This page is dedicated to the memory of Whisper, who we loved dearly. Whisper will be greatly missed, and she will live on in our hearts forever.
Whisper was a talker, and Darrin and I always gave meaning to her dialogs. In that, one of the things Whisper was fairly adamant about was that she was a person, not a cat. To say that Whisper was “just a cat” would do her a great injustice. To say she was a family member would be much closer, but it still falls short. Whisper was woven into the very fabric of our lives.
When we went to bed, she would sleep between our pillows. She knew exactly when it was bed time, and if we were late, well, she would just go to her place and wait. When we watched our TV shows in the evening, she was either on our laps or lying between us. When we were working at our computers, she was either in between my arms or in her “doughnut bed” on Darrin’s desk. When we showered, she was either in the shower or (in the later years) in her box beside the shower. When we opened the refrigerator, she was already in it. When we were brushing our teeth, she was drinking out of the faucet. When we were gaming at the house, she would be (or try to be) on the table in front of everyone. If her breakfast was late because it was the weekend and I was sleeping in, then I would get a paw trying to open my mouth. We used to say she teleported because if you stood up from your chair, she would suddenly and magically be there, rolling around on it or stretching out yawning like she’d just woken up. When we came home from work, she would be at the door.
Not only was she part of the fabric of our lives, but she got to meet well over a hundred people, probably many more than that. I don’t know of a single person who did not immediately adore her. She loved people and attention. It did not matter if this person was the plumber, if that person bent down to greet her, she would want them to pick her up and carry her around. She even liked being at the vet! Where other cats would be cowering somewhere in the exam room, Whisper would be jumping on counters, checking everything out, seeing what treats were available, and then she’d just lay on the table and chill. And she would purr so loud during her exam that the doctors couldn’t ever actually hear her heart through the stethoscope. She rarely stressed about anything.
The Slim Years
Whisper was born on Lori’s 21st birthday in 1995, along with her brother, Rumor. They were a surprise gift from Lori’s mother, Carolyn while Lori was attending college in San Diego. In the early years, they were restricted to a single master bedroom area, which Whisper shared with her brother and with a Cockatiel named Sweety. Unlike most cats, Whisper never cared about birds.
In 1997, Lori moved cross-country from San Diego, California to Fairfax, Virginia. Because Lori was flying by herself with two cats, one of the cats was able to go into the cabin with her while the other had to ride as cargo. Whisper went into cargo. After the plane landed, Lori had been initially unable to locate Whisper’s carrier at the baggage claim. After a while of frantic searching, her carrier was finally discovered way away from everything else. As Lori rushed to the carrier, the reason why she was by herself was quickly discovered. It was a long flight and Whisper really had "to go." With still an hour and a half of driving from the BWI airport, that stinkiness needed to be cleaned up. So, poor Whisper was whisked to the restroom, partially doused in a toilet, and finally cleaned up. There weren’t many options at the time for the cleaning of cats!
Darrin opened his two bedroom apartment to Lori and her two cats. For the first five years, Whisper was a very slim cat and quite spry. In a single bound, she was able to jump from the floor to the top of our shutter-style closest doors where she would just hang out. We finally got her spayed when she was five years old.After she was spayed, Whisper filled out and became an amazingly beautiful feline.
Trio of Cats
In 2004, we added a new kitty, Dalia, to the family. Whisper had already learned some basic Alpha Cat skills with her brother, Rumor (who was non-confrontational) and our ferrets, but with Dalia, Whisper truly solidified the position. Whisper was the undisputed Alpha of the house up until the day of her passing. Being Alpha meant she would get the preferential food and bowl of her choosing, even if she chose to move between different bowls. The other cats would back off and wait. She would have the first option for lap seating. She would have the first go at any new toys. If a new box came into the house, Whisper was in it and on it, often before it was even placed on the ground. If you asked her what she was doing, she would answer with a meow (she always answered if you talked to her). According to her, she was helping. :)
She Insisted she was just Fluffy
Though Whisper was slim in her younger years, after she was spayed and as she got older, she learned the love of food. She loved food a little too much. When she was about 10 years old, she weight a whopping 12 pounds. Whisper did not have a very large frame, so this was quite overweight for her. We started her on a portion control diet. We had an automated feeder on the ground for her, which would release food every six hours or so. The other cats had food bowls up on a shelf, which she couldn’t reach. Over the course of the next couple of years, she slimmed back down to a reasonable weight.
Whispered played World of Warcraft
Like her mom and dad, Whisper was a gamer. She would sit in front of them to play with whatever was on the screen. When mom was playing, Whisper would frequently participate in the conversations on teamspeak, ventrillo, or mumble.
Whisper Loved the Flying Critters Best
She had preferences, and some games she did not like. World of Warcraft, however, was one she always played. Her favorite things in there were the creatures that were flying.
Snow Tastes Good
All of the kitties were indoor only, though they were able to join mom, dad, and guests out onto the deck. Snow time was always a play outside day for the cats, with supervision, of course. In 2010, our last winter in Virginia, we encountered what some had called “Snowpocalypse.” All of the cats were fascinated by this. After realizing how deep it was, Whisper did not want to step in it. Instead, she wanted mom to clear off the area for her so she could go out and enjoy it without sinking.
In 2011, the family packed up and moved cross-country. We specifically chose to drive the five days from Virginia to California because of the cats. Rumor was already experiencing health problems at that point, and we knew that Dalia, being a very shy cat, would not do very well in a plane and in airports. So, we took our large SUV on a trip. The front and back seat section of the vehicle was divided from the large cargo section by mesh pet barrier. The back half of the vehicle was all cat territory. It had their cat carriers, food, water, litter boxes, and bedding. The cats were able to wander and look out the windows. We found pet friendly hotels all along the route, and planned both our overnight and rest stops for them.
On the second day of the trip, Whisper discovered how to get around the pet barrier. No matter how many times we fixed it, she got through. She didn’t want to get through because she was freaking out or scared. Nope. She wanted to sit with mom and dad. So, for the rest of the trip, she sat on the leather cushioned, perfectly Whisper-sized center console; she was perfectly content after that point.
Peekaboo - Hapi and Whisper
Whisper’s brother, Rumor, passed away in 2012. The whole person-cat family was very close, so this left a void in the playfulness of the house. At the end of summer in 2012, we added Hapi, a green cheek conure (small parrot) to the group. As a cat who had never really had an interest in birds, Whisper was perfectly fine with this, and Hapi absolutely loved Whisper (or at least, Whisper’s fur). Hapi and Whisper both shared the same birthday.
No Working for Mom
Rumor and Dalia had been very close, but Whisper and Dalia were not quite so close. In fact, I think there may have been a cat rule that required the Alpha Cat to keep her subjects at arm’s length. Dalia would try to play with Whisper the way she had played with Rumor, but Whisper wasn’t having any of that nonsense. So, the week after Thanksgiving in 2012, we added a young male we named Aslan to give Dalia a new buddy. As it turned out, Dalia absolutely hated him, but Whisper took to him fairly quickly. Though Aslan was a rough and tumble type of kitty who loved (and still loves) to run and play, he also had a softer side, which he used to take care of Whisper. He still tried to pounce on her and play with her feet as she walked by, but she would just give him a look and he would stop. Then he’d make it up by coming to lick her head.
(Note: It took over a year, but Dalia and Aslan are now friends).
In 2014, we added a second conure to the family who we called Little Duck (because his early sounds were very duck-like). Like Hapi, Little Duck also loved Whisper. During our gaming nights when all of the guests were sitting around the table, Whisper would be sitting on my lap (she really wanted to be on the table, but we managed to compromise with the lap) and Little Duck would run from Darrin, to me, and then down to Whisper where he could play in her fur.
(Mom fail - No picures of the two of them together)
Whisper and Hapi
For many years, Whisper weathered both thyroid disease and kidney disease. Until the last couple of years, you really could not tell she had any ailments. She was always very healthy, active, and involved with every aspect of our lives. She was never the type of cat to walk away from people to go sleep somewhere else or to be by herself. She always preferred the company of people and to be the center of attention. However, for those of us around her every day, we could see the gradual decline of weight and muscle mass.
Aslan Knew Something Wasn't Right
In November of 2014, it was noticed that Whisper was stumbling a little bit and having trouble with balance. Whisper had actually always been a klutz (in fact, we used to say she had four left feet), but this was different. We also noticed that she had started losing more weight after she had been stable for over half a year. We took her to the vet and put her on some additional medications. Two weeks later, we took her in for a recheck. For that recheck, she was still doing “okay” given the circumstances, and we established a treatment plan.
However, during the course of that same day following the recheck, Whisper’s health started to spiral downwards rapidly. Having been around cats and ferrets (who suffer similar ailments) her entire life, Lori knew what she was seeing. On Saturday, November 22nd, the same day in which this was occurring, we had friends over at the house, the people who came every weekend to game with us. At the end of that gaming session, they were asked to make sure they said goodbye to Whisper; we were fairly certain she would not make the next weekend.
On Sunday, November 23rd, Lori and Darrin cancelled their family Thanksgiving plans so they could stay with Whisper. To her credit, Whisper was still very alert and aware and wanted to interact, but her body was having difficulty responding to her desires. She would “grumble” in a cat sort of way when she couldn’t move the way she wanted to move. As part of her dinner, Whisper received a good helping of sour cream, which she loved.
Whisper's Last Morning at Home
On November 24th, mom and dad had one last meal time with Whisper. For the first part of it, she had the remainder of the sour cream from the night before, at the end of which Whisper’s chin was completely white. Then she had her very own order of chicken nuggets. Mom removed the breading and hand fed them to Whisper as she rested on the couch between mom and dad. Whisper ate heartily, and she purred as she did so.
Finally, Whisper, Lori, and Darrin went to see Dr. Lee at San Bruno Pet hospital one final time. Dr. Lee confirmed that Whisper was entering the final stages of her kidney failure. The next phase would involve her body shutting down. We could have given her a couple of more days with hospitalization and fluids, but that would not have been fun for Whisper, and it would not give her more time with mom and dad. So, we made the decision to say good bye.
We stayed with Whisper through to the end (that is the only way I will ever do it; I owe them that much). She required two euthanasia shots. At the very end, she made eye contact with us and meowed, an image that will be burned in our minds for the rest of our lives. Whisper really didn’t want to go, but she didn’t understand that the next stages of her condition would be even worse than what she had already experienced.
Mom's Favorite Picture
Whisper, you were loved and adored by many, and you enriched the lives of all who came to know you.
Please sign the guestbook for Whisper by clicking here