What a Tiger!

Well, here is another “free-kitten-gone-wrong” story. Tig, a Norwegian Forest cat, was Sid’s gift from his granddaughter, Hillary. These cats’ ancestors are a hearty breed which served as mousers on Viking ships. Sid proudly watched his striped “Tigger” kitten grow into a strong, 22-pound athletic adult.

Tig loved exploring outdoors and, every evening, would return for his supper and a snuggle with Sid. But one day Tig failed to come home for dinner. Three days passed and there was still no sight of the missing feline.

“After a few days,” said Sid, “everyone assumed a coyote got him, but I held fast to the belief that he was coming back. I was the only one who believed it to be true — then and over the next three months.”

One day, his daughter and Hillary saw a bedraggled-scrawny-stray cat weakly staggering down the side of the road. It kept tipping over as it headed towards Sid’s home some 300 yards away.

“Hillary recognized Tig,” said Sid, “but my daughter said ‘No way. Tig weighed 20 pounds, this cat is half that weight.’”

Hillary ran to check on the cat, but the feline tumbled over and fell down a culvert. She returned for a bowl of food to encourage the cat out. It worked, so she immediately looked at his ear’s ID tattoo confirming that Tig had indeed returned from his walkabout.

“I always had the feeling that he was coming back,” reaffirmed Sid, “But he was unrecognizable covered in dirt, mud and matted fur. We rushed him to a specialized cat clinic and he was there for a month recuperating from dehydration, infections and starvation. He only weighed 7 pounds and it cost $6,500 to reclaim my ‘free gift!’ But Tig, who is now 12 years old, is worth every penny.”

Tig’s loyalty and strength surviving his three-month ordeal — being barely able to stagger home — is made even clearer by two reminders on the nape of his neck: The fur that never grew back reveals two three-quarter-inch bite marks, likely placed painfully there by a coyote.

Back to his sturdy 20 pounds now and never liking to be groomed, Tig was recently taken to a groomer for a lion’s hair cut. The now super-sized cat shed one pound of fur during his clipping! Sid lovingly calls his kitty “The Lion King” because he looks like a real lion with his larger than normal size and specialized fur cut.

He is also the same color as a raccoon and about the same size, and weight.

One day, Sid said, “Hi Tig” as the cat strolled by, but on second glance he realized that it wasn’t Tig — a wild raccoon had strolled by him and made itself comfortable by the fireplace as the real Tig was sitting on the couch watching this unfold.

Most pets follow their pet parents into a bathroom for company but Tig humorously likes to weigh himself! Each morning, he saunters in with Sid for their morning rituals and sits on their digital weigh scale, proving that he lost one pound of winter fur during his recent lion’s grooming.


• Have pets ID tattooed or micro-chipped, because when they go missing, they often, like Tig, return to a feral nature and are unrecognizable.

• Carolyn, a Tips ‘n’ Tales reader in Lafayette, Colo., said, “Please warn readers about the dangers of recliner chairs. Our kitten, Gus, was playing under ours and his head got caught in the gears. It took five fireman 20 minutes to rescue him and one said, ‘This is a common occurrence, but the pet usually doesn’t make it.’ Thankfully, Gus is alive, eating, running and climbing again. He has a crick in his neck and an appointment to see his chiropractor.”

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