Regal red tabby cat is king of his adopter’s heart

The face of Reds the cat showing his crinkled ears
Reds was feeling blue due to an ear infection when he came to Best Friends, but now he’s basking in love in his new home.
By Nicole Hamilton

A typical day for Reds goes a little something like this: First, he wakes up Janey Place by purring loudly into her ear. If she sleeps longer than he prefers, he gently pats her cheek with his soft, padded paw until she opens her eyes. Then he follows her into the kitchen, where they have breakfast together (wet food for him, coffee for her).

Reds usually spends the rest of the day lounging in the window taking in the sights of New York City or keeping Janey company. There are also cuddles, time to be determined by Reds.

Sometimes during quiet moments, like when he curls up on her lap, she wonders what life was like for him when he was at a shelter with a severe ear infection. That was before she met him at the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in New York City. Best Friends supports shelters in reaching no-kill by taking in pets who may need extra care before they go to new homes — pets like Red.

Inspired by a cat’s journey

The aptly named red tabby looks regal with his handsome coat of fur. But his tiny, crinkled ears tell a different story. One of his first stops when he came to Best Friends was a veterinary exam, which uncovered a chronic ear infection. That explained the appearance of his ears, which can become scarred and crumpled if cats shake their heads or scratch at their ears over a long period of time. His bloodwork also showed liver issues.

[Ear Problems in Dogs and Cats]

There was good news though. Six weeks after taking an antibiotic and a supplement, his bloodwork showed his liver was healthy again, and his ear infection cleared up with diligent application of ointment. While Reds was recovering, staff and volunteers got to see what a friendly, loving cat he is. He purred when he met someone new and whenever anyone petted him.

He was feeling better than he likely had felt in a long time. Next, all Reds needed was someone who saw beyond his health conditions — who was inspired by his story of survival and wanted to make his next chapter his best yet.

A cat’s wise approach to life

Janey first reached out to Best Friends to inquire about foster opportunities. Back then, the longtime supporter was dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York City. When she was in the Big Apple, she missed her cats on the other coast. And she understood the need for foster volunteers.

Best Friends staff suggested she visit the lifesaving center and meet Reds. “I'd intended to foster him short term, with lots of nurturing, playing, and of course brushing when I saw he was a gorgeous cat with orange-and-white long hair,” says Janey. She loved how affectionate he was with the staff the day she met him. “That was great,” she says. “I love a bit of cuddling.”

[Big tabby kitty with FIV lands just-right home]

About a month after Janey started fostering Reds, she adopted him. At first, there were challenges. Reds wasn’t thrilled to take the medicine he needs to help keep his liver healthy. But with support and guidance Janey received from Best Friends staff, giving him his pill is no longer a stressful event.

It all goes into making sure Reds can enjoy his new life in comfort. “I think he has the wisdom of a cat and the innocence of a dog,” says Janey. “He meets the world with a little caution, but once he knows someone, they are his BFF. What a great way to approach life and greet the world.”

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.

Reds the cat lying in a cat bed by a window
Photo by Janey Place

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