Written by Lauren Stanger of California
I had always wanted a cat, especially a black one, but could never adopt one because of my Mom’s allergies. After years of pleading and giving up on the notion I ended up in a Petsmart one day and accidentally happened across Shadow. I had gone with my ex-fiance to look around the pet store and I had been saying how much I wanted a black cat (again) and what I would name him (specifically a him).
Then lo and behold, it was love at first sight. His name written clearly on the adoption cage in bold print said SHADOW. I squealed with delight and cooed over how cute he was. Once they brought him out from behind the glass for me to hold I knew I wasn’t leaving without him that day. He seemed a bit lethargic at first, but lovable and a little confused too. The people at Petsmart had told me that he had just arrived the day before, who knows how long he had been in the shelter before that. His previous owners had relinquished rights because he didn’t play well with other animals. I knew instantly this would mean we would get along perfectly seeing as how I have always had severe social anxiety and understood where he was coming from.
I pleaded with my ex that we had to get him right then and there. I may of even have shed a few tears knowing he would be gone by Friday. Before he knew it the papers were being signed and they were giving me the paperwork and some food and we purchased toys and a litter box. I left the store as happy as a bumble bee in March. I now had a little cat black of my own.
Shadow wasn’t very old when I adopted him, he was only 6 to 7 months old. I remember going by my parents house and introducing him. I opened the carrier box and lifted him out. My mom raised her eyebrows and said “A black cat?” The look on their faces was apprehensive but they knew one day I would adopt one. Especially with the name of Shadow and his personality. It was meant to be for us. We left after awhile and took him back to our place and let him roam around. He looked scared and unsure of his new surroundings. I gave him foot and water and set up the litter box for him. The first night he slept with me on my chest near my neck and we fell asleep together. From that moment on we were bound to be soul mates and each other’s protectors.
Months went by and he blossomed into a confident young cat. It didn’t take him long to adapt to his new settings. He got everything a cat could want and more. I bought him so many toys and furniture that the UPS guy was delivering on almost a daily basis. His tag read “Let’s Get Frisky!” with all of my personal info in case he ever got out and couldn’t find his way home.
Shadow has always remained an indoor cat even to this day. As time went on he grew longer and a bit chunkier. My ex thought he was slow in the beginning because of how he’d act and I’d scold him for saying such a thing as if it was bad about my fur baby.
My ex and I started fighting more and more. He got more and more verbally abusive and controlling as time went on, we had been together since 2008 and it was 2010 when I had adopted Shadow. One day he went too far and I finally snapped and wasn’t going to take anymore from him. I went over to our place while he was at work and packed up all of my belongings within 3-4 hours. I threw everything into two cars thanks to my family members who helped me pack. Then came the horrifying news I couldn’t bring Shadow to my parents small apartment home because of my Mom’s allergies. I cried and cried and held him close and said my goodbye. I cried all the way home, beyond devastated and heartbroken. I could never forgive myself for abandoning him although my Mom assured me it was OK because my ex would take care of him because he loved Shadow just as much as me (but I knew it was not as much).
A Second Chance, For Both of Us
We ended up getting back together later and I got to be with Shadow again. The only good thing that came out of that relationship rekindling was getting my baby back. Months flew by and we had gotten engaged. He started going out a lot and doing bad things. I had no idea how much he was cheating on me and whatever else he was doing behind my back. He lied constantly. We eventually rented a very nice house with my parents and I was happy Shadow had more room. He adapted fast and loved it. But my mental health had started to wane; I stopped taking my medication for depression and anxiety, convinced by my ex that it made my emotions worse and I could do it on my own. It had made me gain a lot of weight too as a big contributing factor. Around that time my Grandpa lost the battle to cancer. I dropped out of college that semester in March in the Spring of 2011.
April had come fast and during the end of March I had been dealing with thoughts of suicide. Shadow kept me abreast of everything and I ended up shutting everyone out. I tried to talk to my ex fiance. He blamed all of our problems on us, making me cry over every little thing I did or didn’t do wrong. He didn’t spend much time with Shadow, which made me resent him more and more. I spent all of my time with Shadow even more so especially since I had dropped out of college that semester. I’d cry to him and he’d listen. Every time I was upset he’d come console me no matter how hard I had shut everyone else out he always had a way to get in and I needed that. I almost ended it last year due to unhappiness. The thing that had stopped me when I was in my bathroom sitting on the top of the toilet seat with tons of medication bottles surrounding me was the one who I hadn’t shut out: Shadow. I thought to myself if I am gone who is going to take care of him? What is he going to do when he finds me dead? I can’t do this to him.
I didn’t do it and I am forever grateful and thankful I had enough common sense not to. Shadow had saved me just as I had rescued him. My ex and I ended up breaking up months later due to his physical and emotional abuse towards me, I kicked him out and we fought over who was going to keep Shadow. With my parents back in, I kept Shadow. Shadow has been my best confidant and my number one fan through everything we have endured together. I’ll love him as long as I live and he’s saved me me more than once from myself. This was supposed to be a story of how I rescued him but he rescued me in the end.
Story brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase.