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Shadow was a feral tuxie who lived in our complex. We had seen him around for a few years, but he was truly feral. Wouldn't let us near him, though I still tried to get him to trust me. I used to see him at night, spraying the garage doors, marking our mini-alley as his territory, making sure other cats knew that this was his turf. A week before my sons went on winter break (Dec. 23-Jan. 9), my 13-year old son told me that Shadow had let him pet him. I was amazed, because he NEVER let anyone within 5 feet of him, let alone touch him. The next day, I had to go my sons' school. As I was walking back, I saw Shadow. I slowed my pace and approached him slowly. He saw me, meowed a very raspy meow and let me pet him. I was in shock! Here, this very feral cat was letting me pet him! I sat there petting him for awhile, then I couldn't take it. I told Shadow that I was going to my house and I was going to get him something to eat. He followed me back to the house, and waited outside while I got him a can of my cats wet food. After I had it on a dish, I brought it to our patio and set him up. He ate like there was no tomorrow. My daughter came outside to see what I was doing, and Shadow rubbed himself all over my and my daughter's legs, meowing his raspy meow. I noticed that he had flecks of white fur mixed in with his black fur, so I knew he was an old guy. My daughter noticed that his breathing was very labored and that he had discharge, though not much, coming from his nose. I had to go back inside, but Shadow stayed on our patio, then moved to the top of our fence. He hung out there for awhile, then moved on.

The next day, I had an appointment. When I left the house, Shadow was waiting for me. I had enough time, so I went back inside and got him some more food. I left and when I came back, Shadow was on our fence, watching the world go by. Meanwhile, my 13-year old son had seen Shadow on his way to school and was able to pet him again. My daughter and I were concerned/worried about what we figured to be an URI in Shadow. We knew that bringing him in wasn't an option (her dad has stated that "4 cats is ENOUGH!"), and that, in good conscience, we couldn't leave him outside. We talked about it--my daughter, my son, and I--and my daughter and I knew that we'd have to call the shelter. My son was vehemently against it. He was still angry over what happened to Boo (see I told him that Shadow was very sick, and very old. Having the shelter pick him up would be the best thing for him. He was still angry, but he understood. The day I called the shelter, December 21, was hard. I again had to go to my sons' school. When I opened the door to leave, Shadow was on our fence right by the door, so when I opened it, he jumped down and nearly gave me a heart attack, lol. I told him that I had to go run a quick errand but I'd be back soon. He followed me to the gate of our complex. I took care of what I needed to do and came back home. Shadow was waiting for me by the gate. He followed me home. I went inside, fixed his breakfast, brought it out to him and went back in to call the shelter. They told me they'd be out in about 15-20 minutes. I went back outside and sat with Shadow. He sat next to me and, of course, I was petting him. His fur was beginning to get softer. And as if to thank me, he rolled on his back and showed me his tummy, asking for tummy rubbins. I started to cry. This cat trusted me and here I am, waiting for the shelter to come pick him up where he was most certainly going to be euthanized. I felt like isht. The ACO finally got there and we put him in the cage. I started to cry again. I asked her how old she thought he was, and after a quick look over, she figured that he was about 12 years old.

So Shadow, I hope you're not mad at me. I know, if I had been able to keep you, you would have had a wonderful life. I hope that in the 2-3 days that you and I had, that you knew I had fallen in love with you. If you can, please come visit Christopher in his dreams. He wanted to say goodbye, but he didn't see you before school the day I called the shelter. He misses you just as much as I do. Let him know that you're okay. And tell Smokey that I still miss him and that I love him. Rest in peace, Shadow. I'll always miss you.
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