C and I are taking her cat, Tiger, to the vet tomorrow to be put to sleep. This is a hard thing to do.
When C was 10 years old, she found a kitten. She kept it in her room until it was willing to come out from under the bed. She named her Tiger for her stripes and fearsome manner. Tiger has been fiercely devoted to C for 19 years, and vice versa.
Tiger doesn’t like many people and I still maintain that C decided I was worth dating because Tiger allowed me to pet her and even snuggled up with me in C’s room at one point all those years ago.
For the last 9 years, Tiger has been my cat as well. She is sweet and kind and loves me, though she makes it abundantly clear that C comes first.
We had Tiger in our first house together, in all houses and apartments since then, and we evacuated her with us for Katrina. As long as I have known C, Tiger has been present. And tomorrow we are putting that to an end.
She has had a good, long life and that is a great thing. But that doesn’t make this hurt any less. Most of all, I wish there was anything I could do for C. This hurts her, and it’s hard for me to see her heart breaking like this without being able to help.
So, I love you, Tiger. You were a good cat. And thank you for giving C something to love though those bad years when it all seemed so desolate.
My friend, A, asked if Tiger was a symbol of C and me, the girls who met, and if this felt like some final thrust into adulthood. Perhaps. Although to be “thrust” into adulthood at 29 is pretty sad, shouldn’t we be adults already?
Regardless of what she may or may not symbolize, Tiger has had a place in our cobbled-together family. And she will be sorely missed.