Thursday, September 8, 2011
It’s a rare day that I get to have a reunion with a cat whom I rescued years ago—that is, a cat who does not live with Cat Man and me.
I was thrilled to receive an invitation from my friend and colleague Keelin to “come over and see Bella.” I first met Bella during the summer of 2009, in the backyard of Catland, where so many of the neighborhood’s stray cats have sensed they could find me. Like other lost cats, Bella was famished and severely dehydrated. Because she was so petite, I assumed she was only a kitten. I was able to work with Bella for several weeks to earn her trust, and the always sympathetic Dr. O. let me board Bella at a discounted rate until I could identify a fellow Cat Lady to become Bella's second mother.
“All systems go” was the verdict for the lovely, 2 1/2-year-old Bella, and I was eager to find a permanent loving home for her. I was and remain grateful to Keelin for coming forward to adopt Bella. The two live together in a spacious apartment in one of Houston’s historic districts, and Bella’s comfort is never in doubt.
If truth be told, my reunion with Bella did not go exactly as planned, at least in my mind. I thought I would call out “Bella, remember me?” and that she would run toward me excitedly. To be sure, I used the Cat Lady voice to coax her. No sign of Bella. She was hiding underneath Keelin’s bed. Bella is apparently skittish around Keelin’s friends, and Bella also is known to emerge from hiding once said friends leave the premises.
Keelin brought Bella to me. I was able to stroke this precious kitty’s head again and to look Bella directly in the eyes. I will never know if the sound of my voice scared her—was I just another stranger invading her turf?—or if it brought back memories of a rescue mission that began on one sultry day in July. What I do know unequivocally is that my own inner voice told me that I had to rescue Bella.
Query of the Day: How do you persuade your cat to come out of hiding?