I originally began this post by calling it “The Joys of Being a Cat Owner.” I changed the title of this post because I have had many cats in my life, and I have never once felt like I owned one. At the worst of times, I’ve felt the opposite, that they’ve owned me. Even the big, sad eyes of the Dumpster Kitties have gotten me wrapped around their paws.
Nothing epitomizes the unpredictability of living with cats more than what they do while you are sleeping. The following is a typical night in the Frey-Huls household.
11:00pm - Lights out.
11:05pm - Allison jumps on the bed and crawls onto my chest. She begins kneading bread on my chest and neck. None of the kitties are de-clawed, so if I have neglected keeping their claws trimmed, now is when I regret it. She also purrs loudly and rubs her face against mine. Since I’m not entirely sleeping yet, this is always pretty cute. What’s not so cute is that she has a chronically leaky eye so sometimes her intense cuddling also leads to wiping leakage on my cheek. This can be kinda gross and when this happens I grab a Kleenex, wipe my face and tiredly throw the balled-up tissue in the direction of the garbage. This causes Allison to jump off and chase it.
1:00am - Wrigley jumps on the bed and bites my forearm. He has the most unbelievably sharp teeth I’ve ever felt. They are particularly sharp when being awoken by them from a deep sleep. He purrs and keeps biting my hands, feet and any other part of skin exposed. It is this behavior that requires Dean and I to sleep fully covered with blankets up to our chins even when it’s summer in Florida. After being bitten several times, I toss Wrigley off the bed and invoke the blanket-up-to-chin defense and go back to sleep.
2:30am - “F#$%#$@!!!” Wrigley has bitten Dean in the face. During the day I am sometimes jealous that Dean has a closer bond with Wrigley than I do. My jealousy is not present at this time.
4:15am- Nellie, the alpha female, has hunted one of her numerous prey. This is usually a sock stuffed with cotton and catnip that Sylvia made for her right after we got her. She howls distraughtly until one of us gets out of bed and retrieves the prey after properly praising her for her prowess. Recall that Wrigley likes to bite any part of exposed flesh when the lights are off, so collecting Nellie’s victim also involves shaking Wrigley off our ankles while cursing his impressive teeth.
5:30am- Allison is back. This time instead of making bread, she lies on my pillow and wraps herself around my head. She likes to lick my forehead. While cat-tongue is an effective exfoliate, it is not generally welcome. She also sometimes misses my forehead and catches a mouthful of hair instead.
6:30am- The alarm goes off. I get out of bed and put my gym pants on to avoid any further abuse from Wrigley. I turn on the lights to find three pairs of eyes looking up adoringly at me and all is forgiven.