Tigra, 1982? – September 25th, 2000
To my beloved Tigra,
You passed away yesterday morning on September the 25th, 2000, 8:15 A.M. I am writing you this letter the day after you have died, on the 26th in the A.M approximately 24 hours after your death. I am hurting, missing you more than you could know. It’s only been one day and one night since I have last rubbed your belly, let you sniff my fingers, or patted your head and the sides of your face as you would push your face against my hand. Actually yesterday you were to weak to sniff my fingers as I placed them in front of your face, and to weak to rub your face against my fingers as you would always do in the past. Im still criing as I mourn over you, tears are presently streaming down my face, I need to run and grab a box full of tissues before I can continue to reflect upon your life…
I have had you since I was about five years old and I am 23 now. Your life span was about 19 years I figure, without any long or re-occuring illnesses, you lived A very good long life with a family that you found, who loved you very much. Thank you so much for wondering over into our house and in our hearts. I know that in the course of your life you certainly have enlightened my life, and gave me countless wonderfull memories, I’ll never forget you as long as I live, no other animal will ever replace the peice of my heart in which you will always be alive. Your my oldest friend, I have known you longer than anyone else besides my immediate family.
In the summer time of 1982, you wondered into our yard when we lived in Lindenhurst Illinois, 1711 Hazelwood Rd. You came up to our front porch meowing, so we gave you a bowl of milk wondering where it was you came from. I just watched you with amazment, I always wanted a pet and I thought you would be perfect. When you were finished with your milk, you walked away and continued to wonder around the neighborhood. The next day however, our next door neighbor found you wondering in there basement because they had left there basement door open, but not expecting to find you there. They knew we were interested in you, so she brought you over to us and I was able to talk my parents into adopting you into our home. I was only five years old and excited to finally have a cat to take care of and play with. We had an idea of where you came from, but was not sure. We did’nt know if you came from that yellow house around the corner a few houses down on the other side of the road. But you did’nt seem like you were homesick and if you did belong over there then they obviously did not care enough about you to just let you wonder the neighborhood without ever calling you back home. In my opinion, you belonged with us. I can remember my dad telling me that if anyone came around looking for you, then we would have to give you up, oh I hated that and it scarred me that someone might take you away from me. If you did belong to those people in that yellow house I certainly did not want you to have to go back to them because I did not like them very much anyway. You deserved a better home. I can remember mom and dad going out that night, so the babysitters were there watching me and my brother. The two babysitters are sisters, they are sisters in the house of the basement you wondered into earlier that day. The night had passed and no one came looking for you. The next day had come and gone, still no one looking for you. After a few days, I started to believe you would be mine forever :o) But we always kept you inside so that you wouldnt wonder off and get lost, or kidnapped or something like that. But mostly because we did’nt want the people in the yellow house to spot you outside and reclaim you if they saw you. I know you were an outside type of cat, and I’m sorry we kept you indoors all the time. You did have the whole house to run around in and play in, and you loved to lay on the window sill in the sunlight. You were very happy living with us, I know this because it showed a great deal and that made me very happy to have you in our lives.
The years went by, most of my memories of you are common every day memories that I never took for granted. Every day you would talk to us, meowing for something or another, usually to be petted because you loved your face to be rubbed more than anything. Your purr was so pleasant and so noticeable. The way you would talk to us was amazing. You presented a very strong personality to us that I will never forget among many other things. You werent a very active or playful cat, most of the time you would just lay around and expect to be petted at all time by someone…lol If someone would sit next to where you were sitting on the couch, or even just walk through the front door you would look up and meow at them saying, “pet me!” I can remember triing to sleep with you in my bed and the only way you would stay is if I was constantly petting you till you fell asleep. Other every day memories I have of you is how I would watch you clean yourself, or how you would eat while you were purring. Whenever we took you to the vet, or anytime you were in a car you would just scream at the top of your lungs the whole trip because you hated car rides so much. I will never forget how your tummy would sway back and fourth as you would walk or run becuase it was so low and it sagged. You always looked like you were carrying kittens..lol… Some specific memories, I remember when you were very young, you were playing with some fishing line on some fishing poles we had laying against a corner in the basement. You got a hook caught in one of your paws so we had to take you to the emergency vet and have it removed. You had to have your paw covered in bandages for the next several days after that, but you never messed around with fishing poles again after that. I remember the times I would take you outside to roll around in the grass in the warm summer sunlight. You would just roll over and then go back on your feet and start eating the grass while purring very loudly. You hated it when I would bring you back inside, but I couldnt leave you out there unattended! A year or so after you found us, I decided we needed to get another cat so that you would have a companion. I did’nt want you to get lonely being the only cat in the house, so somehow I talked my parents into buying a cat for you. We picked out an all white one and named her snowball. She was a scarred little cat, never trusting any of us and never showing her pretty face around. Always hid in the basement. We figured she was just scared because we were new to her and that she would get use to us. Over the years, about 17 or 18 of them, she has gotten better but she is still spooked lots more than she should be. We will never understand why that is, why she is always so scarred her entire life. But you however, made a huge difference in her life. You took her in like a mom would. You even let her breast feed, even though you could not have been producing milk, and we had you spayed anyway. You are the only creature in the entire world she ever trusted. Her only friend. So as it turns out, the whole idea why I wanted to have Snowball, served its purpose. However Snowball needed you a lot more than you needed her. If she never knew you, she would have gone through her life without a single friend, or an ounce of trust in anyone, so im very glad we bought her and you took her in like a mother. She was also the only cat you ever liked. If another cat would even come around you, you would just hiss and scare it away. Same for dogs or any animal. Even our dogs Nugget and Sandy you never cared for. Over the years after getting our first dog since we had you, about 11 years ago, you have gotten a little more use to it. You tended to just ignore them more, but even still if they got to close you would hiss. I remember one day looking for you, and finding you in a box full of blankets and sleeping bags, just laying there all comfy and cozy. I just stopped in my tracks and let out a big awwwwwwwww you are so damn cute, I found you!!! Of course I went to grab my new digital camera and took a picture of it. You just looked up at me with wide open eyes and meowed at me like what do you want? Twas terribly cute and made a great picture. It’s posted on the site.
In the course of your life, you had to get use to a new house two times, not including the house we lived in when you found us. You were with us for so very long. From 1982 to 2000 is a long time to have any pet. And after that much time, especially sicne I had you from the time I was 5 to now, it’s hard to let you go and to say goodbye forever. I knew well ahead of time I was going to go through hell getting past your death. The last two or three years you have amazed me with still being alive and well in your old age. Every day for the past two or three years I thought to myself I wonder how much time you have left because you are living longer than most cats do already. I would spend time with you every chance I could get while your still here with us. And you just kept living even longer and longer, and knew I was going to have a very hard time dealing with when you finally do pass away. Every day I would tell you that I love you and that I would miss you so much when you are finally not here with us anymore. I would tell you that you dont know how much you mean to me and I’d thank you every day for finding us way back in 1982 when I was only five.
The past year or so I started to notice you were getting thinner. You started to drink more and more water but you were still a healthy cat, no real health problems ever. The past two days however is when it all started to happen. Two days before you died, I noticed you were hobbling just a little as you walked. But you still could jump up on the couch, so I was’nt worried to much about it. Though every morning for the past year or so I would check to make sure your still alive. I figured that because your so old, that when you do pass away, we would just find you laying dead somewhere in the house suddenly like that. The day after I saw you hobbling, after I got home from work I found you laying in the hall way. I went to go pick you up and you just seemed very sluggish to me. This was the day before you died. I asked you what was the matter and you would not make any facial expressions at all. You were always so good at talking to us and I was getting nothing at all this time except I could tell you were miserable. I took you to my room and layed you down on my bed and put a soft pillow beneath you. When I set you down, your legs would slowly collapse and you would fall/roll to your side and slowly lay your head down againt the side like you were just giving up. At that point I recieved a terrible feeling that this could be it, your finally diing now after all of these years. I noticed your third eyelid half way closed. I put in some poison on my stereo so we could listen to them just like we did as we were growing up. You should certainly recognize that stuff. I use to listen to that stuff all the time when we were growing up, and still do :o) As I sat there with you I started to cry, just thinking about how you were not going to be around anymore if this was really it for you. I got down on the floor and looked at you dead in your eyes, and you looked back as me as I had already started criing. You even turned your head a little bit to see me after I started criing for you. I poured my heart out to you right there telling you how much you meant to me, how much you will always mean to me and how much I was so happy that you found your way into my life when we were both so young. You deserve a lot of credit for how good you have made me feel all of the years I have had you. I hope and pray you understood that just from watching me cry so much for you, and all the times I spent hours just holding you and cuddling with you and feeding you and taking care of you and so on and so fourth. I put a towel on my bed and I let you sleep with me beside me on my bed that night. You hardly moved at all that entire night. I had trouble sleeping worrying if you were going to die while I was asleep next to you. I kept checking to make sure you were still alive and that you were comfortable. I jut pet your head and the sides of your face the way you like most of the night. Your purr was very faint. That made me sad, but at lest I knew you were enjoying it. I got out of bed at 7 that morning. Little did I know that was going to be your last night of sleep, and your last morning. Im so glad I was there with you on your last night. You started to move to the edge of the bed, like you wanted to jump off, but you could’nt. You could’nt even stand up anymore at all so you just layed there and stopped triing. At least it was a sign to me that you were ready to get out of bed. I took you to the living room carrying you on your pillow to the water dish to see if you were thirsty. You would just lay your head in the water, occaisionally I would see you taking very small sips while your face was in the dish. To tired to lift your head out, but you wanted it there anyway. I had to keep close watch to make sure you would’nt drown. I picked you up and put you in the liter box so you could go to the bathroom. You just layed there in it for a minute and did nothing. You tried to get out of the liter box but you fell over and your hind legs hit the water dish beside the liter box. You were completely helpless and could’nt do anything for yourseld anymore, so I picked you back up and layed you back down on your pillow. My mom and I wanted to take you to the vet to find out for sure what was wrong, even though we had a pretty good idea what was happening to you at 19 years of age. My mom wanted to have you put to sleep if you were really diing. I said no way, my Tigra is going to die naturally becaus she doent look like she is suffering, she wasnt laboring to breath or anything, she was just miserable and to me that isnt enough to put an animal to sleep. When we got to the vet in Bristol Wisonsin, we were there right when they opened. We did’nt have an appointment, we didnt call to tell them we were comming with an emergency. We were the only ones there, they took us right away. Immediately I could see the look on the doctors face, and his assistant. They watched your little legs collapse as I set you on the cold steel table, and your head go down. The dr. took your temp and you started to urinate on yourself. The assistant noticed your third eyelid was closing. My mom asked why she was urinating and why the smell was so strong. The dr. said she was shutting down. I heard those words she was shutting down and I started to lose it right there in the examination room right after my mom did. The nurse there brought us a box of tissues. The dr. said if it were my cat I’d put her to sleep. That is what my mom said to do, but she left it up to me. I said no way, I dont think its worth it, let her die naturally because she is’nt in a lot of pain. The nurse there told me that it was not true even though it appears she is not suffering a great deal, that she is in fact suffering enough to where it’s even more cruel to let you die naturally than to put you to sleep and put you down. I went down to the table and looked into your eyes for about ten seconds in silence and said to the dr. ok go ahead and do it, put her to sleep. Wondering if you would want that or not, I did’nt know. I honestly dont know how much pain you were in, and if it was enough to put you to sleep. You were obviously shutting down, your urine test and temp and smell and all other signs pointed in that direction, and the fact your 19 years old, you were definately diing. I sincerely hope that is what you wanted, to just be put to sleep to end whatever pain or discomfort you were going through. The nurse and the dr. let me stay there with you when you were being givin the shots. There was no way I was going to let you die in a room of people you didnt know. I got down to eye level with you and reached my arms out to pet you on your head and the sides of your face one last time while you were still alive as the dr. was giving you the shots. You were looking at me the whole time you were laying there diing as I was looking back at you with my tear filled eyes. I had my mom go to the van to get your pillow so you could be more comfortable, so you would’nt have to die liing on that cold steel table. The first shot was to put you to sleep for the final injection. As you were falling asleep, you stretched out your little front paws to me like you always have before when I would pet you. You definately knew I was there petting you the way you liked, and you were very comfortable falling asleep. I continued to pet you even after you fell to sleep. You threw up from the anesthesia as you fell to sleep. The dr. then gave you the last injection, straight to your heart to end your long life. About 6 or 7 seconds after the second injection was given, your whole body went into a major spasm, your mouth opened wide and then shut again, arms swayed up and down erratically and your whole back stretched out and then coiled up again. I guess that was the sign that the second injection took affect. Im so glad you were already sleeping and at peace when the second shot was given, that looked like it would have been very unpleasant to take while awake. I was still petting you even after you had died, your eyes were still open, still looking directly into mine. I was the last thing you ever saw and that makes me so happy that you got to die laying with someone who you loved and trusted more than anything else in the entire world, who also loved you back a great deal. We took you back home where I burried you in the backyard about four or five feet from where Nugget was burried, in front of the wood pile. When I was carrying you out to the van, and for the first minute or so on the ride back home, your muscles were still spasming, and your body was still taking a few more gasps of air. I laid your body on the pillow that you died on and that you rested on for the drive to the vet. That was the quitest car you ride you have ever been on by the way. You didnt even make a peep, but your eyes were open as wide as you could get them the entire way, and I think you even lifted your head up once or twice along the way. When we got home from the vet, I showed you to Sandy so she would know. And then after that I had to show Snowball, that her only friend in the world she ever had, was dead. I set you down in the basement floor, on your pillow. And I held snowball next to you untill she reached over to sniff you. After she sniffed you she backed her head away and I gently let her go. She took off for behind the reclining chair you both have been relaxing and sleeping on for so many years. I don’t know if she was freaking out becuase she knew you were dead, or because she is a spooky cat like she has always been. But her behavior has not changed at all since you have been gone Tigra. I was worried she would freak out and trash the house or something like that. But she seems to be fine, there is no change in her whatsoever. I will never understand that cat at all. After I showed the other animals you had died, I took you to the back yard and I started digging. I dug a proper hole exactly three feet deep that I dug with a regular garden shovel and then measured to make sure. It took me about an hour in a half to do. My mom came out to see how I was doing dealing with this. I had her take some pictures, one of myself digging, and another of me with my Tigra. The last one of me and my Tigra, and the only one of us with you being dead. I also took some pictures, with my new digital camera. I took a couple of Tigra laying on the pillow that she was going to be burried with, in the position she was going to burried in. She looked so peaceful. I took a picture of the spot I was going to dig, before I started digging, I took one of the hole after it was dug out completely, and I took one more picture of the hole after I had placed you in it. Your body is laying on it’s right side, paws legs and arms stretched out like you like, with your front paws curled in. Your head is slightly tucked and your tail is running along your back legs. Your head is towards the garage, your tail to the fench. When I placed you in your final resting place, I set you down laying the way I described on your pillow, and then I placed a multicolored rainbow colored towel over your body and I tucked down the edges of the towl along the edges of the pillow. Before I placed you there, I petted you one last time, just the way you like, except you werent there to sniff my fingers first and then rub your face against my hand. I said my last goodbye and took my last look at you before I placed the towel over your body as im squating there beside you uncontrollably weeping. Immedieately after I place you, I start to put the dirt back over the hole covering you up. This was by far the hardest part of the whole thing for me, covering you up. I was criing so hard that my whole body was heaving forward in sudden jolts every time I would take a breath. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It only took about five minutes to fill the hole and I was done. I took another picture of the covered hole, and then said goodbye, again, and then went inside the house without spending anymore time out there. When I was covering you up, I just wanted to get done because it was getting way to hard to be out there anymore. I never even cried so hard for a human that has died in my life. I didnt even cry as hard for Nugget when she died, as I have said at that time she was my absolute most favorite pet I have ever had. I honestly feel that both of you two are now. I know, and I have always known that I have been closer to you and Nugget than any other animal. You and I, and Nugget and I always had a special bond I have never had with any other animal. And now your both gone forever…
A day later after your gone, today, I cant believe Ill never see you again. You are the most cuddly cat I have ever known. You have the strongest personality I have ever known on any animal, your way of cummunicating with people is unmatched. Im sorry you never had any kittens of your own, though you did take on the role of the mother for Snowball which I cant thank you enough for. I feel like my child hood is gone right now because you were the biggest part of my childhood without a dought. Your the only friend I still have since my childhood as well. At least once every minute, even as Im writing you this letter, Ill turn my head somewhere and crave for you to come walking out from somewhere looking up at me and meowing for me to pet you. Yesterday all day I just wanted to find myself waking up from a bad dream and find you right outside my door waiting for me to come and rub your face. Every time I open a door I so badly want you to be there. I went down to check on Snowball this morning when I woke up just before I sat down here to make sure she is ok. I can’t even begin to justly express in the form of words how badly I wanted to find you there, or inside that box I mentioned earlier with the blankets and sleeping bags. Its enough to make me stop what ever it is that I’m doing and cry again. Losing you is like losing a Kid. Why can’t cat’s and dog’s live longer than 9 or 12 or 15 or 19 years? It’s like, if your not really old yourself, and you get a cat or dog, then you know you are just setting yourself up to get hurt after you get so attatched to your pet and it dies on you. But even still, I would rather have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
In closing, and yet another final farewell to you Tigra, I want you to know your life has enlightened mine more than words can say, and that never will another pet take the place in my heart that you have filled. Im still criing and mourning the great lose in my life, I will be fine in time. Even though I don’t believe that animals have souls other than human’s, I know your not miserable anymore like you were the last day in a half of your life of 19 years. Fly to the angels Tigra…
Rest in Peice Tigra, you deserve it so much,
From your oldest and best friend with endless unconditional love forever,
Pictures of my Tigra the night before she died..
Pictures of my kitty cat after her death..