Three days ago my cat, China Belle, asked to go out, and didn’t come back for two days.

Of those two nights, one was filled with thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

I was pretty sure by yesterday that she wasn’t coming back.  But she did.

Last night as I was opening the doors and windows to cool the house down, she came to the front door!  She didn’t meow, didn’t claw the screen, demanding to be let in, just looked at me. Of course I let her in, and she made it very clear that she just wanted to lie down.

I folded her a towel (she’s never been a pillow cat) and set her up on the bed, but she jumped down and lay on the floor.

She squeezed her eyes at me when I petted her, but most just rested.

This morning she’d passed on.

I’ve had this cat for 13 years, off and on.  When we moved here to Kentucky, she stayed with my Mom, and when Mom found out she had cancer again, I told her of course China would come live with us.  Driving back from Arizona with a cat, 2 sugar gliders, a gecko, and a flying squirrel after Mom passed away was an adventure I wouldn’t care to repeat, but we all made it safely back to Kentucky.

China Belle adapted just fine, as cats mostly seem to do.

She always loved watching birds, and she could lay out on the porch and watch the wild birds all day long in good weather.

In bad weather, she’d lie on the floor or in a chair, and watch the parakeets and finches.  When we got a few button quail, she’d give in to temptation sometimes and try to pat them through the cage.  What a to-do that always caused!

China was never a cuddly cat, like most I’ve been owned by.  She hated to be picked up, and was quite clear about how familiar her humans were allowed to get with her.  My son would pick her up anyway, and she’d grumble until he put her back down.

She’d meet me at the door when I got home from work, telling me (apparently) about her day and how she was starving even though there was food in her dish.

She’d come and tell me when her water dish had got empty, griping about it as only a cat can.

And when I’d get the sugar gliders out, she’d lie on the bed, fighting the urge to “help” them bounce around and play.

China Belle wasn’t a kitten when I got her from a friend.  At 6 months old, she’d already developed her standoffish personality.  But even with her prickly personality, she was ours and we were hers.

She loved Tyler even though he teased her a lot.

She’d tease him back by going upstairs to see if he was busy, then just sitting on the top step looking at him until he noticed she was there.  Then she’d meander back downstairs and do her cat things.

I’ll miss her a lot.

China Belle, wherever we go, just be patient.  And say hello to Mom for me.  Love you, grumpy cat.

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