Saying “Goodbye” To My Shadow Cat (11/1/2015)

It’s with great sadness that I share the news about my beloved cat Shadow who needed to be released from this plane after a brief illness a few days ago. She was just over fourteen years old and was rescued by my Mom some thirteen and a half years ago and had been with me ever since. It’s been a hard few days of tears and accepting that she is not here with me anymore for sure but I wanted to take a few moments and share some of my favorite photos that were taken and remember her with a smile. Below is the first pic that I ever took with her. It was to introduce her to the world via the at the time popular social networks of Friendster and MySpace and to include in email for far away friends.

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Shadow was rescued from my Mom’s backyard when I saw a mouse zoom by me in my old apartment. They were working in the streets outside and I guess the critters were running into our basement and up into the rest of the building. The little black cat was very friendly and left in the bathroom for the night in order to get her scent in the place and frighten off any future mouse visit. I noticed she had a slight scratch on her eye and a small cut on a paw so I didn’t wait on getting her to the Vet because she was going to be living with me from then on. I made this decision rather quickly since she was so friendly and loving. I guess she appreciated being brought into a warm apartment in the dead of winter. At the time I was only calling her “Black Cat” or the generic “Cat” since I didn’t decide on a name yet.

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The vet said she was in good health, was about six months old (making her birth somewhere in September 2001) and then he congratulated me as she was an expectant Momma. “Congratulation!, She is Mommy” he said. A month later she would have four kittens in the old apartment. Three girls and a boy. Venture, Crystal, Spooke and Kiss. All of them with the exception of Spooke went to other forever homes and I kept her to keep Shadow company. Over the years Spooke would learn to test her mother’s patience like any other offspring would do.

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Though I don’t have a photo of it since it was done before we captured everything on a mobile device, Shadow used to love to bring me this particular ball whenever she found it. If I threw it she would go running, play with it a little bit and bring it back to repeat the process. It always made me chuckle since I had never heard of a cat playing fetch before. She also loved chasing the little laser beam light and a couple of fake little mice that I believe had catnip in them.

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Shadow was named because she was my shadow in every sense of the word. When she was first rescued she stuck to the darkness just outside where the light was if company came over and then once she determined the coast was clear would literally shadow me by inches. If I sat somewhere she was next to me, if I went to another room she was behind or in front of me. When I slept at night she would remain on the side of one of the pillows. My Shadow. This photo was taken on the twelfth anniversary of my rescuing her. Shadow opted to enjoy some relaxing time on my tee shirt. It was pretty awesome to reach this little milestone with my girl.

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This shot was on the day we had determined to be her birthday. She was thirteen years old as of this one by our books and that was pretty cool. My sweet black cat hitting her lucky thirteenth year. It was around this time that she developed an appreciation of cheese along with whatever milk was left in my cereal bowl. She also loved butter and recognized the sound of the word and would come running like the world was going to end. I was never giving her a lot of this stuff so I didn’t worry about her cholesterol too much, at thirteen she can enjoy what she likes in my opinion.

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When Shadow was not on the bed somewhere she also loved sleeping on my office chair. Since it was that cold plastic stuff I always left a big fluffy towel on it for her to be a little more cozy. She was a very vocal cat as well and if she wanted the chair when I was on it she would let me know. Once I moved out of the way she would take up her spot. I didn’t argue with the queen of the castle. The photo below was taken in the beginning of October of this year just after her 14th birthday.

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Shadow had been ensconcing herself on the towels in the linen shelf for the past week but since her offspring cat liked to disturb her while sleeping I felt she just wanted a little shut eye. Add to that my coming home in the middle of the night after Metal shows was not the most quiet of experiences. It was Sunday when I took this one and she wouldn’t eat once again and simply moved to another part of the apartment as if to be out of my view. Something was wrong. I tried giving her the treats she would devour and only had a couple of days previous along with the remaining milk from the cereal bowl which she LOVED and nothing. No interest and barely looked at me with her less than tired eyes. When she aimed to move again she fell down and was feeling cool so with tears in my eyes I took down the carrier and placed her inside to head to the Vet for what I felt would be our final trip together. She did not fuss about being put in the carrier which never would have been easy to do had not something been wrong.

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The doctor took a look at her and noted her age and said how letting her go was the best course of action to take. She was very unresponsive and I think was heading towards that rainbow bridge even though I didn’t want to see her go. She was now just past her fourteenth year and had been with me for 13.75 years if I am getting my math correct. I held her close and told her that I loved her one more time and thanked her for being in my world for as long as she had done so. She replied in a light meow which I like to think meant she understood and was saying her own goodbye to me. I can say that she remained a friendly and loving feline up until the very end and while this decision was the kind move, it broke my heart to do it. It took a few days to find my head again and while I had concerts to do they only served as mental distractions based on how heavy my heart was. Spooke seems to be adjusting but its surely different without my Momma Girl Shadow here as well. I’ve no complaints after having her for so long but do wish we had a little while longer because like all loving pets, they rescue us in a sense as well. I’ll never forget her and in time I am sure I will bring another rescue into the house but that is a long time coming. She was a beloved member of my family without a doubt.

Thanks to all who left me comments on the Facebook announcement about this taking place along the the continual texts and phone calls checking in. All of this helped ease the sorrow and work towards a brighter new day. Goodnight Shadow. I love you.

PS: A couple of days after she was gone I wondered how “old” Shadow was in terms of cat years and there is a formula that says add 15 years for the first year, 10 for the second and then 4 for every subsequent year of life. That made Shadow 73 years of age in cat years. Not bad for a cat from the street right. Here are some additional photos of my sweet girl.

Shadow (7/2002)

Shadow (7/2002)

Shadow (9/2002)

Shadow (9/2002)

Shadow (12/2002)

Shadow (12/2002)

Shadow (9/2004)

Shadow (9/2004)

Shadow (9/2006)

Shadow (9/2006)

Shadow owned one of those scratching things that served as both a hiding place or place to lounge on the top. It was always difficult to get a photo of her when she was inside it since she liked to follow me everywhere. I lucked out here.

Shadow (3/2007)

Shadow (3/2007)

One of her other favorite toys was this little stuffed cat that was from a local rescue organization. It was loaded with catnip and the doll was called “Suzie” or something to that effect and named after a rescue that was missing a paw. This doll was also missing one of its paws.

Shadow (12/2007)

Shadow (12/2007)

My kitchen radiator seemed to give off the best and strongest heat so when it was cold Shadow would enjoy time here on the window sill enjoying the sun and the heat and to watch the birds right outside on the fire escape. She would often make that sound cats make that was not quite meowing but more annoyed that the birds where just out of her reach.

Shadow (6/2009)

Shadow (6/2009)

Shadow (10/2010)

Shadow (10/2010)

Generally Shadow preferred to sit on top of the scratching post thing.

Shadow (12/2010)

Shadow (12/2010)

Shadow was a lap cat for sure and enjoyed lounging on the couch with me when I was just lazing about. This was one of her favorite spots and it made it rather difficult to do anything else but catch up with the DVR’d programs or texts. I didn’t mind since she liked it so much.

Shadow (11/2014)

Shadow (11/2014)

Goodbye again my sweet Shadow. I love you and miss you very much.

Comments (2)

  1. Mike

    Truly sorry for the loss, Ken. My cats are my buddies, and I know how I’d feel if I lost either of them.

  2. Laura Cagle

    Sorry for your loss Ken.

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