Among all the hope and happiness, January 30th marked a devastating goodbye.
My family knew Tiger as the “million dollar cat,” because he always got into fights and came home with injuries and infections. When we moved to Illinois, there weren’t any neighborhood cats to duel, but that didn’t stop Tiger’s misadventures. One morning, he came to us crawling like an Amnesia monster and incapable of walking, and we took him to the vet immediately. The vet was staggered as he’d never seen such a case; Tiger’s bones were fine, but his muscles were torn apart. The surgery was a hefty bill, but my family was relieved and lucky that we could afford it at the time and save Tiger’s life. Post-surgery required him to stay off his new legs for 4 weeks, but he could barely handle a day. My dad bought a children’s crib that we sentenced Tiger to, but it only worked until he gained the strength and knowledge to climb out. And he did. Constantly. ಠ皿ಠ Since then, he’s never sat like a regular cat, but it added to his warrior stature.
When Tiger started loosing his appetite, I assumed he was just being picky, but on Sunday he stopped eating and drinking altogether and didn’t move from his spot. The next morning Tiger had a vet appointment scheduled for 1:30PM, but my mom found him crying and panting frantically, so we called for an emergency appointment. In the car, I held Tiger on my lap and tried to send him good energy, even though I felt we were headed towards bad news… but halfway through the drive I threw out those thoughts. Tiger hadn’t given up, and neither would I.
The vet took him in for a blood test, and 45 minutes later she returned to explain the situation. His temperature read ten degrees below average, and even after wrapping him in heating pads, his legs were stiff and cold. He had developed a blood clot at the end of his spine where the veins split and circulate blood into the legs, and this explained why he hadn’t moved the day before. Regarding his blood test, it showed an exponential amount of white cells, indicating cancer. The blood clot was causing Tiger immense pain though, and the vet told us that some cats recover while others don’t. Due to his suffering and the uncertainty of a healthy recovery, as well as the surplus of other health problems coming up, my family decided the best choice was to put Tiger to rest.
My dad couldn’t handle staying for the procedure after loosing several animals these last two years, so he waited in the car. When the nurse brought Tiger in, he continued crying, and the vet gave him anesthesia as soon as possible. My mom and I cried while petting Tiger, and my mind spun with all the good thoughts I wanted to send him off with.
Eventually, the vet returned with the euthanasia, and due to Tiger’s weakened veins, she needed to inject it into his heart. I thought about how much of a warrior Tiger had been and even in his last moments he could only be put down from such a fatal spot. Even after the first injection, he needed two more in his arm. Despite his final moments and the sorrow of saying goodbye, I’m sure Tiger would be proud and amused as to what it took to put him to rest. Crazy lil’ guy…
The passage of death is peaceful, not painful, but for those left on Earth, there is suffering. My family, especially my mom, all miss him terribly, and it feels unreal to look at his pictures and know that a week ago he was here with us, but now he isn’t. I can see his face clearly as he’d waddle into the pantry where I’d divide up the cat food, and he lean into his bowl with his back legs and bottom sticking up like usual. He had such a quirky personality. I miss him so much.
He is no longer suffering in this life’s physical form, and that’s what matters most. Wherever he goes next, be it Heaven, a reincarnated self, or the fabric of the universe, his soul lives on somewhere, and maybe I’ll meet him again in the future. And if not, he will always be the beloved Tiger of our family.
I miss you. I love you. Rest in peace, Tiger.