Last week my cat Hella celebrated her twelfth birthday. Twelve already! I picked up Hella from the animal shelter when she was eighteen months old, so she has been with me for over ten years. I sometimes share photos of her on Instagram under the hashtag #Hellatinyhousecat. But I have never dedicated a whole blog to her. And that even though she is such an important part of my life! I’m going to rectify that now. And I’ll tell you how I made sure that my Tiny House is also her house in the process.
When I moved from my rental row house to my Tiny House, I had two cats: Hella and Jack. Jack was very old and unfortunately I had to have him put to sleep back in 2017. Hella was left alone, but she didn’t mind at all. She is actually a “lone ranger” and while she tolerated Jack, they were not exactly best buddies. She is a modest cat: she does not demand much attention. But she does love to be petted. The funny thing is, the more attention I give to her, the more often she comes to ask for it. Every night she lies next to me on the bed and during the day the loft is also one of her favourite places.
She is often outdoors, hunting field mice and dragonflies. Hella needed quite some time to get used to me. It took a few years for her to trust me completely, but now I can put my arm around her, bury my nose in her fur and give her a big hug without her running away. She loves to be tickled on her stomach.
Her own front door
I commissioned the designers of my Tiny House to include a cat flap in the design. I find it important that my cat should be able to go in and out when she wants to. So yes, this Tiny House has two front doors! One for me and one for Hella. Still, she likes it better when I open the door for her rather than having to go through the cat flap. And I’m the dork who follows her commands, haha! Unless I’m upstairs. She knows I really don’t come down for her and then she has to go through the hatch if she wants to go out or back in. When I am not at home she goes through the hatch as well, but when I am there she just meows in front of the door until I open it for her. Sigh… she’s such a diva…
No litter box, no scratching post
A cat is a perfect pet for a Tiny House: they take up little space and go their own quirky way; so that’s a perfect fit! Now, I’m lucky that Hella prefers to go outside to do her business, so I don’t have a litter box in the house. Except for New Years’ Eve. That’s the only day in the year that she has to stay indoors. She hates it. But I prefer to err on the side of caution, with all the fireworks going on around here. Therefore, I have a simple litter box, that doesn’t take up a lot of space when I store it, in the space under the couch.
I had a scratching post in the house for Jack and Hella when we first moved into my Tiny House, but neither of them made much use of it. And the thing took up a lot of space… If your cats can go outside and they have tree trunks there to sharpen their nails, then a scratching post is not necessary. I donated it to the animal shelter; they were very happy with it.
I try to eat as organically as possible. I like it better, it’s healthier and it’s better for the environment. Hella therefore also eats organic cat food. I get it in the city and sometimes I order online, if you do it smart you can get nice discounts. There is always a bowl of dry food at the ready for Hella and once a day she gets a little bit of wet food. She comes to ask for it herself, and it is getting a bit earlier in the day each time. Dear Lord, how that cat can whine for her snack! At first it started close to dinnertime, which at some point became noon and now she comes meowing around 11 am. I try to postpone it but she can be pretty tenacious. In addition to meowing, she sometimes has a different, much more subtle charm strategy. She then lies down on her back and looks at you while staying completely frozen. The first few times I saw her doing that I really thought, “What kind of weird cat is this?” But it is also a hilarious sight.
One of the best things about Hella is that she is always happy when I come home. She will already meet me on the path and meow her welcome. Monique always laughs about it. She sounds desperately happy: “Are you finally there, I’ve been waiting for you all this time! Where were you! “. Or maybe it’s just because she wants a treat, which is of course also possible. When I am away for several nights, for example when I go on vacation, I make sure that someone stays in my house to look after Hella and the chickens. She never falls short of attention and food. Even then she is happy when I return home. And I am always happy to see and hug her. We’re really buddies, Hella and I. That is so precious to me!
Photo: Rene Bouman
I hope I can enjoy Hella for many years to come. And every now and then I will post a picture of her so that you can enjoy her too. Hella — the Tiny House cat; she is one of a kind. I am proud to be her owner <3