A little irony for your Monday morning.
I’ve had insomnia off and on (mostly on) for my entire adult life. The ironic part is that even on the nights that all the stars are aligned and I can actually stay asleep, some outside random force prevents me from doing so… a sickness, a car alarm, a snoring spouse, a thunderstorm, a meteor. There’s always something.
Last night, it was my cat.
I actually started out the evening really worried about her. I tried not to let on just how I worried I was, so I didn’t pass it along to the kids…. in particular Tegan (who was already asking, “Is she going to die?”) and Everett, who has a stronger bond with her than I think I’ve ever seen between a boy and a cat in my lifetime.
She was just acting really weird, even for a cat. She kept running and hiding, first under our covers, and then squeezed under our bed, which isn’t normal for her. She wasn’t playing, wasn’t eating, wasn’t purring, and was just acting…. well, weird. When Everett tried to bring her to the other side of the house for bed, and shut the dividing door – their usual nighttime routine – she FREAKED OUT, hurtling herself against the door and meowing a demon inspired yell.
At some point, it finally occurred to us to wonder if she was having a reaction to the flea treatment we’d given her the day before. It was the only thing that had changed in her environment, and it seemed a likely culprit, particularly when Everett said she’d been frantically trying to scratch at the back of her head (it was a liquid that was applied at the back of the neck). So we found the box, read the warnings, and were basically advised that if our cat seemed to have a problem with it, or was sensitive to it, to simply wash it off.
So, 11:30 at night found Mike, myself, and the two youngest kids circled around the kitchen sink. Everett was there out of concern and moral support; Tegan was there largely for the entertainment value. The cat was hugged firmly in my arms (they have the scratches to prove it) while Mike tried to rinse off her neck with the sprayer as quickly and efficiently as he could while she struggled. We rubbed her dry the best we could with a towel, and then brought her back to bed with us. She crawled partially under the covers right next to me, gave herself an exhaustive bath to try to erase the indignity of her shower, and went to sleep. I didn’t take my eyes off her; afraid to stop watching. I kept one hand near her side to make sure she was still breathing. (I do the same thing when my kids are sick. I don’t know if it’s weird) I felt like I had to stay awake with her, at least until I got some sort of sign that she was okay. I know it’s something that non-pet people can’t understand, but in the base level of my heart, there’s little distinction between the care and concern I have for my human children, and for my fur children. They’re treasured members of the family too.
So I stayed awake and just watched her. She mostly slept, she never stopped breathing, and every now and then she’d wake up just enough to clean her feet and legs again.
And then at some point I must have finally dozed off despite my best intentions, because I was awoken by a very loud purr that instantly told me two important things: 1) She was feeling much better, and 2) I needed to protect my sensitive areas.
I think most cats purr when they’re happy…. but mine purrs 10% for happy, and 90% for “I want to murder you in your sleep.” One minute she was sleeping innocently by my side, and the next there was a claw-shaped hole in my armpit. Then my ankle, then my hand. Clearly making up for lost time, she proceeded to lodge an all-out assault on any body part that dared move under the covers (or look like it was going to move. Or exist) She stepped on my face. She sat down. She pounced on my feet. She pounced on my stomach. She attacked the little bit of string that was hanging from the corner of my pillow case. She purred louder and roughly rubbed her face against my forehead.
And… repeat, for the next few hours.
She’s not usually allowed in our bed at night. This is one of the reasons why.
It was after 3:30 when I finally let my guard down a little bit. She wasn’t sleeping, but she was lazing peacefully (and deceptively innocently) all sprawled out by my side. She was still purring, the picture of sweetness. I closed my eyes, silly enough to think I could actually get some sleep, but they flew open in pain about 8.2 seconds later when a set of tiny razors punctured my neck. I’d accidentally left my little cross necklace exposed…. and necklaces are, of course, harbingers of evil that must be immediately chewed off any unsuspectlng soul who dares wear one. After that, I declared her observation period over, scooped her up, and carried her across the house to Everett.
By the time I got back to bed, I realized I had a stomach ache – whether from worrying that my cat was going to die or the sausage I had for dinner or the fact that it was almost 4 AM I didn’t know. I was afraid it was going to prevent me from sleeping even the few remaining potential hours, but just before 5:00, I finally relaxed and started to drift off to sleep.
And then I had to pee.
PS The cat is 100% her normal self this morning, currently happily looking out her favorite window. Stinker.