It seems strange to write a blog post about this on a healthy living blog, but I had to say goodbye in some way, since I couldn't be there in person.
He was 18 years old and I hadn't seen him very much because I am so rarely back west. He was never a very nice cat, honestly; he'd fight with the other pets and mainly stayed outdoors bringing back plenty of mice. But we'd had him since I was six years old, and Tiger was always more "my" cat. When he was inside, he'd often sleep with me or sit on my lap, calmly waiting to be pet.
I would have liked to be there for him. Tiger was hit by a car when he was 10 or so, and since it was late at night we couldn't take him to a vet. I stayed up all night, petting him as he breathed heavily, cleaning off his cuts. He was only grazed, I think, because the next day he climbed out of the bed I'd made for him in a box, shook himself off, and headed out to get back to hunting. We realized later he'd actually lost one of his front teeth, but it never slowed him down.
I just wish I could have held Tiger one more time and pet him as he quietly went to sleep. Tiger represented all the quirks that make us love our pets and, to a certain extent, our families. Sometimes they're assholes, but at the end of the day they're part of our own little circle. They make life richer.
I'm not sure how Tiger knew, but any time we pulled into the garage, he would always appear out of nowhere, winding around our legs to say hello. Next week when I arrive home with my family, he won't be there.
Goodbye, Tiger. We'll miss you.