Penny and Bella are the reasons that Americat Company exists. Our founder, Diane, struggled to find made in the USA cat products for them, so decided to create her own. In honor of Bella's 11th birthday, Diane shares why Bella is such a special kitty.
Adoption Story: While volunteering at a cat adoption center in San Diego, I met Bella Swan (the Twilight movie had just come out)! She was beautiful, and her sweetness reminded me of Penny's. I couldn't believe she was 6 months old and did not yet have a forever home. I wanted to adopt her, but was nervous about if it would upset Penny. I ultimately decided we would all figure it out together.
The morning I was going to pick Bella up, I learned that she had 30 pages of medical history. She had lived at the vet's office the prior 2 months, because she had urinary tract issues and surgery to close a hole in her bladder. In my heart she was already mine, and we'd just have a bit more to figure out now.
After bringing Bella home, I took her to my own vet for a checkup, and found out she had the parasite giardia. So between the giardia and being in the middle of studying for my GMAT exam, Bella lived in the bathroom for an entire month separated from Penny. I truly believe that time apart was crucial for Penny and Bella to get used to each other, which set the stage for their amazing love for each other.
Special Needs: When Bella was 4 1/2, I came home one day to her laying on the ground kicking her legs in pain. She was diagnosed with a ureter stone. It was stuck at the start of her ureter (the tiny tube that takes urine from the kidney to the bladder).
Her stone slowly moved, obstructing and unobstructing flow from her kidney. It was a stressful time full of vet appointments, medicines, and wondering if she would make it. I was told her stone may never pass. About 3 months in, it got so bad that the blockage was going to cause her kidney to die, so I took her to New York City for ureteral bypass surgery with the veterinarian team who invented the procedure. Miraculously, while she was under anesthesia right before the surgery was to begin, they saw that the stone had shifted again, and she did not need the procedure. I will forever be grateful for Dr. Chapman and Dr. MacLeod at Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center and Dr. Berent at Animal Medical Center for caring for Bella during this scary time.
We then moved to Pittsburgh, and while I was traveling (of course!), Bella opened a drawer and ate a large piece out of a plastic bag. Since the emergency vet was going to do an ultrasound on her abdomen, I asked that he check on her stone. It had FINALLY passed 15 months after it was first discovered!
Since then (so last 5 years), Bella has been on a special diet and gets an annual ultrasound, blood work, and urinalysis to check on her kidneys. She technically has chronic kidney disease, and we now know she has had congenital kidney issues her entire life. But, you would never know by how she acts!
Bella is such a happy cat, always purring, and full of love, spunk, and a little mischief. She is truly a medical miracle.
Nicknames: Little Monkey (or Monk), because she loves to climb things and be up high. Also, Bell
Likes: Getting under blankets and the covers, scaling closet shelves, sitting near the fireplace, being carried and riding around on shoulders, her sister Penny
Dislikes: Car rides, the vacuum, and she's nervous at the vet understandably
Favorite Americat Company Product: Scratching pads! Years ago, Bella literally destroyed a new love seat. Bella still loves to scratch, but now uses her scratching pads scattered throughout the house. Learn how we redirected her scratching (and saved future furniture!) in our earlier blog post.
Happy Birthday! My little Bella monkey has been a fighter and a constant companion. She still acts like a kitten, so it is hard to believe she is turning 11. I am so grateful we got through her medical scares and have enjoyed many more years together! Hoping for many more!