Do any of you have alarm clocks that you can’t “turn off”? If you own a cat, the answer is probably yes. They also don’t believe that weekends are for sleeping in, even if you went to bed at 2am … breakfast should still be at 5:30am.
I have to give my cats credit, they have developed some unique techniques over the years. They started with the traditional jumping on the bed and meowing. When we became immune to this, they started jumping up on the headboard (that has a shelf on it) and just staring down at you. One may think this isn’t effective, but have you ever had anyone or anything stare at you intently while sleeping, eventually it wears on you!
I, at one point, decided we were locking the cats out of the bed room, and they learned how to scratch at the door (I will assume taking turns) until I finally couldn’t handle the noise anymore. They also are great at acupressure (in case the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work). The cats seem to be very aware that I usually need to pee in the morning, and stepping right on my bladder gets me out of the bed faster. They also (I’m pretty sure) check over my body for any bruises or sore spots when I’m sleeping. In case stepping on the bladder doesn’t work, they try to land on the most painful points. Norbert also has some of the most forceful head butts I’ve ever encountered, and has come close to giving a bloody nose with his good morning head butts.
As time went on, I had what I thought was the harmless habit of setting a cup of water on the shelf above the bed. This had never been an issue, until one morning I was refusing to give into the begging. Suddenly, I was awoken by cold water being splashed all over my head! I’m not 100% sure it was intentional, but being that it happened three times before I stopped putting water up there, I think they discovered it worked pretty well.
After I stopped making helping the cats with their “morning showers”, they had to devise other plans. Suddenly 5:30 in the morning was the perfect time for a “rumble”, aka they pretend to fight and make noises like someone is being eaten. This worked in multiple ways. One, I get up to see if they were really fighting. Two, Freya, our dog, (also the cat referee) promptly started crying from her crate when she heard the cats.
As much as the cats insist that feed them breakfast at crazy early hours in the morning, the most frustrating part is that when I do feed them, they take like four bites and go lay down to take a nap. Meanwhile, I am now wide awake! I always hated the beeping of alarm clocks so I guess the cats have saved me the annoyance of dealing with that, and they are a lot more fun to snuggle with … if only they had a snooze button, it would be perfect.
Nikki Kline is a veterinary technician at French Creek Veterinary Hospital in Pottstown, PA