Tigger, the Backyard Cat


Of all the cats I've rescued in my life, Tigger stands out as special. I met him shortly after we moved to the area. I had gotten to know my neighbors that lived behind me, who had two daughters, ages eight and ten. The daughters had an outside-only cat. Their mom and dad seemed to think of animals as disposable objects, especially cats. Of course, their cat was not spayed, so she had kittens. The poor mother cat had no place to have them, so she was literally dropping them as she walked across the back yard.

Soon, the two little girls came running with two kittens in tow to my house. The kittens were lifeless, and I began to warm them up and stimulate them by gently rubbing them. Both kittens came around and started breathing. The sisters were overjoyed and took them home to the mother cat.

I don't know (and don't want to know) what happened to the kittens and the mother cat. All but the one male kitten were disposed of quickly. Of course, they didn't neuter him either; so he soon began causing problems all over the neighborhood. One day, I was out gardening and noticed he was lying in their yard very still. I went over to look at him and, to my horror, he had been shot in the back legs, feet and rump. The whole area looked like hamburger meat. I ran to talk to the father and he nonchalantly told me he didn't care and he wasn't going to do anything about it, anyway. I told him since that's the way he felt, the cat was now mine and I would take care of the situation.

I hurriedly took him to the vet where they x-rayed and found shot throughout his body, but no vital organs had been hit. For weeks and weeks, he was put through pure hell. We had to hold him in a warm antibiotic solution several times a day to clean the wounds because they had gotten infected. He was also on oral antibiotics. He was a real trooper to put up with the painful soaks.

Eventually, he healed and he was neutered. He loved all of our inside cats, but he was not going to stay inside. He came and went as he pleased, but at night we made sure he was indoors. He was a great hunter and would bring our other cats the rats and mice he caught. He was sure he could teach them how to hunt. Ha!! They always ended up letting their prey get away, and Tigger would have to catch it for them, again.

Everybody in the neighborhood loved Tigger. He was a friendly, sweet "Fat Cat". Our vet and his assistant absolutely loved him, so instead of caging him when he was boarded, they let Tigger have free reign of the vet office!

Eventually, Tigger was diagnosed with diabetes. I was so afraid because I had another cat that died from diabetes. The vet assured me we were going to save Tigger. Since he was outside a lot, it was difficult to know what he ate and when he had eaten it. We remedied this by giving his insulin first thing in the A.M. and feeding him before he went outside. In the 4 years that he was diabetic, he only went into shock twice. Once was at home and once at the vet's office about a month before he passed away.

Tigger lived to be 14 years old. He began losing weight, and I thought it was his diabetes out of control but, to our dismay, it was cancer. The cancer grew extremely fast, and he was put to sleep within a month after being diagnosed. The hardest part was that he purred to the very end. The vet, his assistant and I all cried. Tigger was such a special and forgiving cat. I will always love you, Tigger!!!

Article Author: 

Jan Raper