Boston, Massachusetts woman Christiana Viscusi and her husband – otherwise known as Cat Dad – were heartbroken when they lost their fuzzy feline friend, Sophie, in mid 2017. However, the empty space in their hearts and home after Sophie passed was happily soon filled. It all began two months later, when Viscusi came across her deceased pet’s doppelgänger while surfing online.
Sophie was originally a rescue pet who was saved from an appalling situation where piles of animals in cages were being hoarded together. The three-year-old cat was rescued from her plight and then sheltered by the Animal Rescue League of Boston. It wasn’t long before Sophie found her forever home nearby, with 40-year-old web designer Viscusi and Cat Dad.
The adorable ball of feline fluff made herself perfectly at home with her new adopted family pretty quickly. Sophie soon decided on her favorite spot to sleep – on top of the dresser in mummy and daddy’s room. Viscusi noted this and bought Sophie her very own miniature bed, complete with bed sheets, and placed it atop the dresser.
While Sophie loved being tucked comfortably up in her bed at night, she also enjoyed the great outdoors. In May 2017, Viscusi told animal interest website The Dodo, “When I get home from work she’s waiting at the door and circling me to go outside. We have a routine where we go outside for at least an hour when I get home because I know she’s anxiously been waiting all day.”
It turned out that Sophie wasn’t just a hit with her new parents but also a neighbor’s cat, Scottie. The male moggie began just watching Sophie but soon got braver and started following her whenever they were outside together. Scottie’s owners thought it was odd since their cat was often stand-offish with other felines, yet his relationship with Sophie appeared very close.
However, one possible explanation for the relationship presented itself when Viscusi chatted to her neighbors and found out the cats had something in common. They discovered that both moggies had been rescued from animal hoarders. Viscusi told The Dodo, “It’s very possible they were [rescued] at the same place and each put in different shelters, but I don’t really know. Just makes us wonder.”
Sophie and Scottie soon became loving friends. Viscusi said, “Every time we are outside… he runs right over to hang out. In the summer, it’s several times a week. If he sees us on our balcony from his lawn he comes over and cries up at us, then goes and sits at our back door, waiting for us to bring her out. It’s really cute.”
Christiana developed a new interest when she became a self-styled “catstagrammer.” She set up an Instagram account dedicated to her pet – called sophielovestuna – to show off her loveable furball to the world. Over time, the page depicted the highlights of Sophie’s adventures with her owner, and best pal Scottie. The adorable pictures showed Sophie tucked up in her little bed, posing in knitted hats, taking walks in her harness, and meeting up with Scottie.
Unfortunately, the Instagram posts were to take a sad turn in late May 2017. Sophie became ill, went off her food and began vomiting a white foamy liquid. As a result, Sophie was rushed straight to Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center by her very worried parents. Viscusi updated Sophie’s Instagram followers to let them know of the stricken pussy’s progress. Firstly, Sophie would be undergoing emergency surgery. The operation would hopefully remove a foreign object vets found in her small intestine.
The procedure reportedly went well, but sadly fluid in Sophie’s lungs resulted in aspiration pneumonia. The desperately ill cat was consequently placed in an oxygen chamber and treated with strong antibiotics. Sophie was monitored closely, but she did not appear to be responding to the drug treatment in the way that the vets hoped.
Viscusi was told that if there was no improvement in 24 hours Sophie’s case would be considered critical. But she showed some improvement with the ventilator to help her breathe. But it was when the Angell vets attempted to withdraw the sick cat from the apparatus, that it all became too much. Regrettably, Sophie passed away. Viscusi broke the news to her Instagram followers, “I wish this wasn’t real. I don’t want to tell the world she’s gone…. [I’m] heartbroken.”
Viscusi wanted to thank everyone who had supported her through the pain and those who made donations to help with vet bills. On June 2, 2017, she wrote, “There are no words for the sadness it brings me to let all of you know my little angel gained her wings tonight. Everything I did included her and I’m crushed she’s off on a new adventure without me. I cannot begin to thank each and every one of you for the kindness, generosity, and support you’ve all shown us. What an amazing community this is.”
She also thanked the veterinary medical center that cared for poor Sophie through her illness. Viscusi stated on sophielovestuna, “[Thank you] to the amazing team at [Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’] Angell that did everything they could providing the best round-the-clock care.”
Sophie’s Instagram page showed that despite her passing, her feline friend Scottie still visited to get consoling belly rubs from Cat Dad. Fans were upset to think of the feline missing his friend. One wrote, “Seeing Scottie without Sophie by his side is so sad and heartbreaking!” And Scottie was not the only one distraught by the sudden loss of Sophie. Viscusi and partner both felt the emptiness in their home without that lovely little character that had filled their hearts.
So the appearance of Louie came as a perfectly timed surprise. Viscusi was overjoyed when she spotted him on the online Petfinder adoption service. She described him as Sophie’s “brother from another mother.” She explained to feline aficionado website Love Meow, “I knew right away that I had to inquire about him. I saw that he was at a shelter an hour away, so I took a chance and emailed them to see if he was still there. Sure enough, he was and we drove down the next day to meet him.”
The couple journeyed along the road to The Pat Brody Shelter for Cats in Lunenburg, MA, and couldn’t wait to meet Louie. Viscusi said, “As soon as we walked in, we saw him lounging on a table by a window and Cat Dad scooped him right up. He was so big and fluffy and with his bright amber eyes looking right at us, we instantly loved him.”
Viscusi told Love Meow that it seemed like three-year-old Louie seemed to understand that he was destined to fill the void left by Sophie. The male moggie snuggled up to the couple straight away, purring happily. That very day, Viscusi and Cat Dad took their new cuddly Persian and Turkish Van-mix cat back home to Boston.
Louie settled into his new home readily and it wasn’t long before Instagram users, who had been kept abreast of developments by Viscusi, were asking a burning question. When would the new guy get to meet the neighbors? One sophielovestuna follower said, “Poor little Scottie! I hope he finds a new best friend in Louie. Rest in peace sweet Sophie.”
However, due to Viscusi’s landlord putting in new grass and resurfacing the drive, outdoor adventures were strictly out-of-bounds. Sadly this meant Louie couldn’t meet Scottie right away. For now, Louie is proving to be far from camera shy and is perfectly happy to pose indoors. Whether he is sprawled out on the floor like a melted ball of fur, or play-biting his mum, the pictures capture it all.
The sophielovestuna Instagram account is still up and running, but now populated with cute pictures of the lovely Louie and updates on his life. Sophie may be gone, but she is certainly not forgotten. Viscusi still uses the page to remind followers of her adventures with the kitty and memorialize Louie’s predecessor.