The way one man dealt with the tragedy of losing his brother is beautiful and awe-inspiring. Hilton Patton from Edmonton, Alberta could have withdrawn from society or coped with the pain of losing his brother Boston to suicide in so many unhealthy ways. But instead, he decided to honor him but not only adopting Boston’s two Bengal cats, but making them a dream habitat.
First, Let’s Meet The Cats
“The cats’ names are Benji and Nala,” Hilton explained. “Nala is about 5, and Benji is about 3 I believe. They’ve had a hard time adjusting. Nala’s always been a more social cat who loves people in general, so she was a bit easier, but Benji has only ever loved or even liked, one person, and that’s Boston. He’s never really let anyone else even pet him. But with Boston, he’d follow him around, jump on him, sleep on him, everything. Benji has only now just started to feel comfortable with coming down and playing with me and Nala.”
Construction of the Habitat Was Therapeutic For Patton And A Gift To The Bengals
I can’t think of a better way to honor a loved one than to take in his or her pets. Many pet owners fear what will happen to their pets if they were to die. Many pets end up in shelters and homeless when their owners die. What Patton did was so beautifully self-less with an added benefit of being therapeutic for him as he grieved the loss of his brother.
Patton explains, “For undertaking the project, I knew he would never want Benji and Nala split up, because he had actually specifically told me that. And I know he wouldn’t want them going to someone he didn’t know or completely trust. I honestly can’t even explain my whole thought process at the time, cause it really was just a lot of pain. Just nothing mattered except for doing something him. Money didn’t matter, my job didn’t matter, nothing mattered.”
Patton continued, “Emotionally, the construction of it I think was helpful at the time, cause I was in an extremely dark place and it was something I could pour myself completely into. All my money, all my time, it went to that. I’m still not out of the dark place if I’m being honest, and I don’t think I ever will be, but being near the cats and getting to see them every day does help.”
A Learn As You Go Project
Even for an experienced carpenter and electrician, this was quite an undertaking. But what makes it even more incredible is that Patton was an amateur at building things. He explained the project by saying, “I know this probably will look quite amateur, and that’s honestly because it completely is. Going into this project, I had literally zero experience doing anything I did, I just knew I wanted to do something awesome for my little brother and his cats.
The Project Was Also Costly
“I had spent all my money and maxed out my cards on all the supplies and the only 2 things I could afford to pay professionals to do was the framing, and laying the turf. Also, I had a good friend do the electrical,” Patton said.
He continued, “Everything else though, from the drywall, the shelves, carpeting the walls, making an optical fiber night sky, running speaker wire, were done by me and the help of some of my brother’s friends with no knowledge at all of what we were doing.”
The End Result Is Incredible
“Electrical done with outlets in only select places. The house electrical was framed off and made into a mini room to make sure the cats couldn’t get to it or hurt themselves,” Patton said.
“Walls all finished.”
“Wires hidden. I also installed 4 ceiling speakers to play jungle sounds throughout the basement.”
“Stars” Created To Look Like His Brother
Patton made the ceiling into stars to look like a favorite photo he had of his brother.
“Before finishing the ceiling (we were a little all over the place) I started planning out shelves, and cut a small little cave for the cats to go in between the walls up high.”
Check out the wall to wall carpeting that the cats can climb.
Water and Plants
Last but not least, Patton added water and plants to this amazing habitat for the Bengals. One of the types of plants was fittingly called a Boston Fern. “The plants on the right are real, and called Boston Ferns, which was insanely fitting (and why I bought them),” Patton said.
One thing is for certain, and that is that Benji and Nala have been truly blessed to have Patton step in and care for them in such a special way after losing their human owner.
An Awesome Tribute
Patton could have buried himself in addiction or withdrew from the world at the loss of his brother. Instead, he did something to benefit two cats who also were faced with a loss. Even though and despite the pain, this habitat has become a labor of love and a tribute to Boston.
“This is my little brother Boston. I did all of this for him. I wish he could see it. He passed away on Feb 03, 2018 from suicide. I love him and miss him more than words can possibly describe,” Patton said.
How You Can Help
If this story tugged at your heart and if you would like to help fund Patton’s project, click here to go to his GoFundMe page. He is still working on making this habitat even better for the two Bengals.