My cat Shelby had the best purr ever; when she really got going, you could hear her across the room. At night, she would lie in bed and purr, her warm body snuggled against me. She even purred in her sleep; her sweet dreams revving the contented little motor of her soul.
Shelby turned 14 years old in February, the same month her vet found a tumor in her abdomen. Because of her advanced age, the doctor was hesitant to operate. There wasn’t much I could do except try to keep her comfortable. For the next few weeks, I spent extra time with Shelby and tried to give her all the care and love she needed. She had to stay well medicated, but I was grateful to be able to have her with me a little longer.
In late April, Shelbyâ€™s health took a turn for the worse. She kept to herself more and more, the way animals often do when they are ill. She stopped sleeping in the bed with me at night, preferring instead to curl up in a corner of my room. My heart ached when I realized that I hadn’t heard her purr in weeks.
In May, Shelby stopped eating and could no longer walk to her litter box. I made the painful decision to put her to sleep. Before I brought her to the clinic on her last day, I took her outside with me and let her enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Shelby had been an indoor cat all her life, and she relished the soft green grass beneath her paws as she basked in the beautiful spring sun. She looked up at me and, for the first time in weeks, rubbed her face against my legs and purred. I was happy to be able to give her this sweet experience before she had to go.
A few nights after Shelbyâ€™s passing, I was lying in bed asleep when I felt her little body curled up next to me, and she was purring as loud as she ever had. I sleepily thought to myself, â€œOh good, Shelbyâ€™s purring again. She must be feeling better.â€
I woke the next morning and smiled as I recalled feeling Shelby next to me. I think it was her way of thanking me for giving her a loving home and for helping her to pass on when it was her time to go. Her body is gone but her soul is still here, looking on with love and purring her approval.