Tag: Bella the cat

Aka Beowulf

Beowulf the Cat

My cat Bella had a traumatic day at the vets on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve — poked and prodded, ear drops, rabies shot, a needle the size of a harpoon plunged into her backside, but she did not utter a cry or bat an eye. To paraphrase Seamus Heaney in line 11 of his translation of Beowulf, referring to the Danish warrior Shield Sheafson, That was one good cat.*

Bella was brave, as my Susan was brave in those last days in Intensive Care. So, on this New Year’s Eve, as firecrackers exploded outside, I had this crazy 80-proof idea that Bella is now Susan or Susan is now Bella, not sure which way it goes, but she, Bella/Susan is all I have left in this lowly bungalow on County Road 9 and so she becomes my life—(obviously an over-exaggerated and melodramatic way to put it, but prithee, dear reader, permit me)—as Susan was for thirty years, and since Susan has been gone, a year now, an endless gods-torture of loss, I hang onto Bella/Susan with a crazy kind of madness and hope.

She is one good cat. Henceforth, despite the gender difference, she is now my Beowulf.

AND BELLA

* Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf begins thusly:
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. W
e have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns.
There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,
a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes. This terror of the hall-troops had come far.
A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on
as his powers waxed and his worth was proved.
In the end each clan on the outlying coasts
beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute. That was one good king.

…….

The Cat God turns into the Cat Devil

This is what happens when a grieving husband runs out of Xanax:

I screamed at the cat tonight. For the third night in a row, she knocked down the pictures of my wife I keep on the mantel in the living room (now known as the dead room—yet I continue to inhabit it).

I went crazy. I would never hurt the cat — her name is Bella, who I got for my wife Susan when her illness became a lethal presence in our home — or any animal for that matter. But, nonetheless, tonight I yelled and screamed at her like a madman. 

Since Susan’s death last Christmas, Bella is all I have, and I’m all she has. She thinks I am (and I say this as humbly as I can) the Cat God.

But when I yelled at her tonight I told her I was the Cat Devil and that I had killed the Cat God and taken over the house and I howled like a crazy Cat Devil, and Bella — who had assumed a half-hidden supine position on top of the bookcase — looked at me with detached curiosity and I told her, in my Boris Karloff voice, “You think I’m mad, don’t you?”

She just kept looking at me with the feline equivalent of ‘arched eyebrows’ as I continued my mad speech: “Well, let me tell you, I’m glad I’m mad! I’m glad I’ve gone mad, because I prefer insanity over the reality of living without Susan — the Cat Mama to you.”

Whereupon Bella jumped down from the bookcase and trotted over to my armchair and looked at me with a look that said: “I understand. I miss her too.”