One quiet Wednesday morning, I received an agitated phone call from a prospective client. Kata had just been informed that the place she and her young cat Bella have been living in did not allow cats. She was trying to find a temporary home for Bella while she searched for a permanent place for them both. I had just had a cancellation and was happy to help so
45 minutes later, Kata arrived carrying a small and scared cat called Bella. Bella’s little head was buried so deeply into the crook of Kata’s arm that I could only see the tips of her huge ears.
Kata put Bella down and I managed to catch a glimpse of her before she disappeared under the sofa. At one year old, Bella is an elegant tabby and white cat, with large eyes that are surrounded by a smudge of black. Her tiny pink nose is partly outlined with a thin black line, like an unfinished drawing. Once Kata had said goodbye to Bella, I decided to get on with some work.
At my computer, I almost forgot Bella, who for the first fifteen minutes remained unseen and silent. I was just about to check on her when her head appeared with a pop. Propping her chin up on her two front paws, Bella stared at me before scanning the apartment. Before long she had flattened her body and scrambled out from beneath the sofa. Making a quick circle around the room, she paused briefly to look out of the of the window, before squashing herself back into safety underneath the sofa.
Two minutes pass and she's out again, roaming further afield this time. On her way back she finds a spot on the floor and rolls over, squashing her big ears on the way round. Her emerging head reveals both of her ears are now inside out. With a quick shake of her head she rights them before disappearing.
A few minutes later I am surprised to find that Bella is sitting under my chair staring up at me. I take the opportunity to scoop her into my arms, fully expecting her to protest. But Bella is fascinated by movement on the screen in front of us. She tucks her head under my chin, and we watch it together.
I only ever look after one or two cats from the same household at a time and they are free to roam around my apartment as they please. Although not huge, the ceilings are high and the windows large. The only rule for my furry friends is they are not allowed access to the bedroom until they have mastered the litter tray. The tray sits discreetly in a large cupboard in the front room. Most cats find and use it within the first 12 hours of their stay. I give them lots of hints, leaving the top off and the cupboard doors open, sometimes carrying them over if I think they may have missed it. Bella, knew exactly where the litter tray was but always found something else to do before she got there.
Curious to see what lays beyond each door, she is eager to follow me whenever I leave. I know she will be delighted by the bedroom. The sun rises on that side of the house and birds nest in the trees outside. There is also a labyrinth of tunnels made from empty wine boxes that snakes underneath my bed.
Whilst trying to get to sleep and feeling bad because Bella, having still not used the litter tray, was unable to join me, I hear the familiar sound of litter being pawed. Jumping out of bed I burst into the front room, catching Bella mid toilet. She continues unimpressed as I turn around to allow her some privacy.
Soon however she is exploring her new territory, as excited as I am. She spends hours in the bedroom now and appears only to eat and stretch her legs, her belly fur brushing the carpet. Occasionally she will run full speed into the front room, chasing something that is visible only to her, spin around a few times then whiz back out into the bedroom. More often she will appear at the bottom of the sofa, her head pointed upwards like a little meerkat, before dancing around me and disappearing again.
Occasionally she will sit on my lap while I work or watch something on the computer. But my favourite time is early morning when Bella hops onto the bed while I'm tapping away on my iPad. Curling up between me and the computer, she watches fascinated. Transfixed by the movement of my hand, she places her little paw gently on top of it. They move across the screen together as I type.