People who don’t have pets don’t understand how loyal, loving and attached they become to their owners. Cats and dogs experience and express their feelings differently. But they indeed do love their humans. This fact is understood completely by Alexis Hackney of Tallahassee, Florida.

“I think that cats have a very bad reputation when it comes to people not thinking that they actually love us,” Hackney said. “So when I saw Trooper so dedicated and so loyal to my grandmother, I really wanted to share that because 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. They just aren’t as good as showing us as dogs are. But they definitely do love us.”

Alexis and her family flip houses. One day in 2014they heard meowing coming from inside a wall in the basement of a home they were flipping.

Alexis recalls her first meeting with Trooper. “She was in the wall, and my mom and sister had to get a sledgehammer, and bust out the sheetrock and get her,” Alexis told The Dodo. “She was about two weeks old. Her eyes were barely open.”

Since they couldn’t find the kitty’s mother, they brought her home. Living with them was Alexis’s grandmother, Sarah Whaley. The kitten took to her immediately.

“My grandmother actually lived with us for 18 years,” she said. “She moved down here to babysit me and my sisters when we were little. She just kind of stayed. She was definitely a major part of our household. She was the matriarch.”

Grandma Sarah adored all children and cats. “My grandmother would bottle-feed her,  and she’d sit there and talk to her, and tell her how cute and sweet she is,” she said. “Trooper’s the kind of cat where she has one person, and that person was definitely my grandmother.”

The family knew woman and cat loved one another, but they didn’t comprehend the true extent of their affection until Alexis’s grandmother became ill. “My grandmother started going more downhill around Christmas [last year], and we started noticing her [Trooper]  being there all the time .”

Trooper made it a habit of sleeping with the ill woman. She’d also collect things off the floor and present them to her companion as gifts.

Alexis explained how this wasn’t normal for the dedicated cat. “She was never the kind to pick up toys and move them around the house or anything, but 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.

“As she started getting sicker and sicker and sicker, she increased the amount of stuff that she was bringing. She’d go into my brother’s room and just grab his socks and haul them downstairs and lay them on the floor.

“You could just look into her eyes and tell that she knew what was going on, and she was very upset about it.”

When grandma Sarah would have a panic attack, the cat would rush into the room to her side to offer comfort. “Trooper would run in there and hop on the bed, and she would just start petting her and feeling her, and she’d calm down,” Hackney said. “When my grandmother started getting to the point where  she couldn’t communicate anymore, I think that having Trooper there was definitely calming for her.”

Nothing appeared to rattle the darling Trooper. “Whenever my grandmother was going through the process of passing away, she became very disoriented,” Hackney said. “Trooper was always by her side — always there — and she would accidentally hit her or squeeze her too hard, and Trooper would never fight back. She would just jump down, wait for my grandma to calm down, and she would jump right back into bed with her. If we had done that, it would have been all over. We would have been a bloody mess, but she loved my grandma, and she never, ever scratched her or bit her or anything.

“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.”

Grandma Sarah died in March. Poor Trooper was inconsolable after the death of her best friend who was 96-years-old.

“She didn’t want to be around my grandma’s body,” Hackney said. “I had taken her in there to show her that Grandma is not coming back … because if they don’t know, they’ll look for them, and I wanted her to understand that our grandma is not there anymore. But she ran away and got underneath my parents’ bed. And 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.”

Thankfully, Trooper is doing much better. Though she still leaves gifts in Sarah’s old room. “You can tell that she definitely misses Grandma,” Hackney said.

What a touching story. I’m not surprised it went viral. The Hackney’s are lucky to have such a faithful feline like Trooper.