Update On Tigger One Lone Lonely Cat

Tigger and the late Zoey

I know I haven’t mentioned my cats, well cat, in a while. The wound of Zoey’s gone too soon departure is still a bit raw. Thinking about that cat, her sweet gentleness, makes me sad. Even the vet, moments before administering Zoey’s ‘Big Sleep’, opined how the good ones die young and meanies live on and on. She had spent the better part of the day with Tigger who wasn’t happy about being at her cat clinic.

A couple of days before Zoey’s  appointment Tigger got sick, throwing up and behaving like he too had one foot in the grave. The day of ‘The Big Sleep’ he was more tore up than Zoey who moved around surprisingly well for a cat down to fur and bones. While a dying Zoey purred and rubbed against my legs Tigger’s ailing prompted us to call their owner.

She arrived anxious to get her favorite to the vet. The tabby didn’t go willingly, putting up a surprisingly big fuss. The two had a nearly decade-long history together and he always rushed to greet her when she entered the house. Each visit she scooped him into her arms and hugged him until he bit her and she dropped him to the floor. Still I didn’t doubt their love for each other.

That day Tigger, the alpha male, let it be known he didn’t want to leave us. US, as in Zeke and I. Knowing that bossy, don’t touch me until I tell you to rascal, didn’t want to leave us was sobering to say the least. So while Tigger got whisked off to the vet, Zoey and I spent our last hours together. Later when we gathered in the small examining room, the vet assured us she would feel no pain. Zoey was scared but composed as the small woman lovingly stroked her and said what a sweet cat she was.

Then she mentioned Tigger. He hadn’t been nice to her staff or the other cats. Even after being given treats, he showed them no love. She diagnosed him with being a drama queen. Which led to her diatribe about the good sweet ones dying too young while mean sourpusses stick around forever. I thought it was strange for a cat doctor to actually say out loud but Tigger being Tigger isn’t for the faint of heart.

Zoey’s been gone for over two months now and Tigger is still Tigger but noticeably changed too. He doesn’t spend much time outside anymore. Which I don’t mind especially after having watched that video about the secret lives of cats. Who knew house cats turned into superheroes once outside, ridding the world of unwanted critters. I suspect like a war-weary soldier, he wants to kick back for a while. Also, he won’t admit it but I know he misses Zoey.

The lone lonely Tigger

For now he makes do with me. As loyal acolyte my job is to: search for his favorite food; brush and stroke all except for the undercarriage unless I’m ready for a good clawing; push open the cracked bathroom door for him and turn the water on to a drizzle while he jumps on the closed lid of the commode; wait for him to dive on the vanity then wait as he nuzzles his head against the spout before proceeding to stroke him from head to arched tail when he finally begins to lap the water.

He makes a little ‘umph’ noise when he jumps to the floor then dashes off and dives on my bed. Multitasking, I type, surf the net, use cell, go through mail, prick finger, test blood, inject with insulin, and whatever else, all while stroking and playing with him until finally he traipses off to my pillows and goes to sleep. Sometime I wish Tigger was a dog or a houseplant until it hits me they wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling.

Zoey Is Leaving

A grass blade for Zoey

Well folks, it’s time to say good-bye to Zoey. For those of you who don’t know, she’s a cat I’ve been fostering for going on three years. I won’t post any pictures of her in her present state. The vet gave my son and Zoey’s owner the news around 4:00. She has an inoperable mass. Like her daughter before her, the late Cloey, it has spread throughout her vital organs. I guess that explains her inability to keep food down. Not even grass at this point. For the last several days, I’ve been feeding her the little she eats out of my palm. Sara Lee honey ham I pulled into small pieces. Anyway, we will be saying goodbye to Zoey on Thursday, if she makes it that long.

She ran straight down to my room when she got home from the vet.  Yesterday she kept pawing at me and today she looked at me as though saying, ‘save me.’ I wish dammit I could cause she saved me long time ago. All the time I spent trying to keep her from hiding in the hole she made in the mattress. I guess if I’d kept my distance I wouldn’t have such mixed emotion now. But it was well worth it to have her trust. I’m the only one she doesn’t run from. To me that’s an honor.

I asked my son why they didn’t just get it over with. He thought I wanted to spend some more time with her. She purred and rubbed against my legs while he gave me the news. I reached down to rub her. She’s all fur and bones and quite frankly I don’t think she likes being rubbed right now. In typical Zoey fashion, she’s the giver of affection. She would groom that old Tigger for hours if he didn’t turn violent. Wonder what Mr. Big & Bad gonna do once there’s no Zoey to attack?

Anyway, we will all be there with her. I’m a little nervous because it’ll be my first time holding vigil with death. I’d let my first cat die alone. I was a teenager and nowhere as strong as I am now, partially thanks to the small gray cat. Last night I was thinking maybe she won’t make it until Thursday. Maybe she’ll go peacefully in her sleep. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve wondered if Zoey would come out the room in the morning. Even when she’d started to limp for no reason she’d still emerged. Ironically, back then the vet told us maybe she’d injured her leg because she was overweight. If only she had that signature appetite of hers now.

This morning she came out soon as my door opened. I let her outside. I imagine her having a bucket list. Going outside daily has a check mark now. She made her way around the yard nibbling on grass. After about an hour I let her back in. Bones wrapped in fur. Not only is she still walking around, but she still claws her way on top my bed, she still jumps on top the sofa. I tried to palm feed her more ham but she turned away. I gave her a spoon full of chicken pate and put some of the appetite stimulant they got from the vet with it. To my delight she lapped up the gravy and medicine.

I had errands to run. When I was done, I went on to the park and took the trails. I hadn’t walked in five days. God I missed it. The medicine apparently did the trick. Zoey ate. Vomit was in the hallway and her room. She threw up again today several times. Still she walked around, clawed her way on top my bed, and jumped on the chair to cuddle with me. Not only is she impossibly still alive but she’s not lethargic. Even Zoey must have a breaking point. Even if she can go on I can’t. It’s a greater kindness to say goodbye.

A grass blade for Zoey

Trying to palm-feed Zoey