Sunday, April 22, 2012

How I became a crazy cat lady – Part 3

Tigger's Turn

My story about Tigger is really more Hubby’s story.  She was really his cat.  Not so much by his choice but very much by hers.  However, since hubby doesn’t blog and he seemed to appreciate the tale (haa haa) of Shadow, he has entrusted me to tell the story of this crazy, possessive, jealous, beautiful Maine Coon kitty.

It was all my own fault, really.

We were owned by Shadow for about a year when we realized that perhaps she was lonely all day when we were both at work.  Granted, she probably slept most of that time, but still, there is nothing better to clear a sleepy head than a good solid ass kicking provided to another family member.  Yep, she was something of an alpha cat and she obviously needed to keep something in line because a lot of her training was lost on us.

So, I started looking.  I worked in a mall and during my lunch breaks I would walk down to Olga’s Kitchen (which I really miss by the way), passing the pet shop along the way.  One day, I peered into the pet shop window (this was back in the day where buying animals from these stores was still socially acceptable) and saw some adorable kittens playing.  I found the nearest payphone (I know, right? How quaint) and called the hubster. (We weren’t married yet, but it’s just easier to call him that then go back and forth between boyfriend, fiancĂ©e and hubby. We’re gonna stick with the end result.)

I probably went on about how cute these kitties were for about 10 minutes until hubster mentioned that we had to both get back to work.  I hung up, then continued my shift at Kauffmann’s until it was time to head home. 

When I opened up the door to our little brick oven apartment that night, the hubby was there to greet me – with a big honkin’ smile on his face.  He had a surprise to show me – but it was hidden under our bed, so I had to go take a look.  Meanwhile, Shadow is hanging around two feet away from the bed, randomly hissing at something that is hidden under it… I get down on my hands and knees and take a peek under the bedspread – and there is this rather large guinea pig thing looking back out at me. I aks him – “What the hell is that?”

He responds, “That is the kitty you were telling me about on the phone.  I went to the pet store and bought her to surprise you.”

Being the ungrateful bitch that I am, I tell him that isn’t the kitty I was talking about and the critter under the bed looks like an overgrown hamster with cowlicks.  Then he tells me what happened when he went to the pet store.

Apparently, he went in and asked the salesperson about the kitties he saw in the window.  The sales person hands him this big fluff ball and as soon as hubster picks her up, she snuggles into him, digs her claws into his sweater, looks up at him and starts purring… loudly.  He looks at the sales person and says, “I guess I’m taking this one.”

After he tells me this, I give him a great big hug and tell him, “Of course you had to bring her home.”  I don’t think I could have resisted that kind of snuggle manipulation either.  We then decide to give her a bath to get the pet store smell off of her (and check for fleas and the like) and towel her dry.  She was pretty good about the whole getting a bath thing – much more so than her older adopted sister.

From then on, Tom belonged to Tigger.  She followed him everywhere.  If he was sitting at his desk, she was either on the desk behind him or on the roll out shelf that was part of his desk.  If he was busy doing homework, she would insist on climbing up on his lap and snuggling in.  We started calling her “Tom’s familiar.” She rarely tolerated anyone picking her up outside of Tom or me and I am fairly certain she just barely tolerated me.

She also had a nasty jealous streak when it came to her human.  Whenever I tried to snuggle up to him, she would insist on getting in between us.  It was especially noticeable when we went to bed.  If I tried to spoon Tom for warmth in the winter, she would walk up the bed, onto the pillow and position herself between our heads, purring loudly, until I moved away.  Then she would get between us to sleep.  If we were sitting on the couch, same thing – she always had to be between us.  She would sometimes hiss or swat at the other cats that were looking for his attention. 

Other than her possessive streak, and her penchant for having litter box issues, she was a sweet kitty.  She had a tiny squeaky voice that was amusing coming from a cat of such girth.  But she did have the best purr I have ever heard.  There had been more than one occasion where it would lull one (or both of us) to sleep.

But sadly, after 18 years, the day came where we had to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep.  Her kidneys were shutting down, she had lost a tremendous amount of weight and she was weak.  This was hardest on Tom, because she was his baby and he knew how much he would miss her.  He also felt like he was betraying her trust with this last act, even though it was the necessary choice.

When we took her to the vets that day, they took her away to put in the IV line for the euthanasia drugs.  When they brought her back, they gave her to Tom so he could hold her to say goodbye. When he picks her up, she snuggles into him, digs her claws into his sweater, looks up at him and starts purring… loudly.

And on that sunny August day, she said goodbye in the same manner as how she said hello. And less than two minutes later, she was gone.

We miss you, Tigs.  Your human, Tom, misses you most of all.