It is pleasantly doubtful that the story of our time with Rhedd would begin any different than those love stories in the guise of kitty encounters. I never knew Angels had red hair and fur, but I am solidly convinced.
They usually begin with an appearance, a discovery, or just a pleasant surprise. Out of nowhere these little spirits can manifest, like they are coming from some other time or place, right smack into your life. The introduction period is oh so brief. It is always love at first for my family, Rhedd here being no exception.
His visit was a back door rub that caught my eye late one night last winter around March. I had seen a few other cats come up for food and wildly scatter, but for some unknown but gut stirring reason I melted enough to scurry to the kitchen for emergency morsels. In all honesty I , maybe we – carried subconscious grief and love for Charlie, an indescribably gently red tabby that was previous to Rhedd, which motivated my attention and concern towards him. It felt as though Charlie was visiting in another form, or had sent a reminder.
The cinnamon swirl markings where visible through the glass patio door. Tail dancing, he rubbed closely for attention and I opened the door and placed the bowl out for him to munch. I went out to visit and with no fear he wailed with a passion that I nor my Mom and Grandmother had ever heard. His cry was so desperate that it was tempting to laugh, but you didn’t. He was sad and lonely, yet strong.
The next few months proved his affection and extreme protection for us. He had tried to befriend our other kitty, Lily, and it was a somewhat comical flirt that proved him a dud with the ladies, so it seemed. It was like Billy Joel meeting Christie Brinkley, but what we later discovered was that he desperately needed a friend. Our dog chased him, his own species seemed to have no loyalty, and he could not get a date across the branch during the high season – if you know what I mean.
His visits were sporadic at first. Nightly romps would leave him beaten and scarred the next morning. I applied castor oil to his coat and gradually saw improvement. The more we cared for him the more we noticed an uncomfortable stance, but it did not bother him. I felt humbled by his strength and we held common issues with bad alignment. He lived with short front legs which caused his spine to curve when he sat down. Still, he walked with pride and an incredible leadership. He had no name, but surely a strong presence.
The more he stayed the day, he more friendly we became with him. After all, who could ignore those cries? Garden chores were accompanied by his presence and evening swinging with the sunsets held a place for conversations and kitty hugs. What a boy. So much love and appreciation was evident. I shed tears with him over losses and pain, and at night when I went out to see the stars he was there guarding me. Yet he still had no name. I tried to make it manifest but it did not. Somehow I felt it would come and on that night I blurted it out….”RED. No….RHEDD!” Yes, yes, yes, I thought, just like Rhett Butler the southern gentleman from the classic film Gone With The Wind! Boasting with excitement, I re-entered the house telling the family of the discovery. My Mom agreed that it fit this little protector’s personality. She labeled him the Red Warrior. Wow was that spot on. It seemed as though he grew stronger and more confident in his role as protector the longer he stayed. Cries were replaced with morning and evening walks. We silently invited him in for nights on the recliner with popcorn and movies, and he was a regular consolation in times of despair. Just a true gentleman and a true friend. I joked that had he been human, we would have been married.
Sadly, he could not stay with us and left in August. We were already attached and hoped for more time, but his job was done. Breaking up is so hard to do. His loss was as such and I choose to leave only his love story behind. That once dirty and dingy coat was slick with gentlemanly sheen, and it even smelled of powder. It was as though a sweet scent floated from his happy soul. He had found love, friendship, and had given so much more than he got. He taught us strength, and protected our vulnerability at the same time.
Rhedd was answered prayer. I believe that is why he was so beautiful in every way.