“I looked into her eyes and there was just this connection,” Broadway, TV and movie actress Betty Buckley said of Keisha, a stray cat found near Myrtle Hill Cemetery in April.
Whenever an animal crosses her path and makes a connection, Buckley said she almost always ends up taking it home.
Buckley, an original cast member of the musical “Cats,” was made aware of the cat when a photo of it was sent to her by friend and fellow actress Morgan Fairchild, who donates regularly to local rescue Floyd Felines and Friends. Buckley also starred in television shows such as “Eight is Enough” and movies such as “Carrie” and “The Happening.”
Buckley asked Floyd Feline and Friends if they would hold Keisha while she toured with the production “Hello Dolly!” which wrapped up recently. The rescue agreed and the cat has been staying with the in-laws of Lyndell Megginson, who was at PAWS when Keisha was brought in.
“She was completely matted and covered in fleas,” Megginson said. “She was so scared, none of us could touch her.”
It has been a long few months getting acclimated to being around people, she said, but the cat is sweet once she warms up to people. Megginson said she warned Buckley the cat may be a bit of a challenge, but the actress said this isn’t her first rodeo.
Since living at her Texas ranch, the Tony award-winning performer has rescued around 22 animals including cats, dogs, horses and a donkey. Some of them she has found while driving down the road in her truck, she said.
One of her cats, Larkin, was discovered by Buckley living outside the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. After being bribed with a few cat treats, the kitten went home with Buckley, who said on the ride home the kitten told the actress its name was Larkin.
“I always wait to let them tell me their name,” she said.
Keisha will be no different, Buckley said. She isn’t sure what name she will give the cat, but once she gets to know her it will be obvious. The stray’s name was originally Kevin due to being mistakenly gendered when she was brought in, said Megginson. After some debating back and forth, the cat’s name was changed.
“Poor little girl is confused about who she is right now,” Buckley said.
She is hoping for a peaceful transition for her two cats once their new family member arrives. Megginson said Keisha — whom she calls KiKi — is wary of other cats, but was told by Buckley KiKi will have her own room while she gets adjusted to her new home.
“She’s a bit of a prickly character, but she will warm up,” said Megginson.
It took Keisha around two to three weeks before she would allow anyone near her. Even after being cared for the past two months, the cat may still get a little defensive, but on several occasions Megginson has found the cat sleeping next to her pillow. It is just part of her being a stray, she said.
Keisha left Rome for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at around 4 a.m. on Saturday and flew with Megginson to Dallas where she met Buckley for the first time.
Buckley said she is taking a break from social media at the moment after finishing her tour, but broke the hiatus to let her Instagram followers see the newest addition to her family. Buckley has renamed Kevin/Keisha/KiKi to Callie and thanked Megginson for bringing her Saturday evening. Callie is now in Buckley’s house and seems to be adjusting well.
Floyd Feline and Friends are currently holding over 100 cats pulled from PAWS and other areas that are currently in need of homes. To view their available friends, visit their Facebook and Instagram page. Megginson said donations are greatly appreciated, the totally volunteer-run rescue is always needing help with medical bills and cat food.