In the everyday world of cat rescue, untold numbers of cats are abandoned, rescued, fostered. Cats suffer illness. Cats suffer otherwise. Once in a while, a story shoots to the top of all this information, and becomes viral. Such is the case of the story of Tiger Tim, a seven year old orange tiger cat who was apparently surrendered because his owner was getting a new couch.
According to reports, the person surrendering Tiger Tim had been his guardian for most of this cat’s life, and described him as a devoted, loving cat. When he was surrendered to a kill shelter in NYC, Tiger Tim was said to cry piteously as his guardian left him. As this story began to go viral, Magnificat Cat Rescue and Rehoming was able to pull Tiger Tim from the kill shelter, and attend to some suddenly obvious medical issues. You can follow the progression of the story at the Magnificat Facebook page above, but essentially, Tiger Tim was discovered to have inoperable cancer, and not long to live. As I am writing this, it is unclear whether he has passed on. Magnificat made the decision that Tiger Tim would live out his last days (however many or few) in the best way possible, and he went into foster-hospice with an experienced medical professional. He’d not be made to suffer, and would be helped to pass on if needed, but he’d be given every love and comfort possible until that moment had to come. Thousands of people followed the story and poured their support and emotions behind it.
The wonderful thing about this sad story is that this cat will know ultimate and unconditional love in his last days, even after being so carelessly surrendered. This story is touching me, and many others, deeply. (I admit that part of my bias is that Tiger Tim looks very much like my own cat, Norton.)
I think there are huge lessons we can all take from this story. Why do so many stories go untold, and certain stories take off into the stratosphere? Personally, I think the human mind can only cope with so much information, so much emotion, and so much apparent cruelty. There are So many cats in need. Yet this story rose to the top. How can it help us? How can it help us act, if we are moved?
- We can adopt: if we are able or have the resources and the room, so many cats are in need of a good home. In return, you will get a lifetime of fascination and love. If it helps you to get motivated, adopt a cat in memory of Tiger Tim. Adoption is a lifetime commitment to the care, well being, and love of the pet.
- We can spay and neuter our pets as early as possible: Overpopulation is a reason why so many cats and dogs suffer, have to be put down, or die painfully in the streets or the wild.
- We can love: Life is short. Tiger Tim only had a few weeks (likely) from his surrender to the time that he may need help passing on. But during that short time, he had the love of Magnificat, his medical team, his foster family, and much of the social media cat welfare world behind him. What a lesson and a gift! What if we could love like that, all the time?!
- We can help cats in other ways: If we cannot adopt, there are lots of other efforts that will help cats in need. Support or donate to your local shelter, cat rescue group, or local Trap Neuter Release (TNR) organization. Volunteer. Spread the word about spay/neuter and pet overpopulation.
If cat rescue or animal rescue are not the issues that move you, find the issue that is, and do good in the world.
This story of Tiger Tim will stick with me — a sweet cat who asked for nothing but love, was abandoned, but saved and loved and cared for through his last days. Fly Free, Tiger Tim, and thank you for your teachings.
Tiger Tim passed on Saturday, June 27, with the compassionate help of his foster mom, care team, and vet.