Hi everyone! Thanks for the 'welcome backs'! I really have missed this place and all the kitty shenanigans.
As for Shelly...I guess I have to talk about it sometime...
Well after a year and a half of trying to make it work, we decided to take her back to the shelter (the story ends well, I assure you!). She really wanted to be a one animal household type of cat...she was skittish, a loner, and couldn't find her place among the other cats. We tried everything from Jackson Galaxy's Spirit Essences to, towards the end, a behaviorist. She just never fit in well with Samantha (Sammy is too dominant), and even Alice who was, for the most part, a good friend to her.
Alice and Shelly got into a nasty fight over a scratcher of all things and we knew something had to be done. If we could have separated her, we would have, but a one bedroom apartment only gives you so much room. It broke my heart to have to bring her back to the shelter, and shortly before I did, I left the forums. I just didn't feel like I could face anyone. I was ashamed at myself and I felt like I was letting Shelly down...I've always lived by my personal mantra of 'you adopt for life...you don't turn your back on family'. I was devastated leaving her there, and I broke down crying halfway into doing the paperwork. For a few days I fell into a pretty deep depression.
Apparently the shelter staff picked up on my feelings though, and a few days after leaving her at the shelter, I got a phone call saying that my beautiful Shelly had been adopted by a retired couple with no other pets. She was exactly what this couple was looking for, and they told the shelter staff that they were so excited to give this stunning girl a forever home and spoil her rotten. I started crying again, because I knew she was going to finally be happy. She'd have laps to lay on, her people with her all day all the time, and she'd finally be treated like the princess she was meant to be.
I didn't return to the forums because telling this story was just too hard. I couldn't face the questions I'd get once I removed Shelly from my signature or couldn't post any new photos or stories about her. But I made the decision to return, and I'm glad I did. And I'm glad I could finally get this story out into the open, and stop internalizing.
So with all that said, thanks so much to all of you. I'm really happy I could share this happy/sad time in my life with you all.