Lil Bootz: Mine for Just a Little While

Last month, I endured a cat mom’s worst nightmare. I took my 6-year-old Lil Bootz in for her check-up— and to see if maybe she had a little virus going on—only to get sucker punched with the worst news ever: she was dying of kidney failure and anemia. The numbers were off the charts, and the vet told me there was nothing I could do but palliative care. Next to putting my 19-year-old Gizzy down (due to, once again, kidney failure), this was the worst moment of my life, and the word “shocked” doesn’t even come close to the feelings rushing over me. Hell, I’m still in a state of shock in this weird, empty cat-free life that I’m living.

The following weeks after putting my sweet Bootz down have been agony, but I’m finally at a place where I can document some highlights from her six short years on this planet. Though she wasn’t a cuddle-bug or overly affectionate, her quirky personality made me laugh constantly. I had to earn her love and her trust, and eventually I got there! It’s hard to describe how much I love this cat, and what it meant to me when she would show her affection. We had such a special bond that I will forever and always cherish. I know every pet parent says this—and they’re all 100% correct—but this cat was one of a kind, and I will never find one remotely like her. I’m a little angry right now about the cards we’ve been dealt, but I’m also so incredibly grateful that she was mine.

Lil Bootz’s Gotcha Day! 

This wide-eyed, scared-stiff (literally!) little 6-week-old kitten came into my life one fateful day while we were fishing with our guide at Lake Livingston on December 11, 2016. Gizzy recently passed away, and we were ready to fill the void with a new kitten. Our guide told us this tiny baby was found in the engine compartment of his wife’s car. Throughout the three-hour ride back to Austin, she was frozen still with fear. I remember looking at her and thinking, don’t worry little girl. I’m going to make sure you have the best life ever in our little home. Back then, I thought I had at least two decades with her, but…well…life has other plans. 

Baby’s First Vet Visit!

I’m pretty sure the vet was a little surprised to see I adopted a new baby so soon after Gizmo’s passing, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And this heart wants a cat in the house at all times!!! Needless to say, her perfect little boots and adorable fluffy face charmed all the staff. Every time she meets a new person, the first thing I hear is “cute face!”

Costume Party Pooper

I was able to barely get away with it during her kitten days, but it didn’t take long for Lil Bootz to put a hard stop on costume parties. Fortunately, I have just a few photos of her looking absolutely precious in her little outfits. I tried to tell her that with a face like that she could write her ticket to the elite kitty fashion shows, but she said she’d rather stay at home and eat lizards.

Bouncing off the Walls!

After hiding in the upstairs office for three whole days, the little weirdo put her brave-girl boots on and ventured out into the big, scary townhouse! It didn’t take long until she started flinging her tiny body off the walls and ambushing her sister and daddy with a fierce battle cry. 

Early Morning Fight Club

Most cats show their affection by cuddling, but this thing was more of a fighter! If I had to wake up super early in the morning for some God awful reason, she’d be ready to rumble!

A Hunter Waits for its Prey

Although she wasn’t much of a climber, Lil Bootz loved hanging out up high in Gizmo’s old cat tree, where she would hang her head over like a tiger looking for its prey. 

Cuddles with Big Sissy 

Lil Bootz would never stoop to cuddling with her human parents, but she loved being close to her big sis, CeeCee Honeycutt. I’m pretty sure the feeling wasn’t mutual, but CeeCee was kind enough to coexist with the little critter. Every once in a while, I’d even see CeeCee eliciting nose bumps, which made my heart sing! 

How Cute is the Kitty in the Window?! 

To this day, I gaze at this window when I walk up to the front door in hopes of seeing my Lil Bootz. It’s an auto-pilot thing, I suppose. Although she pretended to hate this window perch at first (because I spent money on it at the pet store!), she soon made it her morning and afternoon hangout every day of her life.

Nose Bumps, Guys! 

A walk with CeeCee wouldn’t be complete without Lil Bootz greeting us at the door and asking for nose bumps. CeeCee wasn’t totally into it, but she humored us. 

Nap Queen!

When she wasn’t ambushing her father and sister or tearing up the couch, Lil Bootz spent most of her time cat-napping in her favorite spots. Obviously, she needed her beauty sleep to maintain those good looks. It’s hard to articulate her weirdo sleep position, but she tended to catch her zzzs with her head plunged downward. Such a little freak.

Scared of Literally Everything!

I’m not kitty psychologist, but it’s safe to say Lil Bootz survival experience in the wilds of East Texas caused some serious PTSD and agoraphobia. Unlike Gizmo, who tried to bolt out the door every chance he got, Lil Bootz wanted NOTHING to do with the outside world, which made going to the vet a real picnic. Poor little thing was so scared, she’d freeze into a statue. That’s why we chose to do at-home euthanasia with the most amazing vet ever (Dr. Kelly) with Lap of Love Hospice Vet. I highly, highly recommend them.

Kitchen Cuddles!

Nothing brightened up my day more than those moments when Lil Bootz would wrap her little bunny body around my legs, asking for her kitchen cuddles. As a rule, she did not allow humans to cuddle her, but she made exceptions when mamma was making coffee in the morning. I never ever passed up on her offer for hugs and kisses because I just loved holding her so much and laughing as she fanged my glasses, which is kitty language for you’re my property, human!

Video Snippets

Lil Bootz often turned into Lil Miss Bossy Pants when she had a hankering for Party Mix (aka kitty crack).

Lil Bootz was never too shy to let mamma know that she was annoyed by her presence. This just motived me more and more to keep doting on her during her “me time.”

During her kitten years, Lil Bootz loved playing cat-and-mouse games on the ol’ tablet. It didn’t take her too long to decide that human-created cat toys are beneath her.

This is one of those rare moments when Lil Bootz would almost get in my lap! She showed her love by attacking either my hand or her tail!

Another rare moment of Lil Bootz actually playing like a normal cat! She did enjoy her gutter ball toy for a good long while until she became too cool for it.

Moments like these had mamma running for her camera! As you can see, there were hundreds of these moments. I look back a this video with so much yearning for my little bug to be right here at home, where she’s supposed to be. God, I miss her. Please let the rainbow bridge be true so I can see my salty little striped creature and my Gizmo again. Rest easy, my Lil Bootz. You were a gift that I will always treasure.

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