Four years ago, I lost one of my true loves—the love of a furry and tailed kind. I suppose that all my cats are, and have been true loves, but like certain people, Bella touched me on a soul mate kind of level.
Bella had only been in my life for three years, far from the many years I was expecting to share with her. Over those three years, Bella had worked her way deep into my heart as she opened her guarded soul to me. I adopted her from New Beginnings for Animals and was her third home. When I met her at the PetSmart adoption center, she cautiously came out of her cage and carefully looked up at me. I knelt down to meet her face to face. She sniffed my forehead, cheeks and nose, stepped back and sized me up. The volunteer said that Bella had been there for months, yet never showed interest in anyone, gently urging me to consider this eight year old Persian mix. I had intended to adopt a kitten, but told the volunteer that I would think about Bella. Over the following days, not only did I think about Bella, I could not get her out of my mind. My desire for a kitten was overshadowed by my instant connection with Bella. It seemed that she’d been patiently waiting for me. A week following our introduction, I returned to the adoption center. Bella greeted me again, demonstrated her craze for catnip and I promptly signed adoption papers. This stoic beauty was coming home with me.
Our initial connection grew into a strongly bonded relationship—bonded with love, trust and a lot of humor. I got such a kick out of her. Bella was a dancer trapped in a cat’s body and I was audience to her burlesque routines. Miss Bella would sashay across the hardwood floor, just beyond the coffee table, in front of the T.V. then stop mid strut as if remembering something important, which lead to a dismissive glance over her shoulder before she strutted off the “stage.” She appeared to be on her tippy toes, and her rubinesque behind swayed purposefully while her fluffy tail would oscillate in sync with her sassy struts. At the end of each act she ended-up on my lap loudly purring and proudly looking up at me with her big round orange eyes. I could see and feel Bella’s contentment—that sense of finally belonging; finally being loved and adored.
I still smile when I think about the three years we had together. And four years later, tears still fall when I think of our last day together—Bella snuggling with me, Topper and Lex on my bed for several surreal hours before the vet arrived.
At one point she sat up, stretched and nonchalantly licked her paw, then licked a drop of chamomile tea from my fingertip as if she were perfectly fine. Other than labored breathing and murky eyes she still looked healthy and beautiful. But the cancer had gotten the best of her, and she would have passed on her own within days. I couldn’t bear to see her suffer.
Dr. Sultzer arrived at 2:30 p.m. on April 30, 2012 to help Bella cross over to the Rainbow Bridge. I held her as she peacefully passed with Topper and Lex by her side.
In Loving Memory of Miss Bella
June 1, 2001 – April 30, 2012