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‘Goodbye, Sunshine’ A Tribute to Solara, NHV’s Cat of 20 Years

NHV Behind The Scenes 6 min read
‘Goodbye, Sunshine’ A Tribute to Solara, NHV’s Cat of 20 Years

20 years ago, a little tabby baby cat was rescued from a dumpster in a town 500 miles away. I was told about her over a telephone call, and although this was a time well before phone cameras and I hadn’t even seen her little face, I was already in love.

I will be forever grateful to the BC SPCA for flying her to me in Vancouver. I still remember the excitement I felt at bringing the pitter-patter of a kitten to my house and was especially thrilled for my sweet beagle, Lady to meet her little sister.

But not all homecomings are perfect. To mine and Lady’s disappointment, no cuddling happened. The little cat decided to live in my closet and would emerge for only the shortest periods every day before slinking back away. The only way she would even eat was if I placed food and water in the closet. It broke my heart: She had moved from the dumpster she was abandoned in as a wee baby, to the shelter where she was alone and then to the dark safety of my closet.

But, after much cooing and love, and 5 long months, she emerged, just like the summer sun, slowly at first like little bursts of morning light, until finally, she decided to give us a real chance. I named her Solara because she was my sunshine, filling our house with warmth and joy.

solara sitting in garden full

She actually did start to cuddle and would have her moments of wonderful needy love. She would sleep in our bed every night, and loved to play in the yard. We would tuck her comfortably into our backpack and let her enjoy our outdoor adventures every chance we got.

solara walking in the yard

I can’t help but smile when I think of how mischievous she was too. We had to train her to refrain from hurting birds, but we still couldn’t keep her from trying to swat at my koi fish. She had her own special relationship with everyone in the family – she knew who to nuzzle next to, and who to tell off. But with me, she was the most attached. I would take her with me on my many trips to Kelowna where our manufacturing facility is. She was the cutest and most patient little co-pilot!

solara sitting in sun with NHV

There were times though when she managed to turn me into a nervous wreck. I remember when we moved from our house to an apartment in the city. Somehow, Solara managed to sneak out and go missing.

solara playing in the patio cat

We plastered the neighborhood with posters, walked around day and night, and made frantic calls to all animal rescue groups in Vancouver. But she was nowhere to be found. During one of these late-night search walks, we heard a faint meow coming from one of the apartments in our complex. We found her meowing from the window of a neighboring apartment, demanding to be rescued. It was already dark when we had found her, but I couldn’t wait for the sun to be out. Our apartment complex had an outdoor walkway, and there was a high ledge (not meant for walking) that connected our walkway to the apartment above that she was trapped in. I hate heights, but that was my baby and I knew the neighbors wouldn’t be in for days and I had to do something now. So with shaky legs and knots in my stomach, I walked the ‘edgy’ ledge. Carefully, I slipped inside and got her out, and tried desperately to not look down. That was Solara. She had found an empty apartment and had remained hidden, starving and protesting for 3 long days.

Solara cat sitting in sun puddle 3

Because of her, I learned how important it is to train cats early to switch different brands and try home-cooked foods.

Solara was a stubborn cat and would refuse to eat anything but this one particular brand of kibble and in the same single flavor. Because of her, I learned how important it is to train cats early to switch different brands and try home-cooked foods. When that brand stopped production, Solara went on a hunger strike! It took many weeks to get her to try another kibble which then became her only preferred food.

Solara with kibble

Eventually, just like all our beloved fur children, my playful miss sunshine started to slow down. After Lady gained her wings, Solara got even more attached to me. This became more apparent as she grew older. Whenever I would be away, Solara would get very stressed.


At the age of 16, she developed serious health concerns. She had kidney issues, diabetes, and heart disease. I would give her the NHV doses directly as that’s the only way she’d take them. She knew they were helping her through. She would always take her supplements like a trooper. I was able to keep her healthy and stable with NHV and a mild dose of Insulin.

When I adopted my rat terrier, Chaya, Solara wasn’t happy at all. She felt this new creature was invading her space. Solara and Chaya had a love-hate relationship. I would find them cuddled on top of each other one moment and stealing from each other’s food bowls the next. Even on her last day, Solara stole from Chaya’s bowl.


Chaya made Solara less stubborn. Chaya’s bowl was filled with homemade food and Solara would try to get into it. Maybe because she was jealous of Chaya’s bowl or maybe she realized it was easier to swallow, but at the age of 18 she finally started to eat home-cooked food.

In the 20 years that she lived with us, Solara adapted to all the changes life brought us. She went through life’s ups and downs with me. But one thing she did not stop doing is stressing out when separated from me. Each time I would leave for a few days, I would get calls from my friends and our sitter about Solara going rapidly downhill. I would rush back as quickly as I could and she would be fine again.


But this time, my little sunshine did not give me the time to come back.

After a long work trip, I returned to a house without Solara. Not being there at the end will always leave a gaping hole in my heart… I wonder now if that’s what she wanted. To spare me the pain. My family was around her, but I wasn’t there. I would have hugged her tight and kissed her little head many times. I would have asked her to say hello to Lady. I had so much to tell her.

There is an empty space where she would lay on our bed. Old memories still make me think as if she is meowing at the door asking to be let in from the yard. I still am not used to not filling her food bowl or not setting out her things the way she liked them. Although I have Chaya, Jonika, and Zimba, there is a place in my heart that only belongs to Solara. Through this heartfelt note, I wanted to share my Solara with you. My stubborn but loving, puddle of sunshine. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend. She was my faithful companion until the very end.

Goodbye, my sweet Solara. You will always be my sunshine.


Patra de Silva

Mom to Solara (and President of NHV Natural Pet Products)

‘Goodbye, Sunshine’ A Tribute to Solara, NHV’s Cat of 20 Years

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Published: June 6, 2019

2 replies

  1. jmuhj says:

    <3 ((((((((^^)))))))) <3 Fly free, whole, healthy, and forever Cherished, precious angel Solara! Watch over your beloveds here below until reunited in due time. *My heartfelt condolences for your loss!*

    1. NHV Natural Pet Products says:

      Thank you so much for such a lovely message. She is our little angel now. Watching over her family. One can never prepare for these goodbyes. But all the love really helps.

      Thank you.

      Yours in wellness,
      Team NHV Natural Pet Products

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