Goodbye, Tiburon … You’ll be missed!

After 15 years of faithful service, alternating as bird watcher, alarm clock, and hockey namesake … our first family cat Tiburon died today. She’s pictured here in December 1998, and that’s one-month-old Jocelyn in my other arm. Tiburon, of course, is Spanish for ‘Shark’ …

My mother will be the first to tell you that odds were against Tiburon from the beginning. I think we’ve all lost count of the number of cats that I had as pets growing up, almost all lost dramatically to cars or other sundry accidents (including a crippling bike accident and a famous fishhook incident). Woodstock, Starch, the list goes on. The first cat to make it into adulthood was named Photon (although she was deaf, so everyone in the family made up their own unrelated name for her, and then fought over them).

But Tiburon made it through three different houses (with two intervening apartments) and two long-distance relocations, overseeing the transformation from a no-pet/no-kid household to a full-blown family of four with both kids in school. She even suffered gracefully the indignity of us adopting a second cat, Siskiyou, who survives her “bigger” (but always littler) sister.

We adopted her in 1994, in the midst of the first-ever playoff run for the San Jose Sharks. I still remember her cowering in our bedroom after the Sharks scored in the first game of the famous Detroit series. She would eventually get used to my goal-induced screaming, undoubtedly even enjoying them. She sat on my lap for most of Saturday’s win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Of course, Tiburon never got to witness me screaming during a Stanley Cup playoff series, and it’s time for my hockey team to fix that … in her name.