Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feline blackmail!

Nothing important, but just to give you a laugh - and some insight into the devious workings of the feline mind!

As you know, Rupert sleeps in bed with me. As you also know, since that anxious time when his jaw was first dislocated, about six months ago, the pain and dislocation have seemed to recur more often than not in the night. I now know how mothers of young babies must feel . . . bleary-eyed and in need of sleep!
Normally, our sleep patterns are pretty similar. We go to bed at around eleven, we awake in the region of seven the next morning. But, if Rupert has had an undemanding day, a dull day, a day devoid of stimulus or good exercise, then he wakes up early and, in order to obtain breakfast and a morning game, needs to waken me.

His means for wakening me are subtle. First of all, he positions himself on the pillow just above my sleeping head. He then reaches forward and gently pats me on the cheek. If this produces no effect, he pats again . . . a little more firmly. If this still fails to rouse me, he pats me, with great delicacy, on the eyelid. By this point I have usually been shamming sleep for several minutes. After the pat on the eyelid, I cautiously open one eye . . . tell him that it's not yet morning, and suggest that he returns to bed. With great deliberation, I close my eyes again.
The whole procedure is repeated . . . and repeated . . . and repeated, until, worn out by his persistence, I finally get up.

This morning I was awoken by these familiar, persistent tactics. Opening my eyes, I saw that it was a cloudy morning. The time was uncertain, so I switched on Radio Four. A talk was being given by the Bishop of Rochester. Concluding that this must be the "Sunday" programme, and that the time must be around seven-thirty, I succumbed to Rupert's demands, and got out of bed. It was only when I looked at my watch that I realised it was only ten-to-six - no time to rise on a Sunday morning. To Rupert's shocked amazement, I proceeded to return to bed.
He was dumbfounded. This was not part of the morning procedure. Once up, we stay up!
Once more he returned to his place on the pillow . . . once more he patted my seemingly sleeping face . . . once more I feigned sleep.

But this time Rupert boxed clever. Crawling back under the covers he rejoined me in bed. Surprised, but relieved, I began to relax. It was then that his devious plan was put into action. Slowly . . . deliberately . . . he opened his mouth. He opened it as wide as he possibly could . . . realising what was going on, I opened my eyes and watched apprehensively. Rupert watched me watching him . . . still he held his mouth open. He tested his jaw . . . he wriggled it about . . . I heard the distressing sound of the bones rubbing against each other . . . I pleaded with him to stop and not cause further dislocation . . . he looked at me, and opened his mouth even wider!
It worked . . . it worked like a charm . . reluctantly, grudgingly, I got up!
I had been blackmailed out of bed!

Now, two hours later, his breakfast devoured, an energetic game enjoyed and his morning brush completed . . . there hasn't been a single further trace of discomfort in his jaw! Nor, I suspect, will there be until he wants to blackmail me into something else . . . how's that for a manipulative, devious (much-loved) cat!

(Or has he guessed that, later this morning, we're off to the woods in search of bluebells!)