Tiger the tabby cat was mine. All soft and stripy and an excellent hunter, parts of various beasts would be found scattered about the garden from his efforts, he was a bit of a messy eater.
Rhodesia TV had a small TV studio in Bulawayo and l would go on the kid’s programmes in the audience quite a bit.
Several times they had a “bring your pet” night and for some strange reason l would take Tiger instead of any of the dogs.
His behaviour was impeccable but l was very lucky, he would have found escape easy had he wanted to. I wouldn’t have had a chance of stopping him. In fact he would have ripped me to bits. When l see people holding cats in strange places l shudder and think how crazy they are and l was.
Tiger had a terrible end. I couldn’t find him one Saturday till late afternoon when l found him lying on Mum’s bed.
I took him down stairs sat with him on my lap and started to stroke him, his whole side and abdomen parted
“MUM, DAD” l screamed panic stricken.
My parents rushed in. I was in tears and too scared to move.
“What” said my parents in unison not knowing what l was going to say, l didn’t appear to be dying but was obviously distraught.
I gently moved Tigers hair, my hands shaking badly, again his entire side and some of his abdomen seemed to open up.
My parents paled and my dad rang Mr Roberts the vet, we took Tiger in as an emergency and Mr Roberts thought it was a skinning wound.
Certain “cults” used to skin animals alive and they had probably had Tiger but he escaped.
Tiger was stitched up on the outside but he had died inside. He gave up on life. We tried everything to get him to eat. Prawns, cheese, tuna, beef, pork baby food any thing we could think of but he wouldn’t eat and faded.
This happened about two months before we were due to leave Rhodesia, we had a lovely home lined up but in the end he was put down and buried under a tree in our garden. I used to call it a fairy tree. I never knew what it was but it had little yellow bell shaped flowers l called them “fairy caps” and it always felt to me to be a special tree.
I carved Tigers name into the trunk with a kitchen knife with his date of his passing.