That Ratchet Cat

It’s summer, if you ignore the rain, the storms and the plummeting temperatures. It’s the time of year when cats laze outside and most of them have the sense to do that out of the rain. Ginge, who spends much of the winter sleeping on the bed between the pillows, is only seen once or twice a day at the moment. That’s usually about seven in the morning when she pops in for breakfast and near dusk when she hangs around near the kitchen in search of treats.

Piper’s current favourites are snoozing behind the planters in the morning, warm but shielded from the direct heat, and then sunning himself on the wood-pile in the late afternoon. However, a few days ago he shifted to winter behaviour with no warning or notice.

We had barely gone to bed and turned the lights out when I heard odd noises. Some careful listening narrowed it down to a cat sneaking around the bedroom and I immediately suspected that perhaps the dreaded Thug had found another way to break into the house. I turned the light on to confirm, but it was just Piper.

I turned the light out. Piper pounced. I grunted. When seven kilos of ex-feral tom cat lands on me, some expression of distress is called for. Piper used to be nearer six kilos, but he’s been gaining weight.

Without a care for which bits of a human are safely load-bearing, Piper walked over me, sniffed my partner and settled into Ginge’s favoured spot between the pillows. Then he started to wash.

Is this my best angle?

I find it remarkably difficult to get to sleep when seven kilos of cat braces a firm paw against my shoulder and starts rocking vigorously. And this wasn’t a quick freshen-up, but a full-blown scrub everything, which just goes on and on, rocking me to wakefulness. Finally, it was all over and he leant his full weight against my shoulder, eased down, curled up and went to sleep.

And then got up, turned round and settled in a more comfortable position. Then again, a bit of a shuffle and re-settle. Somehow, in amongst the movement, I dozed off, blissfully unaware of the ratchet process that was just getting started.

I woke, perhaps an hour later, precariously close to the edge of the bed with Piper wedged firmly against my shoulder. Of course, since I was awake, he had to look up, have a little shuffle and push me another paw-length. In response, I got up and went to bathroom – you never know when Piper might follow to deliver helpful hints like please top up my food bowl.

Piper declined. Apparently he was perfectly comfortable on the bed. However, when I got back, he had settled himself back somewhere between the pillows, miraculously leaving me plenty of space in the bed. You see? Cats can show consideration.

Silly me. As soon as there was a nice warm human to snuggle up to, Piper resumed the slow ratcheting pressure to ease me over the side.

Welcome to the power of the catnap. I know it’s supposed to be a brief sleep, and potentially invigorating. Piper’s version is positively exhausting.

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