Islamabad, Pakistan – November 21, 2015
Allah hafiz, roughly translated, means “God protect you.” It is an expression used in Pakistan when you will not see someone for a while, such as when one departs work and goes home or to those left behind when one is going on a trip. In the case of Patches the cat, it is the latter.
Patches adopted us shortly after we arrived in Pakistan in January 2015. She was probably around three or four months old. She and her brother, Smudge, were a great joy to watch in the mornings as we waited for our rides to work. There is a piece of the wall-to-wall carpet at the front door of our home that provides a surface on which to clean shoes before entering. When exiting the house each morning, Patches and Smudge were usually curled up on the carpet, trying to stay warm. They immediately got very excited, waiting for feeding time.
Within a couple of months of our arrival, our roommate at the time gave Smudge to some other Americans. Patches remained at the house. She was skittish, not allowing anyone to get too close to her. Over time, she became more and more used to us. She got to the point where she rubbed against our legs, even letting us touch her tail. However, trying to actually pet her back, or contact her otherwise, resulted in her turning quickly and batting at one’s hand. Usually, the batting was without claws.
Over the last couple of weeks, as we sat on the terrace with a cocktail, watching the Margalla Hills go by; she jumped on my lap on two occasions. Almost as immediately as she landed on my lap, she jumped off. Last night, now that our time in Pakistan is so short, she jumped on the lap, laid down and curled up. She stayed on my lap for a long time, sleeping. She would no doubt still be there if I had not stood up after 20 minutes or so. It was nice that she finally made that connection with us.
This morning, while we waited for a vehicle to take us to the Embassy, Leslie sat on the chair on the front stoop. Pretty soon Patches arrived. Before we knew it, Patches was curled up on Leslie’s lap.
While Patches is a beautiful cat, providing us hours of entertainment and enjoyment, we will leave her in Pakistan; it is her home. I hope that she will learn to love her new humans more quickly than ten months.
Allah hafiz Patches.