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Random thought’s on Mothers, Wives and my cats sleeping habits.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Very random. I hope I don’t put you to sleep, unless that is why you’re up late reading this forum. In that case…you’re welcome. There is no pressing issue here whatsoever. I’m just kinda riffin’…

This began as a post in the “Crossing the Bridge†section, but apparently I have to square a few things with myself first. Visiting that forum made me think of ALL my furball friends that I have ever had in my lifetime. I need to record a little background before I can discuss the one’s that have crossed over.

The cats we had as a child were really my mothers’ cats of course. I used to say that when I came back in my next life, I would like to return as one of my moms’ cats Pretty much spoiled rotten. But they always received the best of care and mom taught my brothers and me the importance of getting them fixed and having all their shots. But as a teenager my folks would shut their bedroom door at night so our Siamese, Grace, would usually sleep with me on my bed. I always looked forward to it and I’m certain my brothers were jealous.

My wife Cynthia and I have been married for almost 16 years. The cats we have had since we’ve been together are *mostly* hers. She handles the majority of tasks associated with them as I’m sure ‘most’ women do. I am generalizing, and apologize to my fellow gentlemen forum members if they are offended.

I have always been a cat person, but I also recognize that Cindy enjoys feeding, brushing and taking the helm in all matters considering our cats. I’m always happy to help (and I get to do the boxes…oh joy…) but she doesn’t require a lot of help so I defer to her.

What transpires is the obvious bond the cats have with Cindy. Oh, it’s plain they love me. I can’t even walk past one without stopping to touch it at least briefly and they return the favor quite often. They all hop up in my lap at least once a day, and Panda will stay for as long as I allow it. I’m sure all you folks know how difficult it is to type with a furball in your lap. If I am special to the cats…my wife is extra special to them. Sometimes I volunteer to feed them in an attempt to curry their favor. She agrees I should do so more often, but I don’t believe it would change the outcome. They know who mommy is.

I wish they would sleep next to me, but they don’t. Despite my being the warmer human (by far!), whichever cat is currently champion of the quilt almost invariably sleeps ON Cindy. Right up to her chin so they are nearly exchanging breaths with her. Hank; Skully; Panda; Gizmo; Linus…they all chose her and I laugh in jealousy because I want them to sleep between us so I can pet them. Cynthia wants them to settle down so she can sleep and would prefer I didn’t continue to pet them while they are perched on her. Panda tries sometimes with me, but I can’t possibly fall asleep with her in that position like their mother can, so she hops up to the other dresser, onto her favorite Seahawks blanket.

Kess was Gizmos’ littermate, and she preferred being under the bed. Gibson slept on Cindy when he was a kitten (despite our handshake agreement that he was MY cat! The nerve… ) but now he prefers the cat-bed on the dresser. Panda would sleep on her again if she didn’t think she would get tormented by Gibson or by the recently departed Linus. Panda is a paranoid kitty...you know the type. You would think it’s a good thing Gibson doesn’t sleep on Cindy anymore because he’s 15lbs now, but Hank used to sleep on her every single night, and he was perhaps 16lbs. She didn’t care…especially with Hank. I’ll talk at length about Hank more in my next post.

This is what this is really all awkwardly leading to: discussing our little friends that have crossed over, and eventually coming to terms about… Linus.

But of course, I will continue this in the appropriate section. Perhaps tomorrow, we’ll see. LOL…at this rate I’ll never get to 100 posts…
post #2 of 9
Hi, it is so nice to meet you, and I really enjoyed reading your post!
post #3 of 9
Hi, I second that! It's very nice to meet you - and welcome to TCS. It sounds like you have a similar problem to me!! It seems my man has a stronger bond with our little missy than I do. Rune and I share the legwork with looking after her... we both put as much time into playing and cuddling her as we can... and yet... he's the favourite! I guess cats can have a favourite human as well as a humans have favourite cats!

We only have her, so Tosca is a pampered little princess and she knows it. She's just a daddy's girl. Still, I admit, when it comes to bedtime, I'm glad she doens't lie on me... I fidget too much because I'm such a light sleeper. I don't sleep well most nights, sometimes suffering insomnia... a cat bouncing on my head would no doubt make matters worse!

I loved that post, keep them rolling in and you can be guarunteed that you'll hit 100 posts before you know it!
post #4 of 9
Hi - a pleasure to be sure. I'm sorry to hear of your loss - we all know how you feel as we've been in your shoes and know it hurts to lose one of our fur babies.

Cats certainly have a way of "picking their humans" don't they! All of our previous cats have been MY cats and bonded closely with me. Bijou has been our exception - he loves my husband and talks to him. Mind you, my husband will let him outside and I don't - Bijou knows that very well since he doesn't stand at the door and beg me to let him out as he does with my husband.

However, when bedtime comes, Bijou only sleeps with me. He has a little lick/suckle on my neck, lays facing me with his head on my pillow (a mere couple inches from my face), puts his paws on or around my neck, I cover him up to his neck and we go to sleep. Sometimes during the night he will crawl lower down and sleep curled under my chin.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Yosemite
Cats certainly have a way of "picking their humans" don't they!
Thanks for takin' the time folks. I went out tonight, so I will elaborate on this story soon. Hank's story is all about Yosemite's quote above.

I'd like it if you'd use this thread to discuss other family members relationships with your little friends. Try to consider your closest partners' perceptions too. It's hard sometimes, but it always boils down to love.
post #6 of 9
I loved reading your post. Your cats obviously love but it can be frustrating when they are more affectionate with someone else.
My oldest cat Sleeves was just a baby when we brought him home last June. I think because my parter is a student and I work, well Mark is home more so I think thats why they have a stronger bond.
Nismo is still only tiny but she's heading towards being a mummy's girl, which I love. At times she spreads the love equally but we have special time on a Saturday where she lies on me while I am on the computer. I can do anything I like with her she just loves getting affection from me.
If Sleeves lies on my knee, the second I move he will get up and move somewhere else. Before we got Nismo he slept on our bed and although Mark got more cuddles than me, I still got some. Now I rarely get anything from him at night. He licks Marks chin everynight and can be quite agressive with him while doing it, I think he is just so connected with him.
I sometimes feel hurt that Sleeves loves his Daddy so much and wish he could be like that with me, but he is. Just not all the time.
We share the cat duties equally so it doesn't really have anything to do with that. He just loves his Daddy more I suppose.
Sometimes, when Sleeves is lying in another room, I will sneak in and lie beside him and make him purr, we just have some quiet time. This is usually when I get my share of headbutts. I love my private time with my cats.
I think cats are just amazing creatures. I had them as a child but wasn't that close to them, I can't really remember them. I just can't even think about having to deal with one of them crossing over. I don't know how people manage to get through it. They must be so strong.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Once again, I’m gonna just start rambling here and hope that it ties together towards the end. Wish me luck. I don’t want to put it in the other section of the forum until it gets sad although it hardly fits the description of my own thread here anymore…

It’s been more than 10 years since we had to put Hank down. He had apparently developed liver cancer and was becoming quite uncomfortable towards the end, not to mention he had pretty much quit eating all together. But let me rewind…

I met my wife Cynthia for the first time at my cousin Don’s wedding. She was the brides’ Maid of Honor as they had been best of friends all through childhood. We started dating soon after the wedding and it was natural that the two couples spent a lot of time hanging out. I would pick Cindy up and we would drive the 8 miles out to their trailer home and play ‘Hearts’ all evening (nasty game!)

Val and Cynthia both worked as receptionists at the same veterinarian and Don and Val began acquiring assorted pets even before they had their first child.

They had a Red Dobie (Czar), and a part-Dingo (TJ), along with at least four cats. I’ll never remember all of their names, but one was a rather large Orange Tabby kitten simply named Hank.

Hank didn’t appear shy as much as he seemed uncomfortable around all the commotion created by all these other animals in one place. The rental trailer home was situated on a small ranch so they had a pretty good sized yard, but it was like a big family with one bathroom…eventually there’s going to be some friction.

Cindy’s aging grandfather decided to move from his large, old house, into the small house right next door to her folks. They would be super-close to him if he needed any assistance.

But Cindy’s grandfather quickly became very ill and passed away even before he could sell his old home. Her father inherited both homes along with a generous savings and stock portfolio. Folks who lived through the depression understood the importance of saving money.

Soon, there was a flurry of activity: Cindy’s father sold grandpa’s old house to her only brother, and the little house next door to my cousin Don and his wife Val with the two dogs and at least four cats.

Right about the time Cynthia and I decided to get married, her folks decided to move to a real nice, big place a couple miles away. So we bought their home (the one Cindy grew up in). Now we were next-door neighbors with my cousin and best friends. This is precisely what they mean when they say life has its ups and downs. Things were looking up. I guess I didn’t know the half of it…

My wife’s family always had cats just like mine did, but of course her mom was taking all 3 of her cats (Sammy, Celica, and Beamer) with her to the new home and a larger yard. Her dad had added on a narrow, closed-in back porch in the 70’s that featured an additional door complete with cat entrance. You had to unlock the back door; walk up a small flight of steps to the left (a bound really); and unlock another door to enter the back of the house. The porch was mainly so the cats could come in from the elements without dragging rodents into the kitchen and the rest of the house. They had to be let in and pass inspection first.

Well, soon after Cindy and I settled in, one of my cousins’ cats found his way into our cat-door and onto the back porch area where he would sit and meow. We recognized the large, orange tabby immediately and commented on how big he had grown and how beautiful he was. I warned her right away not to feed him or he might never leave.

We both sat in the back-porch area and took turns petting this tall, friendly tabby. He would do the head-butts, and the side flops, and purr so loud it made us laugh hysterically. After a while I figured I better show him back to his own home, so I picked him up and walked next-door.

I only have to rap once at the door before barging in. Val was fixing dinner in front of the tube when I dropped Hank right there and told her he let himself in the back. She just smiled as her dogs came scampering in from their rug in the kitchen to see who was at the door. Hank fled to a neutral bedroom before getting trampled.

He showed up again the next evening, meowing at the back door. We repeated the latter night’s events and I lugged him back and tossed him in his own front door. This soon began a pattern and it quickly became obvious that he didn’t want to go home even though we never fed him anything. Val said that he was losing weight and pretty soon, she started sticking a bowl of dry food into our cat-door with a bowl of water so he would eat something.

You already guessed what happens next.

Cynthia and I are falling in love with this cat. Now she starts feeding it too, and the only way to get it to leave is to pick it up and take it back. But he just keeps returning everyday and meowing at the back door.

I finally get a chance to talk about this with my cousin Don. It’s really HIS cat. Val got it for him for his birthday the year before, when they still lived in the trailer home.

Val had told him what was going on and he didn’t seem to mind. As a matter of fact, he was kind of relieved to be rid of one of their many pets. He was kind of upset that Val brought home so many strays from her work. He said if we wanted Hank, we could keep him. Heck…he’s just gonna be right next door anyway.

Originally Posted by Yosemite
...Cats certainly have a way of "picking their humans" don't they!
Never has this been more true.

…to be continued…
post #8 of 9
Thats a lovely story about Hank. Since you said he passed away Im a bit apprehensive about reading part 2 when it arrives but I'm sure it will be a happy story
I like this thread.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I use to think that cats wouldn’t stray too far from home on purpose because they know where the food bowl is. I’ve since heard of several other cases where they have attempted to relocate in an attempt to upgrade from an overpopulated situation. Now I don’t even think it’s a rare occurrence. It sort of happened to us again years later, but the circumstances were different. Maybe the neighborhood cats just know we spoil ‘em right. I have heard tale that it is a sign of good luck.

So Hank moved in. I thought there would be some adjustment period, but he acted as though this is where he was supposed to be all along. Instant assimilation. He slept on our bed immediately…more specifically, he slept ON Cynthia. The first in a succession of cats to recognize that Cindy was a sucker and would give undivided attention for long spells. I thought it was a little awkward because he was such a big boy.

He wasn’t overweight despite being about 16lbs, but tall in the shoulders and long in the torso, with a tail that always stood straight up, I swear, three feet. Well, not straight up. It had a constant crook in it at the top that made it resemble Little-Bo-Peeps’ Shepard’s hook. So if you added how tall he was, and then added the tail, it was almost four feet high at the curl. The curl would exchange sides in a constant swish.

Times were different then. Cynthia’s family had never lost a cat from unnatural causes at that house before and their cats were free to run outside unsupervised basically 24 hours a day.

It was the same with my family in Bellevue, Washington. It was ok to let the cats out after dinner as long as you checked on them later to see if they wanted back in before you went to bed. They usually knew what their own best interest was, so they returned before too long. But they would sometimes stay out all night in the summer only to be at the door in the morning like clockwork. All of our cats got old and died of natural causes. 15, 16, even 18 years old. I just assumed that’s how it was with everybody. We didn’t even have litter boxes. They all took care of that in the garden.

So when we would go to our separate jobs in the morning, we would put Hank out all day (he didn’t have a litter box either). Cindy would just put his bowls on the back porch area. Occasionally, that would lure one of the other cats into there, but it never became a headache.

I was usually the first to return home from work, and there he was, every single day, laying on the picnic table waiting for me. Sometimes we would be returning from errands and when he saw the car, he would jump down from the front porch and run out right in front of the car as we turned into the driveway. No worries. We could easily see his tail rising up over the hood of the car like a periscope as he jogged ahead of us down the driveway towards the garage that was in the back, separate from the house. Our own feline escort.

We’ve never had a cat with a weight problem and we’ve always left a bowl of dry food out at all times. But every cat enjoys being treated with canned food. Everybody parents their cats a little different and has to decide how much is too much. Hank used to get canned food (‘wet food’ my wife calls it) about every other night.

The shelf we kept the canned cat food was located above the lower cabinets just under the counter-top. The space went back pretty deep and we had to push the cans as far as they would go. When evening rolled around we would usually settle down in front of the tube, but you could see and hear Hank workin’. He’d start crying and rubbing up against every wall, table and chair.

Eventually he’d make his way into the kitchen where he would stand up on his back paws, stretch out as far as he could (which was substantial), and get a front paw on a can. It would take some effort to drag it back towards the edge, and pull it over with a dull thud on the linoleum floor. Then he’d push it like a hockey puck until it got stopped by the door threshold that led to the living room. Sometimes it would land on its side and he was able to wheel it over the threshold a foot or so towards us, making his point clear.

I’m sure many here have seen stunts like this, but I never have. Before or since. Some of our cats make a pretty big scene when it comes to feeding time, but rarely has one simply taken matters into their own…er…paws. I swear if he had opposable thumbs (ha!) he would use the Swing-Away™ can opener too.

The first few times he did it, we howled with laughter. After a while, we would mute the TV so we could hear the can slide and the thunk of it hitting the ground. Unfortunately, he would do it every night, so Cindy had to say no quite often. Every other night.

After he was fed it was nap time. Absolutely anywhere was fine. When he ran out of gas, he just flopped over and went to sleep on the carpet in any random location. He was partial to a sunbeam if there was one and he tended to stay in the front room but not always. But when he fell asleep he would roll completely on his back with all four long legs pointing straight up. Since there weren’t any other animals in the house, and we don’t have kids, I guess he felt pretty confident that he could sleep in such a vulnerable position and not be bothered. You could walk by him a dozen times and he wouldn’t budge. Somehow I doubt he acted like this next door.

Now it’s bedtime and we go to brush our teeth. Hank hops up on the bathroom counter and cries for a drink of water. It’s not like he doesn’t always have a fresh bowl downstairs. So we turn on the faucet at a low setting and he sticks his whole face into the water.

He licks at it as fast as he can, oblivious to the fact that it is running right over the top of his head, past his ears, and down his back. It doesn’t bother him a bit and he does this every night. We pretty much have to towel him off afterwards.

Later, we discovered that he will do this with the garden spicket as well. If we’re out in the yard, he would go over to the faucet and cry for some water. I’d just set it at a drizzle and he’d stick his face under there and go for it forever. I’d have to stand there and watch so I don’t forget and leave the water running. I remember he actually did this the day we put him down.

It's not unusual for a cat to hop up there and show interest while you’re preparing a fresh bowl of water but Linus is the only other cat I’ve had demonstrate so much interest in the water source even though he wouldn’t actually drink from the running water. It must be an orange tabby thing.

For four years Hank was always just as happy as could be. He displayed some indifference when he met with his old buddies, but he never ran from them and he never fought. He purred so loud it was a distraction while reading at night. He was responsible for as much laughter and joy as any pet that anyone had ever had.

Then his eating habits started to change and the vet indicated that he could feel a lump on his side. The canned food rules changed and he could have anything he wanted whenever he wanted but his interest dwindled. He stopped pulling the cans down from the shelf. Cindy tried every flavor of every brand of cat food and even tried some different people food as well. She should have received a medal for her efforts to get Hank to eat something, anything.

Cynthia’s father’s inheritance had allowed him to sell his import auto shop and retire early at the age of 55. He concentrated on home improvements in his nice new place, and building components for the most updated home desktop computer available. Ed was a fine man and a wonderful husband and father to his two children.

But Ed was diagnosed with intestinal cancer at nearly the same time. They say life has its ups and downs. In 1995, Cynthia’s father Ed and our amazing cat Hank would pass away in the same month of August.

Marc G. (OT)

::: There’s more. This story is completed in the ‘Crossing the Bridge’ section:::

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