Beltane came to us at Bryn Mawr May Day, 1996. Dwyn, one of the Bryn Mawr alums, had found her the night before, howling in the rain in the middle of the street. She brought her to May Day because she figured that on a campus full of women, she'd find some suckers to take the kitten home. When we saw the little gray fluffball, we immediately fell in love and became those suckers. We didn't regret it for a second, though. Never have. Never will.

Her name comes from the old Celtic name for May Day for obvious reasons. She's had a lot of nicknames over the years: Soft-Focus Kitten, Dustbunny, Fluffball, Belti-bee. Despite her occasional issues with the litter box (demonstrating she is upset about something, like one of us going on vacation, the litter being the wrong type, the weather being too hot, the weather being too cold... that sort of thing), we are inordinately fond of this little beastie. As I've no doubt just demonstrated.

Veterinary lessons we've learned from Beltane: 1) find out what anesthetic your vet is going to use on your cat and research it, 2) start dental care early and get a veterinarian whose specialty is dentistry. With regard to #1, Bel has serious issues with vets, which began at the time she was spayed. In talking with vets and other knowledgeable folks, there is a type of anesthetic that is falling out of usage with cats because it tends not to knock them out, but paralyze them. Our vet suspects that this happened to Bel during her spay operation. With regard to #2, Bel seems to have genetically bad teeth. We only found this out after she'd probably been in a good deal of pain from cavities for at least a year. Brush your cat's teeth nightly, and get a vet to check them at least once a year!
UPDATE: Bel just had seven more teeth removed in January 2002, bringing us to a total of twelve extractions. She's got only one molar left -- everything else is a fang or incisor. The vet thinks her last molar will go next year, and there isn't much we can do about it. Gah.

On your left, you see me, holding Beltane in the air when she was... oh, maybe a month in our care. So I guess that it's probably summer of 1996. Isn't she incredibly adorable? Doesn't she look earnest?
To your right, you see Kerey, holding Beltane in a similar pose during the summer of 2001. Isn't she beautiful? Doesn't she look sarcastic?
These are some nice photos of Bel standing in the back window of our house, looking out upon the overgrown disaster that was our garden in 2001 (our landlords apparently decided not to mow back there anymore, which made reaching our garden plot nigh-impossible without being consumed alive by mosquitos). You can also see how nicely battered our windowsills are in this pleasant old Victorian. I hope that the picture on the right isn't too dark to be seen on PCs.
And here's a small but characteristic photo of Bel.
See more of Bel in the photos with Oberon!