Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tigger Turns Thirteen Today!

Thirteen years ago this tiny scrap walked into our motor repair workshop and into our lives

Tigger, approximately 6 weeks old, playing in the kitty "nursery" in my home

One day in May 1996, a scraggly little ginger kitten walked into our motor repair business at the other end of town. At that stage we didn’t have a cat and my husband picked this teeny scrap up and brought him into my office. When I’d settled him in a box lined with my jersey, I dashed over to the small Jewish shop on the corner. I bought a plastic plate, a small cereal bowl and a tin of cat food.

The die was cast. We now owned a cat!

Tigger playing with his toys in his day "nursery" at my office

That first evening at home, I weighed him on my food scale; all of 200g. My husband, who names all our pets, decided that he was Tigger.

Tigger soon crept into our hearts

Every morning when we arrived at our business, I’d wait in the warm car with Tigger wrapped in a baby blanket while hubby opened my office, prepared Tigger’s “day bed” and turned on the heater.

Tigger quite at home on my bed

Tigger enjoying a playful moment with Debbie

Later, when we sold the business and I stayed at home, Tigger established himself in the warmest spot in our house during winter and the coolest during the hot summer months. He still does this, only now it's always within sight of his "mum".

Tigger is only just visible behind the microwave from where he suspiciously watches the new rescue kittens

For about a year he was an “only” cat when suddenly I had two more rescue cats. Tigger’s nose was literally out of joint. He’d hide behind the kitchen appliances or other furniture while I tended to the new cats in our home. Later I found and rescued another kitten and later still two more. Gradually he accepted them, but never so much that he gave up his position as Top Cat in the household.

I thought I was your favourite cat, Mum!

At the ripe old age of 13, Tigger's appetite is better than ever

In 2004 I left home to visit my husband in Guinea, West Africa and stayed for three years! When we came out on break every five months, I’d arrive home to find Tigger lying under the garden furniture on the patio. When he realised that it was MOM who’d come home, he’d dash out and into my arms, meowing and purring all the while. Heart-wrenching!

In the spring of 2006 I came home for good and within a week, Tigger moved into my office, onto the back of my chair or on the desk at my elbow. He has been there ever since. He sleeps on my bed at night and after breakfast takes up his position near me (well, basically on top of me) on my desk. He is just making sure that I never leave him again.

Occassionally Tigger rests on the chair in my husband's office. However, he can still keep an eye on me from there!

Tigger making sure he is close to me!

Tigger’s story doesn’t end there. At the beginning of 2007, I realised that Tigger, who’s a very vocal cat, and understands me as well as any dog, constantly asked for food yet he was losing weight and condition. He’d stand on the stove hob, calculate the distance to the table, where I was preparing food, and jump over. If I dished up for him, he’d sniff at the food, and then jump onto another counter top complaining all the while. He'd sip a little milk but turn away from his food bowl after a perfunctory taste. His breath was also most offensive and he dribbled a lot.

We took him to the vet. Under anaesthetic they discovered that the space at the back of his mouth, leading down his throat, was blocked with plaque. No wonder he couldn’t swallow. Through a series of treatments, the vet removed the plaque, extracted four bad teeth and placed him on a drip for a few days. When we collected him, the vet had weaned him off “wet” tinned food onto cat pellets. Since that time, Tigger has thrived physically and apart from a little tinned cat food in the morning, gets his sustenance from dry cat food. I take him for a check-up at the vet every year to ensure that he never has a problem with his teeth or plaque again.
Tigger relaxes in the morning sun

Tigger catnapping in my office at noon

Tigger catches the last of the afternoon rays in my bedroom

The whole Tigger saga made me realise again that as a pet owner you have to watch for signs of distress in an animal and act accordingly. Almost two and a half years later, Tigger is a healthy, happy and still very playful, even though in cat years he must be between eighty and ninety years old.
Tigger keeping an eye on the gardening and nature manuals for me

Tigger, on the back of my chair where he spends most of his day

Tigger creeps around me from the back of my chair and tucks his nose into my shorts pocket. His whole body language says: I ain't letting her ever get away again ...

I believe that Tigger and I will be together for many more years, praise God.

All that remains for me now, is to say...



  1. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIGGER ! How wonderful that this little soul has blessed your lives for 13 years now, Jo - & may you have MANY MANY more together ! (P.S. I'm sure that Tigger & Tessa must be distantly related as they look so similar & seem to have similar personalities, too !)

  2. Tigger says thanks, Lynda. I went into the bakery yesterday and asked the lady behind the counter for a cake for my cat's birthday. At first she just stared at me and then she burst out laughing! I think she is still rolling around clutching her stomach. Last week I ordered a birthday cake for our 6yo gd's birthday - so she should be prepared don't you agree;)yes, I always look at your Tessa and think Wow she is so much like Tigger. Hugs Jo BTW we took the cake to Angus and Amanda's house which we all enjoyed with coffee. Tigger, who loves all sweet things, licked the foil plate!


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