Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 91)

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.

Some fall.

Some don’t.


  1. LOL! I feel for you! When my little one was born, Miss Boots was banned from our bedroom. She was the cat that would sit right next to your face and then mash her cold nose on your eyelid. It’s a good thing we love them.


  2. Oh thank God. I thought it was just mine that threw the temper tantrum by clearing the bathroom vanity. Currently, Good ol’ fat boy Tinkerbell is meowing at the top of his lungs, and batting deodorant, toothbrushes, and my hairbrush onto the floor because I haven’t fed him yet.

    At least he doesn’t wake me up like he does my hubby… if Nate sleeps through the alarm, Tink will bite him on the top of the head. LOL


  3. jack tries to wake us up, but for food–for cuddles. once we are awake he shows no interest in his food dish, and will immediately quiet down if you start petting him. his tactic was to take a large paper shopping bag that we were using to store clothes to get rid of and just tap it with his paw repeatedly. we finally wised up and got rid of it, and so now he just sits on my pillow and stares at me until i open my eyes.


  4. oops, that would be not for food–for cuddles.


  5. Wow – sounds very familiar. These must be feline traits because one of my guys does the same thing. When my alarm goes off at 6:30, my tiger cat starts his routine of pacing the bed, first with soft mews and then with more of a zesty meow if his girlfriend (me) does not respond to the former. All the while he strategically places his steps – one lands right on my boob while the next is square on my nose. He then jumps from my body onto my bf, finally launching himself onto the floor, just to repeat the process. His next tactic is to lay on my chest with about a half inch distance between his nose and mine. If I pet him then he is sweet. If I stop petting him he leans in for a little nibble of my chin. There’s nothing like stale cat breath in the morning. Meanwhile, my other kitty is the enforcer. He sits quietly, wide-eyed on the bedside table supervising the antics of his brother. During this 15-20 minute wake-up process, he does occasionally do his own instigating which consists of him racing across the room and then back onto the bedside table at full-speed all the while making a loud growling sound. They are quite the circus act.


  6. I love cat stories. Thank you for sharing!


  7. First off, thanks for this. It made me giggle. And I have had an awesome day of friends and dogs and the giggles just made it all the better.

    And, it reminded me of the most awesome thing our little cat Steve does. We are still adjusting (my husband, Steve and me, that is) to life after the death of Steve’s siblings, but he does the funniest thing at night. I am a bit of an insomniac, so I am aware of it, but my husband misses out, which saddens me. Anyway, Stevie loves to take these wild running leaps onto plastic bags and slide across our bedroom floor. It started out by accident – we had left a grocery bag in our bedroom and one night he woke me up and spent a good twenty minutes running, leaping and sliding over and over again. I know leave bags out for him and without fail he does it nearly every night. It makes me laugh always, even at 5 am (which is when this usually happens..).


  8. My cat does not possess the feline ability to self-regulate his feeding schedule. So, he is fed by one of those electronic gadgets that dispenses food three times per day. This creates some daily drama as he is ravenously hungry in the morning. By some miracle, he does wait for me to get up on my own; never once creating an early-morning disturbance or engaging in any other rude activities that would interrupt my slumber. But when I do get up? Hold on to your hat. I better make a beeline to that food dish and fish a few morsels out of the hopper for him. If I do not attend to the feeder immediately after waking, he will stalk me like a crazy former boyfriend. And the noises he makes are decidedly non-cat. He sounds like a senile old lady. Our dearly-departed original cats both were self-feeders who could be left alone with a giant bowl of dry food. It was quite an adjustment getting used to all the cat food drama with the current pet.


  9. IssyCat always woke me up before the alarm (which is set for ungodly 4:45 am). He had several wake-up tactics, my favorites of which were the eyelash lick (cold kitty nose + eyelids = ew!) and the face-tap. He’d tap his paw first on my chin, then my mouth, then nose… gradually working his way up my face until he was bonking me on top of the head.

    He’s been in kitty-heaven for 2 months and the alarm wakes me up now. I miss him like crazy. I’d give anything for an eyelash lick..


  10. i have that same little ikea dresser/vanity/whatever thing !


  11. This is probably not an option for you, but we trained the cats like babies, if we were mean parents. We fed them before we went to bed, left some water + food in the basement and locked them down there until we work up. 7-8 hours of NO KITTIES, they meowed and cried, but it didn’t kill them and now they sleep on our schedule. Sort of the cat version of cry-it-out I guess.


  12. WOKE UP. Sheesh. I need to learn to proof read. Maybe you can invest in a rent-a-noise-proof bathroom? I so understand your pain.



  13. I think we have the same cat. Mookie wakes me up every morning between 4:45 and 5:45. We have tried everything, but he is relentless. I’d tell you more about it, but I’m too exhausted to write it all down. ;)


  14. Most mornings I am up for work at 6:30am. I get up, fill Pooka’s bowls, and give her her pill stuffed inside a treat. She gets it twice a day for her thyroid, and it never gets old for her.

    At about 6am (sometimes she gives me until 6:15) Pooka starts climbing on my pillow, on my chest, on my face, trilling in question form. I assume she’s asking why I’m not up yet. She starts sniffing my nose, then licks it, then starts gnawing – and ditto mj on the stale cat breath. She chews my nose, my chin, my fingers and toes…and my elbows. Whatever she can find.

    This is actually a full night activity, but at 6am she really turns on the alarm. And she lives in my room, so there’s little I can do to avoid her.

    To be fair, I think she’s also still teething. She’s a late bloomer.


  15. Your post made me laugh out loud! One of our cats, Mick (or Mongo because he has developed a gut) does the same thing. Not sure if you enable videos, but this below short of Simon’s Cat was sent to me and is DEAD ON of hungry cats in the morning.


  16. Have you read “The Cat Who Came for Christmas” by Cleveland Amory? His cat did the same thing, and his solution was to keep a pouch of Tender Vittles on his bedside table. When his cat woke him up at 3am, he would empty the pouch into a dish and then go back to sleep without having to get out of bed.


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