‘He truly loved everyone’: Cincinnati Zoo mourns loss of Redd the cheetah

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo is mourning the loss of Redd the cheetah.

Redd passed away after his health took an unexpectedly rapid decline, the zoo wrote in a tribute to the cat.

Redd made a massive impact in his seven years of life. He was born premature and had a rough start. According to keepers, he did not transition to eating meat well so he had to have a feeding port at a young age. He was fitted with custom shirts and onesies to protect his feeding port. The Cat Ambassador Team said Redd wasn’t even supposed to live at the Cincinnati Zoo but his “sweet personality won us over and we couldn’t let him go.”

The zoo said Redd stole everyone’s heart with his fun energy. He was often seen running around the zoo nursery playing with his siblings while wearing his signature onesie.

When he got older, Redd also had to have corrective hip surgery which left him with a funny walk, the zoo said. According to his keepers, Redd got through the surgery well and he never let his health challenges stop him from living his life to the fullest. He was often seen as an inspiration to others.

“I will never forget the number of kids that would come to the zoo to see Redd, because they too had a feeding tube, and could connect with Redd,” said Andie, one of Redd’s trainers. “Redd would lay there and purr and let me show the kids his scar from the feeding tube and show the kids that he made it through, they can as well. Parents would write us letters expressing their gratitude that we shared Redd’s journey with their family.”

Andie added that she will be forever grateful for the time he spent with Redd and the joy that he brought to other zoo employees and visitors.

“Redd was the sweetest animal many of us have ever had the pleasure of working with. He truly loved everyone and would connect with you in a way that is hard to describe,” she said. “He loved going on walks around the zoo in the mornings, smelling the tulips, watching the birds on Swan Lake and interacting through the glass. The affection he showed for his care staff was something we will never forget.”

The Zoo did not say exactly how Redd died.