The injections have done their work, your heart is now still. I can't believe you're really gone, Tiger. As I stand here staring in shock and disbelief at your now lifeless but still beautiful body I can't help but think of what we shared...
Do you remember when we first met? I do. The memory is so strong, it's as though it happened just yesterday. One day, out of nowhere, you just showed up in the barn. I thought you were the most handsome animal I had ever seen. I still do, Tiger. I remember the special bond we that both felt the instant we first saw each other. It was like we were friends and soul mates who had known each other for a long time. Our special bond was strong then, and grew stronger with time.
Do you remember that you wouldn't come out of the barn for a long time? I even had to take your food and water out there to you. You loved to lay on my workbench. I cleared a place and put a blanket down, right in front of the window, just for you.
After a while I was able to coax you out of the barn and got you to eat on the front porch. I made a bed for you there, and you made yourself quite at home. It was so nice to get up in the morning and see you there. And for you to be there when I got home at night.
Eventually you made your way into the house. Kitty Lea, who was already a resident here, didn't really like the idea of having to share her home with you at first. Do you remember how she used to come up to you and swat your face? You always just sat there calmly, never once raising a paw towards her in retaliation. You and Kitty eventually did become friends, even though, for reasons known only to her, she felt that she needed to give you a good cuff from time to time. But the only time you ever touched her was when you would lovingly groom her fur.
Do you remember when Princess had her kittens? You seemed indifferent the first time you saw them. Later, when they were a little older and you were allowed to have contact with them, you showed how you really felt by immediately beginning to caress and groom them. Tiger, you were always such a good kitty!
Your nightly routine was predictable. You liked to jump up on the bed sometime during the middle of the night, announcing your arrival with a big MEOW. I would say "Here, Tiger" and then you would get under the covers and snuggle to me. You would lay there next to me, on your side, facing me, your front legs stretched out, your paws gently touching my face. By then you were always purring loudly. But I didn't mind, the sound of your purr was never annoying, even at 3 am. As I would stroke you, your purr grew softer and softer, eventually fading away to just the sound of your deep breathing as you fell asleep at the same time I did, my arm around you. I don't think there are words to express how beautiful those moments were and how so very much I will always miss them.
I'm glad I thought to show you how much I loved you while you were here, Tiger. I knew from past experience that time together needs to be savored. I remember telling you often, in word and deed, how much I liked having you in my life and just how special I thought you were. I'm glad that I did, because it's comforting to know that you knew just how much you were loved and just how important you were to me. I don't know how you found your way into my life, but I do know that no road you could have traveled would have taken you to a happier home.
I've been fortunate enough to have had the companionship of many wonderful cats over the years, and long ago I came to know that every cat is beautiful and unique in its own way. But Tiger, you were so very different somehow. What was it about you that made us feel so close? I suppose there are no words to fully answer that. But I do know that you were my best buddy, Tiger, and I'll never forget you. I'm thankful beyond words that you came into my life, and I'm happy for the memories I have of you. But just as our happiness seemed to know no limits, neither does my sadness now that you are gone. You left behind an emptiness that can never be filled.
It's hard to accept that your eyes will never again open and gaze into mine. I'll never again hear your wonderful purr or your sonorous voice at suppertime. I'm trying to console myself with the knowledge that you are now no longer in pain, it must have been terrible. If I could have made you well again by transferring your hurt to me I would have done so without hesitation. My last words to you were "We're going to make it stop hurting, Tiger." I hope you understand that was a very special way to say "I love you, Tiger."
Goodbye for now Tiger, until we meet again...
???? - May 12, 1997
If only you could have lived
as long as my memories will ...
If love could have saved,
you would be with me still.
ęCopyright 1997 by Ron