A short story featuring Stevie Mouse, Emmy and Treacle in which a kitten learns to take care of others.
Emmy, a three year old calico cat has epilepsy and behaves rather oddly. Stevie Mouse, much the same age and partially sighted, has been Emmy’s carer for a long time. Treacle is a new addition to the household at 10 months old and needs to learn the rules.
Learning to Take Care of Others
Look Stevie Lights!
“Look Stevie, lights”, said Emmy. Stevie Mouse and Emmy are sitting on a coffee table looking through a window into the gloomy daylight beyond. “Yes Emmy,” replied Stevie. They continued to sit in companionable silence. The sort of silence that comes from friends who know each other well and don’t need to speak to enjoy each other’s company.
After a few minutes Emmy said again, “look Stevie, lights!”. Stevie leaned in to Emmy and licked her ear in response. They carried on looking out the window, starting occasionally with pricked ears as a bird flew overhead but otherwise sitting peacefully.
Treacle Disturbs The Peace
After a while, a rustling sound can be heard from the other side of the room, followed by the sound of purring. Treacle has woken up, is cleaning his paws and looking at the two girls. “Whatcha doing?” he asked. “We are looking up at the sky and dreaming,” said Stevie Mouse. “Watcha dreaming about?” asked Treacle. “Is it food?”
“Not everything is about food young man”, said Stevie crossly. “There is nothing wrong with just sitting, being and dreaming.” Treacle can’t think of anything worse! The best fun is racing around creating chaos. His big sister clearly doesn’t agree.
Treacle moved over to sit near the girls. He looked up at his two big sisters and wondered if he pounced on them they might play with him. But he knows from experience Stevie will probably just smack him over the head. So he sits fidgeting, aware of the odd annoyed glance coming his way from Stevie.
“Look Stevie, lights” said Emmy.
“What is she going on about? There aren’t any lights,” asked Treacle perplexed. “Emmy can see lights,” said Stevie. “There aren’t any lights,” said Treacle. “Emmy can see lights,” repeated Stevie. “Well she is nuts,” said Treacle. “She is sick,” sighed Stevie.
Sighing again Stevie decides it is time for a life lesson for Treacle. And hopefully some of it will sink in.
Stevie Mouse Educates Treacle
“Do you remember the other night when Emmy made a funny noise and fell off the sofa?” Stevie asked Treacle. “Yes, that was so funny! She was rolling around on the floor, banging into the furniture and then she made a stinky mess!” laughed Treacle. Stevie rolled her eyes.
“Treacle, when you use the litter box does it smell of roses?” Stevie said. “Emmy can’t help it because she is sick.” Treacle looked a bit taken back. “What do you mean she is sick?” he said, looking past Stevie at his big soft sister sitting staring up at the window with her big saucer eyes. He likes Emmy, she doesn’t tell him off.
“We don’t know what it is, but sometimes her brain does funny things and she doesn’t know what she is doing,” explained Stevie Mouse. “That is when she thrashes around on the floor and makes funny noises.” If we are lucky, Mummy or Daddy will hear and come running and look after Emmy. But sometimes at night they don’t hear and we are on our own. When she wakes up she can’t remember anything but sometimes she is a bit odd. “What, you mean even odder than usual?” said Treacle trying to joke and not succeeding.
“Mummy and Daddy give her something night and morning that helps stop the funny things happening but it means Emmy is often a bit spaced out,” carried on Stevie. “So if she seems odd she really can’t help it.”
“Sometimes Emmy is blind for a little while after one of these episodes, or one of her legs doesn’t work properly. She usually makes a mess and needs to be cleaned up. She is quite distressed so that is when we have to take care of her.” By now Treacle was looking seriously worried.
“Look Stevie, lights” said Emmy. “Yes darling”, said Stevie.
The News Sinks In
“She will be all right though won’t she?” said Treacle, now seriously concerned. It is the first time he has thought about illness. “We don’t know,” replied Stevie. “And we don’t how long we will have her with us, one day she might not wake up, so we need to love her and look after her while she is with us.”
Treacle wandered into the kitchen to have something to eat and consider what Stevie Mouse had told him. All this information had made his brain hurt, and now he is feeling all emotional over his big sister who is sick. What he needs is food to settle his nerves. He could be heard crunching noisily on cat biscuits.
Stevie carried on sitting next to Emmy, thinking to herself that there might be hope for Treacle yet as he had really listened to what she had told him. He may be a bit ‘gung-ho’ but he has a nice friendly little face and showed real concern.
There Really Are Lights
At that moment there was a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder. “Well, I’ll be …” said Stevie. “There really are lights!” “I am not completely daft Stevie,” said Emmy and both the girls sat giggling watching the rain starting to fall.
Care For Others
Sometime later Emmy yawned and the girls decided it was time for a nap. Emmy went to lay in front of the fire and Stevie Mouse lay on the sofa, facing Emmy in case she needed her.
The storm raged but the girls were warm and dry and safe. They fell into a deep sleep.
Some time later, Stevie Mouse stirred and looked down to check on Emmy. She was both surprised and pleased to see Treacle curled up with Emmy, actually washing Emmy’s face and ears. Emmy seemed very happy with the arrangement. After a while they both settled down and went to sleep together.
Stevie smiled to herself, perhaps she won’t be the only one looking out for Emmy in future. Treacle was starting to learn to take care of others. With that thought she went back to a contented sleep.
You can read more about Emmy’s epilepsy in my blog ‘Living With An Epileptic Cat – Emmy’s Story‘.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound, an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!