Loyal Cat refuses to leave bedside of Dying Grandma Who Raised Her
Trooper the cat has formed a special bond with a remarkable woman, 96-year-old Sarah Whaley.
In 2014, Alexis Hackney and her family discovered Trooper while renovating a house. They heard her meowing from the basement and immediately went to investigate.
“We found her inside the wall, and my mom and sister had to use a sledgehammer to break out the sheetrock and rescue her,” Hackney shared with The Dodo. “She was only about 2 weeks old, and her eyes were barely open.”
Unable to locate Trooper’s mother, the family decided to take the tiny kitten back to their home in Tallahassee, Florida, where they lived with Whaley, Alexis’ grandmother.
“My grandmother had been living with us for 18 years,” Hackney explained. “She moved down here to take care of me and my sisters when we were little, and she just ended up staying. She was a significant part of our household and served as the matriarch.”
Not only did Whaley cherish her grandchildren, but she also had a deep affection for the family’s cats, forming a particularly strong bond with Trooper.
“My grandmother would bottle-feed her, sit there, and have conversations with her, expressing how cute and sweet Trooper is,” Hackney shared. “Trooper is the kind of cat who becomes strongly attached to one person, and that person was undoubtedly my grandmother.”
While everyone could see the mutual love between Trooper and Whaley, the true extent of their connection became apparent when Whaley’s health began to decline significantly.
“Around Christmas last year, my grandmother’s health started deteriorating, and we noticed Trooper being by her side all the time,” Hackney recounted.
Trooper often slept on the bed with Whaley, displaying their close bond, but she also displayed a unique behavior by bringing gifts from around the house to her beloved human.
“Trooper was never the type to play with toys or move things around the house, but when my grandma became less mobile, she started bringing things to her. Whatever she found on the floor, like socks or a straw, she would bring to my grandmother,” Hackney explained. “As my grandma’s health worsened, Trooper increased the number of items she brought. She would enter my brother’s room, grab his socks, and then carry them downstairs, laying them on the floor near my grandmother.”
Hackney emphasized that it was evident from looking into Trooper’s eyes that she understood what was happening, and it was clear she was deeply affected by Whaley’s declining health.
“You could see the sadness in her eyes, and it was apparent that she was aware of the situation and feeling very upset about it,” Hackney added.
Sometimes, Whaley would experience panic attacks, and without hesitation, Trooper would rush to her side to provide comfort.
“Trooper would run into the room and jump on the bed, immediately starting to pet and nuzzle her, helping my grandmother to calm down,” Hackney recounted. “As my grandmother’s ability to communicate declined, I believe that having Trooper by her side was truly soothing for her.”
Trooper’s loyalty knew no bounds, and she fearlessly stayed by Whaley’s bedside, even during challenging moments.
“During the process of my grandmother passing away, she became disoriented, and Trooper never left her side,” Hackney explained. “Despite any accidental hits or tight squeezes, Trooper never fought back. Instead, she would simply step down, patiently wait for my grandma to settle, and then return to bed with her. If we had done that, it would have been a different story. We would have been injured, but Trooper loved my grandma so much that she never once scratched or bit her.”
Hackney further expressed the profound love Trooper had for her grandmother, evident in the way the cat would gaze at her during her moments of illness, which was heartbreaking to witness.
When Whaley passed away in March, just a few days before her 97th birthday, Trooper was overcome with grief.
“She didn’t want to be near my grandma’s body,” Hackney shared. “I tried taking her in there to show her that Grandma wouldn’t be coming back, as sometimes pets look for their deceased owners. I wanted her to understand that our grandma was no longer there. But instead, she ran away and hid under my parents’ bed. After they had taken my grandma’s body, Trooper stopped eating. She’s not a vocal cat, but during that time, she would wander around the house, crying incessantly.”
Gradually, Trooper’s condition improved, though she still goes into Whaley’s room and leaves socks and other objects on the floor, showcasing her continued longing for her late companion.
“It’s evident that she truly misses Grandma,” Hackney revealed.
Hackney recently shared the heartwarming story of her grandmother’s bond with Trooper on a closed Facebook group called “Cool Cats Group,” and the post went viral.
“I wanted to share this story because cats often have a bad reputation when it comes to people not believing they truly love us,” Hackney expressed. “But seeing Trooper’s dedication and loyalty to my grandmother, I wanted others to understand that cats may not express love like dogs do, but they do have emotions, feelings, and they love us deeply. They may not show it as overtly, but they absolutely do love us.”