Cat v Man @ 3:55 a.m.

by James Wallace Harris, May 10, 2021

Ozzy has developed a very annoying habit. We used to feed Ozzy and Lily their wet food at 6:30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. Then after the time change, Ozzy started wanting his morning meal at 5:30 a.m. I kept telling him to learn to tell time and pointed to the digital clock with the large readout. He just ignored that. Instead, he started scratching at the covers pulling them down urging me to get out of bed. He also paws at my head and sniffs my mouth just like the cat in this video. (I couldn’t convince Susan to get up in the middle of the night to actually film Ozzy, so this video will have to do.)

Now I have to get up frequently at night because of prostrate troubles, often 7-8 times to pee, so Ozzy knows getting up is no big deal for me. I had the Urolift surgery in April but so far it hasn’t been a miracle. My doctor tells me it might take months for my bladder to break out of its bad habits. I am slowly peeing less often but I still get up at least once an hour, and Ozzy is convinced they are good times to be fed.

He’s demanding food earlier and earlier. At first I acquiesced to 5:30 a.m., but then the little fuzzy bastard got pushy, pestering me at 4:30 a.m. I realized he wouldn’t stop until I got up and gave him what he wanted.

Ozzy and Lilly like sleeping with me. Usually they come to bed after 2 a.m. when they’ve finished their routine late night rowdy romping, in that dark house time after Susan has gone to bed. Ozzy used to sleep soundly until morning, but evidently my frequent rising has altered his sleep patterns.

I tried tossing both of them outside the bedroom and closing the door, but they’ll make a terrible racket to get back in. When I saw this video about how a cat reacts when their human leave home it made me more considerate towards how a cat feels. I stopped closing them out before I went to sleep.

But Ozzy kept pestering me to feed him, earlier and earlier. This morning it was 3:55 a.m. I’ve learned that I can close the door to the bedroom after I feed them and they don’t complain. I find them sleeping soundly in the den after I get up for real.

It really annoys me when Ozzy wakes me up. I’ve tried scolding him, and pushing him off the nightstand, but he just returns and wakes me up again. I wish I could reason with Ozzy. I keep seeing these videos of dogs talking to their humans with buttons. I wonder if cats could do that too?

If I could talk to Ozzy I wonder if I could reason with him? We didn’t know dogs could talk until we gave them buttons, so maybe cats can too, and if they can communicate, maybe they can be reasoned with.

As of now, I’ve lost the war. But we’ve reached a détente. I refuse to feed them before 3:30 a.m. I did this by just laying there no matter what even though it will set off a night of insomnia. And when it is past 3:30 a.m. I’ve learned to quickly get up, find my way to the kitchen in the dark, only turn on the small light in the washer room next to the kitchen, open a can of Fancy Feast, give them exactly one half of the can, chop it up fine, put their plate down, stick the rest of the can in a plastic container, turn off the light, and put it in the fridge, and go back to bed.

I can usually get back to sleep instantly if I stay calm and don’t get annoyed at Ozzy.

JWH

Nick (1994-2013)

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Today, September 3, 2013, I had to have Nick put to sleep.  He was almost 19.  His sister, Nora, died just two years ago, also in September.  Nick was a survivor.  When he was young Nick had cancer twice, having to have operations on his back both times.  For each operation they had to shave his back and turned him into ugly cat for months.  For years now Nick had mega-colon, an enlarge heart, a heart murmur, and arthritis in his hind legs.  Today they told me he also had severe anemia and needed a blood transfusion, plus his heart had a new fast arrhythmia, and his kidney function was worse than it was just a few months ago. 

Susan and I had a hard time letting him go, but we decided it was finally time.

I hate putting animals to sleep because they can’t make this decision for themselves.  I’d like to think Nick would have thought it the right time too – for all I know, he might have been ready to go months ago, but felt obligated to stay around to be our cat because he thought it was best for Susan and I.  The doctors and staff at the Greene Animal Hospital were wonderful as usual.  Nick died very peacefully, and I only wish when my time comes I could go like that.

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Nick was my all time favorite pet – although I loved all my dogs and cats.  He will be my last pet.  I couldn’t watch another grow old and die, and I’m not sure I could outlive another pet myself, and I wouldn’t want leave an animal that was attached to me that way.  Back in 2002 I went to Seattle for six weeks and I felt really bad leaving Nick – he always favored me in picking laps.  I worried about how he felt not finding me for so long.  And when I returned I could never tell if he recognized me or just found another person to like.

We got Nick and Nora back in 1994.  Yes, they were named after the famous movie detective and his wife, Nick and Nora Charles.  Nick and Nora were our second set of cats, with Yin and Yang the first.  Susan and I have been married long enough to outlive two generations of cats.  Nick was so small when we first got him, I could hold him the palm of my hand.  That was so long ago, and just yesterday.

When they were kittens, Nick and Nora loved each other, and like Yin and Yang, would play fetch with paper balls.  Susan and I would sit in our chairs and the cats would get on our footstools and wait for us the throw paper balls over their heads.  They’d leap high up into the air, snatch the balls in their paws, and sometimes even do flips before landing on their feet.  Half the time they’d even bring the paper balls back for us to throw again.  We’d always know when they wanted to play this game because you’d look on the floor beside your chair and find a pile of paper balls and a cat staring up at you.  They’d also play soccer, batting the balls around while chasing after them, scattering them all over the house.  But the cats would bring them to back us when they wanted to play fetch.

Sadly, both sets of cats got tired of these games as they got older.  And it was also sad, as they got older they became less friendly with each other.  For many years Nick would sit in my lap and Nora would sit in Susan’s.  If there were only one of us in the den watching TV they’d both pile up in a single lap that we called a double-cat.  If Nora got to a lap first she’d get pissy if Nick tried snuggle a space next to her.  At one time Nick got up to 20 pounds and Nora peaked at 16, so we’d have 36 pounds of cat on our laps.  However, as you can see, I’m no lightweight either.

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Even though Nick and Nora stopped playing together, they stayed together most of the day.  It was hard to tell them apart at times.  After Nora died, Nick got the pick of our laps.  He loved sleeping on us – until we bought him a heating pad for his old age.  He loved that heating pad so much, but would always still spend a portion of the day sleeping on one of us.

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Many of my friends have worried that I will be lonely without Nick.  Since Susan works out of town, I’m by myself all week.  Nick has kept me company for five years now, but I’m not sure if I will be lonely.  Loving an animal seems much different from loving a person.  Loneliness for me is not having someone to talk to, and I can call Susan on the phone.  And even though I often talked to Nick, he never replied back or started a conversation.  What I love about animals, and what I will miss, is their nonhuman qualities.  We mainly communicate with animals by touch, sight, body language – and smells.  I’m not going to miss the smells, but I will miss having a creature that chooses to curl up on me.

In his old age, Nick got very set in his ways.  But then so am I.  For the last two years we lived like old bachelors, following a clockwork routine.  My life will take a new daily course without Nick.  It will take me a while to get used to it.  It took me a long time before I stopped seeing Nora after she died.  Twice this evening already I’ve thought I saw Nick.  It’s funny how we get used people and animals being in our lives, and how hard it is to not see them when they are gone.

But for now on, I will have to make furry friends with those creatures owned by my friends.  I was very attached to Nick and Nora, and I just can’t go through that again.  This might sound hard hearted, but from now on I only want to attach myself to beings that will die after me.

JWH – 9/3/13