|Other people have written or said these words before.I know that time will help heal the wound, but there is a sense of helplessness, anger and remorse when a pet dies, tempered only by the warm and loving memories that will stay with you forever.Tonight, on June 8, 1999, our sweet cat Shadow passed away. The cause was complications from feline leukemia. My wife, Donna, and I adopted Shadow from a shelter in Yonkers, New York, on Dec. 31, 1994. She was about three months old. We immediately took her to a veterinary clinic for a check up and vaccinations. All tests were good and she was a healthy kitten.Then in March 1996, she vomited for the first time and we took her to the veterinary clinic again. It was then that she first tested positive for feline leukemia. After subsequent tests were positive, some veterinarians suggested we put her down. We refused, and instead, she lived for three wonderful years, bringing my wife and I more joy than I ever imagined a pet could bring.She only had what we would call two major "bouts" with the illness following the initial positive test -- once, in September 1997, and again in May 1999. While she showed some signs of getting better, she never recovered from the latest bout despite our efforts with traditional veterinary medicine and the beginning of a homeopathic program we will not be able to continue.What I want to say to other cat owners is this: do not give up hope if your cat tests positive for FeLV. We tried a variety of treatments. They may not have cured Shadow, but the treatments may have helped her live a quality life longer. As it is, Donna and I cherish the time we had with Shadow. There are so many things I will miss and so many things I will treasure forever.Shadow always had a way of making me feel better, especially with her "flop." She would just let her whole body flop on its side and twist her head to look at you upside-down. I would give her full body pets and she would purr with love in her eyes. She would chase the feather on the stick, running figure 8's over and over until she flopped and wanted to be petted.We once left a ladder in our living room after replacing a bulb in a ceiling light. Within minutes, Shadow had climbed to the top of the ladder, proclaiming herself as queen of the mountain. The ladder became part of our bedroom furniture, a perch for Shadow to survey the back yard. I would put catnip mice on the top rung. She would sit on the next rung and reach up with an overhead hook to grab the mice with her paw or knock them to the floor for me to pick them up again.Occasionally she would get in the habit of following me into the bathroom and return my "good morning" with a snappy meow.When we couldn't find her in the house, we would eventually discover her new "hiding" place -- in a dresser drawer, inside an empty cardboard box or inside my closet where she would use one of my flip flops as a scratch pad.She loved catnip mice and, when she was young, she would fetch them and bring them back to us on our bed. She would entertain us with her "cat crazies," laying on her back and pulling herself around underneath a wood chair, then attacking a catnip mouse, a ball or suddenly running upstairs.She and her step-sister, Lucky, were best pals. (Lucky always tested negative for feline leukemia. While it was a risk, the two cats had been together since Lucky was six months old and we felt it would have been cruel to keep them apart.) We will always remember the great kitty "wrestling" matches that always brought us more than joy than you might imagine because those were times we knew Shadow's quality of life was the best. And Shadow, despite being at least two pounds lighter, would get in her licks using what we called the "butt maneuver." Lucky joined Shadow at the Bridge in 2010. Lucky was our first cat and she changed our lives. She was with us for 16 years. Now we like to think the two are together again, wrestling and having fun.|
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