1992 - 28 Sep. 2006
Like his foster-sister Fluff, Red was abandoned as a tiny kitten at the barn where I boarded my horse. He grew up there, but the barn closed when he was a year old and I adopted him and Fluff. He enjoyed the barn, though he never showed much aptitude as a mouser -- Red was a bird hunter, and the proudest moment of his life was when he caught a large grackle all by himself. It was so big he couldn't pick it up and carry it, so he dragged it around the barn by one wing to show it to everyone.
When Red was dumped at the barn he was small enough to fit in my hand, but he grew up to be a huge cat; between his large build and an inclination to portliness, he weighed in at around 17 lbs during his adult years. He was very sweet and gentle, with an enormous purr and a great fondness for having his head scritched. Red was too big to be a lap-cat, but he loved to curl up beside me on the bed and knead (heavily) in my side.
He remained close to Fluff all her life, and got along well with most of the other cats, with a couple of exceptions. Boojum intimidated Red and sometimes whacked on him, especially if people were paying attention to Red. (Boojum was inclined to be jealous.) Red cringed and made pitiful little chirps when this happened, but since he was half Boojum's age and three times his weight, I had a hard time feeling too sorry for him. He also wasn't terribly fond of Servalan, nor she of him. When Red snuggled up beside me on the bed and purred, Servalan would for some reason stalk over to him and bite his ear. He was on good terms with Ancalagon, Claudius, Fingolfin, and Tambë, and enjoyed snuggling with them.
Red was diagnosed with chronic renal failure when he was ten years old, which worried me (that's rather early onset for geriatric kidney failure), but it progressed very slowly and never got to severe levels. He remained quite healthy until he was 14 1/2 years old, when he developed what at first appeared to be a stubborn bladder infection. When it didn't respond to antibiotics, further testing showed that he had bladder cancer, which is quite uncommon in cats. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment available, and the cancer usually progresses quickly. Anti-inflammatory medication kept Red from much discomfort, but by about three weeks after he was diagnosed the tumors in his bladder were blocking drainage from his kidneys, and I had to have him put to sleep. It was very hard to lose him; he was one of the sweetest cats I've ever known, and was very companionable, so it was difficult to get used to him not being around. But he had a reasonably long and very happy life.