Likes: Catching mice, being outside, lapping faces
Pet-Peeves: Being kept inside when it rains
Favorite Toy: Mice - the live ones!
Favorite Nap Spot: Dad's lap on his newpaper, Dad's lap when it is anywhere
Favorite Food: Cheep dry catfood, mice, catnip
Skills: sits on our heads as we walk around
indoors and outdoors
Arrival Story: Sheila came to us when she was about 4 months old. A friend had called to say that he had found some kittens in a cow pasture. He knew we had 2 little girls (ages 2 Â½ and 1 at that time) and thought they would like seeing the kittens. My husband took our daughters to see the kittens with instructions from me â€˜Not to bring one home!â€™. We already had 2 dogs and a cat which I thought was more than enough animals. Well hubby came home with Sheila! I was livid, but out voted so she stayed. My husband picked her because when he reached into the cage to pet the kittens, she cuffed at him! He figured she would be a good mouser. He was right.
I didnâ€™t have much to do with Sheila the first few years, as she was an outside cat and I was busy raising my kids and running a household. Then we had a mouse in the house that we simply could not catch. It kept springing the traps. Since I had seen Sheila catch mice outside, I suggested that we bring her inside for a bit to see if she could catch this elusive mouse. So after the girls went off to school that day, and hubby went to work, I then set up a litter pan and put Sheila in the house before I went to work. She gave me a funny look, almost like, â€œWhat am I doing in here?â€, as I shut the door.
I got home from work before everyone else that day and when I opened the door, Sheila went flying out! I stepped into my dinning room and there lying on the floor under my dinning room table was this HUGE DEAD RAT! It was longer from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail than Sheila was! She had done her job and done it well! After that day Sheila was allowed into our home whenever she wanted.
Sheila was with us for 20 years. She lived with us longer than our two daughters did! During the last 7 or 8 years of her life, I got rather close to her. My daughters were growing into young women and needed me less; Sheila was growing older, and needing me more. Amazingly, Sheila was a very healthy cat until her last year, thatâ€™s when her kidneys started to fail. I gave her all the tender loving care she needed to keep her comfortable during her last year with us. When she passed, it was like losing a family member. I didnâ€™t know what a cat lover I was until Sheila came into my life, and thanks to her, I am now passing my special â€˜kitty loveâ€™ onto other cats.
Bio: I lived with my family for 20 years. I really enjoyed being outside most of the time, but as the years went by, I found the warmth of their laps more enjoyable. I loved playing with my girls. But I really could have done without some of the dresses they would put on me! I must admit, (but never to them) that I enjoyed it when they would put me in their doll carriage and give me rides. My oldest girl used to put me on her shoulders and head, then walk around with me there. That was not my idea of great fun, but she liked doing it, so I humored her. My youngest girl would spend a lot of time petting me; now thatâ€™s what I call enjoyable! They were good girls and I did my best to raise them well. I missed them when they moved out, but enjoyed it when they would come back to visit. Mom and Dad gave me a lot more attention once my girls moved out. So that part was good.
For about 13 years I had a Dog to play with. I think I heard Mom and Dad say something about her being a â€˜husky/shepherdâ€™ mix, whatever that is. I didnâ€™t think much of her at first. It took me a while, but I finally showed her who was boss and that made things tolerable. Once she got grown up, I did find her enjoyable to sleep and play with. Sometimes when my back had a kink in it, I would let her massage it with her mouth. She thought she was getting one over on me by â€˜chewingâ€™ on me, but little did she know she was giving me a great back massage! Boy did I miss her when she went away one day and never returned.
After that I had everyone to myself for a while. That was really nice! Then this black kitten showed up. What a pain that cat was! I heard them call her â€˜Blackieâ€™ but to me she was just â€˜Nuisanceâ€™! I never liked her and told her so often. Then after about a year, she disappeared. Good riddance as far as I was concerned. I couldnâ€™t wait to sit in her favorite spot as soon as she was gone!
After that, Mom and Dad got the message and allowed me to rule the household. No more animals for me to boss around. I liked it that way!
As the years went by and only Mom, Dad and I were left in the home. I found being inside more enjoyable than being outside. I enjoyed sleeping a lot but would grab Mom or Dadâ€™s lap to sleep in as soon as it would become available. I liked it best if they had a newspaper from me to lay on in it. Nothing better than a warm lap covered with a newspaper; now that is heaven in my book!
It was in my 20th year that I began to get very thirsty and went pee a lot. Mom took me to the vet, which I didnâ€™t mind, as I liked getting attention from anyone. I heard the vet tell Mom my kidneys were failing and Mom started to cry. The vet said at my old age (like she should talk, I was younger than her!) there wasnâ€™t much they could do. Mom left me there overnight, which I didnâ€™t really like. Lots of other animals there and they made a lot of noise; interrupted my beauty sleep! The vet stuck something in my leg that really bothered me as it has something connected to it. I couldnâ€™t move my paw the way I wanted, but I must admit after having it attached for a while I did feel better. Mom came by the next day to pick me up and for some reason I had more energy than I had before going there. I was really glad to see her, but upset that she had left me there. I told her all about it on our trip home!
Once back home Mom started giving me this yummy soft food! Boy did that taste good! It was a lot better than that dry food they used to give me. For a while I felt like my old self again. I went outside, watched the birds and guarded my favorite mouse hole. My girls even came by to see me a few times. Funny thing though, they cried when they held me. I just nuzzled up against them and kissed them a lot trying to get them to stop crying; silly girls.
Then I started getting really tired again and very thirsty. The fancy soft food didnâ€™t taste as good to me anymore and I spent more time in my litter box than I liked. I must admit, I really wasnâ€™t feeling too good anymore. I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. Mom would cry a lot now when she would put me in her lap. She would have to pick me up as I did not have the energy to jump up in it anymore. Dad seemed sad too when he held me. The pain was getting worse and Mom even tried spoon feeding me in an attempt to get me to eat. Sometimes I would eat a few bites humor her, but eventually I didnâ€™t even want to do that. Then one morning Mom held me for a log time, showing me how much she loved me and I showed her how much I loved her. I even mustard up the energy to kiss her on the nose which I knew she loved. I was trying to tell her how much I just wanted to go to sleep.
Later that morning I was suddenly outside. I didnâ€™t remember going outside, but suddenly I was there and it was the most beautiful, sunny day. The birds were chirping and the bees were humming! Suddenly I realized I felt great! Better than I had in years! I saw this Rainbow Bridge and there on the other side was my Dog friend! I ran across the bridge and lay down so she could give me a back massage just like she used to do! It felt great! This place is great! I miss Mom, Dad and my girls, but Dog tells me they will come here to join us, so I donâ€™t mind waiting. Iâ€™ve always done that very well.
Sheila, how can I ever thank you for teaching me how to be a good cat owner? You came into my life when I was overly busy running a home and raising two young daughters. My husband Steve, daughters Crystal and Heidi were only supposed to go look at Steve’s friend’s kittens, not bring one home! But bring you home they did, Steve said because you were so feisty! I tried to get him to take you back, because I didn’t think we could afford another mouth to feed, but Steve and the girls would not budge and with us you stayed.
You and I got off to a rocky start when you decided to be very vocal when I was trying to sleep. So an outside cat you became, which I must say, you enjoyed thoroughly. The outside was your domain and you ruled it with an iron paw. No other animal was allowed in the yard or they would have to suffer your wrath! For a tiny cat, you could put the fear of God into any and all animals who ventured into ‘your’ yard. The only animals you allowed in were our other family pets. The various dogs and other cats we had through the years, you quickly showed them you were the boss and assigned them their proper places in the family, which was always of lower stature than you. You were very good though, you never harmed any of our other pets, you may have often ignored them, but never harmed them. Only non-family member animals did you ever attempt to harm and run off.
Your being banned to the outside lasted a few years but then your services ended up being needed inside. Our home had a mouse that we just simply could not catch in a trap. I was at my wits end trying to catch it! The traps that I set nightly would be sprung and empty in the morning. So one morning before I went off to work, I set up a litter box, opened up all my cupboard doors and put you inside. You did not seem to appreciate that, but I was hoping you’d catch the mouse that had been evading my traps. So I shoved you into the house and shut the door behind me. When I opened the door upon returning home later that day, you went rushing out to enjoy your great outdoors. Stepping inside I saw that you had indeed done your job and done it well for there laying dead under our dinning room table was a huge rat! From nose to tail tip, it was longer than you! After that you were allowed to go in and out of our home at your leisure. A privilege you availed yourself of so frequently that we were convinced you thought we put on this earth only to open the door for you.
Once you became an indoor, outdoor cat, I found out that you did not like litter boxes and chose to only use the outside for a bathroom. No matter what the weather, outside you would go when mother nature called. Sometimes, in the mist of a sever snow storm, you would only go out for a very few short minutes, but out you would go and back in you would come after doing your ‘duty’. Only during your last years with us, between the ages of 19 and 20, did you lower yourself to use a litter pan. I think you only did that because your kidneys were failing, and had to go often. Never once did you mess on the floor, even during your last days with us. To mess on the floor would have been undignified!
I forget how old you were when you scared the daylights out of us. You had been left outside while we went somewhere and upon our return we saw you stretched out in the middle of the road in front of our home! We all gasped and started crying thinking we had lost you. Steve went and got a shovel to scrape you up off of the pavement, but when he got up near you, you moved! We gently loaded you into our car and we sped off to the Vet. There we were told you had no broken bones, but had taken a hit to the head and had a concussion which had made you temporarily blind! The Vet assured us the blindness was temporary, but that we needed to keep you inside until your sight returned. You had been a very lucky kitty! So inside we kept you, but before long your sight returned and you were allowed to go back outside. Steve often said that little accident you had smartened you up so that you were very careful of the cars after that. I guess he was right for you lived with us for 20 years going outside whenever you wanted, and never go hit by another car! Smart kitty!
As independent and feisty as you were, gentleness was also an endearing trait you possessed. You grew up with our daughters and never, no matter what they did to you, did you ever bite or scratch them. They would dress you up in doll clothes, and put you in their doll carriage, and you would only sit there and let them do it. You would go along with it until they tired of playing with you, then you would casually stroll off as if to say you had done your job and done it well. Our oldest daughter would often have you sit on her shoulders and head then walk around our home with what she called her ‘Kitty Hat’. Never did you struggle to get down or try to stop her from doing this. You simply amazed us at how gentle you were with all of us.
I so wish I had been less busy raising our family and had more time to spend with you when you were young. Only during your later years, after the family was mostly grown and your age had slowed you down, did you and I become really close. It was during your last few years with us when I had to take care of you and your failing kidneys, did you and I really bond. It was at that time when you found my lap a warmer comfort than the front porch. You would often climb into my lap; give my nose a little lick, then settle down for a nap.
Toward the end, when your kidney disease was in it’s advanced stages, you decided you didn’t want to eat much. I was not ready to let you go yet, so I would hold you close and spoon feed you your food. You would slowly eat it for me, but eat it you would! It soon became a new routine for you and I; after I had fed our family, I would sit down with you in my lap and feed you. After you had eaten you would take a nap and I would sit there petting you, knowing our remaining time together was limited. Finally the sad evening arrived when you refused to eat anything at all. You were twenty and your kidneys had totally failed. You knew it was your time to say ‘Good-Bye’ even if I wasn’t ready to. I had told myself when you finally refused to eat, I would do the humane thing and help you on your journey across the Rainbow Bridge. Lordy, how I tried to get you to eat the night! But you refused and looked at me with sad, tired eyes. I cried as I finally gave up and put your food away. I made Steve make the dreaded arraignments for your final Good-Bye. I couldn’t do it!
Our last night together you spent a lot of time in my lap and in Steve’s. You wanted to make sure we both got plenty of time to wish you farewell. You were very thin by then, and had little energy. On your final morning with us I held you one last time before going off to work. You managed enough strength to kiss me on my nose; our final kiss, for you were going to cross the Rainbow Bridge while I was at work.
Dearest Sheila, I wish you could have lived forever, but of course you couldn’t. I thank God that you were part of our lives for 20 years! Heck, you lived with us longer than Crystal and Heidi did! You will forever hold a special place in our hearts! I will be forever thankful to you for showing me how wonderful it is to have a cat to love!