful for organizations like yours [GreaterGood], organizations like Charlie’s Army, the rescue in Philadelphia.”

Roxie is now an integral part of the family that Cheryl and her husband can’t imagine living without. “I’m glad she’s only going to be four [this year], and I hope she lives to be 25,” she says.

Photo: Instagram/roxie_thebeautyqueen

Roxie’s larger-than-life personality has made all the work worthwhile, and Cheryl firmly believes every animal’s life is worth saving, even if they’re a project animal like Roxie was.

“They’re all worth it,” she says. “Even if it’s hard, they’re worth it. I think Roxy is an amazing example of why it’s worth it.”

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