Monday, March 24, 2008

SHADOW 5/23/88 to 3/24/08

Shadow was a tough critter. She was born almost 20 years ago and promptly had to be given mouth-to-mouth to revive her. She was always the skinny runt of the litter, and that's why I picked her out when a friend told me I could have a pure breed Maine Coon for free. She almost died once from flea allergies and had to be put on intravenous fluids. She outlived all of her brothers and sisters. People often thought she was old even when she was young. She scratched me when I tried to bathe her. She followed me everywhere (thus the name) and loved me endlessly. I was her man.

Shadow was a bad-ass. Before I had to make her an indoor cat (the flea problems again), she was the queen of the neighborhood, loved to climb trees and kick other cat's tails. She ran off and played all day. I'd come home-a young punk working long hours for slave wages--and have to call her home from whatever she was getting into blocks away. Sometimes she stayed out all night and came home with bloodshot eyes. Bad kitty.

Shadow was my first long committed relationship. Tiffany and I have been together for almost 15 years, eight of those in marriage, but Shadow always seemed to figure Tiffany was another in the line of female humans cramping her style and would one day be replaced. Shadow and I were together for 19 years.

Shadow thought this writing business was nonsense. As a baby she would roam my bed, pouncing at my hands as they tried to scribble on the page. I was just getting serious about fiction writing then, only months from quitting my job, going to grad school and following my dream. She would plop on the paper in front of me and command that she be properly petted. Now.

Shadow died today. She put up a tough fight over the last year or so. Her back legs went out, so she couldn't use the catbox. I bought her a padded cube to sleep in and she hobbled to her food behind a baby gate installed to keep her from peeing all over the house. She slept a lot. I ignored her a lot as my newborn son took center stage. The last few days she could hardly keep her balance. I had planned to take her to the vet for the fatal injection this morning, but she made that decision instead on her own. Always the proper lady, she left on her own terms much as she lived her life. She'll always be my pretty kitty. I'll miss her. I'll always remember.


Stacy said...

Sending heartfelt condolences your way. Isn't it wonderful that your paths crossed in this life.It's quite a price we pay to love these amazing animal companions, but so very much worth it.

Erleichda! said...

Aww -- yours is the second pet death story I've read this morning. :-( You have my condolences. She sounds like she would've liked my childhood cat Andy, who used to "talk" very loudly and sternly to guys who came over to pick me up for dates.
- Robin