Shadow and Carly

by Janet Slike
(Dublin, OH, USA)

“Goodbye, Shadow,” Paige said as her family dropped me off at the cat shelter. “I know you’ll find a good home soon. I’m sorry I’m allergic to you.” She held me tight and her tears hit my fur. I couldn’t bear to see her so sad, so I told myself it was the allergy that made her eyes so wet.


“Always remember that I love you and I want you to find another special human. The shelter is nice, but a cat needs a forever home. A cat needs to belong somewhere,” she said.

After she left, my eyes were overflowing somehow. Maybe I was allergic to the other cats. They were everywhere.

A cat sniffed me, then nudged my side.

“Are you OK?” she asked.

“Of course,” I said, backing away.

She looked me straight in the eye, and I knew she understood me.

But I was embarrassed that she saw me cry.

“I had a cold when I came in too,” she said.

“It’s an allergy,” I replied.

“Well, you’ll feel better tomorrow and better each day after that. I’m Carly.”

“I’m Shadow.

We touched noses to complete the introduction.

“I’ll show you around. I’ve been here almost two years, “she said.

Two years! I knew I couldn’t be without a family for that long.

I could barely keep up with Carly as she bounced along, introducing me to everyone as she showed me around.

“Shadow, this is Isabel, this is Theo, this is Scamp,” she said. “You’ll like it here. We aren’t kept in cages and we can stay until we find forever homes, even if it takes years.”

I settled in. I found a bed next to a cat tree. Being in my own bed felt odd. I was used to sleeping by Paige.

The next morning a boy and his mom came in. The boy petted me, then walked away. I knew he must be filling out the adoption papers. I gathered my fur mice and three treats into a pile. That was all I had to pack. I imagined that my new home would have a wide windowsill to lie on.

I just knew hands would pick me up and put me in a carrier.

But the boy picked up Isabel. Of course he would want her. She was beautiful. My colors are in odd patterns.

“Congratulations, Isabel! I’ll miss you, but I’m happy for you,” I said.

“Maybe we need to groom some more,” I suggested to Carly.

The next morning I groomed until my tongue was as dry as fresh litter. A girl and her dad came in. The girl threw a fur mouse and I pounced on it to prove I was a good mouser. They walked away.

Good thing I kept my mouse pile intact. I was ready to go. I looked forward to climbing in my new home. I like being tall.

I just knew hands would pick me up and put me in a carrier.

But the girl picked up Theo. Of course she would want him. He was talkative.

“Congratulations, Theo! I’ll miss you, but I’m happy for you," I said.

“Maybe we need to meow more,” Carly suggested. “I know you’re shy, but let’s try it.”

The next morning, before the people came, I found a newspaper and read it. Later a young man came in. I followed him, meowing my views on current events. I thought I had some excellent insights.

I just knew hands would pick me up and put me in a carrier.

But the man picked up Scamp. Of course he would want him. He was an energetic kitten. I get tired sometimes.

“Congratulations, Scamp! I’ll miss you, but I’m happy for you, I said.

I made more friends, but lost them when they found homes. Carly was always there to play with me, though. Together we dreamed of the homes we would have with our special humans to greet and territory to protect.

Every time I think of how much I wanted those things, that old allergy comes back to my eye. But Paige told me that someone would adopt me, and Paige never, ever lied to me.

We tried to get adopted. We saw lots of people. Young people. Old people. Small families. Big families. We auditioned, striking adorable poses and purring when they petted us.

But still no one chose us. No one chose us in the spring when we had to compete with kittens. No one chose us in the summer, even though we looked fabulous with sunlight on our fur. No one chose us in the fall when we performed tricks for treats in celebration of Halloween. No one chose us as Christmas gifts, even though we would have let them put bows on us. We would have even worn reindeer antlers if it meant having a home.

One early spring morning Carly woke me up with “Happy Anniversary! You’ve been my friend for a year.”

She meant to be nice, but I wasn’t happy. How had I not found a home in a whole year? I decided to sleep all day. Around lunchtime a human sat down and put me on her lap. I refused to snuggle.

I heard a carrier door jangle, but I wouldn’t look to see which friend was leaving.

“Bye, Shadow! I finally have a home. But I’ll really miss you. You’re my best friend.”

I couldn’t congratulate her. I couldn’t say good-bye.

Instead, I did something I’d never done before. I extended my claws and scratched. I scratched the couch. I scratched the wallpaper. I scratched everything I could except a cat or a human. Even when I’m upset, I never hurt anyone.

Someone called my name. I just knew I was in trouble. A pair of hands picked me up and …

…put me in a carrier. At last, I was being adopted.

A boy chuckled. “I have bad days too, Shadow. We’ll put a scratching post in my room.”

“He’s the cutest, sweetest cat here,” said the girl whose lap I had been on.

“Our other new cat is cute and sweet too,” said the boy. “I’d say it’s a tie.”

They took me to the car and already there was Carly. We were being adopted together!

She winked at me. I winked back. And amazingly, we never got “allergies” again.


Comments for Shadow and Carly

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Jul 04, 2016
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quite fascinating
by: candy

I enjoyed the middle part till the end of the story.I think the moral is to adopt a pet safely and care of the wonderful pet.

Jun 01, 2016
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how i felt for Shadow
by: Ahmed Omar Dipro

At a moment i felt bad for shadow and thought that he would remain there forever but soon a boy came and chose him

May 12, 2016
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Good story needed better intro
by: Anonymous

I read this to my 7 year old. It needed an intro... "Do you sometimes pretend you have a cold or allergies when you really are crying? Here is a story about a cat called Shadow who gets left at an adoption centre. She feels so sad she is crying but she pretends it is allergies. Will she ever find a forever home?"

Feb 25, 2016
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Cute story
by: Anonymous

This was one of the best stories I ever read. It was really cute. I loved this story and I hope that this author would write more stories about Shadow and Carly.


Feb 15, 2016
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Very good.
by: Chloe

I loved the story.

Jan 19, 2016
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best story!!!
by: Cool girl

even though I like cats a little, this was one of my favorite storys! ! ! !

Sep 17, 2015
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Shadow and Carly
by: Anonymous

I think that story was perfect. I like the cats when they finally have some nice people choose them. And they are together.

Aug 08, 2015
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Amazing!!!!!
by: Nixie Shah

This story is very cool and I loved it!

Aug 08, 2015
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Amazing!!!!!
by: Nixie Shah

This story is very cool and I loved it!

Jul 01, 2015
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Lovely
by: Casy

Understand the meaning of freindship

Jun 16, 2015
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Easy to listen too
by: Melvin

Good story, easy listening nice for bedtime - goodnight!

Jan 26, 2015
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great story
by: Anonymous

at the start I couldn't really tell who was talking but other that that it was an awesome story and I had fun reading it with my dad

Oct 21, 2014
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star
I don't like it
by: Crytinomous

I don't like it I couldn't find excitement

Jun 24, 2014
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very good
by: grainne

I thought it was very good and I could picture in my head all the cute cat's.

Mar 11, 2014
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i loved it
by: Thomas Aitken

I loved it probly becus i love cats but still i loved it

Nov 07, 2011
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it was great
by: Anonymous

i loved the whole thing i couldent stop reading but where you cats or where you people?

Aug 11, 2011
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Good
by: Anonymous

Nice story! Great job Janet!

Sep 10, 2010
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Touching and Topical
by: Anonymous

A clever and topical story that touches the heartstrings. My children are great lovers of cats and dogs and would find this a wonderful read.

Sep 08, 2010
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Shadow and Carly
by: Anonymous

Very sweet story with a great message.

Sep 08, 2010
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Nice...
by: J.L.Conlon

It's real to do a 'talking animal' story and not have it sound a little silly, but you did it! I have five cats and I could see their faces in your characters. I sorta knew what was coming, and it was great ending anyway! Well done.

Sep 06, 2010
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Yea for pet adoption!
by: K Bowman

Nice work, Janet! Shadow & Carly could be Humane Society spokescats.

Sep 06, 2010
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Nice story!
by: Anne Lindsay Kerr

I liked this one very much. The characters are very sympathetic and one can relate to their feelings easily.

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