1992 - 14 Jun. 2005
Fluff spent the first year of her life as a barn cat. When she was a kitten, she was abandoned at the barn where I then boarded my horse. (Unfortunately, people dumping unwanted kittens was not an uncommon event there.) She had two sisters who did not survive to maturity, but Fluff grew up and throve in the barn environment and became quite a good mouser. Her closest companion was Red, about a month older, who had also been left at the barn that spring.
When Fluff was a little over a year old, the barn had to close down. She and Red needed a new home, and I decided to take them in. It was a little frightening for them at first, as they'd never lived in a house before, but they adapted quickly to housecat life. Their new home provided almost as many interesting places to explore as the barn, and they learned to appreciate luxuries like soft cushions and climate control. Of course, the hunting wasn't as good; Fluff had to make do in that department with an occasional cricket. (She looked with great scorn upon the other cats playing with toy mice. Fluff knew about real mice.)
Fluff remained close to Red, and the two often curled up together. She was a rather unassertive cat and was occasionally intimidated by some of the more rambunctious youngsters, but she had her favorite safe places where she could avoid them if necessary. She raised the torbie fondness for cellulose-shredding to an art form; not content to get her cellulose in the form of mere paper or cardboard, she gnawed on wood. She once chewed the long ends of a wooden clothespin down to little half-inch stubs. I also suspect she was the culprit who destroyed a straw hat of mine, chewing the brim completely off the crown, though in that case I didn't catch her in the act. Fluff's most distinctive trait was probably her voice; she talked constantly any time someone was paying attention to her, and had an odd, whispery little voice.
Fluff stayed in good health during her life, with no problems other than an occasional touch of asthma. On 13 Jun. 2005, when she was 13, I noticed that she was having difficulty breathing. She underwent tests that day and the next, which showed a large tumor attached to her heart and another in her abdomen. The chest tumor was inoperable and her respiratory distress was increasing, so I had to have her put to sleep.