Last night, when I got into bed, there were eight cats in it. My husband was in there, somewhere. Yeti was on my pillow. Pokie was curled up underneath it. Oscar was sleeping on Phil’s head. Cubbie was burrowed under Phil’s arm. Huck Finn and Jolie were cuddled head to head on his legs. Huck Finn cuddles with no other cats, so it was obvious this arrangement was an accident of sleep, and there would be hell to pay when he woke up and discovered another feline so close to him.
Muffaletta was lying on her back at Phil’s feet, paws curled in what I call the bunny rabbit position. General Robert E. Lee managed to dive headfirst into my big leather purse where I’d left it at the foot of the bed, and there he remained, snoring loudly into it, butt in the air. The General is quite the character. He and Huck are mortal enemies and it’s a tricky situation when they’re both on the bed at the same time. They have to be kept separate. The last thing you want at 2 a.m. is two cats growling on either side of you, pupils dilated and backs arched. It’s happened to me, more than once, and it’s really not how anyone should be awakened.
There were other cats around. Smokey and Delilah were in the closet, maybe trying on my clothes. I find them pulled off the shelves and hangers and scattered everywhere in the morning. The least they could do is fold them and put them back. The Evil Gatekeeper was wandering around looking for his next victim. Apollo was having a snack in the kitchen. Ghostie had found himself a big pillow on the bedroom couch. I think that’s it for last night.
One of my favorite bands when I was in high school was Three Dog Night. I always remember them saying that Eskimos sleep with their dogs to keep them warm. If it’s a really cold night, well, it’s a —- You get it, right?
Well, last night was an Eight Cat Night. It was chilly out there. But there was no need to turn the heat on, because as soon as I slipped under the covers, all these warm little bodies starting inching towards me and before I knew it, I had instant heat on all sides. I wrapped my arms around Pokie. He doesn’t like other cats either and it takes an Act of Congress for him to get comfortable, but he gave into the warmth of my arms and the bed, and burrowed his sweet head into my neck. There is nothing more comforting than falling asleep to the sound of cats purring in contentment which, I admit, I had to strain to hear because of the General’s snoring.
And as I fell asleep, I remembered how it was when I was a child, when I wanted a pet so badly. But all I heard, over and over again, was that my Aunt Jeannette was allergic to all animals and if I had one it would make her sick. She’d be sneezing and coughing and it just wouldn’t be fair to her. So instead, I had to make do with stuffed animals of all sizes, which I piled on my bed and cuddled with, night after night.
Now, all these years later, I have the real thing, little living, breathing souls of all shapes and sizes, keeping me warm and loving me unconditionally, all through my nights and days.
This is MY house. And age has its privileges.