Thursday, January 26, 2012


The purpose of this post is not to edify, but simply to eulogize my best cat ever, Belle.

Belle was a surprise from my parents when I was eight. My mom loaded me up in the mini-van and told me we were going to go visit a friend who had just had a baby. We pulled up in front of an unfamiliar house and were greeted by an unfamiliar lady, but still I had no idea. The unfamiliar woman invited us into the living room and said "I'll go get the kittens." I remember thinking that "Kittens" was a weird nickname for a baby. Moments later, she reappeared, a kitten in each hand. My mom told her we wanted the girl, and she promptly handed me one of the little tabbies.

That evening my friend Serina came over to help with the naming process. I remember lots of scurrying back and forth from my room to the kitchen, throwing potential names past my mom for her opinion. Eventually Serina suggested Belle, and that was that.

After Serina went home, Lisa came over for a "show off my new kitten" kinda sleepover. Belle spent the night cutting us up with her tiny little teeth and claws. I was ecstatic.

In the 17 odd years we had together, Belle was the best friend/cat anyone could ever ask for. When we slept she either curled up by my head, across my neck, or was the little spoon to my big spoon. Awake, she'd sit with her paws around my neck kneading and purring.

When doing the dishes, she'd lay on the back of my shoulders or sit by the sink and supervise. She greeted me when I walked in the door and always came when I called. Eight other cats combined doesn't equal the amount of cuddle time I used to get from just Belle alone.

When I was sad, she'd be there with her purrs and kneads, doing whatever she could to make me feel better. She knew when I was bummed out and was a great listener. I don't think she left the couch more than I did the summer I got really sick or the summer I had knee surgery. As a kid I had a lot of nightmares, but with her in bed with me I was most certainly safe from witches and monsters and vampires. 

Grandma Dorothy always said she was an ugly cat, but I think Belle was as her name implied. As she got older her fur got a bit greasy looking and would bunch up, stegosaures-esque, down her spine causing my friend Jen to nickname her Spike. (If only I had known about grain free food back then!) Her greasiness got worse in the summer and I would sometimes shave her. She didn't even mind it, she'd just sit with her arms around my neck and purr the whole time.

She loved to lick dresser drawer knobs and plastic bags. One time she killed a pet parakeet of mine. Another time a wild bird got in our house and she caught it in the basement, then let me take it out of her mouth, unharmed. I used to sing a song to her to the tune of "Rubber Duckie". It went like this:

Bella Button, you're the one,
you make (insert whatever we were doing) lots of fun,
Bella Button, I'm awfully fond of you.

Belle passed away when I was 25. She got old, went blind and deaf, and eventually her kidneys stopped working. Making the decision to have her put to sleep was so incredibly hard, but she had gotten down to four pounds (never weighing much more than seven in the first place) and Jerod reported to me that while I was at work she never seemed as content as she did while I was home.

The last three days of her life we spent on the couch together, just cuddling. I just tried to make her as comfortable as possible and spend as much time with her as I could. Since her kidneys were failing her pee was mostly water, which was good, because her bladder control was pretty much shot. She wasn't really eating anymore, or moving much. We'd been making regular trips to the vet, and eventually it was time to make the last one. I'd been fervently hoping she'd die while we were laying on the couch together, in her own home, but my vet and I decided to euthanized her on 12/31/08. It was a really hard day.

Belle, we were perfect for each other. You were the best companion imaginable and I'm glad I got to be with you as long as I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment