After Em was born, I was up every couple of hours feeding him. Every night, I made several, bleary-eyed treks through our railroad apartment in search of pumped milk. Along my journey, I’d encounter famished felines, they would zigzag between my feet, sometimes causing me to stumble. Couple a feline obstacle course with bone crushing sleep deprivation and you’re left with a recipe for disaster. But somehow we all made it through in one piece.
During the earliest morning wake up call (or latest depending on how you look at it), I’d stop to feed the cats. This usually took place around 5:00 in the morning. In doing so, meant my having to feed one less mouth come daybreak.
Although there are times of regression, Emory has pretty much outgrown the early morning need for milk. And while he doesn’t sleep very well for the first half of the night, he sleeps pretty well from 2 AM until 7 AM.
I am not sure why this is.
One might assume that from 2 AM until about 7 AM I sleep pretty soundly. This assumption is incorrect because another member of our family refuses to shake the 5:00 AM feeding routine.
Pretty much every morning starting at around 5 AM, Murray starts meowing. He’ll begin at one end of the apartment and slowly make his way into our bedroom.
When meowing doesn’t work, he joins us in bed, stands on me and meows in my face.
The third tactic, and perhaps the most annoying, is where he maneuvers his way through the iron bars of our headboard and climbs on top of a tall thin box we have stored back there. (It holds old graphic design pieces of mine, most of which have been destroyed, thanks to Fatty McPherson.) Why I haven’t yet to dispose of said box—especially considering the role it plays in this routine disturbance—is beyond me.
Murray is not a graceful creature. I have mentioned as much before. I blame his having been orphaned for this missing cat trait. He is a buffoon, in fact—a clumsy mess. This works to his advantage when it comes to his final “feed-me” tactic: the one where he starts a miniature earthquake.
He jumps from our bed or the box onto the dresser next to my side of the bed, the momentum of belly fat continues to move after his feet hit the dresser. My jewelry, the medicine we have set aside for Em, a hairbrush, pretty much everything shakes. Some items fall to the floor. Some items just wobble. Some items get stuck under his belly fat and fall over.
Once everything calms down, he starts pawing at the remaining objects. One at a time, pieces begin dropping to the floor. As I watch him through squinty eyes and he waits for me to react a battle ensues. His, a quest for food. Mine, for sleep. This continues until my eyes fully open.
He meows at me.
He stops knocking pieces to the floor, feigning innocence. He looks at me as if to say, “Hello, Singing Lady. Glad you’re awake. I have been sitting here, patiently waiting for you to rise so I can get some of that Weruva.”
I get out of bed and cut through the darkness of morning to open a can of cat food so this creature will finally let me sleep. Murray lets me know one more time who’s in charge by launching his body into the air; the dresser teeters from the force of his hind legs, any remaining items cling for dear life.