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Sweet little Belle, my precious girl

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I apologize for the length of this post. I started typing and the words just kept coming.

About two years ago, a tiny tortie with the sweetest voice I've ever heard greeted me in my driveway when I came home from work. She was a mature cat, my best guess would have been about 10 years old at the time, and she seemed to be frantically looking for a home. Rumor had it that the house three homes up the block was in foreclosure and the couple living there had divorced and left this little girl in the house when they departed. The folks from the bank came to change the locks and simply tossed the poor little soul out to fend for herself. She had been outside for a while; she had fleas, ear mites, an ear infection, a mild eye infection, and looked a bit under-nourished.

Her melodic voice, lovely coloring, and sweet disposition (around people, anyway...) quickly earned her the name "Bellissima" which is Italian for "most beautiful". And this little sweetie was without a doubt the "most beautiful" little tortie cat we had ever seen.

Tiny, at around seven pounds, Belle was certainly adept at throwing her minimal weight around. She immediately tried to fit into the pecking order amongst the six other cats in our house... she was going to be at the top and everyone else was going to line up beneath her. Much angst, hissing, growling, howling and flying paws followed and as far as she was concerned, she never relinquished the top spot in the feline hierarchy, whether her six "subordinates" thought so or not. Her philosphy of life was, "If I can see it, it belongs to me." It didn't matter if it was in someone else's mouth or if they were sleeping on it. It was hers and when she wanted it, she was going to take it.

But, to her human companions, she was sweet, gentle, affectionate, playful, and loving. I seemed to be her favorite. I'd pick her up to hold her and she'd wrap her paws over my shoulder and pull herself tightly into my upper body, purring and cooing in my ear in her soft sweet voice. She would always answer me when I spoke to her, making contented chirps when she'd hear my voice. At times she would sit there and talk continuously to me, most likely telling me how one of her six serfs had attempted to undermine her supreme authority at some point during the day.

It became apparent a couple of weeks ago that Belle was losing weight. An examination by our vet revealed a heart-wrenching diagnosis: Belle's chest was filled with fluid, her liver functions were below normal, and she was beginning to have trouble breathing. Although the x-rays showed no masses in her lungs, the vet feared cancer. She explained that quite often, cats will develop cancer in another part of the body and it will metastasize into the lungs as the disease progresses.

They could relieve her breathing difficulties by tapping her chest and draining the fluid. That would also give them a chance to test the fluid for clues as to the cause. Belle did not seem to be in any discomfort aside from the mild breathing problems and those could be relieved, at least temporarily. We decided (selfishly) to have the vet go ahead with the procedure just so we could spend some more time with our little girl.

The procedure went fine and afterwards she was breathing normally and talking to everybody at the animal hospital who would listen. She came home the next day, with Lasix to hopefully keep the fluid problems at bay and an appetite stimulant to help her gain some of her weight back while we waited for the results of the tests.

The day after Belle came home, my wife had to go out of town for a week. Every morning before going to work, I'd give Belle her medicine and feed her as much soft food as she wanted. (Friskies turkey and giblets was her favorite.) At lunch, I'd drive home and give her some more soft food and spend a little time fussing over her before driving back to work. In the evening, she got her second round of medication and her favorite dinner of turkey and giblets, as much as her little heart desired. I decided to grab my pillows, my memory foam pad, and sleep downstairs on the floor in the living room so Belle didn't have to keep going up and down the stairs to get to her litter box which was on the porch off the living room. (The Lasix was causing her to have to use the litter box quite often.) After I turned the lights out, Belle would curl up on the couch, but she'd eventually find her way to the blanket I folded up on the floor beside my head and spend the rest of the night sleeping there.

Sunday morning when I woke up, Belle was curled up on her blanket beside me. I went upstairs to get ready to start my day and Belle followed and waited for me outside the bedroom door. When I came back downstairs, she bounded down the stairs beside me and parked herself at the doorway to the porch to wait for me to bring her breakfast. I carried her food out onto the porch and when Belle stood up to follow me, her left hind leg collapsed and she fell. She looked at me and let out a little cry that sounded more like she was confused than in pain. My heart sank. She tried to walk but her left hind leg would drag behind her. I called the animal hospital to let them know I was on the way.

They took Belle back to the exam room and looked her over. Her leg was partially paralyzed although as more time passed, she seemed to be regaining some use of it. There was a strong pulse in her leg and her paw pads were warm so it didn't seem to be a circulation problem. But that was about the extent of the good news.

The results of the tests were back and Dr. Sporer went over them with me. There were cancer cells in the fluid and the fact that she had lost most of the use of her left hind leg probably indicated that the cancer was somewhere on/in her spine. There was more bad news as well. Despite eating well, Belle had lost another pound off her tiny frame in less than a week. The Lasix was battling to keep fluids from accumulating in her chest but was also causing her to become dehydrated which was putting considerable strain on her kidneys. Belle was beginning to have some difficulty breathing again which probably meant that fluid was once again accumulating in her chest despite the Lasix or worse, tumors were beginning to grow in her lungs.

There was no cure, there was no treatment. Dr. Sporer explained that she could tap her chest again and drain the fluids and put her on some pain meds to keep her going for a while longer if I wanted, but the correct choice was clear to me. My little girl was suffering and despite wanting to hold onto her for as long as I could, it was time to say goodbye.

Dr. Sporer went back to the exam room to bring Belle in to me and I could hear Belle crying as she came down the hall. When she came through the door, the doctor said, "Here's your daddy, sweetie!" and handed her to me. Belle grabbed onto my shoulder and pulled herself close like she always did and chirped softly in my ear. Dr. Sporer put her hand on my arm and told me to take all the time I needed.

For the next hour, I gently stroked her and talked softly to her. I told her how much I loved her and how much joy she had brought to us. She purred constantly and every so often she'd look up and chirp her little greeting to me. She seemed very contented and at peace.

Bellissima passed away at 12:10 PM on Sunday, May 18th, 2008.

She was only with us for two years but now that she's gone, it feels as though something that was always a part of my life has been ripped away. I can't think of her without my eyes filling with tears and I would give everything I have to hear that sweet little voice again. I miss her so.

Goodbye, my darling little Belle. I love you more than you could possibly know.

post #2 of 15
What a beautiful tribute to your sweet love.

Rest in peace precious Belle.
post #3 of 15
I am in tears reading about your sweet girl If I know anything I know Belle knew love like never before while living with you I am so very sorry for your loss, it's such a difficult road to go down, to love and then lose these precious babies, but the love they give us is unconditional and they are so worth it RIP Sweet Belle
post #4 of 15
So sorry about your Cat.
post #5 of 15
Ah, the strange mixture of sweet love and broken hearts these little furry people bring us!
post #6 of 15
Oh my goodness! What a beautiful tribute for such a sweet little soul. What a lucky little girl to have found such a wonderful human to love her. Rest in peace darling Belle.
post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by xocats View Post
What a beautiful tribute to your sweet love.
it was lovely... for you during your loss of your sweet ...
post #8 of 15
That made me cry.
She sounded like a sweet angel. You have my condolences.
post #9 of 15
Originally Posted by CC12 View Post
That made me cry.
She sounded like a sweet angel. You have my condolences.
but how very honoured are we to share our lives with these incredible creatures. the faith she showed in you that was strengthened by your love and care for this beautiful little girl was phenomenal considering her age and background.

you were meant to be together and no one can sever the bond that will always exist between you and your precious belle.

RIP sweet girl, watch over your daddy.
post #10 of 15
She was beautiful! I am so sorry for your loss of this precious girl. Bless you for taking her in and giving her a loving home for the last couple years of her life. May she run pain free over the rainbow bridge now.
post #11 of 15
I´m so sorry for Bellisima, my friend, At least you take care of her for that last years of her life,..
I´m so sure Our Lord was expecting for her, with all his angels, that day was a party of heaven because your angel join at the Legion of Angels of God...

RIP Bellisima, Daddy really miss you and all TCS too...
post #12 of 15
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful cat! RIP little girl.
post #13 of 15
I'm very sorry for your loss.
post #14 of 15
Your loving tribute brought tears of sorrow for your loss but also tears of joy for the wonderful last 2 years that you and your wife gave to Belle. Bless you for taking a desperate kitty's miserable plight and turning it into a time of blessing for her
post #15 of 15
I'm so sorry for the loss of your pretty girl. Rest in Peace Belle.
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