This is our-speak for the collective ritual that involves letting the dogs out for the last time, making sure Birdie gets a sip of water (from a cup, of course) and is tucked away in his cage for the night, locking up the house, turning off the lights, and putting out the “midnight buffet”. Midnight, which for us can be anywhere forward of 10 pm, is more or less the cats’ alarm clock for nocturnal fun and games, which is why we’ve devised the buffet scheme to entice them our of our bedroom for the night. Four cats. Four plates of Fancy Feast. And eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Yeah, right.
These four cats have grown so jaded in their entitlement that it would take a can of caviar to rouse them. Cody the Shoo Bear has to be bodily removed from the upturned lid of the towel hamper; Dizzy does not deign to move, either, as he is convinced his rightful place is at the right hand of the CE. Dodger, antsy and antic anytime after 8 pm (we believe he may be at least part monkey) will follow the plates down the hall but then tends to double back into the bedroom, and Rosie just hunkers down under the bed and hisses and growls, daring anyone to pry her from her spot. Where, oh where, is the Cat Whisperer?
I finally woke up the CE to eject Cody and Dizzy and wrangle Dodger in the general direction of Outside the Room, but we were both too tired for a face-off with Rosie. If it had been Cody under the bed we would have been spurred to action, since he is given to 4:00 am bouts of racing upside-down, back and forth across the bottom of the box springs of the mattress, a sound that not only wakes a person, but reminds him/her that he/she is basically providing housing and affection to vermin that purr. But Rosie is quieter – and scarier – all claws and spitting black cat saliva – so we let her be.
Poor choice. Sometime on the dark side of 5 am, Rosie emerged from beneath the bed and let loose with a protracted episode of Hairball Hack-Up. These are sounds that should not be heard anywhere other than a science fiction alien film, and most definitely not any time before the sun comes up. Lying in the dark and listening to strangled, gurgling, retching cat sounds is bad enough, but once she had finished – her tortured soliloquy took place in two or three different parts of the room -there was the realization that getting up was tantamount to waltzing in a mine field. Any misstep in the dark could land me in the slime and that is just not where I want to be before dawn.
As it turned out, Rosie was just getting warmed up, and there was nothing awaiting us on the carpet, although, now that I think of it, I haven’t yet looked under the bed. I realize I have probably now lost any potential houseguests (or housesitters) among you, but you just have to believe me when I say it’s really, truly, a nice place to stay…just watch where you step.