Goodbye Sweet Shel

Yesterday we put Shel to sleep. I’ve been struggling with this since last July when she appeared to be on her last leg. We decided to postpone taking this action at that time, waiting until our return from vacation.

When we returned from our vacation in September I was not looking forward to picking her up from the vets where we boarded all three. The staff at the clinic spoke highly of Puddin and Sidd, but didn’t say a word about Shel. Was she still alive? I wasn’t sure until they brought all three cats out to us.

When we returned home, we couldn’t believe Shel. We thought an alien had taken over her body. She was running around the house, playing, and even sitting with us at night – old behavior we hadn’t seen in a long time. Prior to vacation she spent her days sitting near the refrigerator in the kitchen waiting for me to refill the water bowl that she continued to drink.

Anyway, I was excited to think she’s recovered. It was just a blip in her life and she was good to go for many more years. Mind you, I knew about her kidney problems and how in July her scores were worse than the year before.

Well, it all started up again this week. She started peeing everywhere on the carpet (not much left since we’ve taken most of it up. The bedrooms are still carpeted, but off limits to her). It was evident that she wasn’t feeling good. But how do I let her go? I’ve never had to do this. All of the kitties who have owned me, died at home. I’ve never had to play god.

But it was time and so yesterday was the day we said goodbye to Shel.

This is my last picture of her taken shortly before we made our trek to the vet. Her face had such a pained expression and when I tried to pick her up she’d yell.


Shel came to me almost 14 years ago. My friend Deeg found her and brought her to me in July of that year. She was just a tiny thing.

I named her Shel because she would come into my bathroom while I was sitting on the john and jump at the wallpaper. The wallpaper had shells on it. So that became her name. She never did get out of the habit of visiting me in the bathroom.

Back then I owned my own writing and graphic design business that I ran out of my front bedroom. So many days I’d be in there working on the computer and Shel would bring me a toy to toss. I’d throw it and she’d fetch it. She never wanted that game to end. I finally would tell her enough is enough and that there was work to do. So she’d settle in one of the client chairs near me and sleep there – wanting to be near me but not on top of me. I love this picture of her.

Shel in July 1997
Shel in my office in July 1997

Christmas 2000 I walked into the living room and there she was, on the top of the entertainment unit in the middle of the Nativity scene. The next year, a similar picture with her looking at the camera graced my Christmas cards.

Shel laying in the Nativity scene
Shel in the Nativity scene

She was one of those cats that was always knocking over things or hanging in the blinds. She’d make me laugh when she’d scamper across the yard chasing after leaves. She also loved the cold, even enjoyed walking in the snow. She was a mostly an inside cat, but also went outside. When we moved here in 2007 I no longer let her or Sidd outside – too dangerous since neither have front claws.

For the past two years – when this whole thing started – she just looks like she’s in pain.

She hardly sleeps, rarely plays and usually didn’t want to be around anyone. I set her new bed in the dining room away from the others so she could be alone.

Shel on the door mat
Shel on the door rug

I had to put up this rug away three days ago. She had been peeing on it.

But I’d like to remember her as the sweet girl that she was before her health started to fail. I had posted this picture in December, but wanted to put it up again. Sidd took to her almost immediately back then. He acted like the older brother keeping her safe from other cats in the neighborhood. They also loved to play together. Or really Shel loved to pester him. They’ve been so close through the years. He was even cleaning on her yesterday morning.

Shel and Sidd
Shel and Sidd

It was so hard letting her go, but I was only keeping her around for me. She’s now in peace, in no pain, and hopefully again chasing after leaves.