Anyway, trying to come up for a name for my very first cat was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. We came up with a lot of the usual names like, Precious, Fluffy, Princess... and none of them suited her. At some point, one of us blurted out 'Bella', which totally stuck. And thankfully so. Because initially, Bella was not a beautiful cat. I wasn't kidding when I said she was a scraggly alley cat. We got her right after she was fixed AND de-clawed <---- (which, by the way, I do not agree with (the de-clawing part) - she came that way). Over the years, Bella became such a beautiful cat. And somehow, also ended up becoming a kind of matriarch in the family. This tiny pip-squeak who used to climb up our artificial Christmas Tree (no claws, people!) until she put a hole in the middle of it from sitting on the branches, became the 'boss'. She came into our lives at a time when we really needed her. Or at least my mom and I did. I don't think my brother would ever admit to needing a cat... my sister might, though.
There has never been a cat like my Bella, nor will there ever be. If you were sad, or upset, or angry, Bella sensed it and would approach you to see if you were okay. If my sister and I were having a screaming match (all the time when we were teenagers!), Bella would come right up to me and 'meow' - if I was sitting, she would jump in my lap. She hated when we fought. One time, my mom was home alone and feeling a bit sad over something. Bella totally sensed it and cozied up to my mom to comfort her. In the early years this was not typical Bella behavior. She was not a lap cat no matter how much I wanted her to be. If I picked her up she would do her best to wriggle out of my arms. If I put her in my lap she would immediately jump out. If I started to pat her she would walk away. This is the cat I'm dedicating my post to! Ha. As she got a bit older she started to change her snobbish ways and became the sweetest cat on the planet. Don't worry, I loved her like crazy when she was a snob, too.
Bella was also like the dog I never had. I have a dog now, and she is nothing like Bella. Bella always greeted me when I got home from school, and then later in life, when I got home from work. I was locked out all the time when we were teenagers and Bella used to sit and watch me from the inside while I sat on the porch waiting for someone to get home. Sometimes I used to imagine Bella unlocking the door for me, but unfortunately (for me), that never happened! Ha. This cat followed me around everywhere. In her defense, I followed her around everywhere when we first got her. I'd never had a cat before so I didn't know what it was like. When Bella would head down to the basement and hide under the stairs, I would go too, crawling through cobwebs to 'rescue' her. I didn't know it was normal for cats to hide and get used to a new environment! I just wanted to be able to see her at all times. And I wanted her to hurry up and love me like I already loved her! Ha. In the early days, that poor cat was probably wishing she was never rescued! And it didn't help that my mom was just as annoying as I was- carrying Bella to her food, water and littler box just to make sure that Bella knew where they were! What a couple of fools we were but, I wouldn't have done it any other way. We've rescued other cats as well, but we were never as annoying as we were with Bella in the early years!
I could write all day about her and not even scratch the surface about the wonder that was Bella. She was THE BEST mouse catcher of any cat I've ever known even though she had no claws! This cat has been through A LOT. She overcame diabetes, complications from diabetes, pancreatitis, eye infections - you name it! If cats have 9 lives then Bella's had like 20! She was such a fighter and a total trooper. I've had to give her needles, pills, eye drops, and she still loved me in spite of it all! She was amazing with little children, put the other animals in their place, and converted cat-haters into cat-lovers. The two of us couldn't be separated for more than a couple of days - and if we were, I would ask to talk to her on the phone. No joke. When I went away for a couple of months to California, Bella became depressed. For the first couple of weeks she would run to the door any time someone came in, hoping it was me. After a while she would go hide out in my room. Back in California, I would have visions of her sitting next to me on the couch. Talk about separation anxiety! Needless to say, we had a major reunion when I finally came home. I never went away for long periods of time after that!
Sadly, after living 17 glorious years, I said good-bye to Bella on Thursday. She was one in a million and I'm going to miss her like crazy.
|Bella 1994 - 2012|
This one's for you Bella: