Our cats sleep with us. We don’t have a lot of choice in the matter, as anyone who has cats will tell you. I suppose we could put them out at night, but what’s the point of having cats if you’re going to kick them out of the house after lights out, effectively telling them they’re welcome to stay when you’re not around, but not when you want to get some sleep, the one thing cats love to do more than practically anything else?
Cats sleep a lot, and they find their own places to sleep. You can buy very cozy cat beds from your favorite pet store, and you can use all the coercion that cat experts give you to get your cats to sleep where you want them to, but in the end your cats will be the ones who decide where they will sleep. You can’t watch them all the time.
During the day, when you’re not around, they’ll sleep on the clothes you laid out for dinner in the evening, or on your good jacket, the one you left out to sew up a tear. And no cats on earth can resist curling up in laundry baskets heaped with freshly-washed clothes and left sitting in the middle of the living room floor to be folded later. Cat lovers learn early on to put away all their clothes if they don’t want to come back to find them covered in cat hair.
At night, cats will sleep where they feel most comfortable. During the summer in our house, they will find the coolest spot, usually on a floor or by an open window, because we don’t run the air conditioning all night. In the winter they will curl up in bed with us because the thermostat is set to lower the temps while we’re curled up under a big, thick down comforter.
Until a few nights ago we didn’t have a huge problem with any of this. A few minor quibbles, yes. Most notably, when I get a couple of full-grown cats curled up on either side of me, they hold down the quilt like a couple of sand bags, effectively pinning me to the mattress so completely that I wake up several times in the night with pressure sores. Worming out from under the covers to re-pile them at the foot of the bed so I can turn over is a bit of a pain, but not a huge problem.
But each of us has our own fussy peculiarities about what can take place in our bed. Breakfast in bed, for instance, is not something either one of us goes in for. I used to prepare a breakfast in bed for My Darling B on Mother’s Day and she ooo’d and aah’d appreciatively the first few times I did it but eventually came clean and confessed to me what I already knew, that there wasn’t any easy way to eat breakfast in bed without spilling the orange juice all over the eggs and getting crumbs on the sheets, and that she would rather just eat it at the table. No breakfast in bed has since become one of our rules.
A rule that we didn’t realize we would ever have to communicate to our cats, until very early in the morning a couple nights ago. One of the cats not only brought B a gift of a mouse as breakfast in bed, she plopped it right on the pillow next to B’s head where it scurried across her face and dove three feet from the edge to the safety of the floor. I don’t know what woke me up more abruptly, the way she honked like an air horn on a semi tractor or the jolt I got when she sprang out of bed.
We suspect Boo would’ve given her gift to B, while I would have been the lucky recipient of a gift from Bonkers. B’s normally a heavy sleeper but now she wakes and scans her horizon whenever she feels the bump of a cat jumping onto the bed, and as extra insurance she clicks on her bedside lamp to scan the floor before swinging her feet down if she has to make a trip to the WC.