Thursday, 12 March 2009

A Piece Missing


Tigger and her sister Teasel came into our life aged 6 in 1999, when a friend persuaded us to adopt them. They had belonged to her neighbour, a woman who was now terminally ill; her husband was her carer and struggled to cope with job, terminally ill wife, children, running the household and pet care. Something had to give, and as a result Tigger & Teasel ended up living in the garden with a rather intermitttent supply of food. My friend asked if we'd adopt them, and we did.

Tigger and Teasel were from the same litter, but as different as chalk and cheese. Tigger was very big for a female cat, strong, big-boned, sleek of fur and boldly striped. Teasel was small and fluffy with a delicate heart-shaped face and subtle dark mackerel-striped tabby fur. Tigger was a diva from nose to tail, highly strung, proud, regal, thoroughly convinced that she was the centre of the universe. I used to joke that she thought T and I were a pair of trained monkeys employed to wait on her. Teasel was sweet, affectionate and sociable. I nicknamed Tigger my Princess and Teasel my Angel.

Unfortunately, Tigger and Teasel never got on. Perhaps because they'd had to compete for food during their life as outside cats, or perhaps they were just too different. But somehow we all learned to work round each other and when we moved to Wales in 2000 they came with us to a new life in the country.

Teasel adapted to the countryside well, and became an expert hunter, once even struggling back home with a rabbit bigger than herself (which I rescued and freed, much to her disgust). Tigger enjoyed a life of aristocratic snoozing in sunny patches under the hedge. Both were spoiled rotten by T and I.

In 2004 we added two kittens to the household, Bear and Marley. Teasel acted like a slightly impatient aunt and taught them hunting skills, and Bear in particular followed her around with a look of hero-worship. Tigger on the other hand treated them with utter disdain and was quick to quash any kitten nonsense with a swipe of the paw should they dare to approach her royal personage. They soon learned to stay out of reach, although Marley could never resist attacking a sleeping Tigger's tail.

We were all heartbroken the following year when it was discovered that Teasel had an inoperable tumour in her stomach and had to be put down.

Down to three cats, a clear class system evolved. Tigger was the Princess, the grand old lady who expected total respect and obedience. Bear and Marley grudgingly showed deference, giving grumpy Tig a wide berth.

Despite her diva-like demeanour, Tigger was always very affectionate to us and liked nothing better than to snuggle on a cosy lap. She especially adored T, who adored her back. When she developed health problems a couple of years ago and had to be given a tablet twice daily, she proved to be surprisingly good about taking the medication. Gradually as the years passed she slowed down, but still enjoyed cuddles, time in the garden every day and a healthy appetite.


Last Monday, after a normal start to the day (jumping up on the bed for a cuddle when the alarm went off, breakfast, walk in the garden) she suddenly developed breathing problems. By the time I got her to the vet she had deteriorated quite quickly. The vet tried injections and putting her in an oxygen tent, but it was no use. There was no improvement and when she became distressed by the inability to breathe the decision was made to put her down.

T came down after work on Tuesday and with many tears from both of us, we buried her in one of her favourite sunny spots under the hedge.

I am glad in a way that it happened quickly, with minimal suffering. But now it seems there is a piece missing. I mentally count one, two, three - no, only two cats now. Even though much of her time of late was spent sleeping, I feel the lack of her presence. Such a big personality leaves a big empty space when it goes.

RIP Tigger - survivor, Princess, big stripy purring machine, friend.

24 comments:

Mel said...

I am so sorry for your loss....she looks to be a wonderfully sweet girl - in all her cat-ness!

I remember too well the empty space left when a furry friend moves on...

brightest blessings...

Suze said...

I am so sorry to read that a hole has come into your life. She sounds a special character...and had a wonderful life with your family.

I too cried when I had to say goodbye to my furry guy...

Thoughts are with you...

Rose said...

Thinking of you and I am saddened by your household's loss...

Tempewytch said...

I'm sorry for your loss, it is horrible when you lose a member of the family.

Griffin said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I've had three cats in my life, all of them living and dying in our family and becoming part of it. I loved them all deeply.

Still, you have the pictures and memories of her to hold on to and more importantly, two other cats who will need a lap and a cuddle.

Now she can go to the Happy Hunting Ground and be a kitten again.

cynthia said...

I'm so sorry, Moon. I lost my Nathanial last fall. It hurt so much. All he wanted from me was love and a cuddle. I am tearing up, just thinking of him.
My grandson, who is too young to understand, asks "Where is the white cat, Grandma?". It happens every time he comes to visit me, and each time i ache a little bit... again.

bill said...

Moon, I understand how you are feeling. I'm sorry for your loss. My dog died February 14 with her head on my lap. I miss her terribly.

Livia Indica said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. It's always hard when a furry child takes a path we can't yet follow. Take solace in the remaining two.

Compostwoman said...

I am sorry for your loss. So sad when this happens and it leaves such a huge hole in our lives, doesn't it?

We lost beloved Monty Puss nearly 2 years ago ( he was 17) and I STILL sort of expect to feel him on the bed with me when I wake up, even now :-(

It *does* get better with time, though but still its very sad...

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so sorry to hear this sad news! What a shock.

A friend who recently had to put her cat down was told by the vet that cats do not exhibit any symptoms until things get so bad that they can't hide them. It's a survival instinct to pretend to be well no matter what.

Sending much love to you!

Mike Farley said...

My thoughts are with you. A sad loss - the Father Jack of the triumvirate of cats. What will Ted and Dougal do now? RIP Tig.

aromatic said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of Tigger. I have only just begun catching up with the blogs and was terribly upset to hear your very sad news.
Our beloved pets are always so dear to us and are a big part of family life and when we loose them its hard to bear and you miss them terribly. Time is a big healer and eventually you will begin to get used to them not been around.
I lost a much loved cat to a road accident about ten years ago, he was a huge fluffy ginger cat called .. Fluffy!! Our neighbour also had a cat called Ozzy he was a beautiful blue eyed Siamese who has sadly now also departed this life. Fluffy and Ozzy were best friends and spent many happy cat hours together. After Fluffys unexpected death, Ozzy used to come a calling for his dear friend and it was so upsetting to hear him meowing as he walked around the outside of our home over and over again calling for his friend who was never going to come and play again... it took quite some time for Ozzy to get used to the situation.. but in 'time' he did.
Hope you are finding things easier now...
With Love and Blessings, Jane xxx

Welshwitch said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, it leaves a big hole to lose a member of your family, whatever the number of legs.

Thoughts and blessings are with you

Will said...

Sorry to hear about Tigger. xxx

Lyn said...

OH I know how you feel. My baby boy died last July and reading about Tigger made me cry! They are so part of your family with personalities of their own. We still have our 'princess' Lucy but I do miss Bob (his name was Tilly but called Bob-Long story!)
Thinking about you!
love
Lyn xxx

Karen L R said...

I just found your blog via "everyday life". We lost a beloved kitty a few weeks ago, and we are in the midst of getting used to the world without her. I thought I saw her out of the corner of my eye yesterday, but of course, it wasn't her. Just a whisper of her as a memory, I guess. I will keep you in my thoughts. Fondly, KarenLR

miss*R said...

I am sorry to read this. I remember when Daisy's cat died.. not long after, Pixie (the cat) came to visit her in spirit form..

Sia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. At the same time, I keep thinking how lucky they were to have you and you, them.

From one cat slave to another,

SV

Leanne said...

Oh No, I am sorry Ive only just seen this, the biggest hugs to you, its so hard losing a loved pet. Huge hugs

Leanne x

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Loraine said...

I've got tears.. I've never been good about losing a friend.
Blessings to you and yours.

ICQB said...

Heartfelt condolences to you and yours. My the pain of loss slowly be replaced with the joy of memories.

kerrdelune said...

I am so sorry - I remember how I felt when my Cassie passed away last year. Her passing hurt like blazes, and it still does. There is simply no good time to lose a beloved companion, no matter how old they are.

Pixiedust said...

So sad for your loss, she looked a beautiful cat, and it sounds like she had a fantastic life with you in Wales. ((((hugs)))) Pixie xxx