‘Summer’ l call. ‘Come on’. Normally Summer would jump at the chance to sit on my lap, make herself comfortable and purr away contently. Now, she just looks at me, swings her fluffy tail proudly and walks away. The way she does when we have builders or other people in the house.
These days l’m lucky if l get a miaow out of her! I live in a house with 4 cats. 3 toms and one Tabby. I am really attached to them. Not only are they different in appearance, they are also different in character. I do however have a favourite and it’s Summer.
I look at the cats as they watch me longingly, quizzically. Wondering no doubt why l have stopped stroking them and why l jump every time they come near me. To the feline mind l must seem cold and aloof. I often wonder whether they dislike me now.
Whether they wonder what they have done to make me turn my back on them. None of them comes near me. They go to the other half instead. He feeds them and cuddles them while l watch from a distance and they look at me suspiciously.
It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when Summer was always on my lap. When we had developed a special bond.
Admittedly when l first met the other half and he told me he had cats, l opened my mouth in disbelief. I hate cats! All my friends hate cats! In a strange way, we seemed to bond over our dislike of cats. Selfish little creatures all they want is attention. Not like a dog that will love you for ever and wag its tail in happiness when it sees you. Protect you with its life if it had to. No, cats just want to be fed and stroked.
When he said he had not one or two but four cats. My chin hit the floor! Here l am with this tall, handsome guy with a cracking sense of humour. Who could one day, if he played his cards right, be Mr Right. I stopped that thought in it’s tracks. He is not Mr Right , well, he wasn’t. He had cats.
The first time I went to his house, I refused to get out of the car. ‘I can’t’ l said for the umpteenth time. I have a phobia of cats. ‘Yes you can’ he said, they are good cats, ‘they won’t come near you’. We sat in the car for a long while with me trying to explain to him that l have a genuine phobia of cats and him insisting that they were o.k. He finally managed to persuade me to get out of the car. Plus I didn’t have much of a choice, poor guy had driven for over an hour to pick me up and bring me to his house.
With my heart beating wildly and my palms sweating l reluctantly followed him into the house cowering behind him.
No, l can’t. I don’t do cats and there they all were. Four huge cats! One so big, he could pass for a small dog! My eyes widened with fear . I almost bolted for the door.
I am not a cat person. I have always hated cats. I think it was more a fear of cats rather than hate. You see when l was a young and impressionable child. I watched a ‘horror’ movie where big, nasty cats came and attacked people. This was back in Africa where there was no warning about censorship. We watched whatever was on TVs. There was also no discipline on what we watched on TV. If you wanted to stay up late then that was up to you as long as you were able to get up for school.
It was on one of these nights that l watched the cat horror movie. I use the term horror loosely as l’m sure if l were to watch the film now it would be a comedy. Cats attacking a whole town. Dangerous stuff!😄 However watching through a child’s eyes, it was a horror. Anyway, neeedless to say I developed a fear of cats that still persists to this day. Not just fear but a real phobia where adrenaline would surge through my body and set my heart race whenever l saw cats.
It was Summer who helped me overcome my phobia of cats. A shy, and nervous little tabby cat, she refused to give up on me. One day while l was watching telly, Summer jumped up and sat on my lap. Before l could shout to the other half to get her away from me, she had made herself comfortable, tucked her paws underneath her and fell asleep.
I realised she isn’t scary at all. Quite the opposite. Shy little Summer goes out in the garden or hides under the sofa when there are visitors in the house. She is afraid of the ironing board and goes into hiding when the Hoover is on.
Over the past year, Summer and l became closer. She ‘talked’ to me. She kept me company. She kept me entertained with her strange and funny behaviour . She comforted me when l was down. She loved to cuddle up in bed with us. She sat in the garden with us in the long Summer months. She loves being with us. More than anything she loved to sit on my lap until …
The Doctor confirmed that l was allergic to cats. For years l have had a phobia of cats and now that l have finally overcome my fear, l am allergic to them.
So now l keep my distance from them for the sake of my health and the cats keep their distance. Especially Summer. She won’t come when l call her name. She won’t even look at me. She walks by me and looks at me with a mixture of sadness, pride and suspicion, like a best friend who has fallen out with you.