Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Fair Isabella

She was born on my bed. It was awkward.

Jack, aka The Cat Whisperer, is used to all the family's felines glomming onto him like a giant fur blanket. But even he was unprepared for Squishy's devotion. One day, she was lying next to him on the bed, stretched along his forearm, with both arms wrapped around his elbow, when he felt an odd firmness in her abdomen. "Hey, Dear! Come quick; I think she's in labor!"

And so she was. All over his side of the bed. When efforts to move her failed, we got a bunch of towels to put under her, trying to preserve the dignity of our comforter as much as we could. Good thing it was burgundy to start with. 

Before you know it, two little bullets were deposited onto the bed, one white, one black. The white one was dead the next morning, leaving little Isabella the sole recipient of all the kitten love in the house. As soon as she could walk, she figured out how to climb up onto the bed - Jack's side, of course - and curl up. Once in a ball, she was only about the size of an orange, and we were terrified we'd crush her in our sleep. She solved that problem by sleeping across Jack's neck. 

As she grew, she became the darling of all but 2 of the bigger cats. Elsie took the longest to win over, but even her fortified heart was at last conquered. Here is Isabella helping Elsie with a favorite pastime, on the last day of last year.

From the time she was a few months old, she was quite sick several times, needing to take antibiotics and still not doing super great. But one Friday afternoon about 3 weeks ago, she walked into my room, her hind legs not quite walking like they were supposed to. A long story and several vet bills later, we found out that she has FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis. It's a virus that attacks white blood cells, and there's no cure. 

Cheerful in spite of her death sentence, Isabella flopped from one part of the house to the next, still hanging out with all her big buddies, not only the other cats, but Clancy, too. She was too weak to jump off the bed without getting hurt, so she could no longer sleep with me. Many nights, I put Wannabe, our oldest tomcat, in with her for company. He's a good momma cat, and curled up with her so sweetly so she wouldn't be lonely. 

Finally, a couple nights ago, she was too weak to move around, and I let her sleep next to me, blocked in with a body pillow. Before long, she had tucked herself under the covers, draped over my shoulder like she always used to. Potto decided she was rather lacking in cleanliness, and did his best to change that.

Yesterday morning, Bella was still sitting up eating her food enthusiastically. By nightfall, her kidneys had almost entirely shut down, and she was almost gone. I was shocked that she lived through the night, and even more surprised that she's still sleeping quietly next to me as I write this. When she opens her eyes, she's not happy till she sees that I'm there with her. The kids are helping me make sure she's never alone when she wakes. 

Soon, probably later today or tomorrow, our precious Bella will leave us. Till then, we'll be right here. Watching over her. Making sure she knows how much we love her. Letting her fall asleep in peace.

Sweet dreams, little Bella. We'll see you again.

3 Days Ago

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