A Eulogy For Shadow

Foreward: This was actually written over 3 years ago, and therefore though it is written in the present tense, it really should be in past tense, but frankly, I can’t bring myself to edit it, even though I wanted to post it anew, because I still miss her. 


My cat is dying…

She’s 23 years old and was an outdoor cat for much of her life, (She was named Shadow, because she’s black and because she’d hide in your shadow to sneak out the door, she was supposed to be an indoor cat.) she’s beaten the odds for an indoor cat, let alone an outdoor one.

We got her when I was 9 years old, we had mice in the house and nothing was getting rid of them, so my mom decided we’d try a cat. She took me to see a litter of kittens that someone was giving away; there were 2 identical black ones that I immediately wanted… I was only allowed to have one though, so I went with the first one I was able to catch; and thus Shadow was added to our family.

She was a devil, a cute pure black devil. She thoroughly enjoyed killing things; she liked to take her time. We put a bell on her, asides tolling the death of small creatures it really had no effect. I can just imagine mice telling their babies “Be careful else the bell toll for thee!!” when reprimanding them for staying out too late. She was known to climb pant legs for a set of jangling keys. She attacked my friend’s lips when said friend made the mistake of making a kissy face at her; good time, good times.

She is half-Siamese and as such… liked to talk, loudly and often. She followed me everywhere, and would come when I called, everyone else could have been invisible unless she was hungry, or they happened to be allergic to cats. I am her person, she seems to be under the impression she owns me… I’m not sure she’s wrong. When I was 15 I was given a German Shepherd puppy for my birthday, Shadow was not impressed. When we first brought Sasha home, she came running up and tried to jump up on me (she was 4 months old and rather large) Shadow apparently thought Sasha was attacking me & flew from the other side of the room to leap onto my lap and fend off the vicious dog trying to lick me to death. I’m not sure how she figured a 10 lb cat was going to take on a 40 lb puppy, but that seemed to be her secondary concern, unfortunately for me, the fact that my fingers were closer to her claws than the puppy, was also of secondary concern.

She is about the least skittish cat I’ve ever known, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her get startled, although she took GREAT joy in scaring the bejesus out of a cocker spaniel we had when we got her, by landing on the spaniel’s ass from out of the clear blue sky(OK, the kitchen counter, it was all the same to the dog.).

She is the last living vestige of my childhood, somehow that makes it all the harder. My mother had a nickname for her, “Slutcat” and she earned it, believe me. We lived on a main street and I can still remember my mother out on the front lawn after Shadow had escaped past her once again when she had opened the front door.

“GET BACK HERE YOU SLUTCAT!!” was heard across the neighbourhood, followed by my mom’s realization that she was out in public whilst yelling this.

Have you ever been dive-bombed by a freaked out songbird? While peeing? In your own washroom? Which is nowhere near anywhere a songbird has any right to be? Thanks to Shadow, I have… I don’t think she was happy with me for allowing it to escape.

She was the perfect cat in my eyes! When I was younger I thought she shouldn’t be allowed to die as I couldn’t imagine ever finding a cat to take her place. I thought she should be the blueprint for all cats, a prime example of what I felt a cat personality should be.

Aloof? Check.
Slightly (A tiny… under-exaggeration here.) Evil? Check.
Devious? Double Check.
Dog Tormentor? Check.
Feels she owns me instead of the other way around? Check.
Eats small rodents & birds? Check.
Performs Elevator Butt? Check.
Knows who hates cat and beelines for them? Check.
Feels that all humans are at her constant beck and call? Check.

So now I wait for the inevitable, and I try to make her last days as comfortable as possible. She isn’t suffering, and she mostly sleeps, but she still purrs when I touch her, and although it breaks my heart to be losing her, I am thankful for the years I’ve had that were more than I had a right to expect, and I’m thankful that at least she is going peacefully.


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