Bella the British (lilac) blue shorthair A few weeks ago there was a knock on the front door and a lady came in carrying a basket, and a man came in carrying a ton of other stuff.  Like all inquisitive cats Gibbs and I ran upstairs till the commotion in our front room died down, which took a while as the man left and another lady arrived.  Mum likes something called ‘chatting’ and these ladies were certainly doing that alright.  Gibbs and I could hardly contain ourselves upstairs, waiting to see what was happening.

Eventually we heard Mum say ‘goodbye’ a half dozen times and the other ladies said it back about a dozen times and it all went quiet.  We crept downstairs but Mum had closed the door to the front room.  It’s got glass panels so Gibbs and I pressed our noses up against them to see if we could see anything different.  There was some new stuff there that we hadn’t seen before but we didn’t know what it was so we joined Mum in the kitchen for a late lunch.  

Then Mum said she was going in the front room to sit with Bella and we were to be good boys.  We didn’t know who or what a Bella was so we pressed our noses up against the glass panes again when she’d closed the door but we could still see nothing out of the ordinary.

A little bit later on, when it was television time, Mum opened the door and we found out what a Bella is.  Or rather, Gibbs did first, unfortunately.  Gibbs has a box in the front room that he likes to sleep in.  Mum jokes (kindly) and says it’s his hobo box but as neither of us know what a hobo is we smile along with her just to please her.  Anyway, Gibbs made his way around the new stuff – which we still didn’t know what it was – to his box when there was a flash of lilac fur that flew at him, hissing and swearing in the most dreadful way.

Gibbs moonwalking away from Bella - very slowlyGibbs looked across at Mum who was knitting and he looked back at this creature that was swearing and hissing and snarling.  He moonwalked backwards very, very slowly without taking his eyes off Bella until he reached the door to the hallway. “Don’t go in there, Casey!” he warned me.  “There’s a strange creature in there, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

“Is Mum in danger?” I asked him anxiously, knowing that on Twitter there is something called ‘#ZombieWatch and although I search her cupboards every morning looking for maurauding interlopers, I had been completely in the dark about Zombies and that was a new thing to be added to my job list.   

“Well, she’s knitting so those long pointy pokey things might save her if the creature tries to attack her,” Gibbs informed me.

We both went upstairs, not sure how long the new creature that we now knew was called a ‘Bella’ would be staying with us.

When it was time for bed, we heard Mum say ‘goodnight, Bella, see you in the morning,’ before calling us downstairs for some supper.  Oh, so she’s going to be here in the morning then, we realised.

Mum gave us our dinner and lots of cuddles and told us to be good boys, that she loved us, and she’d see us in the morning. 

The next day we tried looking through the glass panes again and the Bella creature was the other side doing the self-same thing! She snarled and hissed and we jumped back and ran to the kitchen where breakfast was waiting.  Mum disappeared into the front room but we were busy with our breakfast to know what she was doing.

Bella snoring!Later in the day, I noticed the door was open and Mum was on the sofa reading.  Bella was lying on the sofa snoring her head off. Mum smiled at me and I peered cautiously round the door a bit.  Bella leapt up and hissed so hard I thought all her teeth would shoot out of her mouth.  Mum told Bella ‘it’s only Casey, he won’t hurt you,’ but Bella was in full flow now: swearing, hissing, snarling.  I ran into the dining room and under the table, where I noticed Gibbs was hiding.  “Ssh,” he said, “she won’t find us in here.”

We thought the safest thing would be to stay out of her way and try and get on with our lives.  It was going to be different because Bella had to stay in the front room and if Mum let her come into the dining room she had to shut the lobby door so that she couldn’t get through the cat flap.  From Mum’s point of view, it was stressful because of the door thing; from our point of view we couldn’t sit with Mum in the evenings and watch television with her while she did her knitting: me on the sofa and Gibbs in his hobo box.  I don’t think any of us were happy about this new situation. And Bella was blissfully unaware of all the upset because she slept on the sofa most of the time or looked out of the window.  When Mum went in the room she threw herself on the floor showing Mum her considerable belly and purring like a princess.

So that Gibbs didn’t miss his box, Mum brought it in the dining room but Bella would hide in it and jump out on any one – me or Gibbs – that walked by.  As we didn’t know she was there – we were on a permanent state of alert and nearly had a heart attack every day. 

It all came to a head when Mum was coming out of the bathroom which is next to our kitchen and back door.  That meant the lobby door was opened just a smidge but Bella chose that one moment to jump on my back which scared the bejeebers out of me.  I ran through Mum’s legs, straight through the slit of an opening to the back door and the freedom of the cat flap.  Mum’s reflexes were good as just as I passed through her legs she swooped down and scooped Bella up off my back and carried her back to the front room.  I stayed out in the garden for a few hours to give her time to cool down.

Mum realised then that ‘it wasn’t going to work.’  Bella stayed with us for nearly three weeks before Mum took her to a cat sanctuary where she would be found a new forever home.  I know Mum was very sad for quite a long time because she felt she had ‘failed’ – whatever that is – and in all the years that Mum’s had cats, she’s never had to rehome any because they didn’t get on with all the other cats.

Casey and Gibbs hiding from BellaMum came back home and all the stuff (which we still didn’t know what it was) had gone with Bella so the front room was back to how it was before. Gibbs and I had got used to going upstairs after our breakfast and spending the day up there so it was a couple more days before we braved the front room again to watch television with Mum.  At first I crawled in on my belly in case Bella was hiding somewhere ready to jump out, but after a few days we realised that she had gone.

Mum and I are back to normal now: she sits knitting and I lie on the sofa next to her while Gibbs sleeps in his hobo box.

We hope Bella will find a new loving home soon and that Mum has learned her lesson – no more cats!        


In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson