He loved Snaffle, his lifelong buddy, and chased and tormented her relentlessly. She died a couple years ago.
He liked to help me work.
And cook. He liked to hang out. In 2006, Shelby escaped the house without us realizing it. Nashville was in the middle of a winter storm where temperatures stayed in the teens for days. I hung signs all over the neighborhood. After two weeks, when I was starting to give up hope, my next-door neighbor called and said, "Um, I think I have your cat." When he escaped the house, he apparently went looking for a warm place and crawled under their house and into their duct system. There he lived for two weeks. One day they heard the heat register in their dining room rattle and went to investigate. They removed the register and up popped Shelby's head. He is not a small cat, so extracting him through the small opening was, according to my neighbor, much like giving birth. He arrived back home a couple pounds lighter and one life shorter.
Since then Shelby has lived at my office in Nashville, tormenting my coworkers, barfing on their chairs and drooling on their papers. He likes to romp in the backyard, which backs up to the cemetery. Last Thursday, our next-door neighbors hired some huge equipment to cut up a tree that had fallen on their shed. When Shelby heard the racket, he took off.
Friday, no Shelby. Saturday and Sunday, no sign. Monday, I walked the neighborhood looking for evidence, calling his name.
Today, I hung signs, visited neighbors, just praying he'd found a lonely retiree down the street and was curled up in her lap.
Then, at about 3:30p, I heard a familiar meow at the door. Shelby was back, another life shorter.
Seven to go. Maybe life isn't all that short.