Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Small in size..."

"Small in size but a giant in my heart" was the title of an article written by Christie Blatchford years ago in the Toronto Star.  It was a heartfelt article about her cat Bill that had died.  Christie described her love for her cat "that was supposed to be a dog", with great detail almost identical to the love we had for our beloved Tigger that died on Monday night.

Tigger was supposed to be my cat but Lennie ended up loving him so much more than me.  Winnie, Tigger's sister was my baby while Tigger was daddy's boy.  Lennie adore Tigger because he had freckles, unbelievable freckles on his nose and the longest whiskers you could imagine.  He really was gorgeous (Tigger that is)

We adopted Tigger and Winnie on October 1, 1994 from Animalert; an animal rescue organization that fosters animals until they can be adopted.  They were born April 1, 1994 and had been rescued from a barn in Glencoe.  We found them in the phonebook and I had called to get 1 cat but when they described the brother sister combo, we had to go see them.  I visited the kitties at their foster home and immediately fell in love with their spunk, and I do mean spunk.

To the day he died, Tigger woke us up several times a night to say " hi, I am hungry...again".  Lennie and I would argue about whose turn it was to get up and give him food, water, snuggles or just to watch him laugh at us for being suckered into his 3:00am game.  Try and try as we might, we would ignore him but he had very cleaver tricks to keep us awake until we got up.  Many an item was knocked off a shelf, paper crumbled, or we ourselves getting a paw in the face until we would succumb to his requests.

We always believed Tigger had about 20 lives.  Twice we lost lost him for several hours.  Once at our old house in Wortley Village and once here at the new house.  Both times, Lennie and found him because we could hear him meowing and followed the sound.  Once, Tigger fell in the pool in the spring while the liner was still in and saved himself by crawling out before I could reach him.  He also suffered from urinary track crystals but overcame that too. 

Anyone who is on our Christmas card list knows that our favourite thing to do was to take a funny family photo with Tigger for the card.  This one was our favourite because Lennie wrote the passage on the inside saying. "Screw the chestnuts roasting on an open fire.." and people howled when they got the card (except my mom who thought is was a little over the top)

My favourite cat story came from a couple of years ago when our furnace went out in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, we are not very handy and the advice my brother gave us to restart the furnace led to a huge fire ball and smoke filling the basement to the point where I grabbed Tigger and hit the garage leaving Lennie to fight the fire with a pot holder and pliers in his underwear.  I never even thought to get him out of the house, Tigger and I were going to be safe no matter what - I paid for that move for a long, long, long time - sorry Lennie. 

Winnie died a few years ago and we buried her in the yard and when the weather is nicer, Tigger will be placed in the yard under the Japanese Maple that he coveted.  The sun was his best friend and he was able to find it no matter how small a crack in a window or coming through the door.  He adore being in the garden, lying under the bushes sunning himself.  This past weekend he got weaker and weaker from kidney failure and stopped eating.  We spent Sunday together watching TV and soaking up the sun like we always did together - he love sitting on people's shoulders like a baby - Lennie always called him "my scarf".

I wonder how I will get through being home with this cancer crap without our constantly companion there for us.  He was so great when I was so sick with Crohns disease.  He always knew when you were not well or who needed some love.  

As I pack away the food, dishes and litter boxes I can't help but be overwhelmed with sadness that there will be no more funny Tigger stories.  Stories about sitting on scrapbooker's supplies, stories of him still catching mice at 16 years old (without front claws), and stories of joy he brought to so many people (especially those that don't like cats - he even got them to smile at his freckles).  But mostly sad because he was so loved, brought so much love to us, and because he truly was one of a kind. 

Bye special friend, we love you.