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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know that it must have been so hard to do. I have never had to put an animal of mine down either. Shel is no longer in pain and I’m sure chasing leaves once again. You did the right thing.
I just love the picture of Shel as a baby on the chair. They are so cute at that age with big ears and feet!
My heartfelt sympathy. You are so brave!
Love the picture of Shel in the nativity scene.
Lynda, what a beautiful article you wrote in Memory of Shel. I love the pictures. The one infront of the Navitity scene is so adorable. Such great memories you have of her. I know you miss her so. Thanks for sharing her life story. It was wonderful. Hugs to you. Donna
You have my deepest sympathies…I know that many will not understand the lost of a pet, for they are not only a pet, they are family…and it is hard to lose family…
I am so sorry for your loss. That ‘decision’ is one of the hardest that we have to make. I had to let my dog go in February after almost 14 years, and still miss him terribly. May your memories of Shel keep you smiling. Peace to you-
Sorry-I now it is hard to do but so much more humane than having them suffer. Our border collie is aging out and dread the day something happens to her! Our outside cat disappeared three weeks ago-I miss her coming to the door letting me know it was time to eat.
Have been in your shoes several times over the years, as we have always had cats or dogs in out life. It’s probably the hardest thing we have to do as pet-‘owners’
I have often thought how cruel it is that our beloved friends don’t outlive us instead of the other way around.
We have two dogs now. A golden retriever mix and an Australian Shepherd. We adopted our golden when she was 6 yo. She’s 10 now and obviously has some aches and pains and the vet says her adrenal glands aren’t working too well causing a Cushing’s like syndrome. The Aussie is 5 and will be with us for quite a few more yrs, hopefully.
So sorry about your kitty, Lynda. 14 years is a long time.
So sorry for your loss. I’ve had to decide about when doggies needed to go to doggy heaven. It’s so hard and so painful. However, you are right. Shel is no longer in pain. And she might be teasing my Annie and Buddy dogs. I’ll be thinking about you. You are special for taking her in and giving her so much love.
Oh, Lynda, this just breaks my heart. I am so sorry for your loss but really appreciate you writing about the Life of Shel. Beautiful picturse, also. Love, BS
I’m so sorry Lynda! I can’t imagine letting any of my pets go but like Shel did they show you when it’s time and you did the right thing to take her out of her pain.
You have beautiful memories of her!
We had a cat when I was growing up and he was such a precious character as well. He got diabetes at around Shel’s age and for months my mom had to give him insulin shots every day. Even the neighbours jumped in to help with the vet costs, because he was loved by everyone. I was away for an exchange year during all of that but I knew when they called me one day it would be to tell me they’d had to put him down. I still regret not having been home that time.
Again, I’m so sorry but I hope your memories of Shel and the knowledge that you did the right thing by her will ease that sadness a little!
Thank you for your sweet words. I appreciate you all. Sidd and Puddin seem a bit lost without Shel around. So far it seems like it’s hit Puddin harder than Sidd and he’s known Shel all of her life. I’m glad they have each other now. Thank you again. It has meant so much to me to hear from all of your and your kind words.
aw, what a sweet post.
Lyndah, I am so sorry to read this. I’m crying for Shel, but I know you did the right thing and she wanted to leave to wait for you on the other side of the rainbow bridge.
I had to make the same decision for many furry friends, most of them rats and one of them my first cat, my beloved Penny. I still can’t say her name without crying, but it is the one, big thing we can and have to do for them when it is time. If they could, they would ask us to do it for them.
I am not religious, but I firmly believe that all our rainbow cats (and not only them) are not really gone. After Penny left us, we got Bob (a rescue cat like all of ours), and he turns out to be a lot like Penny used to be, totally unlike the other three.
You gave Shel a life full of love and friendship, and She had a damn good time on earth. I hope you will be able to remember her with a big, fat smile on your face.
Rest in peace, Shel, you were loved.
I was not a follower of your blog when Shel died. I cannot imagine your grief then, or how much worse it is now that Sidd is gone, too.