I feel like I’ve turned into an animal blogger lately. My pet’s health has been as stressful over the years. My Lola passed after living with multiple illnesses, Georgia lives with multiple chronic illnesses, and my sweet, sweet Isabella has been battling lymphoma for the roughly 2 years. Today, Isabella lost that fight.
I met Isabella over 12 years ago. She was a stray that lived on my street. Multiple people were feeding her and my elderly neighbors were encouraging me to take her in. I already had Lola and wasn’t sure if I wanted to take her on, but I was positive I wouldn’t let her be outside in the winter. I ended up having the decision made for me when an elderly neighbor entered my home (without knocking) and proudly announced, ‘Honey, I found your cat outside!’. She dropped Isabella, who promptly ran into my basement. Decision made, I had two cats. Two female cats who never got along. Isabella never got along with other animals. She was a fierce hunter who viewed all other animals as adversaries. She hunted my poor Lola too many times, so I had to put up a gate to keep them separated when I wasn’t home. It was a gate both of them could easily cross, but they never did.
Georgia, the dog, joined us when Isabella was around 4 or 5. She tolerated her because of me. The only reason I got a puppy instead of a rescue dog was specifically because of Isabella. I figured if the dog grew up with the her, things would go smoother. It was as smooth as it could be with a rambunctious puppy and a crotchety cat. Lola always protected Georgia and vice versa.
Isabella was turning into my Jan Brady, the classic middle child. I always made an effort to spend time just with her. I let her go outside with me and she seldom wandered. She was never outside unattended because squirrels and birds were too tempting for her to hunt. She loved laying in the garden in wait for her prey. I sprayed a hose on her many times to let a bird go. She was happy to be an indoor cat for the most part, but she loved those outdoor adventures.
My furry family always traveled with me to visit my parents over the holidays, one year, Isabella hid when it was time to go (she hated car rides and probably the outfits I dressed her in for the Christmas cards).
I ended up leaving her with my parents temporarily….or so I thought. Turned out that Isabella was much happier as an only child. Georgia and Lola were also happier without her. My parents fell in love with Isabella so I made the decision to leave her with them permanently. She lived with me for a total of 6 years, and the last 6 with my parents. Isabella knew nothing but love. She was their Bella and they adored her. I should note that my mom is allergic to cats, but that didn’t stop her for opening their home to her. Isabella was treated like a queen and my parents enjoyed having a cat.
Roughly 2 years ago, Isabella was diagnosed with lymphoma. I was told she could make it about 2 years…and honestly, she kicked cancer’s butt the whole time. Yesterday was Christmas, and it was obvious that Isabella was not well. I barely slept last night because I was so worried about her. I kept covering her with a towel because I was afraid she was cold. I got her in for a vet visit early. He examined her and said she was really too sick to do anything more. She still had some spunk, but you could tell she was exhausted, wheezing, and weak. I had no choice, but to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. I held her for over an hour telling her how loved she was, how sorry I as that I couldn’t make her better, and I sang her a stupid song that I made up for her years ago. Georgia and Lola had songs I could sing to them, so obviously, I had to make one up for Bells. I held her for a long time. At one point, she looked at me and placed her paw on my face. That was very un-Isabella. Since I left her with my parents, she rarely looked me in the eye. She was not a touchy-feely animal. Until the end, I was the only one who could really hold her for any period of time. That brief touch let me know that she knew she was loved and that she loved me, too. I don’t know if she was fully ready because of her fiesty spirit, but she trusted me to take care of her. I held her as she crossed the bridge and then I held her some more.
My heart aches today, but I will never regret one moment having her in my life. Rest in peace my fierce, beautiful warrior. If you see Lola up there, be nice to her. They say black cats are unlucky, but I am so lucky you found me! You will be missed my Bella. I’ll see you on the other side.