But he was our cat, and he was a part of our lives for a dozen years. And small memories, however trivial they may seem at first - or even second - glance, still matter in the lives of those who retain them.
We had had Shadow since he was a tiny little thing, and after a late-night escape attempt outside the pound from which we had just adopted him, some tenuous nights spent hiding under the covers hoping he wouldn't claw us in the dark, and a disturbing sequence of broken glass, chewed-up flowers and destroyed furniture, he settled into quite the contented life with us.
He was there when we brought our first munchkin home from the hospital, when we pulled up stakes and moved to London in the dead of winter, when we settled into our new home here and welcomed two more little people into the family. As he imprinted himself on the top of our couch, he also imprinted himself on us.
He taught our kids what it was like to treat others with care, and how to communicate non-verbally. Through him, they learned empathy, patience and gentleness. When he got sick, they learned how precious life is, and ultimately what loss feels like. He was their first real pet, and they continue to carry those early lessons as they continue their own journeys into adulthood.
So, yes, he was a silly cat who wrecked the house, ruined our sleep and drained our wallet. But a decade after we said goodbye, his rather long shadow continues to touch us. And as I look at our kids who were lucky enough to have their "Best Cat" in the house for as long as they did, I can't help but think that they're better people because of him.
On balance, it ended up being a reasonable tradeoff.