She was a Tiger rather than a Tigger, but Tigger after all is a tiger. And my Tiger was always bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy - fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!
Even as a kitten, she had that famous Tiger gaze.
And only Tiger could have carried off - literally carried off - a basket around the middle as a fashion statement.
She wasn't sure what to make of Tiger, either, and it was clear Tiger was baffled by the big kitty who often kept at a distance, rarely wanted to play - unless they were all running madly from room to room, a furry thundering herd, as they did so often - and never wanted to mother her and groom her.
But Tiger did like to watch Sinbad, and as she grew older she sometimes teased her.
Two kittens who had lost their original feline families, they were just what each other needed.
Tiger couldn't have been more than a week or two older than Frosty, but she instantly took over the big sister role, and mothered Frosty, too. And for the next 13 years they were inseparable.
She wasn't as talkative as the other two, and her purr was so quiet you wouldn't know she was purring unless you touched her. But she'd bump her head against you, climb all over you, sometimes stand up on her hind legs and wrap her front legs around someone's knee. Once in a while she'd goose someone.
She loved to have her belly rubbed, and you had to be careful walking near her, since at any moment she might do a somersault onto the floor in front of you, and stretch out.
She'd sometimes scoot across the floor on her side, pushing herself along. She loved to roll and wriggle on the floor, my sweet silly wiggleworm of a cat.
Tiger and Pumpkin had an interesting sibling relationship. Tiger would watch Pumpkin closely, very entertained to have a bird living here. Pumpkin would throw his toys at her. She never seemed to mind.
But because she was five years older than the two younger cats I still usually called the kittens, I told myself I'd have at least five more years with them.
On March 11, 2005, I discovered a lump on Tiger's lower jaw. It was cancer, a tumor that in the next month went from the size of a small pea to the size of a marble, huge on her delicate jaw.
There are no good treatments for cancer of the jaw in cats. I knew that already, by the time I found the lump, because there'd been a cancer scare with Frosty a year earlier, but she fortunately did not have cancer.
Tiger did, and it was an aggressive tumor, growing noticeably within days. She went to Rainbow Bridge on April 11, 2005, exactly a month after I first realized something was wrong. I gave her painkillers to help keep her eating as long as possible. And I kept her life as normal and happy as possible during those last bittersweet weeks, and took lots of photos.
And I wasn't sure how Frosty would cope without her, after so many years of being so close. But she's done pretty well, and I believe Tiger is still close, and there have been many evenings when I've seen Frosty gazing for a long time with great interest at the spot in the entry hall that was Tiger's favorite place to lie in the evening. I'm sure Tiger is visiting then, and Frosty sees her.
Cynthia Darnell (Cathycat, in honor of her Bridgekid Catharine, at Petloss and the Lighthouse) wrote song lyrics for my sweet tabby, after Tiger crossed. CC reminded me how earlier we'd been writing song lyrics for cats, and she'd challenged me to write lyrics to the tune of Sloop John B. Which I had, writing about Sinbad and her feline sisters sailing on the sloop Kit T.
We sail on the sloop Kit T,
My two sisters and me,
Around Tabby Town we do roam...
Cynthia took that idea and tune and wrote Tiger's Song, which starts with these lines:
I sail on the sloop Kitt-E
My friends all here with me
We sail under the Bridge, then we all play.
Here I am, home.
This is my home.
I feel so good now.
I'm finally home.
Cathycat is on the Other Side now herself - like Tiger, she died of cancer, much too young. But I believe Tiger and all our community's Bridgekids were there to greet her.
And all of them are feeling so good now, finally Home.