The cat followed him home in Aug 2002. My son had a birthday coming up and he told us the thing he wanted more than anything else in the world was for us to adopt this cat. I was heartbroken over this request because it was such a sweet cat but my son, who wanted it, was highly allergic to cats. I knew if we agreed to it the cat would have to always be an outdoor cat because I just couldn't let it into the house. I knew my son, if the cat would have lived in the house it would always end up in his bed. (We had enough problems trying to keep things under control so his allergies wouldn't be so bad. I knew my sons allergies were bad when one time the kids were playing if you could wish for anything in the world what would you wish for - and my son answered to be able to breath normally and for my allergies to go away. He wanted that over money, fame etc. We took him to the doctor and were trying to follow all the protocols just so he could have some seasons without breathing problems. But with the cat it would be year round and I just didn't want my son to live with all those breathing problems all the time.)
At first we said no but the cat kept on hanging around, I knew my son was slipping it food. And my son kept on begging for it. Finally on Aug 28, 2002 we caved in and agreed to let him have it with the understanding it was to be strictly an outdoor cat.
I took the cat to the vet to get the shots and to have it neutered. That was another condition for it to be kept- it needed to be neutered. My boys didn't care for that but they understood the necessity of it after the vet told us that by neutering him, it would help prolong its life because he wouldn't get into as many fights. The vet told us that outdoor cats typically don't live to be very old- 5 to 10 years if we were lucky. She explained it all to my son but he kept on insisting that he was okay with all of that. We went ahead and made him officially ours.
While at the vet they wanted to know its name. My son decided to call him Shadow. The girl typed it in as Shaddow. I explained that wasn't how Shadow was spelled, but my son liked that version of the name. We tried using Shaddow but through the years, it was too confusing always explaining the extra 'd' and eventually his name did become just plain old Shadow.
I never dreamed Shaddow would last 15 years. Shad was one of the best cats ever. He was such a smart cat, and so sweet. He was very street savvy, and avoided cars, except if they were parked and the engine was warm then he like to sit on top of them, or if the birds were dive bombing him and he would stay under them for protection.
We did do things for him to encourage him to stay in the area. Our house has a garage and we would keep the door open about a foot so he could come and go as he pleased. He liked to stay there when the weather was inclement. We also had a thermal bed for him in the garage. And when it would be freezing we would fill milk/water jugs with hot water and place them around his bed and have his bed as close to the house door as possible so he could get some of that heat too.
On the front porch we kept a cat house that he at first would sleep in but then he got to be too big and would just sit on it, that way he could observe what was going on in the neighborhood. Since it was on the porch he was also protected if it was raining. But most of the time he preferred to sleep in our flower beds, hidden among the bushes. We would feed him twice a day on the porch.
We live on a bayou and was prone to having critters visit us. That is until Shad showed up. He'd keep them under control and loved to bring presents home to us, that he had killed.
He was also very good about his food. I never saw a cat like him. Shaddow would eat almost all of it but would always leave a couple of morsels. He would share this with his dog friend named Sugar - a beagle. A friend would always walk Sugar by our house every day and sometimes he would stop and visit. Sugar would like to eat Shaddow's food while we visited and over time it just became a ritual for them to stop and get a few morsels, even if we weren't around. I would be amazed when sometimes I would just feed Shaddow and Sugar would come by to visit. Shaddow would back up and let Sugar get her few morsels, and even Sugar wouldn't eat it all either, then walk off again. Shaddow would resume his eating and eat it until it was all gone. The owner would only let Sugar get a few since Sugar needed to watch her figure. They never hissed or growled at each other. You could tell they had a mutual respect for each other and liked each other. They were the best of friends.
Shaddow was always so good at greeting us as we would pull up in our cars. Or in the morning when we would go out to get the paper he would show up expecting to be feed. We would feed him twice a day. In the morning and in the evening around 6. He would come running when we showed up with his bag of food. But first he would always wanted to be petted for a few minutes. It would never be for long before he'd let you know he'd had enough. He would always purr real loud as he was petted. If you didn't pet him he would like to rub against your leg instead, always purring needing that attention. He like to greet people who came to the house, it was if he had to give his approval before they could go in. He would only let my son and I pick him up everyone else he would fight to get down with.
Last week Shadow fail to show up in the morning for his morning breakfast. During the day his food disappeared and I didn't think much of it. Then again that night he didn't show up. We weren't too worried about it because he'd disappeared before for a couple of days, especially once the weather starts to get nicer. The next morning still no Shadow but the neighbors cat from across the street was hanging around. The food was put out and we chased the cat away. During the day a muscovy
duck was hanging out in our garden (Shaddow and the muscovy duck) . I knew those ducks like to eat his food. I began to suspect the duck was eating Shadow's food and not Shadow. That night we didn't put any food out knowing that Shadow would meow if he was there and was hungry. Shadow didn't show up.
It been over a week and there is still no Shadow. I talked to the vet and was told that Shadow was 15 years old which is a very long time for an outdoor cat to live. I don't think I'll ever see Shadow alive again. I do miss him so much. He was such a great cat.
About a year ago my son, who wanted him, was back in college after having served in the marines. My son wanted me to take some pictures of Shadow so he could show them to his friends. Shadow does not like to have his picture taken. He's constantly on the move wanting to be petted or getting attention. I took a bunch of pictures trying to get some to send to my son. Here are some of the better pictures of him. He was jet black but recently he was getting some white in it and it had definitely gotten lighter in color.
|My Cat Shaddow|
I am so grateful to have taken these pictures to remember him by.
RIP Shadow. You've been a great cat. You brought a lot of joy to our family and you will be missed a lot.