I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog bio Pest Cat to Sweet Companion…and Then

“No!” I yelled at Cutie Cat a moment before she leaped onto the piano keyboard. 

The little black cat with the white snip on her nose always looked like she’d just finished a bowl of milk. Her little face and lively eyes, glanced back at me. She shifted as though getting her legs further under her. 

“No, Cutie.” I couldn’t reach her on the floor. 

She turned away, her head moving from the piano to the decorated Christmas tree tied securely to the heavy furniture piece. I could almost sense her determination. Our daughter’s ball of fluff was anything but docile. 

From the first, Cutie whipped through our house, leaving a trail of destruction. In fact, another name for Cutie was “Pest.” 

Though our carpet wasn’t new, she scratched it away in front of any closed door. The day we had a new carpet installed, Cutie went to the vet to be declawed. That only stopped her momentarily. 

The year before, she zipped up the Christmas tree causing it to crash to the floor. That’s why we made sure to tie it to something that would not move. Being declawed slowed her down not one bit.

I was almost close enough when Cutie sprang onto the keys and from there to the top of the piano. Stopping to gather herself she ran across the piano. At the end she leaped into the artificial tree. To my amazement, the top third snapped off. I groaned.

Cutie loved closing open doors and locking herself in rooms. She loved to jump onto my stomach in the mornings to get my attention, one reason daughter Cassie, her official owner, always kept her door closed at night. 

As I walked up and down the hall, Cutie liked to weave in and out of my feet. This was particularly dangerous as I have a lot of physical limitations and when I fall, I am unable to catch myself. When Cutie was awake, I stepped carefully. I had enough surgeries that helped keep me walking, I certainly didn’t want to trip and cause more damage. 

But, surgery was a part of my life and it happened–one of my artificial joints needed replacing. The surgery with my physical and health problems proved tricky, and once I returned home, I was more or less confined to bed. At first, I got up only to use crutches to get the short distance to the master bath in our bedroom. 

Once Keith returned to work and the children to school, I had hours alone with only Cutie for company. The family made sure I had water, a snack and my laptop within reach. The TV was only a remote click away. 

I worried Cutie would go into our bathroom and close the door with her inside, leaving me unable to rectify the situation. I worried she might trip me as I walked. I worried…

I need not have worried. Once alone, Cutie sensed my need for sleep. Pain medication only took the edge off, and I remained tense. Cutie cat leaped onto the bed and snuggled down beside me, but within reach. She let out a purr-ful sigh as my fingers combed through her fur. 

There was something almost hypnotising about the purrs and my strokes. My shoulders and legs relaxed. I leaned back against the pillows. My eyes closed. The entire time I remained close to the bed, this became our routine. Furthermore, not once did she lock herself in the bathroom. When I needed to use the bathroom, she stayed clear of my feet. 

Instead of a groan and frustration, Cutie provided companionship. She seemed to anticipate my needs as she made me her focus. She made that time much less lonely and helped time go by much more quickly than without her presence. 

When the day arrived that I inched down the hall on the crutches to eat lunch with the family, Cutie did not weave in and out by my feet. Instead she walked slowly beside me. Once I rested, and she stopped and glanced up at me. I sensed she understood the importance of this moment. Finally I was on the mend. 

Even when I could get around, I was required to take time out each afternoon to put my feet up and rest. Cutie always waited for me, snuggling up at my side as we both napped. 

However, as the crutches were put away and I resumed my normal routine, the sweet companion nodded as though to say, “Ah, back to normal.” 

The next moment she batted a door closed and started yowling. Our Cutie cat was back. 

Still, I never forgot the sweet companion who helped me when I needed it most. 

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Cutie cat was part of our household until long after the kids grew up and left home. She got to know our three oldest grandchildren. She was almost 19 when she died.

By  Carolyn R Scheidies (2015, 2020)

See more like this  in my auto-bio: The Day Secretariat Won the Triple Crown


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