TinyTiger4It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m looking back on a tumultuous year, and beginning to contemplate the onset of another. Still mid-summertime, the summer holidays linger lazily onward and everyone around me is in a characteristically relaxed and post-festive torpor. And yet life goes on with its infuriating and disdainful disregard. In retrospect, 2011 was a difficult year for many people all over the world, both financially and in so many other ways, and all realistic indications suggest that 2012 is unlikely to be a great deal easier. And of course difficult times for people usually implies a tougher time for animals; especially those that share our homes, communities and resources.

On more than one occasion on this blog I have talked frankly about loss, mourning and the distress that can emanate from severed attachments. And although my writing has been premised around personal experiences, I have always tried to connect them to a broader biological realm as we know that they form but one part, albeit one experienced in a uniquely human way, of the complex evolutionary emotional inheritance shared by all mammalian life.

But even with humans, sometimes death can be more easily processed and accepted; understood as the final closing of the circle of life, a necessary conclusion.

But even with humans, sometimes death can be more easily processed and accepted; understood as the final closing of the circle of life, a necessary conclusion. And so it was earlier this week when our 20+year old cat – named Puddifoot (in honour of a Hobbit family in J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy) – finally lost his obstinate battle against ‘the fading of the light’. Determined, fiercely independent yet habitually soppy and as good a testament to hybrid vigour as will be found, it simply was his time.

And so my final blog post for the year is dedicated to just this brief homage to a very dear cat, one wrought from the humblest beginnings – plucked from a shoebox at a rescue centre far away – who went on to conquer entire neighbourhoods in both Pietermaritzburg and the Southern Cape Peninsula, to manage many dogs and ensure that no rat ever took up residence, and, somewhat more concernedly, to subdue the range of indigenous wildlife on our property.

So long Tiny Tiger, tot siens, hambe kahle and even au revior.

So long Tiny Tiger, tot siens, hambe kahle and even au revior. Unbeknownst to you, you will be missed not only in this little piece of Cape Town, but as far as the United Kingdom and even Paris – now that’s what I would call real ‘force of personality’.

As will always be the case, it just was the right time for you to go – but although you would never have been able to fully appreciate this fact, yours was a life fully lived.

 

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