September 20, 2017

Life After Hoarding: Roscoe’s Happy Ending

Roscoe
Once crowded with 25 animals, this cat is now bonded to one special human

Last August, after Laurie S. of Arlington, Ohio lost the second of her two Maine Coon cats—an orange-and-white, long-haired beauty named Norman—she visited the Citizens for Humane Action Animal Shelter (CHA) in Columbus in the hopes of finding a new feline friend.

“My sister-in-law knew someone who worked there and said they had a cat with similar coloring,” Laurie recalls. During her visit to the shelter, a cat named Roscoe brushed up against her. He walked away briefly, then rolled on his back, stuck his paws in the air and begged her to scratch his stomach.

“I said, ‘that’s it!’” Laurie remembers, and she took Roscoe—now Roc—home.

Roc was originally rescued by the ASPCA at the request of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office last July 16 with 25 other cats and one dog from an overcrowded mobile home in Marshallville, Ohio.  The animals were surrendered by their owner before being transported to several shelters—including CHA, which took in nine cats—for adoption.

Ehren Melius, Medical Operations Director for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team, handled the case and recalls that once rescued, the cats quickly came around, showing social and affectionate behavior toward responders. “To hear that cats like Roscoe are living the good life now is the ultimate reward for the work that we do,” he says. 

Laurie explains that while Roc was “a bit scrappy,” after his adoption, he was skittish only when she stood up to walk. Otherwise, he was very loving. Then in September, Laurie fell down her stairs and broke her neck. After being hospitalized for a month, she returned home, with Roc aiding in her recovery.

“He would get into bed with me at night,” Laurie says. “And he motivated me to get out of bed because there was someone besides me who needed care. I had to move around, but when he got into bed with me that was so nice. We’re pretty close now.”

Roscoe and Laurie

Their bond took shape in other ways, too. “When I come home from work, I pretend like I can’t find him and he comes up from behind me, squeaking,” Laurie explains.  “He squeaks instead of meows.”

The squeaking is part of a communications routine the two have adopted. “Roc will squeak, then rub my leg which means he wants to eat. He leads me into the kitchen, stopping first near the bathroom door to make sure I’m still behind him and headed toward his bowl.”

Their strong bond can cause Roc to sometimes be possessive of his best buddy. “He doesn’t like it when I’m on the computer,” says Laurie, who adds that shortly after she adopted him, he fussed when she was on the phone. Now, he loves people, playing with straws and watching the Netflix TV series “The Crown” on Laurie’s tablet.

Laurie, 60, grew up with five dogs. “I was all dog; we were dog people,” she says. However, having cats better suited her when she moved into an apartment. She adopted siblings Ed and Norman as kittens, who lived to be 16. Her positive experiences with cats also prompted Laurie’s sister Irene to rescue and adopt two felines.

For Roc and Laurie, though, their unbreakable bond means there probably won’t be a second cat in the near future.

“I think Roc likes the one-on-one,” Laurie says. “We’re a great team.”