Tyler: 12 May 2009 - 2 October 2019
I really wish I didn’t have to sit here writing this tribute. I wish I could go back a year and warn my past-self of the horrors that I would have to endure in 2019, but here I am. Just barely six months after losing my beloved little Orion, my kitty Tyler passed away today after suddenly becoming ill after a routine physical exam. While his blood work was normal, Tyler suddenly had large amounts of fluid building up in his abdomen. After an emergency exam, the vets found a mass on his stomach and possibly a cancerous lymph node. The exact same things Orion had.
The emergency centre had Tyler since Monday night, and they called this morning to let myself and my family know that there was nothing they could do for him. When I went to see him one last time, he was barely able to walk and was suffering with laboured breathing, again, just like Orion did. With nothing available to help we had to make the horrible decision to put Tyler to sleep.
Two cats in less than seven months, with the same, extremely rare, mystery illnesses. I can’t help but think that some dark god hates me and hates my family.
Tyler was the youngest of our cats, just turning 10 this past May. We shared the same birthdate and he was always looking to me for protection when he arrived in our home in 2009 as another one of our animals never took too kindly to him. We rescued him from a dumpster and he was so small that he would curl up and sleep in a decorative bowl in our parlour all day long. When he came, he had been chewing on his tail (as many kittens do) which made the tip of his bald and like a pencil point. Even as a tiny little fuzz ball, he would hiss and paw at you when you coddled him, even if that’s what he wanted. It was hilarious the way this tiny kitten would hiss and growl while playing on my stomach, acting like he was some sort of kaiju.
Of all our cats, Tyler was the only one with a “human” name. The vet mistakenly identified him as a ragdoll when we rescued him, and my father named him Tyler in honour of Steven Tyler and Aerosmith’s song “Ragdoll” which was playing on the radio as we brought him home. We would later discover that he was actually a maine coon mix and had no ragdoll in him whatsoever, but he was two by then and the name stuck! Unlike the others, he would answer to his name and would even come over to you right away with a quick whistle. While seeking attention, he had the quirkiest squeak that reminded me of the raptors in the original Jurassic Park, and if you weren’t in his field of vision, he would cry in a chant that sounded like “Mao,” which I jokingly said made him a Communist. When he was needy like this, you had to go to him, he would ignore calls of his name on purpose just to make you do the work.
Tyler was not a cat you could pick up. He would growl and howl and hiss until you put him down or he ripped your forearms to shreds. As a result, he had all sorts of red warning stickers on his veterinary file and never had his claws trimmed. Even a simple check-up required him to be sedated. However, he would climb into your lap and stay there all afternoon if he could. Out of all the cats, he and Orion were the only ones who would routinely stay with me at night, and Tyler even had the habit of pulling apart my freshly made bed just to curl up under the covers in the winter months.
Our munchkin cat was inseparable from Tyler for the first three years in our home before she started to growl and hiss at him. It was all play, but it wasn’t something we took kindly to and it always felt like Tyler was being left out. After chasing our munchkin and getting pawed or hissed at, he’d started yowling again for attention, she’d come back over to him lovingly for a few minutes, and then the play sparring would start again.
He loved his crocheted toy mouse and laser pointers, flipping the former around the house for hours on end, and chasing the latter across the floor or staring at it with whimsy as you made the red point dance across the ceiling. When he ran, he made a thumping sound that echoed throughout our home giving him the nickname of “Thumpy” alongside “Tye-tye” and “The Big Fuzz.”
This playfulness was always there even through this past weekend. Tyler was playing with the other cats, eating normally, climbing his massive play tower. In just seventy-two hours he was gone. No warnings. No symptoms. Just a complete and sudden illness with no cure.
I honestly feel like I’m cursed. This entire ordeal is so unnatural, and the way it mirrored Orion’s passing is so bizarre that I am beginning to suspect that someone out there is intentionally hurting my animals. I have received threats in the past that targeted my cats, threats made by Diesel and the goddamn pig she’s relied on in the past to carry out her attacks to bypass the restraining order, and I even asked the doctor at the emergency centre to double check for anything that could be suspicious, such as rodenticide or other toxins that could have been placed near our home and unintentionally brought in with our shoes.
I now have to bring the two girls to the vet for screening as a safety measure, and I’m terrified to do so. I have given my cats nothing but love, the best food and water, the best toys and blankets and spoiled them all rotten and the cosmos is treating them terribly for all that love. I just wish I had an answer for what I’m doing wrong with my furry family members, or justice against those who may be intentionally (or unintentionally) harming them.
I love you Tyler. I hope you and Orion are together and happy to see each other again in the Summerland with Hannah. I’ll see you all again.