With Sue out of town on a business trip, I hit the sack at 10 pm and waited for the cats to arrive in bed with me. Normally there are one or two of them that curl up in the crook of our legs. Usually, Benny the orange and white kitty is on Sue’s side. Wanda the big Tuxedo Mama with black and white fur lies next to me. She snores sometimes and purrs if I reach in the middle of the night to stroke her back.
To my surprise, a third cat joined the overnight bedtime party last night. That would be Mercury, the beautiful long tabby who loves to roll on his back whenever I come up the stairs. He begs for a tummy rub, and waits for his brother Apollo to some slinking by for a grudging pet on his own terms.
It becomes a bit of a logistical problem when three cats come to sleep with you in bed. I sleep on my side, never on my back, because I snore otherwise. But when three cats press against your legs the covers grow tight and rolling over feels impossible. Yet I somehow managed to go from left to right to left, and the cats, like four-legged energy circuits, simply found the next crook in my body and settled back into sleep.
I tend to want to move before my body stiffens up. But with cats pressed against you, there’s this sleepy guilt you get in not wanting to disturb such peaceful creatures. So I stayed on one side or the other a little too long and things started to ache.
The human body simply isn’t designed to stay static that long. We’d run seven miles that morning in relatively cold weather. 17 degrees and sunny. Just a little wind. But come nightfall the body wants to forget that it just covered 36, 960 feet. It wants to rest. And yet it also needs to move. Go figure.
I recall the feeling after some of those double workouts back in the day. A body so tired and ready for sleep I could doze off with six people standing around talking in the room. That’s fatigue for you.
The same goes for riding a century on the bike, or doing a hard 60-miler on a late spring day. God, you feel so tired.
And it’s funny to come back after a venture like those and find the cats all curled up on four corners of the bed. It sometimes happens. Wanda runs the roost, so she gets her choice of position on the bed most frequently. Then comes Benny the 9 lb. pistol. Apollo and Mercury just fall into place wherever they can flop. Sometimes I’ll walk in the bedroom and the two brothers will be curled up together in a yin and yang fur ball.
There are days when they all rise, except Wanda, to chase each other around the house. Call it Cat Crossfit if you will. They wrestle and even bounce off the walls. The cats got to have their fun too.
This is their little world. They never go outside. We don’t let them kill birds or get chased by coyotes. But Benny did escape once for ten days. Lived in the wilds of the former neighborhood. He was one hungry kitty when we caught him again.
They know nothing more about the world than the spinning leaves on the back porch, the twitch squirrels hugging the suet feeder and the occasional bird that comes close to the window. And when night comes, they know the comfort of pressing their bodies against the people who feed them. Another day. Another Three Cat Night.