If you have "no place to go," come here!

Lovely Rita, Meter Maid

jjmtacoma's picture

This is Rita Meter Maid but it doesn't really matter what anyone calls her because she won't come. Rita is terrified. Her human family moved away and left her living under the deck of their abandoned house. She gave birth to four kittens under that deck. They were all rescued by R.A.I.N.* and are currently living in an unused bathroom at a local church. Volunteers visit the Rita and her kittens every day and people often will take kittens wrapped in blankets to hold while they work or attend meetings.

Rita is rarely handled because she hisses and spits when people approach her. Some of the more experienced volunteers will wear leather gloves to pick up Rita and wrap her in a blanket. Once she is wrapped securely, she will allow people to touch and pet her but she is still very afraid.

Her kittens (names: Raquel "Rocky", Desmond, Prudence, Bungalo Bill) are all weaned but they are still with Rita and she is teaching them to be afraid of the volunteers. The kittens hide and cower behind their mom and won't play with cat toys if people are around. They play and eat during the hours that the church is empty and quiet.

We really need to find a foster home for Rita where she can learn to trust humans again. We are hoping that without her kittens to protect, Rita would relax and be more friendly, but I wouldn't expect her to become a lap cat. She is definitely a special needs cat who could use a quiet place to live without her kittens. She would do well in a home where she could be an only pet or have a private place to relax, away from chaos or other pets.

She will be spayed on October 6th and has all her shots. If you are somewhat local to the Tacoma area and have a quiet home where a scared cat could live for a while and learn to trust people, please contact me by corrente mail.

We have an abundance of cats and kittens available for adoption and people tend to choose a cat when they have an emotional connection. A terrified cat who hisses at people who look at her won't be adopted. She needs to learn trust before we can find her a forever home.

*R.A.I.N - Rescued Animals In Need is a group, local to Seattle and Tacoma, that is unaffiliated with other groups by the same name. We find foster homes and adoptive homes for homeless cats and kittens. We also have cats and kittens ready for adoption that can be visited at All cats and kittens have received shots, are wormed and have been altered before they are available for adoption.

No votes yet


twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

and was a little worried. Phew!

She's so adorable -- and cross eyed, too?!! Thanks for doing this, jjmt -- with all the human tragedies, it's easy to forget about all the little buddies who are in need. Hope she finds a quiet home and a warm lap to sit on. Fingers crossed ...

Submitted by gmanedit on

I adopted a cat that seemed to like me—he sat in my lap and drooled while I petted him—but he didn't like the subway ride home, and perhaps was discomfitted by the presence of another person there who may (or may not) have reminded him of his previous person. Anyway, when, a few days later, he escaped from the bathroom, where he hissed when we tried to touch him, he disappeared under the bed for four and a half months. I would hear him playing at night, fishing the laces out of my shoes. And the cat food would disappear. Otherwise, did we really have a cat? Sometimes we would run into him, coming out of the bathroom; he would speed up past us, like a cartoon character, and disappear back under the bed.

After four and a half months—coincidentally (?), after I was laid off and was home all day—he seemed to give up. I came into the bathroom, where he was clawing out the tile grouting, and he looked, then turned back to his task. I petted him. Later, he came out of the bathroom, looked at me, and wailed. He seemed to be in conflict.

The next day, he gave up. We had a pet.

However, although we could touch him, we couldn't pick him up. I read a book (by Michael Fox) that said it was important to a cat's psychological development to accept restraint—that this led to the cat's necessary self-restraint. I put on a leather jacket and gloves and picked him up. He struggled to escape. I tightened my grip till he stopped struggling. That was all it took. Now I can pick him up; he lets me know when he has had enough.

He's an excitable boy, so I have to watch his tail—too much and he grabs and bites. Occasionally, he even hisses. But he's good-natured and not neurotic (e.g., doesn't lick himself excessively). He's not a lap cat, but he sleeps with me. He's a good boy.

Please let us know what happens with Rita.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

.....nearly mirrors our experience with Timber. A rescue cat who "came out" on her terms.

We've now had her 6 years and she is my love. Doesn't like to be picked up, but sleeps on her own pillow next to me, follows me around and chirps to be petted. BUT, she is her own soul and definitely rules the roost here.

What changed Timber into my "child" (the human ones have all left), was singing. Not great signing, but little ditties that I made up using her name and kind of cooing in nature. Now we are linked by the head as she butts mine and connects before she goes to sleep.

At this moment she is laying where my keyboard should be trying to make me notice her and rub her head. Hard to type with one hand!

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

also a yorkie and a 2nd grader... so I can't take Rita, we have too much action in our house.

I sure hope somebody is moved to help her! I think she could be a good cat with help. She is pretty small and probably really young herself.

I put a cat bed on the corner of my desk with a good view of the birds outside. It seems to help minimize the feline typing assistance.

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

the eyes are usually a little crossed but so wary, she looks more relaxed in this picture than usual. I've been able to pet her when other people have picked her up. She didn't exactly pur, but she wasn't watching me or glaring the whole time either.

I could see where after an adjustment time, some handling (with a leather coat on) would be a good idea and might work once she knows the food and comfort are reliable.

She breaks my heart because I don't want to see her become a barn cat, she is such a good mom kitty that I think she has a cuddling, protective nature that would make a good house cat. Protecting the kittens seems to be a big part of her behavior... at least I hope it is.

Submitted by gmanedit on

when I called her up: Starve him out; put his food in a cage and insist that he let me touch him while he ate; he had to learn to accept that. I think it might have worked (as his submission and resignation when I held him indicates), but the other person involved, a hearty eater, identified with the cat and said, "You can't starve him." So it took patience. I just felt bad, thinking he must be lonely under the bed.

When I called the rescuer back to report on our eventual success, she said, "Once they realize they like being touched, you're got them."

What impressed me about the holding experience was how quick the transformation was, as if a switch had flipped.