Photoset #1 of 4 - In loving memory of Sookie
She started brightening others’ lives in either June or July of 2011. That August, we’d paid the adoption fee and were all set to drive up and bring her home. Then, the pet rescue called. They told us the soon-to-be newest addition to our family had developed Fading Kitten Syndrome. She was already the runt of her litter, and she was so sick, they really didn’t think she’d make it.
But Sookie bounced back as if nothing had even happened. She was happy and healthy again, and when we finally took her home, she slept in my lap the whole ride.
Over the next 5 years, she wreaked havoc on our household. Sookie would poop outside the litter box, buttscoot, playfully bat or nip at Latte (one of our other cats) just to make her mad, jump up on the kitchen table or counter, go through the trash, bite my arm to get my attention when she wanted to be pet, swat at people’s legs when they were walking past her, occasionally get high off catnip and promptly pick a fight with Latte, wake me up at 5am, scratch and scream at my bedroom door when I was trying to finish up class papers, sit on the coffee table and gurgle up at the ceiling when it got close to her dinner time, jump up on the railing to the balcony that overlooks the living room one story below (she fell off that stupid thing twice, but was uninjured both times), and oh so much more.
When she was 3 years old, not even a diagnosis of congenital heart disease slowed Sookie down. Her doctor had me give her a little pill every morning and evening so that her heart wouldn’t have to work as hard just to pump blood out. Sookie hated it at first, but after about a week, she took it with incredible ease. In time, sonograms even showed her heart was improving! She continued to tear around the house and cause all sorts of mischief, just like she’d always done.
Sookie was a little turd sometimes, but she was also a very important and precious part of my life. By living alongside me and being her quirky, affectionate self, for 5 years she lit up my world. She’d come lie down in my lap for a few minutes whenever I was sitting and working on something. She’d purr her little head off the whole time she was there, then jump down and walk off like she’d gotten bored. While I was waking up, she’d give little peeping meows and gently pat my face until I reacted to her. She’d sit on the floor beside my chair during dinner, staring intently up at me and sometimes getting up on her hind legs to beg for food. I could go on and on about all the fun I had with her.
Sookie also helped me through the toughest years of my anxiety. I remember lying awake one night, overwhelmed and feeling terrible about myself. Then, I reached over and give Sookie a little scratch or a tummy rub. She immediately started purring like a motor boat, and I thought, “If I can make this little animal happy and make sure her life is as good as it can be, that’s one thing I’m doing right.” This little cat helped me so, so much, and I like to think I helped her, too.
Yesterday evening, on Thursday, December 1st, 2016, I helped Sookie one last time.
Her health had been slowly declining since Sunday night. On top of complications from intestinal issues and heart disease, the ER vet discovered a bleeding mass in her stomach. Instead of making her go through any more pain and risk anesthesia and a surgery she was very unlikely to survive, I made the decision to have Sookie put to sleep. I sat with her, scratching behind her ear and telling her how much her mommy loved her until God finally took her home.
Sookie was only about 5 and a half years old - but that’s 5 years longer than everyone expected her to stick around for. I may not be able to hold her anymore, but Sookie will always be my little little baby girl.