I remember very well the day in winter of 1996 when I went to collect you. You were lounged nonchalantly on a bed in a small townhouse in Bray where the owner had christened you Florence. You were about 3 months old.
I took you home to our little rented house in Blackrock where our then 10 year old daughter rechristened you Tiger. You lived an indoor life for a few months and then we all moved a few miles further south when we bought our house in Shankill. Do you remember the endless entertainment your still kittenish self had with the hidden water sprinkler in the back garden of our new house?
In Shankill you were on hand to welcome home our babies, Roisin in November 1998 and Mia in September 2000. You also knew my father, Michael before he passed away in 2002.
Then one day you were gone. I called and called you. We searched our neighbourhood. I drove up and down the nearby motorway looking for a body. All in vain. You had just vanished. We were all sad as the realisation gradually dawned that you were gone. But life was busy – with two babies, a teenager and both Paul and I working hard. By now our family had expanded to include another cat – Simba.
On a Saturday morning, some months later, I arrived half asleep into the kitchen to find you were back. Sitting up on the high stool and meowing your head off, clearly telling me of your adventures which hadn’t seemed to have taken any toll on your beautiful appearance. We were delighted and stunned and never ever discovered where you went for those missing three months.
We moved again in 2002 to this house in Cabinteely and the following year added another two cats to the household. But you Tiger were always the matriarch. Beautiful, elegant and slightly aloof. You were no lap cat preferring on occasion to sit beside someone but rarely on a lap.
When Dylan the dog joined us five years ago, it was you Tiger who very definitely taught him that he was the very bottom of the food chain in the house and that cats rule! You taught him well – he has never forgotten.
You were so affectionate. Like lots of cats – an open book or newspaper on the kitchen table was a signal for you to come and make yourself the focus of our attention instead of our chosen reading matter. You would head butt the paper and wind yourself around a book making reading or doing homework a challenge.
You were always here Tiger. As you got older the outdoors was fine for an hour or two in the sun on mild days but what you really loved was to curl up on your blanket under a radiator.
Your other favourite thing was to sit on the back of the chair and look out the front window where you could watch the neighbourhood comings and goings. You also had a handbag fetish and loved nothing more than investigating a good handbag – the more expensive the bag the more you loved it. More than a couple of friends left this house with their designer handbag covered in cat hair!
Like many of us in this house, you were a great talker. You knew your name and often responded to being spoken to with a series of meows. Those meows took on added impetus in the morning when you demanded to be fed at once! Paul was your food slave! And like Simba, you loved it when I started preparing dinner. You sat on the floor to the left of the cooker (while he took up position on the right) and waited till I dropped a piece of chicken or some other tasty morsel. Sometimes you stretched up and tried to hook a piece of meat for yourself!
Your last year or so were marked by your inability to groom yourself as effectively as you would have liked but that meant that we could give you a girly grooming session in the garden which you loved. Only last weekend we spent about 30minutes together at the picnic table at the end of the garden and as I brushed your coat you purred your pleasure.
In the last week or so we knew you were fading Tiger and we vowed that as long as you were comfortable, eating and sleeping we would not force any intervention. That stage came to an end yesterday when we knew you were no longer comfortable. It was an unbearably sad morning as we all spent what we knew were our last hours with you. But ever the lady and a cat who always knew her own mind you spared both of us the trauma of euthanasia in the Vets surgery as you breathed your last in the car beside me.
Tiger you were witness to all the events, big, small, happy and sad of our family life over the past 16 years. Your constant presence in our home is no more but you remain in each of our hearts and our memories.
Tiger Sherwood Scully, cat, friend, part of our family left us on Saturday 25th August 2012.
Cats are synonymous with female energy, magic and the moon…
I hope Tiger that somewhere you are winding yourself around the legs of one Mr Neil Armstrong and that you might find a celestial kitchen table where you can sit and he can regale you with tales of how it felt to walk on that moon! You’d like that!
I read this with tears. Cats become such a part of our families.
Tiger had a long and happy life and has left her paw prints on your hearts.
this was given to me 2 years ago when my own beloved furry friend left this world. I don't have much in the way of religious beliefs but it spoke to me. I hope you like it, with good wishes, Lisa.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
What a lovely testimony to all those precious moments, I could never put into words, to a wonderful animal friend and companion.
Thank you very much.
I was very moved by your emotional farewell to your beautiful furry friend and family member of many years. You had a very close bond with Tiger and it must have been pure joy to see her return to you after she went missing that time. I'm sure you have often wondered where she went, but she probably got frightened by something and ran too far away to find her way back easily; and so she was probably taken in by some kind stranger; but she must have dearly wanted to return and eventually, by some miracle, found her way back. You took great care of her and she lived to a good old age; what a sad, sad day it was when she eventually went to Rainbow Bridge, where you may meet her again some day.
I was given a kitten to take care of years ago, and I remember how it looked at me and seemed to know it was about to be left with me. It was just six weeks old, almost wild and very frightened, and the first time it went outdoors it disappeared and I thought “Oh no, it's gone.” Then, two days later, it turned up at the back door, a complete mess, like it had been out in the rain and dragged backwards through a hedge… it wore an expression like a refugee at the end of its tether, but my heart sang because I knew it had come home. It never got lost again.
Barbara, a beautiful tribute to a wonderful pet and family member. Yes, they do become part of the family and that makes the loss even harder. But what great memories you have to treasure.
A beautiful tribute to Tiger, Barbara…(read with tears in my eyes.) x
In tears here reading about Tiger!
Such a beautiful tribute, Barbara.
Losing animals can be so painful but it's obvious just how musch joy they bring to us in their short lives. This post sruck me as well since August 26th would have been my sisters 52nd birthday. She died suddenly a year ago August 10th. She was a big animal lover and had 3 cats (who were on the bed with her when she died in her sleep) a dog, a rabbit and many fish. I imagine she may have run into Tiger somewhere on their journey out there.
Your writing shows how much he was loved.
Not a cat lover, but I really enjoyed your Tiger farewell it opened a new window for me
Just read this while going through previous posts on your blog. As a crazy cat woman, I totally identify with what you have written here. Sadly, my other half is not a cat lover. He is not even a cat liker! Or a liker of any animal unless they are on his plate! Therefore I do not have any house pet companions. Happily for me though, when we bought this old house, we inherited a colony if half tame feral cats. With the help of my neighbour, we got them neutered and for the most part collared. We now have Bubbles, scribbles, Boris, Dolly, Molly, Dale, trixie and pepe not to mention visitors, felix, sylvester and Buster. We have adopted them between us and although the husbands are not that happy, they seem to have accepted it. We bought cosy kennels so they can cuddle up together on cold days and nights and it works v well. They are happy and healthy and loved as Tiger was and is. In my humble opinion, cats are charismatic and adorable creatyres. And what's more, they know it!