Saying goodbye to Shiva after 17+ years

Our short-haired Oriental Shiva was put down on Sunday
An alpha male who spent his life in the shadow of a showy twin

By Walter & Pat Brooks

At two, Shiva was already seeking warm spots to settle upon. This is our kitchen stove's griddle.

Four years ago he was still clowning around. He allowed our grand children to do anything to him.

As a younger cat, Shiva always jumped on Pat's back whenever she bent over to do housework.

The last photo two days before Shiva died.

We first saw Shiva and his womb-mate Rama in their pen at the Rhode Island Cat Show in 1991. His twin won a dozen ribbons that day in the short-haired Oriental class while beautiful, blue-eyed blond Shiva drew a blank. The judges want gray, green-eyed cats in that category.

He got even with his brother over the next 17 years as he was clearly the alpha male of this handsome duo.

Shiva sent both of us to hospital

Shiva had his moments however.

When Shiva was about three he managed to send both of us to the hospital with cat-inflicted injuries.

Walter had a sinus serious enough to have scheduled an operation to drill a hole through his soft palate to relieve the pain and induce a  drug since all the antibiotics had failed to kill the bacteria.

On the day before his operation, as he carried Shiva outdoors to see the birds, a chipmunk scurried by and spooked Shiva who promptly dug his teeth into Walter hand to get released.

To avoid getting "Cat Scratch Fever", Walter went the hospital where a new antibiotic he had never been given before cured his sinus and made the operation unnecessary.

Patricia was next on his hit list

A short time later Patricia was stroking Shiva on her chest in bed one night, when loud sound from the television spooked him again.

This time Shiva literally flew straight up about two feet and came down, claws extended, on Pat's face.

That scratch sent her to the hospital that night.

Lost in the bog and deaf

Shiva was gorgeous, and a little cross-eyed which only added to his charm.

Shiva was most lovable except for those two occasions, and spent countless hours on Patrica's lap - he was, after all, "her cat", while brunette Rama was Walter's.

He also spent his entire life indoors.

This breed is reknown for great curiosity, the kind that does, in fact, kill cats.

The breeder warned us not to allow him or his bro outdoors as this breed would examine one thing after another until they were far from home and unable to return.

We warned workers who came to our house, but inevitably the day came when Shiva absconded and despite our searching, he was missing for a couple days until Walter found him struggling through the puckerbrush next to the cranberry bogs behind our house apparently on his way home.

We will never know how far he roamed, but he was skinny and the bottom of his paws were raw.

Shiva never got out again, which is very fortunate, because a year ago we realized he was becoming deaf. He would now be defenseless against predators.

For the last six months of his life he was stone deaf and stopped "speaking" almost completely, which only meant we gave him even more love and attention.

The day he died

For the last month Shiva's breathing had become more and more labored, and we had been treating a growth in this left ear for the same period which we were treating with antibiotics.

But by last Sunday he was "open-mouth" breathing, and Pat felt we had to do something fast.

Luckily Cape Cod now has an emergency hospital available after the vets all close and on weekends, and Pat and our eight-year-old granddaughter were able to take him to Care Vet, the Cape's emergency center in Dennis which we found on

The vets there were extremely helpful, and they made the whole horrible process of deciding when to end your suffering pet's life as tolerable as possible, which turned out to be necessary in this case.

While they waited for the end to come, Pat called me and asked that my eleven-year-old grandson and I dig a grave in sight of our home office window, which we did through tears.

We can only be thankful for the support of these youngsters who grew up every weekend with Shiva.

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