Anna Belle Strauss
circa March 2005 - October 7, 2016
On Friday, October 7th, at around 5:10 PM, Anna Belle lost her year long battle with cancer.
Although the tumor prevented her from eating, almost up until the end she was still purring.
She slept on Jane's chest on Wednesday night and then retreated to the middle tier of the cat condo.
On Thursday morning at 6am sharp, she climbed out of her space in the cat condo
and marched off to what had become her day spot in the cat room between the arm of the
couch and the wall. On Thursday night and Friday she was just too weak to continue.
Her nickname, Bunny, came from our then vet, Dr. Kathryn Carvasos, who, while doing
the initial exam observed "She's so soft, like a rabbit".
She had a tough start in life, being rescued from a cat hoarder in Kaufman county,
one of over 100 animals who were dispersed all over North Texas. She ended up at
Operation Kindness. She stopped eating and had to be nursed back to health, including
use of a feeding tube.
We were looking for a second companion animal and I had almost settled on a little
black and white kitten/cat until he bit me.
The volunteer at OK said she had a cat we needed to adopt. This was Anna Belle. She
was in a cage in the Kitten room (not general population). Alongside Jill.
Anna Belle was supposed to be my cat, so to prove compatibility they placed her in
my lap. She sat there and purred. Other than our required greetings and two final
trips to the Oncologyst, those were the only times she ever willingly stayed in my lap.
For most of her time with us she slept in the space between our pillows. "Her spot".
I wasn't allowed to touch her (she would get up with an almost audible hufff and sit
back down 2 inches further away). But late at night / early morning she would get up
and go have a bite of food. Then when she returned she would often tuck into my arm and
pillow if I was sleeping on the correct side.
Anna Belle settled gracefully into her role as Beta cat to Pixel's alpha and then
when he died she became alpha.
Anna Belle was a gentle alpha. Although I did, twice, find her instructing Jill as
to Jill's role. Anna Belle had Jill pinned on her back with one paw on Jill's chest
(Jill's shorter legs couldn't do anything except futilely scrabble at Anna Belle's
arm) and with the other paw Anna Belle was whacking on Jill's head.
But mostly they got along famously.
Anna Belle remained alpha until she 'retired' in the summer
of 2016 in favor of Beethoven. We watched the hand over. Anna Belle was backing Ruby
up one step at a time - away from Jill - in the Gallery by the back door. She steps
forward, Ruby backs up a step. Beethoven comes out of the bedroom doing his
shambling walk past Ruby and then walking diagnonally between Anna Belle and Ruby.
As he reached the mid-point, he turned to Anna Belle as if to say "I've got this" and
Anna Belle turned and walked away towards the kitchen. Beethoven then took over moving
Ruby away from Jill.
When we setup the individualized SureFeed RFID controlled cat feeders, Beethoven
never gave up trying to "help" Anna Belle eat. He would shoulder in alongside her,
eat from the sides (until we placed the carved geese on either side) or from back
(placing the feeder against the wall fixed that).
Anna Belle always insisted things be done HER way. For many years, if I returned home
- even after 10 or 15 minutes - I was required to greet her in a specific way: to sit on the floor,
pat her and offer a lap. She rarely spent more than a few minutes sitting in the lap (if at all),
but it was a huge affront against catly order not to offer.
She had a way of sitting in the Bastet Position
(hind quarters down, front legs fully extended) and practically vibrating if things were not
done propperly. Not stomping her foot, but always seemingly on the edge.
She hated car rides, probably because - except for the ride home from Operation
Kindness - they were always to the vet. Once you finally got her stuffed into the
cat carrier, you would have to get her to bring in her tail ("Tail too" was the
refrain). On the trip there (even the 45 minutes to ADC-Dallas) she spent the entire
time meowing in complaint. On the trip back she was silent, or maybe a few meows.
Anna Belle was the CMO (Chief Meow Officer) of Me, MySelf and I, UnInc. I awarded her
the title when signing up to download a white paper from some site that absolutely
required a C- level title. For many years she received the occasional mailing
inviting her to attend some conference or other. She never expressed any interest
in the mailing, let alone attending.
Anna Belle was also the CEO (Chief Entomological Officer), awarded the day she found
a medium sized spider in the gallery. Instead of doing the catly SMACK and disposing
of it, she ran (waddled) along side it meowing at the top of her lungs - "Hey Human
there is a Spider here, do something about it."
Our thanks to Dr. Meredith Ford Brassette (who found the tumor early, during an exam)
and Dr. Susan Bates Brashear of Main Street Veternary Hospital.
They have always provided excellent care for all of our companion animals.
And to Drs. Erin Roof and Zachary Wright of
Animal Diagnostic Clinic - Dallas
for their compasionate oncology care.