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Dragon of a Cat

Dragons are known for their fearlessness, magical abilities, adaptability to radical changes, and rage amongst other things. The kitty in this story embodied those qualities and more.

Tiger striped cat lounging in a sunbeam outside.
Dragon of a cat in the protected garden in Oronogo, Missouri.

Once upon a time, in land called Missouri, there was a rescue called Spare Cat Rescue that pulled kitties that needed help from their local shelter. One day the lead of SCR, Kaylene, happened across a tiger cat that was in rough shape. Apparently, an umbilical cord left unattended had caused a stump with raw edges to occur. In pain, now left at a noisy shelter, the kitty, who was at least a year old, was a dragon of a cat - breathing fire, growling, warning everyone away.

SCR very quickly arranged an amputation surgery. Where to keep the kitty for recovery was a concern. Kaylene approached me to handle the care of the kitty, now named "Roxie".

Tiger striped cat sitting on the floor looking at the camera.  Their eyes are glowing from the reflection of the camera flash.
One of the first digital photos of Roxie Moxie. Summer 2008.

Roxie came home with me and was setup in a spare room with lots of blankets and pillows. She was a dragon of a cat - growling, hissing, spitting, quite a menace. Medicine times were a challenge that called for wrapping her, carefully. A couple weeks later it was time for her spay surgery. Poor girl!

After the spay surgery and subsequent recovery, Roxie was now eligible for adoption. My mother and I dropped off Roxie at Adoption Days multiple weekends. People were moved by Roxie's story, but the challenge of an imperfect dragon of a cat was more than many were willing to adopt.

Tiger striped cat lounging on the back of a sofa with a hand-woven, pastel-colored blanket under her.
Roxie Moxie comfortably asleep on the "quilt" I wove for my mother, which was on the back of the sofa.

Week after week we went. Week after week we returned with a very unhappy Roxie. Until one day, Mom looked at Roxie after one more Adoption Day event and told her, "You never have to do this again. April, ask Kaylene what I need to do to adopt Roxie."

So it happened that the dragon of a cat, Roxie, went to live with my parents. Roxie had found her tribe, her people, those who accepted her as she was.

Roxie was completely my mother's cat. 100%! Roxie loved Mom, tolerated my father, and disliked me entirely. Still, Roxie remained growly, hissy, and still a menace to everyone but my mother.

That is until one day ...

Through a strange turn of events, I ended up finding a little ginger kitten. Charmin was too small to leave in my apartment every day while I was at work, so he daycared at my parents.

Roxie hated that small fluff. He was always in her space. Charmin didn't seem to understand Roxie was a fierce dragon that could demolish his little frame. He kept challenging Roxie's limits.

Orange with smudges of white kitten on the back of a sofa together with a tiger striped cat.
Charmin and Roxie on the back of the sofa.

It was a shock to us all when we found Roxie curled up on the rocking chair with little orange Charmin tucked under her arm!

She nibbled on him, licked him, and kicked him. She watched Charmin play with toys, purr in happiness, ask for pettings, and show love to others. Charmin became Roxie's teacher.

Two beagle dogs on either side of a tiger striped cat, all lying in a sunbeam.
Buddy, Roxie, and Elle each finding a spot in a sunbeam.

This angry, confused, hurting dragon of a cat turned into a benevolent and (mostly) loving cat. The dragon of a cat that was a menace to anyone but Mom, now turned into a much softer version all because of the patience, teachings, and love of a small orange fluffball.

Tiger striped cat lying on the floor looking past the camera.
One of the last photos of Roxie Moxie before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Summer 2020.

Roxie Moxie lived to be about 14 years old. She never stopped being something of a dragon, but she knew love and she gave love, even if sometimes that love came with a nibble on the ear of an orange kitten or a beagle laying a little too closely.

Tiger striped cat looking down and to the right of the camera lens.
Roxie Moxie! Dragon of a cat but loveable fluff.

Dragons are known for their fearlessness, magical abilities, adaptability to radical changes, and rage amongst other things. Roxie Moxie embodied those qualities and more.

Roxie had rage, anger, due to the continuous pain of her unhealed leg. After her amputation surgery, she had to learn the leg and touch was no longer going to hurt.

Three-legged tiger striped cat standing looking in the distance away from the camera.
Roxie Moxie standing on her three legs. Look at that balance!!!

That amputation proved exactly how adaptable to radical change Roxie was. It did not take her long to figure out how to balance and then walk on three legs. And oh, could she move!!! Roxie on three legs was faster than some of our full four leg cats were! Using that tail as a rudder, Roxie would turn corners abruptly leaving the other cats in her wake.

Three-legged tiger striped cat balancing on a baker's rack to eat from dishes placed on a blue stool.
Roxie Moxie searching out the last yums in the breakfast bowls. We used stools and steps to aid Roxie's movements up to the feeding stations (away from beagle grazing grounds).

Roxie's magical abilities manifested in her talent of getting onto anything she wanted. Did not matter how high or seemingly out of reach. Roxie learned how to jump up using the remaining one rear leg. Mostly, she would reach her longest, grab with her front legs, and pull herself onto somewhere, but she could jump when needed. Poof! There is Roxie on some surface having used her magical abilities!

Three-legged tiger striped cat asleep atop a wicker cat tree.
Roxie Moxie on a cat tree. She would climb up the tunnel tree to the right then hop over to that wicker cat tree, her own private oasis.

Fearlessness ... Roxie approached life without fear. Pain made her angry, but that did not stop her. She still took on every day that came her way. Once she no longer had to worry about the leg, once she learned to balance and walk, once she learned how to love, her fearlessness increased. The world was at her beck and call!

Three-legged tiger striped cat curled in a ball, asleep on a nightstand.
Roxie Moxie asleep on my mother's nightstand.

The dragon of a cat did not stop because life got hard or painful. The dragon of cat held others at a distance warning them away with her fire-breathing ways. But once shown the softer side through Charmin's patience and love, Roxie allowed her lonely life as a dragon to become something more. She stayed something of a dragon cat her entire life, but nothing like her start. Patience and love won.

Let Roxie Moxie be your lesson on today (Appreciate a Dragon Day, 2024). Pain, rage, and loneliness need not be your forever. You are capable of adapting, changing, becoming something more. Set your determination and creativity to allowing patience and love to become your new future.

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