Shadow, Shadman, Mr. Shad. Goodbye.
Today we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Shadow (????-2022). I don't know where he came from, and I don't know where he's going, but he was with me for roughly ten joyous years, and was an A+ #1 pal, best friend, buddy, comfort, teacher, and legendary cat.
Shadow, doing a model pose, Nov 2016
We didn't know how old he was, but in the last year or so his health had slowly declined. Over the past couple months, he seemed to be struggling to finish meals, and a visit to the vet suggested possible hyperthyroid issues, and signs of kidney failure. The vet advised waiting a month, watching him, and getting his blood checked again.
However, in that time his health deteriorated more, and the last week he slowly stopped accepting any food (even Popeye's chicken!), had more trouble walking around, and difficulty using the litterbox. So, Friday evening we found ourselves making the difficult decision to help him go peacefully before his suffering grew worse.
We were grateful to be able to say goodbye to him in our home, with assistance and care, and to hold him and love him in his final moments. We have a nice spot picked out for him in the garden. You can read on for more about him and too many pictures, if you wish.
Shadow was curious & friendly right from the day I met him. He and another cat, Casio, were being cared for by a person who told me their owner had left the city already, unable to take them with. So I never met their original owner, and the only real story I got was that Shadow had been taken in off the street, where he had at some point, the story goes, fought off a raccoon.
Shadow, the first day I met him, Nov 2012
He has always been the first to investigate and greet visitors.
He has also always been a sweet lover, and having not owned cats before Shadow & Casio in my adult life, Shadow was a great teacher.
Arm snuggling, Jan 2016
He taught me a cat can love to curl up in your armpit and snuggle.
He taught me to keep petting him or else he'd put his paw on my face.
Demonstrating face-paw, Jun 2014
He really gave a lot of lessons about personal space, continuing affection, and paws on faces.
He taught me that he could climb shelves to get at cat food — or, famously, a bag of bread off the top shelf, slices of which were then strewn on the floor with nibbles taken out.
He taught me about knocking things over to wake me up for meals, and he taught me, eventually, that ignoring him would get him to stop … eventually!
He was often the first or only to figure out an escape or a way into where he wanted to be.
Shadow visibly figuring out his route over the gate blocking the kitchen.
He taught me about hot pads and summer lion cuts.
Regulating body temperature, Feb 2016
Hot summer, Jun 2016
He taught me about blepping, and contented drooling.
Shadow insisting his love on me, first day in new apartment, Oct 2015
He taught me he liked vanilla ice cream, and ham, and Popeye's chicken.
He was always a good "brother" to Casio, the other cat I adopted him with.
He was always kind and congenial with Sara, as Kat & I joined our households.
And after we moved to a house, he enjoyed exploring our yard on occasion.
When little stray Malcolm adopted us from our backyard, Shadow was an excellent "uncle," play-fighting with Malcolm, snuggling with him, showing him the ropes.
And when another stray, Babka, adopted us later, he was just as welcoming, sharing his love for infrared heat & hot pads.
He taught me the joy of trying to love him well.
He was just always good and will be missed very much.
And no grass — including lemongrass — was safe around him.