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Service cat needs another job after owner's death

Clarence Watters, 62, regularly drives across town to the Rivera Holiday trailer park to his recently deceased mother-in-law's home to feed and flush the toilet for her cat.

"I go flush it every day," he said. "But the cat will use the (litter) box if I forget to flush."

Foxy, a 4-year-old, white, domestic short-haired cat is up for adoption.

Besides having learned to use the toilet, Foxy also alerted her hearing-impaired owner, Wanda Rainwater, to phone calls and visitors.

"If people would be walking around at night, she would come in and meow to my mother and jump on her and get her attention," said Rainwater's daughter, Linda Watters, 59. "This is something the cat did on her own because she's a smart cat. Like the toilet thing. She even tries to use toilet paper."

According to Linda Watters, after her mother adopted the formerly feral cat into her home, Foxy taught herself to use a commode and act as a service animal for Rainwater.

Over time, the two grew close.

"She would have died without that cat," Linda Watters said. "The cat was her closest friend and companion, because she didn't really have a lot of people that she got along with. My mother wasn't easy to get along with."

Rainwater left the frisky 13-pound feline to the family.But the Watters, who live with their 22-year-old autistic son, Wesley, and several dogs and cats, have expressed concern about bringing Foxy into their already full home.

So the family is trying to find the right home for Foxy, preferably someone with patience, Linda Watters said, because the cat has been traumatized by the death of Rainwater and needs time to adjust.

"I would not suggest someone with dogs or very small children because she's a very high-strung cat," she said. "It wouldn't have to necessarily be another elderly hearing-impaired person who's going to die and leave her alone again, because she's a relatively young cat.

"It should be someone who has at least 10 years or so left in them."

For more information about interviewing to adopt Foxy, contact Merced SPCA publicity director Carole Steinhauer at (209) 723-8953.

Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 835-2486 or