Updated: Nov 19, 2021
IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS since I put my cat Tigger down for good. It was a final act of our togetherness. He was ready. I was not.
Tigger started his life with me as a shelter rescue. My stepdaughter just had to have him because he was “so adorable.” I somehow missed that quality after meeting him at my farm when mother and daughter showed up with a new surprise.
That first day began what would become a twenty-year relationship.
Tigger turned out to be a great companion for me. He added a bright spot in my life especially as my blended family disappeared in the dust of a divorce. There wasn’t much to split-up as our new business ran into headwinds that consumed a lifetime of assets. Tigger didn’t seem to care about our finances, or marital status. Frankly, I don’t remember why I ended up with him?
I used to use a small pet carrier to transport him. First to our new condo complex in Traverse City then after a year to Beulah. He cried to holy hell during the trips, but we managed quite nicely under our newer living arrangements. My landlord in Beulah liked cats which was settling.
His last ride with me was when we went to the vet clinic for his incineration. He didn’t seem to object as he was clearly on his last legs at the ripe age of twenty-one. I gently placed him on a beach towel that he’d come to fancy. No carrier was needed for his final ride. Poor guy. He was barely breathing.
As I look back, I didn’t particularly want to become the lead caretaker of this cat. I felt an obligation having spoiled him and I knew nobody would want him with his deformities and idiosyncrasies. He wasn’t particularly attractive as I’ll explain, and he loved to hunt especially bunnies, birds, and mice. Never did I see critters get away from his grasp. He loved that I had a bird feeder and over the years he too began to just watch the birds as he was starting to slow down.
The rental condo complex we lived in for the first year after we left the farm had a leash requirement for pets. Tigger would have nothing to do with this requirement. We tried a leash one time; some busybody neighbor barked at me for dragging him down the driveway on our attempted walk together. Tigger simply laid down and wouldn’t budge. We quickly stopped trying to walk with a leash. I kept getting letters from the condo association about their leash requirements as we were on a watch list. Tigger eventually transformed into an indoor cat.
Both of us had had enough of these rules so we decided to move.
A few years into our living in Beulah a scratch on the top of Tigger’s head became infected and though he recovered under my medical care, he lost sight in his left eye. I believe his head was so swollen from the infection that it simply fragmented an optic nerve. We slipped through this crisis without the benefit of veterinary care. Thank goodness for Google and some unused Amoxicillin capsules I had left over from the kids. The fact that his eye did not pop-out was nearly a miracle. The infection reshaped his entire head, and we now took comments in stride about his appearance from well-intended souls.
He wasn’t particularly friendly which comes as no surprise for those of us who have had cats in our lives. I loved his attitude and our relationship seemed to work nicely because Tigger needed little attention – something in which I exceled. I did feed him every single day and he really came to love his salmon pate’. The inexpensive Friskies brand was his favorite.
I readily admit that I will have a soft spot for Tigger forever. I am most thankful for the time I spent with him and I know he thought I was awesome because he used to tell me so.
What a great cat.