Mornings with Patsy
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
White paws reached for the half closed bedroom door. Large, yellow eyes peered out into the dimly lit hallway. Her large body held tight to the doorframe as her head slowly emerged. Her eyes raced back and forth, and then she saw me. She froze, debating if she should run and hide, and most mornings, she would. But not this morning.
Patsy watched me sit down on the stairs nearby. When she was sure that I would not move again, she inched toward the water and food bowl near the wall. She continued to inch closer but made sure that she watched my every move, and when I shifted on the stairs, she froze. She waited to see if I would move again, but I didn’t. She grew closer to her breakfast, pausing to hear the loud munching coming from downstairs. She knew the other cats were fed in the kitchen, but she didn’t eat with them. She didn’t even leave my brother’s room until her bowl outside was filled, and she only hurried down the stairs toward the basement to use the litter boxes. Other than that, I rarely saw her for she would be hiding under my brother’s bed or behind his television set.
Patsy was just about to eat when I finally moved away from the stairs. She raced back into my brother’s room, peering out at me with frightened eyes. She used to trust me. She used to like me until I terrorized her by trying to put her back in the carrier case to take her to the vet, so that they could cut her nails. The other cats were declawed, and adopting a cat with nails was a risk. She needed to have her claws cut, but the carrier case was a harsh reminder of being abandoned with her brother in front of my vet’s office. Her brother didn’t make it, and when she sees the carrier case, I guess it brings back those memories. On top of that, she developed an eye infection, and I was the one that chased her around, grabbed hold of her and forced the eye drops into her eye. No wonder the cat was afraid of me.
Patsy knew I was almost ready to leave for work. She waited until she heard the jingle of my keys, and then she hurried back over to her breakfast. Some mornings, the other cats would venture up the stairs around now and eat her food, and she would let them. Not this morning. When she was sure that I was leaving, she began to eat her dry food, munching loudly. She didn’t realize that I was by the stairs, listening, making sure that she was eating, and I knew that if I went up the stairs again, she would bolt, probably dive under my brother’s bed. So I left her alone, wondering if maybe I’ll catch a glance of her later when I come back and give her dinner. My brother said that when I’m not home, Patsy would come out of hiding and lie on his bed, but the moment I’m home, she went back to hiding. Maybe, one day, she could forgive me for putting her in the carrier case and for the eye drops, but I don’t think she will. I think the damage has been done, and she’s protecting herself. She’s protecting herself from me, but I would like to have my friend back. At least, I have my mornings with Patsy.