Bella is a 9 year old tabby who lives with Kieran, our Head of Customer Happiness.
We pulled Kieran aside for a quick chat about Bella’s story for #LoveYourPetDay
How long have you had Bella?
We’ve had Bella for about 7 years. When me and my partner Andrew first got together, I moved to London from Manchester and I didn’t really know anybody. I was just working and stuff, and I told Andrew that I really REALLY wanted a pet. He wasn’t particularly keen on it, and I really had to convince him.
So we decided to get a cat because they are really low-maintenance, they pretty much look after themselves, and we were out all the time (these days, not so much).
I really wanted to adopt a cat, so we got her from a rehoming website and we went to see maybe three or four cats (I would have had any of them, to be fair) but we settled on Bella.
She was really timid when we went to pick her up. The woman she was living with was moving houses, she already had four cats and couldn’t take them all with her, so Bella was the one that couldn’t go.
We fell in love with her when we first saw her!
What was it about Bella that stood out for you?
All of the other cats were really affectionate, there were a couple that we held and would just come up to you straight away, but Bella was just curled up on the sofa and she looked so sad...
When we went over to see her and stroke her, that was when we decided that we needed to rescue her, we needed to give her our love.
We knew then and there, and we opened the cage and she hopped right in!
There was something in her eyes, she had “take me home eyes”.
What were those first few days like in Bella’s new home?
Actually, this is where I truly believe that her bond with Andrew became so strong.
When we first got her home, we did all of the right things that they tell you to do; open up the basket in the corner of the room, make sure she’s got easy access in and out, give her cover and stuff, and when we let her out she immediately ran and hid under the bookcase!
She was so scared, and Andrew literally sat for about three hours trying to coax her out from under the bookcase, which he eventually did and she sat on his lap and they had cuddles.
I know it sounds silly but I think from that day she has just naturally had a closer bond with Andrew. He’s like “the safe one”, I do stupid stuff like chase her around the flat for cuddles, whereas he would never do that.
How long did Bella take to settle?
I would say, when we first brought her home it was a good three to four weeks, it took her a little while to settle.
We had quite a big flat at the time and for the first week or so she just stuck to the areas that she knew; the lounge and the kitchen.
She didn’t really venture much into other parts of the flat, but as she got more and more confident she started to explore.
What was the moment that you knew she was ready?
I think maybe when she started to come onto the bed.
Bella loves a routine, she gets fed at the same time morning and night, she knows when we go to bed, she knows all of those things, so when she started coming to bed with us and cuddling up to watch a movie, that’s when I knew she was properly settled.
I think by the same token that’s when we can judge when she’s not feeling herself, she’s just completely different, her whole character changes.
She really struggled with this move to our new flat, way more than I thought she would. It took her ages to settle.
She hid under the sofa for the first two weeks, only coming out to eat and use the litter tray and then she’d go back to where she felt safe.
I don’t know if that’s because she’s a little bit older now and it takes a little more time, she’s sort of set in her ways.
What is something about Bella that is unlike any other cat?
I’ve never known a cat that will eat like Bella. She will eat ANYTHING that you put in front of her, and even some stuff we don’t!.
This new cat food we’ve got her, it comes with a whole transition plan over a ten day period. We gave it to her on day one and she just wolfed it down. She’s stolen so much food; pizza straight out of the box, pastries, all sorts.
There’s a funny story about that actually, Tasha’s sister Jess was staying with us for a while and she left a pain au chocolat on the kitchen counter while she was getting ready, she came back and Bella had eaten it!
She would literally eat anything, and I’ve never known a cat like that. Whilst it’s not good for her waistline, we love her for it.
But also, I’ve never known a cat to be so... hard - or, more a hard exterior, but when you break through that, and in the moments that she will allow, she’s a complete softy.
The second that she knows you’ve spotted it, though, she changes back. She doesn’t like being caught off her guard.
Is there anything Bella does that you don’t like so much?
Couple of things; one, she doesn’t give me cuddles constantly, the other thing is the scratching...
It seems to be only the carpet, she doesn't scratch furniture, never scratched the sofa, or anything else other than the carpet.
She KNOWS she’s not allowed to do it, and she does it purely to wind me up, I’m convinced.
She’ll look at you while she’s doing it, she knows.
What are the consequences?
Well, there aren’t any really, if I’m honest, but what can you do? We love her.
Have you thought about extending your furry family in the future?
Yes, at length.
After lockdown has eased, we are going to look at getting a dog to bring into the O'Ceallachain/Farmer family.
It’s really important for us that Bella is comfortable with the dog though.
There are particular breeds that are better with cats, especially older cats because Bella isn’t a spring chicken, so that’s really important to us.
We want to minimise the disruption as much as we can for her.
We’d love to adopt, but with dogs it’s really limited in terms of breed, and a lot of rescue dogs aren’t released to houses in the city, with kids or with cats, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to rescue one, but you never know what the future holds.
What is Bella’s favourite food?
Chicken... no, fish! ANY fish!
What is her favourite thing to do?
Sleeping, all day, if she can.
Where does she like to sleep?
3 places; on the bed, on the left hand side of the sofa, and under Andrew’s desk.
What is Bella’s favourite toy?
She’s got so many, but her favourite one has to be Little Blue Mouse, one of the first toys that she had, it's a naff little toy that must’ve cost less than a pound.
She’s got so many expensive name-brand toys, but she loves LBM™ more than any of them.
The amount of times that it has disappeared and we’re like “great, she’s lost it”, and then it just reappears, it will never be lost.
When we moved house we thought we’d lost it and we were devastated, then all of a sudden it just appeared like magic!
Is there anything Bella doesn’t like?
Being chased by me for cuddles is one thing, she does not like that. She also doesn’t like the hoover, she’s not really bothered by the doorbell, though. She’s a brave girl!
If you could describe Bella in three words, what would they be?
Sassy, Cantankerous and Content.
She’s comfortable with herself, she's comfortable with her body, she's a bigger girl, but she loves herself.
What do you call Bella when no-one is around?
She’s got a few nicknames: Pusheen, Honey-Buns, Chicken, and of course, Space Bunny.
If you could talk to Bella for 10 seconds what would you say?
I would say to Bella: “I’m only chasing you because I want a cuddle. I love you so much that I want more cuddle time with you! Are you happy? Is there anything else that you want? I promise you’re not going to be on a diet forever!”
18/02/2021 by NatuTeam