20-year-old cat leaves a private suite named after her

Cinders the cat came to Best Friends three years ago after her elderly person died. Cinders didn’t have much use for other felines. At 20, she was blind in one eye and suffered from high blood pressure and dementia. The grand old dame had attitude and she wanted a room of her own, thank you very much.

Cat's private suite with a patio

And that’s just what she got. For the next few years, Cinders lived the good life in a private suite with her own patio. There, the staff cared for her, even playing relaxing CDs for her and reading children’s books to her. "She was just a cranky old lady," said cat caregiver Cathie Toops. "She had a lot of servants."

Honoring a cranky senior cat's memory

Needless to say, Cathie and the rest of the cat staff became quite attached to Cinders. When she peacefully passed over the Rainbow Bridge in early May, they wanted to do something to honor her memory. So they christened her room "The Cinders Suite," and they’ve turned it into a special place for cats needing individualized attention.

Cat with renal failure in the Cinders Suite

The Cinders Suite already has its first tenant, a little 15-year-old tabby named Teaser. Teaser has renal failure and it’s critical that she gets her medication and fluids. But little Teaser is fast on her feet. "When she’s in the [big cat room], we can’t catch her," said cat caregiver Marilyn Spangler. "She’s just too smart for us." So for now, Teaser will reside in Cinders’ old digs, where the staff can give her the special care she needs.

A framed photo of Cinders sits nearby. And although it’s difficult for the caregivers to say goodbye to the animals they’ve grown to love, they feel blessed to have known them, even if just for a little while. And for cats like Cinders, their legacy lives on in each new animal who finds help.

"They give us more than we give them," Cathie said. "They make our lives richer."

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Photos by Molly Wald