Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys
When we lose a special cat, it’s the stories of that cat’s life that sustain us as we navigate through the devastating grief that comes with losing a best friend. For some, sharing those stories with a wider audience becomes an integral part of the healing process. This was the case for Tom Templeman, a Nashville based songwriter/artist.
Templeman was no stranger to loss. At age 4, he watched his 7-year-old brother being killed by a car. As an adult, he grieved the sudden, early death of his mother, and buried three of his closest friends. And yet, he was not prepared for the profound heartbreak of losing his 17-year-old grey tabby Tiger to heart disease.
In My Best Little Buddy: 17 Years of Love and Frienship with Tiger, Templeman shares his relationship with his special friend. This is Templeman’s first book. “I knew after 35,000+ words that this would not fit into a song,” as he puts it. And we should be grateful that Templeman didn’t limit his tribute to Tiger to a song – because this book is special.
Templeman takes us through his life with Tiger, from the time he and his wife Terri found the abandoned kitten and his sister Sundae in a park to the final days with his best buddy. Tiger was Templeman’s best friend, protector, comforter, comic relief, and, above all, laptime snuggler. I found myself smiling and occasionally wiping away a tear as I read his accounts of special snuggle routines, of how he and his wife modified their homes to make Tiger and his sister happy, and of special occasions that were even more special because the cats were part of it (the Templemans call Thanksgiving the “High Holiday of the Kitty World.”)
This is a story of an ordinary life. There are no dramatic events in this book. There’s no story arc, and there are no cliffhangers. And that’s exactly where this book’s charm lies: in its very ordinariness. This is a book about a man who loved his cat, and who arranged his life around his cat as much as he possibly could (at one point, Templeman turned down a job because it required too much travel that would take him away from Tiger. Okay, and from his wife, too, but I think it was really Tiger who was the deciding factor…)
Templeman writes from the heart, and his simple but powerful prose and plentiful photos make the reader feel like he or she was right there with Tiger and his family. The book also had an unexpected effect on me: it made me remember special moments with some of the cats I’ve lost, even though my memories were not even remotely similar to Templeman’s experiences.
Perhaps that is the true magic of sharing such a seemingly ordinary story about a special cat: by sharing Tiger with the world, he becomes everyone’s cat.
Tom Templeman did eventually write a song about Tiger. Tiger’s Song (My Best Friend) is available for download from cdbaby.com. A portion of all proceeds from the download will benefit Nashville Cat Rescue.
My Best Little Buddy is available for Kindle on Amazon, for Nook, and as a paperback directly from the author at www.MyBestLittleBuddy.com. 20% of the profits from each book will benefit Nashville Cat Rescue.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.