Monday, January 10, 2011

It's nice to be loved, I guess.

Our sole remaining cat is 17 and a half years old. She's in pretty good shape, relatively healthy, and dumb as a load of bricks. She's also getting cranky and demanding in her dotage. What would have been cute, if annoying in a kitten (the "I want to play at 3:30 AM" antics, among other things) have made the transition to annoying and frustrating. Among her repertoire of "pay attention to me" late night activities are:

  • rattling the closet doors
  • scratching at the closet doors
  • scratching at the sheets and mattress right next to my head
  • finding, walking on, and rustling any stray items that make a nice crinkly sound (e.g., my gym bag)
  • hopping up on the bed and leaning the full weight of her body against my face because she always must  be touching me (this is a move we've dubbed the "golden retriever")
  • tapping me in the hollow of my throat with one paw
  • pawing at the sheets so she can burrow, temporarily, down by my knees
  • doing the "rain dance" on my knees and thighs, reminding me pointedly that it's time to clip her claws
  • Padding across our bamboo floors, aforementioned claws clicking like feline castanets, even after they've been clipped
  • Standing on my night table where she uses her paws to either rattle my clock radio, turn on the music by hitting the sleep button (that's got to be just dumb luck on her part...there's no way she can read the "Sleep" label, right?), or by accidentally setting the clock ahead by an hour or two.

These efforts typically do win her some attention. The ideal situation from her perspective is when I shamble out of bed and walk to the kitchen, standing unsteadily and more than half-asleep by her food bowl, which always still has food in it. She will have followed or led me to it which point she'll look down and be amazed that there's food available to her! She's not going to starve! Dad loves her! Nom nom nom...

More recently though, these little morning encounters end with me swearing and trying not to wake my wife as I grab my iPhone to use as a flashlight so I can spot the furry little pain in the ass and unload on her with a spray bottle full of water. Sometimes the frustration reaches the point that I'll pursue her all the way to the living room, hosing her down as she flees.

Usually, this DEFCON 1 response will get her to stop for the remainder of the night.

Unless she hops up on the bed immediately after I've fallen asleep and carries out another maneuver I've dubbed "the soggy golden retriever."

Of course, when I'm travelling on business, she's a saint, never bothering my wife. On the other hand, there are times like this morning when I departed for the gym at 5:30 AM and, according to reports from my grumpy wife, the cat immediately began crying and moaning, wandering the house, bereft and distressed at my absence.

It's nice to be loved, just not when it's that early. There is one saving grace least the cat doesn't smell like a wet golden retriever.