Tigger And Zander, Examples Of How Smart Animals Really Are

Being my #1 fan is either boring or really hard work.

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned my friend and number one fan,  Tigger. I’m only doing so now because Tigger and a dog name Zander recently reminded me why I love cats and cannot stand, absolutely cannot stand to see any animal mistreated. Call me crazy but I am totally convinced animals have feelings much like humans. They experience hurt, sadness, happiness, loneliness, anxiety, anger, you name it. Some, like Tigger, even have an addictive personality. They become hooked on a certain food or certain routines. Some, gasp, are even cunning like Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Well perhaps not that cunning. Anyway, suffice it to say, animals are not dumb unfeeling beings, which the following two examples clearly show.

Here’s the tale in storytelling mode so as not to bore you…

The sun was just beginning to rise. As usual Tigger squeezed out soon as the door cracked opened. Instead of racing off to the kitchen way Zoey used to he stood on his hind legs to let me stroke his head. He then nudged my naked toes with his cold, damp nose, making me start my day with a good chuckle. His freedom came a little later than usual but he’s downright diplomatic about it. In the living room he pawed at his mat, then went for my toes again while I stood riveted in front of the television.

Zander and BFF, John Dolan

The weekend edition of Good Morning America (GMA) was on. The guests were Zander, a seven-year-old Samoyed-Husky mix and his owner John Dolan. The teaser was that Dolan was admitted to the hospital and a heartsick Zander trekked two miles to be by his side. The hosts know what suckers we are for a good animal story so keep us hanging for a while.

As I prepared Tigger’s breakfast, he didn’t meow even once. Looking down at the blissful cat I asked, “Who are you and where the hell is Tigger?” In answer, he dug his head hard against the edge of the wood surrounding the dishwasher, lawnmower purrs filling the kitchen.  After he’d eaten I let him drink from the bathroom faucet then let him out the front door.

With an ear out for Zander’s tale, I did a few chores then returned to the idiot box. “Release me,” I moaned really drawing it out. I don’t know how long I stood there before a noise, an outside distraction, got my attention. A persistent scratching I quickly recognized.  “Tigger, you know better,” I chastised, rushing to let him in before he could do damage. The cat shot past me as though the hound from hell was on his heels.

It wasn’t Cerberus but could’ve spelled equally bad news for the wayward tabby had his frantic clawing on the screen not gotten my attention. The neighbor’s dog, an Eddie on the show Frazier look-alike, charged right up to the opened patio door, teeth bared barking and growling.

Cigarette protruding from her hand like an extra appendage, my neighbor called to her charge and trotted across the back lawn. I ignored her as I scooped Tigger  into my arms. Tail bushed out three times its normal size, he allowed me to hold him. After several seconds he nipped at me to regain his alpha maleness then made his  way down the hall. “I just saved your life Mister Man,” I yelled after his retreating back. “You are so very welcome.”

Tragedy averted I returned to the tease show. Zander and his owner are on set. John is telling the hosts how Zander slipped away from home to find him. To be by his friend’s side, the loyal Husky took on some pretty dangerous terrain to get to a hospital he had never before been. The two mile trek, probably entailed crossing a nature reserve, stream, and even a busy four-lane highway. While Dolan talked the blue-eyed white husky sat there grinning tail wagging. It’s obvious the two love each other. Zander just went the extra miles to prove it.

Tigger and Zander are examples of how intelligent animals really are. I am sure some of you have stories just as interesting. Care to share?


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.