by Jason Plishka
(Red Deer, Alberta)
When I was a young boy we went to my Uncle and Aunts farm and picked out a kitten, he was a tabby we named Tiger, growing up we had many dogs to which Tiger was sure to let know who was boss. Tiger enjoyed being outdoors where he could unsuccessfully capture rabbits but succeed in catching mice, of which many were dropped ceremoniously on the porch. Later in life Tiger relished in toying with the poor mice flipping them when they dare moved. Like most cats Tiger was always "caught" on the counter and basking near a window. Tiger always found a warm bed, usually mine. Tiger enjoyed being "vacuumed" with the nozzle. After graduation I moved away and my mother moved to be closer to her family. Every time I came for a visit, Tiger was there to greet me.
At the age of 18 Tiger suffered a small stroke to which his head was cockeyed a bit but still the same healthy cat. Around that time my grandmother who was battling cancer moved in with my mother, so she could care for grandma. I believe that Tiger had a higher purpose as Grandma would sit for hours, petting Tiger, and Tiger comforting her.
After Grandma passed on, it seemed that Tigers time was due as well. Tigers health worsened as he would get "lost" in the middle of an open room and frightened by his own swishing tail. Blind now at this point, but still healthy we made the decision to have Tiger put down. As my mother could not bear to be present, it was I who comforted Tiger and saw Tiger take his last breath. It's been 15 years and I still miss that cat.