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The lady who lived next door to my former office always had lots of outdoor cats, but they tended to be skittish and didn't like being petted. I was surprised but delighted when one of them -- a giant of a cat -- ran up to me as I was walking home from work one day. I petted her, then continued on my way. She was having none of that. She followed me all the way to my door, rubbing against my legs and meowing the whole time, but I assumed she'd leave when I went inside.

She didn't. She stayed for two weeks, in fact, while I convinced my husband she needed to stay if we found no owner. No one else claimed her, so we did. We named her Shadow, for her black fur and her tendency to follow us everywhere we went.

And so she remained. Seven years later, my sweet baby Shadow-kitty, my black beauty, is laying on my feet as I type. This cat has become an integral part of our family. She's a very large cat (she reaches my waist if she stands on her back feet) and has some digestive issues and very definite opinions about litter options, so she isn't exactly an inexpensive cat, but she's worth it. She still follows us everywhere, cries like her world is ending if we leave her for more than 2 minutes and watches us with an eagle eye if she thinks we're trying to sneak away. She's a sneaky beast; she's been known to hide under the bed in the mornings when she sees us getting dressed because she knows she isn't allowed in the bedroom when we're not home. (And when I say she hides, I mean she waits and watches until we aren't looking and races to get under before we see her.) And most importantly, she gives us all the love and joy we didn't even really know we were missing in our lives. Thank God for my Shadow.

Central City, KY

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