This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Grizabella the Glamour Cat, aka Bella, aka the World's Most Talkative and Bossiest Cat, coming to live with me. Did I choose her or did she choose me? It was always hard to say. I went to the Humane Society knowing only that I wanted a cat very different from the one I had recently lost to cancer (I didn't want to replace Rummy, I wanted a new friend), and I wanted one who was distinctive, either in markings or personality. Or both. (I definitely ended up with both!) I must have spent a couple of hours there, wandering around the various "cat" rooms, but something kept drawing me back to this little calico with the funny black nose. So I took her home. And nearly killed her the first month, as she hadn't been spayed at the Humane Society, and as she had just had a litter of kittens the society asked me to hold off on having her fixed for a few weeks, to give her time to settle into her new home and to let her recover from the birth. Which was fine, until she went into heat. I have never made a phone call to the vet faster in my life.
But once we got over that little bump in the road she has been a great companion and such fun to have around. She's very playful and affectionate, and she really enjoys being around people and interacting with them, which is something my last cat did not like At. All. And since I'm a social butterfly and love having people in, this is a good thing. Although dealing with the cat hair is a losing battle, so I apologize to my future guests in advance. She's passed the Serdic test (or, rather, I should say Serdic has passed the Bella test!) so that's good as well. As a matter of fact, I have my suspicions she might like him better than she does me ... she tends to bypass my lap in favour of his these days!
I come from a family that has always needed a lot of animals around, and pets are definitely part of the family. And having lived on my own for many years now, my cats have definitely always been my babies. It's just nice to have that living creature to greet you at the door when you come home, even if you can't really tell her about your day. Bella definitely likes to tell me about hers, though, and she usually has a lecture or two for me as well if I've been away too long or something is not quite perfect in her kingdom. It is quite obvious that she feels she is doing me a favour by allowing me to continue to live in her apartment, and no matter how many times I tell her I have to go to work every morning in order to continue paying the rent so her majesty can live the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed, my grasp of Cat is still limited and I don't think she understands.
Oh yes, and her name? We have a family tradition of naming our cats after characters in T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" (which was later the basis for the musical Cats). I grew up with Rum Tum Tugger and Rumpleteazer, and now we have Grizabella. She's the character who sings the famous "Memory." Very fitting name for her majesty, as she likes to be the center of attention.
So here's to Bella's first two years of being my boss, and here's to many more.