No-one knows how old Stella was. All we know is that she was here when we moved in in May 2007. Back then she was already chunky and bigger than Patch. We know therefore, that she was older than two years, but we don’t know if she was older than Patch.
The story about Stella goes that she used to live in our flat and when her owners moved, she kept coming back to the flat. They fetched her three times, but gave up after that. A well meaning, no-nonsense animal welfare activist told us that if your cat runs away from home, you make it an indoor cat. Stella would not have liked that.
So, when we moved into this complex, Stella was being looked after by our next door neighbour and went by the name Bella. Oblivious, S and I called her Stella because she looked like Patch’s chubby sister, Stella. The next two years entailed a lot of effort on our part to keep Stella out of the flat. She really wanted to eat Patch’s food and Patch really didn’t like her.
Last summer (December 2008 – January 2009) I bought a water pistol to have at hand while I lounged on the couch with the patio door open. If Stella dared to step a padded paw over the threshhold, I would aim and fire. Stella soon learnt to recognise the water pistol and steered clear. Of course, the cheap water pistol soon broke and Stella found her way inside again.
In April 2009, our next door neighbour moved to a farm in Limpopo, taking her son and her dog, but leaving Stella. I guess Stella wasn’t really hers. She belonged to nobody.
Softhearted as we are, we fed Stella each morning and each evening, but insisted that she lived outside. Of course, when the driving rain hit us in May 2009, I came home from work one evening to find Stella curled up inside. S hadn’t the heart to leave her to the elements. Since then Stella has been ours.
Patch and Stella learnt to live around each other, but it was mostly Patch who jealously guarded her territory.
Then last Monday, I noticed that Stella wasn’t eating. Off to the vet on Tuesday. Diagnosed with feline AIDS on Wednesday. We thought we would give he some time to recover from her treatment of antibiotics and hoped that she would get stronger. She got worse. She started limping and by Sunday (yesterday) she had stopped eating again. She had also stopped sleeping.
This morning, a week after we first noticed she was ill S bravely and tenderly took her to the vet. I stayed home and woked.
Stella is no longer with us, but we are happy that she had a real home in the last six months of her life.