With all apologies to the second-place Kentucky Derby filly, eight belles is just the right way to describe our new octet of West Virginia cats. In addition to being veritable Southern belles, these eight ladies just so happen to be among the loveliest cats to have ever graced our suites. One of the biggest wonders is that these beautiful girls are as sweet as pecan pie, even after braving high-kill southern shelters and a long, bumpy car ride up to New Jersey.
Actually, as of this post, we’re down to just six belles: the youngest bellini, Chamomile and Darjeeling, were scooped up by a loving family earlier this week. And who could blame them for falling in love with these bouncy calico and tortie sisters? Their mama, big belle Chai, raised her girls right, and it’s no surprise that they’re first out of the gate to find a forever home. (Let’s just not talk about mama Chai’s parenting skills when it comes to certain other kittens.)
Not that Chai herself is anything short of a wonder - and a great beauty. In addition to being extremely gentle and loving, Chai is an enchanting mix of Siamese and “something else,” with a domestic shorthair-like round head, but pale blue eyes and Siamese-ish markings on her face, plus that oh-so-meezerish habit of talking (and talking…and talking).
Even when Darjeeling and Chamomile were well past the age of being ready to be apart from mom, sensitive Chai mourned her babies’ absence deeply,
avoiding her food and sulking heartbrokenly. (Happily, Chai’s grief is now a thing of the past, and her appetite has returned with gusto. Can a forever home be far behind?)
Then there’s “the cutest cat in the history of the world,” tiny Dahlia. (No, we are not exaggerating. Just check out this pint-sized wonder’s gleeful play with her sister Eleanor in this video and you’ll see what I mean.) It’s all the more breathtaking to see what a happy little sprite Dahlia is when you consider the fact that she and Eleanor were placed in a “drop box” outside a WV shelter. Yes, a drop box, along the lines of what you might find outside a library. Sweet-faced, sweet-natured Eleanor was found abandoned there with her one and only kitten, who, sadly, had passed away. But sisters Eleanor and Dahlia survived and have gone on to thrive. In fact, Dahlia is already “on hold” to be the third belle adopted, later this week.
I don’t hide my smittenness for any of these kitties well (not that I try :-)), but I’ll admit that I have an especially soft spot for one of our loveliest WV girls: Viola. Ladylike, pointy-faced calico Viola had my heart from her first few moments at Tabby’s Place, while she was still trembling in her travel carrier. Something about that pink nose, soft meow, and “I’m scared…but ooh you look friendly so I’ll sniff you” sweetness just got to me. Now she’s living in Suite B, and, if you begin petting her, Viola will get so excited that she’ll become adorably clumsy, rubbing against your hand and head-butting you with such gusto that she’ll often bump into a wall or stumble into her water dish in her glee!
Then there’s gabby Natalie, a lanky little marmalade girl who is all knees and elbows. Our tiny ginger Natalie is an inborn charmer, chattering at you the minute she sees you, and hardly coming up for air. I can only begin to imagine what tales this youngster may have to tell. (I’d kind of like to set her up with Mango, our chatterbox orange boy.)
Chamomile, Darjeeling, Chai, Dahlia, Eleanor, Viola, Natalie…that’s seven. That leaves our eighth, and most complicated, belle: the indomitable Elvira.
Yes, Elvira: a name that conjures up either the “mistress of the dark,” or the old-timey song made famous (infamous?) by the singing Republicans. And, rest assured, the cat with the enormous personality certainly lives up to and exceeds any expectations her name may generate.
For starters, Elvira’s beauty is simply show-stopping. Just look at our Persian princess and see if you don’t agree:
Then there’s her personality. To turn a Southern phrase, bless her heart: Elvira is the only WV belle to whom I’d hesitate to apply that “sweet-as-pecan-pie” descriptor. It isn’t that Elvira isn’t sweet; she is, and she does love people. But she’s also a bit…um…dangerous. As in, slash-and-bite dangerous, without much warning. While the other belles are probably not about to elect Elvira “miss congeniality,” I am confident our dramatic girl is going to find her forever home in the near future. Someone is bound to be smitten with her swagger, her dazzling beauty, and her admirable (and nearly-infinite) self-confidence.
So take a sip of sweet tea and enjoy loving our belles while they’re at Tabby’s Place. I have a feeling it won’t be long before they all scatter to beautiful homes all their own.