BonnieBelle, a very beautiful gray and white bi-color, came into my life about ten years ago as a young kitten.. She always had very soft fur, the white parts of her the whitest of whites, and bright green watchful eyes. Her only detraction was a scrawny tail. In keeping with my tradition, her name had to start with a “B” so I chose “BonnieBelle” but mostly we called her Bonnie.
For many years, sorry to say, she was kind of boring in a total cat way. Eat…clean self …sleep . She was always overshadowed by another cat: first Bixby and later by his replacement Bennie; she co-existed with them rather than interacted. Until the last year of her life, she pretty much ignored humans: didn’t seek laps or patting although she would endure it as long as you didn’t go near her face. During the last year she did begin to seek out a lap. More than anything she was a comfortable presence in the house. But when I first started to write about her many months ago, I realized she was not at all boring, was actually quite interesting.
Bonnie had her food preferences: some chicken, a certain brand of tuna, and always Cheez-It’s. She responded to the very word chicken and would show up if one of us mentioned it. She also loved to gnaw on anything plastic, particularly grocery bags. Cats are not supposed to like sweets, but Bonnie never got that memo. When I was sampling a Twinkie for an article I was writing, she mugged me for a large bite. One day Lincoln commented, “Bonnie ‘s been shopping again.” And there was a Pop Tart, found in a bag on the counter, in the middle of the floor. But her favorite was a plain Dunkin’ Donut. Again, she learned about them by mugging me. It got so Lincoln would buy one for her so I could feed her bits of the soft part.
Bonnie was very curious and examined every bag or box that came into the house, appropriating it when empty as her new hideout. If someone was at the door, Bennie would run and hide under the bed, but Bonnie would be right there to investigate. When I recently got a cleaning lady, Bonnie would follow her from room to room and sit quietly supervising – until the vacuuming started. She loved sitting beside me when I was using the computer and more than once pressed a key or jangled a wire that disrupted what I was trying to write.
She was a keen observer and by watching Bennie learned to reach out with a paw to tap you if she wanted to be patted. She also watched him jump into the bathtub to drink from the faucet, (which we indulgently turned on for him as requested) and finally jumped in the tub but wouldn’t go near the faucet.
Bonnie was actually the more active of the cats, tossing a toy in the air, batting it away and catching it. She also would try to climb the walls to “catch” the circle of light reflected from a watch or digital devise, becoming totally frustrated when the circle moved to the ceiling. She was the more interested of the two in catnip, knew where it was kept, and would stand by the cupboard meowing. In the past six months, trying to tempt her to eat, we began giving her Gerber’s turkey with gravy to supplement her usual dry food. She didn’t always want it, but when she did she would stand by that cupboard and meow. That baby food bought her an six extra months, but finally, last week she had what appeared to be a stroke.
So RIP my sweet, sweet Bonnie. We had ten good years together. And I hope they have Dunkin’ Donuts for you in that great catnip field in the sky.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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