When Adriene Nicole and her boyfriend, Michael, decided to adopt a companion for their cat, Stuart, they had no idea how the experience would change their lives.
Nor did they plan on creating a bucket list for the now 21-year-old Tigger — giving their newest family member the experience of a feline’s lifetime.
It was February 2015 that the couple saw a story on their Baltimore neighborhood Facebook page about a senior cat who had been at an area vet hospital for almost a year. Although the former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader and stunt team member said she was happy the clinic never sent Tigger to a shelter, she said they failed to groom him and give him the proper care needed for an aging cat who showed signs of health problems and depression.
In less than 24 hours, the cream-colored Domestic Medium Hair had a forever family. But how long “forever” would be was the question. Tigger immediately went through testing and Adriene Nicole learned he had kidney failure, as expected. Benazepril, and a prescription diet for kidneys, were quickly ordered.
“Though you cannot reverse kidney failure, you can extend their life comfortably,” the 31-year-old Charm City Vet Hospital employee told Petcha.com. “Well, the medicine is working great; he eats like a piglet and drinks a more normal amount of water now.”
However, their lives took another turn when they found a golf ball-sized tumor on Tigger.
“That’s when I wanted to start a bucket list,” Adriene Nicole said.
Because of Tigger’s age and kidney failure, he is not a candidate for surgery or even a biopsy; so the couple (who asked that their last names not be used) aren’t even sure if the tumor is cancerous or not. But not taking any chances, the bucket list adventures began.
“The beach trip was one of our favorites… he loved taking naps in the sand and walking along the water,” Adriene Nicole said. “He had visitors stopping to hear his story and give him a head scratch. He also had some fun going on Fox 5 news; he loves interacting with people.
“He even purrs when we dress him up,” she added. “He is actually enjoying what we do with him!”
Adriene Nicole said the frigid Maryland winter has kept their outdoor adventures to a minimum, but she is looking forward to traveling beyond their Baltimore neighborhood when the weather warms up again.
On Feb. 27, Tigger’s family celebrated his “Gotcha Day” (the day of Tigger’s adoption), scratching off another item on his kitty bucket list.
“We made a day of it,” Adriene Nicole said of the chicken breast cake, with candle, kitty placemat and decorative birthday boy hat.
So do Tigger’s parents have any regrets in adopting a cat whose life with them is limited?
“I ended up choosing a senior cat because of his sad story… but it’s the best decision we ever made,” Adriene Nicole told Petcha.com, adding that Tigger and Stuart, who is now 7 and also was a rescue found in a nearby Dumpster, are “hilarious together,” as most brothers are.
“Tigger likes to antagonize Stuart when the youngin’ is in a fussy mood,” she said. “He is so full of life and so extremely cuddly. He always has to be in my lap.”