Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Brown (11/26/09)
TITLE: Patches the Cat
By Patricia Protzman
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I have fond memories of my childhood, especially of my favorite cat, Patches. Her name suited her well; small splashes of gray, tan, white and orange dotted her brown fur. My mother named her Patches, saying she reminded her of a patchwork quilt. She always had the prettiest litter of kittens—black, black and white, butterscotch, solid white, silver gray and calico—but none of them looked like her.
I was seven years old, the eldest of four children, when Patches arrived one summer day. Someone dropped her off at our house and she dropped four little kittens in our barn a few days later. Our house was a busy place and the screen door closed so slowly that Patches would sometimes run inside.
One day while sitting in the kitchen, I heard cats meowing. I looked around but came up empty handed. The meowing continued and the only place not checked was a storage area in the utility room. The door was ajar, I opened it wider, and there on the floor were three kittens only a few days old, their eyes still closed. Later that day, Patches again tried to bring one of her kittens indoors, but I intercepted her. After that last try, she gave up on the idea.
Late one July our family left on a two-week vacation. The neighbors agreed to feed and care for the animals while we were gone. Dad left the windows partly down in his other car because of the summer heat. Two weeks later, we returned home and there in the back seat of the car were Patches and her four kittens. She had decided the car was a safer place to have her litter. The neighbors told us they knew she had her kittens, but they could not find them.
Another Patches story involved my mother. She was busy with laundry one day and while putting it away in the linen closet, she discovered Patches with her brand new litter of three kittens lying on several of her good sheets. Since Patches was my cat, she scolded me good when I arrived from school and reminded me that she had spent all day re-laundering linens and cleaning up the closet. All I could think about were the new kittens.
One summer when I was ten, I received a lesson in life. Everyone was in the house and I was sitting on the back porch with Patches lying next to my feet. She started mewing and acting strange. I tried to pick her up, but she would not let me. I ran inside to get mom and upon returning, there was a kitten, with Patches licking it. Two more kittens were born while we watched. I asked mom why she never told me where kittens came from when I asked her before. She looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “Now you know.” Another question I had was how did they get there, but that was a topic for another day, which was answered at age twelve by mom when she told me about the “birds and the bees.”
One evening I let Patches inside the house while the entire family played a game of monopoly. It was very late when the game ended and everyone tired headed for bed. I had just laid my head down on my pillow when my older brother yelled “Eeew! My parents, sister, brother and I hurried into his room and there was my brother pointing to his bed and the back of his pajamas. Patches had done her business in his bed. At first, I thought my mother was going to yell at me for leaving her in the house, but the sight of my brother and his bed brought on laughter from all of us, including mom. I found Patches sleeping contentedly under his bed.
When I was fifteen, Patches disappeared from home. Mom called the animal shelter, placed an ad in the newspaper, and my family helped me look for her in the neighborhood and surrounding area for days. My dad drove slowly along the roads while I called for her, but I never did see Patches again. I cried for days, thought my life was over, and vowed never to love another cat. Since that time, I have had many cats, but none with her personality. Patches still holds a special place in my heart. I will never forget her.
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