Friday, September 26, 2008

The Feline Schedule

I'm in a kind of bloggy funk this week... not enough time to think clearly about what I want to say, and too tired to blog even about what is making me tired. But that's ok. The thought of writing a little bit more about the kittehs seems like a peaceful kind of idea...

Our cats are on a schedule. Make no mistake, it is not a schedule of our making. They took care of it all on their own. We would make adjustments to the schedule, if we could. We push it sometimes, on occasion, but as time goes by, the schedule stays the same.

Mama Cat sleeps on our bed with us every night, for the whole night. She will begin the night curled up by my belly or under the covers behind my knees. When she sleeps under the covers, she kneads my rear-end. She moves a number of times through the night, positioning herself in places that inevitably result in my having lower back pain in the morning.

Baby Cat spends most of the night elsewhere in the house, either on top of the piano or on the guest bed curled up on clothes we haven't put away. At about 5am, she will ARRIVE in the bedroom, situate herself between our heads and let loose an earth-shattering purr. When she is confident that she has our attention, she will either curl up by my face and lie down, or climb under the covers to cuddle with WH.

Sometimes, they wait for the alarm to go off before they commence OPERATION ANNOYANCE, but not always. OPERATION ANNOYANCE involves walking around on the bed with their pointy feet, scratching at the bed skirt, meowing, biting, and generally being a nuisance. OPERATION ANNOYANCE is their first tactic for reminding us that they are due a meal.

I am usually the first one out of bed and into the shower. Mama Cat comes into the bathroom with me and sits on the back of the toilet while I shower. This is so that she is the first thing I see when I get out, so that I am reminded that she is due a meal. While I'm drying off, Baby Cat usually makes an appearance in the bathroom too, just to remind me that she is due a meal.

Both cats sit in the dining room while I get dressed, positioned so that they can keep an eye on me and an eye on the passageway to their food dishes. When I head to the kitchen to make my breakfast and lunch, both cats make a mad and loud dash down the stairs to the basement for their breakfast. Breakfast is warmly received... lots of mewing.

After breakfast two things happen, though not necessarily in the same order. There is running around, usually out of excitement that WH is now up and about, and that they've been fed, and that sometimes one just has to run around a little bit. There is also washing, both of themselves and of each other. Sometimes this leads to wrestling and further running around.

Then, it's time for the morning nap. Acceptable places for the morning nap include, but are not limited to, the top of the piano, the couch, the bed, the guest bed, the dining room chairs, and WH. WH is often home for some portion of the day, and there is nothing he can possibly be doing at home that is more important than acting as a reservoir for sleeping cats. If WH is working on the computer, then the computer will do just fine for a napping place. If WH is working on score-study, then the scores will also work just fine.

The morning nap bleeds seamlessly into the afternoon nap, though there might be brief interludes of washing, running around or simply moving napping locations.

At 2:45, both cats rise up and commence OPERATION REMINDER which involves sitting where we cannot possibly ignore them, and serves to remind whoever is home that they are due a meal. We are reasonably certain that when neither of us is home, Mama Cat simply sits in the living room and meows at the top of her lungs until we get home. She is often hoarse when we get back from an afternoon away.

Lunch is served at 3pm. If not, OPERATION REMINDER reverts to OPERATION ANNOYANCE.

After lunch, the run around and bathing rituals repeat themselves, followed by the late afternoon nap. The late afternoon nap is sometimes interrupted if we are cooking something that involves cheese, because it's very important for the cats to be present in the kitchen lest cheese fall on the floor.

While WH and I eat dinner, Mama Cat and Baby Cat are in a state of heightened vigilance for food dropped on the floor or left on the kitchen counter, or for glasses of milk that are left momentarily unattended. When dinner is over, it is time for the evening nap. Now they sometimes have a choice about which human receptacle they will sit upon. Sometimes they both choose the same human, which makes it very hard for that human to get anything done in the evening.

At 9:45, we commence a renewed iteration of OPERATION REMINDER, followed, if necessary, by OPERATION ANNOYANCE. Dinner is served at 10. WH and I get ready for bed while they're eating, and then the four of us commence the night-time routine once again.

Note: Mama Cat will not graze; she eats everything that is in front of her all the time. So if it seems as though we feed them quite often, it's because we give them little portions of food each time. We think that Baby Cat would graze, except that Mama Cat inevitably eats whatever is left over if Baby Cat walks away.

Note2: Weekends are a bit different and involve helping me with the laundry by sitting in the dryer, helping me change the sheets by lying on them, and by an occasional change to the morning schedule which involves my getting up to feed them and going back to bed, which means that they come back to bed for extra cuddling after their breakfast.


Clearly they are leading a very difficult and trying existence.

That's Mama Cat on the top of the couch, and Baby Cat on the seat. Doesn't that look harsh?


Chunklets said...

That is an adorable picture!

I'm Still Me said...

I'm a little sleepy today - did I miss one feeding or have you successfully gotten it down to three? If so - YAY! And I still find it funny that they let us sleep in when we were taking care of them for you.

Chorus said...

Yes, we're down to three servings a day. Woohoo!

And I'm glad that they let you sleep in. It shows that they have at least SOME manners.

Identity Mixed said...

Operation Annoyance begins at about 6 am with a dart across Mommy's bladder. Then Mommy has to get out of bed to pee and they start the loud mewing for their bowls to be filled. And Mommy fills the bowls or the cats will wake everyone else in the house - including the dogs who start Operation Chase Cat. Ugh.