Adopted Cat Brings Father and Daughter Together to Fight a Pandemic

Skooty went from being a patient to inspiring a new purpose during COVID-19.

Christina + Skooty

Skooty overcame a potentially fatal virus, and inspired mom Christina to team up with her family to help combat COVID-19. When Christina was forced to shut down her business and move back home with her parents, Skooty lifted her spirits, inspired her to make 8,000 masks for essential workers, and helped grow her bond with her dad.

"Skooty’s masks gave me a new purpose during a tumultuous period of my life. Skooty breathed life into a relationship that needed more laughter, bringing us together to rise during an unpredictable time."

Skooty was just supposed to have a 36-hour layover with me between her rescuer and her foster home, but nothing about Skooty is ever easy. Her foster could no longer take her in, so I found myself with a skinny 4-week-old kitten with a bad eye and a lot of opinions. There are normal milestones, and there are Skooty milestones. She typically barreled into hers a month late, underweight, and with complications on the way. She needed every magic trick, and I was her devoted assistant. Because I had to be vigilant, we discovered that she had a virus very early. I adopted her to give her the chance to turn a nearly guaranteed fatal outcome into a rare success story.

After three months, nights spent researching, countless vet visits, and a surprisingly cooperative patient all converged together, Skooty was cured. That same day, I had to shut down my businesses and lay off my employees. While we were fighting one virus at home, another was seeping through the world. I sacrificed my livelihood to protect my team. It was devastating. Skooty dutifully continued to come to me on time for medicine she no longer needed, and I wanted to repay her good fortune. So, I dusted off my sewing machine and started sewing masks. Those masks went to hospitals, essential workers, and complete strangers. To meet demand, I moved back into my childhood home with my husband, my cats, and yards of fabric to start a factory. Dad cut. Mom sewed. I assembled. Skooty inspected.

Nothing intrigued Skooty more than my father. She sprawled on his work. She stole his tools. She bit every page of his newspaper. She snored in his lap. Daily, he brought her to me, complaining, “Skoochy’s bothering me.” He couldn’t pronounce her name, but every day, she got him to talk a little more. As a child, Dad taught me to draw, ride a bike, and repair electronics. We’re both introverts, but he believed in my potential. He wanted me to see everything before I let my shyness prevent me from trying. It was always hard for him to explain, so he showed me instead. I left home young, determined to be independent. Living together again was an adjustment that became easier as Skooty grew on Dad. He brought her outdoors to teach her about nature. He sewed her toys that she stole before he finished. She got him laughing, which got us talking. She became a daily ice breaker, opening up discussions about our lives, our memories, and best of all, Dad jokes. She made us a family again.

Skooty flipped the script and went from being a patient to the inspiration behind a project that delivered 8,000 masks all over the world. Skooty’s masks gave me a new purpose during a tumultuous period of my life. She healed a wound I didn’t know I had. She breathed life into a relationship that needed more laughter, bringing us together to rise during an unpredictable time.

Each year, the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Christina won Meow Parlour Cats, Inc. in New York, New York a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.