TIGER THE MONSTER

The Button Box

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A friend of mine had a mother cat that was a little nuts….she loved to smell and lick Ben-gay when it had been applied to the skin of her owners. She would chase them around the house until they sat down and then she would pounce on them and start licking it off.

This nutty cat had a litter of kittens and all of them but one were adopted into happy homes. The remaining one was a male gray tiger striped cat. He was either born with a stubby tail or something had happened to it because it was only about 2 inches long.

They were going to kill this kitten because they couldn’t get rid of it so I took it to my parents in Macksville. My Dad was reading the paper in his recliner when I walked in with the 8 week old kitten. He looked up and said, “No more cats!” But I just walked over and laid Tiger in his lap and he said, “Aaaaaaaah, isn’t it cute.” He was hooked and Tiger had a home.

Tiger grew into a monster cat, even with the stubby tail he was 32” from tip of his nose to the end of the stub tail and he stood 12” at the shoulder. I am sure he weighed at least 25 pounds. You would think that a cat this size could whip anything in the neighborhood, but he was afraid of his shadow.

Mom could not get him to go outside at all. He would go to the door and she would open the door so he could go out but once he smelled the air he would turn and bolt back into the house.

Once or twice Mom shoved him out the door onto the porch but before she could get the door shut he was back in the house. He enjoyed just sitting on a stool in front of the picture window and watching the world go by.

His favorite past time was being pulled around the house in a cardboard box. It was hard to find one that he could fit in comfortably but a little discomfort did not seem to bother him in the least if he could get someone to pull him in it.

As you pulled him through the house in his cardboard wagon without wheels, he would reach out and try to grab imaginary objects that were moving by the front of the box. The Ben-gay his mother sniffed must have warped his mind.

Tiger would get congested in the winter and have trouble breathing. Mom would drop a teaspoon of Vicks rub into some boiling water and then we would hold him over the pan to allow the vapors to open his sinus up.

We had to wrap him in a towel to do this and he would hold his breath as long as he could stand it, but eventually he had to take a deep breath and when the Vicks vapors hit his nose all four feet would shoot straight out and even though he was in the towel you couldn’t keep them still. But it did help him breathe better when we did this.

Tiger was definitely my Dad’s cat and could hardly wait for dad to get home at night so they could have their time together. When Dad sat down in his recliner after supper they had their own little routine.

As soon as Dad put the foot rest up, Tiger would run underneath it, lie down and wait. He would not take his eyes off the foot rest as he laid waiting. His stubby tail would be twitching as he waited for the first movement on the foot rest.

As soon as one of Dad’s toes moved he would reach up from his position under the foot rest and swat the offending appendage. Of course it would always scare Dad a little even though he knew it was going to happen.

As soon as Dad yelled at him Tiger would climb up onto the seat between Dad’s legs and stretch out across Dad’s lap under the paper that he was reading. All would be quiet until Dad turned a page and then Tiger would pounce. Dad would make it rattle a little more than necessary sometimes just to get him to react.

Once Dad managed to get the desired response, he would put the paper down and give Tiger all the attention that he wanted. You could hear this monster cat purring all the way across the room, because he was now in his own little heaven on earth.

Mom had a huge Boston fern that covered the whole picture window on the west side of the living room. It was the largest one I have ever seen. The fronds hung almost to the floor with the top of the plant window frame high.

Once Tiger was full grown the fern had a short life, because it became his mission to bite off as many of the fronds as he could. After he bit off almost all the ones hanging down it died.

Another bad habit Tiger had was using the corner of the couch as a scratching post. It got so bad that Mom finally took him and had the front claws removed. But that didn’t deter him from going through the motions.

The only thing that stopped the clawing on the couch was the little dog, Freckles, they had at the time. He figured out that Mom didn’t like Tiger scratching the couch and took matters into his own paws. (Thus the story about Wheelbarrow Freckles.)

Tiger developed cancer at the age of 5 and mom had to let him go so he wouldn’t be in pain. But he was not happy by then anyway because his favorite human, my Dad, had passed away. Tiger the monster was the biggest cat our family ever had and probably the nuttiest. To contact Sandy: [email protected]

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