Last night at approximately 11:30 PM, the strongest and bravest member of my entire family passed away. I know that many families consider their pets to be a second-rate addition, and even a pain at some times: that is not the case in mine. Each one of our “pets” is simply another member of our family that adds just as much to our daily quality-of-life as any human ever has. I spend more time every day with my cats and dogs then with any other living thing, and that is perfectly fine with me. That’s why losing Tiger is so difficult for me, and the rest of my family. Tiger was without a doubt the most compassionate, loving, and kind living thing I have ever been so lucky to spend time with. He was the glue that held our family together so tightly, and one of the few reasons that I woke up in the morning. I’m writing this mostly for my own sake, just so that I never forget what he meant to me, and what he meant to the rest of my family.

I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn’t have Tiger. He’s been with me for so long, It’s hard to imagine my life without him. It all started in a massive snow storm: he was a stray cat to begin with, and had been captured and put up for adoption at a large pet store. We were there stocking up on animal food before the big storm kept us indoors for a while when we saw him. He looked at my mom in the most amazing way…like he knew that we were the ones. I think they both agreed that our family was meant to bring him home. Unfortunately, we didn’t have nearly enough money on-hand to adopt a cat; we barely had enough to buy the food we needed. When we asked the people at the store if we could come back after the storm for him, they said no, and told us that he was going to be put down within a day if no one adopted him.

My mom ran across the parking lot to a nearby bank and got enough money out to adopt the cat. She returned out of the horrible blizzard, and we brought him home. The night we first had him, my brother and I (we were quite young) played a game with him, imagining that he was a tiger escaping from the evil people who had captured him and put him in the circus. He did in fact escape, and from then on his name was Tiger.

From the moment we met him, Tiger was sweet, loving, and kind. He loved everyone unconditionally: there was nothing you could do to make him mad. He had another interesting behavior though: he could always tell when someone was hurt, and would come to help them. Whether it was a physical injury or a bad day at school, he would always know and would always comfort you. If I was in my own bedroom and he was in the basement eating his dinner and I needed someone to comfort me, he would be there in a flash. His ability to know and to comfort is still unparalleled by the best of counselors.

As he grew older, his beauty became unimaginable. The grace with which he moved was incredible: it was a joy simply to watch him prowl around the house. His facial features were sharp, but not too sharp, and they were capable of expressing the most complex emotions: happiness, tranquility, love, and most of all, trust. He went through cycles of gaining and losing weight, but it never changed his majestic appearance. He was always well-groomed thanks to his brother Billy, which you could have easily confirmed by smelling his fur or petting his back. He would oftentimes spend hours on end sitting on the couch in the sunlight, warming his fur as well as the hearts of anyone who saw him. I can try to describe his magnificence more through words alone, but a picture can do him more justice, as you can see on the left. Even the picture cannot truly tell the whole story of his beauty; only those who met him and spent time with him can understand it.

In the past few months Tiger was very sick. He stayed strong until the very end, and by doing so he has proved himself to me as the strongest and bravest cat to ever walk the earth. He brought so much joy and light to my life and to everyone he has touched. It was so sad to see him go. He deserved more then anyone ever good have given him, and I feel so lucky to have received such an amazing gift from him. I wish he could have stayed with us longer.