Sheila or The squatter

In loving memory of Sheila (2004 - May 2nd, 2019)

[translated with the help of from the original german article
See also the photos and videos of Sheila ]

When I moved back to Heilbronn in September 2013, my last pet, a budgie, was about 45 years ago. But this should change quickly.

My flat neighbours had a small but noisy terrier. Benny could not be overheard and it was obvious that he was totally fixated on his mistress. That there was also a a jet-black cat named Sheila, I did not notice for months. Sheila, on the other hand, was completely focused on her master, probably also because Benny wouldn't allow Sheila to be near his mistress.

My first photo of Sheila is from 19.9.2014 and on this one she takes note of me for the first time, you could also say in retrospect, she assessed me: "could this be my Mr. Right?"

At that time her master was often in poor health condition, he was often in the hospital and when he was at home, it was often too much for him when Sheila wanted to sleep in his bed at night.

A few days after this first photo, I was talking to the neighbor in the pergola when Sheila came and cuddled up to me: rubbing her legs, meowing, purring. The whole program. When I squatted down to stroke her, she jumped on my thighs and pressed herself against me. Then when I unlocked my front door, she marched in front of me.

She had made a decision and stayed the whole evening with me on the sofa. At about 10 pm I took her in my arms and brought her back to the neighbour, because I thought I could not keep her cat after all. Her desperate look, when I handed her over, went through me.

Sheila raved so much that evening in her old flat, up the wall, down the wallpaper, the whole program. Until she was finally let out.

I woke up at three o'clock in the morning because a cat sat outside on the windowsill of my bedroom and meowed. It was Sheila. I opened the window and she jumped up on my bed. When I layed down again, she literally poked into my arm and snuggled up against me. And so we slept until morning.

I had taken in a squatter :-)

The next day I first got food and litter and a litter box. And I informed myself about my new duties. There's so much you don't know. I knew you had to bathe dogs, but cats? Google is really a practical invention :-)

Sheila did not want to go outside the next day, she inspected her new home extensively. Only when I went to the terrace once, she went along, but always stayed close to me.

She took her nap with me, lying flat on my stomach and enjoying the caressing.

In the evening on the sofa she came back to my lap, cuddled up to me and looked at me again and again intensively: "right, today you won't bring me back again!"

And so her move was sealed. Three months later her former master died. I guess she sensed that he couldn't be there for her anymore.

Five years of love and tenderness followed - no nap without Sheila on my stomach and in my arm. Practically every evening she spent on the sofa next to me, mostly cuddled up against me.

When I went to bed in the evening, she would come to my stomach and arm to be stroked. When she had enough, she'd go to her fur bed at the foot of the bed. By half past seven in the morning at the latest she was back in my arm and lay down so that my fingertips reached right up to her neck, the arm between her hind legs, along her belly.

But sometimes she'd come in the middle of the night to get some caresses. One time it was exactly 2:30 a.m, as I could read off the projection alarm clock on the ceiling. She crawled very gently on my stomach so as not to disturb me but of course I woke up anyway and stroked her with both hands. After a while, she rolled herself energetically to the right and then lay on her back in my arm - exactly to be stroked on the tummy. Which I then did. Whenever I would get tired and stop petting or start snoring came an energetic MEOW! I had to stroke and stroke and stroke and Sheila purred and purred and purred...

This went on until 4:02, then she toddled back inside her little bed at the foot. Unfortunately there was no Guinness referee present, otherwise we would have registered this as a world record in cat belly crawling :-)

In summary: we were the lovers of the year :-)

Sheila had already been over ten when she moved in with me and was much calmer than Timmy is now. She wanted to get out of the house, but most of the time she just went for a little walk and then lay down on her bench on the terrace. She also got along with all neighboring cats, especially with Snoopy. Snoop was even allowed to come to our flat and eat from Sheila's bowls. He was even allowed to sleep on Sheila's fur windowsill.

Sheila was then 15 - exactly the average age for a house cat. Still, her ending caught me completely unprepared.

At the beginning of April 2019, a routine visit to the vet revealed that Sheila's kidney values were somewhat high, but not alarming. She was on medication.

Then at the end of April she got worse and worse. I had always hoped that I would never have to make the decision to put her to sleep. But on May 2, 2019 I had to. We had been to the vet two days before and she had received two injections. First of all she felt better and she ate (little) and drank (a lot). I had hope again.

But then on May 1st she broke everything out again and did not want to leave my arms at all. She could hardly walk anymore and I carried her regularly to the toilet. In the evening, when she hid behind the sofa, I could guess what was coming. She still dragged herself in front of my bed at night, but she had no more strength to wake me up.

At five o'clock I saw her and got her into bed with me. Then she lay snuggled up close to me in my arm until about eight o'clock. We said goodbye.

The vet then measured the kidney values again, but they were already beyond good and bad. It would have been torture to make her suffer even longer, even though it was infinitely difficult for me to say yes.

She then died with her head against my cheek. Farewell letter

The next morning came the hard drive to the animal crematorium in Oedheim. Now the urn is in the living room. I hope that in a few years it will be allowed to take pet urns with you to your own grave.

It may be surprising that only one week after Sheila's death I went to the shelter to get Timmy. My mother (90) was so affected by Sheila's death - she didn't want to get up, not eat, not read the newspaper, not watch TV. So I thought it would be a good idea to create a distraction.


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