A Cat Owner’s Overnight Log

July 8, 2016 — 19 Comments

Dear Journal,

I often worry that too many new cat owners have unrealistic assumptions when it comes to the expectations and responsibilities of sharing your home with one or more cats. Because of their romanticized preconception of cat behavior (and for that I blame cat food commercials that hire supernaturally unfinicky actors, cat litter ads that hire one of the few cats alive that actually cover their disgusting waste, and Sarah McLachlan), these stereotypically lonely yet good intentioned people quickly regret their decision. This can result in lashing out when the cat behaves as nature intended it to, returning the cat like an unwanted gift after Christmas, or re-homing the cat who thought it finally found its forever home.

And that’s why I’m here, to enlighten humans on the reality of cat care and cohabitation. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not encouraging you to reconsider cat rescue; I’m encouraging you to make an informed decision.

One aspect of cat cohabitation that is often overlooked is the fact that felines are typically nocturnal animals. It’s their nature. This will equate to very little sleep for anyone who does not keep a pack of ear plugs in their nightstand. And what’s worse, the interruptions in your sleep grow exponentially with the number of cats you have.

To give you an idea of the struggles a cat owner endures nightly, I have created an activity log that chronologically outlines a typical night in my home: The House of Five Heathens:

10:30 pm – Looking forward to a night of sleep, I crawl into bed, navigating the limbs of my body around Blind Murphy, Mr. Tiddles, and Elvis (aka Boo-Boo Fett, Smooshy, etc.) so as not to disturb them as they are already resting in their designated spots. By the time I am settled, I am splayed in bed like a Taiwanese contortionist or someone who just splatted on a concrete sidewalk after leaping from the top of a fifteen story building (which is a tempting solution if you’ve lived with five cats for as long as me).

11:15 pm: Standing on the beautiful shore of slumber, Elvis pulls me awake by pawing at the bedroom’s standing mirror. The continuous clacking of his claws against the reflective surface is quiet but enough to interrupt my sleep. It would be easy to just throw a pillow at him, but I feel sorry for the pathetic creature for having no one to play with but his own reflection. The other cats just hate him. I crawl out of bed and bring him back with me. I cup his face with my hand, and he seems content with this.

12:04 am: Zoe “captured” one of her toys, and like a town crier armed with a megaphone, she is wandering the kitchen downstairs, assaulting my sleep with her loud cries for attention. Nights like this, I wish I could find her volume knob, but Zoe is deaf, so she doesn’t know that they can hear her in outer space. Unfortunately, she won’t stop until someone compliments her hunting skills, so I stagger downstairs to meet her demand for accolades and pettings. I can’t be mad, though. She seemed really pleased with herself.

12:48 am: Cat Fight Club has begun. We all know that the first and second rule of Cat Fight Club is to not talk about Cat Fight Club, but how can I not know about it? When they throw paws, they holler and knock around furniture like they’re in a bar brawl. Do you think Brad Pitt squealed and kicked over a plant stand while having his ass served to him? No, because it’s unsexy. But the moment Elvis touches her, she thrashes and wails as if she’s being electrocuted. Typically, I wake up long enough to mutter, “May the odds be forever in your favor” before stuffing a pillow over my head, but tonight, she sounds more distressed so I retrieve Elvis, return to bed with him, and assume the typical sleeping position of cupping my hand over his face until he falls to sleep.

2:28 am: In a daze, I slowly blink open my eyes and wonder who just threw a bag of flour over my legs. When my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see it’s just Mr. Tiddles.

4:03 am: Someone is chasing me with a chainsaw. I soon become cornered. I am scared. Turning to face the shadowy figure, he revs the chainsaw’s engine and jabs it into my face. I almost scream, but instead of feeling metallic teeth chew into my face, the growling weapon is soft and…furry. I open my eyes to discover Blind Murphy playfully rolling against my face, his purr so loud, I can feel his body vibrating. I pat him with a limp hand and roll over, but he clumsily claws his way over my shoulder, finds my face, and continues wallowing. I mutter something about him being spoiled and roll over again. Of course, it’s my fault that he always gets what he wants (food, attention, playtime, toys, etc.). This time he is content with rubbing his body against my back, leaving me to get a couple more hours of sleep.

5:32 am: I must meet whomever thought it was a good idea to build such a long hallway outside of my bedroom because this person deserves an angry letter. The length of this corridor encourages the cats to gallop up and down and up and down and up it like a herd of miniature ponies.

6:00 am: My alarm is screaming at me to wake up. But I just want five more minutes. Just five. As I reach for the snooze, I see Blind Murphy hugged against my crotch, his back leg stretched in the air as he slathers his asshole with his tongue.

6:09 am: Ugh. Just a little longer.

6:18 am: Didn’t I just press the snooze? Like, 3 seconds ago?

6:27 am: Noooooooooooooooo. I don’t want to. *snooze*

6:36 am: Uuuuuuuuuugh. Fine. I’m up. Damn it. I am so sleepy. I better get a better night of sleep tonight….who am I kidding. Of course I won’t.

19 responses to A Cat Owner’s Overnight Log

  1. 

    Hi Cary! I just discovered your blog. Your picture mug shot is ingenious……and gives me fond memories of my own experiences. The overnight log was so funny and so true. I didn’t think anyone else out there would do those things, besides me. Or maybe be honest enough to admit it. Handicats are my weakness too. My husband and I lost two of ours last year. Luna had Kidney disease, needing subcutaneous fluids, administered by me. Biscuit was Diabetic for 10 years, but lived for 17. I know my family thought that I had Munchausens by Proxy. Biscuit and Luna were full of life and energy until the end. Reading through your website has given me such joy and so many laughs. Biscuit was Elevator Butt kitty and I swore a lot while cleaning it up. Writing the funny things that you do, makes it easier to cope with the stress of helping sick or challenged kitties. Laughter heals. If you’ve ever been owned by a kitty, you know that sometimes they act like Jerks. That’s why we need to laugh. Thank you for that.

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    • 

      I am so please you wrote! And I love reading about your “fur babies.” We certainly must stick together, huh? The writing part is my therapy…well, that and my prescription medication.

      Like

      • 

        Thank you for your answer. I will definitely be there, with you and for you. I’m not a great writer, but I certainly appreciate someone who is. Ditto on the meds part! (Not really kidding, ha) Please write updates on Mr. Tiddles. I know that it’s really hard to talk about, especially when people expect you to be funny all of the time. The writing will be therapeutic for you and may help others with sick kitties. I’m so happy that you have a supportive husband. Stay strong….or just fake it. =^..^=

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        • 

          I really appreciate that. Poor Mr. Tiddles. I’m sure he’s pretty tired of me jamming all these pills down his throat every day twice a day, but he takes it like a champ. I have to admit that I got pretty sad recently because an acquaintance of mine had a cat who was diagnosed with the same heart disease as Mr. Tiddles (only a month after we discovered it) and his car passed away last week. It makes me wonder how much longer Mr. Tiddles has. But damn it…I’m supposed to fake being strong now. Lol.

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      • 

        Cary, I know exactly how you feel. Animals that live long lives, in spite of serious illness, do so because their people absolutely believe that they will get better. The vet told me that Biscuit could possibly live as many as five years with her diabetes. WHAT????? Biscut was only eight at the time. I was not accepting that. I changed her diet, spent the next ten years researching feline nutrition and found ways to make her healthier and more comfortable. During the next week, I will research Mr.Tiddles illness and see if I can find any helpful information. I know some great vet websites. I won’t try to shove anything down your throat. If I find something that you might want to take a look at, I will forward it to you. If you’re not interested, no harm, no foul. Just know that you are not alone. =^..^=

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  2. 

    I must be a terrible human, because a couple of years ago I finally kicked my 2 out of the bedroom in hopes of getting more restful sleep. Neither one of them has shit in my shoe, so I’m pretty sure they don’t hate me, but it might just be taking them awhile to plot their coup, since they’re lacking opposable thumbs to jot notes down for their plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 

    Ah the delights of being owned by a cat!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 

    What about when you are comfortably sleeping, and a cat decides to explore your bed side table. And then, because cats are assholes, the cat feels the urge to tap, tap, tap your water glass until it surrenders to gravity and spills. All over your head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 

      True that. When I have a water glass with even a drop, I get out of bed just before I fall to sleep and take it all the way downstairs to the kitchen because I know some asshole would wake me up pushing it on the floor.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 

    You forgot the waking up to hacking sounds just before one of them decides to cough up a hairball or simply vomit right beside your face on your pillow.

    My wife and I have worked fostered cats for almost twenty years with austinsianeserescue.org and the three most common reasons people surrender cats are 1) my boyfriend is allergic (meaning control freak), 2) moving (meaning don’t want to deal with the cat along with the rest of the hassles) and 3) completely unprepared for the reality of pet life (the same goes for puppies who chew up stereo cables and shoes, dig through trash, throw up everything, eat cat shit and even shit in shoes).

    Pets are as demanding as children, but for some reason people believe they can give pets back because they assume pets don’t form deep emotional attachments to their owners. Well, they do. We watch cats go through prolonged periods of depression and anxiety when separated from their owners because they don’t know what they did wrong. And they did nothing wrong, they were just being cats.

    I recommend every new cat owner do a search for Bloom County and Bill the Cat by Berkely Breathed. His depictions aren’t parody. Bill lurks at the heart of every cat. (They can also try Matthew Inman’s Oatmeal, but he’s far more graphic and R rated).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 

    Sarah McLachlan is why I have 3 cats instead of 2. I used to really like that song, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 

    You can’t sleep through “yack yack yaaaaaack” when Merlin is on your shoulder and it slides down your face and onto your pillow

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 

    Yup. Yup. Yup. To all of this. And, then, on *special* nights, you wake up the “yak, yaaaak, yak, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak….” sound that is one of those babies puking on your pillow. So, you wake up, reassure the upset kitty that he/she is not dying, but rather just hairballing, and then you get out your emergency pillow.
    Because cats are the best.
    No. Really. They are. Or we wouldn’t put up with all this shit.

    Liked by 1 person

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