I made a lot of mistakes with him, I think, but he also had a somewhat good life.
Ra came into my life when M, a long term acquaintance of my housemate/landlady ran into hard times, and first boarded her cats here and then was put up herself for a while.
Her other cat, Moon joined the household easily enough, but Ra (a Himalayan, which is a Persian cat with Siamese markings) spent all his time hiding in the basement. After a while, he'd come up the stairs to nag when he wanted more food down there, and he eventually would let me get within a few feet when he was eating. It seemed silly to live with a cat (especially a Persian--they're very fluffy) I couldn't touch, so I tried petting him while he was eating, and he decided it was actually ok.
By the time M left (a year or so later), Ra was enough my cat that M suggested that he stay as payment for boarding her cats. I'm not sure it was a reasonable deal, but he and I liked each other, and at least he wouldn't be living with dogs. (This isn't a general statement about cat/dog households--just that Ra was a timid cat.)
Things went along ok with the humans and Ra and Persephone (another cat aproximately Ra's age) until Gillian (about a year old at the time) was added to the household around 2002. She didn't seem to treat Ra especially badly, but he was very afraid of her and spent all his time under an end table.
I was worried about him (he was a thin cat under all that fluff and seemed to be losing weight), so I put food and water near the end table--which meant he didn't go out for the litter box. So I moved the litter boxes nearby, too. This didn't work especially well, since they were the most convenient boxes for the other cats, too, and after a while, he was only using a litter box occasionally. I cleaned up after him as well as I could.
He did like my company (he'd sit on my foot when I was at the computer) and liked being petted. He had a very pleasant but quiet purr.
There isn't a lot to be said about the good stuff--it was pretty much just hanging out. He wasn't smart enough or stupid enough to really generate anecdotes. I did reassure him that he was a big tough Ra, and my proudest memory of him is him sitting there like an immovable furry triangle and facing Gillian down.
At some point, I noticed he was getting desperate about canned cat food, and I somehow figured out that he wasn't drinking Philadelphia tap water, not even if it was Brita filtered. Fortunately, he was happy with CVS house brand water.
Anyway, in recent month, he'd be crying for a few minutes several times a day, and I was going nuts. After a financially disasterous worldcon, I didn't feel as though I had money to spare for the vet. Some friends gave me $200 to take him there.
I'd thought things were getting better. I'd taken him to the groomer (this is at least as important as vet visits for a long haired cat who wasn't cleaning his rear end any more) and he wasn't pissing all over the place. Things were idyllic for a couple of days, and then the vet says that he has a legendarily enlarged bladder, though the piss can be squeezed out of him.
I put in additional money to find out that there's no obvious reason why he isn't pissing--it might be neurological. He's supposed to get muscle relaxants to make it easier to squeeze out the piss a couple of times a day.
I don't want to go into all the logistical and communication fuck-ups, but he almost certainly shouldn't have gotten another dose of muscle relaxant.
I think he had a fair-to-middling life, a few very good days after the recent grooming, he probably trusted me more than I deserved, and only one bad day at the end.