Having a cat is sort of like having an infant for life. Dog owners probably say the same thing. It doesn’t matter if the sun is up or not, my black and white, long and short haired, all -American cat, Hermione nudges me with her back legs once or twice and hops off the bed. A minute later, she is back. I pretend to be asleep. I keep my breathing even and my eyes closed. One paw pats my left cheek. I do not move. Moving between the heard-board and my skull, she finds an inch to spread her body into the size of a wiener, and I hear her purring machine gear up. I turn to my side, “fast asleep”. She still doesn’t buy it. In front of my face now, she crouches low and gives me cat kisses on my closed eyelids. Only cat owners and probably only women cat owners know what this means. It’s like her tiny nose and whiskers brush ever so slightly along your eyelashes.
And then she suddenly means business. She leaps from the bed, crashes through the house to her food bowl which is inevitably empty even if I leave some dry food in there the night before. Let the meowing begin! What starts as a short clear meow – you can almost here the word “food” I swear – becomes an incessant and louder call for help. The keening could wake the neighbors but she has my attention.
I haven’t had coffee; I haven’t had time to pee; I haven’t brushed my teeth; I haven’t even grabbed my robe and it’s cold in the house. But I can’t listen to the wailing a moment longer. I pad across the cold tile to the laundry room and grab the bag of food. It’s on the way back to be the bedroom that I notice the small thin trail along the carpet. Of course. Wrapping Christmas presents yesterday I let her play with a couple of crumpled old yellowing bows, making sure no ribbon was to be found. But there it was; the vestiges of a thin red ribbon amongst the yellowing, hardening puke. Aagh!
There’s not a chance in heck that I’m going back to sleep now. I grumble as I hit the laundry room once again, find the pet stain remover, and squirt the still wet globs. I’ll get a towel and clean it up later I mumble. Heading to the bathroom to begin my morning ritual, I hear the incessant scratching and pawing as the litter hits the sides of her box. I want to strangle her or leave her on some unsuspecting neighbor’s doorstep.
And I am reminded of my first born who never slept, period. There was no crack of dawn with her either. It could be anytime between 2:00 and 6:00 am. The side rails of her crib would shudder and shake, with her little feet when she was tiny; with all arms and fists when she could stand. Then came the wailing, the wet diaper, the wet jammies, and the bottle of formula. Friends said let her cry. She’ll stop. I tried that twice – she didn’t stop crying. I knew it was a battle of wills; but I also knew that her will was stronger. And so at 65, with no grandbabies in the near future, retired, able to sleep in as late as I want, I find myself dabbing at a puke stain and pouring cat food at 4:30 am.
Have a great day friends and family.