his Life

Endless names

There was something so compelling about Shadow. He was the baby of the family.

He was cute and hapless and helpless which made him all the more adorable. 

We started calling him doe doe. Basically implying that he was not smart but it really was because he was so innocent. He literally was like a baby and was full of wonder. Then came the name Chateau. A different way of saying Shadow. That reflected his elegant side. He was after all dressed in elegant black. A little James Bond in his cat tuxedo. It was hilarious calling him with this high end European name. 

I called him the bearded Master because he had a sprig of white on his chest that looked like a beard. He seemed to have all the answers of the Universe in his eyes so dark and deep. My job was to have him on my chest and stare intensely into those pools to get answers to lifes questions.

I loved calling him the Black Assassin because he obviously wanted to pursue his animal nature out in our yard and go after squirrels, rabbits, birds and whatever.He seemed to have that killer instinct and would quiver at the thought of a conquest and perhaps a meal.

I loved calling him Rinker Dinker. Not sure why. He had this cute long curved tail and elegant arched back and was like some circus performer elegantly prancing about. I kind of thought that would be his performer name.

Monkey was a no brainer. He was like a monkey. He had an expressive face that meowed with teeth showing in a plaintive manner. He was like those monkeys on the Wizard of Oz. Probably was in his past life. I loved how he would turn his head and look around with those wide eyes.He certainly was a monkey in our house and in this circus called life.

Cookie, Tae Kwon and Dosey all are followed by the word do or doe. I loved talking to him and calling him all sorts of names as he nervously squawked and crawled all over us and probed the bed and its surroundings. My interaction with him and his names was such a source of amusement for me.

Stinky. Why not? He was a little stinker. Always seemed to be into mischief. He

loved to interupt anything I had going with Smokey. Always wanted to reach out with the longest arm I have ever seen and pick at some food I was eating. I loved every detail of this little guy. Oh how I love him!

Creeper. Yeh he creeped. I loved making race jokes about him being black.

I just plain liked calling him a lot of different names.

Kyper. Not sure how to even spell it or if it is a word. He liked to Kype food. He was always hungry and wanted to snatch food that I was eating. His little face would fit right into one of the 16oz red water cups and unbeknownst to me he would drink my water when I was not looking. Mind you I have no problem swapping spit with my love of my life baby. Just loved calling him Kyper.

"TUNA"! He loved eating it and I loved calling him tuna. I never ever left the house without making sure he and his brother were ok first. Those stinkers would hide and not come out so I would yell tuna and clink a fork onto a glass to make it sound like I had some for them. I know that is dirty pool but sometimes I did get them real tuna. He had a hard time digesting food so I was not always sure about giving him some.

Baby. Well he was the baby of the family. When he finally started letting me hold him, get on my chest or jumped into my lap I was in heaven. After all, he was that being that we craved to love forever because real kids grow up, change and get argumentative.

Peanut. He was the cutest little peanut in the bunch. I can not begin to describe this little fellow and how sweet he was. The ultimate in being adorable.

A tragedy avoided in 1999

We loved to let our cats outside but always feared them wandering away or worse yet being eaten by a coon or coyote. I had an amazing cat for 18 years named Rosie in the 70's and beyond and being so young at the time I never worried about anything. Ah...the glories of youth! Now in my 40's I was a worry wart and was always making sure I micro managed Shadows every move. The compromise of being outside is that we put our cats on a leash. We felt bad about this because at first the cats did not like this at all. Then they settled into their morning routine. Smokey was the whiner in this case. He would meow to go outside while shadow sat in the window sill and stared hynotically at the birds and the swirling world outdoors. Shadow was so hard to hook up to a leash or ever convince to come to the door that many time he sat inside while Smokey went out for his morning constitution. We would set the timer for 10 minutes to not have a senior moment and forget one or both of them was outside. A phone call or distraction would easily has us wander away. We would watch them both peacefully stare into the world outside and sniff their way to heaven on each seasonal breeze. It was a great pleasure to watch Shadow hide under some bush and fantasize about being a black murderer for hire in the squirrel and bird world. His little lips would quiver as he whimpered and twitched and lusted after his hunter nature.

I felt guilty giving the boys such a short leash to wander around with. They were barely 5 feet from the door and I knew that they wanted to have more wiggle room. We got the idea of adding another long length of leash so they could take in more of the front yard. Finally they could have some fun to run!

One day I wandered off of my window post to do something in the house for a brief moment with both cats outside. I suddenly felt an alarm go off inside me. ESP I guess. I ran outside because I felt like something was wrong. Sure enough Shadow had climbed a tree and had fallen off the branch and swung around 3 times so he had no way to get free and was hanging himself! I was horrified!

I ran to him and he clawed the hell out of me and was understandable frantic. I needed to get him out of the tree but each time he clawed the devil out of me. His wide little eyes yelled panic into the air and I knew I was in for a drubbing.

I grabbed his body and moved him around the branch three times all the whille getting scatched to high heaven. I was ripped bloody. I can not blame Shadow for this. My little doe doe was in trouble and crazy with fear. I got him free and threw him that car. We raced to Carver Lake Vet and Kate Ann and her crew came to the rescue. The immediately put him on oxygen and an IV. He looked so cute like a little sky pilot with his little air mask on. All I could do is go home and pace waiting to hear how he came out of this ordeal. 

A full day passed and we got the good news that Shadow was going to make it and that he had used up one of his 9 lives. Needless to say we stopped using the long leash and had him and Smokey get used to "being on a short leash" after that!


January 1998 The saga begins.....

Just when Harrison was becoming independent and not wanting to be kissed or held anymore as a 4th grader.....Marsha and I were sad our baby had grown. In late 1997 Marsha got a kitty named Smokey from Steve and LInda in Shoreview and we suddenly had "a baby in pajamas"! As the new year came Marsha was at Dickey and :Lori's and in their home of 26 cats was a little scaredy cat named Shadow. Now we had two babies! Shadow as totally PTSD and would literally hide in the shadows after growing up around so many other cats and a day care to boot. He would not be held and was very shy at first. Also cat rivalry set in and I thought Smokey was going to kill shadow at first. Over time they became inseparable friends. The yin and yang spooners that were black and white counterparts.Our saga of love with our kittys had begun. 

Our family would go on trips sometimes two weeks long and we were always afraid to leave our kitties. They soon became the heart and soul of our home. I could not go to bed without locating both of them each night to make sure they were safe. I would never leave the house without saying goodbye and checking their food and water bowls first. I was so in love with those two. Shadow was certainly a personality. He would grumble with a gutteral purr that was so loud that it was startling. It was the longest commentary I had ever heard from an animal. When I talked to him he would always answer back. His answers varied

from moment to moment so we had a real conversation going. He would always make sure to walk in between Smokey and  me if I was petting Smokey to interupt our personal time together and make his presence known. He was a black cat afterall so he had to be some kind of trouble maker. That was his trademark and soon became one of the most fantastic features of this little monkey. When we went away for a trip or a longer period of time we literally cried when we walked out the door. Would we see these guys again? Would they be ok? Our dear friend Casey would come and feed and watch them for years. We can never thank Casey enough for that love and attention. Upon returning from a trip it was always an anxious rush to the door to check on our two boys to see if they were ok; They usually would be sitting aloofly somewhere and be quite distant to us when we got back. Hey they were pissed. Shadow would be standoffish for quite awhile. He missed us as terribly as we missed him and he was hurt to say the least.

Watching Shadow grow and become his own person was something else. I have never seen a cat with such personality! In the morning he would literally pound on the door of the bedroom and grumble really loud to get in and start our day with delerious affection. It literally took years but eventually thru much TLC and 

affirmation his personality warmed up to the point where he was the out going and affectionate one of the two cats. I will never remember my astonishment when he climbed on my chest, sat down and started his rumbling purr that soothed the ache in my needy chakras! Oh how I lived for him to do that! It was the best love a person could ever find on this planet. Instead of hiding and being hard to find in the house he became the ambassador and greeter. His vocabulary of purrs, vowels and yowels as amazing. Again I have never seen a cat quite like shadow.

Possibly due to his PTSD this little bugger always had a racing heart. He seemed to be anxious all the time his whole life. His little heart was a strong heart. You could feel it beat furiously when he was chest to chest with you.

He was always skinny. His hyper persona had him on high gear and I am sure that burned off any calories he could obtain. You could feel his whole skeleton when petting him. His eyes were always dialated. I do not think I ever saw the color of his iris. He was one hyper cat. I loved all these little and unique features about him. I could relate to him and told him so constantly. I too had a crazy upbringing and struggled with anxiety. I was always on the go and felt the adreniline was always pumping way too much thru my veins as well.