Cats tackle life’s challenges together

Rowena the calico cat wearing a donut eCollar wlying next to Binx the black cat
When they came to Best Friends, Rowena and Binx had more than their fair share of issues. But a new home set them on a path toward healing and friendship.
By Christina London

Bestie. Best buddy. BFF. True pal. Main squeeze. Ride or die. No matter what you call them, everyone wants a best friend to lean on when life gets tough. That’s exactly what felines Rowena and Binx became for each other.

Walking separate paths

Binx and Rowena came to Best Friends from a local shelter in Houston. Each cat was dealing with their own set of issues. For Rowena the tabico, it was having just one eye (which didn’t bother her at all) and a skin condition (which bothered her very much and caused her to scratch nonstop). Binx, a striking black panther, had stopped using his litter box — a common problem with kitties who have been declawed like he was.

At an already-full shelter, cats with health or behavioral issues like theirs could have been at risk of being killed. But Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill in 2025. That means working together with animal shelters and rescue groups to give each pet what they need to move out of the shelter and into a happy, healthy life.

Although Rowena and Binx were both struggling, you almost couldn’t tell because they were so affectionate. From chin scratchies to belly rubs, they wanted nothing more than to be petted.

The Best Friends team was dedicated to doing whatever they could to help these precious purr machines. For Binx, it was sending him to a foster home where he could test out new litters and learn to do his business in the box. For Rowena, the vet staff tried a litany of treatments to help her skin feel better, including antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiparasitic medications. She also went to a foster home to rest in a calm, comfortable environment.

The start of a beautiful friendship

Around the same time, a woman named Stephanie was looking to adopt a cat. She heard Binx’s story and Rowena’s story and was touched by their resilience. After talking with the Best Friends team about how to handle each kitty’s challenges, Stephanie decided to bring both cats home and crossed her fingers they would get along. (Spoiler alert: They did.)

Rowena and Binx became inseparable right away as they settled into their new home. Once he was feeling safe and secure, Binx never had a litter box accident again. But things weren’t going as well for his best friend, Rowena.

Despite numerous visits to specialists, Rowena’s skin and scratching became worse. Her skin was inflamed and bleeding under her fur, and you could tell she was uncomfortable. She even lost her whiskers. Determined to help this sweet girl, Stephanie and the vets tried it all: steroids, antibiotics, topicals, diet, wipes, you name it. One night, Stephanie became so concerned that she took Rowena to the emergency clinic. It seemed like every time Rowena started to improve, she would relapse.

[Fashion helps cat with allergies to heal]

But Rowena wasn’t going through this turmoil alone: She had Binx. Whenever she and Stephanie returned from appointments, Binx would be right there to snuggle and support his bestie. He was always available for a game of hide-and-seek or a wrestling match if Rowena was feeling up to it. Plus, he never made fun of her when she had to wear a silly donut around her neck. (That’s true friendship.)

Let the good times roll

Then one day, something just clicked, and Rowena’s treatment began working. Her whiskers started to grow back, and she was feeling better and better with each passing day. You could finally notice the sparkle in her bright green eye. Happy and pain-free, Rowena started acting like a kitten again: pouncing in boxes with Binx, hiding under the covers, and snuggling with Stephanie.

[How Fossey the cat got his sparkle back]

Stephanie discovered something else that set Rowena and Binx apart from most cats: They love to travel. The pair was curious and well-mannered when taking an airplane for the first time. They’ve even journeyed cross-country in an RV (because nothing says “best friends” more than an epic road trip). Whether at home or on the road, these two cats are loving life side by side.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

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