Back on May 19, 2023 (this year) we brought our belove cat, Bella, to the veterinary hospital to get what we thought was a sist removed from her eye lid. During surgery, the vet discovered she had a hole in the palate of her mouth (cancer) and that it was eating it’s way up. They had to remove her eye.
Bella came home later that day. You can see she was in a lot of pain, even when we gave her pain medication. She had a hard time eating and drinking too. Under the circumstances we could see why.
Bella never seemed to improve. She would just hide and sleep.
On May 23, 2023, I noticed that Bella wasn’t breathing well. I called my husband and we agreed we should get her to the vet. I called a couple of local vets, but there were no openings. One vet told us to bring her back to the vet who performed surgery.
As we were racing to the vet’s office, Bella (who was in the cat carrier on my lap in the front seat) let out a huge gasp, threw her head back and flopped back down. Instinctually I opened the carrier and started performing CPR on her. My husband made a U-turn and rushed to the nearest vet (thankfully was about 1/4th of a mile away). He rushed her inside, but it was too late. She was gone.
Bella would have turned twelve years old on June 5, 2023.
We raised Bella since she was one day old. Her and her sister were found in a dumpster. Our local animal shelter asked if we could foster them. We knew nothing of taking care of newborn kittens. Bella was especially worrisome because she was a runt and VERY tiny. Her whole body fit in the palm of my hand.
Sadly, Bella’s sister had to be put to sleep when she was three weeks old due to a lung disease. That made me even more determined to see Bella survive and thrive – which she did.
When she was three months old the shelter wanted her back so she could be adopted. That was not going to happen. We adopted Bella because she was literally our baby. All she knew was us, and I felt like her mother.
It was fate that brought her into our lives. As it turned out she had severe asthma, diabetes and three leaky valves in her heart. Had she been adopted out, she might have been put to sleep due to her health issues. Or she could have spent most of her life in a cage.
We are not rich people by any means, but we took care of all her health needs (vet visits, tests, medications).
I am still not “right” over the loss of Bella. I STILL cry and it’s been nearly two months. There was no one like Bella.
Bella was VERY affectionate. She loved head butts, and being hugged/held. She also loved to rub her face against our cheeks.
We have other cats, whom I love with all my heart, but they are nothing like Bella. They are not affectionate like she was. They don’t like to be held or anything like that.
We did adopt an older cat who is affectionate, but he’s not that way all the time (sadly).
We have lost other cats (and a dog) over the years, but ALL of them we had to put to sleep due to health issues. At least we had the opportunity to say “goodbye.” We didn’t have that with Bella. We never had the chance to say goodbye.
Even as I write this post I have tears streaming down my eyes. I miss Bella so much. She left a huge cat shaped hole in my heart.
I recently received to review a book written for children about pet loss. Coincidentally, the pet’s name in the book is also Bella, except this Bella is a dog, not a cat.
The book is called Goodbye Bella: A Pet Loss Story. The book was written by Katherine Pendergast and Lacie Brueckner. It was illustrated by Svetlana Urbanowicz. The book is available at retail locations, such as Amazon.
In this book a young girl named Charlotte is given some devastating news by her parents – her beloved dog, Bella, is very sick (old age) and doesn’t have much longer to live.
Charlotte understands that Bella is too old to run around and play with her. And things are happening, such as having accidents on the floor. Charlotte is okay with all these things because she knows that Bella is getting older and it’s harder for her to do the things she once did.
Every chance Charlotte has she says “Goodbye Bella, I love you.” She tells Bella that because she doesn’t know if she’ll get the chance to when she takes her final breath.
Bella does pass on (as expected). Charlotte is sad, but she’s happy she got to say goodbye and tell her how much she loved her.
Instead of mourning her death, Charlotte, her family and friends celebrated her life and had a funeral where they told sweet and funny stories about Bella.
There is more to the story, but I don’t want to give too much away.
There is also a section in the back of the book where children can draw and write about their special pet.
Talking about pet loss to a child is difficult. Thankfully our pets passed away when my kids were older and better able to understand what was going on. My son took their deaths harder than my daughter because he loves animals as much as I do and the would always follow him around and sleep on his bed.
I do agree that you should celebrate the good times you had with your beloved pet, but that can also be difficult. I know right now for me it is. If I even think about Bella I start to cry. I am not at a place right now where I can do that.
I feel like this book was meant to be sent to me at this point in time. And that fact that it’s about a pet named Bella seems more like fate than a coincidence.
The illustrations in this book really help to bring this story to life. Even the cover art is perfect for this story.
If you have a pet and he/she is nearing the end of it’s life, or is ill, this book would be ideal to give to your child to read, or better yet, read WITH your child so you can discuss their emotions and thoughts about the death or impending passing of a beloved pet.
Look for Goodbye, Bella – A Pet Loss Story on Amazon and where ever books are sold.
*I received a free copy of this book in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.