Though Socks, the cat we lost last week, has been on our minds, I'm writing about Betaille. She's our 14-year-old Himalayan-Abyssinian, and one beautiful and intelligent cat. Betaille loves the outdoors, and she knows how to enjoy it. Having miraculously survived some years in a more urban neighborhood, she appreciates her "retirement" on a quiet, dead-end street in Sunset Hill, the far western end of Ballard above Shilshole marina. She heads outside at dawn. On crisp days, she installs herself on a little raised platform beneath our back stairs. Last fall I put up a large window that partially encloses her platform, sheltering her from the wind and rain but providing light and a nice view of the back garden. Now that the weather is warm, she heads immediately for her cedar park bench, where she stretches out and enjoys a view through the open gate from the backyard to the front yard and the house across the street. All day long she luxuriates there, watching the comings and goings of the neighbors (yet many of them tell me they've never seen her). By afternoon, when the sun gets hot, she enjoys the shade from the pear tree. There's a fountain on the back patio with fresh water, and when she wants food, she hops up the stairs and looks in the glass door to the kitchen until someone passes by, sees her, and feeds her. What a life!
In the evening, Betaille goes out and socializes with the other cats in the neighborhood. Her latest friend is another longhaired cat, all black, who Brady reports comes to visit her in the back yard. Cat curfew on our street is 10:30 p.m. Now that the nights are warm, Betaille hates to come in that early. She dances around at the foot of the stairs, looking back at the bushes were her friends lurk, and only repeated nagging, and a little tapping on a can of catfood, lure her into the house for the night.