Tiger -- 10/18/11

Tiger -- 1993 - 2011

Tiger -- 1993 - 2011

Tiger was almost 18 and a half years old. He was born in 1993 -- probably in mid-May, around when Jill's and Jeremy's birthdays fall, but they had established the practice of considering his official birthday to be April 29th, the same as mine.

I originally posted this photograph in my entry for July 26, 2007 -- the 14th anniversary of the day Tiger joined our family.

In recent years he had increasing problems with arthritis. Although that slowed him down, it did not end his curiosity or playfulness or loving nature. Jill had made him stairs to help him get up into his favorite window-watching chair in my home office. This year I had to replace the steps with a ramp. Late this summer, because of his increasing difficulties going up and down stairs, we set things up so that he spent most of his time in our bedroom (including bringing the ramp and chair up to place in front of a bedroom window).

Last week he was very sick -- and was diagnosed as being diabetic. I learned how to give him insulin injections (twice a day) and we thought he was better -- as, indeed, I posted here on Monday.

Yesterday, however, he seemed to have collapsed on the floor in our room -- Jill found him sprawled out on the floor when she went to say goodbye before returning to Ottawa.

Short version -- multiple trips to the vets -- and an almost sleepless night, Tiger having seizures and then finally seemed to drift off into sleep... or almost sleep. About four in the morning he was awake and trying to get out of his bed. I picked him up and got him to drink and then eat. He couldn't walk, nor even stand. I had to hold him in my arms and then hold his food dish by his mouth so he could eat. Then we just lay on the floor and I talked to him and petted him. Finally, about 6:30, I crawled into bed and slept for an hour. When I woke up I discovered that Tiger had used his one functioning leg to crawl under our bed (his cat cave -- a safe place to be). Yesterday the vet had asked for me to bring him back when their office opened, so I brought him there, explained about his night, and left him there so they could monitor his glucose level during the day.

An hour or so later they called and asked me to come back in. Tiger had had two seizures -- each of which they had been able to control by adding Valium to his IV -- but since his glucose levels were fine, this had nothing to do with his diabetes. They both thought (it's a two vet office) that he most likely had a brain tumor. Well, to cut to the chase, they also thought -- given his age and his diabetes -- that the prognosis for successful intervention was not good, but they would refer us to the appropriate specialists for an MRI scan, etc.

Well, you all know what the other option was.

He had suffered enough pain and sickness this past week -- and he was reduced to crawling -- and we just could not make him go through more pain and suffering and frightening experiences. We loved him too much for that.

I sat and held him in one of the examining rooms for half an hour or so and talked to him and shared favorite memories with him and told him how much we all loved him and would always cherish our memories of him -- and then the vet came in and made an injection into Tiger's IV and in a few moments he closed his eyes and was gone but he will always be in our hearts

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