Randy was one of a group of over a hundred cats the shelter removed from a rescue-turned-hoarding situation. He was the biggest cat of the group. And also the biggest cat I’d ever seen.
He was also exceptionally ugly. He had a cauliflower ear, likely from major ear mite damage when he was a young Randy. He had a wide face that led me to believe that he was some sort of prototypical pitbull cat.
I also believe that Randy was the very large group of cats’ king. They deferred to him without him ever having to spit or raise a paw.
When Randy first arrived he was pretty angry, like many of the others. He had lived in a small home with a hundred others, and now he was in a comparatively tiny cage.
I noticed that after a while, at least some of the cats showed signs of appreciating some of the pros of cage life: access to your own food, 100% of the time, access to your own litter box, your own water, and your own safe space.
Randy was not one of those cats.
I watched another big orange male with beautiful long fur meticulously comb a giant mat out over the course of a week, finally having the space and the time, and not needing to constantly be on edge around a bazillion others.
The morning that it was finally off of him I thought he looked pretty pleased with himself.
Randy took a lot longer to get used to shelter life.
This probably had a lot to do with the fact that all of the cats required medication twice daily – for months when they first arrived. They needed antibiotics for URI and powerful dewormers for parasites that only factory famed cows and hoarded cats get. It all tasted bad.
I gave Randy a box. He spent all of his time in it. It made cleaning his cage much easier, because I could just cover the top with a towel and hoist him out without risking the powerful swat he wasn’t shy about dishing out.
When he wasn’t in his box, I wore gigantic leather gardening gloves which lived in that room specifically for dealing with Randy, and a couple of other, smaller, but still formidable cats.
Sometimes I rested my head near the front of his cage, and he would give me a disgusted look and then smack me in the face.
But then, he changed his mind. He stopped resenting us, and started enjoying our company.
He became the most giant lap cat in the world.
Then it was time for Randy to move into a colony room with six others from his past to get adopted. I visited him often. Once, I watched a big male advance upon Randy, who was new to the room, hissing. Randy didn’t even change facial expressions, he just watched. And the other male (Brandon) simply backed away, still hissing.
He was hard to believe. I still don’t believe he existed. And yet, he does. He’s out there, adopted somewhere, living the life.
I miss you, Randy, you gigantic unbelievable thing, you.