Once they realized what their cat’s strange behavior was all about, they just couldn’t believe it. Sure, cats are known for being a little odd sometimes, but this was nothing like they’ve ever seen before. They’ve had this cat for close to four years, but this was the first time they’ve seen it do something so strange. But they had no idea that they were about to find out what was triggering these strange behaviors. There were some major changes going on in their household, and the cat felt it.
It had been almost four years since this family had rescued their cat, Trooper. It all started when Alexis Hackney and his family went into their newly-purchased home, as they flip houses for a living. They went on to inspect their newly-acquired residence when they noticed some strange meowing sounds coming from the basement. Strangely enough, there were no cats around…or were they?
The meowing sounds seemed to be coming from inside of one of the walls, but they really didn’t have a clue how that came to be. All they knew is that they needed to help the cat get out, so Alexis’ mom and sister immediately grabbed a sledgehammer and tore off the sheetrock. There he was. A defenseless tiny kitten that seemed to be two weeks old. Alexis remembers, “Her eyes were barely open.” But what were they going to do with the cat now?
The family snooped around the house, trying to locate the kitten’s mother, but she was nowhere to be found. Still, they weren’t about to abandon this tiny creature to fend for himself. That’s when they adopted her and named her Trooper. Everyone at the Hackney residence was an animal lover, and soon enough, Trooper became an important member of the family. But there was someone who had a truly special bond with Trooper: 92-year-old Sarah Whaley, who was Alexis’ grandmother.
Grandma Sarah has been living with the Hackneys for over a decade. She had initially moved to help out Alexis’ mom with her kids. “She just kind of stayed,” Alexis said. “She was definitely a major part of our household. She was the matriarch.” But grandma was the biggest animal lover in this family, and she had a special affinity for cats and dogs. So when Trooper was brought home, she immediately became its caretaker.
The loving grandma bottle-fed little Trooper during the first few weeks. Alexis said, “She’d sit there and talk to her, and tell her how cute and sweet she is.” As you can imagine, Trooper quickly fell in love with Grandma Sarah. “Trooper’s the kind of cat where she has one person, and that person was definitely my grandmother.” Needless to say, they were both bonded by mutual love. But the Hackneys could’ve never imagined just how deep their connection was until things started to change for the worse.
Grandma fell ill around Christmas of last year, but she had been ill before. Being 96, this wasn’t really unexpected. But the family felt that there were deeper issues affecting Grandma Sarah’s health. She seemed to be getting worse and worse. Doctors told the Hackneys that there wasn’t much they could do to help. The whole family was prepared, as they knew of Grandma Sarah’s health condition for a while. But one tiny and very important member of the family wasn’t coping with the news all that well.
Trooper seemed to be always by Grandma Sarah’s side. She always stayed in her room, and slept by her side day after day. After a while, Grandma wasn’t able to move around like before. Suddenly, little Trooper started acting in a way she’d never done before. Alexis recalls, “When my grandma couldn’t move around as much anymore, she would bring stuff to her — whatever she’d find on the floor, like socks or a straw.” It seemed as if Trooper was trying to bring nana some gifts to make her feel better. Sadly, this didn’t work.
While Grandma’s health was at an all-time low, she did find comfort in having Trooper by her side, keeping her warm and comforting her. But one day, she started losing her grip on reality, and became disoriented. Sadly, she also experienced panic attacks. But Trooper? She stayed by her side through it all. “She would accidentally hit her or squeeze her too hard, and Trooper would never fight back,” Alexis said. “She loved my grandma, and she never ever scratched her or bit her or anything.” Grandma Sarah wouldn’t survive for too long, and Trooper was aware of it.
The Hackneys were humbled by the love and care this tiny creature had showed their beloved Grandma, especially during her final resting days. Alexis recalls, “She loved my grandma so much, and you could tell by the way she would look at her when she was sick.” “It just broke your heart to see all of this pain in her eyes.” Sadly, she passed away a few days before her 97th birthday in March. Trooper was as heartbroken as everyone in the family, if not more.
Once Grandma Sarah passed away, Alexis feared little Trooper would run off looking for her. She decided to take the cat to the room where nana was lying. But Trooper couldn’t handle it. “She ran away and got underneath my parents’ bed,” Alexis recalls. “After they’d taken my grandma’s body, she stopped eating. She’s not a very vocal cat, but she was just walking around the house, crying all of the time.” But they say time heals all wounds and that’s true for both people and animals.
Eventually, Trooper seemed to have coped with Grandma’s passing, and she understood she wasn’t coming back. She finally stopped crying and was eating again. But the Hackneys could tell she would always carry Grandma Sarah’s memories and love in her heart. Trooper still pays tribute to her by bringing different objects, socks and little gifts and leaving them on her bedroom floor. “You can tell that she definitely misses Grandma,” said Alexis. This experience moved her so much, she decided she needed to share it with the world.
Alexis is on a Facebook group called “Cool Cats Group,” so she decided to share this heartbreakingly beautiful story of Trooper and her beloved nana with other feline lovers. She wrote, “I think that cats have a very bad reputation when it comes to people not thinking that they actually love us.” She continued, “So when I saw Trooper so dedicated and so loyal to my grandmother, I really wanted to share that.” Alexis really wanted the world to know that cats truly love their humans.
Alexis said on her post, “People don’t understand that cats may not be like dogs, but they definitely do have emotion, and they do have feelings and they love us very much.” She continued, “They just aren’t as good as showing us as dogs are. But they definitely do love us.” Clearly, Alexis’ message hit a nerve, because her story went viral fast. And apparently, science agrees with her beliefs.
Cats may have the reputation that they’re selfish, unloving, and even manipulative. But recent research actually debunks this myth and suggest that just like dogs, they are capable of forming tight bonds with humans. But there are differences among both species, as dogs are needier, and crave much more attention. Cats, on the other hand, are more curious and really independent. Still, cats consider humans a part of their “clan,” which Trooper’s story of love definitely proves.