I have known many cats during my lifetime but Shadow was a very special kitty. Yes, an owner will brag about their particular pet but you will see what I mean as I describe some of her to you. Going to the Humane Society every day after my other kitty, Fuss, had to say goodbye after fighting blindness and ultimately succumbed to a brain tumor to just say hello to the all the kitties. I usually went around 11:30 every day. On February 17, 2003 there was Gilda in one of the big condo’s sitting primly with a look that said we should be together. My heart melted. The volunteer brought Gilda in as I sat on the floor in the private meeting room. With her fluffy tail that crooked slightly at the end, to hold an invisible parasol, she checked out all the furniture in the room. You could actually hear her purr from across the room, I held out my hand, she rubbed her ears against my palm and crawled into my lap. Thirty minutes later, we arrived home. I opened her cardboard carrier she hopped out and inspected her new home. I needed to use the bathroom and she just followed me in. She hopped up on the tub ledge looked at me, then jumped in. The way the light fell inside the tub and with a tail swish created something to chase. I finished, flushed, Gilda hopped out of the tub, put her paws on the seat and with such fascination she watched the water drain out. I went back to the living room, she followed me throughout the house as I gathered bowls for water and food. Hmmm, I thought, you’re no Gilda – your name is really Shadow and Shadow it was. That night, in bed a rustle outside the window caused Shadow to go straight up on her hind legs, front paws dangling, as she tried to see who was out there – just a raccoon, but she hung there like a Prairie Dog for several minutes. When she satisfied no one was coming into our room she crawled up onto my mid section, curled up and purred us to sleep. Many a night was spent this way. She was so graceful and loving. Even folks who didn’t like cats found her to be a joy. She would just look up at you with that beautiful face and quietly blink (a cat’s way of saying I love you) to invite you into her home and welcome you. Ah yes, when we had mice in the house. One night I came home from work and there was no Shadow at the door. She sat, meat loaf kitty style, staring at the furnace closet door, as still as could be. This could mean only one thing – a mouse. Sure enough, I opened the door and it scurried out with Shadow close on its heels. Now what do I do, she had it cornered but didn’t actually catch it. A shoe box nearby proved to be my saving grace. I threw it over the mouse, laid a heavy item on top put some cardboard underneath and escorted out the front door to release it. We only had one other mouse after that and the same thing happened. Not a mean bone in Shadow’s body. Frequently, neighborhood cats would wander into our yard and dare to come to the full glass door where Shadow would sit. Well, Shadow wanted no one else to share our living quarters, so instead of hissing at them she would “puff” as her way to scare them off. Scary huh? Somehow those felines got the message and would leave. Shadow had enjoyed Fuss’ old ratty cat nip mouse but the stuffing finally went so she needed a new one. That Christmas she got a cat nip Christmas stocking. I would always warn visitors that if they heard an anguished kitty cry it was only Shadow with her toy. Cat nip did not make her crazy but did illicit a vocal response. This often happened just after you were falling asleep and Shadow would bring it to bed, leave it at the front door or somewhere where she wanted you to notice. When Cheri came to stay with us, Shadow’s voice became more succinct to the point that her guttural reaction with her cat nip toy in mouth spoke with a “he-wo o o o”.” Shadow now knew how to talk human. Every time we heard “he-w o o o we laughed. What an endearing memory. Then there was the new front loading washer and dryer. Oh silly, it was really Kitty TV. Washing clothes meant Shadow sat in front of the glass and was kept entertained throughout the various wash cycles. The dryer was not as entertaining and she would soon leave after it started. Oh how she could make you laugh. Shadow’s intuitiveness was just another special trait. She knew when someone did not feel well and would stay with you throughout the night. If you had pain, she would curl up on the very spot to become an instant heating pad to take away the pain. Shadow could be sound asleep in the back bedroom but she could hear my car pulling up and would either be at the front step in front of the glass door or behind the inner door, stretching and rubbing up against the door to say hello. Shadow ever the secretary, sat on the desk as I worked. When customers were present she would rub up against the printer letting them know she was glad to see them. Shadow loved the mouse cursor on the computer screen especially when it moved slowly across the screen until it disappeared and being ever so patient, she knew it would return and inevitably, her paw tried to capture it sadly never caught it because it was behind the glass. Shadow was my friend, companion and dearly loved by all that met her. I miss her terribly. She died with the same grace and dignity that she lived. She died on Buddha’s birthday and I know that her next life will be that of a human and our world will be better for her return.
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