Bella Storia, or How a Cat Came to Love Two Dog People

For nearly a month, a tabby cat has been hanging around outside our apartment, meowing for attention. She wasn’t afraid to come right up to a complete stranger and solicit their attention. This forward behavior took us by surprise, and quite frankly, scared the living daylights out of Sarah for the first few weeks. Neither of us are “cat people” (i.e., we’ve always had dogs). Sarah was even afraid of them. Something in the silent independence of a cat is unpredictable – not to mention the whole nocturnal thing. So at first, when this very social cat would approach Sarah, she would hustle into the apartment as quickly as possible, fearing the worst – a bite or a scratch – which she now knows to be utterly ridiculous.

One evening, we were in the car port brewing beer, and this cat peeked her head around the corner. She meowed, and headed straight for Sarah. Christian tried to calm Sarah, assuring her that this cat had approached him before and that she was very sweet. Frozen solid, Sarah didn’t move as the cat came closer. To her surprise, the cat brushed up against her leg and nuzzled her soft head on top of Sarah’s foot. The cat meowed and looked straight up at her. Maybe cats weren’t so scary after all. Maybe this cat just wanted a friend…someone to pet her and hold her in their arms. No sooner had the thought entered Sarah’s mind when the cat jumped into Christian’s arms, nestled in, and began to purr loudly. Clearly, this cat was in the market for love and affection.

It took a few days before the cat worked up the courage to follow us into the apartment, and she hasn’t left since. We named her Barley. (We had been brewing beer on the night we met her, and since our neighbors are Barley & Pfeiffer Architects, it seemed appropriate). Soon after, we learned from our friend Lynne Connellee that Barley was actually named “Bella” and that she was supposed to be staying with our neighbors whose two cats and one dog weren’t very welcoming to their feline house guest. So Bella sought out a new home while her real parents were away on business in Madrid  (they return in June).

We are so happy to welcome Bella. She loves to perch herself in the window sills, soaking up the cool breeze, and she’s already claimed Bruce’s spot on the bed at night. At first Sarah was a little uncomfortable with Bella occupying what had been Bruce’s sleeping place, but perhaps Bruce may be showing us, through Bella, that he’s still here. 

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