Having said goodbye to Bella cat at the beginning of the month, I had promised the kids that we would dig out photos of her and share our memories and stories about Bella cat.
The boys were devastated to start with but at least they are old enough to understand what has happened. Miss T on the other hand doesn't really understand the concept of death at all. All she has ever known is from computer games where a character 'dies' but then comes back to play again with more lives. So she keeps asking when Bella is coming back.
She feels the sadness too - She tells us how sad it is that Bella has died. But then asks questions like 'who will feed Bella now?' So I really don't know how much she has understood about it.
We've had other questions and comments too - 'how will God know how much food to feed her?' 'What if it's too noisy in heaven and she doesn't like it?'
Bella passed away on 3rd January. The next morning Miss T said 'I think it's a good day for Bella to come back', then the next day said 'it really is a good day for Bella cat to come back now'.
The following day we had run out of chocolate mini rolls. When I said there were no mini-rolls left, Miss T responded with 'Maybe they've gone too with Bella like Bella's gone.'
That image brought a smile to all our faces visualising Bella cat sat in heaven surrounded by mini-rolls and God not being sure how many to feed her!
We had a quick look through photos and dug out a few to remember her by along with a few stories.
We got Bella when she was around 3 years old (we think) - In her previous neighbourhood there had been a series of cat-nappings and her mother had gone missing. Her owners feared that she would be next with her beautiful big eyes and fluffy tail.
Since her mum had gone, she was being intimidated and bullied by the other cats in their neighbourhood too. So when we visited them one day for a BBQ evening and Bella came and sat on my lap all evening - I totally fell in love with her. She truly was the most beautiful cat I had ever seen! Our friends said 'you can have her if you want' - I thought they were joking. They weren't. Because of the worries about her, they wanted her to be in a safer neighbourhood.
She came to stay for a two week trial and loved it so much she never left!
On her first night here, she managed to sense a draft coming from the fireplace so she did try to climb up the chimney. We had to put a mesh in to block further escape attempts.
Although we never knew her as a tiny kitten, some of her behaviour was quite playful and kittenlike when we first got her.
|Mischief: Rolling around under the rug!|
She also ruined our sofas by using them as scratch posts instead of the lovely new scratch post we bought her and many a coat toggle was ruined by her pulling at them. Hiding under rugs and umbrellas was another fave pastime.
When J was born he was fascinated by her. He loved her tail swishing in his face and the feel of her fur. Once when he had just begun to walk and talk, my brother was visiting and told him to go and sit on the 'couch'. We usually say 'sofa' so J wasn't used to this word and heard it as 'cat'. We found him chasing Bella cat round trying to sit on her. Thankfully she was smart enough to get away.
D was born a couple of years later and one of his first words was 'be-uh cat'.
Miss T's first word was also 'be-uh cat' too which shows just what a special member of the family she was. Miss T would have her breakfast then sit by the back door window to watch Bella for a while everyday.
Gradually as her confidence grew, Bella spent more and more time outdoors. Over the past few years she'd spend most her time outdoors having taken over Miss T's toy playhouse as her own. She wasn't bothered by the cheeky youngster cats that lived nearby here - She grew old and wise and confident around them.
She was such a gentle cat that at times it came as a shock to be reminded that she had those animal instincts. I once found her sat with a mouse's tail under her paw as the little mouse tried to run away - it's feet scrabbling quickly but not moving anywhere as Bella had his tail trapped.
I wanted to rescue the mouse but I knew I shouldn't interfere with nature. She wasn't a big hunter as most the birds visiting the garden would spot her attempts to creep up a mile off but she did tend to find animals to watch and attempt to catch occasionally.
There was one beautiful bird that was sat in the middle of the grass one day. It was particularly noticable as it had bright green coloured feathers. I wonder now if it was injured or an escaped pet bird - One moment it was there looking odd sitting in the middle of the garden, the next moment we looked there was a pile of feathers. We assume it was Bella but who knows.
When J was just a few months old we saw her watching something in the garden. We ran out to see a snake coiled up looking at her. I was terrified! Thankfully it was just a grass snake (next door had been empty for a while and their grass was overgrown) - the snake quickly slithered away and we never saw it again.
She also alerted us to another mouse (which we did rescue and release in the nearby woodland) and a frog which she seemed fascinated by.
But the thing she was by far best at was getting in the way. Particularly if we ever needed to take blogging photos in the garden.
Here's a behind the scenes peek of Bella getting involved in the photoshoot for this book review. In the end we must have given up and tried again a different day as in the final review photos Miss T has a different dress on:
|Spot the tail at the front of the photo!|
|Wanting to see what Miss T was up to.|
And there's that fluffy tail again in this photo when we were taking photos for our Pink Lining Ambassador post last summer:
She was never far away whenever we were in the garden:
And she could sense whenever anyone was feeling sad or low as she would come straight away to see them. D in particular would spend a lot of time sitting in the garden with Bella when he was in need of a friend.
So if she ever wasn't nearby we would worry about her. Like the year we had the house extension and it snowed. A lot. Bella hadn't been seen all day. We braced ourselves for the worst then. But then we heard a faint meow. She had taken shelter under the tarpaulin we had in the garden covering the stuff that would usually be in the garage whilst the builders were working on it. The snow had fallen heavily on top and she'd got stuck under there.
Daddy got her out and we made her stay indoors for a while until the snow cleared. J became very attached to having her around indoors. But once the fine weather came she wanted to be outdoors again.
We'd joke about her being 'pirate Bella' when she'd sit on the edge of the blue boat sandpit. She much preferred to drink water from that or from puddles than her water bowl.
Last Christmas (2014) D drew some chalk pictures for her:
And spent some time with her for Christmas cuddles.
I used to find it so annoying to have so much fluff on my strawberries - she was forever shedding her fur everywhere, but I know that when summer comes around and we pick our strawberries, things will never feel quite the same again without her around.
I'm putting this together for the kids so when they read this back in future, I know this is the sad bit but it is important for them to know...Bella died peacefully in her sleep in her favourite playhouse. No illness, no trips to and fro from the vets (which she didn't enjoy). She was curled up and passed away peacefully and painlessly. It's all anyone could wish for in the end.
She brought us lots of happiness and she had a really happy lucky life with us with three children who adored her and who she adored.
For the children, this has been the saddest thing they have experienced. As they grow up life will go on to show them that far worse things happen than losing a loved pet. But for now I want them to have these photos and stories to remember Bella by.
Thank you for the memories Bella.