Cat in the Corner

Abbie Creed

© Copyright 2023 by Abbie Creed

Bridgette Kitty and Dan.  Photo from the author.
Bridgette Kitty and Dan.  Photo from the author.

In the wee hours of the morning my son was awakened by his dog barking his head off. He was certain that according to the bark, it must have been a dangerous intruder entering his backyard. He quickly donned a pair of shoes and proceeded out back to see what all the commotion was about. He followed the dog to his garage where he had trapped a critter coiled up in the far corner. After getting a heavy pair of work gloves, he lifted the ferocious kitten out from among the debris ridden hiding place. The poor baby was frightened and defending herself with all her might.

My son waited until morning to call me to ask if I would ride with my daughter, his sister, to take the kitten to her vet who would have a place for the kitten to be adopted. I had always loved cats but my husband, who was recovering from two major brain surgeries, did not care for cats at all, so I would not even consider keeping this one.

My daughter and I headed for the vet’s office. It was a little cool that morning, so I had on a light jacket that zipped up the front. I put the kitten inside the jacket and as we rode along, it kept licking me on the chin until it finally went to sleep, completely worn out from all that fighting.

When we arrived at the vet’s office and after an evaluation, it was determined that the vet could not accept the kitten because it had an infection in its eye that needed attention. The vet said this baby needed medication in its eyes and a little tender loving care. I was so afraid that he would have to put the baby down. My daughter already had two dogs and five cats at her home, so she was not able to take this one. There was no way that I could not consider anything other than taking the kitty home.

All the way home, I rehearsed how I was going to explain all this to my husband and keep my happy home. I taught school but this happened during the late summer and school had not started again. After telling my husband the sad story and convincing him that the kitten would be company for him, he consented to my keeping her. I told him he would have to name her since she would be his companion. He named her “Bridgette,” a name that we were going to use had we had another daughter. Our daughter was our oldest child, followed by five sons and we didn’t have an opportunity to use that name. Maybe he remembered and considering his memory loss following the surgeries, that would have been a big accomplishment!

My husband was wheelchair bound but was able to wheel himself to the bathroom and transfer from the chair to the sofa and for bathroom visits. Every time he made a trip to the bathroom, Bridgette went with him, walking between the wheels of the chair until she grew too big and her tail got in the way. Then she walked along the side of the chair. Her potty box was kept in the shower stall. She patiently waited for him to make the trip back to the living room and transfer to the sofa, then she had the chair to herself. This ritual went on for years.

After school began, my principal allowed me to go home for lunch since I lived close by. I was greeted at the front door by my husband and “Miss Bridgette,” my favorite name for her. During her kitten years she sat in the wheelchair when my husband sat on the sofa. She liked to play with rolled up paper balls and a piece of yarn and she could squeeze into the tiniest places. She really was not a friendly cat. She hissed at the grandchildren and when they visited, she ran off and hid until they left. I think she was afraid of them and their quick movements.

Once when I was baby-sitting my grandson, I put him in time out in one of the living room chairs. He was about three years old. Bridgette often sat in that chair, so she approached him and put her paw on the chair. My grandson thought she was playing with him, and he laughed each time she put her paw up. However, Miss Bridgette was not playing, she was letting him know that was her chair. But she certainly kept my grandson entertained. Later, when his dad came to pick him up, I told him how Miss Bridgette had kept his son in “Time out.”

Bridgette did not like to be held. She was anything but a lap kitty which was a real disappointment to me. Growing up, my cats loved to be petted and be held and I was hoping for that with her. She was very independent and mostly did her own thing. My husband talked to her a whole lot and sometimes I believed that cat understood what he was saying. He denied liking her, but his actions said something different They were constant companions.

My sister, who lived next door, was not a cat lover, but she loved this cat. When she came to the front door and saw the cat, she greeted her with “Hello, Miss Bridgette” and Bridgette would talk up a storm to her in kitty language of course. I think my sister liked Bridgette because she was a bit standoffish, and that suited my sister fine.

After being diagnosed with Lymphoma, and taking chemo for that condition, my husband spent a good bit of time in bed. Bridgette could be found next to his bed laying on the windowsill and keeping a close watch on his every move. His last two weeks kept Bridgette on her toes. He had to be helped to the wheelchair and to the bathroom, but she came along on every trip. She seemed to know that her friend was not going to be around long, and she became even more diligent.

After my husband died, Miss Bridgette became my best friend. It was now just me and my Bridgette. She seemed to understand my loss and I am certain it was a loss for her as well. She began following me everywhere as I went about my chores. In the evening after I had dinner and sat to watch a little TV, she climbed into my lap and allowed me to pet her. We grieved together and she became my longed-for lap kitty for several more years. After 17 years her kidneys began to fail, and she went down fast. I sat up with her several nights during her illness. One night my grandson came to relieve me because my family was worried about my not sleeping. That night I had not been asleep long when Bridgette crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. That little kitty rescued in her time of need, from the corner of my son’s garage, returned the favor for both my husband and me. She was there for both of us when we needed her! God is good!

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