Tiger seemed to be improving in health over the weekend. His appetite was improving, he was walking around again. The diuretic pills seemed to be making a difference in that he was peeing more. He had stopped wheezing and sneezing so we thought the calicivirus was settling down too.
However around 3:30am yesterday I was awoken by Tiger collapsing in my arms struggling to breathe. I screamed out for mum. Tiger took a shuddering deep breath and held it for such a long time and then let it out in a wail on anguish and terror. I massaged his little chest and got another breath back into him and screamed out for mum again. I told him over that he was a wonderful puss and please breathe, please cough it up, but he didn’t. Mum helped massage his little chest and we got another breath into him but in retrospect I think this was a spasm and he had passed by this point as he had already voided his bowels and bladder and I could not longer feel his heartbeat. We kept trying for a few more minutes and I kept stroking him and telling him what a wonderful Pusska he was.
Mum says he knew he was dying and he used the last of his strength to get from his basket near the fireplace up onto my bed to be with me as he died. I cry bullshit; he came to me for help but I couldn’t help him.
I rang the vets at 8am and spoke to the vet who saw him on Saturday. He sounded very surprised at the news and only muttered something about embolisms being common in cats with heart murmurs.
Tiger was buried near one of his favourite early morning sunning spots in the garden. We’ve planted some newly sprouted jonquil and daffodil bulbs over him as he loved to hide in under those flowers and watch the world go past.
He was neglected and abandoned by all else who knew him. While he was with us he discovered:
- You don’t have to wolf down every skerrick of food you see the second you see it. More will come.
- It’s OK to leave food you don’t like. Eventually new food will be put down.
- It’s OK to like or not like food.
- Dinner is 5:30pm every night. Even if you have to remind the humans. Repeatedly.
- You can leave food in your bowl, it will still be there when you get back.
- You have a bowl that is yours and no-one elses.
- And a basket, and a spot on the bed and various spots in the gardens!
- How to successfully catch a mouse.
- How to play with a ball.
- How to play with another cat. I think Abby and Tiger figured this one out together.
- To get the midnight crazies and run around the house at top speed for no reason.
- What brushing or grooming is
- That brushing or grooming is really really nice.
- That a hand reaching for you is going to pat you, not hurt you.
Once we raised Abby’s food bowl to a height where Tiger could not easily access it, there was never any need to say no to him. There were never any unkind words or even any exasperation from the humans. Abby had some territory disputes like sitting in all the baskets first, but Tiger eventually claimed the one he wanted 🙂 Abby would regularly ambush him at our one curtained doorway, so he would avoid that doorway unless he was in a playful mood.
Tiger would never walk all the way up to any human. He would stop just out of arms reach and sit or flop and wave all four paws in the air. If you wanted to pat him or rub his belly, you had to move that final step towards him. This was also his signal that it was dinner time; he would walk up and flop. If you ignored him, he would huff, walk past you again and flop again, just out of reach, earning the nickname Flop Cat 🙂
On Saturday afternoon when I decided I needed some new photos for the previous blog post, I found Tiger in one of his favourite garden hidey spots. After I kneeled and took a few shots, he stretched, and for the very first time he walked straight to me, head butted my thigh and wrapped himself around me. I cried.
We had so many more things to show you Tiger about a loving home. You deserved a much better life than you had, little flop cat.