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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.

A beautiful black long hair cat posing nicely for the camera in a standard cat sitting position on a red sofa.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.

A black long hair cat sniffing some cardboard boxes in a somewhat bare standard NYC apartment, with a wood floor. Some cat food and water can be seen in plastic containers in the background.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.

A black long hair cat nestled comfortably in the elbow of a dorky white man's arm.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.

A collage of three pictures of a black long hair cat reaching out to place his paw on a dorky white man's face.Demonstrating face-paw, Jun 2014

He really gave a lot of lessons about personal space, continuing affection, and paws on faces.

A black long hair cat with an indifferent expression rests on a woman's upper chest while she's laying down. The cat is reaching out to place his paw on her face.

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.

A black long hair cat stands on one wall shelf while twisting around to reach the next shelf up, and appears about ready to grab a medium sized bag of dry cat food off the shelf.A blur of a black long hair strolling amidst the wreckage of slices of bread he left on the floor.

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.

A beautiful, friendly pitbull-mix rescue dog, and a doll-faced Maine coon cat, look helplessly into a kitchen through a child-proof gate, while a black long-hair cat sits on a nearby stool looking at the top of the gate, as if plotting his entrance for a heist.Shadow visibly figuring out his route over the gate blocking the kitchen.

He taught me about hot pads and summer lion cuts.

A silly black long-haired cat stretched out on a heating pad, his front legs and head laying off the pad onto the wooden floor.Regulating body temperature, Feb 2016

A handsome black long-haired cat with body hair trimmed very close, curled up on sombody's lap.Hot summer, Jun 2016

He taught me about blepping, and contented drooling.

A goofy black long-haired cat loafing on my chest, looking extremely content, with the tip of its tongue sticking out, and a bubble of drool.Shadow insisting his love on me, first day in new apartment, Oct 2015

A handsome black long-haired cat with a magificent ruff, content, next to a human friend, both with tongues sticking out.

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.

A beautiful black long-haired cat (but with body fur shorn short) sitting next to a beautiful Maine coon cat, both on a man's belly.

He was always kind and congenial with Sara, as Kat & I joined our households.

A handsome black long-haired cat with a magificent ruff loafs elegantly on a red sofa next to a sleeping white pitbull mix dog.

And after we moved to a house, he enjoyed exploring our yard on occasion.

A beautiful black long-haired cat, in a harness, on a leash, prowling across some bare soil with a few garden plants.

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.

An older, beautiful black long-haired cat loafs on a hot pad on a basement floor, while a young tuxedo cat, curled up next to him, leans against him.

And when another stray, Babka, adopted us later, he was just as welcoming, sharing his love for infrared heat & hot pads.

Three cats lay side-by-side on a heating pad, on a basement floor. First an older black long-haired cat, then in the middle a young brown-ish swirly tabby cat, and on the other side of her, a young tuxedo cat.

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.