Tigger the cat recently celebrated his 22nd birthday wearing a dapper bow tie and festive hat — and in addition, sharing a three-meat cake with a kitty brother named Stuart.
Tigger was tenderly tended to by his adoptive parents, former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Adriene Buisch and her boyfriend, Michael Trentadue, who are absolutely determined to make every remaining day of this his life something to purr about.
It’s quite remarkable to see a cat enjoy his nine lives for so long, all the more so because this particular feline was abandoned after two decades.
Tigger’s former owner dropped him off at a Maryland animal hospital back in 2014, then never came back to get him.
“Day by day, week by week, the owner slowly lost contact with the hospital,” Buisch explained to TODAY in an email. “She would promise to be there the next day and then they wouldn’t hear from her for weeks. Eventually they lost all contact.”
It was early 2015 when Buisch and Trentadue first found out about Tigger’s plight. They were on the hunt for a new companion for their other cat whose name is Stuart and were contemplating getting a kitten, but were completely moved by the cat’s heartbreaking story.
“Next thing you know I’m calling the hospital …and heading up there the very next day,” Buisch, who is now 32, stated. “We figured we might as well give an old cat a comfy home for his remaining life while seeing how Stuart does with another cat.”
Tigger was completely matted and frail when the veterinary technician brought into the room to meet Buisch and Trentadue.
“Michael and I looked at each other and immediately said we were taking him home,” noted Buisch.
Tigger’s happy adoption was followed by some very bad news: He had kidney failure, which is irreversible, but manageable with a prescription diet and medicine. And then one day, as Trentadue, 40, just so happened to be brushing Tigger, he discovered a large tumor on the cat’s belly. Because of his age and kidney problems, surgery was ruled out
“We had no idea if we would have another month or another year with Tigger,” stated Buisch.
And so, she and Trentadue set out with extra determination to fill the ginger cat’s twilight days with love and adventure.
Lately, Tigger gets ferried around the family’s hometown of Baltimore in a cat-carrying sling and has truly become a local celebrity. He’s famous further on, too. Photos of Tigger’s walk on a beach last year went completely viral, melting the hearts of cat lovers the world over, who have since been following the charismatic feline on his Facebook page and showering Tigger with all kinds of treats, blankets, beds and homemade catnip toys.
Through all the gifts, his family has learned Tigger is not a huge fan of the catnip toys — but he did love the boxes they come in. So this past fall, Buisch and Trentadue arranged for a shoot with pet photographer Heidi Moore Trasatti (and as it turns out, the senior catizen is quite the ham).
Trasatti created all kinds of cardboard sculptures for darling Tigger to play around with — a hot air balloon, a throne, a boat — and also lured him into exploring them with yummy treats.
“Tigger’s favorite sculpture was probably the television set, with the throne as a close second. But honestly, Tigger seemed content with anything that involved chicken,” stated Trasatti.
Buisch and Trentadue don’t know just how much time they still have with Tigger. His tumor has gotten quite a bit bigger, but he’s put on weight — a good sign of health — and he seems to feel well.
So this past weekend, just in time for his 22nd birthday party, Buisch and Trentadue treated Tigger to a tuna, chicken, and ham birthday cake, which he readily shared with his good buddy, Stuart. The two gobbled up the treat and then went into what Buisch can only describe as a “purring meat coma.”
Once Tigger’s belly was full of his very favorite foods, his adoring parents set out to “smother him with love,” stated Buisch.
“When you have a cat like Tigger that had a home for 19 years to end up sitting in a cold cage for a year, it was like he was broken when we got him,” she stated. “Now we get to watch him enjoy life to the very end.”
Happy Birthday, Tigger, from your friends at The Best Cat Page!