Bella's story



Grisabella Kottentot



Grisabella Kottentot

That is her full name - we had not long seen 'Cats', so were very much into 'Old Possums Book of Practical Cats'! We looked through it for a nice name, and then Myrtle added Kottentot who was one of Sashkin's ancestors, the Lilac point Siamese who we had had for 7 years at that time.

In January 1989 our cat Benjy (short for Benjemima - was supposed to be Benjamin!) died, so we wanted to get another tabby cat. In March, Tony had to go into London for something, so on the way back home, he called into the CPL cattery in Holloway. They had just brought in a mother cat and kittens from a factory site. The kittens, born on the 24th of January, wanted homes before their mother was sterilised and taken back to the only home she knew, and was happy there anyway. At that time of year there were very few kittens around, so her litter was in great demand! So Tony said "I´ll be back" and rushed home to get Myrtle. By the time we got back, there were already people choosing one of the last two kittens left; that was OK by us, as that one was a boy, and we wanted a girl. She was only 8 weeks old on that day, the 20th of March; a normal age for adopting kittens in England.

On getting her home we introduced her to the others, and Sashkin showed her how to eat; by example of course. As you can see, she was not much bigger than the saucer!
The second picture was a little after she had settled in, so she had her first baby collar.

Bella with Sashkin - her first day Bella now with her first collar

Also in 1989 we got the twins Augustus and Skimbleshanks from AAA, and Bella found they were good fun to play with, once they stopped hiding behind each other in their cat basket! That lasted for a year or so, but as she matured, she lost the habit of playing with them. Myrtle later got Rusty, and she played with him for a while, but she wasn't all that much of a gregarious cat.

When Bella was five years old (in 1994), we moved from Finchley to Skt. Klemens. With all the others, we loaded her into her cat basket, and took her on the ferry, which is another story, and how! She had to have her own basket, as by then she didn't much like to be with any other cat, so it was necessary to keep her separate.

After the initial settling down period (which we took very slowly) she was happy in her new home. Then one morning she was behaving very oddly and asked me to let her out of the front door; most unusual as she would normally use the cat door without any fuss. When I opened the door for her, she literally fell off the single step onto her side and couldn't move. I rushed her round to the vet, and eventually she was diagnosed as having meningitis. A very nasty disease from which cats seldom recover, but not Bella - she was a real little toughie and did make a full recovery.

For the first few years all the cats were able to go around in the garden, but then we decided to confine them all to a cat run connected to the kitchen and conservatory.

Last year (2002) Bella's age caught up with her and an old bladder problem developed beyond the point where she could cope with it, so she lost almost half of her weight. Even so, as you can see from the header photo, she still had the bossy look on her face! Twinkle had become Bella's friend almost from the time that Twink came to us, and in Bella's old age, Twink looked after her very well. They had their beds next to each other, and ate happily together. So she was happy with her life until a few days before she became so very sick. Over the last few days she had little awareness of what was around her, so we had to decide to put her to sleep at the last.


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